Last updated on November 27th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
Buying a top-of-the-line Braun Series 9 or Philips Norelco 9000 series electric razor will cost a lot of money.
For men who can spend over $200 for an electric shaver, you’ll be getting a good performing product that’ll shave close.
However, there’s that majority who cannot afford a $200+ electric shaver and would prefer something cheaper.
This is where this guide comes into play as I share with you the best budget electric shavers.
First things first, you don’t need to spend exuberant amounts of money to get a decent shave.
Second, let’s set expectations and know what to expect from an electric razor. These tools are built for convenience not a close shave. If it’s the latter you want then go with a safety or straight razor, period.
Lastly, before buying any of the products in this list, please carefully read our guide on the difference between a rotary and foil shaver.
These two shavers will require a different technique and will work best on different facial features.
Our Pick: Braun Series 5 5090cc
What if I told you that you can buy an electric shaver with the same features as a near top of the line variant for around $100 less?
Would that interest you?
The Braun Series 5 5090cc is one of the best options available. This variant shares the same shaving head as the as the more expensive Series 7.
If you look closely at the shaving head, the Series 7 and 5 shavers are exactly the same.
Both have the same three blade system that will cut closer than a lot of electric shavers outside the Series 9.
What you don’t get are the bells and whistles such as the fancy indicators and variable speed.
There are several Series 5 variants available in Amazon right now. Take note that all of these variants are the same. Differences would include accessories like the charging station.
If you cc beside the model number – that tells you that it comes with the clean and charge station.
You can get this cheaper without the clean and charge station.
And whether or not you need this will depend on your preference. What this tool brings to the table is convenience. It will clean, charge and lubricate the razor without you doing anything.
Run time and battery
Even as an older variant, this shaver comes with a lithium ion battery that will run for around 45 minutes. And it comes with a 5 minute quick charge feature that will allow you to use this shaver for a minute.
In terms of price to performance ration, it’s really hard to beat the Braun Series 5. You’ll get the same shaving performance from a Series 7 at a $100 discount. It’s a big reason why we like this shaver.
Best Rotary Option: Philips Norelco 5500
The first product in this list is a foil shaver. And if such isn’t a good fit for your skin and facial hair then consider the next product in the list.
Philips Norelco is a pioneer when it comes to rotary shavers and they continue to produce some of the best in the market right now.
Let’s look closely at the Philips Norelco 5500 rotary shaver.
5-Direction Flex Head
What makes this a great option is its ability to shave tight spots effectively thanks to its 5-direction flex head that pivots in 5 different directions.
It’s not as flexible as the Norelco 9700’s head but the price difference so big that you will not mind the omission.
This variant also has a TurboMode setting that increases power by 10% to help cut denser beard growth.
It’s a great option to have if you’re someone who has thicker beard growth.
If you have sensitive skin, this is a great option because of its ability to shave with or without shaving cream.
I’m a big fan of wet shaving because of the protection shaving cream brings to the table.
Of course the best course of action would be learning the intricacies of using a safety razor. But if that isn’t your cup of tea then give the Norelco 5500 a long look.
Philips manufactures the best rotary shavers in the market and the Norelco 5500 is one of the best budget options. It’s got the same shaving head as the more expensive 5570 and 6100.
Out of the Box Option: Philips Norelco OneBlade
I’ve seen my share of gimmicky products in my life and the Norelco OneBlade screams gimmick at first glance. But upon further investigation that was not the case.
This product was a genius invention by Philips. I had to ask someone I know who works in P&G why don’t they have this product. And she plainly said that we were too late.
What the heck is OneBlade?
OneBlade to those who are not familiar with it is a hybrid of an electric shaver, trimmer and traditional razor.
The main selling point of this product is the convenience that it brings to the table.
It has the convenience of an electric shaver minus the price tag. And it’s cheaper to operate than a cartridge razor because its replacement blades are much cheaper.
Doubles as a trimmer
You can also use this as a trimmer which saves you money from buying such.
Here’s the impressive part, it has enough power to mow down a full beard.
Run time and battery
The entry-level OneBlade (which is the cheapest variant) comes with a NiCad battery that’ll take around 8 hour to recharge. It’ll run for about 45 minutes on a full charge.
If the recharge time is too long for you then you can go with more expensive Norelco OneBlade Face + Body with the lithium ion battery. Charging time is cut in half and run time goes up to 60 minutes.
Won’t shave as close
One big downside for the Norelco OneBlade would be closeness. This hybrid shaver will not shave as close as a safety razor or even a cartridge razor.
If you’re buying this and expecting DE razor results then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
No nicks and cuts
I’ve seen a lot of videos of men using the OneBlade and one thing I notice is how safe it is to use this.
The way Philips designed this shaver is genius. It metal foil on top and combs at the edges protect the skin from direct contact from the blade. You can literally go over your lip area and not get cut.
This is one of the cheapest options available. If a traditional electric razor gives your skin problems then try the OneBlade and see if it works. It won’t cut as close as a safety razor but you’ll get a nick free shave. And you will not spend as much as one replacement cartridges.
Cheap Braun Option: Braun Series 3 ProSkin
If the Braun Series 5 is too expensive then the Series 3 ProSkin is your next best option.
It is currently the bestselling foil electric shaver in Amazon right now for good reason.
The ProSkin gives men an option that costs less than $55 to shave wet or dry.
With a similar shaving head to the Series 5, this shaver will shave decently close on men who don’t have thick beard growth.
Like what I’ve said earlier, this shaver has the same shaving head as the Series 5. The biggest difference would be the lack of a pivoting head.
This means that the Series 3 shaving head sits at a fixed angle and there’s no way to adjust it.
