Since the launch of Braun’s new flagship shaver, the Series 9, there’s been quite a dilemma in the electric shaving community: should you pick the latest and greatest Series 9 or is the Series 7 still good enough?
Having tested both, in this article we’ll tackle the Braun Series 7 vs 9 comparison and try to present all the relevant aspects in an unbiased manner.
Moreover, we’ll see when you should choose one over the other and if it’s worth the upgrade for current Series 7 users.
Let’s get started!
Different models in a series, same performance
Before diving into the meaty details, it’s important to note that both the Series 7 and Series 9 are available in different variations.
These include models suitable for dry only use (like the Series 7 790cc or the Series 9 9090cc), for wet & dry use (Series 7 797cc, Series 9 9290cc) and they can also come with or without a cleaning station.
Some models can have different names or color scheme depending on where they’re being sold.
What really matters is that all the models in a series, be it 7 or 9, have identical shaving performance and selecting one variation over another simply comes down to your personal needs and budget.
For this reason I won’t be necessarily referring to specific models from the Series 7 or the Series 9, but rather to a series as a whole.
Since their original release, both the Series 7 and 9 have been updated and new models were introduced.
The newer Series 7 models start with 78; for example, 7865cc, 7893s etc.
Braun Series 7 7865cc [new]
The updated Series 9 shavers use the 92xx naming scheme (9290cc, 9293s etc). The older models used the 90xx format (9095cc, 9093s etc).
Braun Series 9 9290cc [new]
However, most of these updates were minor and didn’t improve the shaving performance to a significant degree. The most important addition is that all the newer shavers are now suitable for wet & dry use.
If you would like to read more details about all the different shavers in the Series 7 and Series 9 you can check out the links below:
Braun Series 7 vs 9: shaving performance
There are many things to consider when deciding which electric razor would suit you the best.
However, most of us will agree that shaving performance is probably the most important one, so we’ll start this Braun Series 7 vs 9 debate by looking at three aspects: closeness, comfort and speed.
The Series 7 was and still is a very popular electric shaver. One of the main reasons for its massive success was the definitely the shaving performance.
The high quality micro-foil, machined with great precision, as well as the sharp blades and specially designed middle trimmer made the Series 7 one of the best electric razors of its time, capable of providing smooth and close shaves.
Braun Series 7 790cc
For most men, the closeness provided by the Series 7 should easily be good enough.
The difference between shaving one side of your face with the Series 7 and the other one with the Series 9 will be negligible in the majority of cases, maybe with a slight advantage for the Series 9.
However, I will say that getting a close shave with the Series 9 requires less effort from your part as it feels faster and more powerful.
The Series 7 was for many years the benchmark in terms of comfort. As far as electric shavers go, it was arguably the best choice for men with sensitive skin.
The micro-pulsations made shaving with the Series 7 feel more like a gentle massage, while the shaving head remained reasonably cool during use, further increasing the comfort of the shave.
It’s worth mentioning that the Series 7 has 3 or 5 speed settings that allow you to alter the power output from low (sensitive) to high intensity.
In practice the lower speed settings just make the shaver feel slow.
Since the Series 7 is already very gentle to the skin, I recommend using the high intensity mode at all times.
With the new Series 9 Braun got rid of the speed settings but still managed to take comfort one notch higher.
With a more powerful motor and an improved design of the shaving head, the comfort during the shave is outstanding.
The Series 9 remains perfectly cool during the shave, being extremely gentle to the skin. I’ve tested dozens of electric shavers and this one is without a doubt the most forgiving and comfortable of them all.
Even men with blemish prone skin will be perfectly fine using a Series 9.
The redesigned shaving head, with an additional trimmer that lifts flat lying hairs, mows through the stubble with ease, reducing the number of passes and minimizing the risk of irritation and razor burn.
The Series 9 takes the lead and is the new reference in terms of comfort, although not by much as the Series 7 was already an excellent razor in this regard.
While the Series 9 marginally beats the Series 7 in the comfort department, it’s the clear winner when it comes to fast shaving sessions and sheer cutting power.
Being practically a beefed up Series 7, with more power and more cutting elements, the Series 9 shaves effortlessly even a two or three day beard and does so extremely fast.
Even if you have very coarse facial hair, the Series 9 will have no trouble in providing a very smooth and fast shave. If quick, effortless shaving is what you’re after, then the Series 9 is likely a better choice.
The flexing capabilities of the Series cutting assembly 9 is also a definite improvement over the Series 7.
The movement of the cutting elements and of the swiveling of the whole shaving head are buttery smooth and ensure constant contact with the skin.
The Series 9 is arguably one of the best foil shavers in this regard and it will work perfectly fine even when shaving tricky areas like underneath your jaw line.
Braun’s implementation of specialized elements for capturing longer, flat lying hairs that also grow in different directions is top notch.
The two middle trimmers on the Series 9 just work better than anything used on other foil shavers.
While the Series 7 was pretty good with longer hairs, the Series 9 is even better and will easily get those stray, wiry hairs that would normally require repetitive strokes and make your shaving sessions longer.
