Daily shaving is a tradition that’s definitely fallen out of favor in the last couple of decades. Stubble beards are much more popular than the smooth, clean shaven look our fathers and grandfathers took so much pride in.
But hey, just because modern society, including workplaces all over, have changed their definition of what “well groomed” means, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with going stubble-free!
And just because you like to keep your face hair-free doesn’t mean you’re in love with the idea of razors, shaving cream, cuts and the entire time-consuming ritual that comes along with using those grooming tools.
Electric Shavers = Time and Money Savings
While there are wet/dry electric shavers available, one of the greatest benefits of an electric is that they usually shave best on a dry face. You don’t need to go through the ritual of soaking your stubble with a washcloth, applying lather, then shaving down and sideways (ie., the recommended way), then washing your face all over again to get the leftover cream or foam off.
While not necessarily recommended, you don’t even need to stand in front of the mirror to get a clean shaven appearance with an electric. Look around you for the next few days while sitting in morning rush hour, or while riding the bus or subway: Guaranteed you’ll see at least one hurried-looking man taking an electric shaver to their face while they wait.
Keep reading. You’re about to learn why any busy man who’s serious about shaving needs to consider owning an electric shaver. Even if you just keep it around for emergencies when you don’t have time to go through your morning razor shaving ritual.
How Electric Shavers Came to be
In an effort to help men all over the world rid themselves of the unruly nicks, cuts and shave-burns associated with traditional razors, American inventor Jacob Schick designed and patented the first electric shaver in 1928.
The design was a foil shaver that was later improved upon by another early company called Remington Rand (now simply “Remington”). Less than a decade later, Philips Laboratories developed the first rotary electric shaver in 1937.
Benefits of Using an Electric Shaver
There are several features and benefits to using an electric shaver:
Yearely cost savings.
The initial cost of a good electric is often the biggest barrier to men when it comes to making the choice to switch. This is also a big reason why electrics are such a popular Christmas or birthday gift!
While a decent electric shaver with all the bells and whistles will run you at least $40, consider that a new disposable razor or replacement for a disposable head razor starts at a dollar (for cheap dollar store razors) and upwards of $8 per cartridge (depending where you live) for the more popular multi-blade brands.
Let’s face it, shaving with a razor costs hundreds of dollars per year for most men!
The heads on an electric razor will last for at least two trouble-free years before shave quality diminishes, but usually much longer. Add to that that even the worst warranty period offered by most reputable manufacturers starts at two years. And replacement heads for most brands won’t cost any more than $50 at most once the shave quality finally starts to diminish on your shaver.
The convenience offered by an electric is highly subjective. Whether using a plug-in or rechargeable, an electric shaver eliminates the need to lather up and go through the whole routine of shaving in front of the mirror every morning.
When it comes to rechargeables, there’s the added convenience of being able to shave in the car, at the bus stop, or even when you get to work. You can use them anywhere. Perhaps the only convenience drawback is that you would have to buy a waterproof shaver if shaving in the shower is a must.
Easy clean up.
No lather on your face, no hairs left in the sink (wives rejoice!), no razor to rinse. Fill in the blank and there’s one of several messes that need to be cleaned up during and after a razor shave.
Electrics trap all the hair they cut into a tray that you only have to empty every two or three shaves. Some even come with cleaning stands that clean the shaver as it charges.
No more cuts or irritation.
It’s impossible to cut yourself with an electric. The only irritation to worry about is some short-lived burning or itching some men experience during the initial week or two of using a brand new shaver.
Lack of irritation does depend somewhat on the quality of the shaver and your natural skin type (ie., some men experience irritation after shaving no matter what they use).
Holding a tiny razor in your hands is anything but comfortable. If you’re going for a close shave and need to make a few passes on each part of your face, your hands can cramp up in a hurry. This also leads to more nicks and cuts.
An electric shaver is something that can be gripped with comfort, requiring little dexterity on the part of the user. You can make as many passes as you like without having your hands cramp up half way through.
Shaving versatility and accuracy.
Because razors are more finicky to hold onto, it makes them harder to zero in when it comes to grooming sideburns, moustaches, beards, goatees and other styles where you want to actually leave hair behind.
All men have experienced the annoyance that comes from shaving away too much hair from their prized mustache or sideburn areas. It’s just naturally difficult to trim these areas with just a razor alone – especially if you prefer the comfort of a multi-blade razor which are terrible for detail trimming work.
Electric shavers have a built in detail trimmer for precision edge work. If you’re using a rotary shaver, it’s really easy to neatly carve the edges of any particular style using the edges of the head to avoid cutting away too much hair from your favorite style.
Types of Electric Shavers
The foil shaver was the first to come out. The head of a foil shaver consists of two or three foils (screens) that catch and hold the stubble while spinning blades underneath cut the hair. When it comes to buying one, the number of foils is an important consideration. The more foils, the closer the shave.
