Best Electric Razors for Men in 2020: Reviews and Comparison

Best Electric Shaver

An electric razor is an excellent compromise that provides speed not possible with a traditional handheld razor.

So in this article, we’ll be looking at the best electric shavers available and the process of selecting one that will best suit your needs.

Saying that one particular model is best would be irresponsible because that razor does not exist.

So what I’ll do is break down the strengths and weaknesses of each model, highlighting what particular area it will excel.

A quick overview of the Best Electric Shavers for Men

BEST ELECTRIC SHAVER

Braun Series 9 9290cc
Braun Series 9 9290cc
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Motor Speed: 10,000 CPM
  • Run Time: 50 mins.
  • Travel Lock: Yes
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: Yes

CLOSEST SHAVE

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Motor Speed: 14,000 CPM
  • Run Time: 50 mins.
  • Travel Lock: No
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: Yes

VALUE FOR MONEY

Braun Series 5 5195cc
Braun Series 5 5195cc
  • Shaving Elements: 3
  • Run Time: 50 mins.
  • Travel Lock: Yes
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: Yes
Braun Series 7 790cc
Braun Series 7 790cc
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Run Time: 50 mins.
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: Yes
Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A
Panasonic Arc 4 ES LF51-A
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Motor Speed: 14,000 CPM
  • Run Time: 45 mins.
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: No
Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63S
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Motor Speed: 14,000 CPM
  • Run Time: 45 mins.
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: No
Philips Norelco 9300 S9311/87
Philips Norelco 9300 S9311/87
  • Shaving Elements: 4
  • Run Time: 50 mins.
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: Yes
Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K
Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K
  • Shaving Elements: 3
  • Motor Speed: 13,000 CPM
  • Run Time: 45 mins.
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: No
Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3010s
Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3010s
  • Shaving Elements: 3
  • Run Time: 45 mins.
  • Battery: Ni-Cd
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: No
Philips Norelco 3100
Philips Norelco 3100
  • Shaving Elements: 3
  • Run Time: 45 mins.
  • Battery: Li-ion
  • Wet/Dry: Yes
  • Cleaning Station: No

Our Pick: Braun Series 9 9290cc

Braun Series 9 9290cc

When it comes to comfort, ease of use and shaving performance, the Braun Series 9 9290cc is one of the best options to get.

I would suggest you go for the second-generation Series 9, which is the 92xx series, and these include the 9290cc, 9295cc, 9296cc, or the 9293s.

All these options are suitable for wet or dry shaving, unlike the first generation razors that were only compatible with dry shaving.

Pros

  • It will provide an exceptionally comfortable and close shave.
  • An excellent option for men with wiry, tough, flat-lying hair.
  • Appropriate for shaving sensitive skin.
  • Cassettes aren’t expensive.
  • Easy to use the cleaning station.

Cons

  • One of the more expensive options.
  • It doesn’t shave the closest in its price range.
  • Expect some difficulty when cleaning manually.

This electric shaver was one of the highly anticipated models in recent years and was launched in 2015.

Unfortunately, the early generation Series 9 shavers did not perform as anticipated. There were reports of the cutters in the head breaking during the first few months of use.

Replacement cassettes were also pricey and hard to find.

Braun has since sorted out these issues with their succeeding Series 9 shavers, and that includes the price of the cassettes that had gone down significantly.

This sealed the deal in why the Series 9 is my pick as the best electric shaver.

Braun also released the third generation Series 9 shavers – the 93xx models which aren’t as visible in Amazon, so I’d stick with the 92xx models because it’s less expensive.

How does the Braun Series 9 Perform?

One of the biggest strengths of the Series 9 9290cc is the comfort it brings to the table. This razor provides a good margin for error, and one of the most comfortable to use.

Men with have sensitive skin who want a reasonably close shave will have to look at this razor. Even if you press too hard, or go over sensitive areas too much, it won’t irritate the skin.

Unlike the Panasonic Arc 5 shaving head that heats up, the Series 9’s head will not even after prolonged use.

Let’s look at the Series 9 shaving head

Braun Series 9 Shaving Head

There are a total of four individual cutting elements. Two outer foils flank the two inner trimmers that are responsible for shaving long flat-lying hair that grow all over the place.

Braun’s design of the inner cutting elements is probably the best in the industry at capturing stray hair.

It can shave longer facial hair growth without tugging and is an ideal option for men with heavy beard growth.

Very few other shavers can match it when it comes to closeness and comfort.

Only a few options like the Panasonic Arc 5, and the Philips Norelco 9300/9700 can match it when it comes to closeness.

The Arc 4 and Arc 5 can shave closer but are not as comfortable. These are more suitable options for men who don’t have sensitive skin and only want a close shave.

