The Series 5 from Braun is a mid-range line of electric shavers that fills the gap between the entry-level Series 3 and the best-selling Series 7 shavers.
However, if we consider the performance and the overall capabilities of the Series 5, they are a whole lot closer to the Series 7 than the Series 3.
Add to this the fact that the Series 5 costs less than the Series 7 and is actually better in certain areas and we have the recipe for a very compelling package.
Moreover, the current generation has received an update, making it even more difficult for the potential buyer to decide which model would be right for him.
In this post we’ll take a close look at all the differences between the various models and see which ones represent the best options with regards to price and performance.
A short overview of the Series 5
The current Series 5 from Braun is actually the third generation since the introduction of this line. Some of the previous (discontinued) models — like the 550cc — can still be found, but in this article we will only be referring to the current generation.
You can easily tell the current shavers apart from the older ones as they use a 4 letter template for the model names: 50** or 51**.
The 51** shavers are actually part of a small update of the current line that Braun refers to as the Series 5². More on this in the next section.
The Series 5 is a foil shaver that features a cutting block with three individual elements, just like the Series 7. It is available with or without a cleaning station and includes variations suitable for wet & dry or dry only use.
Just like other Braun shavers, the ones that include a cleaning station are the CC models (standing for Clean & Charge), like the 5090cc.
Braun Series 5 5090cc
The S models like the wet & dry 5040s don’t come with an automatic cleaning station and will not work with one.
The Braun Series 5 is an electric shaver capable of providing very comfortable and close shaves, similar to the more expensive and highly acclaimed Series 7.
While the Series 5 lacks the micro-pulsations technology and personalization modes found on the Series 7, this doesn’t seem to make a significant difference in real life use.
The shaving head of the Series 5 is almost identical to the one used by the Series 7, but it costs less.
Moreover, since the shaver itself is also priced lower, has a better head locking mechanism and a better display, I would even say that the Series 5 represents a better option for most men.
And that’s quite something since the Series 7 was and still is to some degree the unofficial benchmark for comfort and it gained some sort of iconic status.
The updated Series 5²
Braun recently rolled out an update for the current Series 5 shavers, called the Series 5².
The updated models are not yet available for purchase, but after taking a close look at their specifications it’s obvious that this is — for the most part — just a minor makeover.
The updated models are easy to spot as they use the 51** names (for example, 5197cc) instead of the 50** used by the current Series 5 (like the 5090cc).
Just like the updates to the Series 7 and 9, this is also an attempt at unifying the line and making it less confusing for the user to choose a shaver.
For example, all the newer models are now suitable for wet & dry use and Braun even ditched the model names from the official product pages. They are only referred to as Braun Series 5 black or Braun Series 5 black/blue. The model names still appear on the packaging.
The Series 5² shavers still use the same shaving heads as the current ones and I have no reason to believe that the actual shaving performance is anything but identical.
The changes are cosmetic for the most part and include new sleek color schemes and different packaging. The included accessories can differ as well. For example, some models don’t include a soft travel pouch.
Other visual changes are the S5 and Wet & Dry text on the front fascia of the shaver and a new 3 level battery display indicator.
The new Series 5² shavers are credited with a 50 minute battery running time, while the current ones last for 45 minutes. It’s very difficult to say if they actually use higher capacity batteries or Braun simply changed their testing methodology. A 5 minute difference is not significant.
Probably the most important feature of the updated shavers in the so called AutoSense Technology.
With this new addition, the shaver is capable of reading your beard’s density and adjust the output of the motor accordingly: less power for shaving thin hairs and more for dense beards.
In theory, this sounds good; however, in real life use, it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
Having used various shavers with this type of technology, including Panasonics and Braun’s very own Series 7 with its personalization modes, I very much prefer shaving with full on power at all times.
Artificially altering the power output just makes the shaver feel slow without any benefits to comfort or efficiency.
For these reasons I don’t consider the updated models to be a clear step up from the current Series 5.
Below you’ll find a table with all the differences between the Braun Series 5 and Series 5² models.
Braun Series 5 comparison: what are the differences between the most popular models?
Currently, there are 3 models available in the USA: 5090cc, 5040s, 5030s. As seen in the previous section, Braun also rolled out an update to this generation (designated by the 51** model names), but those aren’t available yet.
