What’s The Best Electric Razor For Men (2018)? The Ultimate Guide

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What’s The Best Electric Razor For Men (2018)? The Ultimate Guide

Finding the right electric razor should be easy and straight-forward.

After all, getting a close and comfortable shave, preferably without spending a ton of money, sounds like a very reasonable expectation.

However, selecting a good electric shaver seems to be anything but simple.

This post aims to change all that by redefining the way we approach this issue. Precisely, we’ll start with you — the user — and get to the actual razors from there.

In my opinion this is what’s fundamentally wrong with all the roundups of the so-called best shavers we see crop up all over the web: they only vaguely account for the user and his needs.

With that said, I am confident that by the time you finish reading this post you’ll have a clearer understanding of what makes a particular razor suitable in a given situation and ultimately decide which electric shaver is best for you.

Why is choosing an electric shaver so complicated?

For starters, I would say that the sheer number of models and variations creates some sort of paradox of choice. There are just too many of them.

Selecting a suitable electric shaver can be difficult

I’m sure you’ve been in the position of having to buy a certain product only to go back and forth repeatedly between several options.

And to add insult to the injury, selecting an electric shaver is plagued by yet another issue: a poor documentation of the differences between the various models.

Often times the model names make absolutely no sense, the manufacturer doesn’t make the slightest effort to showcase the differences between the razors in a particular line and many review sites are filled with conflicting or poor information.

We sometimes see product updates being rolled out with no indication on how significant they are or if the older shavers still represent a viable option.

There are cases where the new models are nothing more than a cosmetic makeover; but there are also times when a shaver is a completely new product, employing important changes that will have an impact on the actual performance.

The problem with the common best shaver lists approach

I am going to assume that you’ve tried searching for what would ideally be the best electric razor for you and stumbled upon a myriad of posts on this subject.

Unfortunately, there are a few major problems with most of these roundups.

First and foremost, that elusive best shaver doesn’t exist; the best you can hope for is to find a razor that checks most of the boxes in your particular case — I will go over this in detail right away.

Secondly, most review authors never actually tested the razors in question. They just come up with roundups of the most popular and over-hyped shavers, copying what others are saying and repeating some marketing terminology. You’ll rarely see on point criticism and genuine assessments.

I know this is a very serious claim, but unfortunately there are only a few reliable resources out there.

I think it’s pretty obvious why this is a failed approach. Apart from the reliability of the information that is questionable at best, almost all articles never seem to consider the fact that men are different, their needs are different and their shaving habits are different.

Which leads us to the next part.

Finding the right shaver is a personal matter above all

Find the right electric shaver for you and your needsIt’s important to note that an electric shaver review is based on anecdotal findings and at least some parts will be affected by user bias.

A particular razor may be the best option for me, but it can also perform poorly when used by someone else.

And this is the result of us men being different and expecting different things from an electric shaver.

Accounting for these differences and use cases is key when recommending an electric shaver as it will exponentially increase the odds of you getting a suitable shaving machine.

So how does one go about this? What are the most important factors to consider when coming up with a list of the best electric shavers for men that should suit a plethora of different users and situations?

After using and testing electric razors for over 15 years I believe that it comes down to the following factors:

  • Coarseness of the hair
  • Sensitive skin
  • Shaving habits and frequency
  • Facial hair particularities
  • Budget (initial investment, replacement foils/blades, cleaning cartridges)

I am confident that this “holistic” approach is the way to go when it comes to choosing an electric razor that will perform great in your case.

Today’s modern electric razors have come a very long way and you can currently find some fantastic ones. But as I already said, a particular shaver won’t be ideal in every situation.

To address this, I will share some of the best shavers I’ve tested so far, centered around those 5 key aspects mentioned above, hopefully helping you pick the right one.

With every shaver on this list, I will also try to justify why I chose that particular model as opposed to another. In the majority of cases, this will be a matter of price, availability in 2018 and whether it offers genuinely useful features.

What are some of the best electric shavers (2018)?

1. Braun Series 9 9290cc

Braun Series 9 9290cc

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Extremely comfortable Not the closest shaving razor in this price range
Close shaves Pricey
Great for longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs Overkill for light beards and/or everyday use
Suitable for very sensitive skin, ingrown hairs Manual cleaning is fiddly
Excellent cleaning station
Fast and powerful, suitable for coarse beards

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the flashy, chrome covered Series 9 from Braun.

Arguably one of the most popular and highly-anticipated electric shavers in recent years, the Series 9 was the topic of many heated discussions in the community.

Launched back in 2015 to take over the Series 7 as Braun’s new range-topping shaver, the Series 9 had a couple of hiccups along the way: a shortage of replacement shaving heads and some reports of the cutters falling apart after only a few months of use.

Moreover, if you somehow managed to find the replacement parts, the price was prohibitive.

Braun eventually sorted out the problems by fitting the Series 9 with new shaving heads (press release).

Braun Series 9 9290cc shaving head

The shaving head of the Series 9 9290cc with the updated, Titanium Nitride coated trimmer.

The updated models start with 92: 9290cc, 9295cc, 9293s etc. and all of them are suitable for wet & dry use.

The cost of the replacement shaving heads — called cassettes — has also dropped significantly and are actually quite reasonably priced at the moment of writing this article.

For these reasons the Series 9 finally represents a viable option.

I used to be very reluctant to recommend the Series 9 and I would often advise the readers of this website to take the safe route and choose the tried and tested Series 7 instead.

However, since every potential issue has been addressed we can finally focus on the actual performance of the Series 9.

After thoroughly testing the 9290cc from the updated Series 9 generation, I can confidently say that it is a great razor. But as expected, it’s not the best in every situation and I’ll get to that right away.

But I’ll first go over the good parts and where it would represent a great choice.

The Braun Series 9 9290cc is on of the best electric shavers you can currently buy

The best part about the 9290cc (and about the Series 9 in general) is the comfort. I’ve used dozens of electric razors and this one is by far the most comfortable, forgiving and gentle shaver you can currently buy.

I could even get away with things that would normally inflict some razor burn and serious discomfort (pressing too hard or doing unnecessary passes over sensitive areas).

If you have sensitive skin, suffer from razor burn, rashes or ingrown hairs, the Series 9 is arguably the best electric razor you can buy right now. The foils never get hot even after a prolonged use and remain perfectly comfortable.

The shaving head is comprised of 4 individual cutting elements: two outer finishing foils and two cutters specially designed to tackle longer, flat-lying hairs that grow in different directions.

Braun Series 9 shaving head

Braun’s implementation of these specialized cutters for the Series 9 works better than anything used on any other foil shaver. They manage to capture and cut stray, wiry and flat lying hairs impressively well.

Most other electric razors, particularly the foil ones, only manage to perform average at best when used on a longer beard (hair length is more than 3mm).

If you tend to shave less often, like every two days or even more and have problem areas where the hairs grow parallel to the skin and have different grains, the Series 9 will again be a very suitable option.

The only razors that can match it in these situations are Norelco’s advanced rotary shavers, like the 8900 and 9300/9700, but they aren’t as comfortable.

The Series 9 has plenty of cutting power and will be more than suitable for dense, coarse beards. It never felt underpowered during my tests and allowed me to finish my shave very quickly.

Let’s now talk about the closeness. While for me it was definitely adequate, it wasn’t the best I ever got from an electric shaver. A Panasonic Arc 5 or even an Arc 4 will likely give you a closer shave, even though they’re not quite as comfortable as the Series 9.

So if you’re particularly interested in getting the closest possible shave and your skin is not overly sensitive, the above mentioned Panasonics are the ones to have.

Otherwise, the Series 9 represents an excellent compromise of comfort and closeness, but again, it is not the closest shaving electric razor you can get.

Another issue with the Series 9 is the price. While it has dropped significantly since the launch, it is still an expensive shaver. The replacement shaving heads called cassettes (part number 92s/92b) are pricey as well, but on par with the other high-end shavers from the competition.

The cleaning cartridges from Braun are a bit more expensive compared to the ones from Panasonic or Philips Norelco. And with the Series 9 you’ll probably want a variation that comes with a cleaning station.

Braun Series 9 9290cc inside the cleaning and charging station

The Series 9 9290cc Silver during the automatic cleaning cycle.

As I said in my review of the 9290cc, a manual cleaning is fiddly, time-consuming and you can’t really get all the hair clippings and dirt out.

This is caused by the design of the shaving head, with the foils and blades merged into a single piece that offers limited access for a thorough cleaning.

Luckily the cleaning station takes care of everything for you.

As with all Braun shavers, the models ending in cc (like the 9290cc) include a cleaning base, while the ones ending in s (for example 9293s) do not. Please note that an s model will not work with a cleaning station, despite the fact that they look identical to the cc variations.

The s models lack a dedicated chip used to communicate with the station, so the only option is to invest a bit more in a cc Series 9 if you plan on ever using an automatic cleaning station.

I don’t usually recommend cleaning stations if they’re not needed, but in the case of the Series 9 I think they really add to the experience and they’re genuinely useful. Besides, the price difference between an s and a cc model is not that steep.

Considering the purchase price and the costs of the cassettes and cleaning cartridges, the Series 9 doesn’t offer the best value for money.

If your budget is tight, consider getting the Series 7 or even the Series 5 instead. They are cheaper to buy and the replacement shaving heads also cost less.

If you have a medium beard and shave often, the Series 9 with its 4 blades is probably overkill and again in this case the cheaper Series 7 or 5 will easily be good enough.

2. Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5

Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5

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Extremely close shaves Not quite as comfortable as a Series 9 or 7
Adequately comfortable for sensitive skin Replacement foils & blades are pricey
Very fast and powerful, suitable for coarse facial hair Overkill for light beards and/or everyday use
High quality, sharp blades Bulky shaving head needs some getting used to
Excellent wet shaving performanceNot as good as a Series 9 or 7 for flat-lying, wiry hairs
Easy to clean manually
Good value for money

Panasonic is Braun’s only real competitor in the foil shavers segment. While Panasonic never managed to gain the same popularity as Braun in the USA, the quality and performance of their shavers are outstanding.

The Arc 5 line represents Panasonic’s take on what should be the ultimate electric razor: 5 individual cutting elements, the fastest linear-drive motor in the industry and extremely sharp blades.

Remember what I previously said about the sheer number of options and the lack of proper documentation regarding the differences between them?

Well, there are 3 different generations of Arc 5 shavers (+ two relatively minor revisions of the third one), all of them still available for purchasing.

However, the goal of this post was to make it easy for you to find the right shaver. And that also means eliminating the clutter created by the plethora of model names that make no sense.

As a result, I will only come up with a single option: the Panasonic ES-LV65-S from the second generation.

This shaver currently represents the best Arc 5 variation with regards to costs and performance (if you want the whole meaty details of the different Panasonic razors, make sure to check out this post).

Panasonic ES-LV65-S is one of the best electric shavers to buy for a close shave

While the Series 9 (and Braun shavers in general) excel in comfort, Panasonic is the best when it comes to closeness.

And this isn’t the case with just the Arc 5 and Series 9, it’s the same situation in the lower-end spectrum as well, where models like the Panasonic Arc 4 and Arc 3 out-perform Braun’s Series 7/5 and 3 respectively. This inevitably comes with a small trade-off in comfort for Panasonic.

The ES-LV65-S Arc 5 is the razor to have if your priority is getting a very close shave. It’s probably the closest an electric shaver can get to a traditional razor blade with the current technology.

Panasonic manages to deliver this outstanding performance by using extremely thin foils machined with great precision and high quality, sharp blades that feature an aggressive 30 degrees bevel for effective cutting.

