The Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman Beard trimmer is a low cost alternative to other feature-rich, expensive, models. For under fifteen bucks from most retailers, the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman Beard trimmer provides optimal balance between functionality, features and cost, to deliver itself as one of the best trimmers on the market.
Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman Fundamentals
For the price, the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman offers the convenience of a wireless shave and the practicality of charging during a shave. It comes with a travel pouch that keeps all the attachments in one spot, and has six length settings to choose from. Unlike other beard trimmer sets, this one even comes with a cradle to charge the unit, and doubles up as a station with room to store all the attachments that come in the box.
The Wahl’s blades are made from high-carbon steel, which increases its durability and is the reason the blades stay sharp. Unfortunately the Wahl needs periodic lubrication to keep the blades sharp and running smoothly however this is not too much of an issue as it comes with a tube of Wahl Lubricating Oil in the box. On a more technical side, the jagged grooves that form the cutting edge of the blade are machined to shape instead of being moulded. This gives it added strength, and longer life.
From the get go, I didn’t expect to find much in the way of features for the budget. The Wahl beat those expectations by providing many of the nice-to-have features as well as the need-to-have basics. My priority was that it needed to be cordless and it needed to charge fairly rapidly. The Wahl Groomsman did that without fail. A quick ten minute charge was all it needed to get me through my morning trim. For times when I couldn’t even spare that much, the Wahl allowed me to trim while it remained plugged in.
Having a shaver that is ergonomically designed, is more than just a luxury, it is a necessity. The shape of the unit and the angle of the head, makes it easy to trim your beard with gentle precision. The hold of the Wahl fits within the natural grip of a man’s palm with a size that makes it feel robust, but a weight that is light enough to maintain maneuverability. I also like the tactile detail of the trimmer’s shell.There is a brushed steel frame enveloped in rubber for grip in all the right places.
The beard guard, or guide, always comes down to personal preference. Some people like the sliding guard that adjusts to various lengths, others like single, detachable guards that clip on and off. Well,theWahl 9918-6171 Groomsman has both. The genius of that design is that it accommodates occasions where you need to adjust the length in some spots, but gives you a uniform cut with the fixed guard, at other times. I don’t think I’ve seen this feature anywhere else, and it makes absolute sense after you take a minute to think about it. The little details the designers thought off are impressive. From the contoured back to fit the palm, to the wavy contours in front to nestle the fingers. The entire set up just works.
The Down Side
There are a couple of downsides to an otherwise decent product. The first is that the charger only plugs into a 110V outlet. So traveling to countries that use 240v is out of the question, unless you’re only gone for a few days. In which case, just make sure you charge the battery before you go.
The voltage is not an insurmountable issue, the biggest issue with this beard trimmer is that I am not able to wash the blades under running water. It’s a habit of mine to use running water to flush the hair out of the guards and blades after each trim. Unfortunately this is not possible with the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman Beard trimmer due to it not having sufficient shielding to protect the electric internals.
The third problem with this is that it uses a lubricant to keep the blades sliding effectively. There are two reasons I don’t like that. First is that it can irritate my skin, and second, is that hair sticks to it. This makes cleaning the unit a little problematic and causes a cocktail of shavings and oil to clog up the blade assembly.
Nice to Have
You get a number of things in the box in addition to the trimmer unit, including the adjustable guide, individual guides, one charger, the cradle, a travel case, a cleaning brush and a tube of lubricating oil. That’s a lot for the price.
Most people are attracted to the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman because it accomplishes its basic tasks well at a good price. The motor has enough power to slice through even some of the thicker growth. It does a great job of simple trims, goatees, mustaches and beards but is a little behind the curve if you’re trying to do something fancy.
The key thing to note with this trimmer is that its at the bottom of the price range and you should prepare yourself for getting what you pay for. If you do that, the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman Beard trimmer certainly over delivers. However, if you want to compare it to a top of the line model, priced at over $180 then the Wahl 9918-6171 Groomsman is going to come up a little short.
Wahl has been a household brand for a number of years and yet still remains a family-owned business making them very responsive to customer requests and service. The product is made in China, if that makes a difference, but it didn’t bother me much since the quality was still of a very good standard.