I will update this post once I can get one and have it tested thoroughly.
I will say it right off the bat: as far as performance is concerned, all the current Series 5 models are identical. Choosing one particular model should simply come down to the following factors:
- Whether you need an automatic cleaning station or not
- Wet & dry operation
- Color scheme
- Included accessories
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Automatic cleaning station
Braun’s clean & charge stations work excellent; they use an alcohol based cleaning solution that cleans and lubricates the shaver and does so extremely well.
The ones that come with the Series 5 are no exception and since Braun’s shaving heads are notoriously more difficult to clean manually compared to other foil shavers, you’ll probably want the cleaning station as well.
Out of all the models from the current Series 5 that come with a cleaning station, the 5090cc is the only one that has a full option cleaning base, including the hygiene analysis and three cleaning modes (short, normal, high intensity).
Braun Series 5 5090cc
For more details you can check out the full review of the 5090cc here.
The other ones (5070cc, 5050cc) only have one standard cleaning program. These models are only available in certain countries.
The shavers in the Series 5² use the same cleaning station as the 5090cc with the 3 cleaning modes.
As for the downsides, the alcohol based solution tends to evaporate fast, so you’ll want to put the plastic cap back on the cartridge if you won’t be using it for a long time.
The stations that come with the Series 5 lack the active drying systems of the more expensive Series 7 and 9 stations (induction heating or a fan). This means that once the cleaning cycle is over, it will take several hours for the shaving head to dry.
Also, while the cost per cleaning is not that high, it is higher compared to Panasonic or Philips Norelco as their detergent based solution seems to last longer before needing to be replaced.
Braun cleaning cartridge
The current wet/dry Series 5 variations (5040s) can’t be bought with a cleaning station, so if you want to use shaving cream or gel with your shaver you’ll be forced to clean it manually.
Even in the case of the updated Series 5 like the 5197cc or the 5190cc that are suitable for wet/dry use you’ll still have to clean manually any lather or soap residues before placing the shaver into the cleaning station.
If you fail to do so the cleaning station will eventually clog. Because of this limitation and the fact that pretty much all Braun shavers are fiddly to clean manually, the Series 5 is not the best option if you plan on shaving with cream or gel.
Panasonic and Philips Norelco are much better options for wet shaving. Stick to Braun for dry shaving.
In my opinion the Series 5 5090cc (dry only) is probably the best option for most men; it comes with the full-fledged cleaning station and is also very reasonably priced. I will say it again, the actual shaving performance is identical throughout the entire Series 5 line.
2. Wet & dry use
As mentioned previously, using a Series 5 with shaving cream will always imply a manual cleaning, even in the case of the recently released wet & dry models that include the cleaning station.
If this isn’t an issue, then you can opt for the 5040s variation as it’s currently the only one that’s available.
Braun Series 5 5040s
The models that don’t include a cleaning station usually cost less, but that’s not always the case.
The 5040s has a 2 level battery indicator compared to 3 or 5 on the 5090cc and can’t be used while the shaver is plugged to the mains.
This is a safety precaution that’s present with all wet & dry shavers. The dry only models like the 5090cc can also be used when charging via the cord.
Price is another factor you should be taking into account when trying to decide which Series 5 to buy.
If you can find a good deal for a particular Series 5 variation that is suitable to your needs (for example the inclusion of a cleaning station or wet/dry operation) you can go right ahead and buy it.
Which brings me back to the 5090cc that can usually be found at an excellent price and in my opinion it is an absolute best buy.
Since all the Series 5 use the same replacement shaving heads (called cassettes) and the same cleaning cartridges for the stations, the only variable is the price of the shaver itself.
Speaking of the replacement shaving heads, the 52s (silver) and 52b (black), the price you’ll have to pay for replacing them is very reasonable.
Braun Series 5 52S
The blades and foils blocks cost less than the ones needed for the Series 7, 9 or similarly priced Panasonic shavers, like the Arc 4.
As a result, the Series 5 offers excellent value for money.
4. Color scheme
While I never considered color to be a decisive factor when buying an electric shaver, it can be more or less important to some.
In my opinion, the Braun Series 5 is (in its current form) one of the better looking electric shavers out there.
