Arguably Braun’s most successful electric shaver, the Series 7 has widely been regarded as the benchmark in terms of performance and comfort.
But with the latest iteration of the Series 5, you may wonder if the Series 7 is still the razor to have given that the Series 5 offers a few very compelling features of its own.
The Braun Series 5 vs 7 debate is multifaceted, but there are only a few aspects that should be strongly considered when trying to decide between the two.
In this article we’ll try to objectively present the things that one does better than the other and hopefully help you decide which one would be a better option for you.
A brief overview of the Braun Series 5 and Series 7
The Series 5 is Braun’s line of electric shavers that fills the gap between the company’s entry level Series 3 and the more advanced Series 7.
The current Series 5 shavers represent the third iteration since the line was launched and include several variations.
Here’s a quick overview of the Series 5 models:
- 5090cc (dry only, automatic Clean & Charge Station)
- 5070cc, 5050cc (dry only, basic automatic Clean & Charge Station)
- 5030s (dry only, no cleaning station)
- 5040s (wet & dry, no cleaning station)
The Series 7 was launched in 2010 and quickly became a best-seller. Its strongest assets over the competition were the unmatched comfort during use, excellent build quality and the best automatic cleaning system in the business.
The Series 7 line includes various models, available with or without an automatic cleaning station and also dry only/wet & dry models. Here are the most popular ones:
- 799cc (wet & dry, automatic Clean & Charge Station) [review]
- 797cc (wet &dry, automatic Clean & Charge Station, turbo mode)
- 740s (wet & dry, no cleaning station, black color scheme)
- 790cc (dry only, automatic Clean & Charge Station) [review]
- 760cc (same as the 790cc-4, with a black color scheme and a few missing features)
- 720cc (same as the 760cc-4, no cleaning station)
Apart from a few differences in color scheme, included accessories or minor features, the actual shaving performance throughout the Series 7 is identical. If you would like to read a comprehensive analysis of all the different shavers in the Series 7, check out this post.
The same is true for the Series 5, so I won’t be necessarily referring to specific models from the Series 5 or 7 in this article, but rather to the two lines as a whole.
Let’s now get to the differences between the Braun Series 5 and Series 7.
Braun Series 5 vs 7: closeness and comfort
We’re starting off with the shaving performance as it’s probably the part that interests the potential buyer the most.
Both the Series 5 and the Series 7 use a very similar shaving head comprised of three cutting elements: two foils for cutting the stubble close to the skin and one middle trimmer that is supposed to lift longer, flat lying hairs and cut them to a reasonable length for the foils to tackle.
The result is one of the most comfortable shaves of any electric razor. The closeness, while not quite to the level of a Panasonic Arc 5 for example, will likely be more than satisfactory for most men.
Moreover, if we look closely at the two shaving heads, they look almost identical and the Series 7 cassette even fits the Series 5 perfectly (however, I do not recommend using it in this manner).
Sonic technology (Series 7)
The first difference that could affect the closeness and comfort is the so called Sonic technology found on the Series 7.
According to Braun, 10000 micro-vibrations per minute are used to lift the hairs and shave more efficiently. However, in real world use, this makes little to no difference compared to the Series 5 (that lacks this feature).
Recommended: Braun Series 5 5090cc
The only noticeable difference is that the micro-pulsations make shaving with the Series 7 feel more like a gentle massage, which makes for a very enjoyable shaving experience.
However, this will not affect the actual closeness and the comfort to a significant degree.
The Series 7 also sounds and feels slightly faster. It produces a higher pitched sound which hints at a more powerful motor being fitted to the Series 7 razors. This will result in a slightly faster shaving time in the case of the Series 7.
Recommended: Braun Series 7 790cc
The Series 5 produces a lower frequency hum, but it seems subjectively louder than the Series 7. This is also accentuated by the powerful vibrations reported by many users. The Series 7 is more refined in this regard.
Personalization modes (Series 7)
The Series 7 shavers feature a personalization mode, which allows the user to choose between three settings: Sensitive, Normal and Intense. The newer models (like the 797cc or the 7865cc) have 5 settings. Choosing one is carried out by pressing the two buttons located just below the power button.
This allows you to alter the power output of the motor depending on the area you are about to shave. For example, you can choose the Sensitive mode for your neck. In practice, this again seems to make no real difference and it’s safe to say that it is just a marketing gimmick.
If you were to shave half your face with the Series 7 and the other half with the Series 5, the results will most likely be very similar, in terms of both comfort and closeness.