Panasonic ES-LV65-S foils and blades

The motor powering the ES-LV65-S is a 14 000 CPM unit, the fastest yet to my knowledge. For the sake of comparison, the Series 9 has a 10 000 CPM motor. Speed isn’t everything of course, but this difference is hard to ignore.

The result of all these features is one of the fastest, closest shaving electric shavers you can buy. As expected, it will have no problem shaving a very coarse beard as well.

Being a wet/dry model, you have the option to use it with your favorite shaving cream and further improve the closeness and the comfort of the shave. And for me this setup works best.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S is a great electric shaver for a wet shave

Since Panasonic razors aren’t quite as comfortable as the ones from Braun, adding a quality shaving cream improves the comfort and this way you can still get that close shave without any trade-offs in comfort.

If getting back to using creams and gels doesn’t sound too appealing, you can throw in a pre-shave lotion and enjoy a quick dry shave. It’s the next best thing if you want to improve your dry shave with minimal extra costs and no extra work.

To sum it up, the ES-LV65-S is one of the best electric razors you can get for very close shaves, coarse facial hair and fast shaving sessions.

You can get it with a cleaning station as well in the form of the Panasonic ES-LV95-S.

That one comes with the updated, more compact cleaning base, the detergent-based cleaning fluid lasts a long time and you also have the option to just dry your shaver (you can’t do that with the stations from Braun or Philips Norelco).

However, I actually recommend you to skip the station because unlike the Series 9, the ES-LV65-S is dead easy to clean manually and it costs less than the model that includes the cleaning base.

Regarding the costs associated with the ES-LV65-S, it actually does very well for a high-end shaver. The purchase price is very reasonable considering the performance and it undercuts a Series 9 for example by quite a lot.

Not including a cleaning station definitely contributes to this.

The foils and blades are a bit pricey (part number WES9032P), but comparable to other premium replacement parts like the 92s/92b needed for the Series 9.

You won’t be spending any money on cleaning detergent, but if you opt for the ES-LV95-S variation, the detergent sachets are reasonably priced and will last longer than Braun’s alcohol-based cleaning solution.

Now let’s see when you shouldn’t get the ES-LV65-S and what other razors would be better.

If you have very sensitive skin or suffer from ingrown hairs, you should opt for a Braun Series 9 or 7 — depending on your budget. The ES-LV65-S can be a bit aggressive in a situation like this, even though it doesn’t get hot like some Arc 4 or Arc 3 models do.

Again, if you don’t have very sensitive skin you’ll probably be perfectly fine using an Arc 5.

Another scenario that can cause some problems is when shaving longer hairs, particularly if they grow parallel to the skin and/or in different directions.

The problem isn’t cutting the hairs, but rather capturing them.

If we take a close look at the shaving head of the ES-LV65-S, we can clearly see that Panasonic’s focus was on closeness and not on enhanced capabilities of catching flat lying hairs, despite the use of a specially designed slit foil.

Panasonic ES-LV65-S shaving head components

1. Finishing foils 2. Reversed tapered foils 3. Slit foil

A Braun Series 9 simply works better in this case. If you’re still sold on getting the Panny, one workaround would be to shave more often. The problem of wiry, flat-lying hairs is less serious if you shave daily or every other day for example.

And finally, if you have a light beard or you’re just getting started with electric shavers, an ES-LV65-S with a whopping 5 blades and a massive shaving head is probably too much.

In that case I would suggest to save some money and go for a Panasonic Arc 4 or even Arc 3 — I’ll get to them later on.

3. Braun Series 7 790cc

Braun Series 7 790cc

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Very comfortable Not the closest shaving razor in this price range
Suitable for very sensitive skinA Series 5 is cheaper and very similar performance-wise
Adequately close shaves Poorly implemented head locking mechanism
Reasonably priced compared to a Series 9 Manual cleaning is fiddly
Works surprisingly well with longer, flat-lying hairs
Suitable for coarse beards

The Series 7 from Braun is probably the best-selling electric shaver of the past few years. It was first introduced in 2010 and quickly gained an iconic status.

And there are definitely a lot of good things about the Series 7, but some shortcomings as well.

First and foremost, let’s address the most common question regarding the Series 7: which one should I buy?

To answer that, it’s important to set a few things straight.

Since its launch, the Series 7 had received several updates. They mostly included minor cosmetic changes and the introduction of certain gimmicky features, like 5 personalization modes instead of 3.

As a result, the outcome is pretty easy to guess: the actual shaving performance wasn’t improved in a significant manner.

Because of this, choosing a Series 7 should come down to three things:

  • Whether you need a cleaning station or not
  • Whether you need a shaver that can be used both wet and dry
  • Price

Allow me to address this further with a practical example. Let’s say that you need a dry only shaver that includes an automatic cleaning station and you found several Series 7 models that satisfy these requirements. Which one should you get?

The answer is very simple: just buy the cheapest one. The actual performance will be the same. For reference, here is a complete breakdown of all the different Series 7 models that I wrote a while back.

The reason why I chose the Series 7 790cc over other variations is that in 2018 this model seems to be the most reasonably priced and it’s also widely available. Another model you should check out — for the same reasons — is the newer Series 7 7865cc.

Just like with the Series 9, my choice would be a Series 7 that comes with an automatic cleaning station. The reasoning is the same — a manual cleaning is tedious.

Moreover, the original station included with the Series 7 790cc (and other older variations) is in my opinion the best that Braun has ever made. It is the only one that uses induction heating instead of a fan for drying the razor.

As a result, the drying phase of the cleaning cycle is extremely short compared to other cleaning stations.

Another side benefit of induction heating it the complete lack of any noise since there’s no fan spinning.

Braun Series 7 cleaning station

Update: Please note that Braun ditched this feature, along with the quick clean setting for all the Series 7 that are currently manufactured, including the 790cc. So if you want to take advantage of it, you’ll have to opt for one of the previously manufactured models if you can still find them (790cc, 797cc, 799cc) or buy the station separately (model number 81365080).

As usual, the cc models come with a cleaning station, while the s ones do not. Unlike the Series 9, the Series 7 s models (s stands for solo) will actually work with a cleaning station if you decide to buy one later on.

Braun officially recommends against doing so as the solo models lack the special coat of paint used on the cc variations that should withstand the exposure to the alcohol-based fluid.

The Series 7 7865cc, 797cc (wet & dry) and 790cc (dry only) seem to be the best options since they cost less than other similar variations.

Let’s now see if the Braun Series 7 would be a good fit for you.

Braun Series 7

The best thing about this line of shavers is again comfort. Until the launch of the Series 9, the Series 7 was the shaver to beat in terms of comfort.

This quality makes it a perfectly suitable option for men with sensitive skin that don’t feel like spending a premium price for a Series 9.

The difference in closeness in negligible in my experience. However, the Series 9 is more enjoyable to use, a bit more refined and it will shave faster.

Braun Series 7 vs 9: Which One Should You Buy?

The differences will be even less noticeable if you shave more often; as I said previously, one of the strong points of the Series 9 is shaving longer, flat-lying hairs.

If you’re not particularly concerned with getting the closest possible shave and just want a shaver that is a great all-rounder and very gentle to the skin, the Series 7 would be a prime candidate.

In my experience it works best when used daily or every other day, but you can get excellent results on a two or three days beard as well. It works surprisingly well for a foil shaver and seems to be very efficient at capturing those annoying flat-lying hairs.

The Series 7 will have no problem with thick beards, but an Arc 5 or a Series 9 will shave faster and with fewer strokes.

The price of the Series 7 tends to vary a lot, so make sure to do some research beforehand. Again, the 790cc and the 7865cc are usually the best options.

The replacement shaving heads (part no. 70s/70b) are widely available and the cost is pretty reasonable, especially compared to a Series 9 or an Arc 4 shaving head.

Now, the Series 7 has two major problems in my opinion. The first one is that a Panasonic ES-LV65-S or even an Arc 4 like the ES-LA63-S will shave closer, faster and they also cost less.

Granted, they aren’t as comfortable, but if you don’t have very sensitive skin you’ll probably have no problem using them.

This is something to keep in mind if closeness is what you’re after.

The second major issue with the Series 7 is actually Braun’s own Series 5. As I said in my detailed comparison of the two, the Series 5 costs less and shaves pretty much the same.

Moreover, the replacement shaving heads are cheaper and the Series 5 also addresses several potential problems of the Series 7, like the head locking mechanism that was prone to breaking.

So what do all of these mean? Should you stay away from the Series 7?

Definitely not, especially if you can get a great deal on it. However, depending on your priorities (comfort or closeness) and budget, the above-mentioned shavers may represent a better option.

4. Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4

Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4

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Very close shaves Not as comfortable as a Series 7 or 5
Can be suitable for sensitive skin Replacement foils & blades are pricey
Very fast and powerful, great for coarse facial hair Overkill for light beards
High quality, sharp blades Bulky shaving head needs some getting used to
Excellent wet shaving performanceNot the best for longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs
Easy to clean manually
Very good value for money

In a previous post regarding Panasonic’s Arc 4 family of electric shavers, I mentioned that they are probably the most underrated shavers that you can (still) buy today.

My stance on this hasn’t changed in 2018 and I still consider them to be very compelling as they offer fantastic performance for a fraction of the price of other high-end electric shavers.

That wasn’t always the case as they used to cost a lot in the past. Luckily the price has dropped significantly and the Arc 4 shavers now offer excellent value for money.

The ES-LA63-S Arc 4 is probably the razor I recommend the most on this website.

Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 is on of the best budget foil shavers

Compared to other models in the Arc 4 line, the ES-LA63-S has a few advantages: a more advanced flexing shaving head with a second vibrating motor, a 14 000 CPM motor and (usually) a very reasonable price.

While the real-world advantages of a more flexible head and that second motor are questionable, the performance and excellent value for money of the ES-LA63-S are undeniable.

The Panasonic ES-LA93-K is an identical shaver, only that it comes in black and includes an automatic cleaning station. That one is a viable option as well, particularly since lately it can be found at bargain prices.

But as I said previously, Panasonic razors are extremely easy to clean manually, so the station isn’t a must-have.

Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S manual cleaning

As the name implies, the Arc 4 models have 4 individual, slightly curved (ARChed) cutting elements, so that’s one less compared to the premium Arc 5 family.

Panasonic ES-LA63-S shaving head

1. Cutting foils 2. Finishing foil 3. Slit foil

Even so, 4 blades are still plenty enough and together with that zippy 14 000 CPM motor (the same as the one in the Arc 5), the ES-LA63-S offers top-notch performance.

As a result, there are very few situations where an Arc 4 shaver wouldn’t be a suitable choice.

Just like the Arc 5, the Arc 4 razors excel at two things: closeness and speed.

I can confidently say that an Arc 4 is the closest shaving electric razor in this price range — I’m talking about the mid-range segment with shavers like the Series 7, Series 5 or the Philips Norelco 8900.

For the budget conscious buyer who needs an electric razor that can shave really close, the ES-LA63-S (or any other Arc 4 variation) is probably the best option out there.

It’s just as impressive as the Arc 5 at cutting very coarse stubble and the massive shaving head allows you to shave very fast.

If you’re a complete beginner, the bulky head may seem cumbersome to use, particularly in tight spots, but you’ll eventually get used to it.

The shaving experience with the ES-LA63-S is quite similar to the ES-LV65-S from the Arc 5 line. A fifth blade only offers diminishing returns. The Arc 5 is however a tad more refined and comfortable.