Maintenance Costs

The biggest issue with the Braun Series 9 is the cost, not only the shaver but the price of replacement cassettes (or the cutting element).

It is on par with other electric shavers at its price range. However, the cost of refills for the clean and charge station is higher than the other brands like Philips and Panasonic.

One alternative would be opting for third-party substitutes that will work as well.

Just in case you’ve made up your mind with the Series 9, the better option would be the variant with the clean and charge station.

Manually cleaning this shaver can be tedious, thanks to the complex design of the cassette where the foil and blades are a singular piece that limits the accessibility.

Not cleaning the shaving head will lead to issues down the road with hair and dead skin accumulation.

The clean and charge station solves this issue, and the good news is you don’t need to use it daily.

Deep cleaning once a week is enough to keep the shaver in tiptop shape.

For daily maintenance, rinse the shaving head with warm, soapy water.

Take note that the “S” after the model number (e.g., 9290) denotes that the shaver does not include the clean and charge station. And will not work with it as it doesn’t have the two metal connectors at the back for charging.

The “CC” symbolizes that the shaver comes with the clean and charge station. I would recommend going with the models with the “CC” as the price difference isn’t that significant.

Bottom line

Men who can afford the premium price of the Series 9 will benefit from the comfort and close shave it brings to the table. Remember that this model will suit individuals who have thicker beard growth. If your facial hair is light to moderate, the Series 9 might be excessive, so I’d recommend that you opt for the Series 5 or 7 that has more than enough oomph for the task.

Closest Shave: Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S

Panasonic Arc 5 ES LV65-S

While the Braun Series 9 excels at comfort, the Panasonic Arc 5 is built for one purpose – to get the closest shave possible.

This shaver has five individual cutting elements, a powerful linear-drive motor, and exceptionally sharp blades that will mow down thick facial hair growth.

One glaring difference between Arc 5 and Series 9 is the design of the middle trimmer. The Series 9 has two while the Arc 5 only has one, but flanks it with two outer foils on each end.

While the Arc 5 shaves close, it struggles with capturing long flat-lying wiry hair.

All Panasonic shavers, including the Arc 3 and Arc 4, outperform the Series 5 and 7 shavers from Braun when it comes to closeness, but with a comfort tradeoff.

Pros

  • Shaves closer than the Braun Series 9.
  • Powerful motor and sharp blades suit men with coarse facial hair.
  • This razor is easy to clean manually.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • Excellent wet shaving performance.

Cons

  • Lags in terms of comfort versus the Braun Series 7 and 9.
  • The replacement blades and foils are pricey.
  • The large shaving head requires a steeper learning curve.
  • The middle trimmer won’t do as well on flay-lying hair.

Braun pretty much has dominated this niche, and their only competitor is Panasonic.

For some reason, Panasonic has a hard time penetrating the U.S. market despite offering a good quality product.

My wife works for Procter and Gamble, and she says that they pride themselves in marketing, and the results speak for themselves.

There are three generations of Arc 5 shavers, and to make things easier for you, I would suggest going with the second-generation option, which is the ES-LV65-S because it’s the most widely available and the one of the most reasonably priced.

Buying parts for it, such as the replacement foils, won’t be an issue.

The best part is that you can use the latest foil and blade with the comfort rollers (for the third generation Arc 5 shavers) on the second generation ES-LV65-S.

It’s like getting an upgrade without having to pay the premium for it.

If your priority is a close shave without using a traditional razor, the Arc 5 ES-LV65-S will cut the closest.

Panasonic was able to pull this off by using very thin foils and high-quality blades that are exceptionally sharp angled at a 30-degree bevel to achieve this feat.

The aggressive design has some drawbacks, and one of the most prominent issues would be the thin foils heating up on extended use.

Powering this electric razor is a 14,000 CPM motor, which is a 40% increase over the Braun Series 9 that uses a 10,000 CPM motor.

This uptick in power, combined with the design of the cutting elements, makes it one of the fastest and closest shaving electric razors.

It can mow thick, coarse beard faster than any other electric shaver.

The Arc 5 ES-LV65-S is compatible with shaving creams or soaps, which is a good thing since it negates the discomfort from the aggressive foil design and sharp blades.

One issue with the Arc 5 design is it doesn’t do as well on flay-lying hair. The design of the single, middle trimmer doesn’t work as well as the Series 9’s dual trimmers.

Maintenance costs

While the replacement foils and blades are pricey, the detergent-based refill for the cleaning station is dirt cheap versus the alcohol-based solution of Braun.

