Best Beard Trimmer: Tools to Tame Facial Hair
Beards are making a comeback. Lots of millennials are growing one and it is becoming an accepted practice in some companies.
Yes, you can sport a beard as a professional. Some CEOs of startups sport one.
Eric Bandholz is a prominent figure in the beard community is the CEO of Beardbrand that paved the way to other brands you see today.
And if you’re one of those who like to have facial hair, a beard trimmer is an essential tool to have to keep it looking sharp.
Having a beard is cool but having one that’s unkempt, messy and all over the place isn’t. Finding a good one can be the difference between Hugh Jackman and James Franco.
Let’s comb through the different options right now.
Before I continue, you can jump to different sections of this article by clicking on the links below. But it would be best that you read the whole article to read the how sections on finding the best trimmer that will fit your needs.
If you try to look at beard trimmers at the local Walmart store, they all look alike. But these products have different functionalities, attachments and performance.
One way of knocking out pretenders is to look at the brand.
Among the hundreds of brands available only a few standout when it comes to trimmers and these include Wahl, Philips, Braun and Remington.
Though there are a few other brands that are worth looking at like the Conair i-Stubble and Walker & Company Bevel, their products are new and we don’t know how these will fare in terms of longevity.
Do yourself a favor and avoid Chinese made knock offs because of the different in build quality. These products use poor quality motor and material that will not last.
One of the best options would be the Wahl Lithium Ion all-in-one. Séamus Bellamy of “TheSweetHome” says that it has the sharpest blades, most reliable beard guide and it had lots of power.
This versatile tool can trim the beard, groom body hair, trim nose, ear and brow hair as well as sculpt the beard.
It has a lithium ion battery that will run up to 4 hours after an hours’ worth of charging. This also comes with a quick charge feature just in case you’re in a hurry.
Most Wahl products are made in the United States. It’s a big reason why it has good build quality. You’ll find this product in a lot of barbershops across America.
They back their products up with a 5 year warranty.
The first question to ask your self is what am I trimming? Is it a long fuzzy beard, medium length or stubble?
Using a beard trimmer isn’t a good option if you’re trimming stubble.
A more appropriate tool would be a stubble trimmer. Stubble trimmers are capable of cutting facial hair as short as 0.3 to 0.5mm or about 1/64th of an inch. The longest setting would be around 5 mm or a fifth of an inch.
But these combo tools are more expensive compared to stand along beard or stubble trimmers. So if you just need one feature, save some money and go with either one.
If you have a really long beard, professionals suggest that you should set an appointment with your barber for a proper trim.
Doing it yourself is still possible but it would be difficult. You’d need to use scissors, your fingers and a good piece of comb.
Purpose of trimmer
Are you using this just for the beard? Or do you need to something that can also trim body hair and your head.
If you need this kind of versatility, Braun has a number of products that can meet that requirement. One such product would be the Braun Multi Grooming Kit MGK3060 that comes with a multitude of attachments for the beard, hair, and nose. It even comes with a free Gillette Fusion ProGlide.
Unlike the Wahl beard trimmer, Braun won’t run as long – only 60 minutes. This is just a quarter of the 4 hour run time of Wahl.
Of course multi grooming tools trim your beard as well as purpose built products.
I’d say setting a budget would be the one of the first things to consider before purchasing. Doing so would eliminate options that are too expensive.
But remember that to skimp too much. Knock offs will not perform as well and you may end up spending more because you’ll need to replace them more frequently.
Cordless vs Cordless
Thanks to modern lithium ion battery technology, the best beard trimmers will run for a few hours on a single charge. I’ve just talked about one such product earlier in this article – the Wahl Lithium All-in-one.
Obviously the biggest advantage of a cordless would be portability. If you travel frequently, this would be the best option for you because you don’t need to bring any cords – provided that the product you select will last long enough.
Run Time (If you choose a cordless)
If you’ve made up your mind and go for a cordless then look at how long it will run and long it needs to charge.
Brands like Panasonic and Braun have run times between 45 mins to an hour depending on the variant. While high end brands like Wahl go as long as 4 hours.
Also look for something with a quick charge feature just in case you forget to charge and in a hurry.
If you’re choosing a cordless, look at the battery it uses whether it’s a Nickel Cadmium or Lithium Ion. The former is an older tech battery that will take longer to charge, heavier and have a shorter run time and lifespan.
A lithium ion battery is a better option because it’s lighter, runs longer, takes less time to charge and won’t fade as much. But trimmers with this type of battery will be more expensive because it’s a newer technology.
