Braun Series 9 Original vs Updated Version: what are the differences?

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Braun launched the Series 9 in 2015 as the company’s new flagship. The shaver was highly anticipated worldwide and it pretty much delivered on the promises, even though not without the usual drawbacks.

Oddly, just one year after the big launch, Braun issued an apparently minor update to the Series 9 that caused a lot of fuss and confusion.

To make matters worse, at that time a lot of outrage emerged among existing Series 9 users as the replacement cassettes were nowhere to be found.

In this post we’ll address all the important aspects of the old and updated Series 9 and hopefully clear up the confusion and help you make the right decision.

Braun Series 9 models: what are the differences between the original and updated shavers?

If you’re trying to decide between something like the Braun 9295 vs 9095 or 9290 vs 9090, this section should come in handy.

Both generations can be easily identified as they use a consistent naming convention.

The models in the older series use the 90xx template. For example, the Series 9 for the American market are 9090cc, 9095cc, 9093s and so on.

The newer Series 9 shavers use 92xx in their name: 9290cc, 9295cc, 9293s.

Now that we know how to tell them apart, let’s see what are the actual differences and how they affect the shaving performance.

1. Titanium coated middle trimmer.

This is the most obvious change as it can also be identified visually. The HyperLift&Cut trimmer that used to be blue on the older 90xx shavers now has a distinct golden color.

First of all, it’s important to address the fact that the Titanium coating is actually Titanium Nitride which has in fact a golden metallic color. Some users were wary of Braun’s claim and for good reason as Titanium has a gray, gun metal look.

So what’s the reason behind the new trimmer? Well, a Titanium Nitride coating is often used for its anti-corrosive and edge retention properties, so it makes perfect sense to be used on the cutting elements of an electric shaver.

2. New silver color scheme.

The original Series 9 shavers were available in a chrome and glossy black finish. With the new 92xx models, a new silver color was introduced and it looks quite nice. But that’s just a personal preference as I don’t particularly care for the flashy chrome finish.

Braun Series 9 chrome (9295cc)

Buy the 9295cc on Amazon.com

New silver color option (9290cc)

Buy the 9290cc on Amazon.com

From the photos the silver variation of the Series 9 appears to have a matte finish and should better handle fingerprints and smudges.

3. Wet & dry use for all the Series 9 variations.

This is another important change. While the older Series 9 were explicitly marketed as wet & dry (like the 9095cc) or dry only shavers (9090cc), the wet & dry feature is present on all the shavers in the updated Series 9.

For example, the only difference between the 9295cc and 9290cc is the color scheme (chrome for the 9295cc, silver in the case of the 9290cc). Moreover, the two shavers cost exactly the same, while in the case of the older 9095cc and 9090cc the price difference was significant — the wet & dry 9095cc being more expensive.

This approach is clearly an attempt at unifying the entire Series 9 range. For example, Braun UK ditched the 9295cc and 9290cc names completely and only refers to them as Series 9 chrome (9295cc) and Series 9 silver (9290cc). This is also reflected in Braun’s new packaging for the Series 9 by leaving out the names.

Braun Series 9 silver packaging

However, be advised that in Braun’s vision wet & dry only refers to using the shaver with water or in the shower. You cannot use the cc models with shaving cream or gel as this will eventually clog the cleaning station. Actually you can, but you’ll have to manually clean and dry your shaver completely before dumping it in the cleaning station. Which defies the purpose of having an automatic cleaning station completely.

This limitation is present on both the original and updated Series 9.

So if you plan on using your shaver with cream or gel and also use the cleaning station, my suggestion would be to seriously consider a Panasonic Arc5 that has no restrictions in using the cleaning station. There’s also the 9093s/9293s Series 9 that comes without a cleaning station.

To sum it up: while I haven’t yet tested the newer 92xx shavers, all the reports and reviews I’ve read so far univocally state that the actual shaving performance of the updated shavers is the same.

5 shaving elements? Not really

It’s also worth mentioning that Braun explicitly refers to the Series 9 92xx models in the official press release as having 5 shaving elements. And to anyone looking at the shaving head of the Series 9 it’s clear that there are only 4 active, independent cutting elements.