You can even save more money by buying the “S” version or the variant that doesn’t have the cleaning station since the Arc 5 is easy to clean even without it.

For a high-end shaver, the Panasonic Arc 5’s maintenance costs are way below that of a Series 9.

Also, buying it without the cleaning station represents a huge price drop and makes the ES-LV65-S less expensive than most Series 7 options.

Bottom line

The men who’ll benefit most from the Panasonic Arc 5 would be those who don’t have sensitive skin and have thick facial hair. This model is an excellent alternative to the Braun Series 9 because it’s much less expensive and shaves exceptionally close. If you have sensitive skin, then the Braun Series 7 or 9 will be the better option as those shavers are more comfortable to use. Otherwise, the Arc 5 from Panasonic is a bargain.

Value for Money: Braun Series 5 5195cc

Braun Series 5 5195cc

The Series 5 is Braun’s mid-priced option and one of the best value for money options available. Currently, there are three Series 5 options: 5090cc, 5195cc, and 5140s.

The 5195cc is the latest Series 5 model now with wet/dry functionality and the clean and charge station.

One reason why I picked the Series 5 over the newer Series 7 is two-fold – the lower price and the better lock on the shaving head.

You might not know this, but the Series 5 and 7 have the same shaving head design and thus will yield similar results.

The Series 7 cassette is compatible with the Series 5.

If you put these two razors side by side, there isn’t much of a difference.

This model has the same design cues as the flagship Series 9 model, but with a more subtle matte black finish.

Both have the same feel, size, lock position, and weight with the Series 9 having the extra cutting element.

Pros

  • It will yield the same results as the more expensive Braun Series 7.
  • Has a better locking mechanism in the shaving head.
  • Great for men with sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Bulky clean and charge station.
  • It doesn’t have an active drying system, so it takes hours to dry.

The biggest issue with the Series 5 isn’t how it shaves, but the clean and charge station. Compared to the Series 7, it is quite bulky and does not have an active drying system found in the Series 7 and 9.

This means that you’ll have to wait for hours before the alcohol solution dries up.

You can’t go wrong with either of the Series 5 or 7 as the price difference isn’t that significant.

It boils down to preferences. If you want something that will dry faster, opt for the Series 7. Otherwise, the Series 5 will perform as well and has a more sturdy lock on the shaving head.

The Series 5 has the same motor found in the Series 7, so it will have enough for tackling coarse beards, but you’ll have to shave more often.

Men who don’t want to shave daily should opt for the more powerful, but more expensive Series 9.

Maintenance costs

The maintenance cost of the Series 5 is similar to the Series 7, but the cassettes will be slightly cheaper.

The cost of the charging station refills will be the same as the other Braun shavers since all use the same type.

Purchasing the Series 5 with the clean and charge station is the smarter option.

The single-piece design of the cutting elements makes it difficult to dislodge accumulated dirt. So manual cleaning will be a time-consuming process.

The cleaning station will do an excellent job of cleaning the shaving head and using it once a week will be enough to keep the Series 5 in tip-top shape.

Bottom line

The Braun Series 5 5195cc is an excellent option for men who have light to medium beard growth and don’t mind shaving daily. It has the same shaving head design as the higher end Series 7. If you don’t mind the bulky clean and charge station, this is an excellent option.

4. Braun Series 7 790cc

Braun Series 7 790cc

Prior to the Series 9, the Series 7 was Braun’s flagship model and one of their most popular options. Like the number one shaver in this list, the Series 7 excels at providing a comfortable shave while minimizing irritation.

Pros

  • Comfortable shave.
  • An excellent option for men with sensitive skin.
  • Shaves reasonably close.
  • A good inexpensive option for coarse beards.

Cons

  • Has the same shaving head as the Series 5.
  • The locking mechanism is poorly designed.
  • It doesn’t shave as close as the Arc 4 (the latter is cheaper!).

There are several different variants, so the question you may have is which one is the best option? That would depend on your preference. Take note that all Series 7 models will have the same performance because all have the same shaving head design.

The difference would be the intangibles such as:

  1. Is it compatible with shaving wet or dry?
  2. Does it come with a clean and charge station?
  3. Speed setting upgrades (which doesn’t affect the shave).
  4. Color differences.

So your priority should be getting the cheapest one available that has all the features you need.

The 790cc is one of the first-generation Series 7 shavers and one of the least expensive models available.

However, it’s only compatible with dry shaving. If you need something that you can use with a shaving gel or cream, then get the 7865cc.

These are the two models that I’d recommend the most because of the price.

The first-generation Series 7 models (e.g., 790cc, 797cc, and 799cc) have the best designed clean and charge stations in the industry.

