Electric razors can offer quite a few benefits, with convenience, comfort and cost savings being among the most compelling ones.
A wet dry electric razor can further improve these aspects and make things that much easier for us.
Moreover, they can be used with a shaving cream or even in the shower, leading to a closer and more enjoyable shave.
In this article I’ll go over all the important bits regarding wet dry electric shavers and also share a few recommendations of some of the best you can buy.
The different types of waterproof electric razors
There seems to be quite a bit of confusion regarding the different degrees of waterproofing and what they actually mean when it comes to electric razors.
We can separate waterproof electric razors into two categories:
- The ones that are only waterproof to the extent that you can safely rinse them under running water. These are usually only suitable for dry shaving, so using them for shaving in the shower or with a cream or gel is out of the question. Most modern shavers can be rinsed with water, even though they are not completely waterproof. Always read the instructions manual before using water for cleaning an electric razor.
- The ones that can be safely used in the shower or with a shaving cream. These wet dry electric razors are fitted with additional gaskets to keep moisture, steam and water from entering the razor and damaging the internals. These shavers are explicitly marketed as suitable for wet & dry operation. For obvious safety reasons, they cannot be used while plugged in. In this article we will focus on this second category.
I cannot stress enough that you should only use an electric razor for its intended purpose, always in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
An electric razor that wasn’t designed to be used for wet & dry shaving can be easily damaged and also poses a risk for your own safety.
Why should you buy a wet dry electric razor?
Here are the top 3 reasons why you should consider buying a wet dry electric razor:
- You can use it with a shaving cream or gel. I am personally a big proponent of wet electric shaving, so a wet dry, waterproof electric razor is a must have for me. The addition of a quality shaving cream can significantly improve the closeness and the comfort of the shave. This means having a suitable electric razor that was designed specifically for wet & dry use.
- You can use it for shaving in the shower. While I’m not a fan of it, you can safely use a wet dry razor in the shower. A Braun Series 3 3040s for example is IPX7 certified, meaning it can be submerged in water up to 5 meters without any issues.
- Peace of mind. Knowing that your razor can be safely washed and used in environments with high humidity and steam is reassuring. Also, accidents do happen and if you drop it in your water filled sink or bath tub it should be just fine (assuming that it will not be damaged by the mechanical shock).
What are some of the best wet dry electric razors?
Now that we know what a wet dry electric razor actually implies, let’s see what are some of the best and how can you find one that would suit you.
1. Braun Series 7 799cc
The Series 7 799cc from Braun is in my opinion, the best wet dry electric razor in terms of performance, comfort and even costs.
While the best razor is actually the razor that suits you the best, it’s hard to come up with situations where the 799cc wouldn’t be an excellent choice, considering that it fits within your budget.
The Series 7 799cc is a wet & dry electric razor that replaces the iconic Braun Series 7 790cc, a best-seller that was considered for many years the benchmark in terms of comfort and performance.
The 790cc had one major drawback though as it could only be used for dry shaving. The Series 7 799cc addresses that shortcoming, being suitable for both wet & dry operation while maintaining the same excellent traits of its predecessor.
The comfort offered by the 799cc, especially when used with a shaving cream, is outstanding. The high quality shaving head, comprised of three individual cutting elements is extremely gentle to the sensitive skin while also providing very close shaves.
Completing this very compelling package is arguably the best cleaning station in the industry. Braun’s Clean & Renew unit uses an alcohol based solution that cleans, sanitizes and lubricates the shaver and does so in fast and quiet cleaning cycles.
While the Series 9 9095cc is Braun’s new flagship and arguably one of the best wet dry razors on the market, most men will be better off with the 799cc as it offers better value for money and the improvements in closeness and comfort offered by the Series 9 are not that significant.
You can read an in-depth analysis of the Braun Series 7 vs 9 here.
2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV61-A
Panasonic has been producing wet dry electric razors for quite a while; in fact, almost all of their current shavers are suitable for wet & dry operation.
The Arc 5 designates Panasonic’s premium line of electric shavers and the ES-LV61-A is one of the best in terms of performance and costs.
The 5 cutting elements, along with a very fast motor and 30 degrees nanoblades ensure extremely fast and close shaves. Being fully waterproof, it can also be safely used with a shaving cream to further improve the closeness and the comfort of the shave.
While the Braun Series 7 799cc is the king of comfort, the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV61-A is one of the closest shaving electric razors you can buy today, rivaled only by Panasonic’s own ES-LV9A-S Arc5, its (very expensive) successor.
The Arc 5 line offers shavers that come with or without a cleaning station; my personal pick, the ES-LV61-A, doesn’t include one. The reason for this is that Panasonic’s cleaning stations are not as good as the ones from Braun for example and they also use detergent instead of alcohol. Fortunately, a manual clean is very easy to perform.
If however you want the convenience of a cleaning station for your Panasonic Arc 5, the ES-LV95-S is an excellent choice. I would personally opt for the Series 7 799cc from Braun as their cleaning solutions are superior.
3. Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc4
If you want a more budget friendly, but still very capable wet dry electric razor, then look no further as the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc4 is probably the best one you can find in this price range.
With 4 cutting elements, a powerful 14000 cpm linear motor (same as the more expensive Arc 5 above) and sharp 30 degrees nanoblades, this razor punches way above its weight.
Being suitable for wet & dry operation, the ES-LA63-S can be used with a shaving cream or in the shower and offers very close and comfortable shaves.
A unique feature of the ES-LA63-S Arc4 is a second motor located in the actual shaving head that vibrates and helps catching stray hairs that lie flat to the skin.
In order to keep the price low, this shaver doesn’t come with an automated cleaning station, but on the bright sight it is very easy to clean manually.
Also, being an older model, it is very likely for the price to go down even more, making the deal even more attractive for anyone looking for an excellent wet dry razor that’s also reasonably priced.
4. Philips Norelco 8900 Wet & Dry Edition
As far as wet dry rotary razors go, the Philips Norelco 8900 from the Series 8000 line is one that ticks pretty much all the boxes.
But what makes this particular shaver a very solid option is the performance and cost ratio. More precisely, you’ll get a razor that is very similar performance-wise with the much more expensive models from Norelco’s Series 9000 line, but costs significantly less. They even use the same cutters (SH90 replacement heads).
As its name suggests, the 8900 is a wet & dry electric razor that works great with a shaving cream or when used in the shower. With three cutting heads that flex in 8 directions and maintain constant contact with the skin, the Norelco 8900 offers very close and comfortable shaves.
Another great feature is the click-on beard trimmer; unlike most pop-up trimmers that come with electric shavers and are only good for minor touch-ups, this one is an almost full-fledged trimmer that can be successfully used to trim your beard. It can be very useful for those times when you haven’t shaved for a longer time and you need to trim your beard to a more manageable length before the actual shave.
Lastly, the Norelco 8900 is also available with a cleaning station for not a whole lot more.
Budget wet dry electric razors
The options presented previously are definitely very capable, but some of them can be pricey for someone on a tight budget.
Luckily, there are a few excellent affordable wet & dry shavers.
5. Panasonic ES8103S Arc3
The Arc3 is Panasonic’s entry line of electric razors. With 3 cutting elements, powerful motors and sharp blades, they are still pack quite a punch.
And what matters most, they are waterproof and suitable for wet & dry use.
So which one should you choose? To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t really matter as all of them are very similar in terms of performance, at least the models in the older Arc 3 line. The new Arc 3 razors are better, but at this moment they are also expensive. My advice is to simply buy the more affordable one. A good starting point would be the ES8103S I reviewed some time ago.
6. Braun Series 3 3040s
This has got to be the most cost effective wet dry electric razor you can buy today. With a low purchase price and inexpensive replacement parts, the Braun Series 3 3040s represents a very attractive budget friendly option.
This razor is also is IPX7 certified, so waterproofing is taken care of. The 3040s works great for wet shaving and yields the best results when used daily. The generous rubber inserts provide a secure grip, while the light weight of the razor makes it extremely easy to use. You can read our in-depth review of the Series 3 3040s here.
7. Philips Norelco 6100
If you prefer rotary razors, the 6100 from Philips Norelco is a solid option.
A reasonable price, wet & dry use and three cutting heads that can pivot and tilt inward are some of this shaver’s highlights.
The RQ11 shaving heads that this razor uses are fitted with slots and holes for cutting both long and short stubble. Like all budget shavers, the 6100 provides the best results when used daily or every other day. A detailed review of the Norelco 6100 can be found here.
Tips for using a wet dry electric razor
Let’s see how you can make the most out of your wet dry shaver, prolong its life and improve your shaving experience.
- Develop an efficient pre electric shave routine specifically tailored for wet shaving. This includes washing your face with a mild cleanse, using plenty of warm water, exfoliating your skin, taking a hot shower beforehand and so on. You can read more here.
- Use a quality shaving cream. A good shaving cream can improve the closeness and the comfort during and after the shave. Make sure to check out our comprehensive guide on finding the best shaving cream.
- Use lather sparingly and allow it a few minutes to act on the hair. The outer layer of the hair, called the cuticle, is a very tough lining that can only be soften by the alkaline components found in the shaving cream. So don’t start shaving right away and allow it a few minutes to act on the hairs.
- Thoroughly clean your razor. Dry shaving cream buildups on the blades and foil will negatively impact the performance of your razor. Make sure you do a proper cleaning after every use.
- Lubricate your razor. Using liquid soap and water for cleaning also strips off the blades of any form of lubrication. Therefore, make sure to apply a drop of lubricant/fine machine oil on the blades and foils. Here is how to do it.
- Allow the razor to fully dry before storing it. A wet dry electric razor is likely to get wet, so after using and cleaning it, pat it dry with a cloth and let it air dry before putting the shaving head back together. Only after that you should store it in a cabinet.