To sum it up, the ES-LA63-S packs a lot of punch, is reasonably priced, easy to clean manually and will satisfy pretty much anyone who’s looking to get a very close shave without paying a premium price.

Now, there’s no electric shaver that does everything right and shines in every possible scenario.

The replacement foils and blades combo (part number WES9025PC) is priced pretty high compared to the competition.

Just like the Arc 5 and pretty much any other Panasonic, the Arc 4 is not quite as comfortable as a Braun Series 7 or 5. This slightly aggressive profile is a side effect of that extreme closeness.

I currently have two Arc 4 shavers, an ES-LA63-S and an ES-LF51-A and I use them quite often in my rotation. To put things into perspective, I have sensitive skin and medium to coarse facial hair.

Panasonic ES-LF51-A vs Panasonic ES-LA63-S

Using the ES-LF51-A dry can leave me with a rash and some razor burn if I’m not careful; adding a pre-shave to the mix does improve the comfort, but it’s still not ideal. The only way I can get an irritation free and very close shave with most Panasonic razors is by adding a shaving cream.

The ES-LA63-S however managed to be more comfortable during a dry shave mainly because the foils don’t get too hot during use. If you’re careful not to press too hard, the ES-LA63-S can be adequately comfortable.

I wanted to make this side note so you can decide for yourself if the ES-LA63-S can work well for you. Again, if don’t have particularly sensitive skin, you should be fine using it wet or dry.

Another potential problem with the Arc 4 is inherited from the Arc 5 and Panasonic’s focus on closeness: it can miss long, flat-lying hairs, especially on the neck or jawline. Again, shaving more often can eliminate this shortcoming completely.

Despite having that vibrating motor inside the head that supposedly helps with catching longer hairs, it just doesn’t seem to work.

If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to shave regularly, then a Braun Series 7/5 or a Philips Norelco 8900 will probably be more suitable. However, keep in mind that rotary shavers don’t usually shave as close as foil shavers.

Also, if you shave daily and your beard isn’t particularly dense, an Arc 3 like the ES-LT41-K will probably be good enough. It costs less and the replacement foils and blades are cheaper as well. More details on that one later on.

5. Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc 4

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Very close shaves Not as comfortable as a Series 5 or 7
Slim shaving head for a 4 blade shaver Replacement foils & blades are pricey
Very fast and powerful, great for coarse facial hair Overkill for light beards
High quality, sharp bladesNot the best for longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs
Excellent wet shaving performance
Easy to clean manually
Very good value for money

While the Panasonic ES-LA63-S is a really good shaver, the bulky shaving head could be an issue for some users, especially for someone getting an electric razor for the first time.

Despite this potential shortcoming I still continued to recommend it quite often, mainly because its price was usually lower compared to other Arc 4 models. At least that was the situation in the past.

But as of 2018 other models in this lineup have started to follow this trend and they now represent viable, cost-effective alternatives as well.

One such shaver is the Panasonic ES-LF51-A and I think it could even be better than the best-selling ES-LA63-S in some cases.

It’s still a 4 blade foil shaver with a very similar setup (they even use the exact same inner blades), it’s equipped with the same powerful 14 000 CPM motor and its overall performance is almost identical.

As for the differences, the ES-LF51-A lacks the vibrating motor and its shaving head can be depressed instead of the up and down pivoting of the ES-LA63-S.

However, the shaving performance is excellent, in particular the closeness of the shave. In fact, I would say that the ES-LF51-A is slightly better.

The size of the shaving head may not look that much different in pictures, but it is a lot more manageable during use. You will really appreciate the more compact and nimble shaving head of the ES-LF51-A, especially when shaving right below your nose for example.

Panasonic ES-LF51-A shaving head vs the ES-LA63-S

Panasonic ES-LF51-A shaving head vs the ES-LA63-S

I think this is one of the reasons why I tend to get a slightly closer shave with the ES-LF51-A — it allows me to control the shaver with greater precision.

It also seems subjectively faster despite using an identical motor; since it lacks the vibrating feature, the sound it emits is very clean and crisp, while the ES-LA63-S sounds muddier.

The ES-LF51-A is certainly powerful enough for dense facial hair and you will appreciate it if you want a very close shave.

Cleaning this shaver manually is a breeze. It doesn’t require anything fancy, just some warm water and liquid soap.

The sonic cleaning mode also helps and you can literally get it perfectly clean in 30 seconds.

Regarding the cons of the ES-LF51-A, they’re pretty much the same ones that plague any other Arc 4 shaver.

It’s not the most comfortable shaver out there, at least not during a dry shave. For sensitive skin it may come across as too harsh.

The foils also tend to get quite a bit hot during use, even more than the ones on the ES-LA63-S. I found that a spray lubricant like the Remington Shaver Saver works wonders for this razor and I saw a significant improvement in comfort and overall performance.

Using a shaving cream makes it a lot more forgiving and gentle, but it’s a fact that most men will prefer a quick dry shave. However, if you’re not totally against using shaving cream with electric razors, the ES-LF51-A will perform great.

Finally, there’s the issue of flat hairs where no particular Panasonic shines, not even the crazy advanced Arc 5 rev C.

With or without that second vibrating motor, a Panasonic Arc 4 will just perform poorly in this situation. If you won’t be using the ES-LF51-A on short stubble, you’ll be a lot happier with a Braun Series 5 or 7.

In conclusion, if you want a very close shave, you don’t have very sensitive skin and you’ll be shaving daily for the majority of time, I highly recommend you to check out the Panasonic ES-LF51-A.

6. Braun Series 5 5090cc/5190cc

Braun Series 5 5090cc/5190cc

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Very comfortableDoesn’t shave as close as a Panasonic Arc 4
Suitable for sensitive skinNoisy during use
Similar to a Series 7 performance-wiseManual cleaning is fiddly
Very good value for money
Excellent design and build quality
Suitable for coarse beards

Just like the Panasonic Arc 4 is a more budget-friendly Arc 5, the Series 5 represents a more cost-effective alternative to Braun’s Series 7 models.

The current Series 5 generation — with shavers like the 5090cc/5190cc — takes a lot of design cues from the high-end Series 9.

Braun Series 9 9290cc vs Braun Series 5 5090cc

Series 9 (left) vs Series 5 (right)

The two shavers are extremely similar in terms of proportions, construction and weight. The Series 5 with its mostly black color scheme is however more subdued and strictly from an aesthetic point of view, I think it’s one of the better-looking shavers out there.

The long hair trimmer, as well as the head locking mechanism of the Series 5 are again the same as the ones on the Series 9. This also means that there won’t be any potential problems with breaking the locking mechanism.

Upon taking a look at the shaving head of the Series 5 you’ll notice a striking similarity with another Braun shaver, the Series 7.

Braun series 5 vs 7

Braun Series 5 (left) vs Series 7 (right)

The Series 5 uses an identical setup, with three individual cutting elements: two finishing foils and one middle trimmer that captures longer hairs.

It’s therefore not a big surprise that performance-wise, the Series 5 and 7 are pretty much identical.

While it’s not that obvious from the side by side shot above, the shaving head of the Series 7 is a bit more compact as the frame surrounding the cassette it is not as wide. As a result, the Series 7 feels slightly more nimble during use.

The Series 7 is more refined, a bit more comfortable and slightly faster during use. The Series 5 vibrates a lot when cutting the hairs and produces more noise.

But the final result, both in terms of closeness and comfort, is very similar. So if you found the Series 7 to be a good match for your needs, but the price was more than what you were willing to pay, the Series 5 represents a perfectly good alternative.

There are quite a few variations of the Series 5 available and you can read my complete guide on that topic here.

In my opinion, the 5090cc seems to be the best option at this moment as it costs less than other Series 5 models and as the cc in its name suggests, it comes with an automatic cleaning station.

Regarding the station I must mention that it lacks any system for actively drying the shaver once the cleaning phase is completed.

The Braun Series 5 5090cc comes with an automatic cleaning and charging station

As we saw previously, with some of the Series 7 we get induction heating and the Series 9 stations are fitted with a fan that blow-dries the shaving head.

In order to keep the price low, the cleaning stations included with the Series 5 don’t have any of these. Instead, the alcohol-based fluid will naturally evaporate within a few hours.

In my opinion this isn’t a big deal as you probably don’t need to use the razor again just hours after completing a shave.

Other than that, the station of the 5090cc does the same excellent job of cleaning and lubricating the shaver.

Because the shaving performance of the Series 5 is so similar to the Series 7, it represents one of the best choices for men with sensitive skin that are primarily interested in shaving comfort as opposed to getting a very close shave.

I personally find the closeness of the Series 5 and 7 to be good enough, but again, something like a Panasonic Arc 4 will provide a closer shave in most cases.

The Series 5 seems to be fitted with a similar motor to the one in the Series 7, so it will have plenty of power to shave a coarse beard.

It works great when used on shorter facial hair, so if you shave daily or every other day you should get very good results.

I actually managed to get a really good shave even when I used it on a two or three days beard, so in my opinion the Series 5 works a lot better in these situations than any other similarly priced Panasonic for example. That middle trimmer manages to catch stray hairs efficiently and with fewer strokes.

The 5090cc is suitable for dry only use, but to be perfectly honest, a shaving cream or gel doesn’t do much for the Series 5 or 7 in terms of improving the results. The newer 5190cc is also suitable for wet & dry operation.

Braun shavers in general are very comfortable during a dry shave and the closeness won’t be improved to a significant degree with the addition of a shaving cream or gel.

A pre-electric shave lotion would be a better option as it’s very easy to apply and in most cases it will make a difference.

Regarding the price, the Series 5 5090cc/5190cc does very well actually. It costs less than a Series 7 with similar specs and the replacement shaving head (52s/52b) is also cheaper.

To sum it up, the Series 5 is a more affordable Series 7 that really delivers on the expectations.

7. Philips Norelco 8900 with SmartClean

Philips Norelco 8900 with SmartClean

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Great for longer, flat-lying hairs A Panasonic Arc 4 or 5 will shave closer
Adequately close shaves, comfortableManual cleaning can be tedious
Costs less than other premium Philips shavers A rotary razor may not be the best choice for very sensitive skin
Very good cleaning station
Excellent price/performance ratio
Suitable for coarse beards

Let’s now shift our attention to what is likely one of the best rotary razors when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck.

Philips Norelco 8900 build quality

The 8900 from Philips Norelco, available with or without a cleaning station, offers similar performance to the much more expensive Series 9000 razors (9300, 9700, 9800) for significantly less money.

By leaving out some gimmicky features like speed settings, fancy displays and by using a simpler design, the 8900 can usually be bought at an excellent price. The actual shaving performance still remains top notch.

For example, the Norelco 8900 uses the same cutting heads (part no. SH90) as the more expensive 9300 and 9700 models.

The automatic cleaning station called SmartClean is optional, but I highly recommend you to get it as it works excellent and the price difference between the two variants is not that high.

The SmartClean stations are reasonably fast and quiet and they are also very economical — the cleaning solution lasts longer compared to Panasonic and Braun.

Philips Norelco 8900 SmartClean station cleaning process

Moreover, the station included with the Norelco 8900 S8950/90 even feature an inductive heating system that dries the shaver, something you won’t be seeing at this price point from the competition.

Being a rotary razor, the 8900 has some specific advantages over most foil shavers. In my opinion the most important one is the way rotary razors are able to capture and cut difficult facial hair. I’m talking of course about long, wiry, flat-lying hairs.

The shaving unit with the three individual cutting heads can flex and adapt to the contours of your face; by using a combination of rotary and straight strokes the hairs can be captured very efficiently.

