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

Alex Cutler

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 Trimmers Inches Millimeters
#0 1/32” 0.5mm
#1 3/64” 1mm
#2 5/64” 2mm
#3 1/8" 3mm
#4 5/32” 4mm
#5 3/16” 5mm
#6 1/4" 6mm
#7 9/32” 7mm
#8 10/32” 8mm
#9 3/8" 9mm
#12 15/31” 12mm
#16 21/23” 16mm
Wahl and Remmington Inches Millimeters
#0 1/16” 1.5mm
#1 1/8" 3mm
#2 1/4" 6mm
#3 3/8" 9.5mm
#4 1/2" 12.7mm
#5 5/8" 16mm
#6 6/8” 19mm
#7 7/8" 22mm
#8 1” 25mm

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

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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 deta