The fifth is (in Braun’s view) the SkinGuard thing which is nothing more than a metal slat (located just above the Direct&Cut trimmer). That hardly counts as a shaving element.

And this lead to some confusion regarding the older 90xx and the updated models that seemed to feature 5 elements, when in fact the SkinGuard element was present with the older ones as well, only it wasn’t explicitly marketed as so.

Why the sudden and quietly rolled out update?

In the official press release of the updated Series 9 Braun only mentions the Titanium Nitride coated trimmer. Apart from that, just the usual corporate lorem ipsum.

While we can only speculate, I think the trimmer was indeed the main reason for the unexpected update.

As I said in the beginning of this post, there was a shortage of replacement shaving heads for the original Series 9 (90s and 90b cassettes). Moreover, there were also some reports from users that the HyperLift&Cut trimmer on their original Series 9 would break after just months of use.

Braun never acknowledged these issues officially, but the fact that the original problematic parts couldn’t be bought anymore, coupled with the sudden update make a strong case for this.

Performance — is the updated version better?

Strictly from a performance standpoint I would safely say that No, there isn’t any difference between the two in this regard.

However, given the reports stating that the older 90s/90b shaving heads found on the original Series 9 would sometimes fall apart, the problem was probably fixed with the updated shavers.

If you already bought the original Series 9 you can also get the new shaving heads used by the newer shavers and I actually recommend you to do so. They are backward compatible and will fit the 90xx models perfectly.

Price and availability

Both the original and updated Series 9 shavers can be bought from various retailers. The price varies tremendously for both generations, so I highly recommend doing a bit of research before buying either of them.

Braun Series 9 9290cc [updated]

Check the price on Amazon.com

As expected, the original Series 9 is usually cheaper — but not always — and despite the risk of a faulty shaving head it still represents a viable option.

Braun Series 9 9090cc [original]

Check the price on Amazon.com

As I said previously, the newer shaving heads can be used for the older Series 9 as well.

Speaking of which, here’s where things go a bit sour.

Replacement shaving heads (cassettes)

At the moment of writing, it still appears to be a shortage of replacement shaving heads. The older 90s/90b are available, but they are obscenely expensive and are not worth buying, particularly with the risk of the middle trimmer falling apart.

The newer cassettes, 92s/92b, are relatively decent in terms of costs, but apparently they are out of stock everywhere.

Check the price on Amazon.com

It’s not uncommon to experience a shortage of replacement parts for a new product like the Series 9, especially since there wasn’t an immediate need for those parts, at least in theory. A shaving head should last for 18 months of use, even though in real life you’ll probably need to replace it sooner.

I think Braun handled this situation quite poorly — the lack of effective communication, no official data regarding the potential problems of the old Series 9 cassettes, no statement regarding the shortage of replacement heads.

UPDATE: Chris, one of our readers, pointed out in a comment that Braun outsourced the production of the original shaving heads for the Series 9 (90s, 90b) to a company that in the meantime went out of business. As a result, there was a long period of time when Braun couldn’t find a supplier for the production of the cassettes, hence the shortage. They eventually found a new manufacturer for the current 92s/92b shaving heads used on the 92xx models.

Should you buy a Series 9? Which one?

I mentioned on several occasions that the Braun Series 9 is, as far as shaving performance goes, an excellent shaver. Definitely one of the best you can currently buy.

If the Series 9 is a good match for your particular needs very sensitive skin, close shaves, coarse facial hair, longer/flat lying hairs than you’ll likely be very satisfied with it.

Again, not taking into account things like value for money or the shortage of replacement shaving heads.

And this last part is by far the main concern buying a product at a premium price and not being able to use it in the future.

I’m pretty sure that Braun will eventually sort out the problem and the cassettes will be widely available. Unfortunately I cannot say when.

I reached out to Braun about this matter and they confirmed that there is a high demand for 92s/92b replacement heads and this has caused some of the retailers and service centers to run out of stock.

Your local Walmart and Best Buy stores may also have the part in stock.

I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

Regarding which generation Series 9 should you buy, it’s really up to you and there’s no right or wrong approach to this. If you can find the original Series 9 at a bargain price I think you can go for it, even if that comes with the risk implied by the older shaving heads.

