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?
In this article we’ll tackle the Braun Series 7 vs 9 topic and try to objectively address all the relevant aspects. Moreover, we’ll see when you should choose one over the other and if it’s worth the upgrade for current Series 7 owners.
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 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 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 [updated]
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 shaving time.
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.
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’s significantly more powerful and also faster.
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.
The Series 9 remains perfectly cool during the shave, being extremely gentle to the skin.
Even men with blemish prone skin will be perfectly fine using the 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.
The Series 9 is the new reference in terms of comfort, although not by much as the Series 7 was already an excellent razor in this regard.
3. Shaving time
While the Series 9 marginally beats the Series 7 in the closeness and comfort departments, it’s the clear winner when it comes to shaving time and sheer 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 speed and 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.
Winner: the Braun Series 9.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Series 7 set a very 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 new Series 9 is not really a clear advancement in this regard. 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 better smudges and fingerprints.
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 older Series 7 actually uses metal for this part.
The Series 7 has more understated design and looks a bit dull in comparison to the Series 9. It also features a matte treatment of the plastic surfaces.
The high gloss finish of the Series 9 is a fingerprint magnet and it’s impossible to keep it smudge-free. The glossy plastic will also begin to tarnish in time.
For these reasons I actually prefer the frosted treatment used on the 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 definitely smaller and feels more nimble when shaving tricky areas, 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 trimmer on the Series 9 is definitely better; its positioning and operation are a clear improvement over the one found on the Series 7.
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 you applied more force, the head locking mechanism would simply break.
This was a well known potential problem and was even acknowledged by Braun. With the Series 9 this issue was finally addressed and the shaving head will simply snap into a different position (there are 5 of them) when you apply more pressure.
Other improvements in the ergonomics department include the addition of a travel lock and an improved LED display. The Series 7 used a very dim LCD display on the bottom of the shaver that was hard to see in a darker room.
Winner: Tie. It’s pretty tough to pick a winner in this category as both have their pros and cons. The Series 7 uses metal for the shaving head, while the Series 9 improves certain 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 cheaper than the original 90s/90b Series 9 shaving heads (these were, as far as I know, 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 definitely the better choice.
Winner: the Braun Series 7.
Cleaning and maintenance
I don’t usually recommend buying an electric razor with a cleaning station as I don’t consider them to be absolutely necessary, especially for foil shavers which are for the most part 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 definitely 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 station.
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 for Series 9 has a more simplified, almost minimalist user interface that allows you to charge and clean the shaver with only one button.
However, the real downside compared to the one of the Series 7 is related to the drying cycle of the cleaning process.
The older model that comes with the Series 7 uses induction heat for drying the shaving head and this process is completely silent and only takes a mind-blowing 15 minutes.
The new base of the Series 9 uses a fan 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 — around 40 minutes, still way ahead of the competition.
On the plus side, the fan does seem to dry the shaver better than induction heat.
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 scenarios 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
The Series 9 9290cc with the updated shaving head 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 Series 9 variations. Again, the shaving performance is the same.
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 for wet/dry use.
As I said in the beginning, the actual shaving performance is identical throughout the Series 7 line, but these particular models are usually the most reasonably priced.
However, I would suggest you to go for a Series 9 if it’s a great deal and the price difference compared to the corresponding Series 7 model 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. 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 be? Well, that really depends on your beard type and the shaving habits outlined above.
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, in 2016 Braun rolled out an update to the Series 9, mainly consisting in a titanium coated trimmer, wet & dry use for all variations and a new color scheme.
However, the shaving performance remains identical compared to the original Series 9. You can check out this article for an in-depth comparison between the two.
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.