Inside these stations is an induction heating system that significantly reduces drying time, and since it doesn’t have a fan – it’s hushed.

Unfortunately, the clean and charge stations in the later Series 7 shavers don’t have induction heating; thus will take longer to dry. You can try purchasing it separately (model number 81365080) because the “S” (or shaver only) models are compatible with the charging station.

The best part of the Series 7 is the comfort level. Like the Series 9, this shaver will provide a lot of margin for error.

Even with a sloppy technique, there will be minimal irritation.

This shaver will work best with men who have shorter facial hair. It won’t shave as close, but the lack of irritation makes up for it.

If you don’t mind this shortcoming, then the Series 7 would be an excellent option.

Other issues for the Series 7 include the locking mechanism that isn’t sturdy enough and the weaker motor.

Push hard enough, and the locking pin breaks. Surprisingly, the older Series 5 model has a better lock, shaves as well and is cheaper!

Maintenance costs

One advantage the Series 7 has over the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 is the cost of cassettes.

The 70s/70b cassettes are widely available and cost much less than the other two models I mentioned.

As for the cleaning cartridges for the charging station, all Braun shavers use the same type of refills, so the price across the board will be similar.

Bottom line

Men with thinner facial hair growth will be happy with the comfort that the Braun Series 7 790cc will offer. It won’t shave as close as the Panasonic Arc 4 or Arc 5, but there will be much less irritation. There are some glaring downsides, but when it comes to shaving performance, it does it reasonably well.

5. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A

Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A

The Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A is one of the most underrated choices available. It almost has the same features as the more expensive ES-LA63S (also in the Arc 4 line), but with a more compact head that’s much easier to use.

It has the same frisky 14,000 CPM motor and aggressively designed cutting elements. The features lacking in this variant are the vibrating motor and the pivoting head.

As for performance, the ES-LF51A and LS-LA63S are identical. I’d say that the former is the better option because the smaller head is easier to use and it costs less.

Pros

  • It shaves very close.
  • More compact head than the Arc 4 ES-LA63S.
  • It has high quality and sharp blades.
  • Easy to clean manually
  • Best budget option for close shaves.

Cons

  • Lags in comfort versus the Braun Series 5, 7, and Panasonic Arc 5.
  • Not good at flat-lying beards.
  • Foils tend to heat up.

The shaving head of both variants is similar, and each one uses the same inner blades.

Minus the vibrating motor, the ES-LF51-A is less noisy, producing a crisper sound.

It has enough power to shave dense beards. Unfortunately, it struggles with cutting flat-lying hair on areas such as the neck and chin.

This won’t be an issue with more frequent shaving.

The aggressive head can be a little too harsh for sensitive skin, with the shaving head prone to heating up.

Using shaving cream can help with comfort, but that will be subjective, depending on preference.

As with all Panasonic shavers, cleaning the head is easy using running water and liquid soap. So I’d recommend buying it without the cleaning station.

Using a lubricant such as the Remington Shaver Saver will help this razor perform better, making it more comfortable to use.

Bottom line

The Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A is an excellent option for men who don’t have sensitive skin looking for a close shave and not mind doing it more frequently.

6. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63S

Panasonic Arc 4 ES LA63S

One of the most significant issues with the Panasonic Arc 5 shaver is the size of the head. With five shaving elements, it can be challenging to use, especially for beginners.

The Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63S is a decent compromise thanks to its more compact head that only has four cutting elements.

It is still more massive than the Braun Series 5 and 7 shavers, so newbie electric razor users can opt for the ES-LF51A if it is an issue.

This model, in my opinion, is the best Arc 4 shaver because of the more flexible shaving head, powerful motor with a vibrating feature at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Shaves close (perhaps the closest at its price point).
  • It provides a decently comfortable shave.
  • An excellent option for coarse facial hair thanks to the powerful motor.
  • Extremely sharp blades.
  • One of the easiest to clean manually.
  • Great value for money option.

Cons

  • Lags in terms of comfort behind the Series 5 and 7.
  • The high cost of replacement foils.
  • Not so great for flat-lying hair.

Men looking for fast, close shaves will appreciate the extremely sharp blades that will mow down even the coarsest facial hair.

However, don’t expect too much when it comes to comfort because the shaving head is built for closeness and speed but not comfort.

Using shaving cream can help with comfort as the lubrication will protect the skin from direct contact with the foils.

But for this particular model, using it without shaving cream is the most ideal because the foils don’t get as hot during dry shaving.

Just make sure not to press too hard.

It’s an ideal option for men who don’t have sensitive skin.

Another issue with the head design is its bias towards closeness. The middle trimmer isn’t adequate for shaving flat-lying hair.