How you actually get to those results is a slightly different story, with the Series 7 having the edge in this regard as the shaving experience is more enjoyable and the time it takes to complete a shave is slightly shorter.
Build quality, design and ergonomics
The Series 5 incorporates Braun’s current design language that we first saw with the introduction of the new flagship shaver, the Series 9. These two shavers are actually quite similar in terms of design and size.
The Series 5 even tapers towards the bottom, again, just like the Series 9.
From an aesthetic perspective, the Series 5 is undoubtedly one of the best looking electric shavers. The sleek shape, along with the striking black, red and silver color scheme definitely make the razor look like a premium product.
Recommended: Braun Series 5 5090cc
Even though it is larger than the Series 7, the ergonomics of the shaver aren’t affected and it feels nicely balanced. The generous textured rubber insert ensures an excellent grip in any conditions.
The design of the Series 7 is understated and even a bit dull compared to the Series 5 and it’s beginning to show its age. That’s not to say that it looks bad. But side by side, the Series 5 stands out.
Having said that, the build quality of both shavers is very good and this is one of the things that Braun is renowned for.
However, there are a few important differences between them that will impact the ergonomics. Here they are:
Travel lock (Series 5)
Oddly, the Series 7 doesn’t feature a travel lock. There is no mean to physically deactivate the ON/OFF button. You could argue that it is very small and rather difficult to press, but that hardly counts as a travel lock.
Braun addressed this shortcoming with the Series 5 and you can activate the travel lock by pressing and holding the ON/OFF button for 3 seconds.
Better head locking mechanism (Series 5)
The shaving heads of both the Series 5 and 7 can move back and forth and they work really well for maintaining constant contact with the skin.
But there are situations where more precision is required, so the shavers offer the possibility of locking the head into a fixed position. When activated, it also lowers one of the two Optifoils to make the shaving head even slimmer, which is great for finesse work.
The switch is located on the front of the Series 5 and on the shaving head itself for the Series 7. However, the actual implementations of the locking mechanisms are different.
If you force the shaving head of the Series 7 after being locked into place, the mechanism can literally break. This is a quite common among Series 7 users and it’s even acknowledged by Braun. As a result, you must be extra careful when using it as the warranty won’t cover this type of damage.
The problem was addressed for the Series 5 and if excessive force is applied, the head will simply move and lock into a different position, with no damage done to the ratcheting mechanism.
Long hair trimmer: a mixed bag
Even if the hair trimmer on virtually all electric shavers can only be used for touch ups and light grooming, they are definitely useful.
The Series 5 and 7 both feature a hair trimmer, but the implementations are very different.
The one on the Series 5 is located on the back, just like the one on the Series 3 and 9. This positioning is very good in theory from an ergonomic standpoint, but unfortunately on the Series 5 it doesn’t extend beyond the shaving head and you can’t really see what you’re doing.
Removing the shaving cassette can get around this inconvenience.
The Series 7 has a pop-up trimmer located on the front of the shaver that sits perpendicular to the body of the shaver when deployed. And this solution also suffers from the same problem — as the shaving head obscures the trimmer. The same workaround of removing the cassette can be used here as well.
Regarding the actual performance of the trimmers on the Series 5 and 7, it’s satisfactory and on par with what you’ll get with most electric shavers. The one on the Series 7 seems to cut more efficiently and it’s also wider.
However, neither of the two is suitable for trimming your entire beard if you haven’t shaved for a longer period. It will take ages and probably won’t be an enjoyable experience.
LED display (Series 5)
The Series 5 also comes on top when it comes to displaying useful information, like remaining battery and hygiene status.
The display is clear, simple and very legible. It’s also conveniently placed on the front of the shaver.
The Series 7 has a circular LCD display awkwardly placed at the bottom on the razor. It’s very dim and difficult to read, especially in a darker room.
Cleaning and maintenance
As mentioned in the beginning of this Braun Series 5 vs 7 analysis, you can opt for a shaver that comes with or without an automatic cleaning station.
And while I don’t usually consider them to be necessary, especially in the case of easy to clean foil shavers, I will actually suggest going for a model that includes one in this case.
- Braun’s clean & charge stations are arguably the best in business
- They use an alcohol based solution which is superior to the detergent ones offered by other manufacturers
- The cleaning cartridges won’t increase the running costs by much
- A cassette is more difficult to clean manually than a conventional foil shaving head
- The cleaning cycles are short and quiet
- The solution also lubricates the foils and blades
With that said, the automatic clean & charge stations that come with the Series 5 and 7 have a few important differences.