If you shave less often and you have a lot of flat-lying hairs, a rotary shaver like the Philips Norelco 8900 can be one of the best options for you.

It’s also one of the most comfortable rotary razors out there and it won’t pinch the skin or pull the hairs as other entry-level shavers tend to do. To be perfectly honest, I don’t find as smooth and gentle as a foil-based shaver from Braun for example, but if you’ve ever used a rotary razor before without any issues you’ll definitely enjoy shaving with this one as well.

Shaving with the Philips Norelco 8900

Rotary razors are generally considered to be more suitable for coarse facial hair than foil shavers. While I think this is mostly true in the case of very basic shavers, the 8900 is indeed adequate for shaving thick beards.

The closeness is very good for a rotary shaver. I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you that at least in my case, foil shavers are still on top in this regard; the closeness that I get is constantly better and I feel more in control using one.

However, since this whole article is based on the fact that we’re different, there are a lot of men that get better results with rotary shavers and that’s perfectly normal.

The price of the Philips Norelco 8900 sits somewhere between a Braun Series 5 and 7, so it’s definitely a mid-range shaver in this regard. The SH90 replacement shaving heads are a bit pricier but similar to the ones needed for a Panasonic Arc 4.

To sum it up: a high-quality rotary razor like the Philips Norelco 8900 can be an excellent choice for men that don’t shave often and have wiry, thick whiskers that grow in different directions.

However, it may not be ideal if you have sensitive skin or your hairs have a tendency to become ingrown. In this case a Braun Series 5 or 7 would be more suitable.

8. Panasonic ES-LT41-K Arc 3

Panasonic ES-LT41-K Arc 3

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Very close shaves Not as comfortable as a Braun Series 3
One of the best all-round budget razors Replacement foils & blades are pricey compared to the competition
Fast and powerful, suitable for coarser facial hair Works best for shaving daily or every other day
High quality, sharp bladesNot suitable for very sensitive skin
Excellent wet shaving performance
Easy to clean manually

Stepping into the segment of more affordable electric shavers we have the Arc 3 line from Panasonic.

As the name suggests, the Arc 3 electric razors have a three-blade shaving system showcasing the same arched profile of the foils.

The Panasonic Arc 3 features a 3 blade shaving system

This is common throughout all the different Arc 3 variations. What isn’t common though is the output of the motors that the razors are equipped with, ranging from 7 600 to 13 000 CPM (Cycles Per Minute).

It comes as no surprise that the ones fitted with the more powerful units perform exponentially better. As a result, I highly suggest you to only consider those particular Arc 3 variants, like for example the Panasonic ES-LT41-K or the ES8103S.

There are other Arc 3 models besides those that will perform identical, so as long as you see in the specs sheet that they use the 13 000 CPM motors, you’re all good.

My personal pick from the Arc 3 line would be the ES-LT41-K as it’s usually the most reasonably priced of them all. Since we’re talking about an entry-level shaver, the cost should be a decisive factor when making your pick.

Another equally good option would be the older ES8103S. Despite looking a bit dated — it was launched all the way back in 2008 — its performance is very similar to the ES-LT41-K and they even use the same foils and blades.

As a result, you should simply go for the one you can find at a better price.

And speaking of prices, the latest generation Arc 3 shavers (with model names starting with LT) are very expensive, at least at the moment of writing.

The Panasonic ES-LT3N-K from the latest generation Arc 3.

The Panasonic ES-LT3N-K from the latest generation Arc 3.

Even though they represent a major update in terms of aesthetics and build quality, I still cannot recommend them as the price difference compared to the previous versions is way too high.

Performance-wise they’re not a massive improvement over the ES-LT41-K for example and I suggest skipping these newer models, at least for now. As I said in the review of the ES-LT3N-K, they don’t actually shave better, the shaving head is unnecessarily bulky and the new sensor technology is useless.

Getting back to the ES-LT41-K, I think it’s one of the best affordable foil shavers out there. With a punchy motor (only slightly less powerful than the ones used on the Arc 5 models), sharp blades and solid construction, it offers great performance and good value for money.

I previously mentioned that the Panasonic Arc 4 and 5 excel at closeness, particularly when compared to similarly priced foil shavers from Braun.

This trend continues with the entry-level shavers as well, the ES-LT41-K and other similar Arc 3 models being likely the closest shaving electric razors at this price point.

Again, as long as they’re not fitted with less powerful motors (like the ES-SL-41-S Arc 3 that I reviewed a while back), all Arc 3 variations will provide similar performance.

So with regards to closeness the ES-LT41-K fares excellent, noticeably better than a Braun Series 3 for example or a similarly priced Philips Norelco.

The powerful 13 000 cycles per minute motor and the high-quality blades make it suitable for a coarser beard as well. Shaving light or medium facial hair is a non-issue for the Arc 3.

When it comes to comfort, the ES-LT41-K can cause some irritation if you have sensitive skin. I find it to be just a bit harsher than the Arc 4 or 5 models and the foils can get a bit too hot which may cause some discomfort.

These shortcomings can be minimized by lubricating the blades on a regular basis and by using a pre-shave lotion. But the most effective method is in my opinion the addition of a quality shaving cream.

I know most men prefer to shave dry, but Panasonics perform amazing during a wet shave.

To get the most out of the ES-LT41-K or any other less advanced electric razor, shaving more often would be a very effective solution (shaving daily or every other day will likely yield the best results).

The ES-LT41-K can usually be found at a very competitive price and you’ll often stumble upon great deals. The replacement foil and blades combos (model number WES9013PC) cost less than the 4 or 5 blade Panasonic parts and they’re widely available.

The ES-LT41-K is an excellent choice for beginners because it’s dead easy to clean and to operate, it’s fully waterproof, the shaving head is quite slim and nimble and the shavers themselves can really take a beating.

If you have a very sensitive skin you’ll be better off with a Braun Series 3 that can be bought for pretty much the same money and it’s more comfortable during use.

9. Braun Series 3 3040s ProSkin

Braun Series 3 3040s ProSkin

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Very comfortableDoesn’t shave as close as a Panasonic Arc 3
Suitable for sensitive skinA bit underpowered for coarse facial hair
Inexpensive replacement shaving heads Works best only when used daily or every other day
Very good value for money
Wet & dry use
Excellent for beginners

The Series 3 is Braun’s entry-level family of electric shavers and a direct competitor to Panasonic’s Arc 3 razors.

The highlights of the Series 3 shavers are the affordable price and the comfort during the shave.

Both the shavers and the replacement shaving heads (called cassettes, part number 32B/32S) usually cost less than the corresponding Arc 3 parts from Panasonic.

Braun Series 3 ProSkin shaving head

The shaving head of the 3040s, with the typical 3 blade setup (2 finishing foils and one middle slit foil).

While the closeness is not as good, the Series 3 is more comfortable and gentler to the skin compared to an Arc 3.

There are several Series 3 models, ranging from dry only models that include a cleaning station like the 3050cc to wet/dry models like the 3040s.

The Braun Series 3 3040s and 3050cc are on of the best electric shavers in the entry-level segment

Series 3 3040s Proskin (black & blue) alongside the Series 3 3050cc (black & grey)

I tend to prefer the 3040s as it costs a lot less, can be used wet or dry and the basic shaving head is easier to clean manually compared to the Series 5, 7 or 9, so the station is not a must-have in this case.

Other cheaper Series 3 models (e.g. 3010s) lack features like a long hair trimmer, so I wouldn’t consider those as I find the hair trimmer to be very useful.

Whichever Series 3 you end up choosing, the shaving performance will be identical, so selecting the best one for you should come down to price and several features that you’ll be needing (cleaning station, wet/dry capabilities, hair trimmer etc.).

As with most electric shavers, the dry only models can also be operated when they’re plugged in, while the wet/dry ones cannot due to safety concerns.

The 3040s and all Series 3 razors work best when used daily or every other day at most. Longer hairs will cause problems to most basic foil shavers, including the Series 3.

Because it is very comfortable, with the foils remaining cool during your shave, the Series 3 is a suitable option if you have sensitive skin.

If you’re mainly interested in getting a very close shave, a Panasonic Arc 3 will perform better in most cases.

If you have very coarse facial hair, the Series 3 will eventually get the job done, but it’ll probably take you longer to shave and it won’t be that enjoyable. If that’s the case, investing in a more powerful shaver like the Series 5 or a Panasonic Arc 4 would be a good idea.

10. Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 (S3310/81)

Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 (S3310/81)

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ComfortableDoesn’t shave as close as other entry-level razors
Very good value for moneyA thorough cleaning can be fiddly
Works surprisingly well on longer whiskersNot ideal for sensitive skin
Excellent for beginnersCan feel underpowered when shaving a very coarse beard

A best-seller in its category, the Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 is a basic, inexpensive rotary shaver suitable for dry only use.

While the Braun Series 3 and the Panasonic Arc 3 are the go-to options for an affordable foil shaver, the 3100 is a worthy contender from the rotary camp.

In fact, it may actually be a better pick in certain situations.

Despite the fact that I would choose a foil shaver over a rotary one, during my time with the Philips Norelco 3100 I was impressed by how efficient it was at capturing and cutting longer, flat-lying hairs, particularly on my neck.

The Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 (S3310/81) is a very decent, inexpensive rotary shaver

Usually the more advanced a shaver is, the better it will cope with difficult facial hair. But a rotary razor, even a basic one like the 3100, can perform surprisingly well in a situation like this one.

While the closeness won’t be as good compared to what you’ll get from a Panasonic Arc 3, the 3100 will make it easier for you to get all those stray hairs that a foil shaver will likely leave behind.

The Norelco Shaver 3100 is also pretty comfortable during the shave, so it can be a viable choice if you don’t have overly sensitive skin.

Even though it performs very well at this price point, don’t expect anything spectacular. The 3100 is still a very basic shaver. If you want something faster and more powerful you will have to spend more on something like the Philips Norelco 8900.

The inclusion of a pop-up trimmer is definitely welcome; with other more expensive razors from Philips like the 6100 you have to pay extra for a separate click-on trimmer.

Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 (S3310/81) pop-up trimmer is a very welcome addition

The SH30/52 replacement shaving heads cost pretty much the same as the foils and blades of other entry-level shavers like the Series 3 and Arc 3.

To sum it up, if you’re looking for a very affordable electric shaver, you tend to shave less often and have wiry, flat-lying facial hairs, the Philips Norelco 3100 can be a good starting point.

If closeness is also important, I would suggest you to simply get a Panasonic Arc 3 and shave more often.

Final word on choosing the right shaver

This pretty much concludes my take on the difficult task of recommending an electric razor.

I tried my best to stick to the models that provide great value, not just hype. After all, if several electric shavers offer almost identical performance, it makes perfect sense to get the one that costs less.

That was the reasoning behind selecting these particular shavers; however, if you can get a great deal on a different one that also meets your requirements and performs similarly, then by all means you should get that one instead.

Some of these shavers will be discontinued or updated at some point. And as we saw, an update can be anything from a minor visual overhaul to a completely new shaver.

I will update this list on a regular basis to keep it relevant to the ever-changing market of electric shavers.

I truly hope that this approach to selecting your best electric razor will streamline the process and make it less of a chore to decide what would work best for you.

If you found this post useful, please consider subscribing to our newsletter as well. If you have any other questions make sure to post them in the comments below.

