Many already wrote reviews about the Wahl Beard Trimmer model 9918-6171; however, most, while still applicable, were written in 2009. After a great deal of comparison and review shopping, I just purchased this model for myself (Jan. 2011) as an after-Christmas gift upon deciding that I again wanted to grow out a goatee (which has a large effect on the usefulness of my review compared to those with thick full beards who want to use the trimmer).
The enclosed extras are listed in the product's description on Walmart's site. The trimmer body is made of solid metal with a rubber grip - very sturdy compared to plastic counterparts. As said in previous posts, the guides are rather flimsy. Especially with concern to the stubble, medium, and full-length guide, you have to bend them around the trimmer blade to secure them. You also have to press what I will call "snap points" on the guides into the sides of the trimmer blade. The "snap points" must be completely aligned and snapped into two recesses on either side of the trimmer blade - otherwise prepare for an unexpectedly close/uneven shave. With care and attention, you won't run into this problem. I do expect these guides to break at some point, as plastic becomes brittle with age, but for under $17, I don't mind the risk. I have not used the 6-position guide; however, after testing how well it holds a chosen position by putting the guide on the trimmer blade and pressing on the guide (with the trimmer off), the 6-position guide seems to hold well. Keep in mind, similar to other inexpensive trimmer guides, it is a friction-based guide with nothing to hold it on but the guide material. Eventually, with extensive use, the guide may not hold as well as it did on day 1. However, when I once had a somewhat thicker beard, I had trimmer guides like this one last the life of the trimmer (based on finding a setting I liked and keeping it there).
The travel case is a very flimsy thin (and what will likely later turn out to be be brittle) piece of plastic. However, it is a nice addition given the price. While you can fit all the extras in the bag along with the trimmer and the instructions, you cannot fit the charger in the bag with everything else in it. I wish the bag would be big enough to hold the charger. However, it was more or less a freebie, so I can't really complain. Of course, it goes without saying the trimmer base will not fit in the bag.
Speaking of the trimmer base, it is similar to the bases of other inexpensive trimmers I've owned in the past - thin and lightweight plastic that serves its purpose. I've never had a base that holds all the trimmer extras. While nice to have, again given the price, this base is no different. I like to have everything in one place. This trimmer comes with a blade protector. I have a younger son and keep the trimmer (unplugged) on my bathroom counter-top. Originally, after each use, I would carefully remove the medium guide and put the blade protector on. I no longer do this, as I don't want to break the medium guide. So, I leave the medium guide on but have no place on the base to put the blade protector - minor inconvenience. I put the protector in the storage bag as well as the instructions and charger (the latter of which took some finesse) and store them in a cabinet under the sink. The other guides, oil, comb, and trimmer cleaning brush (BTW, the trimmer cleans very easily) all have a spot for them on the base. Note that the handle of the comb can slide through an opening on the bottom of the base - again, a minor inconvenience. Put the base on your counter-top (or wherever) and then put the accessories in the base. As a side-note, the 6-position guide very loosely hangs on the right side of the base. Don't jar the base too much, and it won't be a big issue. The remaining guides fit loosely in compartments on top of the base. It's not pretty, but it's functional.
The biggest selling point to me, accessory-wise, was the adapter and the fact that you can use the trimmer while you charge it. The trimmer holds a charge well - so far. I charged the trimmer once (four weeks ago) and have used it once a week for about 15-min each time (on a goatee) without having to charge the trimmer. The charge would deplete faster when trimming a full beard. That said, I just trimmed my goatee (again, 4 weeks from purchase date); and, the charge is just as strong as day 1. Those with full beards would be able to offer better feedback on how well the trimmer holds a charge when trimming a full beard. I don't notice a difference in trimming power plugged or unplugged, but again, I only use the trimmer for a goatee. I've seen in previous posts that some with full beards are not happy with the trimmer, which wouldn't surprise me a great deal as I'll explain in a moment.
With regard to trimming, the trimmer does what it is designed to do - it trims. It is called a beard and mustache trimmer; however, I'm not sure how well it would trim beards, as it seems to struggle somewhat with my close-crop goatee. Please note that I do have course hair, which plays a role in the trimmer struggling. I've never had an inexpensive trimmer that didn't struggle with my goatee at least a little. The degree to which it trims is satisfactory given the trimmer's price. I do not let my goatee grow too long (maybe 3/4 inch at most). At that point it tends to bother me and I know it's time for a trim. I then use the medium length guide to bring things under control once more (to roughly a 1/4 inch). Even on day 1, the trimmer pulled hair. This hasn't gotten better or worse. I'm not quite sure how well the trimmer "self-sharpens" as is noted on the packaging and in the product's description. Maybe the fact that it doesn't pull hair anymore now than it did out-of-the-box serves as testimony to how well the trimmer does self-sharpen. In addition, you do have to pass over the same spot more than once; but, as long as you take this into account before trimming and leave time enough to trim well, it's only a minor inconvenience - at least for those with close-crop mustaches, goatees, and (possibly) a close-crop beard.
Overall, I'm not sure that this trimmer would be good for those with thick full beards or those with intentions of growing and trimming a thick full beard - based solely on the fact that it pulls the hair on my close-crop goatee and that you have to pass over the same spot multiple times to get an even trim. If you want to trim a thick full beard, in my humble opinion, pay for a better (professional-grade) trimmer. A good beard is a long-term investment that you don't want ruined by the wrong trimmer. Those I know with full beards prefer professional barber-grade wired trimmers. However, and I want to end on the good note that I believe this trimmer deserves, I think that the trimmer is good for cleaning up goatees, defining lines, maintaining a "three-day (or slightly more)" growth look, and (possibly) for closely-cropped beards (we're not talking Grizzly Adams here - for the younger folk, Google him). You simply cannot beat the price and all the extras it offers. In addition, you can use the trimmer plugged in or not. So even when (and it will inevitably happen - Wahl says 3-5 years) the battery dies, you should be able to continue using the trimmer plugged in - assuming your blade is still good. I haven't seen this option anywhere else for under $17. Based on the pro's and the price of the trimmer, I believe that the Wahl 9918-6171 mustache/goatee trimmer is a good trimmer for the money. I hope you do to.
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