More frequent shaving will address this issue. If your schedule doesn’t permit such, a less aggressive electric shaver such as the Braun Series 5 or 7, or Philips Norelco 8900 would be a better option.

Panasonic shavers are known for being easy to clean manually, and the ES-LA63S is no exception.

If you’re planning on purchasing this, get the “S” variant that only has the shaver to save some money.

The bad news is that the replacement foils are pricey, so only buy this only if you have a coarse beard.

Otherwise, go with the cheaper Arc 3 shaver with the less expensive spare foils.

Bottom line

This razor is most suitable for the man with coarse facial hair who can shave with high frequency (daily or every other day). Its design is biased towards closeness though the big shaving head can be annoying to use on tight spots around the lips/chin area.

7. Philips Norelco 9300 S9311/87

Philips Norelco 9300 S9311/87

The last two electric razors above will shave extremely close, but both struggle with cutting flat-lying hair. Now, let’s shift to one of the best at shaving such – the Philips Norelco 9300. This model is one of the best, if not the best rotary shavers available.

It is Norelco’s best option because it offers the same performance as the more expensive Norelco 9700, as both models use the same shaving head.

This model is surprisingly cheaper than the 8900 in Amazon, and it comes with the easy to read user interface that’s lacking in the lower end model.

Pros

  • Excellent at cutting flat-lying hair.
  • Best value among Norelco shavers.
  • Fantastic cleaning station.
  • A good option for men with coarse beards.
  • Shaves adequately close.

Cons

  • It doesn’t shave as close as the less expensive Panasonic Arc 4 and 5.
  • Rotary head is very tedious to clean.
  • Not a good option for sensitive skin.
  • One of the more expensive options on this list.

This model comes with a cleaning station and a leather case. I would recommend that you get the Norelco with the cleaning station because the rotary head is very tedious to clean.

The Panasonic cleaning station is very efficient when it comes to cleaning solution usage. It lasts longer than the Braun and Panasonic.

Another feature worth noting is the induction heating that cuts down the drying time significantly.

It also is excellent at dealing with flat-lying hair, which is an advantage of rotary shavers in general.

The three blades can individually flex and adapt to the contours of the face. But the technique will be different from a foil shaver. You’ll have to use round strokes to capture hair effectively.

If you struggle with flat-lying hair, this may be the best option.

Closeness is adequate, and it is capable of shaving thick, wiry, and coarse facial hair. However, it won’t match the Panasonic Arc 4 or Arc 5 when you factor its closeness.

Bottom line

The Philips Norelco is an excellent option for men who have thick and wiry hair that grows in different directions. However, it may not be ideal for shaving sensitive skin, and it won’t cut as close as the Braun Series 5 and 7 or Panasonic Arc 4 or 5.

8. Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K

Panasonic Arc 3 ES LT3N-K

Now, let’s look at budget electric razor options starting with the Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K. All Arc 3 shavers have the same three cutting elements – two foils and a middle trimmer.

Each variant has the same arched foils, but not all have the same motor. Older models come with the smaller 7,600 CPM (or Cycles Per Minute) motor while the newer options have the peppier 13,000 CPM motor.

The obvious choice would be the larger motor as it is superior at cutting facial hair.

Pros

  • The closest shaving budget option electric razor.
  • Has a powerful motor that’s capable of cutting coarse facial hair.
  • Cutting elements have sharp and high-quality blades.
  • Easy to clean manually.

Cons

  • The aggressive design isn’t suitable for sensitive skin.
  • More expensive replacement blades compared to its competitors.
  • Foils heating up can be uncomfortable.

Some Arc 3 shavers with the 13,000 CPM motor include the ES-LT3N-K and ES8103S.

All Arc 3 shavers with the larger motor will have the same performance regardless of the model, so I would suggest opting for the least expensive choice available.

The newer models like the ES-LL41-K have the bells and whistles like the upgraded interface and comb attachments, but it doesn’t shave better than the older models.

Like the Arc 4 and 5 shavers that I featured earlier, the Arc 3 shaves closer than its primary competitor the Braun Series 3.

However, there’s the issue of the two foils heating up, which can be uncomfortable.

One way to mitigate this concern would be regularly lubricating the blades or using pre-shave oil.

Another way to protect skin from the heat is by using a good quality shaving cream.

A lot of men using electric shavers would prefer shaving dry, but for those considering this model should try wet shaving with it.

Like all Panasonic shavers, the Arc 3 is compatible with wet and dry use.

It’s probably the best option for men who prefer to wet shave because the cutting elements are so easy to clean even using just running water and liquid soap.