Most of the popular brands mentioned here – Wahl, Panasonic and Braun have this technology.
This is a feature most overlook. Maintenance will vary across different brands. Some may require very little maintenance while others need some serious TLC.
Check the product description in Amazon or manufacturer websites to see if you only need to rinse or apply oil after every few uses.
Keeping the blades clean is important for longevity and performance.
Adjustability, Tools and Interchangeability
Another important feature to look at is the availability of tools and the ease of which you can change them on the fly.
One big advantage of adjustable trimmers is you don’t need to change the guard every time you need to trim at a different length. However since these products have complex design, it’ll be harder to clean and may not last as long.
Non-adjustable trimmers may not be as convenient and changing guards may be cumbersome it has a simpler design that will last longer.
Another advantage would be versatility. Most of these products have tools to trim nose or ear hair – something an adjustable cannot do. Others even have tools to clip body hair – if you’re into manscaping.
Other questions to consider…
- Can it reach hard to reach areas like under the nose?
- How close can it trim?
- Are the tools easy to swap out?
- Does it need oil?
- How easy is it to clean? Do you need to disassemble it just to clean?
- Can the blades cut well-defined lines on the edges?
- How much hair can it cut in a single pass?
- Is it short enough to cut under the lip?
Wahl is a trusted brands when it comes to beard trimmers. A lot of barbershops at least in the United States use this trimmer thanks to its powerful motor and carbon steel blades.
The Wahl #9886 is one of their newest trimmers in their product line and comes with get this, 13 guide combs. So this product is versatile capable of trimming facial hair of various lengths.
It also comes with 3 blade attachments…
- Precision T-Blade – for trimming, grooming, outlining and touchups
- Precision detailer – for reaching those hard to reach areas like bikini lines or areas around the chin/mount
- Rotary nose trimmer – for trimming hairs inside the nose and ears and around the eye brow
So this is more than a beard trimmer – it can also trim body hair and hair around the privates.
Run time for the 9886 is excellent at 4 hours. It also has a quick charge feature that will give you enough juice for a single trimming session.
The protruding cutting head, power and sharp blades make it easy to shape the beard and neck line.
In an era where manufacturers outsource manufacturing to China, Wahl is has their own manufacturing plant in the United States.
Nearly all Wahl trimmers have narrow cutting heads. This means that it’ll take longer to shape beards but the smaller head also makes it easier to reach the mustache and chin area.
Since this is a new product, it’ll be more expensive but it does offer a lot of value with 3 cutting head attachments and 12 combs.
Wahl backs this product with a 5 year warranty.
All Wahl trimmers need sheen oil for lubrication and for the blades to stay sharp longer.
This is an added expense but the price of the oil is just minimal and you don’t need a lot. So a bottle will last you a long time.
What do consumers say?
Since this is a new product, there aren’t a lot of reviews. Currently there are just a little over 50 reviews but most of them are positive!
Consumers like the generous 4 hour run time, power and cordless portability that this product brings to the table. The wide array of tools at your disposable extends its functionality. You can use this not just to trim facial hair but also body hair, underarm hair, pubic hair, scalp hair, nose hair and much more!
It is this versatility that makes this a universal tool not just for men but also for women who use this to trim their privates and even legs.
If there is a downside for cordless trimmers like this Wahl, it would be power. Some men have complained about this product pulling and tugging facial hair so it could benefit from a more powerful motor.
Another downside would be the price. This product costs over $50 in Amazon but it is backed with a 5 year warranty.
So there is a lot of value from that.
A more affordable option that offers similar run time and power would be the Wahl all in one.
I mentioned earlier that one of the big disadvantages of a cordless trimmer would be power. There is a possibility of it pulling and tugging facial hair if it’s long enough. This will result to irritation due to ingrown hair and you don’t want that.
If you feel that a cordless pulls too much, why not pick something with a cord?
While a corded will be more trouble because of the cord, it’s hard to match the power that it brings to the table. If you want a powerful tool that’s capable of mowing down a full beard to stubble, look no further than the Wahl Peanut.
This compact trimmer is a favorite among barbers because of its compact size and power. Plus it’s easy to clean. You don’t need to bring out a screw driver to clean this baby.
It’s the ruggedness, power and maneuverability that made this not just a favorite of barbershops but also a lot of men who don’t mind the cord.
Biggest disadvantage would be the cord. It comes with a 7 foot power cord that’s chemical resistant.
