- Shaving: A Long History Cut Short
- Why Use An Electric Shaver?
- You save time
- You save money
- You save energy
- Things To Consider Before You Buy
- To Foil Or Not To Foil
- Skin Sensitivity
- Wet or Dry
- The 9 best electric shavers for men reviewed
- 1. Braun Series 7 790CC
- 2. Braun Series 5 550CC
- 3. Braun Series 3 380S-4
- 4. Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D 1280X/46 (Philips Norelco Shaver 8900)
- 5. Philips Norelco SensoTouch 2D 1150X (Philips Norelco Shaver 6100)
- 6. Philips Norelco PowerTouch PT730 (Philips Norelco Shaver 4500)
- 7. Panasonic ES-LV61-A
- 8. Panasonic ES-LF51-A
- 9. Panasonic ES-LT41-K
Let’s face it – shaving with brush and blade is a lot manlier than rubbing a buzzing battery-powered stick on your chin. But unfortunately, modern men are busy creatures, and all that arty stuff that takes ages just isn’t going to do it when you’re already 10 minutes late for your big meeting.
When time is at a premium, a good electric shaver will save your assignment. Electric shavers (or electric razors if you want to sound edgy) get the job done nicely and in a fraction of the time. Hurrah for modern technology.
But with hundreds of models and features to choose from, where do you even start? Here, of course. With handy buying guides and helpful reviews, we’ll help you find the best electric shaver for your needs.
Shaving: A Long History Cut Short
Men have been shaving for a long, long time. And it didn’t always look pretty. Back in the early days, we had to make do with stuff like stone flints, clamshells and shark teeth that, quite frankly, sucked.
We dealt with the suckage and sported some hilariously patchy beards while we were at it until around the 4th millennium B.C. when the Egyptians got all metro and came up with the first solid gold and copper razors. Unfortunately it didn’t catch on, because Instagram hadn’t been invented yet.
A bit later in 1828 the first safety razor made its appearance in Sheffield, England. But it was largely ignored because it didn’t go well with tea. Then, in 1895, a traveling salesman named King Camp Gillette won a prestigious award for Silliest Name Ever, and was taunted by his peers wherever he went. He also invented the world’s first disposable double-edged blade that went on to be a major hit. So it made up for his circus name… kinda.
Things started to get electric in 1928, when an American inventor and entrepreneur named Jacob Schick patented his electric razor design and captured the world’s imagination. Not one to let the Americans have all the fun, a German mechanical engineer named Max Braun declared he could do better and went on to design his own electric shaver in 1938.
The shaver, which he dubbed the S50, featured an innovative design that paired an oscillating cutter block with a thin, solid steel-foil mounted above it. Braun was reported as saying, “Zee, Americans, vee are bettar zan you. Zuck it! A HA, HA, HA, HA!” while twirling his curly mustache.
World War II ensued.
And so, the launch of the S50 was delayed until 1951. But when it did launch, it was met with huge success. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Why Use An Electric Shaver?
There’s no arguing that for the closest, cleanest shave, nothing beats the good ‘ol brush and straight razor. So why bother with a glorified face vibrator? That’s a very good question, and here are three answers:
You save time
Shave valuable minutes off your morning routine. Good enough is good enough. Why work your butt off for a super smooth shave when a smooth one will do? Use the time saved to give your woman a morning kiss. Sneak in a few pushups. Or hit the snooze button one more time.
You save money
Although it’s a small upfront investment, a good quality shaver will last for years and save you money in the long run. Choose one that has all the features you need, and use, enjoy, repeat. No fiddling with blades and batteries. And remember, time is money.
You save energy
Electric shavers are as low maintenance as it gets – shave, rinse, done. No muss, no fuss. Nothing to maintain besides replacing the shaving head once a year, and it will never nag you or ask you if it looks fat in this dress.
Things To Consider Before You Buy
So what is the best electric shaver, you ask. Well, the answer is there isn’t one. The best shaver is the one that meets your specific needs – for example, a delicately manscaped goatee might require a shaver with more finesse, while a full-on chin muffler might need a weed whacker or six.