97 comments on “What’s The Best Electric Razor For Men (2018)? The Ultimate Guide

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  1. Sam

    Norelco went from best to worst in a matter of a few years. Their current line up is total junk. The 9000 Series which replaced the 8000 Series (Sensotouch 3D) is vastly inferior. I tried both and couldn’t believe how bad Phillips dropped the ball. Went back to my 8000 Series but original replacement heads are no longer in production. A shame really. It is the only electric shaver I have ever used that does not pull or tug week long stubble.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Sam,

      The move from the old RQ12 to the new heads that use the SH90 individual cutters was controversial to say the least. For me personally it wasn’t a huge performance drop — I still get very good results with the new ones as well — but I also know that a lot of the Series 8000 users were simply outraged by the performance of the new shavers/cutters.

      I truly hope that Philips/Norelco will roll out a revision and address this. They must be aware of the current situation.


    2. Michael

      I agree as I used to have the Norelco Sensotouch 3D now the 8000 series with the original head. The replacement head is really inferior yet it costs almost the same as the original replacement head which is very difficult to find now, as any remaining stock is or has disappeared already.
      Bought the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 and like it but after a few months, it feels that it wasn’t shaving that closely anymore esp. flat lying hair. Charge it fully and make sure it’s clean and the original head should last at least a year. Too bad the head is so big and bulky!
      Also, the replacement head set is expensive as it’s ~$55, which is almost 1/2 the cost of the razor itself.
      It’s crazy how expensive the replacement heads cost!
      Considering using a simple razor blade razor and shaving cream.

      1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

        Hi Michael,

        The replacement shaving heads for Panasonic have always been notoriously expensive.

        If you noticed a drop in performance after a few months, get them properly cleaned and you’ll be surprised by the difference this can make. I recommend a cleaning spray like the Remington Shaver Saver. It’s inexpensive, easy to apply and also lubricates the cutters.

        If that’s not an option, let the blades and foil soak in warm soapy water for one hour, then rinse them thoroughly and let them dry. Don’t forget to lubricate the blades on a regular basis, especially if you clean your shaver with liquid soap and water.


  2. Jay


    First off great article! I was wondering if I could get some advice from you. I bought a Braun series 7 about a year and a half ago after a ton of research and a brief stint with a norelco s7370 (rotarys aren’t for me). The Braun performed pretty well, but at the same time I got into wet shaving with a traditional DE. So my braun kind of got shoved in a drawer. I definitely prefer the DE but I travel with carry on bags weekly so I can’t pack a DE and blades. I’ve found that in order to get close shaves even with manual blades I had to do 3 passes and go against the grain on the third, which is a long process. Also since I travel I have to use cartridge razors in and out of airports which aren’t as comfortable as a de. I finally stopped going for that super smooth shave and just went for comfort which avoided a 3rd pass. This “comfort” shave got me about the same closeness an electric would but without the speed and convenience. I started using my series 7 again and I realized I do wish it had the option for a wet shave (not something I do all the time but I do have a badger brush and nice creams), and I also wouldn’t mind a slightly closer shave. For reference I have similar facial hair to you. Sensitive skin, course but rather sparse facial hair. Thick hairs but not a lot of them. Several hairs grow out parallel, to my skin on my neck and can be tricky to get. I also shave every day for work while I’m on my typically 4 day trips and take a break for a few days when I come home and start over again. I’ve had my eye on the Panasonic arc series based on your articles, would you recommend grabbing one of those, or sticking with my series 7? And if you recommend a panny what model? I’ll probably need to grab a new cutting block for the series 7 soon and my cleaning liquid has evaporated so that will also factor into the cost of keeping the Braun vs getting a new razor.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jay,

      Thank you for your comment.

      First of all I have to say that I can totally relate to your situation. I went from cartridges to DE razors (and nicer creams & soaps) and finally settled to electric shavers. Unless I’m traveling or I’m reviewing one, I almost always shave wet. And my go to shavers for that are from Panasonic. They simply work better than my wet/dry Braun shavers. For me at least using a Braun with shaving cream doesn’t make that much of a difference.

      This setup — Panasonic + shaving cream — works the best for me as it makes the shaver a lot more comfortable while the closeness is also great. I have sensitive skin and shaving dry with a Panny is not as comfortable as using a Braun razor. I tend to get a bit of razor burn above my upper lip and sometimes on the neck.

      If you’ll be shaving wet for the majority of time I think you should really consider a Panasonic. Unfortunately I can’t tell how well it will work for you when used dry.

      Another bonus for the Panny is related to cleaning. They are much easier to clean compared to Braun, even when you use shaving cream. It literally takes less than one minute to have thoroughly cleaned with a bit of liquid soap. The cassettes used by Braun are fiddly to clean (if you don’t bring along the station). So that would be a big plus for the Panny since you also travel a lot. Also, no more money spent on cleaning cartridges.

      Speaking of costs, the prices of Series 7 replacement heads have recently gone up quite a bit. They used to cost significantly less than the ones for Panasonic, but now they are pretty much the same.

      Panasonic shavers work particularly well with shorter, coarse facial hair, but aren’t as good as the ones from Braun with longer, flat lying whiskers. But if you’ll shave daily or even every other day this shouldn’t be a problem.

      Considering all these aspects, I think a Panny would make more sense in your case. Regarding the model, that really depends on your budget. I think an Arc 5 would be a bit overkill for sparse facial hair, so I would consider an Arc 4 or even an Arc 3. Here are a few models for you to check out: ES-LA63-S, ES-LF51-A, ES8243A, ES-LT41-K. I think the ES8243A currently offers the best bang for your buck, but the prices can vary tremendously from one day to another.

      When it comes to shaving and what works for different men there are no guarantees so this is unfortunately the best I can do.


      1. Jay


        Thanks for the quick response! If I do have a lot of growth I’ll probably end up using my DE. Thanks for the model recommendation. I noticed some arc 4s are almost as much as the 5, but that model you recommended has a really good price. If I do dry shave I use lectric shave or Remington face saver. Is that still pretty comfortable? And does the ES8243A still have a pretty powerful motor? What’s the difference between the ES8243A and ES-LT41-K?

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          You are very welcome, Jay. A pre shave is clearly better than not using anything at all, so I think it would be beneficial. I use Lectric Shave and it does help, even though I don’t really like the oily consistency.

          The ES8243A is fitted with a slightly less powerful motor compared to other Arc 4 and Arc 5 models (13 000 CPM as opposed to 14 000 CPM), but that should still be easily enough. Compared to the ES-LT41-K it has an extra blade, meaning that you should be able to complete your shave faster with the Arc 4.

          Just a quick word of caution — if possible, avoid switching back and forth between razor blades and electric shavers. A razor blade shaves off a thin layer of cells, causing the body to produce scar tissue and until it gets rid of that tissue (which can take at least a couple of weeks), your shave with an electric razor may suffer. So unless you really have to, it’s best to stick to just one of them.

          1. Jay

            Thanks for the caution. I didn’t know there would be issues switch between them. If that’s the case I definitely want a wet/dry so I can use my good shaving cream.

            Sounds like the ES8243A will be a good fit. I don’t imagine the slight difference in the motor will make a huge difference. What would be your second recommendation?

          2. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            Any other Arc 4 that you can get at a better price: ES-LF51-A, ES-LA63-S. I’ve seen these two on sale for less than $100, so keep an eye on them as well.

          3. Jay

            So I’ve done more research and I’ve narrowed it down to a few models. Of the arc 4 line my favorite is the ES-LF51-A. It’s aesthetically better looking than the ES8243A and has the slightly more powerful motor. Price difference is only $10. I do like the ES-LA63S but it is almost as much as the arc5. So if I’m going to go that high I might as well get the 5. Currently the ES-LV65S is only $35 more than the ES-LF51-A. Do you think it would be worth it to upgrade to the arc 5 for that cost difference? I’m also still considering the arc 3 ES-LT41-K as it’s very cheap right now but I still want a pretty solid razor.

          4. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            I actually use both the ES-LF51-A and the ES-LV65-S pretty often and I think they are fantastic performers. The ES-LF51-A is a lot more nimble and easy to use though because of its slimmer shaving head. The ES-LV65-S has that massive head and 5 blades are bit overkill in my opinion; if you have very dense and coarse facial hair I think you would benefit from it, otherwise the Arc 4 will be just as good. Coming from a Series 7 I think you’ll feel more at home with the ES-LF51-A.

            The replacement foils & blades combo for the ES-LF51-A also costs less. The ES-LT41-K is the most budget friendly, both the shaver and the replacement parts are cheaper. It’s a solid shaver as well, but to me the Arc 4 feels a bit faster (14 000 CPM + three micro-foils).

          5. Jay

            Thanks for your advice. I feel very informed! I have to admit I was a little swayed by the fancy LED and aesthetics of the arc 5, but that shouldn’t really matter. Didn’t really think about the head size being that different from the 4 and 5. I’ll order the ES-LF51-A. I’ll probably keep my series 7 around for dry shaves as well. Thanks again. All the best.

      2. Dan

        Hi Ovidiu, thanks for making this list. I’m currently using a DE razor and it’s great but
        I’m looking for something more convenient and able to be used in the mornings when I’m less bothered. I recently purchased a Series 9000 Philips electric razor. I’m not very impressed with it. At best, after a good number of passes, I get something closer to a 5 o’clock shadow.

        If I intend to shave every day or two, I understand the ES-LV65 you mentioned was overkill at the price point, but budget aside, would that be my best bet for a close shave? And in your experience, were you able to match the closeness of a DE razor + Feather brand blades?

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Dan,

          Thank you for your comment. If you’re interested in getting a close shave and your facial hair is rather coarse and tends to grow back pretty fast, then the ES-LV65-S would actually be a very good option.

          In my wet shaving days I didn’t really get along with Feather blades, they were too sharp and harsh on my skin. I usually shaved with a milder DE razor and Gillette Platinum or Personna blades. That combination worked best for me. Regarding the closeness, I am able to match it when using an appropriate electric shaver (Panasonic is the best in my experience) and shaving cream. A pre-shave lotion is also a good option if you’re on the run and don’t have the time to build and apply lather.

          I cannot guarantee that you will get the same results, but the ES-LV65-S would be your best bet for a close shave. Anything slightly better would also cost a lot more (for example, the ES-LV6N/ES-LV9N).

          Hope this helps.


          1. Dan

            Thanks Ovidiu,

            I did a bit more reading on the articles you have detailing the differences in the Arc 5 series and I’ll probably go for the ES-LV9C if I can find it somewhere in Europe or when I go to Asia for business this June. Thanks for your advice and your well-written articles!


          2. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            You are very welcome, Dan. I’m also really eager to get one myself. I’ve seen several variations (ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q) listed on amazon.de if you want to check them out.


  3. John Mitchell

    Are you able to tell me if there are any electric men’s shaving manufacturers in the USA? Or,can you suggest a manufacturer that might be willing to produce a prototype for me?

  4. Dave

    Hi. Great article. My local shop has a panny ESLV51 and a ESLV71 at sale prices.
    The ESLV71 comes with a cleaner, but other than that I cannot see any other difference.
    Also the ESLV71 is slightly cheaper.
    Are you able to,shed some,light as the differences between these models please.


    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Dave,

      Thank you for your comment. Just a quick correction, the actual model names are ES-LF51 and ES-LF71. But you are absolutely correct, the cleaning station included with the ES-LF71 is the only difference between the two. Since you can also get it at a lower price it’s clearly the better pick. I own an ES-LF51 — identical to the ES-LF71 performance-wise — and it’s an excellent shaver.

      Hope this helps.


  5. Prithvi

    Hi! I wish to leave the the whole ‘shaving with twin blade razor’ routine soon & have been sifting through a lot of links on the internet lately. Found yours to be ‘very’ well researched, practical & concisely explained thereof. Thanks, subscribed!