To maximize the capabilities of the ES-LT3N-K, you should use it daily because the middle trimmer won’t be as effective at cutting flat-lying hair.

Replacement foils are less expensive than the Arc 4 or 5, and availability won’t be an issue.

Bottom line

This shaver is one of the best options for beginners because it’s simple to use and clean, has a compact shaving head, and it’s completely waterproof. However, men with sensitive skin may be better off opting for the cheaper and less aggressive Braun Series 3.

9. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3010s

Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3010s

Opposite of the Panasonic Arc 3 is the Braun Series 3 ProSkin. It’s Braun’s entry-level option and an excellent alternative if the Arc 3 is too aggressive. While the Panasonic Arc 3 shaves the closest in the budget category, the Braun Series 3 is the most comfortable.

Another benefit of the Series 3 ProSkin is the less expensive cassettes (32B/32S) that cost less than the Arc 3.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable shave.
  • Great for sensitive skin.
  • Less expensive replacement blades.
  • Compatible with wet/dry shaving.
  • Better than the Arc 3 at cutting flat-lying hair.
  • A good option for beginners.

Cons

  • Not ideal for shaving coarse facial hair.
  • It doesn’t shave as close as the Panasonic Arc 3.
  • No trimmer.
  • Hard to clean manually.

Several Series 3 options range from dry only shavers (3050cc) to wet/dry options (3040s).

The best value option, in my opinion, would be the ProSkin 3010s since it is one of the least expensive models available.

It doesn’t have the clean and charge station, but since the Series 3 shaving head is much easier to clean than the Series 5/7/9, it isn’t a necessity.

The 3010s and 3040s are the same razors, except for the trimmer available with the latter model that isn’t good anyways. So not having that feature isn’t a big deal.

Both razors are usable for dry or wet shaving.

Some variants like the 3070cc with the cleaning station will cost significantly more.

Since all Series 3 shavers yield the same results, choosing between the different models will boil down to feature preferences: wet or dry shaving, having the clean and charge station, trimmer, etc.

Like most electric shavers, some Series 3 variants (the dry shaving models) are usable with the cord plugged, but the wet/dry models aren’t for safety reasons.

The thicker foils make the Series 3 less prone at heating up, making it a good option for men with sensitive skin.

However, the comfortable shave has a drawback – it isn’t as effective on coarse or wiry facial hair. It’s more suitable for men with thinner beard growth who can shave more frequently.

The Series 3 can tackle thick beard growth, but it’ll take much longer.

If your priority is a close shave and you don’t have sensitive skin, then go with the Panasonic Arc 3.

Bottom line

The Braun Series 3 3010s will provide one of the more forgiving and comfortable shaves. These two factors make it ideal for beginners or users with sensitive skin. It’s one of the least expensive foil shavers available that performs. It isn’t as fast or as close as Arc 3, but it leaves less irritation.

10. Philips Norelco 3100

Philips Norelco 3100

One of the most basic rotary shavers in this list is the Philips Norelco 3100 that’s an excellent option for daily dry shaving. It doesn’t have the frills of the more expensive Norelco 9300, but the affordable price and performance make it a bestseller in its class.

This shaver will do an adequate job at cutting flat-lying facial hair that grows all over the place, particularly in the neck/chin area.

Pros

  • One of the best inexpensive rotary shavers.
  • Astonishingly good at shaving flat-lying facial hair.
  • An excellent option for beginners.
  • Adequate comfort level.

Cons

  • It doesn’t shave as close when you compare it to an entry-level foil shaver.
  • Will struggle with coarse facial hair.
  • Not ideal for sensitive skin.

However, the issue with rotary shavers is that it doesn’t shave as close as foil shavers. So that’s a tradeoff you’ll have to look at when choosing between this and let’s say a Braun Series 3 or a Panasonic Arc 3, which is at the same budget category.

Comfort level is adequate, but it isn’t the best option for sensitive skin. For such, a foil shaver like the Braun Series 3 would be a better choice.

Don’t expect anything special from this product as it only has basic features. If you want a faster shave, then go with the Norelco 9300 with the larger motor and more advanced shaving head.

It comes with a pop-up trimmer that is an excellent addition for a budget electric razor.

The replacement heads cost the same as its foil counterparts like the Arc 3 and Series 3.

Bottom line

Men looking for an inexpensive electric shaver that can tackle flat-lying facial hair that goes in different directions should consider the Philips Norelco 3100. But if you need something that’ll shave closer, go with a Braun Series 3 or Panasonic Arc 3.

Who should buy an electric razor?

The biggest reason why an electric razor is so popular is the convenience that it brings to the table.

While a safety razor will shave extremely close, it’ll take at least 15 minutes between prep and shaving.