Whatever your shaving needs, there are four main things to consider when looking for an electric shaver:
To Foil Or Not To Foil
There are two main types of electric shavers: Foil and rotary.
Both work basically the same way – by guiding hair through a metal grating to a moving blade that shaves them off. The differences are in the type of metal grating and the shaving mechanism.
A foil shaver uses a thin foil comb to guide the hairs into a row of oscillating blades. Because of its long, rounded edges, a foil shaver works great on larger areas of skin like the top of your head.
A rotary shaver on the other hand has multiple dome-shaped gratings that each houses a circular spinning blade. Some brands of rotary shavers have flexible pivoting heads that make it easy to navigate tight turns like your chin and lower jawline.
No, we don’t mean if your skin can handle a mean joke. Shaving involves rubbing an object against your sensitive facial skin, and for some that might trigger a skin reaction. Some people find that foil shavers are gentler on their skin, while others swear by rotary.
If you’ve never used an electric shaver before, you may want to test the waters with an entry-level model before investing in a more expensive one. There is no better type here – the best way to find out is to try it out for yourself. But there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that most people find rotary easier on sensitive skin, so that’s what we recommend for starters.
Wet or Dry
If you like to shave in the shower, or like to double up your shaver as a mike in your bath-time karaoke sessions, consider getting a wet/dry shaver. It’s waterproof and will work in all wet conditions short of being submerged.
Most, if not all, regular dry shavers are water resistant to enable a quick rinse in the sink, but they’re not rated for use in the shower. Dry shavers are cheaper, but if your budget allows, a wet/dry shaver is good value and will give you maximum flexibility.
If you believe that a car is just two seats and four wheels that gets you from A to B, then you’ll have one thing less to consider when choosing a shaver. But for others, design matters. Especially if it’s something you’re going to be staring at every day.
The best shavers combine both form and function. You’ll want to find a model that not only looks good, but also works good. “Does it have a comfortable grip? Is it easy to maneuver around your face? Does it make your cat question your taste?” are some points to consider.
The 9 best electric shavers for men reviewed
1. Braun Series 7 790CC
The 790CC is the hero you need – no, the hero you deserve – to foil your beard’s evil plans to take over your face.
This flagship model’s Pulsonic technology vibrates 10,000 times per second to capture more hair, working with an ActiveLift system to grab all those pesky flat-lying hairs while a contour-adaptive swiveling head adjusts to your facial contours for a comfortable shave. It also looks pretty darn sexy.
The Braun 790CC is arguably the best foil shaver out there at the moment, packed with cutting-edge tech and some nifty extras. It delivers a shave so close, your face will take out a restraining order. If money is no object, this is a no brainer.
2. Braun Series 5 550CC
Braun’s mid-range model shares plenty in common with the premium Series 7, boasting a contour-adaptive shaving head, ActiveLift and OptiFoil technologies and a precision long hair trimmer. What it doesn’t have in common is the high price tag.
To get there, it makes some intelligent compromises, opting to exclude some features found in the Series 7 such as customized shave settings (sensitive, normal, and intense). But the excellent shaving pedigree remains – the 550CC delivers a sharp, smooth shave that’s right up there with the best.
If you prefer rotary shavers, the Philips Norelco SensoTouch 2D 1150X is good contender, but the 550CC definitely belongs in your shortlist.
3. Braun Series 3 380S-4
The 380S-4 is your foot-in–the-door to Braun’s world of shavers, and it has quite a kick to it. The 380S-4 produces a good shave with its Triple Action FreeFloat system, which has three independently moving elements to tackle difficult areas like the neck and jawline with ease. This handsome shaver isn’t as good as the Series 7, but the compromises are easy to overlook when you consider that it costs less – a lot less.
It’s a great all-round performer that is just as comfortable working wet or dry, and maintenance is a breeze. Top that off with great battery life, and we have a winner. For those on a tight budget or are looking to get an affordable introduction to a Braun shave, the 380S-4 is the one for you.
4. Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D 1280X/46 (Philips Norelco Shaver 8900)
Philips’ answer to the Braun Series 7 is the SensoTouch 3D series, or more recently known as the Series 8000. The 1280X lives up to its top billing, delivering a superlative shave that comes real close to that of a manual razor.
It’s equipped with UltraTrack, a system of three independent shaving heads with specialized shaving tracks that catch more hairs in a single stroke. And it does so with minimal irritation, thanks to a specially designed low-friction SkinGlide shaving surface, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin.
Maintenance is easy with the bundled Jet Clean System, and it comes with a travel pouch for those on the go. Nice. Is this the best electric shaver? Well, it’s definitely a worthy rival to the Braun 790CC and comes highly recommended.
5. Philips Norelco SensoTouch 2D 1150X (Philips Norelco Shaver 6100)
While the more expensive SensoTouch 3D 1280X is an outstanding shaver, we suspect most people would be perfectly happy to settle for the 1150X. With a great set of features that includes the GyroFlex 2D contour-following system for a smooth shave, DualPrecision heads to get even shortest stubble and Super Lift & Cut action that lifts hairs and cuts below skin level for a closer shave, it’s one of the best mid-range options out there.
It does a fantastic job wet or dry thanks to a good waterproof seal, and has battery that will last up to 17 days on a single charge, making it ideal for short trips without having to lug around the charging base.
6. Philips Norelco PowerTouch PT730 (Philips Norelco Shaver 4500)
For the price-conscious individual who’s looking for a good shaver minus the frills, Philips has you covered with the PT730.
You get a robust, quality shaver that shaves wet and dry, with a DualPrecision foil that attacks both long and short hairs in a single pass and a flexing head that adjusts to your face as you go for a comfortable shave.
It also includes a pop-up trimmer for more precision around sideburns, goatees, and other tricky areas.
While there are other shavers out there that pack more tech and offer slightly better performance, the PT730 has trump card of it’s own – a sub $60 price tag online. It represents one of the best value options in that price range, offering a pleasant shaving experience at a very pleasant price. And for some, that’s plenty.
7. Panasonic ES-LV61-A
Why 5 blades? Why not? Panasonic’s LV61-A makes no apologies with its 5-blade foil cutting solution, and it’s no wonder. Powered by an impressive 14,000 CPM Linear Motor Drive, the 30-degree Nanotech blades slice through the wildest of beards with devastating efficiency – and looks good doing it.
It also excels in the chin and neck area with a Multi-Flex pivoting head that tilts in every direction to ensure a smooth, even shave that’s gentle on the skin. Worldwide voltage compatibility means it’s a great travel companion, and being made in Japan, you know it’s built to last. Bottom line: With the LV61-A you’ll be hard pressed to find a better shave short of pulling out your brush and razor blade.
8. Panasonic ES-LF51-A
The LF51-A is a slightly pared down version of the LV61 for the mid-range market. It doesn’t have the five blades of its high-end sibling – it has four. But glide them across your 3-day stubble, and you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference – the same 14,000 CPM Linear Motor Drive zips through hairs at the root so fast they won’t even know what hit them.
Some neat features include a 5-Stage LCD readout, switch lock button and a very handy Sonic Vibration cleaning mode that makes cleaning a snap. A 100% waterproof rating means you can use it wet with shaving gel or take it in the shower too. The LF51-A is a great choice for those who want a well-equipped shaver that’s also easy on the wallet.
9. Panasonic ES-LT41-K
There’s a lot to like about the LT41-K. Despite sitting near the bottom of Panasonic’s electric shaver line, it’s loaded with plenty of features that are found on many other higher-priced shavers. Features like a powerful 13,000 CPM linear motor drive that’s exactly 3,000 CPM more powerful than that found in the Braun Series 7, a pivoting head that flexes for maximum comfort, and an LCD status screen.
It shaves both wet and dry with its 3-blade cutting system, and cleans easily with the Sonic Vibration cleaning mode. All things considered, the LT41 is a fantastic bargain, offering a lot of high-end features at a very sweet price point. It’s hard to ask for more.