Unlike the Lithium Ion 2.0 that comes with 3 cutting heads and 13 guide combs, the “Peanut” only comes with 4 combs. So this product won’t be as versatile. The narrow head means it’ll take longer to shape the neck line but the power makes up for it.
What do consumers say?
This is one of the highest rated Wahl trimmers in Amazon. According to the reviews I’ve read this product performs very well not just on beards but men also have used this to shave the head.
It’s a product a lot of barbers use so this is a big reason why.
One consumer mentioned that “cord = power. Power = No snags or eye-watering hair pulls”. It has enough power to plow a 6 month beard growth!
In terms of size, it’s similar the size of a baseball.
Biggest downside would be the cord. It won’t match a cordless in terms of portability. Another downside depending on who you ask would be the lack of adjustment feature.
In a survey done by “TheSweetHome”, over half of the men surveyed said they would prefer a lot of control on the length of their facial hair but without having to constantly change beard guides.
The ER-GB60-K from Panasonic offers 39 length settings (between 0.5 and 20mm) that will give users a level of control not found in the Wahl trimmers above.
It also comes with two guides made from good quality plastic that will not bend at the lightest pressure and trim evenly.
Poor quality plastic will bend more and leave you with an uneven trim. Not cool.
Cutting power is another story. It does not have the cutting power of a Wahl so this product will suit men with thin beards that require more precision.
If you have a thick beard, you may want to avoid this because it may pull and tug.
Biggest benefit of the Panasonic ER-GB60-K would be the adjustable controls that allow 0.5mm increments. In terms of adjustability, this product is in a league of its own. So men who have thinner beards will appreciate the level of adjustability that it brings to the table.
This is trimmer is 7.1 inches long and weighs 6 ounces. It has good ergonomics thanks to the narrow handle with a texturized backend. There’s little chance of dropping this wet or dry.
It’ll run for about 50 minutes before needing a recharge. But you can also use this with the cord plugged in. You can use this on a 110 or 240 volt outlet so you can use this anywhere in the world.
Since this is waterproof, cleaning it will only require rinsing. But it requires some oil for the blades to run smoothly over a long period of time.
Biggest downside would be power. Even when plugged in, it cannot match both Wahl trimmers featured above. Also the plug is rather large and when you combine it with relatively short 50 minute run time, it’s hard to bring with you on business trips.
Another downside would be price. At close to $60, this razor is more expensive than the two Wahl trimmers featured above.
It uses a NiCad battery so another concern would be how long it holds up. NiCad batteries are notorious for not holding their charge and wearing out faster than a lithium ion.
What consumers say?
Men have a lot of good things to say about this product. It’s well-built, has great ergonomics, decent power and has enough settings. Adjustability is precise with 0.5 mm increments but it will not match the power of a Wahl.
The cutting head is a bit wide so you’ll have a hard time sculpting the mustached and chin area.
According to consumer reviews, you will need to apply sheen oil before and after using it.
One of the biggest concerns would be the NiMH battery where there is a drop off in performance as the charge gets low.
It also does not have any status indicator that’ll show battery status.
But run time is “outstanding” according to some consumers – it’s only 50 minutes, FYI.
For men with long beards that need some TLC, Remington designed a product for you.
They call this “The Beard Boss”. It comes with not just the adjustable trimmer but also 3 combs with varying lengths.
These combs will work for men with longer beard growth looking for a tool that will help them groom it at the comfort of their home.
The trimmer itself has 9 adjustable settings that will increase or decrease height of the comb attachment. It gives more control over how much beard you want to trim.
One of the combs also has an adjustable wheel that adjusts between 1 to 5 mm with 0.5 mm increments – great if you want to mow it all the way down.
Maximum setting of the XL comb is around 1.5”.
And Remington even added a beard brush and scissors to the package! You can get all this for just under $50.
What makes this great?
Most trimmers available right now use carbon steel blades which work great. But over time, these tend to rust and dull if you don’t put oil.
Remington uses titanium coated blades that’ll be less prone to rusting.
The lithium ion battery will last 120 minutes and will take 4 hours to charge.
It also has a pop up trimmer if you need something more precise. The blade itself is protruding which is great for trimming beard and neck lines. However it does not have as much power as a Wahl so it lags bending in the check line department.
This product lacks some versatility as it only comes with two blades in the package – the main blade and pop up.
Another issue would be the comb attachments.
Consumers say that the teeth don’t connect all the way to the back. This means that if you put pressure, it’ll bend and can poke the skin. It’s also prone to breaking if you aren’t careful.
What consumers say?
