The Art and Science of Beard Trimmer Lengths – Your Ultimate Guide

Beards. Those majestic symbols of masculinity, nature’s cozy balaclava, the facial equivalent of a bear hug, and a timeless testament to both rugged individualism and refined gentility. 

Here at Mission, we adore beards – and we recognize that the passage from a freshly-shaven greenhorn to a fully-bearded virtuoso is not just an adventure – it’s a rite of passage.

Today, we’re plunging whisker-first into the world of beard trimmers and, more specifically, those pointy guards that accompany your trimmer. 

Often relegated to the corners of your carry case, these humble accessories can become a crucial part of your grooming ritual. You probably already have some questions.

What are they? 

Why do they come in a variety of shapes and sizes? 

How on earth are you supposed to know which one to choose? 

How do you use them? 

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

Selecting the ideal beard trimmer length might seem as straightforward as picking between a lager and stout on a lazy Sunday afternoon (which, let’s be honest, can be a conundrum in its own right). 

It’s actually an artful science that takes into account your beard growth, facial structure, the density of your beard, your personal style, and so much more.

So let’s jump into this beard-length trimmer guide and discover their secrets.

Understanding the Different Beard Trimmer Lengths

Image: Pexels

Growing a beard is a labor of love, like brewing your own beer or hand-crafting a wooden table. It’s personal, it’s time-consuming, and it needs constant care and attention. 

One of the most essential components of beard grooming is understanding beard trimmer lengths. Much like a master sculptor choosing their tools to carve out a masterpiece, choosing the right trimmer length is key to chiseling out your desired beard style.

Let’s delve into the vast world of trimmer lengths that range from a short and subtle 0.5mm to a long and full 20mm. 

Now, before we dive in, it’s important to clarify that when we talk about trimmer lengths, we’re referring to the actual length of hair that will remain after you’ve run the trimmer across your face. 

These lengths do not represent the length of the trimmer guard itself.

0.5mm to 1mm

This length is perfect for the well-known ‘five o’clock shadow’. This length gives you that ‘I just missed a day of shaving’ look, which might make you appear like a rogue detective in a crime thriller or a moody artist contemplating his next masterpiece. 

1.5mm to 3mm

Moving up the scale, this length represents the classic short beard style. It’s short enough to keep you looking neat and tidy but long enough to firmly state, “Yes, this is a deliberate beard, not a shaving oversight.” A well-maintained short beard can give your face a sharp, defined appearance.

4mm to 9mm

Now we enter the territory of the medium-length beard. This is a perfect choice for those who want to showcase a more profound commitment to their beard journey. With a bit more length, you can start to experiment with different styles and shapes. 

It’s a tad more rugged than the short beard, yet it maintains a level of tidiness that makes it versatile for both a casual outing and a business meeting.

12.7mm to 20mm

Lastly, we have the 10mm to 20mm range, the land of the long beards. This is where you start to venture into ‘epic beard’ territory. 

Be warned, though – with great beard length comes great responsibility. A long beard requires regular grooming to keep it looking more ‘lumberjack’ and less like a ‘5-month adventure in the Amazon’. A well-maintained long beard can command attention and exude an aura of gravitas.

Trimmer Length and Guard Comb Numbers

Upon a close examination of your trimmer guards, you’ll discover that instead of a measurement in inches or millimeters, each comes with its own unique numerical identifier. 

Now, this number allocation tends to vary across different brands, so we’ve put together a handy chart to guide you, assisting you in selecting the perfect trimmer length for your beard journey.

Philips and Braun TrimmersInchesMillimeters
Wahl and RemmingtonInchesMillimeters

Understanding these trimmer lengths and the appearance they each bestow upon your beard is essential. 

It allows you to choose the perfect trimmer length to create the beard style that best fits your personal style, face shape, and beard density. In essence, it’s the first step to curating your very own magnificent mane.

Now, let’s get ready to tackle the next part of our beard journey – how to choose the right one.

Choosing the Right Beard Trimmer Length for Your Beard

Image: UnSplash

Selecting the right beard trimmer length for your beard can feel like ordering a beer in a foreign language, but once you know Carta Blanca from your Cerveza Sol, you’ll be ordering like a local in no time.


Beard thickness is a key determinant in your decision. If you’ve been blessed with a thick forest of facial hair, a slightly longer trimmer length might keep your beard from looking too dense or overwhelming. 

