What's the best electric shaver?
From no-frills foils to self-cleaning rotary heads, we examine the range
Find the right shaver for you
Making the leap from cartridge shavers to electric shavers can seem daunting when you look at all the options available. Number of blades, attachments, cleaning stands, wet or dry, cords and charging - all will have a slightly different way of shaving, and everyone has their own favourite model and make. But whether you’re looking for a shaver to last for the long run or splashing out for a special someone, our guide can help you navigate the options available.
Rotary vs foil blades
Rotary blades are three circular blades that sit on top of an electric shaver. They work by quickly lifting and cutting hair on the face and neck, and easily adapt to the contours of the face to give a comfortable shave. By moving rotary razors in a circular pattern, it’s easy to shave the hair off and return to your clean-shaven self.
Our favourite rotary shaver: The Philips Aquatouch AT899/06 has four-directional heads which adjust to every curve of your face and neck. Plus, it’s 100 percent waterproof.
Pros of rotary blades
· Work better around the curves of the face
· Better for sensitive skin
· Quieter than foil blades
Foils are blades behind a thin sheet of perforated metal, which move back and forth quickly to allow the blades to cut hair on the skin. Foils give a closer shave than rotary blades, but aren’t as good at dealing with the curves of the face. Foils have to be used in an up-and-down or side-to-side motion, to prevent the blades nicking the skin.
Pros of foil blades
· Give a closer shave
· Better for precision shaping
· Great for daily shaving
Our favourite foil shaver: The Braun Series 9 9299s comes in gold to set the standard. This foil razor delivers unmatched closeness and can be used wet or dry.
Dry vs wet
Wet shaving isn’t about shaving in the shower - although some shavers are waterproof. It’s whether or not you need to lather up your face with gel or shaving foam before turning on your shaver. This can be helpful for those with sensitive skin, as it creates a barrier between the blades and the face. However, it can also mean that shavers need cleaning more often or clog up faster.
Our favourite wet shaver: The Panasonic 3-Blade ES-RT37 has more blades than usual for a foil razor, but it shows in the quality of the cut. This razor also comes with a trimmer for detailed grooming.
“Excellent product which gives a smooth and comfortable shave.” – Jack
Dry shaves are less trouble; it doesn’t have to be done over the sink or in the bathroom, and it can be done quickly and easily before work. Perfect for the man who enjoys five extra minutes in bed rather than a long morning routine.
Batteries vs rechargeable
Whether you want your shaver to be cordless or mains rechargeable is up to you. Although older styles of shavers which only work when they’re plugged in used to be popular, they’re not up to modern day safety standards. Instead, you have the option of using batteries or charging up your razor from the mains after your morning or evening shave.
Batteries are great for those who travel a lot - they’re small, light, and portable enough to be taken from A to B. The only danger is running out of power with only half your face shaved. Remember that fresh batteries can help prolong the life of your shaver but it’s a pricier long-term solution than going for a rechargeable option if you shave daily.
Mains rechargeable razors tend to be sturdier models, meant for frequent at-home use, and you can expect them to last for a long time. You won’t be able to use the shaver while it’s charging, so plenty of models, like the Philips Series 9000 S9211/12, have a five-minute quick-charge mode that can give you enough power for a full shave.
Looking to splurge? Choose power. The Braun Series 9 9290cc will give you 23 shaves after one charging cycle. Not only does the Braun Series 9 9290cc look its best in silver, its unique charging port allows it to self-clean at the same time. That means every time you’re using a fully-charged, clean razor.
Attachments & cleaning pods
Using a shaver daily means that you’ll need to clean it often if you want it to keep running well.
Unplug your model from the mains charger or take out the batteries before you start cleaning, and double check that it’s turned off. Next, clear out any trapped hair or dirt. Most models will have a head that comes off, and this is where the stubble is collected after it’s shaved off your face. Clearing it out means that your shaver will run better, its motor won’t be overheated, and the blades won’t go blunt as quickly.
Brush away any dirt from the shaver’s hair pocket, and disassemble the blades if you can. Never brush away dirt from the delicate foils of a foil razor, as this could affect their performance. However, rinsing out the blades with a brush and hand soap is fine.
You can take out the three rotary blades from a rotary model and give them a slightly more thorough brushing, washing and cleaning. Remember that if you get elements of your shaver wet, it’s important to let them all air-dry before putting the shaver back together.
You should clean your shaver around once a week. However, you can buy models like the Philips Series 7000 S7710/26 which come with a self-cleaning pod. This means that after you shave daily, your razor will be cleaned for you. It will still need a manual clean once in a while but you can let it go by without for a month or two.
Beard groomer & attachments
If you like a specific facial hair look and want to be able to keep it up with a new shaver, look for ones that come with added attachments.
Pop up trimmers that come with models like the Philips Series 3000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver S3580/06 are useful for sculpting the exact look you want, as well as saving you from having to stop your morning shave, find the right attachment, and clip it on before starting again.
Buying the right shaver isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people prefer a wet shave with a foil, and others a dry shave with a rotary. If you’re buying for someone else, make sure you know what they use already, and if they’re ready for a change.