We’ve put countless hours into the search for the very best quality electric shavers, that provide a fast, close, comfortable, and reliable shave.
Our 2017 men’s electric shaver guide will help you pick an electric razor that won’t disappoint.
Why Choose an Electric Shaver?
Over the eighty-plus years since the world’s first electric shaver was patented, shaving technology and performance has improved by leaps and bounds.
Today, electric shavers are the grooming tool of choice for millions of men.
Let’s explore the many benefits an electric shaver can provide:
Need for Speed
Modern life is fast-paced. Not everyone can spare the time for a slow, luxurious wet razor shave.
When you need to look your best on a tight schedule, you’ll reach for the tool that works fastest.
Nearly seventy percent of men find electric shavers faster than traditional, manual razors – and little wonder. Electric shavers typically require fewer passes across the face, less pre-shave preparation, and less clean-up.
Ease of use
“Wet shaving” is exactly what it sounds like – water, gel, foam, cream, soap or some combination thereof is applied to the face and neck, providing both lubrication for a razor blade to glide smoothly, and cushioning that protects delicate skin from the razor’s edge.
There’s nothing wrong with wet shaving – but it can be time-consuming, and a bit messy. Some people find disposable razors give bad shaving rash and irritation.
Virtually all electric shavers can be comfortably used “dry” no lather or lubrication necessary. And with a bit of extra time, many electric shavers are compatible with your favorite cream or gel, and can even be used in the shower.
No longer are all men expected to be completely clean-shaven. If stubble suits you, you’re in luck, some electric shavers include comb guards that allow you to tailor the length of your facial hair, from none at all, to a short, neat beard.
Razor burn is the bane of well-groomed men the world over.
Redness, irritation, bumps and pimples ruin the effect of an otherwise great shave. Of course, everyone’s face is different, some men have sensitive skin, some don’t, but electric shavers – with their protective foils and precisely engineered blades – are often favoured by men whose skin is easily irritated by single – or multi-bladed razors.
Most electric shavers feature integrated, rechargeable batteries, some of which can provide up to two or more weeks of daily shaves. And charging those batteries is easy.
Depending on the shaver in question, it’s a simple matter of plugging in a cord, or setting the shaver onto a space-saving charging station.
We won’t deny that the highest-end electric shavers can cost a pretty penny.
But that initial investment can pay off over the long run when compared to the cumulative cost of disposable, multi-blade cartridges – especially if you have dense, coarse facial hair that dulls blades quickly.
Which Types of Electric Shavers are Best for You?
Virtually all electric shavers fall into one of two categories: Foil or rotary. What’s the difference?
The blades on a foil shaver are covered by a thin, perforated layer of metal foil. As the shaver is passed over your skin, facial hair is captured and pulled into the perforations, allowing it to be cut. Foil shavers are well-suited to men that:
- Shave daily
- Have sensitive skin
- Have fine, straight or sparse facial hair
- Want a particularly close, precise shave
- Prefer the natural motion of shaving
Rotary shavers typically feature three rotating shaving heads. As the shaver is moved across the face, facial hair is pulled into the shaving heads and cut. Rotary shavers, by virtue of their circular cutting action, are ideal for men who:
- Don’t shave every day
- Have thick, coarse or curly hair
- Have hair that grows in multiple direction
- May not require the closest possible shave
All that being said, both foil and rotary shavers are excellent choices, whatever you’re needs. Unless you fall into one extreme (particularly fine hair or sensitive skin) or the other (very dense, coarse hair), there are more criteria to consider – so read on!
Electric Shaver Power Sources
Rechargeable batteries power virtually all modern electric shavers. Some shavers use nickel- metal hydride batteries; others, lithium-ion. The latter is lighter in weight, and typically more compact, packing more power into a smaller package.
All things being equal, we give the nod to lithium-ion, but either chemistry is fine, so long as the battery provides adequate power and capacity.
Cordless electric shavers include a charging station which is connected to a mains outlet. It’s a convenient set up, keeping your shaver ready for action, and providing a place in which it can be set when not in use. The only downside of a charging station is that it doesn’t allow a shaver to be operated while charging.
Mains rechargeable electric shavers are plugged directly into the wall to be charged.
Though slightly less convenient than a stand-based charging system, they provide an advantage: the ability to be used while charging – perfect if you’ve let the battery run down, and don’t have time to top it up.
If that’s a concern, but you have your heart set on a cordless shaver with a stand, consider one with a quick-charge feature, such shavers require as little as five minutes of charging to provide one shave.
Some shavers feature digital displays that indicate battery, charging or runtime status, reminding you to keep your shaver charged and ready for use.
Wet, Dry – or Both?
Many electric shavers can be used wet or dry.
Opting for a wet/dry model gives you the best of both worlds: A quick, comfortable dry shave, or a smooth, luxurious wet shave. Another advantage of a wet/dry electric shaver is its ability to withstand being used in the shower.
Consider the Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3080s – fully waterproof (and well-designed for that purpose, with its dimpled handle and sealed, rubber on/off switch), it’s a highly-rated wet/dry electric shaver, and at under £70, provides excellent value.
Shaving in the shower is not only comfortable and convenient – it’s one of the easiest way to keep the shaver clean, surpassed only by electric shavers that include a cleaning station – an automatic unit that removes stubble, dead skin and other detritus from the shaver head, keeping it hygienic and running smoothly.