Winner: the Braun Series 9.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Series 7 set a high standard for build quality and ergonomics. It was a sample of what made Braun world famous for its simple, innovative and user centered design solutions.
The Series 7 has a more understated design and looks a bit lackluster in comparison to the Series 9. It also features a matte treatment for the plastic surfaces.
The construction however feels very solid and the chunky body contributes to this feeling as well.
The generous use of rubberized material on the back and on the sides ensures a fantastic grip.
Being around for quite a while, the design of the Series 7 has sort of become a classic. While there are a few notorious problems with it (I’ll get to them shortly), it’s a tried and tested design that stood the test of time very well.
The new Series 9 is not really a clear advancement with regards to build quality. The body of the razor is made entirely out of plastic and most models have a glossy finish.
The Series 9 9290cc Silver has matte, frosted treatment that will handle smudges and fingerprints better.
While there isn’t anything wrong with plastic, I would have expected the use of metal for such a premium product, especially on the shaving head.
The high gloss finish on some Series 9 models is a fingerprint magnet and it’s impossible to maintain smudge-free. The glossy plastic will also begin to tarnish in time.
For these reasons I actually prefer the frosted treatment used on the silver Series 9 9290cc.
There’s a black version of the Series 9 as well, but it’s not available in the US.
The shaver itself is larger than the Series 7, but this doesn’t affect the ergonomics in a negative way; it still feels nicely balanced and lightweight in the hand, with the rubber inserts on the back providing a very secure grip.
The shaving head of the Series 7 is noticeably smaller and feels more nimble when shaving tricky spots, like the area above the upper lip or around a goatee.
The Series 9 is bulkier and takes some getting used to, but that’s the downside of having an extra cutting element.
The pop-up trimmers on both are pretty average in my experience. While the positioning and ergonomics are not bad, they just don’t work as well as the ones on Panasonic shavers.
They are adequately wide, but the curved profile is a minus in my opinion. For long hair trimmers a straight edge just works better.
Secondly, you must hold the trimmer at a sharp angle in order to cut the hairs efficiently. Otherwise you’ll have to go over an area multiple times to get all the hairs.
The trimmer on the Series 7 is located on the front and sits perpendicular to the shaver when extended. The one on the Series 9 extends from the back and marginally passes the shaving head.
Both will get the job done, but again, neither is particularly good.
The Series 7 had a notorious problem with the head locking mechanism that was very poorly implemented.
As some unfortunate Series 7 owners have found out, if you locked the head for more precision and then forgot and tried to move it, the locking mechanism would simply break.
This was a well known issue and was even acknowledged by Braun, but they didn’t really do anything about it.
With the Series 9 this problem was finally addressed and the shaving head would simply snap into a different position (there are 5 of them) if you apply more pressure.
Other improvements in the ergonomics department include the addition of a travel lock — the Series 7 doesn’t have one — and an improved LED display.
The Series 7, even the newer models like the 7865cc use an LCD display on the bottom of the shaver that’s a bit confusing and not particularly useful.
Winner: Tie. It’s pretty tough to pick a winner in this category as both have their pros and cons. The Series 7 feels less plasticky, while the Series 9 improves a few key aspects of its predecessor.
Purchase price and cost of ownership
This is a rare case in the Braun Series 9 vs 7 confrontation where the winner is pretty clear: the Series 7 takes the lead when it comes to value for money.
Braun Series 7 790cc
The price of the Series 9 models has dropped since the introduction of the line, but you’ll still have to pay more to get one.
Braun Series 9 9290cc
We’re interested in 2 aspects here: purchase price and running costs.
At the moment of writing, the price of a Series 7 is lower compared to its Series 9 counterpart. Given the fact that it’s an older model, the price will probably go down even more as time passes.
The running costs imply new shaving heads (called cassettes) and cleaning cartridges (only for the cc models that come with a Clean & Renew station). Since the cleaning cartridges are the same, the only difference in running costs is made by the replacement heads.
The price of the Series 7 replacement cassettes is noticeable lower than the original 90s/90b Series 9 shaving heads (these were discontinued and replaced by the newer 92s/92b cassettes).
Braun supposedly uses a different manufacturer for the newer 92s/92b shaving heads. This likely has something to do with various users reporting a premature failure of the older 90s and 90b cassettes that were used on the original Series 9 models, like the 9090cc or 9095cc.
These problems were most likely solved with the updated 92s/92b shaving heads.
Braun Series 7 70s/70b shaving head
The updated replacement shaving heads for the Series 9, called the 92s/92b, are backwards compatible with all Series 9 models, feature a titanium coated middle trimmer and are actually more reasonably priced, but they still cost more than the ones for the Series 7.
Braun Series 9 92s/92b shaving head
If you’re on a tighter budget and want to reduce your running costs as much as possible, then the Series 7 is the better choice.
Winner: the Braun Series 7.
Cleaning and maintenance
I don’t recommend buying an electric razor that comes a cleaning station unless they’re absolutely necessary, especially since foil shavers are usually very easy to clean manually.
However, I will admit that Braun’s cleaning stations are some of the best in the industry and I actually suggest you opt for a model that comes with one, be it a Series 7 or a Series 9.
