Haircut Numbers And Hair Clipper Sizes – Ultimate Guide 2023

Haircut Numbers And Hair Clipper Sizes – Ultimate Guide 2023

Haircut numbers form the core language of the barbering world, and they are crucial to achieving the precise haircut you desire. Just as complex as any other design craft, the art of haircutting employs a unique set of tools and terms. Of these, hair clippers take center stage in a barber’s toolkit.

This comprehensive guide sheds light on the mystery behind haircut length numbers and explores the range of hair clipper sizes that shape your look.

Keep reading to discover all you need to know about haircut numbers and hair clipper sizes before your next trip to the barber.

What Are Haircut Numbers?

Haircut numbers refer to the different sizes of hair clippers used in cutting men’s hair. Each number corresponds to a specific length of hair left on the scalp after a haircut.

The numbers typically range from 0 to 8, with 0 being the shortest length (almost bald) and 8 being the longest length (1 inch). This system allows barbers to achieve uniform and consistent haircuts, and it also helps clients communicate their preferred haircut length more effectively.

man getting his bangs straight
dje_barber / Instagram

Haircut Clipper Sizes: A Quick Guide

Here’s a quick table to familiarize yourself with haircut clipper sizes in inches and millimeters. Remember, the higher the number, the longer the haircut.

Haircut Number Length in Inches Length in Millimeters
Number 0 Haircut 0 in 0 mm
Number 1 Haircut 1/8 in 3 mm
Number 2 Haircut 1/4 in 6 mm
Number 3 Haircut 3/8 in 10 mm
Number 4 Haircut 1/2 in 13 mm
Number 5 Haircut 5/8 in 16 mm
Number 6 Haircut 3/4 in 19 mm
Number 7 Haircut 7/8 in 22 mm
Number 8 Haircut 1 in 25 mm

An Overview of Haircut Length Numbers

Now that we understand the basics, let’s break down each individual haircut number to really understand what it looks like.

Number 0 Haircut

A number 0 haircut is the shortest haircut number, and it doesn’t use any guard on the clipper. It basically shaves the hair down to the skin, hence often referred to as a “bald” or “skin” haircut. This haircut number is commonly used for buzz cuts or military-style cuts, and it can also serve as a starting point for fade haircuts.

man covering his face from the sun
moriccimichele / Instagram

Number 1 Haircut

Next up is the number 1 haircut. This clipper size leaves your hair at an eighth of an inch long, offering a slightly longer trim compared to the number 0. It’s still very short, and the scalp will be visible, but it leaves a little more hair, giving a soft shadowed look. The number 1 haircut is a great choice for those who want a super short but not completely bald look.

man with a flush cut hairstyle
slidercutsstudios / Instagram

Number 2 Haircut

A number 2 haircut leaves your hair a quarter of an inch long. It’s a short style that doesn’t expose the scalp as much as lower numbers, making it an excellent choice for taper fades and shorter buzz cuts. The number 2 haircut provides a clean, professional look while maintaining a bit of length.

number 2 against the grain with skin taper haircut
cutsbyerick / Instagram

Number 3 Haircut

With the number 3 haircut, we are getting into longer hair territory. Leaving hair three-eighths of an inch long, it’s an ideal choice for those who prefer a little more hair while maintaining a neat, groomed appearance. It’s less revealing of the scalp and is a popular choice for standard crew cuts.

man with a number 3 against the grain with skin fade haircut
slidercutsstudios / Instagram

Number 4 Haircut

The number 4 haircut leaves hair half an inch long, making it a medium-short style that’s versatile and popular. It allows for more styling options and is less severe than lower numbers. The number 4 haircut is great for those who want to keep their hair short but stylish.

number 4 haircut against the grain
slidercutsstudios / Instagram

Number 5 Haircut

A number 5 haircut leaves five-eighths of an inch of hair. This haircut number allows for more texture and styling options, as the hair is long enough to be brushed and groomed in different ways. It’s great for those who want a short yet textured look.

man getting the number 5 haircut with skin fade
bilfades / Instagram

Number 6 Haircut

The number 6 haircut leaves three-quarters of an inch of hair, offering a longer, fuller look compared to lower numbers. This haircut number is perfect for men who prefer a longer short cut that can be styled in various ways, such as a short pompadour or a slick back.

man with a number 6 skin fade haircut and trimmed beard
bilfades / Instagram

Number 7 Haircut

The number 7 haircut leaves seven-eighths of an inch of hair. It’s a good option for men who want to maintain length while keeping their hair manageable and neat. It is typically used for tapering and not often for all-over cuts.

menshairs / Instagram

Number 8 Haircut

Finally, the number 8 haircut is the longest clipper size. It leaves a full inch of hair and is typically used for trimming longer hair and tapering at the lower ends. It’s perfect for those who want to keep length while also maintaining a clean, groomed appearance.

man with a fresh haircut and a trimmed beard
on_point_barber_shop / Instagram

Final Thoughts

Understanding haircut numbers and hair clipper guard sizes can significantly improve your barber shop visits. It allows you to communicate your desired look more effectively and ensures you leave the chair feeling satisfied with your haircut.


    • Hair clipper sizes work by using different clipper guards, which determine the length of the hair left after cutting. The guards are numbered from 0 to 8, with 0 giving the shortest cut and 8 leaving the longest hair.

      • Each hair clipper size equates to approximately an eighth of an inch. So, a number 1 guard will leave an eighth of an inch of hair, while a number 2 guard leaves a quarter of an inch, and so on.

        • Haircut numbers refer to the different lengths of hair that result from using specific clipper guards. They offer a standardized way to communicate your desired hair length to your barber.

          • There are typically 9 standard haircut numbers, ranging from 0 to 8. Each number represents a specific length of hair.

            • Fade haircuts often use a combination of lower haircut numbers, like 0, 1, and 2, to create a gradient effect. However, the exact numbers can vary based on personal preference and the specific style of fade desired.


              Remember that your ideal haircut number may vary depending on your hair type, face shape, and personal style. Experiment with different hair clipper sizes and consult your barber to find a look that suits you best.