Alternatives

If the perspective of not being able to buy replacement parts is off-putting (and rightfully so), the Braun Series 7 is still a perfectly fine alternative and for most men it would be a great choice. Also, the price for both the shaver and the replacement cassettes (70s/70b) is significantly lower compared to the Series 9.

I wrote a comprehensive post comparing the Series 7 and 9 here.

Finally, there’s the option from Panasonic, the Arc5, which is in my opinion a better alternative to the Series 9 if you’re planning on using it with shaving cream; also, the foils and blades are readily available. Here’s a complete comparison between the Arc5 and the Series 9.

What was your experience with the Braun Series 9? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Braun Series 9 Original vs Updated Version: what are the differences?

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Alex. Regarding the material used for the SkinGuard component, it is most likely stainless steel.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        One more thing, what is the material of the trimmer?
        I would think it is stainless steel, but I don’t understand why it would break and how titanium coating helps against it. Could you please share your thoughts about it?

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          You are welcome, Alex. In these applications the material used is almost always stainless steel. Sometimes a more hypoallergenic grade is used to reduce the risk of metal allergies. The Titanium coating has excellent anti-corrosive properties and this hints at one of the possible causes of the trimmer failing. Depending on a few factors (steel grade, oxygen, salinity, exposure to water) stainless steel can corrode. There’s also the wear/friction that happens every time you use the shaver. That’s why lubrication is very important. Finally, there’s the possibility of a design flaw, but we can only speculate.

          Reply
          1. Alex

            Thanks for informative reply!
            I have sensitive skin and I am curious about materials because aluminum or nickel can cause irritation to my knowledge.

  1. Dan

    I bought the Braun 9095cc when it came out, specifically for the wet/dry feature only to find out, as you mentioned, that it was not certified for use with shaving cream because of the cleaning station. I have been in contact with Braun customer service, and they have confirmed that the updated 92XXcc shavers are now compatible with shaving creams and foams as shown on the Braun website as long as the foam is rinsed out before using the cleaning station. Also of note they stated that the 7 series wet/dry (799cc, 797cc) are also NOT certified for use with creams and foams, but again the updated 7899cc IS certified. Very confusing, as I doubt there is any physical difference between the older and newer cleaning stations.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      You are absolutely correct regarding Braun’s take on wet shaving with the Series 9. In the case of the older Series 7 (799cc, 797cc) the wet/dry use only refers to shaving in the shower, with no explicit reference to shaving creams and gels. But almost everyone (including myself) have used them with shaving cream and had no issues. I’m pretty sure that the newer models are exactly the same apart from the new color variants and some marketing copy taken from the Series 9 (Protective SkinGuard, 8-D Flexible Shaving System and so on). Same goes for the older/newer shaving stations. As far as I know, the wet/dry variations of the Series 7 (including the newer 7899cc, 7865cc etc) have the same limitations regarding the use of shaving cream as the Series 9: the shaver needs to be dry and free from any foam before placing it in the cleaning station.

      Reply
  2. Colin

    I guess I lucked out: I bought a 9095cc as soon as they were available and was due to replace the head in July. On a whim I ordered the 92S head on Amazon Saturday. It was supposed to be “in stock 24 May,” but oddly arrived at my door yesterday. It works as well as the original and now Amazon is showing “ships in 2-4 weeks,” so I must have gotten the last one at the warehouse.
    My original head lasted 16 months and was still working well, although the blue paint on the trimmer quickly chipped off in the first 4 months of ownership.

    I have always been a Lectric Shave guy, although the Afta Preshave is an OK product. I never thought to try it with shaving cream. I previously had a Norelco 1290x and it sucked with shaving cream, so I gave up. Norelco lost my business when they switched to a much cheaper head (RQ12+ were garbage compared to the original RQ12).

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Colin. There is indeed a very high demand for the 92s/92b replacement heads. If you are satisfied with the dry shave performance of your Series 9 there’s really no reason to use it with shaving cream. Moreover, you’ll have to clean it manually every time before using the cleaning station, and that’s a big bummer. I personally don’t find the Series 9 or 7 to perform significantly better with shaving cream as it’s the case with Panasonic shavers for example. I also use the pre electric shave lotion from Speick alongside Lectric shave and that one works decently, even though I’m not too fond of the scent.

      Reply

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