Regardless if you’re only getting started with electric shaving or just looking to upgrade your current razor, 2017 is an exciting year with some excellent products on the horizon.
While the topic of electric vs traditional shaving has long been debated with solid arguments from both camps, it’s safe to say that electric shavers have some unique features and qualities that ultimately convinced us to make the switch.
In this comprehensive guide we’ll find out what are the best electric shavers in 2017 by going over some of our favorite electric razors.
The best electric shaver is the RIGHT electric shaver
An often overlooked, but vital aspect when choosing an electric shaver is that there isn’t such thing as the perfect shaver, but one that is right for you and in tune with your needs and expectations.
This is a very personal matter that must take into account things like sensitive skin, coarseness of the hair, closeness of the shave, ease of cleaning and maintenance of the razor, cost and availability of replacement parts, purchase price and versatility — to name just a few.
People are different, their shaving habits are different and their expectations are different.
Some just want the ultimate in closeness regardless of the purchase price, while others are more concerned with the comfort of the shave, price of the cleaning cartridges or how loud the razor gets during use.
A first step in choosing the right shaver is to have a clear understanding of what you’re looking to achieve; forget the features and technologies, fancy marketing names and focus on the real benefits offered by the product.
It’s easy to get carried away and neglect the stuff that matters the most; remember that whenever you’re buying an electric razor you’re also making a compromise.
What are some of the best electric shavers in 2017?
With a plethora of products, reviews and polarizing opinions that raise more questions than offering answers, it’s not as straight forward as it may seem to simply pick the right shaver.
In order to reduce the chances of buying the wrong product, we have put together an extensive list with our recommended shavers that will hopefully put you on the right track of choosing the best electric shaver in 2017 for your particular needs.
1. Braun Series 9 9290cc
A new flagship razor from Braun is bound to create some interest. And that was precisely the case with the Series 9.
While it didn’t make our top for 2016 as the price of the shaver was ridiculous, the Series 9 can be bought in 2017 at a surprisingly reasonable price.
Our pick is the Series 9 9290cc (wet & dry, automatic cleaning station) from the updated Series 9 line.
So why is the Series 9 one of the best electric razors in 2017?
Well, it represents a very compelling package and offers one of the best electric shaving experience.
Closeness and comfort
The older Series 7 set new standards in terms of comfort and the Series 9 takes it one notch higher. With a more powerful motor and improved design of the cutting elements, shaving with the new Series 9 is just effortless and supremely comfortable.
While it’s difficult to objectively classify the closeness of the shave, the Series 9 is among the best in this regard. The Panasonic Arc5 may slightly have the edge, but that comes with a trade-off in comfort.
This shaver also performs better than most foil electric razors when it comes to shaving longer hairs. So if you don’t shave daily, the Series 9 is one of the more capable razors you can buy in 2017.
It’s also particularly good for men with coarse facial hair. It never feels under-powered and will mow through the thickest beard with ease.
During use the foils remain cool and supremely comfortable. This makes the Series 9 perfectly suitable for men with sensitive skin.
Automatic cleaning station
The Series 9 can be bought with or without a cleaning station. My recommendation is to go for a variation that includes one. They’re excellent and the cleaning cartridges won’t include the running cost by much. Also, since the Series 9 uses a cassette that integrates the foils and the blades, manually cleaning it is fiddly and difficult.
Wet & dry use
The Series 9 9290cc is a wet & dry shaver and also my personal pick. However, if the thought of using a shaving cream with your electric razor doesn’t sound very appealing you can use it dry as it remains perfectly comfortable.
2. Braun Series 7 797cc
Like the Series 7 799cc, the 797cc had some pretty big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, the highly acclaimed Series 7 790cc was regarded by many as the benchmark in terms of closeness, comfort, build quality and reliability. As I’ve said in our review of the 790cc, its only real downside was the lack of wet shaving capabilities.
Why should you buy it?
While I still think there isn’t a perfect electric razor, the Series 7 797cc gets really close to being one. Allow me to reiterate why I consider it to be one of the best razors out there.