The reasons are quite simple. For starters, it’s a really great cleaning station. The cartridges use an alcohol based solution that does an excellent job sanitizing and cleaning the shaver.
The solution also act as a lubricant, so there’s no need for any additional lubrication of the shaver if you use the cleaning station regularly.
Secondly, Braun’s shaving heads can’t be taken apart, so a manual, thorough clean is more difficult and time consuming. A cleaning station is genuinely useful in this case.
Both the Series 7 and the Series 9 can be bought with or without a cleaning & charging station.
The models that don’t include one cost less, but I think it’s worth paying more for the added convenience of the cleaning base.
The stations that come with the Series 7 and 9 work in a similar manner and use the same cleaning cartridges, but they are different. That means you won’t be able to use your Series 7 razor with a Series 9 station or the other way around.
The cleaning station of the Series 9 has a more simplified, almost minimalist user interface that allows you to charge and clean the shaver with only one button.
However, a downside compared to the one of some Series 7 models is related to the drying cycle of the cleaning process.
Precisely, the station that comes with the older Series 7 models (790cc, 799cc etc) uses induction heating to dry the shaving head and this process is completely silent and only takes around 20 minutes. The Series 9 station on the other hand uses a fan to dry the shaving head.
The station included with the newer Series 7 shavers like the 7865cc doesn’t have any active drying system, which basically means that the moisture will naturally evaporate over the course of several hours.
This is not a huge deal breaker, but definitely a cost reduction measure from Braun with the newer Series 7.
UPDATE: Braun stopped making the Series 7 stations that feature induction heating altogether, even for older Series 7 models like the 790cc. All the Series 7 cleaning stations currently being manufactured lack any active drying systems.
The cleaning base of the Series 9 uses a fan to dry the head of the shaver and while it is relatively silent (compared to other cleaning stations that use a fan), it takes almost three times longer to dry the razor compared to induction heating — around 40 minutes, but still way ahead of the competition.
On the plus side, the fan does seem to dry the shaver better than induction heating.
Using the s (solo) models with a cleaning station: Series 7 vs Series 9
It’s worth mentioning that a Series 7 s shaver that doesn’t include a cleaning station (like the 7893s, 740s etc) will actually work with a Series 7 station, while the Series 9 s models (9293s etc) will not work.
That’s because the Series 7 s (solo) models actually include the special chip found on the cc variations to communicate with the stations. The Series 9 s variations don’t have these components and won’t work with the corresponding cleaning stations.
Braun Series 7 vs 9: Who should buy which?
Now that we’ve gone through all the important aspects of the Braun Series 7 vs 9, let’s see the situations where one would be more suitable than the other.
You should buy the Series 9 if you:
- Want the absolute best in terms of shaving comfort and closeness and your budget is not really a concern
- Have very sensitive, irritation prone skin
- Need an electric razor that shaves extremely fast
- Have very coarse facial hair
- Shave irregularly, even every two to three days
- Have wiry facial hair that tends to lie flat on the skin and grow in different directions
The Series 9 9290cc with the updated shaving head currently represents the best option in my opinion.
It’s suitable for wet & dry use, comes with the automatic cleaning station and it generally costs less than other similar Series 9 variations. Again, the shaving performance is the same throughout the entire range.
You can read my full review of the Series 9 9290cc here.
You should buy the Series 7 if you:
- Want the best compromise in terms of performance, comfort and costs
- Shave mostly daily or every other day
- Have sensitive skin and moderate to thick facial hair
If I were to weigh in on this matter, I would say that the Braun Series 7, regardless of its variations, would be perfectly fine for most men. My picks would be the 790cc for shaving dry or the 797cc/799cc for wet/dry use.
Another worthy alternative would be the new Series 7 7865cc. Yes, the lack of induction heating is a minus, but it’s not a huge deal and the price is generally lower compared to other models that come with a cleaning base.
Braun Series 7 7865cc
As I said in the beginning, the actual shaving performance is identical throughout the entire Series 7 line, but these particular models are usually the most reasonably priced.
However, you could of course opt for a Series 9 if you can get a great deal on one and the price difference compared to the corresponding Series 7 models is not significant.
Series 7 owners: is it worth the upgrade to a Series 9?
If you already have a Series 7 and you’re wondering whether you should upgrade to a Series 9, the decision should be pretty straight forward.
If you’re currently satisfied with your Series 7, then the upgrade won’t be a significant improvement in terms of comfort or closeness. Definitely not to the extent of justifying the price difference.
The Series 9 will shave faster and you’ll likely see a difference in the time it takes to complete a shave, especially if you have a very thick beard and shave less often. But that’s about it.
However, if you don’t find the Series 7 to shave as close, as comfortable or as fast as you’d like, then upgrading to a Series 9 is the more sensible decision.
How significant will the upgrade to a Series 9 be? Well, that really depends on your beard type and the shaving habits outlined previously.
There’s really not a clear winner in this Braun Series 7 vs 9 battle when you consider all the facets of the problem.
Regardless of your decision, you can’t really go wrong with any of the two as both the Series 7 and the Series 9 are arguably some of the best electric shavers you can buy today.
If you have any other questions make sure to post them in the comments below.