I particularly like the hefty appearance that goes perfectly with the black color scheme. The red or blue accents really pop and again, work great together.
It seems like a lot of thought has been put into the design of the Series 5 to make it not only function good, but also look good.
The various Series 5 models are only available in black with a splash of blue, red or silver in certain parts. The shaving head has either a black or a silver finish.
The black & blue color scheme of the wet/dry 5040s or the updated 5197cc and 5190cc looks the best in my opinion.
5. Included accessories
Apart from the automatic cleaning station that comes only with the CC models, the included accessories can vary slightly between the different Series 5 shavers.
For example, the 5090cc is the only one that comes with a hard travel case. All the other ones only include a soft pouch that offers little to no protection in case of mechanical shocks.
Moreover, the 5190cc and the 5140s from the updated series don’t even include the soft pouch. On the other hand, all of the Series 5 models come with a plastic protection cap except for the 5090cc.
All the Series 5 and Series 5² shavers include a cleaning brush and a charging cord.
Unfortunately, a small bottle of lubricant is not included. That would have been a welcome addition, particularly for the S models that don’t have the cleaning station.
The CC models also include a cartridge for the automatic cleaning station.
Below you’ll find a table with the included accessories for the various Series 5 models.
|Model||Hard travel case||Soft pouch||Plastic cap|
|Series 5 5090cc|
|Series 5 5040s|
|Series 5 5030s|
|Series 5² 5197cc|
|Series 5² 5190cc|
|Series 5² 5147s|
|Series 5² 5140s|
Which one should you buy?
When it comes to actually buying a Series 5, there are only a few things that really matter: the cleaning station, wet & dry operation and the price.
The rest of things that vary throughout the Series 5 line are not that important and, again, won’t affect the performance of the shavers or provide any particular benefits.
The newer models that were introduced — 5197cc, 5190cc, 5147s and 5140s — don’t really bring any significant improvements over the 50** shavers.
If you already own a Series 5, an upgrade to Series 5² is not justified. Also, if you plan on buying a Series 5 and you’re on the fence on whether to wait for the updated models to be available, again it’s not worth doing it.
If a certain model looks like a good fit for your needs — for example it comes with a cleaning station and is suitable for dry only use — then that’s pretty much all there is to it.
The 5090cc is one of the more popular Series 5 as most men will probably shave dry anyway; the convenience of a cleaning station is also very appealing.
Braun Series 5 5090cc
But let’s see how it compares to the other available Series 5 shavers.
Braun Series 5 5090cc vs 5040s
Here are the main differences between the two:
- The 5090cc includes the automatic cleaning station. The 5040s does not.
- The 5090cc is suitable for dry use only, while the 5040s can be used wet or dry.
- The 5090cc comes with a hard travel case; the 5040s comes with a soft pouch.
- The 5090cc features a black, red and silver color scheme, while the 5040s is black with blue accents.
- The 5090cc features a 5 level battery display, while the 5040s’ display only has a 2.
How do they shave? Exactly the same. The 5090cc would be the best option in the majority of cases, while the 5040s should be considered if you plan on using shaving cream and don’t mind cleaning the shaver manually.
Braun Series 5 5040s vs 5030s
- The 5040s is a wet & dry electric shaver, while the 5030s can only be used for dry shaving.
- The 5040s features a black & blue color scheme, while the 5030s uses blue for the accents.
- The 5040s has a 2 level battery indicator, while the 5030s has 3.
- The 5040s lasts for 45 minutes with a fully charged battery, while the 5030s should last for 50 minutes.
Braun Series 5 5030s
Which one should you buy? Well, if you need wet/dry capabilities then the 5040s is the one to have. If you don’t then you should pay a bit more and go for the 5090cc instead; it’s basically a 5030s with a cleaning station and a hard travel case.
At least at this moment, the price difference between the 5090cc and the 5030s is marginal.
The Series 5 from Braun should definitely be considered by anyone looking for a high quality foil shaver that doesn’t have a premium price tag.
In my opinion the Series 5 is the entry point to Braun’s high quality shavers and a huge step up from the entry-level Series 3.
With all the available variations, it can be time consuming to weed out all the marketing fluff and get to the actual details and features that matter.
Hopefully this post has managed to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the Series 5. If you have any other questions make sure to post them in the comments section below.