A foil shaver needs to be worked up and down the face against the grain of a man’s stubble growth in order to shave the hair. While designs have improved over the years, they’re also harder to clean than a rotary.
Best for thinner hair:
Because the foils have only small holes in them to trap hair, they’re generally preferred by men with thinner facial hairs. Most men with thick stubble will prefer a rotary design. Unless you’re budget is suited toward a Braun foil shaver – hands down the best foil shavers on the market.
The design of this type of shaver will benefit men who shave every day, since most foil designs aren’t good at capturing longer hairs. Trying to shave with two or three days growth will usually result in more pain than shaving pleasure as the foils will turn into more of a tweezer than a shaver!
There are also several brands of female foil shavers available which are popular for shaving the legs, armpits and other feminine areas that need grooming.
Modern rotary shavers have three floating heads that are designed to adjust to the contours of the face. There are models with only two floating heads, but they’re slowly being phased out of the marketplace. Independent blades spin under each head, making for less work on the motor.
Unlike most foil shavers, the heads on a rotary are designed to allow the hairs to enter the cutting area from a variety of angles. A rotary works best when used in a circular motion on the face and neck.
Great for all hair types:
Rotary shavers are suitable for all facial hair types, thin or thick, and are the easiest to keep clean as well. Some men claim them to offer a closer shave too, though there have been no laboratory tests completed to prove this claim.
This isn’t to say that rotarys are better than foil; it all comes down to personal preference when deciding between the two types.
Maintenance Tips for Using an Electric Shaver
Maintenance of an electric shaver is easy.
• Make sure you keep it charged so you’re not left with a half-shaven face: If you’re the forgetful type, buy a shaver that has a “Quick Charge” Feature.
• Clean after each use: Use the cleaning stand that came with the shaver or make a note to empty the hair catcher tray and use the provided brush to clean the heads after every one or two uses.
• Replace the foils or heads as recommended for optimal shaving comfort: Most manufacturers will recommend replacing the foils or shaving heads every two or three years. You can stretch this as long as you’re still getting a great shave though.
• Don’t use a non wet/dry in the shower or near water: This just as much about safety as it is about maintenance. Wet/dry shavers are completely sealed for use around water.
• Read your owners manual: It contains all the information you’ll need to prolong the life of the shaver and to get the most out of it.
Brand Names Matter (Big Time!)
Don’t waste your time with knock off brands. They won’t offer good warranty support and likely won’t offer much in the way of a good shave either.
Stick with the three main brands that have stood the test of time and proven their worth to millions of men all over the world: Remington, Philips, and Braun.
Keep reading to learn more about the current best these brands have to offer in terms of price and quality.
Features to Look for
The only way to determine shave quality is first by recognizing that the companies that have been around the longest will always offer the best shave, regardless of the price-point of the shaver.
Next is talking to other men and reading reviews. Check out reviews on Amazon, Consumer Reports, and social networking posts. Look for posts that relate to your specific beard type whenever possible, to make sure the shaver can get the job done right.
Realizing your shaver is dead right before you have to rush out the door can spell disaster if you work in a job that requires you be clean shaven every day. A shaver that offers a 5-minute quick charge will be a blessing if you lead a hectic lifestyle.
You’ll pay a few bucks more, but it’s worth it. Models with quick charge also tend to have higher quality NiMH or lithium ion batteries installed too.
Look for a shaver that promises at least a 60 minute battery life. This should get you through at least a week’s worth of shaves before recharging is required. If you have a quick charge battery, this might be less of an issue to consider.
Some shavers are made to accept both U.S. and European/Asian voltage. You’ll definitely pay much more for this feature. In fact, it might be cheaper to buy an international voltage converter.
If you plan to travel internationally a lot and don’t want to invest in an international converter, consider looking for a shaver with a Nickle-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery. This battery type lasts longer and doesn’t have the memory effect known for shortening the life of a battery.
All electric shavers will come with a cleaning brush. For some, this will be just fine. If your face is prone to irritation or you just prefer to keep your shaver as clean as possible, consider a shaver that comes with a self-cleaning stand. The cleaning stand is powered by the charger that comes with the shaver and does a great job of cleaning the heads without any brushing or rinsing on your part.
While this extra feature doesn’t cost very much when buying the shaver, you will have to buy a bottle of cleaning solution or replacement cleaning cartridges and replace the solution as needed. This will drive the yearly cost of using a shaver though.
Most electric shavers nowadays are designed with the utmost in comfort in mind. However, men with smaller hands usually prefer a smaller handle to hold onto. Men with larger hands will prefer a larger handle to grip. Detailed Amazon reviews are always a sure-fire way to get this information about the shaver you’re considering.
