Oster Classic 76 Review
Oster's top-of-the-line hair clipper -- the "Classic 76" model -- is a snap-on blade clipper that's designed to survive even the busiest barbershops for years. It's also a top choice for anyone who shaves their head on a regular basis.
This full review of the Oster Classic 76 will tell you everything you need to know from a long-time 76 user (that's me), in case this model is high on your consideration list.
About the Classic 76
The Oster Classic 76 is one of the higher-end hair clippers amongst the full range of all Oster clippers, aside from the Oster Power Line (an exact replica of the 76, except in black instead of maroon). Designed to have the look, feel and grip of an old pair of vintage 1950s hair clippers, they're very commonly seen in salons and barber shops for their solid construction, durability and wide range of parts and attachments. This is one hair clipper you will never find in any commercial retail store -- you'll have to find it for sale online.
Unlike several other more 'commercial' model clippers from Oster, this set has a toggle switch at the base of the unit rather than a side-mounted on/off button.
The Classic 76 has a well-built interior and a high torque motor, unlike competing brands from Remington, Philips or Braun. It only accommodates clipper blades from the Oster AgION series. Its outer shell is composed of high-durability plastic with side and bottom vents for exhaust, allowing the clippers to stay cool no matter how long its left on for.
How Does the Classic 76 Work?
The Classic 76 uses a detachable blade system where blades are fitted on to a metallic clip at the top of the unit. When this clip is inserted into the clipper blade and snapped down into place, a nylon lever unit fits under the back section of the blade, and vibrates that section at a top speed.
Another model above the Classic 76 called the "Titan 76" is identical in every way, except it has a two-speed motor that provides the same speed as the Classic 76, plus a faster speed.
The Classic 76 and Titan 76, like all higher-end clipper models, are corded and have a toggle switch under the unit. It also has a hanger for wall mounting.
For Wet Or Dry Cutting
Although the Classic 76 was designed to cut wet or dry hair, I always prefer to leave my hair dry. Wet hair is significantly more difficult to cut, not to mention - the tiny hair shavings stick to your scalp, hands and the clipper, making everything way more annoying and messy.
Choosing & Using Blades
It can be difficult to decide which blades to get if you're a completely new user in the realm of at-home hair clipping. Oster classifies its blades on its own scale, beginning with #00000 (extremely short and down to the skin) to a #3Â¾, which leaves hair Â½" long. The #000, #1 and #2 blades are typically the most commonly used, especially for a blend cut where the baseline of the hair is the shortest part.
Using Blades for "Blends"
Each descending blade size can be used to create a "blend" with their next size up. For instance, the side of the head can be shaved with a #1A blade, stopping to leave the hair on the top of the head, which can be finished off with a #1.5 blade (which is one size up from the #1A) so that it will "blend in" the work previously done by the #1A.
About Blades, Quality and Options
Oster blades themselves are of high quality construction. With a price tag of around $25-$30 per blade, these blades will last a lifetime if they're handled properly. They can also go years without sharpening, for home hair clipping. Oster blades are also low maintenance, occasionally needing only a couple drops of clipper oil and a quick brushing after after every usage.
If desired, you can purchase a complete set of Oster guide comb attachments that will simply fit over the top of the blade that comes with your Classic 76. It's a good way to see which lengths are right for you and the styles you want to create, although, using these plastic guide combs is not much of a long-term solution, and you'll eventually want to switch to metal blades.
Learn more about Oster clipper blades, which use their own distinct sizing standards apart from other brands.
Unlike other hair clipper brands, the Oster Classic 76 will simply never burn nor cut your scalp - ever! Despite the sake of sounding like a commercial in this review -- Oster does go through the most rigorous measures in the industry to construct these hair clippers, and everything from the body design to the blade layout was made for heat dispersion.
The blades themselves are angled so that the underlying blade will not zip across your skin. The only possible way to hurt yourself with an Oster blade is to accidentally spike yourself in the scalp with the blade teeth, and that's something most rookies who cut their own hair (and have to practice using their off-hand) might face at one point or another.
Grip & Weight
This clipper has an excellent grip due to the ridges in its design. If held properly, it will never slip out of your hands.
Why Grip Matters for At-Home Clipping
This is why you should never choose hair clippers that have a smooth case -- if you're cutting your own hair at home, the most likely way you'll drop your clippers is when you're shaving the side of your head that requires using your off-hand. The Classic 76 has a ridged surface area around its entire circumference that will maintain a solid grip, even when your hands are wet.