Alternatively, those with a less dense beard might opt for a shorter length to achieve a fuller appearance.


Personal style is another aspect to mull over. Your beard is an extension of your personal style, a facial accessory, if you will. 

From casual, laid-back vibes to a more polished and professional look, the length of your beard can significantly influence how your style is perceived.

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and examine how different lengths can be used to create specific beard styles.

The Goatee 

Image: Pexels

To achieve this look, focus on leaving heavy stubble around your mouth and chin area. For most, a trimmer length of 2-3mm will do the trick. 

Remember, the easiest way to nail this style is to ensure the hair on your small chin area is similar in length to the hair around your mouth.

The Full Beard

Image: Pexels

This style is best suited to those with fuller, denser hair growth. A trimmer length of 10mm-20mm should work well, depending on your preference. 

However, if you want to take things to a full, long beard, you’ll need to stop trimming your neckline and let hair grow out, focusing on taming flyaways only.

Be warned, though, a full beard can become a high-maintenance beard if not cared for properly. It’s kind of like owning a vintage car – you need to keep it well-oiled and finely tuned to keep it looking and performing its best.

The Van Dyke 

Image: Piqsels

This shorter beard style is named after 17th-century artist Anthony van Dyck, and it’s a blend of both the goatee and a mustache. 

The length you choose will depend largely on your personal style, but a 4mm-5mm range generally works well. The trick here is to trim the hair shorter around your Adam’s apple and gradually longer as you move up the chin to create a distinct V-shape.

Each beard style has its own unique charm, and finding the right one for you is all part of the fun and frolics of the beard journey. 

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to choose the right trimmer length, it’s time to make some hair follicle magic happen.

How to Trim Your Beard Using a Beard Trimmer

Image: Pexels

Equipping yourself with the right trimmer is just the first step in your beard grooming adventure. Knowing how to wield this tool is equally crucial. Consider this your beard-trimming masterclass, complete with step-by-step instructions and pro tips to achieve that well-groomed and professional look you’re aiming for.

1. Choose Your Trimmer Guard

First things first, pick out the right guard size for your desired beard length. Remember that handy chart we mentioned earlier? 

Time to pull it out and use it as your guide. Each guard corresponds to a specific trimmer length, so choose wisely based on your beard style.

2. Wash and Dry Your Beard

Before you start trimming, make sure your beard is clean and dry. A good wash will remove any dirt, grime, and leftover lunch that might have found a cozy home in your beard. A dry beard is easier to trim and gives you a more accurate length result.

3. Comb Your Beard

Use a beard comb to detangle any knots and to get your beard hairs lying in the same direction. This step helps you get a more even trim and get all those stray hairs.

If you’re only just starting your beard journey, it’s good to know that a high-quality brush can make all the difference. So, if you’re lacking one in your beard care line-up, get yourself all brushed up with a quality gift set

4. Start Trimming

Now, the real fun begins. Start trimming your beard by moving your trimmer in an upward direction against the grain. This method helps to lift the hairs, allowing for a closer and more even cut. Begin from your neck and work your way up to your chin and cheek line.

5. Detailing

Once you’ve trimmed your beard to your desired length, it’s time for some detailing. This is where you carve out your cheek lines and necklines to give your beard a neat, defined look. You might want to use a smaller guard or no guard at all for this step – proceed with caution, though.

6. Clean Up

After you’re done trimming, it’s time to clean up – not just your bathroom counter, but your beard as well. Rinse your beard with warm water, towel dry, then apply some beard oil for added shine and softness.

Congratulations – you’ve just groomed your beard like a pro. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t get disheartened if your first few attempts don’t yield a masterpiece.

Here are a few additional tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Go Slow – Don’t rush your trim. Treat it as a relaxing grooming ritual, not a race against the clock.

Start Long – If you’re unsure about the length, start with a bigger guard. You can always go shorter, but growing back a too-short trim will take time.

Check Your Trimmer’s Battery – Always ensure your trimmer has enough charge before you start. The last thing you want is for your trimmer to die halfway through.

Now you’re equipped to trim and maintain your beard like a seasoned pro, ensuring it’s always looking its best. Ready to take on the next part of your beard journey? 

Let’s explore maintaining and caring for your trusty beard trimmer.