It has three cutting elements like the Series 5 that works well even on a multiday beard growth. But it will not cut as close as a Series 9 shaver.
If you look at reviews though, it looks promising as a lot of men like how this razor shaved. Some even say that this is capable of shaving thick facial hair growth.
This is proof that your mileage may vary.
This shaver is capable is shaving wet and dry which gives you the option to apply shaving cream if you have sensitive skin.
The Braun Series 3 ProShave is a next best option if the Series 5 is too expensive for you. It’s got the same performance as the Series 5 because it uses the same 3 cutting element design. So expect the same performance as the latter. This will not cut as close as the Series 9 but it’s much cheaper.
Diamond in the Rough: Remington F5 5800
In the world of electric shavers, two brands dominate – Philips and Braun. But there is another brand you shouldn’t sleep on.
We’ll be looking at one of their best budget options – the Remington F5 5800.
This shaver is the cheapest option with the exception of the OneBlade.
One unique feature that separates this from the other electric shavers in this list is the dual power source feature.
You can use this with or without the cord plugged in.
Yes, this razor will turn on even while charging.
This razor has a similar cutting element design as the two Braun shavers in the list. It’s got a three blade setup with two foil shavers and an interceptor.
The interceptor blade acts like a comb that lifts up and cut facial hair that’s grows in different directions.
The whole shaving head also pivots which makes this someone of a better option than the Series 3 that has a similar blade design.
It also comes with a pop-up trimmer similar to Braun that pops from the side. You can use this feature to trim sideburns or beard with it.
This razor is the cheapest option in this list and will shave well enough to warrant your consideration. It has basically the same features as the Braun Series 3 and the shaving head pivots. Plus you can use this with or without the cord which a unique feature not found in other brands.
How to choose a budget electric shaver?
Choosing a cheap electric shaver is a bit different from choosing something top-of-the-line. There will be certain compromises you’ll have to make.
Use this section as a guide to help you make the best choice for your needs. Here’s a fact, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all option that’ll work on all men.
All men will have different needs and preferences so if a one man says a Braun Series 7 works for them, that’s because he knows the correct technique in using such.
I’ll give you a summary of what to look for in a budget electric shaver to help you find what will suite you best. In the end, it’s your shave that matters.
Foil vs Rotary
Before buying any electric shaver at any price range, you’ll have to first know the difference between a foil and rotary shaver.
How does a foil shaver work?
First difference would be design. A foil shaver uses a single or multiple rows of blades that move back and forth. These blades oscillate back and forth under a foil metal casing that protects the skin from direct contact.
The design of a foil shaver dictates technique. Since its blades move in a back and forth motion, you’ll have to use it such – going up and down.
This shaver will work best on flat surfaces like the cheek area and neck. One downside of a foil shaver would be heat if you use it long enough.
So some will suggest shaving the neck area first would be a good idea because it’s a more sensitive area that won’t react well to heat.
Another option would be applying shaving cream and wet shave. Shaving cream will add a layer of protection that’ll protect skin from direct metal contact.
Experts like Tools for Men say that foil shavers will shave closer and ideal for men who don’t need to shave every day. These tools are better at tackling multi-day beard growth.
How does a rotary shaver work?
Unlike a foil shaver that uses row (or rows) of blades, a rotary shaver uses blades that spin hence the term “rotary”. Earlier rotary shavers only had two blades and newer ones that flood the market right now have three.
One big advantage a rotary shaver has over a foil would be its ability to shave close quarters better. The three round blades have a more compact design that make this possible.
Again, design will dictate how you’ll use a foil shaver. Instead of using a forward and backward pass, foil shavers will require a clockwise motion to follow the motion of the blades.
If you use this like a foil, there will be lots of pulling and tugging – something you don’t want.
Another thing to consider before buying electric shavers would be its ability to shave wet, dry or both.
Dry shaving would be the default mode of men when using an electric shaver because convenience is top priority for folks buying such. Wet shaving is a good option if you want the convenience of an electric razor minus the irritation
Please check out these shaving cream recommendations to give you an idea what a shaving cream is if you’re not familiar with it.
One great option if you’re using an electric shaver would be the Cremo cream. One reason would be you don’t need a shaving brush to use this. And this product is latherless so it helps with visibility.
Cleaning & charge station
A clean and charge station refers to a device that will clean and charge the electric razor. It’s an option found in nearly all high-end shavers like the Braun Series 7 and 9 as well as Norelco shavers.
You may ask, is this a need?
To be honest with you, it really isn’t as long as you take the necessary steps in cleaning the shaver after using it.
That means rinsing off gunk and hair from the shaving head. Men who use this tool every day will need to apply sheen oil on the metal parts so it won’t corrode.
The most important aspect of a budget electric shaver would be price.
You can purchase a good quality shaver for less than $50!
One downside to cheap shavers would be closeness. These shavers don’t have the premium features that high end variants have with the shaving head.
To wrap up
The best performing budget electric shaver is hands down the Braun Series 5.
Depending on the variant you’ll buy, this will not cost more than $110 if you buy it with the clean and charge station. It’s a pretty good deal if you ask me considering the more expensive Series 7 costs more than $150.
In terms of performance it will shave as well as the Series 7 because it uses the same shaving elements.
If a foil shaver isn’t suitable on your face, then go with a rotary shaver. And Philips makes the best at such.
Lastly, the Philips Norelco OneBlade is a great option if an electric shaver gives you issues. It is a hybrid of a trimmer and electric shaver with enough power to mow down multiday beard growth.
I must warn you that it will not shave as close as a cartridge or safety razor but the convenience will be all worth it. The compact size also makes it good option to bring with you during business trips.
Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.