It's Not the Lightest Clipper
The only complaint I really have about the Classic 76 is its weight. At 2 lbs., there's no doubt that this piece of machinery is not lightweight. If you're new to self-hair cutting, you'll grow accustomed to using it after your first couple sessions.The weight of this unit is not as much of an issue if you're using it to cut someone else's hair, as it is your own hair.
As you may have imagined, the most difficult part of "at-home hair clipping" is reaching the side of your head that's opposite to your good hand. So, if you're a righty, shaving the area on the back left part of your head is always the most straining as you'll practically be hyper-extending your arm. Still, the Classic 76 is non-slip and I've never had a mishap with it.
There's practically no maintenance necessary for the upkeep of your Classic 76. You'll more than likely never have to open or take apart the unit, and its motor never loses power after years of usage.
Opening the Clipper Shell
In case it's absolutely necessary, opening the Classic 76 is simple to do, and its parts are easy to remove and replace if ever needed. Parts are widely available on the internet -- even the smallest screws.
A metallic face plate at the top of the Classic 76 can be removed by simply removing two large screws. Under the plate, you'll eventually find an accumulation of hair clippings from months of use, which can easily be brushed or sprayed out with compressed air. The internal parts here can also be re-greased with the tube that comes with your Classic 76 (it can also be purchased separately, usually for about $5).
Regular Annual Up-Keep
It is recommended that you re-grease the main gear powering the mechanism twice a year for longest clipper life. Also, re-greasing your blades regularly takes less than 10 seconds to do and ensures years of usage.
In the rare case that your Classic 76 will have to be sent in for maintenance directly to Oster, the cost is high - approximately $65 to ship your clipper to them, get it serviced and sent back. This is why you'll be thankful that it's easy to take apart and fix at home by simply pulling out the worn-out piece and replacing it for a couple dollars.
Clipper Care Matters
The Oster Classic 76 is built rock solid. If you take care of it (brushing the hairs out and oiling your blades regularly), there's no foreseeable scenario where it should ever 'break down' or stop working on you, making this be a long-term product that you'll never have to replace.
The Oster Classic 76 was my first ever hair clipper -- and still my only one. I originally wanted to pay a little more to get something that would never have to be replaced, and that's what this model is all about. I first saw the Classic 76 in a barber shop, and figured I could simply buy one of my own and cut my own hair at home, which not only wound up being the routine in my life since 2008, but saved me an unbelievable amount of money over the years. In other words, this $130 unit really paid for itself, and then some.
I'm still using the same three blades since '08, and still have had no need to sharpen any of them. I'm still clipping my own hair every two days, so the Classic 76 is getting continual use in my home.
Unless you're adverse to corded clippers, or ones that are a little bulkier than the more commercial models -- the Classic 76 is built like an appliance from the good old days (the '40s and '50s) when things were made to last, instead of being made to throw away after a year. It's because these are one of the seemingly few products that are still made in the USA. Oster is the Rolls-Royce of hair clippers, and you can't go wrong with any of their products. I still have no plans of ever swapping out my Classic 76 for any of their other models.
Stay Away from the "Blue Box"
One more important thing -- learn from my issues -- stay away from any Oster Classic 76 clipper that comes in the blue box design pictured here. These are old models that were constructed with hinge assembly screw anchors that were never properly secured to the base model, resulting in blade rattling and wobbling.
Without going into a very long and overdrawn story -- the hinge assembly is a metallic piece that the blade clips into at the top of the unit. It is secured to the clipper with two screws, and those two screws screw into two metallic "anchors" which are fitted into the plastic. After about two years of use, my Oster clipper blades started making a rattling noise and visibly wobbling whenever the clipper was activated. It was because these anchors were loose; eventually, so loose that the entire hinge assembly could be pulled out of the unit with ease, including the screws AND anchors. I called Oster, and there was no way for me to fix this at home (you can't simply use Super Glue) and I wound up having to buy the new clipper generation, which don't have this issue.
The new clippers are sold in a shimmery silver box. There may be stores out there that still sell the blue box -- don't even bother!
Oster Classic 76 Hair Clipper
Item #76076-010 - Silver box
- New "silver box" model with fixed mounting
- (1) Clipper with traditional maroon colored casing
- Includes blade guard, clipper grease, blade grease and cleaning brush
- Also includes two blades: size #000 and #1