    Initial observations based on my searches: For big spenders, Panasonic seems to be almost every discerning buyers choice albeit by a low margin & for the thrifty spenders like me, Wahl or even Remington makes the cut (pun intended .. ha!).

    If you are interested, I found these to be within my price range from Wahl & Remington:
    For Home: Smart Shave™ Rechargeable Shaver SKU# 07061-900
    For Travel: Heritage Series HF9000 Foil Shaver SKU# HF9000

    Cheers !!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Prithvi,

      Thank you for your comment and for subscribing to our newsletter!

      Panasonic tends indeed to have some very expensive models and the replacement foils & blades combos are particularly pricey. However, you can find a few models that offer excellent value for money like the ones mentioned in this article. I always strive to recommend shavers that offer great value, not just hype (regardless of the brand). I am based in Europe and so far I didn’t get to test any Wahl shavers, but it will happen soon. I love the way the Heritage Series from Remington looks, I think they absolutely nailed it with the design and whole vintage aesthetics. I will be reviewing one to see if it shaves as good as it looks.


      1. Prithvi

        Hi Ovidiu,
        Thank you! The Remington Heritage Series, especially the HF9000 just struck a chord right away. I’ll definitely purchase it if it works well. It’d be nice to see your review on this beauty whenever you manage to test one out (as also the Wahl 07061-900). And yes, I have noted that the No. 2 in your list i.e., Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5 even without its cleaning station makes sense but I plan to graduate from a less costly Wahl to a premium Panasonic as time progresses. Who knows Wahl may turn out to be a ‘not-so-bad, rather good’ shaver too !! I’ll keep a tab on above &/or any other recommendations from your side in the meantime. Cheers!!

  6. Nique

    Hi, this is definitely an interesting read…Was wondering if you had a more in depth article about the differences / pros / cons / contrasting / comparing foil and rotary razors?
    I’ve never tried a foil electric razor ever, I’ve had the same Philips Norelco one for a long time, I really don’t like it at all, it leaves red marks all over my neck and the stupid replaceable blade heads get dull very quickly. I need a new one but I don’t think I want to upgrade to anything that will have the same problems…I mean really if I have to keep replacing the blades all the time why not just stick with a manual Gillette Fusion or something?
    Maybe I’ve just been missing out because I’ve never tried a foil one before.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Nique,

      I actually tried to steer clear of the foil vs rotary debate because it’s a very polarizing topic. Everyone should use what works best for them and both foil-based and rotary shavers can yield great results. With that said, I never managed to get the same (excellent) results when using a rotary shaver compared to a foil-based machine. There’s an unofficial consensus in the community that foil razors are more comfortable and shave closer and at least in my case that seems to be right.

      If you decide to try one out, a good starting point would be the Braun Series 7. The shaving head seems to last longer compared to other options and it’a really good shaver overall. It may take a couple of weeks before you get satisfactory results since shaving with a foil razor also requires a different technique. Also, try not to switch back and forth between an electric shaver and a razor blade as the quality of your shave will suffer.

      Hope this helps.


  7. Fabian Chidi

    Which shaver would you recommend for African tough hair that picks all the hair including long laid hair. Can be used dry and wet. Easy to clean and not a trouble travelling with. What i hate is a shaver you have to rub hard to catch any hair.. but i want a fairly priced shaver but it must perform if cheap and can’t pick all hair then No for me

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Fabian,

      Unfortunately I don’t think you’ll find a shaver that can satisfy absolutely all those requirements. The Series 9 clearly sounds like a suitable option, but it is pricey and pretty cumbersome to clean manually. However, it’s arguably the best shaver for wiry, flat lying hairs. The next best thing would be a Series 7 (or even a Series 5) that costs less but can still perform quite well on this type of facial hair. Just like the Series 9, the Series 7 and 5 are more difficult to clean manually than other foil shavers.

      An advanced rotary razor like the Philips Norelco 9300 or 8900 should also provide a good shave in this situation, but in my experience they aren’t as comfortable as the above mentioned shavers from Braun and a thorough cleaning is time consuming.

      All these shavers are available with an automatic cleaning station as well.

      Hope this helps.


  8. Michael S

    What a great web site. Can you reply to my following comments/question. I’ve had my Braun Series 7 since 2012. It’s time to replace the cassette/head again. I’m seeing them for about $45. But I’m seeing a brand new 7865CC for $170 on Amazon that is now wet/dry. So essentially in my case, I would be incrementally spending $125 for a whole new shaver and CC (and travel pouch). My only reason for wanting the wet/dry is to be able to easily wash it when I’m traveling. I tend to put it back in the C&C each day when home. One thing I’ve noticed on my shaver is that the plastic color coating is starting to peel off of the body just below where the cassette attaches. It doesn’t affect the performance, just a little unsightly. I tend to take the cord with me when traveling to insure it stays charged. I feel like after 3-4 shaves it doesn’t have the full power of being freshly charged. Any comments on this situation? Also, how long can I expect the lithium battery to last?

    I look forward to your response.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you found the information useful.

      The 790cc, despite being a dry only model, can also be safely cleaned with tap water, so the 7865cc doesn’t really offer an advantage in that regard. The wet/dry operation is only useful if you’ll be shaving in the shower or with cream/gel.

      Since it’s a wet/dry shaver, it won’t work while connected to the mains via the cord, so that’s again something you should factor in. So far the battery life of my 7865cc has been great, I think I got at least 8 shaves from a full battery. I only did this battery test for the purpose of reviewing the shaver as I normally use the cleaning station pretty often so the battery is fully charged almost all the time.

      Lastly, the 7865cc comes with the updated CC station, so the induction heating system and the quick clean setting are gone. That station is now shipped with all Braun Series 7 currently being manufactured, including the 790cc. You should still be able to use your older station if you decide to buy a new Series 7, be it a 7865cc or a 790cc.

      The paint flaking is a well known problem with the Series 7 and I couldn’t tell you if it has been fixed with the newer iterations. It takes months of even years for it to happen. But like you said, the damage is only visual.

      It’s up to you to decide if buying a new shaver makes more sense than getting a new cassette for your current Series 7. The price is indeed a lot higher than what it used to be a couple of years ago, but that’s the case with pretty much all electric shavers from the middle to high-end segment.

      I hope this helps.


  9. Michael S

    Follow-up: I would consider splurging for the Braun Series 9. But honestly, I was surprised to learn that the replacement cassette is almost double in price $80 compared to the Series 7. Do they still recommend it be replaced every 18 months?

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      The price for both seems to fluctuate a lot lately, so the difference may or may not be significant. Braun still officially recommends to change the cassette every 18 months, but at least from what I’ve heard from my readers and other reports, with the Series 9 you may need to change it sooner than that. My 9290cc still works perfectly fine after 6 months, but I use a lot of shavers in my rotation so it’s not really relevant.

      1. Michael S

        Thank you for your diligent and thoughtful reply. Based upon pricing, I think it’s time to replace my ‘old’ Braun S7 with a new one. Based upon pricing and features, I’ll probably go with another Braun S7. I’ll probably keep the old one as a backup. Like other lithium battery products, I’m guessing mine is losing charge capacity. I have used it roughly 2200 times. (Maybe more if including the extra 5 o’clock shadow shaves on the weekends.) Therefore, the capacity is now significantly reduced. For those that haven’t tried this: I tend to do a quick once over before I get in the shower. I use a exfoliator sponge on my face. Then when I get out, I do a finishing shave. This is very effective.
        Lastly, the 790cc and the 7865CC are listed for the same price on Amazon. So I’ll probably get the “better” 7865CC. Thanks again for your response.

      2. Jerry McCurry

        I’m 83, and have been using a Remington all my life. Haven’t replaced the head or cutters on this latest model. Guess I’m just stupid, because it doesn’t shave worth a darn.
        I’m sure I need to spend more $$ this time and get a decent shave, and have new cutters available when needed.
        Any ideas for this old timer? Thanks in advance.
        My email is: meteor57@sbcglobal.net

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Jerry,

          Thank you for your comment. While you didn’t mention the type of your Remington shaver (foil-based or rotary), the Braun Series 7 is usually a very safe choice and ticks pretty much all the boxes. I would however recommend you to check out the Series 5. Its performance is almost identical to a Series 7, but it costs less and the replacement heads are cheaper as well. You can opt for a model that comes with a cleaning station like the 5090cc/5190cc or go for a solo variation (5030s, 5040s etc.). The latter is usually cheaper.

          Hope this helps.


  10. Prithvi

    Hi! Came across the cheaper Philips Norelco OneBlade QP2520/70. Its not exactly in the league of recommended shavers in the article here but worth a look.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Prithvi,

      Thank you for the suggestion. The OneBlade is more of a niche product and can definitely be a good option in certain situations, like maintaining designer stubble or trimming a goatee. As you said, it’s not exactly the type of electric shaver you would expect to see here. Since I am yet to test the OneBlade I decided to not mention it at all, at least until I have a chance to actually use one.


  11. Prithvi

    Noted, thanks !! OneBlade does have very high ratings & a sizeable number of users have approved the clean shave that it renders. If its a ‘clean, smooth’ shaver then I am in as I am looking for cheaper options to initiate myself with electric razor usage. Whenever/if you can .. appreciate it !

  12. Andrés García

    Hi, Thanks for your great review. I have just one doubt, as I have coarse hair and after shaving y may feel razor burn, I was going to buy the series 9 from Braun, because it is the best one for sensitive skin, but in your investigations’ findings you stated that Braun series 9 is an “Overkill for light beards and/or everyday use”.
    Can you please tell me the reason behind that statement and which other option would you recommend for my case, especially considering that sometimes I shave every day and sometimes every 2 or 3 days?
    I will really appreciate your answer

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Andrés,

      Thank you for your comment. I’d say that the Series 9 looks like a good in this case. One of its clear advantages over most other shavers is the ability to capture and cut longer, flat lying hairs with less strokes. In the case of short stubble other less advanced and more affordable shavers (like the Series 7, Series 5 or a Panasonic Arc 4) can perform just as well and if that’s the case you don’t necessarily need a Series 9 (that’s what I meant by “overkill”).

      The same goes for a light beard, you don’t need a high-end shaver in order to get a decent shave.

      Since you have coarse facial hair, get occasional razor burn and shave daily or every three days, the Series 9 definitely looks like a suitable machine.


  13. Ethan Benninger

    Hi Ovidiu,

    First of all, thank you for your intelligent and thorough reviews and articles. I’ve spent a lot of time on your site before deciding on the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4. After continuously having facial hair in some regard for the last 15+ years, I’ve recently gone babyface, and am looking forward to the close shaves and good value from the Arc 4.

    Thanks for all your effort and thoughtfulness!


    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Ethan,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad you found the information useful. The ES-LA63-S is an excellent choice in a variety of situations and I hope you’ll enjoy shaving (again) with your new shaver!


  14. Mat

    Thank you for this article, it’s very well written. I’m buying my first electric shaver and your website gave me all the information I needed without the need to look elsewhere. It’s an excellent example of high quality blogging. All the best!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Mat. I’m truly glad whenever I hear that an article of mine actually helped someone solve a problem. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new electric razor!