Closeness of the shave
Electric razors will never shave as close as a traditional straight or double edge razor. It’s a limitation of the technology currently being used in electric shavers (foil and rotary) and we must acknowledge this and accept it. It’s a fair compromise; after all, we’re trading just a bit of closeness for the comfort and convenience of electric shaving.
However, the 797cc goes one step further compared to most other electric razors and does so without any trade-offs in comfort.
The use of micro-vibrations, along with a specially designed foil and middle trimmer work together to be as effective as possible at catching and cutting stray hairs that lie flat on the skin.
This means less passes, less irritation and shorter shaving sessions. The Series 7 797cc performs equally impressive when used for daily shaving or on a two days beard.
Comfort during and after the shave
Probably the most impressive trait of this razor is just how comfortable and effortless it is to use. Requiring little to no pressure at all, it just glides over the skin and mows through the stubble.
The micro-vibrations almost make using it feel like a gentle massage, with no pulling or tugging ever experienced. I highly recommend this shaver to men with sensitive skin.
Build quality, reliability and running costs
Braun is a well known name in the industrial design world, with some iconic products conceived by brilliant designers like Dieter Rams. Their heritage continues to have a strong influence even today, as Braun electric razors arguably have the best build quality.
The Series 797cc is no exception and has a solid construction, with quality materials and a very pleasing, understated design. It feels very secure in the hand due to the rubber inserts one the sides and has just the right amount of heft to it.
Furthermore, since it only has 3 cutting elements, the shaving head is on the smaller side and can be easily maneuvered in tricky spots.
Reliability is another trait Braun is renowned for; given proper care and maintenance, this razor will last for years.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the replacement foil and blades, called a cassette, must only be replaced once every 18 months. This is way above the industry standard of one year. All of these mean that despite a higher purchase price, the Series 7 797cc offers great value for money .
Wet & dry operation
In my opinion this is one of the highlights of the 797cc. As I previously said, the only real downside of its predecessor was that it could only be used for dry shaving.
I am a big proponent of wet electric shaving and, at least for me, the addition of wet & dry operation was a big deal. If you have very sensitive skin or want to improve the closeness and the comfort of your shaves even more, you should really give it a try.
Excellent cleaning base
The Clean & Renew Systems offered by Braun are better than most in pretty much all regards:
- They use alcohol instead of detergent, thus offering superior cleaning and sanitation;
- They are very fast and efficient, with a complete cleaning cycle lasting around 30 minutes. The system will also automatically select the appropriate program depending on the shaver’s hygiene status;
- They are very quiet by using induction heat instead of a fan blowing hot air;
- The price of the cleaning cartridges is reasonable;
- The razor is squeaky clean, smells great and is fully charged all the time.
Everything is not perfect though; an unusual limitation of this cleaning station is that you must first clean the shaver manually of any foam before placing it into the station. Failing to do so will eventually clog the cleaning base.
This is highly inconvenient if you are going to use the 797cc with shaving cream; for this reason my recommendation is to buy a Panasonic Arc 4 or Arc 5 if you’re planning to shave regularly with cream or gel.
Overall, the 797cc represents a complete package that ticks pretty much all the boxes in terms of performance, comfort, quality and reliability.
3. Braun Series 7 790cc
Part of the usual suspects when it comes to lists of recommended shavers, the very popular Series 7 790cc is still a very relevant product in 2017. What makes this shaver still worth considering?
Well, pretty much all the things listed above for the 797cc — except the wet & dry operation part. The Series 7 790cc is an identical shaver but it lacks the ability to be used for wet shaving.
Depending on your personal preference and shaving routine, this drawback could be a non-issue. If you switched to electric shaving for the very reason on not having to deal with creams and gels, then this is the one for you.
Furthermore, it usually costs less than the 797cc and it’s still one of the best selling shavers worldwide. You can read our full review for all the details.
UPDATE JANUARY 2017:
As we’ve mentioned in our Braun Series 5 vs Series 7 article, due to the recent spike in the price of the Series 7 replacement cassettes, we actually recommend the new Series 5 as a better, cost-effective alternative to the Series 7.