Series 7: Clean & Charge station
First, the one included with the Series 7 is more compact. So if you have limited counter-top real estate, take this into account as well.
The Series 7 stations also use induction heat for drying the shaver after the cleaning cycle has ended. This ensures a completely silent and fast operation.
Recommended: Braun Series 7 790cc
Finally, the station looks subjectively better, especially compared to the one that comes with the Series 5 which has a rather cheap look.
Series 5: Clean & Charge station
Apart from being bulkier, the automatic cleaning system of the Series 5 uses a fan instead of a heating element. While it is pretty quiet compared to other stations that use a fan, it still produces noise.
However, the biggest drawback is that the drying phase takes three times longer compared to the Series 7 station that uses induction heat. The end result — a clean, sanitized, lubricated and fully charged shaver — is still the same.
It’s worth mentioning that only the 5090cc in the Series 5 comes with a station that analyses the hygiene status and selects one of the three cleaning modes accordingly (short, normal, high intensity) like the one in the Series 7. The other two, namely the 5070cc and the 5050cc only have one standard cleaning program.
Recommended: Braun Series 5 5090cc
Another minus for the Series 5 is the lack of a wet & dry shaver available with a cleaning station. So if you plan on using your electric razor with a shaving cream, your only option is the Series 7 799cc or other wet & dry Series 7 variant as the Series 5 only offers dry only shavers with a clean & charge base.
Price and running costs
As expected, the Series 5, being the lower end product, costs less. The difference in price compared to a similarly specced Series 7 (for example a Series 5 5090cc vs a Series 7 790cc) is actually not that large.
So when it comes strictly to the initial investment, you can’t really say that you’re making significant savings by going for the Series 5.
Things are different though in the case of the replacement shaving heads (cassettes).
The price for the cassettes compatible with the Series 7 has seen a big spike lately; as a result, they cost more than double the price of a Series 5 cassette. And we’re talking about parts that are almost identical in design and performance.
This is where the Series 5 starts to seriously become the better option.
Recommended: Braun Series 5 5090cc
While the Series 7 has the edge in terms of performance and cleaning stations, but only slightly, the cost savings implied by the lower price of the Series 5 and especially by the inexpensive replacement cassettes can tip the scales in its favor.
Braun Series 5 vs 7: when should you choose one over the other?
Choosing between a Series 5 and a Series 7 can be difficult. And even more so when dealing with shavers that offer similar performance, but also have pros and cons.
Both the Series 5 and 7 are two excellent choices that are able to provide some of the most comfortable shaves. And this comes without a significant trade-off in the closeness of the shave, which still remains more than adequate.
You’ll likely be very satisfied with the end results by choosing either of them. My advice would be to simply go for the one that would suit you better considering the pros and cons presented in detail above.
Personally, I would go for the Series 5 if I was looking to buy a dry only electric razor; the reasons for this are simple: it’s cheaper to buy and to run and it offers pretty much the same performance as a Series 7.
If however I would want a razor that can also be used with a shaving cream, the Series 7 would be my pick. And that’s solely because the Series 5 5040s wet & dry variation doesn’t have a cleaning station.
And like I said, with the Series 5 or 7 you’ll probably want the cleaning station too.
Manually cleaning either of the two is fiddly and it takes away some of the fuss-free awesomeness of using an electric shaver. Having to remove hair clippings, dirt and dried shaving cream from an encapsulated shaving head is not something to look forward to.
I truly enjoy wet shaving with an electric shaver, so the Series 7 799cc would be the best option for me. The superior cleaning station of the Series 7 is also a bonus. However, given the recent surge in the replacement heads price for the Series 7, I would seriously consider looking for an alternative.
Regarding the Braun Series 5 vs 7 decision, here are a few general guidelines to help you make a pick.
Choose the Series 5 if
- You want the best value for money and low costs of ownership
- The larger cleaning unit and longer cleaning cycles are not an issue
- You’re not bothered by the strong vibrations of shaver during use
- Ergonomics and aesthetics are important
- You want a dry only electric shaver
Choose the Series 7 if
- You want the fastest and quietest cleaning unit
- You want the more refined shaver and the extra costs implied by the more expensive replacement parts are not a constraint
- You’ll be using the shaver with a shaving cream. The Series 5 shavers that come with a cleaning station are suitable for dry shaving only.