  15. Mat

    Hi, thankyou for taking the time to break down what you know about all of these shavers. I shave my face and my head every 2 or 3 days my hair is medium and maybe a little on the fine side and fairly thick. I was using the phillips sensotouch 3D but after seeing the $145 price tag for an original head i decided to try the new head rq12+. My shave times more than doubled and it only lasted 6 months when the original head lasted 2 years. I’m extremely frustrated with Phillips for dropping their good head for the garbage they have now. I’m looking at other options my primary concern is speed. shaving both my head and face takes time and i have a busy schedule. I saw a few references to speed in your post but nothing that compared them all to eachother. Do you have a recommendation on which shaver is the quickest? I should clarify that I enjoy a close shave but speed is more of a priority for me.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Mat,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I actually decided not to compare all the models against each other with regards to speed as it wouldn’t have been too relevant. For example, I prefer foil shavers and I feel more in control when using one. As a result, it would take me less time to complete my shave using a mid-range foil shaver compared to a high-end rotary shaver. Men prefer different types of shavers, have different beards and different facial features. All these things will have an influence on the experience with a given shaver.

      Also, you’re trying to find an electric razor that you’ll be using for both your face and head, which is again a particular situation. For me, the fastest shaver is the Arc 5 from Panasonic, but in your case I would still consider an advanced rotary shaver to be the best option. I’m sure that it would take you more time to shave your head with a foil shaver (even if the closeness would probably be better).

      Ever since Philips dropped the older shaving heads in favor of the newer RQ12+ there’s been a constant outrage among existing users — and for good reason. All things considered, I would say that the Philips 9300 from the Series 9000 seems like a good fit for your needs. At least the SH90/62 don’t have the prohibitive price of the older SensoTouch 3D heads and they seem to be quite a bit better than the RQ12+.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Mat

        It does! Thanks for the recommendation. I do prefer the rotary shavers over the foil shavers but Ive never tried a nice foil shaver. A lot of people seem to prefer them and I’ve never tried a nice one to make a good comparison. That’s another reason i was happy to find your post. I can’t just set up all of these shavers side by side and try them all. Reading about your experiences with a wide range of shavers was helpful and i understand how comparing speed and making recommendations is hard. Thanks again for the post.

  16. gary

    quite some time ago, I bought a Panasonic ES8043. The best I could get was stubble. my son who was just starting wanted the “hugh Jackman” look and that was what he panny could do. Out of desperation, I managed to get a Remington ms3 1700 for the close shave stuff and use a series 1 braun to get the strays (out of its depth for more than that).
    now i’m back in the market as the screen on the Remington is shot and the model and replacement parts are extinct. Why should I give Panasonic a second go? is there a Braun that can match the ms3 1700?

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Gary,

      I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question but I’ll try my best to help.

      First of all the ES8043 was released in 2005 and in my opinion Panasonic shavers have been constantly improved since then. That particular model came with a revolutionary 13 000 CPM motor, so it should have been at least as good as other shavers of its time. But then again there are lots of things that contribute to a good shave and for some reason it just failed to deliver. For all intents and purposes, the ES8043 should be better than the MS3-1700. I personally never managed to get a decent shave with any Remington shavers, except for maybe the PF7500.

      Regarding Braun, I’m guessing that you’re referring to one that would shave as close as your MS3-1700. To be honest, I don’t find Braun shavers to excel in this regard and I think a Panasonic will provide a closer shave in most cases.

      There’s also the budget — you didn’t mention how much would you spend on a new shaver.

      The coarseness of your facial hair and how often you shave are two other important factors you should be considering. In the post I tried to recommend what I consider to be the best options for different budgets and different needs, so you should be able to get an idea on which shaver would be a better fit in your case.
      Hope this helps.


  17. George Cornell

    I recently purchased a Braun Series-5 Wet/Dry as I felt there are too many needless bells & whistles on the Series-7 and Series-9.
    After three years with a Philips Norelco Aquatec. I can honestly say the Braun Series-5 has given me the best and closest shave I have ever experienced – DRY.
    I tried it wet using shaving cream on a two day growth and it cut my face to ribbons, this is a brand new razor don’t forget.
    I firmly believe shaving wet with an electric razor is a gimmick as is pre-electric shave lotion.
    Just wash your face in the shower to remove skin oils and to soften your bristles. Dry face, wait approx fifteen minutes and shave dry. Perfect results with a Braun Series-5. Also the head replacement with the Braun is eighteen months as opposed to Phillips’ twelve months. I bought two replacement heads at $43 for the Braun when I purchased it which should last for the life of the razor.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi George,

      Thank you for your comment. The Series 5 is indeed a great alternative to the more expensive shavers you mentioned.

      When it comes to shaving I think we should all use whatever seems to work best for us. For example, while I didn’t find the use of shaving cream to make a significant improvement in the case of the Series 5, it definitely didn’t cause me any discomfort. Also, a pre-shave lotion seems to improve the results in many cases and the improvements can often be significant. There are many factors at play, from the shaver you’re using to shaving technique and hair type.

      However, your approach is clearly working very well for you so, by all means, you should continue doing the same thing.

      Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience with the community.


  18. Alan

    What’s your opinion of the Norelco 9850 ? Costco sells this for 160. How does this compare to the norelco 8900 ? TIA

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      It’s at least as good — if you can get a great deal on the 9850, go for it.

  19. Bruce S

    Thanks for writing this article, very helpful.

    I do have one question, that may seem silly, but what exactly do you mean when you say a shaver is “comfortable” or “not comfortable”?

    Do you mean whether or not you feel the shaver pulling some of the hairs vs cutting them?

    I’m thinking you do not mean how good it feels to hold in your hand and use, but I just want to be sure I understand how you interpret the comfort level of a shaver.



    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Bruce,

      No question is silly and yours is actually a very good one. I usually refer to an electric shaver as not being comfortable if it inflicts any form of noticeable discomfort (stinging, burning, rashes, irritation, pulling the hairs etc.) during or after the shave. So you are right, I do not mean anything related to the ergonomics of a particular shaver.


  20. Bill

    I’ve been told the foil shavers are very loud vs. the rotary. Can you respond? Is there a quiet foil shaver? Thanks

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Bill,

      That’s pretty much correct. Because foil shavers are fitted with much faster motors, they also get pretty loud during use. To me, foil shavers are very similar in this regard — loudness — but some of them sound different than others which may seem subjectively quieter/louder to some. For example, Panasonic shavers have a high pitched, crisp whine, while the ones from Braun emit a lower, muddier hum. But again, in terms of intensity, they are the same. If you really need a quieter machine, rotary razors are the way to go.


      1. bill

        Thank you. I currently use a Norelco which in recent years IMO has become junk. Very bad quality and performance.

  21. Mark K.

    I just came back to electric shaving after having a full beard for four years. Having a grandfather who worked at Schick Dry Shaver in Stamford. I have shaved with old shavers as well as new. I’ve shaved with Old Schicks, Old and new Remington’s and Norelco. I find Norelco to be the best for me. I had a Norelco that lasted 15 years and just bought a S 1151/81 with cord only like my old one. It shaves very well and does a great job on the neck, with minimal redness. I love your page! Lots of info on a subject that isn’t covered that often.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I’m glad you found the information useful.


  22. Dragoniel

    Thank you. This entire website is an amazing treasure trove of information on this topic. It was great education and help in choosing the shaver.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank so much you for the kind words. I’m glad you found the information useful.


  23. Vik


    Thanks for the article, was very informative. I used a phillips rotary throughout my teens and am just sick of rotary shavers. I believe my facial hair falls into the category of ‘long and wiry’ as it definitely is not ‘thick’ in the classical sense. Would you suggest to bite the bullet and go for the Norleco rotary or could the Arc 3 perform well enough with long wiry hair as I prefer a closer shave.

    P.s. I currently use a gillette fusion razor because it seems to get all the long hairs the quickest and provide the closest shave but am sick of the cuts!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Vik,

      Thank you for your comment. If you want to give foil shavers a try, the Arc 3 may not be ideal for your facial hair. However, you could get great results if you shave more often and your hair won’t be as long or as wiry. Otherwise, a shaver from Braun would be better suited for the job. My recommendation would be a Series 5 as it has a fair price and performs pretty much the same as the more expensive Series 7. In my experience it works a lot better for longer/wiry hairs compared to similarly priced Panasonic models.

      Hope this helps.


  24. Manos Koukourakis

    I’m an electric razor user/fan the past 20+ years.
    I have appreciated your article and I have learnt a lot perusing it.

    I’m in the process of buying a new razor and cost is not a concern. I have used Philips and Panasonic in the past and currently using a Braun series 7 bought back in 2016.

    My skin is very sensitive and quite soft, I love a super comfortable shave with zero irritations, I shave 2-3 times a week always on dry skin.

    I’m thinking of a brown series 9 92xx cc.
    As I’m obsessed with aesthetics I like the looks of this shaver a lot and I just saw in Amazon a rosegold colour/plated edition.

    Which 9 92xx cc model would you kindly recommend? I can pay any price for my razor and save elsewhere

    Thank you in advance and sincere congrats for your honesty, thoughtful article and sharing of personal experiences.


    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Manos,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. The Series 9 does seem like a very good fit for your needs.

      Regarding your question, all the Series 9 92xx cc models will provide exactly the same shaving performance. So it’s really up to you which one to get as it comes down to aesthetics and costs. Since the price is not a problem, you should simply get the one the appeals to you the most.

      Hope this helps.


  25. Arjan


    I now own a Philips dry only electric razor that is 20 years old, looks like the philips 1000 series. Never replaced the head.
    I am a lazy shaver (to my wifes dislike) but it just takes to long and ik get razorburn in the neck area. Also it is sensitive on the points of my chin and upperlip after shaving.
    So i am looking for something new but……
    I read your exelent reviews and a a lot wiser but still cant make a choice, maibe you can help?

    With the current electric razor i get razor burn and sensitive skin.
    I am a lazy shaver.
    I tend to press to hard.
    I dont have a full beard and the hair isn’t to thick (i think)
    I want to be able to shave in the shower because i hope it gives less burn.

    Ofcourse i can go for the braun 9 series bus maibe that is overkill, money isn’t the issue but i don’t want to spend 100 euro’s for nothing extra.

    And another question, when you speak about closeness, how is the braun compared to a razor? or the panasonic? a closer shave still doenst mean anything… Shaving with the wilinson 5 blade hydro is a much closer shave compared to the 25c crappy bladed in the discount corner.
    So a good comparison would be to for example the hydo 5 razor.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Arjan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’ll try my best to give you a recommendation based on the provided information.

      First of all, the closeness of the shave with a particular shaver will vary among different individuals. For example, I was never able to get a close enough shave with a rotary razor, not even with top of the line Philips Norelco models — and other men swear by them. In general I am able to get a closer shave with Panasonic shavers compared to anything else out there, especially below my nose and on the chin were I have very thick hairs. However, if you don’t have very thick hairs you should get really good results with other shavers as well. Objectively comparing an electric shaver with a razor blade is impossible and the results will vary tremendously among different users. There are a lot of factors at play, like the performance of the shaver that’s being used, the thickness of the hair, the user’s technique, susceptibility to razor burn and irritation, the quality of the shaving cream and aggressiveness of the razor and so on. The only way is to try it yourself and see what works best for you.

      As I mentioned in the article, every shaver has its shortcomings and with Panasonic razors you’re trading off some of the comfort. Also, they’re not great with longer hairs either. Braun shavers, particularly the Series 9, but also the 7 and 5 are generally more comfortable and suitable for sensitive skin and they work better on a 2 or 3 days beard compared to any Panasonic.

      Considering that you’re getting some razor burn with your current shaver, you don’t shave as often and you don’t have particularly thick facial hair, a Braun shaver will probably be a good choice. I would recommend you to get the Series 9 if you won’t be using it too often as it can catch longer/stray hairs better than any other foil shaver. Otherwise a Series 7 and 5 should work just fine. They are also very forgiving and you can get away with pressing harder. Make sure to go for a wet/dry variation if you plan on using it in the shower, even though I don’t think you’ll get significantly better results compared to a quick dry shave.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Arjan

        Thanks for the fast reply and explanation.