*Remington have been around for more than 75 years. The brand offers quality shavers in the low and mid price range.
|Ease of Use||4.5 / 5||Running/Charging Time||4.5 / 5|
|Quality||4.0 / 5||Noise||4.0 / 5|
|Value||4.2 / 5||Cleaning||4.0 / 5|
|Features||4.0 / 5||Travel Friendly||4.5 / 5|
The XR1370 is the premiere wet/dry electric shaver offered by this company, with price floating between $90 and $100 most of the time. This rotary shaver is perfect for all skin types and can handle thin or thick hair types equally well.
The HyperFlex shave heads are the result of years of research and testing and offer the closest and most comfortable shave of all Remington’s electric shaver lineup. The XR1370 offers a 60 minute run time with digital battery readout, quick charge feature, and durable lithium ion battery.
The F5-5800 is a pretty feature packed shaver for people who enjoy shaving with a foil. Retailing for slightly more than $30, it’s also easy on the wallet. This foil shaver has two independent surgical stainless steel floating foils with a stainless “interceptor” comb in between to help guide stubble into the foils.
The interceptor design has received excellent reviews and made this a premium shaver despite its low price. The foil head is also completely removable and can be rinsed with water too. It also features a 60 minute run time with LED battery readout, quick charge feature, and comes with a two-year warranty.
*Philips Norelco offers a great lineup of budget and mid-range shavers to fit any budget.
|Ease of Use||4.5 / 5||Running/Charging Time||4.7 / 5|
|Quality||4.8 / 5||Noise||4.8 / 5|
|Value||4.6 / 5||Cleaning||4.7 / 5|
|Features||4.7 / 5||Travel Friendly||5 / 5|
Philips Norelco are a step up in quality over the more budget-friendly lineup from Remington. This unit costs a few dollars more than the Remington XR1370 but it features a self-cleaning stand and a rotary head configuration containing 73 blades that are specifically designed for men with sensitive skin.
The rotary heads, with special comfort rings surrounding each, pivot effortlessly in 5 different directions to reduce any chance of irritation while shaving. This is also a wet/dry shaver that can be used with shave foam or cream, and has all the bells and whistles one should expect when spending over $100.
|Ease of Use||4.5 / 5||Running/Charging Time||4.0 / 5|
|Quality||4.0 / 5||Noise||4.0 / 5|
|Value||4.0 / 5||Cleaning||4.0 / 5|
|Features||4.0 / 5||Travel Friendly||4.5 / 5|
This is an excellent budget-priced ($60) wet/dry shaver in the Philips Norelco lineup. It’s not nearly as fancy as the 7300. This is a basic rotary shaver that’ll get the job done nicely.
The key selling point of this shaver, other than the low price and the fact that it’s made by one of the best shaver manufacturer’s out there, is the attachments. The YS524/41 comes with a clip on 5-setting beard trimmer and a clip on foil shaver for keeping your body hair well groomed.
*Braun offers the closest shave in the minds of many, but don’t expect to pay less than $100 for any of their Series 9 or scaled down Series 7 shavers. They represent the crème de la crème in the shaver world.
|Ease of Use||4.7 / 5||Running/Charging Time||4.8 / 5|
|Quality||4.9 / 5||Noise||4.9 / 5|
|Value||4.5 / 5||Cleaning||4.8 / 5|
|Features||5 / 5||Travel Friendly||5 / 5|
Braun aren’t known for rotary shavers, but they’ve mastered foil technology so thoroughly that owners claim that beard type or length isn’t a factor with their Braun foil shavers. Braun may well be the very first and still only foil shaver manufacturer in existence that designs their shavers for thick and thin beards.
The company claims this shaver will work on a 3 day “thick” beard growth. This shaver has a 9990cc motor running 4 foil elements that pulsate at over 40,000 cross-cutting actions per minute. It includes a cleaning stand, 60 minute runtime, quick charge, and is 100% waterproof.
|Ease of Use||4.7 / 5||Running/Charging Time||4.8 / 5|
|Quality||5 / 5||Noise||5 / 5|
|Value||4.9 / 5||Cleaning||4.8 / 5|
|Features||4.8 / 5||Travel Friendly||5 / 5|
Dubbed “The Official Shaver of the NFL” one would expect that the 720 is capable of removing some serious scruff. This shaver uses pulsonic technology to lift and capture more stubble, while also being adjustable for sensitive skin and thick beard types. The 720 is a scaled down version of the Series 9 line, running a 720cc motor that powers 3 foil heads. The cross-cutting actions are fewer too, at just 10,000 per minute. Like all Braun products, the Series 7 – 720 shaver offers a 60 minute runtime with digital battery readout, quick charge and is fully waterproof for shaving in the shower.
Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about electric shavers, it’s time to decide whether it’s time to ditch those expensive disposable razors for good and take the plunge.
The Remington and Philips Norelco units recommended on this page offer the chance to enter the electric shaving arena without hurting your budget or your face. Perfect for first time buyers who want to test the waters and see if they like electric shaving.
If you’re looking to upgrade your current shaver, or simply want the best out of the gate, an elegant and sophisticated Braun shaver will make you fall in love instantly! Once you go Braun, you never go back!