Using a cartridge razor will speed up the process thanks to the multiple blades but at the cost of irritation.

If any of these two shavers cause irritation, then an electric razor is a good compromise. Men who are prone to ingrown hair can also benefit from the switch.

Electric razors provide that element of speed that none of the manual shavers can match. You can use it with or without shaving cream, and there will less risk of irritation if you use the proper technique.

Despite the claims of manufacturers that an electric shaver will shave as close as a traditional razor, the design dynamics make this claim improbable. Even the best electric razors will leave stubble that you will notice.

Men who prioritize closeness should opt for a safety or a straight razor rather than something electric.

Manual vs. Electric Razor: The Differences

Manual razors have evolved from barbaric medieval tools into sophisticated equipment with as much as seven blades.

Even if the look of razors has changed over the years, the principle remains the same. As you rake the razor across the face, a sharp blade slices facial hair close to the skin.

Multi-bladed cartridge razors add another layer that they call “hysteresis,” where the first blade, in theory, pulls the hair and the subsequent blades slice the hair follicle as close to the skin as possible.

Electric razors are designed differently depending on the type (which I’ll cover in the section below).

There’s the protective foil, a metal layer that shields the skin from the blades beneath.

It is this layer that enables electric shavers to be safe to use even without shaving cream, but it makes it impossible for it to shave as close as a manual razor.

The metal that shields the blades isn’t thin enough to be close. Even if some manufacturers like Panasonic make the foils thin, it still doesn’t match a manual razor.

Rotary vs. Foil Electric Razor: Which is Better?

There are two main types of electric shavers in the list – the foil and rotary shaver.

My preference between the two would be the foil shaver because it is the more idiot-proof option with the shallower learning curve.

Rotary shavers will have its advantages and will fit a specific group of men.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages one by one.

Pros of a foil shaver

  1. Closer shave: Foil shavers cut closer because the blades move at a higher speed than that of a rotary shaver.
  2. Easier to use: Beginners will notice that transitioning from a manual to a foil shaver is easier because it necessitates the same back and forth motion, unlike a rotary shaver that requires a circular movement.
  3. Better comfort: Another advantage of the linear motion is there’s less risk of it pulling or tugging facial hair.
  4. Great a flat-lying hair: This advantage only applies to the brands such as Braun and Panasonic. Cheap, unknown brands will struggle, and I would encourage avoiding these options.

Cons of a foil shaver

  1. Heat accumulation: One issue with foil shavers is the heat buildup on the foils because of the fast oscillating blades. This problem is prevalent with Panasonic and Remington shavers that use thinner foils, but not so with the Braun since it utilizes thicker foils that don’t heat up as quick. Lubricating the foils or using pre-shave oil can help alleviate this issue.
  2. Doesn’t work well with long strands of hair: Foil shavers don’t work well on long facial hair. It will struggle with anything longer than a three-day-old growth. One workaround would be to shave more often and avoid using it on longer growth.
  3. Noisy: Foil shavers will generally produce more noise. If it is a problem, then opt for a rotary shaver that’s less noisy.

Pros of a rotary shaver

  1. Great at long facial hair: One advantage that a rotary shaver has over its foil counterpart is its ability to cut long strands of hair regardless of price point. This doesn’t mean it’ll shave as close as a foil shaver, but these are better at capturing long hair without the tugging sensation.
  2. Not as noisy: Reviews say that rotary shavers are less noisy than foil shavers.

Cons of a rotary shaver

  1. Doesn’t shave as close: I’ve already mentioned this earlier, but I’ll repeat it, rotary shavers don’t shave as close as a foil shaver. The thickness of the foils and the position of the rotating blades underneath make it impossible.
  2. Not recommended for men with sensitive skin: Foil shavers aren’t as comfortable to use with the weaker motor, which increases the risk of hair getting pulled. There’s also less margin for error (e.g., discomfort when too much pressure is applied).

Which is the better option?

Looking at the overall picture, foil shavers have fewer drawbacks compared to rotary shavers. Most of the cons of the foil razors have a workaround, which isn’t the case with rotary options.

With that said, rotary shavers have their applications. Some men have had excellent results using this type of electric razor.

Each man’s skin is unique, so choosing between these two types of electric shavers will boil down to your preferences and needs.

4 Reasons to opt for a foil shaver

  1. If comfort is high on your priority list.
  2. Need something that will shave close and fast.
  3. You have sensitive skin and don’t want any discomfort.
  4. Transitioning from a manual razor to an electric shaver.

3 Reasons to opt for a rotary shaver

  1. Don’t shave as often (every 3 days or so) and don’t want to spend as much.
  2. Want something less noisy.
  3. Someone who doesn’t have sensitive skin.