Men who’ve used this product sported longer beards and most were happy with the results. They liked the power and range of settings that it offered.
Some are classified to have “tough, coarse facial” hair that can easily dull cheap trimmers.
Biggest concern for some would be the quality, especially the comb attachments that don’t connect between the front and the back. This makes it prone to breaking if not handled properly.
Ergonomics also is a strong point of this products with a lot of men saying it had very good weight. But there were a few who said it felt light and cheap.
This is another case of YMMV (or your mileage may vary).
Overall based on feedback, this product works best for men who have long beards and want a tool that will save them time without having to bring out the shears.
So far all of the products in this does one thing well – trim beards. And here’s a unique product that shaves and trims without having to change anything.
Here’s a first look at the Norelco OneBlade from Philips that has a double-sided blade similar to a DE razor, only this is a trimmer.
Philips was able to pull this off thanks to the unique design of the blade that cuts on both sides. Underneath the foil is a fast moving cutter that moves 200 times per second.
In addition to the double sided cutting head, it also comes with 3 combs if you just want to trim – 1mm, 3mm and 5mm. It will not trim longer beards will but it’ll be able to shave it off.
Here’s a video review by TechGooch…
As you can see in the video, this is very easy to use, almost idiot proof. You can go with the grain, against the grain and even across the grain. And it does not cause any irritation.
You can use this dry, wet, even with shaving cream inside the shower. And Philips says that this can cut even the longest hair…
It’s pretty impressive for a $30++ piece of trimmer.
It’s the only product here that uses disposable blades. Yes you heard that right, disposable blades but these will last much longer than those in a cartridge razor.
So replacing these heads will cost some money down the line but it’ll last for up to 4 months if you have 2 full shaves per week. It’ll last longer if you just trim.
This trimmer is one of the easiest products to use. What it lacks in adjustability, it makes up for it usability. There are no settings to worry about, just plug in and trim away.
The head pivots so in principal it works like a cartridge razor but it will not cut as close. But according to reviews, it’ll cut closer than an electric shaver and won’t irritate as much.
It also is one of the cheaper trimmers available and the addition of a shaving feature adds more value to it. If you have this, you may not need an electric shaver.
The biggest downside would be the need to change the cutting head. Philips says that you’ll need to change this once every 4 months if you do 2 full shaves per week. Refills will cost around $24 for pack of two.
This is a plausible replacement to an electric shaver but it’ll take longer. But it can turn a full beard to a goatee thanks to the unique design of the blade.
The guides also need some improvement. It only cuts on one side which is a disconnect to the cutting head that cuts in two.
What consumers say?
There was some skepticism when consumers saw this product because it looked gimmicky. But this one of those rare products that deliver on their promise.
It cuts closer than an electric shaver and will not irritate as much unless you press hard enough.
Consumers say that so gentle that women can use it to shave their legs. But don’t dare try to shave your or you’ll risk nicks and a lot of blood loss.
It’ll also take longer to trim as the cutting head is small but the narrowness helps trim edges neatly.
Philips says that the cutting heads will last up to 4 months but men say that it can last longer.
If you want sheer trimming power and really sharp lines, any of the 2 Wahl trimmers will do the job well. It all boils down to preference.
Get the Lithium Ion 2.0 if you want a cordless trimmer that will run literally for hours.
It’s the more versatile of the two with additional cutting heads that will cut hair off your nose, ears and help sculpt the mustache area.
The 2.0 also has 9 guide combs for trimming purposes.
If you don’t mind the cord then the Wahl Peanut is a good option but this is purely a trimmer and sculptor. The power prevents any pulling and tugging so that’s a big plus factor.
For men who like control, the Panasonic Adjustable ER-GB60K offers more settings than any other trimmer in the market with a total of 39 with 0.5mm increments.
This would suite men who like to maintain stubble but it will not suite men who have long beards because it lacks power.
This brings me to the next product – the Remington MB4045.
This product works best with long beards thanks 3 combs with varying lengths. Biggest knock against the MB4045 are the combs where the teeth of the comb don’t connect front and back.
Last product on the list is the Norelco OneBlade from Philips. This is a great option for men sick and tired of cutting themselves shaving or trimming.
It’s a hybrid that works well both for shaving and trimming thanks to the unique shaving head that cuts on both sides plus the 3 combs (1mm, 3mm and 5mm). This product will not work on men with long beards so take note.
Out of the 5 this is the easiest to maintain. Cleaning this product is the same as cleaning a cartridge razor – just rinse it. But unfortunately you will need to replace the cutting head every 4 to 8 months.