The Braun Series 5090cc is an excellent dry only electric shaver that performs pretty much identical to the Series 7. Moreover, it offers a few improvements in the ergonomics and design departments.
4. Panasonic ARc 5 ES-LV61A
The Arc 5 line of electric shavers from Panasonic is a statement of the more is better mantra: more blades, more power, more features and… more money.
The ES-LV61-A is a powerhouse in pretty much all regards. Featuring a massive 5 blade shaving head, a very fast 14 000 CPM motor and high performance blades, this shaver can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
There are other newer Arc5 models, like the ES-LV65-S, but apart from a different design the performance is pretty much the same. The ES-LV61-A is my pick as it offers the best performance for the money.
Why should you buy it?
The closeness of the shave
In my personal experience, Panasonics gave the closest shave of any electric razor. I am of course referring to razors from different manufacturers that are similarly priced and specced. A top of the line shaver will always outperform an entry level shaver in terms of performance.
With that being said, the ES-LV61-A comes with Panasonic’s excellent 30 degrees nanoblades, which are notorious for their sharpness and effectiveness. This, coupled with a powerful motor and ultra thin foil will cut the hairs cleanly at the base; if the closeness of the shave if your main or only concern, the ES-LV61-A is as good as it gets.
Fast shaving times and efficiency
The 5 blades form a massive shaving head that will cut through a thick beard with ease. While the bulk of the head means it won’t be as agile as a Braun Series 7 for example, it will definitely be more efficient and faster. 14 000 CPM vs 10 000 and 5 vs 3 blades will provide a noticeable faster shaving time.
The Panasonic also comes with a built-in sensor that can detect beard density and adjust the power accordingly, further increasing its efficiency and thus requiring less passes.
Due to the high oscillating speed of the blades, the foil will get warm during use, but not to the point of causing serious discomfort. Speaking of which, the ES-LV61-A will provide a very comfortable shaving experience, but the Series 9 still remains the ultimate machine in terms of comfort.
It all comes down to your personal needs and whether do you want the best in terms of comfort or closeness.
The razor comes with a station for automatic cleaning and charging in the form of Panasonic ES-LV95-S. While it gets the job done without any problems, Braun offers a solution that is faster, quieter, more compact and overall better.
The Panasonic shaver is easier to clean manually as the foil and blades can be taken apart.
If your priorities are the closeness of the shave and fast shaving times, the Panasonic ES-LV61-A is the one to have.
5. Philips Norelco 9300
If you prefer rotary shavers, the Philips Norelco S9311/87 (Shaver 9300) represents in my opinion the optimal blend of performance, cost and features.
A worthy successor of the Series 8000
Being the shaver that replaces the popular Series 8000, it brings a host of incremental improvements that ultimately make this one an excellent product: better performance, cheaper replacement parts, easier to clean manually, excellent cleaning & charging station.
Another small, but very welcome improvement is that you can also charge it directly with the supplied cord, meaning that you no longer have to carry the bulky stand with you.
One of the key features that make the Norelco 9300 an excellent rotary shaver is the new design of the cutters; they can now move fully independent, helping to maintain contact with the skin and cut hairs more efficiently.
Furthermore, they can also be removed one by one for easy cleaning. While the price difference is not huge, they are also cheaper than the older RQ12 replacement heads.
Close and comfortable shaves
The performance of the 9300 is on par with the one offered by the more expensive rotary shavers; it effortlessly cuts the hairs close to the skin and does so with great comfort. It feels very light in the hand and needs no pressure applied in order to cut the hairs close to the skin.
The redesigned cutting heads do a great job at catching stray hairs on tricky areas like the jaw line and neck. I do find the three personalization modes to be of no real use as the Slow and Medium settings feel very slow and never felt the need to use them.
While I personally prefer foil shavers as they simply seem to get along better with my skin, the 9300 offers great features and performance at a relatively reasonable price for a top of the line shaver.
It is significantly cheaper compared to the 9700 (which comes with a fancy digital display that isn’t worth paying the extra money) and costs way less than the Norelco 8900 while offering similar performance.
In my opinion the Norelco 9300 really is the rotary shaver to have in 2017. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the Norelco 6100 is an excellent entry level razor.