        Try wat is best for you is an expensive hobby with razors at €180 to €250 🙂
        I think i will go for the Braun 9 series.

        This wat my first option but after your explanation definitly the right choice.

  26. Christian

    Hiya; I need to replace an older 790cc and looked at the 740s. Will the old cleaning station work with the 740s?

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Christian,

      Yes, it should work with your current cleaning station without any issues.


  27. Bob Dorfman

    I’ purchased and have been using the Braun 9295cc for the last 2 months. Used a Bed Bath and Beyond 20% of coupon when they were running a sale for $250, so I got it for an unbelevable $200.
    I’ve previously owned the Panasonic 5 blade ES LV 9n.
    I can say without any question, the Braun Series 9 gives me a closer, faster, more comfortable shave. It does not leave stray hairs like the Panasonic tended to do and when used as a wet shaver in the shower, shaved closer and faster without shaving cream than the Panasonic with shaving cream.
    To me the choice is obvious.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Glad to hear you enjoy shaving with the Series 9. While for me the Arc 5 is still the closest shaving electric razor out there, the Series 9 is better at capturing hairs with fewer strokes. And it’s definitely more comfortable as well.


  28. Jim

    Hi Ovidiu,
    Thank you for all the information you published on this site, it was exactly what I was looking for. I have never liked a super close shave, fairly sensitive skin, have areas of lay-down whiskers; and, I wanted something that I could trust to do a good job without me necessarily being able to see where it missed. As a middle-aged guy, I need to wear glasses now to shave, and it is a pain. Based on your thorough reviews, I bought a Braun 5190CC kit, available locally, and it seems just right for my needs. It is a bit loud, but you mentioned that too.

    Thanks again!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. Glad to hear you found the information helpful in picking up the Series 5. It’s an excellent shaver overall.


  29. Jonathan

    Great post, thank you so much! I am torn between getting the Braun Series 5 (likely the 5190cc) or the Panasonic Arc4 and would appreciate your recommendation. Here are some factors that are influencing my decision:
    -I travel frequently for work so I want a razer that is easy to manually clean (it seems like Panasonic Arc4 is easier but not sure how difficult the series5 is or how often it must be cleaned). Since I’ll be traveling, the cleaning station will not influence my decision that much.
    -I need to shave everyday or every other day because my facial hair grows in quickly but my stuble is not thick/coarse at all and my skin is not too sensitive (I also prefer shaving dry). The hairs on my chin & neck can be long & flat and are harder to shave with my current rotary razer. (it seems like the series 5 does better with long-flat lying hairs but I am looking for a very close shave).

    Overall, it would be great to hear which you would recommend the most for me between the Panasonic Arc4 and the Braun Series 5? Thank you for your help, I appreciate it and will be sure to recommend your site to friends!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Both seem like really good picks for your needs. Yes, the Series 5 is more difficult to clean manually, but that’s mainly a problem in the long run. So you can absolutely leave the station at home and only clean it with some liquid soap or water. I actually do this with my Series 5/7 and only use the station every two weeks. Doing so will get rid of any dirt/hair clippings that may have remained trapped inside the cassette during a manual cleaning.

      While the Arc 4 will provide a closer shave for most men, since you don’t have thick, wiry facial hair I think the Series 5 will be good enough. Also, for longer, flat-lying hairs the Series 5 is clearly superior (this is actually the main reason why I would recommend you the Series 5 over the Arc 4 in this case). The other one would be sensitive skin, but I understand that it’s not the case here.

      The 52s shaving heads are usually cheaper as well. Finally, the 5090cc/5190cc come with a cleaning station for just a few dollars more.

      If you decide to go for the Series 5, the 5090cc model also comes with a nice hard travel case (the 5190cc does not). Try to get that one if you can find it at a decent price.

      If you’ll stick to shaving daily, so those longer, flat-lying hairs won’t be a problem, the Arc 4 will give you a closer shave. I understand that this is very important for you, but keep in mind that the Panasonic will miss those long hairs a lot more compared to the Series 5. So my advice would be to consider the Arc 4 only if you’ll be using it on short stubble.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Jonathan


        I must say that I am still torn between the Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA93K & the Braun Series 5 5190cc – price is not a factor as they currently cost the same.

        I like that the Panasonic Arc 4 (ES-LA93K) is quicker, quieter, can provide a closer shave, easier to manually clean, and comes with a travel case. Additionally, I see that the ES-LA93K comes with a dual motor that is supposed to improve its abilities to capture longer, flat-lying hairs.

        However, if you believe the series 5 is significantly better than the arc 4 at cutting the longer, flat-lying hairs than I will purchase the series 5.

        Thank you for your help!

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Jonathan,

          I actually own the ES-LA63-S Arc 4 which is identical to the ES-LA93-K (except for the color) and despite having that second vibrating motor, it doesn’t seem to work better than other Arc 4 models that don’t have that feature. It’s still not great with longer and flat-lying hairs. The Arc 4 and pretty much all Panasonic models, including the Arc 5, work great on short beards. If that will be the case with you for most of the time, then you should get the ES-LA93-K. In my experience Braun is clearly superior when shaving flat hairs, especially on the neck. The Series 5 and 7 are really good at this, in fact, the only foil razor that works better in this regard is the Series 9, but that one is very pricey and the Series 5/7 will be good enough for most users.

          Hope this helps.


  30. Bruce Green

    Great job of explaining the benefits of various electric shavers. I am a very satisfied Panasonic arc 3 user who wants to step up to an Arc 4. Since I use a shaver mainly for outlining my stubble beard, I am interested in the smallest head for ease of maneuverability but also would like the ability to use it for a close, clean shave. With this in mind, which model has the smallest head size without a trade off in performance?

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Bruce,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The ES-LF51-A would be the best pick in my opinion. Out of all Arc 4 models, I find this one to be the easiest to use precisely because it has the smallest head. Even though when compared side by side with an ES-LA63-S for example the difference doesn’t seem that obvious, in practice you will really appreciate the compact shaving head. I actually manage to get some of the closest shaves when I use this particular shaver.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Bruce Green

        This is great info Ovidiu and I think you have helped me make up my mind based on your comments. However, I read some really positive reviews on the ES8243A. Would the shaving head on the ES8243A lend itself to outlining my stubble growth or would I still be better off with the ES-LF51-A? Also, am I wasting my time considering purchasing another Arc 3 bearing in mind my occasional need to be clean shaven. If you recommend I consider an Arc 3, which model should I purchase? Thanks for your expert advice.

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Bruce,

          Between the ES8243A and the ES-LF51-A, I would still go for the latter — especially in this case. The plastic frame that surrounds the foils is smaller on the ES-LF51-A (even though the two shavers use the same foils) and the foils themselves protrude more from the frame which should also be beneficial when outlining a short beard. Finally, the ES-LF51-A has a slightly more powerful motor (14000 CPM vs 13000CPM); I don’t think it will make a huge difference, but it’s there.

          If you decide to stick to an Arc 3, my recommendation would be to get one of the older models (ES-LT41-K, ES8103S) and skip the new generation as they have some significant shortcomings (pricey, bulky heads, useless beard density sensor).

          If you can find a great deal for the ES-LF51-A, that one would be an excellent choice in my opinion.

          Hope this helps.


  31. Bruce Green

    Thanks a lot Ovidiu. I will proceed with the ES-LF51-A because of your unconditional endorsement. I am so glad to have stumbled onto your website and will highly recommend it to all of my friends who use an electric shaver. Cheers!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      You are very welcome, Bruce. Thank you for the kind words and I hope you’ll enjoy using your new Arc 4.

  32. Rick Williams

    Hi Ovidiu,
    Thank you for a very thorough, well researched and objective review of the electric shaver landscape. I found your site while researching electric razors because my Norelco 9300 just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended) anymore. I simply could not get a close shave with the rotary. Based on your review and consideration of the various factors you identified, I purchased the Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5. I have a relatively course beard and shave every other day. The price was reasonable and I couldn’t be happier with the remarkably close shave the Panasonic delivers. With a pre-shave I also find that it provides a comfortable shave on what I consider to be sensitive skin. Thanks again for the straightforward, unbiased guidance.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you so much for the kind words, I’m glad you found the information useful. The ES-LV65-S is a fantastic performer and for the price it’s extremely hard to beat. A pre-shave definitely helps as well; my current pre-shave of choice is the one from Speick, at least in my case it worked better than anything I’ve tried so far. I particularly like the fact that it’s not oily like the Lab Series or Lectric Shave and it only has a spicy scent that goes away completely. If you can get it, I highly recommend it.


  33. barb

    Which razor would you recommend for a beginning, just starting to shave the hairs above the lip? Fine skin, soft longer hairs, but that may change once he starts shaving.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi barb,

      A Panasonic Arc 3 or a Braun Series 3 would be excellent choices for a teenager/first time user. His facial hair will likely get thicker with age, but for at least a few years from now, either of those two shavers will be good enough. Also, an electric shaver works best on short hair, so when using it for the first time it would be a good idea to use a trimmer (even the long hair trimmer on the shaver will do) to reduce the length of the hairs prior to shaving. Long, fine hairs will likely be missed by the foils and the shaver may actually pull and yank some. So just quickly trim them and then use the shaver normally to cut them close to the skin.


  34. Rich H

    Brilliant website, lots of really useful articles! But I still am undecided on which shaver to buy!! The Braun Series 9 9290cc is currently on sale for £190 – but my other half looks stunned when I mention that price!
    So I am torn between the Braun 7898cc @ £151 vs the Panasonic ES-LV95 @ £160. I use a Philips 7000 series atm, but it is no longer very effective (I think I broke it while trying to “clean” it) – and I do find it makes my face sore because I have to constantly go over the same areas. I have quite coarse stubble and like the idea of the close shave of a ES-LV95, and also that it’s easy to clean – but I have slightly sensitive skin…so thinking the Braun might be better.. LOL, I am so indecisive! Probably tending towards the Panasonic at the moment – like the idea of not have to use the cleaning station, but having it there to give the shaver a deeper clean!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for the comment, Rich. I really appreciate it.

      I think either of the Series 9 and the Arc 5 would be an upgrade to your current shaver. I personally find them to be superior for both closeness and comfort, but I don’t particularly enjoy using rotary shavers.

      If you have sensitive skin and you’ll be using the shaver dry for most of the time, I think the Series 7 would be the one to get. You can also clean it manually and only use the station once a week for example. Just make sure to remove the cartridge and put the cap back in the meantime. The Arc 5 does shave a little closer, but I think the Series 7 will be good enough in most cases. I would personally take the extra comfort of the Series 7 over a slightly closer shave.

      Hope this helps.


  35. Richard Hough

    Well, I decided to take your advice – and, as luck would have it, it was reduced to £120 – so I got it at a bargain price!
    Anyway, it arrived today and I am amazed at the closeness compared to my other shaver. I was also surprised at the speed/noise of the motor. Did kinda make the thing feel like it was going to take off in my hand – I have reduced the speed until I get used to it. I dry shaved, but I have bought a pre-shave lotion (never done that before) to try out.
    My face is a little tingly atm, but much less so than my old shaver. So far, so very good!
    I think next stop will be to read your shaver maintenance pages to make sure I look after this one better than the last one!

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      That is awesome, Richard! I’m glad to hear it. Foil shavers are noisier and vibrate quite a lot compared to rotary shavers, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. Thank you for taking the time to write a follow-up.



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