The Braun Series 7 7898cc foil shaver includes a station that charges, cleans and lubricates, for the ultimate in hands-off, one-touch maintenance.
Performance and Quality: What to Look For
Features aside, there are a number of other factors to consider – those which pertain to how well an electric shaver performs, its overall quality, and its value. Let’s explore each factor in greater detail.
Comfortable Electric Shave
Even the most technologically advanced electric shaver isn’t worth your money if it irritates your skin.
Watch out for redness, bumps, pimples, sensitivity – and of course, areas that remain unshaven, requiring additional passes. All are signs that a particular shaver may not be the best choice for you.
But give it a bit of time – sometimes a new shaver simply requires an adjustment in technique, especially if you’ve switched from a foil to a rotary shaver, or vice versa – or if you’re recently replaced an old, worn out shaver with a newer, more efficient model that cuts more quickly and effectively.
Imagine becoming accustomed to shaving with a razor whose blade has progressively dulled – then replacing it with a fresh blade, and not reducing the pressure with which you shave. Ouch!
One other aspect of comfort to consider is noise.
It’s inherent to the operation of any electric shaver. With powerful motors that cause shaving heads to vibrate thousands of times a minute, some degree of noise is unavoidable.
What’s “loud” is subjective, but if you have sensitive ears, or shave while others sleep, it’s important to bear in mind the noise a shaver emits. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rotary shavers may be quieter than foil shavers.
Most battery-powered electric shavers provide between one to two weeks of daily shaves on a full charge, with the best lasting up to a month. If your tendency is to forget to charge your other cordless devices – such as smartphones, electric toothbrushes and the like – long battery life is an important feature to consider.
Look for a shaver with a high-capacity battery, a corded charging system that allows the shaver to be used while charging, or a quick-charge feature that’ll have your shaver up and running in as few as five minutes.
Some men enjoy shaving; others, not so much.
Even if you count yourself among the latter, an electric shaver that’s both simple to use, and that suits your requirements, can make shaving as straightforward and hassle-free as possible.
Look for a shaver that fits your hand. This generally means an appropriately-sized, that is, neither too large, nor too small, contoured handle that swells and tapers to accommodate your grip.
Rubberized or textured handles further improve your hold on a shaver, prevent accidental dropping, while maximizing your shave by improving handling and accuracy.
If you sport stubble or a short beard, consider the length to which you’d like your facial hair to grow, and choose an electric shaver that comes with the appropriate accessories.
Other factors, like the aforementioned battery life and water resistance, also determine a shaver’s overall functionality. It all comes down to choosing the product that best suits your particular requirements.
Overall Build Quality
The quality of an electric shaver can be measured by a number of metrics:
Assembly, material, durability, performance and reliability. Fortunately, most electric shavers designed and manufactured by reputable companies – Philips, Braun, Panasonic, Remington, etc.—tick all the right boxes.
Start by looking for a shaver that best meets your needs. Then, refine your search based on reviews and brand reputation.
Value for Money
Value is subjective.
You may find a £60 shaver perfectly adequate.
On the other hand, if the additional features and premium performance of a £330 electric shaver – like the high-tech, five-bladed Panasonic ES-LV61—make your grooming routine faster, easier or more comfortable, then it’s money well spent.
Thankfully, there are many shavers, at all price points, from which to choose.
Making the Most of Your New Electric Shaver
So you’ve chosen a shaver – congratulations!
We think you’ll appreciate the speed and comfort with which you’ll be able to shave. But before you put your new grooming tool to work, take a moment to read the following tips. They’ll help ensure the best possible shave.
- Before shaving, apply and then rinse off a gentle exfoliating wash. Exfoliating cleanses the skin, and helps slough away dead cells, minimizing the chance of irritation (and prolonging the life of your shaver).
- If using an electric shaver with cream, gel or soap, thoroughly wet your face with warm water first—or, if time permits, use a hot towel for one to two minutes. Moisture and heat soften and lift facial hair, and open your pores. Apply your shaving product of choice.
- Gently stretch your skin. A shaver cuts more effectively on a taut surface, resulting in a closer shave in fewer passes. Be especially mindful of your neck and under your nose, where it’s easy to miss a patch of moustache hairs.
- After shaving, rinse away any loose stubble, splash your face with cold water (to soothe the skin and close the pores), and if desired, apply aftershave or moisturizer.
- Some electric shavers feature maintenance-free, self-sharpening blades. Others may require lubrication, or that you replace the shaving heads after a period of time.
If you’re tired of costly disposable razor cartridges; if normal wet shaving leaves your skin red and irritated; if you don’t have time for traditional shaving; if you want the option of being clean-shaven or fashionably-stubbled; or if you simply appreciate the form and function of a well-made grooming tool – an electric shaver may be exactly what you need.
Choosing the perfect shaver can seem like a daunting task, but spending a little time browsing, comparing models, and applying what you’ve learned in our electric shaver buying guide will set you in the right direction.
Always buy from a well-known retailer, and choose products from reputable, long-standing brands.
Consider your needs, and determine what having those needs met is worth. For one man, only a top-of-the-line electric shaver will suffice; for another, something more modest may be perfectly adequate. Now get out there, and join the ranks of well-groomed men.
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