Maintenance and Care of Your Beard Trimmer

Just like a samurai treasures his sword, a beardsman must cherish and take care of his beard trimmer. It’s not just a tool, it’s your trusty sidekick on this beard adventure, and a well-maintained trimmer ensures a well-groomed beard.

Clean It After Each Use

Every great shave should be followed by a good clean. Most trimmers come with a special brush designed to sweep away those stubborn hairs hiding between the blades. 

Some models even allow for a water rinse, but make sure to check your user manual before giving your trimmer a bath.

Oil Regularly

Like a fine car engine, your trimmer needs oil to run smoothly. Regular oiling helps reduce friction between the blades, prolonging their lifespan and ensuring a smoother trim. It’s a good habit to oil your trimmer blades every few uses, especially after cleaning them. Just a few drops should suffice – no need to drown it.

Replace Blades as Needed

No matter how diligently you care for your trimmer, the blades will eventually dull. You’ll feel this when your trims start to pull or tug at your beard. 

This is a clear sign that it’s time for new blades. Again, consult your user manual for how to change the blades and where to buy replacements.

Know When to Say Goodbye

Like a pair of old shoes or your favorite t-shirt, there comes a time when you need to let go. If your trimmer starts to lag, overheats quickly or has seen better days, it might be time for a replacement. A high-quality trimmer should last you several years with proper care.

Proper Storage and Travel Tips

Adequate storage can extend your beard trimmer’s life, while safe travel practices ensure its optimal performance on the go. Always store your trimmer in a protective case to shield it from dust and accidental drops.

Traveling with a trimmer requires extra care. Most trimmers have lithium-ion batteries, which can be a concern on the plane due to their potential fire risk if damaged or short-circuited. 

Proper care, both at home and on the road, is crucial for maintaining your trimmer’s longevity and performance. Now, onto those burning questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Image: Piqsels

What length should I set my beard trimmer?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, folks. The length you dial into your beard trimmer all boils down to your style and the look you’re shooting for. Are you after that rugged stubble beard look or a tidy short beard? 

A setting between 1mm and 3mm could be your sweet spot. For those aiming for a more full-bodied, medium to long beard, anything from 4mm to 10mm might be your ticket. 

Always remember the golden rule – start with a longer setting and work your way down. It’s easier to trim a bit more off than to wait until your beard grows back.

How long is a 3mm beard?

In the spirit of keeping things straightforward, a 3mm beard is… you guessed it, 3mm long. This usually lands you in the ‘short beard’ or ‘heavy stubble’ category. It’s the ideal choice for those who want a sprinkle of ruggedness without going full caveman.

What is the perfect length for stubble?

The so-called ‘perfect’ stubble length is a bit of a sliding scale and depends on your personal taste and facial features. However, many find their stubble sweet spot hovering between 1mm and 3mm. This range gives you that relaxed yet stylishly scruffy look that’s as at home in the boardroom as it is at the beach.

How long is a 7mm beard?

Strutting around with a 7mm beard? You’re officially in the medium-length facial hair league. This length is enough to turn heads but without turning your morning routine into a major event. 

It’s the go-to for those wanting to make a bit more of a beard statement without going full-on lumberjack.

The key thing to remember is that every beard is as unique as the guy growing it. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lengths until you discover what works best for you.

The Mission Beard Verdict

Choosing the right beard trimmer length isn’t just about vanity or style, it’s a mission of self-expression and a testament to your commitment to your beard. 

Regular beard maintenance, whether it’s a quick trim or a full-blown grooming session, not only keeps your beard looking sharp but also keeps it healthy. It’s a little bit of ‘me’ time that your beard (and your skin) will thank you for.

Remember, every beard trimmer length has its unique charm and purpose. Choosing the right length is the first step towards owning your look, defining your style, and making a statement that’s distinctly you.If you’ve enjoyed this romp through the world of beard trimmer lengths and you’re thirsty for more beard wisdom, we’d love to have you over at Mission Beard. From grooming tips to beard biology, we’ve got the answers to all your beard-related questions and then some.

Alex Cutler
Alex is the owner and Editor in Chief of Mission Beard. When he's not researching articles or creating badass beard care products with the MB Crew, you'll find him exploring the great outdoors, training BJJ, or in the pub with a good pint.

Mission Beard is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

When you buy a product through a link in one of our posts, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) that goes towards supporting our small, independent business.



Please select a store