How to properly use an electric shaver to get the most out of it

A critical aspect of getting an excellent shave regardless of whether you’re using a foil or rotary shaver is the proper knowledge of using it.

I’ll go through the most critical points of usage and the proper technique for you to get the best results possible.

1. Know the fundamentals

Knowing the basics is the most essential factor that will determine the success or failure using this tool.

Some of the basic knowledge includes shaving prior to washing your face. This is counterintuitive to the basics of wet shaving that necessitate taking a hot shower prior to shaving.

As you shave, don’t forget to stretch the skin and always go against the grain.

Lastly, don’t apply to much pressure and let the blades do the work. Doing so may cause irritation.

2. Don’t use an electric razor on long strands of hair

Electric shavers aren’t built to cut long strands of hair.  These products will work best on two or three-day-old stubble.

Trying to use it on anything longer will cause severe discomfort and, in the worst cases, bleeding as I’m sure you’ve read in some reviews.

For cutting boards, you’ll be better off using a beard trimmer as opposed to an electric shaver.

However, some variants can handle up to a five-day growth, namely the Braun Series 9 and the Philips Norelco S9000.

3. Use a pre-shave oil to improve performance on flat-lying hair

One way to improve how an electric razor captures flat-lying hair is by applying pre-shave oil.

If you’re using a cheaper model like the Braun Series 3, the effects will be even more pronounced.

4. Shave more often

Another way around the issue of flat-lying hair is shaving more often.

This shouldn’t be an issue for brands like Philips and Braun as these razors capture longer strands of hair better.

But if you’re using a lower-priced variant such as the Panasonic Arc 3, increasing the frequency will help.

5. Let the skin recover if there’s severe irritation or discomfort post-shave

Avoid shaving if you experience any serious discomfort post-shave.

Doing so will only make it worse.

Allow the skin to rest a few days, and if facial hair grows longer than what an electric razor can cut, use a beard trimmer.

6. Men with sensitive skin should opt for a foil shaver

Foil shavers are easier to use and gentler on the surface.

The straight back and forth motion that it requires makes it more natural to use than a foil shaver.

For pure comfort, I would recommend going for any of the Braun series razors such as the Series 3, 5, 7, or 9.

7. Don’t switch between a manual razor and electric shaver

Not many men know this, but switching between a manual razor and an electric shaver isn’t advisable.

A small layer of skin is actually taken off when you use a razor blade so scar tissue forms which takes a few weeks to heal.

Using an electric razor over this scar tissue isn’t ideal and should be avoided.

That is why manufacturers recommend waiting a few weeks for this scar tissue to heal before using their products.

8. Clean the shaver after every use and lubricate regularly

Make sure to clean the razor after every use. Doing this won’t take long since most electric razors are waterproof.

Lubricating it is another crucial step when it comes to upkeep.

These steps are done for you if you own a shaver with a cleaning station.

9. Use a spray cleaner and lubricant

Another tip to add to the longevity of an electric razor is using a spray cleaner.

These are reasonably cheap products that not only lubricate but also remove mineral deposits that may accumulate.

Some of the recommended spray cleaners include the ShaverAid Electric Shaver and Razor Cleaner and Remington Shaver Saver that are widely available in stores like Amazon.

10. Make sure the battery has enough charge

Some shavers (particularly those that use Ni-Cd batteries) will experience a performance drop once the battery level reaches a certain level.

When the motor isn’t running at full capacity, you may experience pulling or tugging, and it won’t shave as close.

So if you own any that uses this type of battery, keep it fully charged.

This won’t be an issue with shavers that use a Li-ion battery as it doesn’t have the same power loss issue that Ni-Cd cells have.

11. Maintain a healthy skin

One of the secrets to getting an excellent shave is maintaining healthy skin.

The steps include cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing.

Cleansing involves using a gentle facial cleanser to remove contaminants from the skin that can clog the pores.

Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells that also clog the skin’s pores. Do this at least twice a week.

Hydration involves using a good moisturizing balm after every shave.

Wrapping up

That’s a wrap for my best electric shaver round up.

Recommending one isn’t an easy task as there are a lot of variables to consider.

Not all men have the same needs, and there isn’t a single shaver that will check all the boxes.

Make sure to know what you need. Also, have a checklist of the features that you prioritize from the most important to the least. And set a cap on how much you’re willing to spend.

Take note that there are models within the same product range that perform similarly, but with a significant price difference – by all means, get the least expensive one available.

I hope this article helps you find the best electric razor that will suit your needs and simplify the process because time is your most valuable asset.

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