What are the best budget shavers in 2017?
While the above listed shavers are packed full of really nice features and will provide excellent results, they aren’t exactly for the budget oriented buyer.
Let’s take a look at the ones we consider to be some of the best in terms of performance, comfort and, of course, value for money.
6. Panasonic ES-LA63-S
Featuring a 4 blade shaving head, powerful 14 000 CPM motor and a multi-flex pivoting head, the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 has all the traits of a premium product, but without the premium price tag.
Why should you buy it?
Fast, comfortable and close shaves
Panasonic’s fast linear motor, along with the 4 cutting elements (two main shaving foils, one slit foil for cutting long hairs and one finishing foil) make the ES-LA63-S a beast of shaver that will cut stubble with ease and very fast.
In addition to that, Panasonic fitted a secondary motor inside the shaving head to produce a series of micro-vibrations of the outer foil (similar to Braun’s pulsation technology). As a result, longer hairs that lie flat on the skin are lifted and cut to a more manageable length by the slit foil. The other foils will then cut the hairs at skin level.
The closeness of the shave doesn’t come at the expense of comfort; the shaver requires little pressure and the sharp blades and powerful motor ensure that no pulling or tugging will occur.
The duration of a shaving session will also be reduced compared to other less powerful shavers.
Apart from the excellent performance and features, the ES-LA63-S will be well suited for pretty much any situation.
It’s a great choice for men with sensitive skin, ingrown hairs or very coarse stubble.
The 4 blades provide plenty of cutting power, making it ideal for shaving the head as well.
It performs great as a daily shaver or with two to three days of growth. You can use it dry for the convenience or add a shaving cream for an even more enjoyable experience. Either way, the result is always a smooth, close shave.
You probably noticed that I didn’t mention anything about the cleaning station. That’s because there isn’t one. In order to keep the price low, a cleaning station wasn’t included with the ES-LA63-S.
However, since the foil and cutters can be completely removed, cleaning is dead easy and only requires a bit of liquid soap and rinsing under running tap water.
If you still want a cleaning station for this particular razor, you can get one with the more expensive Panasonic ES-LA93-K, which is basically an identical razor with a different color scheme.
7. Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4
In terms of cost and performance ratio, it’s really difficult to find an electric razor that is significantly better than the Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4.
By briefly looking over the specs you’ll see that it sports some of the features found on much more expensive shavers: 4 blade cutting assembly, 13 000 CPM motor, flexible pivoting head, 30 degrees hypoallergenic nanotech blades.
The shaver itself is very light, compact and offers excellent ergonomics. The rubber inserts from the sides provide a very secure grip, while the shaving head with its 4 blades has just the right size for a fast, but comfortable shave, be it wet or dry.
While the 13 000 CPM motor is not as powerful as the one found on the ES-LA63-S above, it still packs a lot of punch and coupled with the 4 very sharp blades it is one of the most capable razors in the $100 price range. It actually looks, feels and performs like a premium priced shaver.
As expected, the shaving performance is great and for many men the ES8243A is all the shaver they’ll ever need.
While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the more expensive shavers, it does all the basic things brilliantly.
It is an absolute best buy in my opinion: a great package offering excellent performance, reasonably priced and with low running costs. You can check out our in-depth review of the ES8243A here.
8. Philips Norelco 6100
Finally, there’s the 6100 from Philips Norelco which represents a great compromise in terms of price and performance if you prefer a budget friendly rotary razor.
The 6100 bridges the gap between Norelco’s basic shavers, like the 4100 and the more advanced ones (like the Series 7000).
With three independent shaving heads that can pivot tilt and inwards, the 6100 works best for shaving daily, providing close and irritation free shaves.
While the performance is not quite to the level of a Series 9000, the 6100 will still be good enough for most men. For the price you pay, it’s definitely one of the best rotary shavers. You can read our full review of the Philips Norelco 6100 here.
This completes our roundup of the best electric shavers for 2017. Hopefully you now have a starting point for buying your next razor that will suit you needs. This post will be constantly updated as more products are being reviewed and thoroughly tested.