Finding the right electric razor should be easy and straightforward.
After all, getting a close and comfortable shave, preferably without spending a ton of money, sounds like a very reasonable expectation.
However, choosing a good men’s electric shaver seems to be anything but simple.
This guide aims to change all that by redefining the way we approach this problem. 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 barely account for the user and his needs.
I’ve bought and tested all the shavers recommended in this guide, so I will present their pros and cons from the perspective of what it’s like to actually own and use them regularly.
I am confident that by the time you finish reading the article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what makes a certain razor suitable in a given situation and ultimately decide which electric razor is best for you.
Table of Contents
- Why is choosing a shaver so unnecessarily complicated?
- The problem with most best shavers lists
- Choosing the right shaver comes down to your personal needs
- The best men’s electric shavers for 2023
- 1. Braun Series 9 9390cc
- 2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
- 3. Braun Series 7 790cc
- 4. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63AA
- 5. Braun Series 8 8457cc
- 6. Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9820
- 7. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s
- 8. Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LL41-K
- 9. Philips Norelco Series 3000 Shaver 3500
- 10. Philips Norelco Series 2000 Shaver 2300
- Rotary vs foil electric razors: picking the right type for your needs
- Is it better to shave wet or dry with an electric razor?
- How much should you pay for a good electric razor?
- How to get the most out of your shaver
- Final word on choosing the right electric shaver
Why is choosing a shaver so unnecessarily complicated?
For starters, I’d say that the sheer number of models and revisions creates some sort of paradox of choice. There are just too many of them.
You’ve probably been in the position of having to buy a certain product only to go back and forth repeatedly between several options, constantly wondering which one would be the best option.
And to add insult to 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 and the manufacturer doesn’t make the slightest effort to showcase the actual differences between the razors in a particular series.
Many review sites are also filled with conflicting or irrelevant information about the newly released models.
We often see product updates being rolled out with no indication of how significant they are or if the older shavers still represent a viable option.
There are cases where the new shaver 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 impact the actual performance.
These are in my opinion very important aspects to consider when recommending or comparing electric shavers.
The problem with most best shavers lists
You’ve probably already tried searching for what would ideally be the best electric razor for you and stumbled upon a myriad of related articles.
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 an electric razor that checks most of the boxes for your particular needs and comes with the fewest shortcomings.
Secondly, most reviewers out there have never actually tested the razors in question.
They just come up with lists of the most popular and over-hyped shavers, copying what others are saying and repeating some marketing fluff taken straight out of a press release or product page.
You’ll rarely see on-point criticism and genuine assessments.
I know this is a very serious claim, but unfortunately there are only a handful of reliable resources out there when it comes to testing electric shavers.
I think it’s pretty obvious why this is a flawed approach.
Apart from the reliability of the information that is questionable at best, almost all of these articles never seem to consider that men are different, their needs are different and their shaving habits are different.
Which leads us to the next part.
Choosing the right shaver comes down to your personal needs
It’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 shaver 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 razor.
Accounting for these differences and use cases is key when recommending an electric shaver as it will exponentially increase the odds of you buying 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 razors for men that should suit a plethora of different users and situations?
After using and testing electric razors for over 20 years, I believe that it comes down to the following factors:
- Shaver-specific pros and cons (closeness, comfort, speed, ease of cleaning and maintenance, etc.);
- Facial hair particularities (coarseness, hairs with different grain, flat-lying hairs, rate of hair growth);
- Sensitive skin (predisposition to razor burn, rashes, ingrown hairs, bumps etc.);
- Shaving habits (shaving more or less often, dry or wet, etc.);
- Budget (initial investment, replacement foils/blades, cleaning solution).
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 shavers have come a very long way and you can currently find some great products out there.
But as I already said, a particular razor won’t be ideal in every situation.
To address this, I will share some of the best electric shavers I’ve tested so far, centered around those 5 key aspects mentioned above, hopefully helping you pick the right one.
I will present only the things that are truly important — including the negatives — from the perspective of someone that actually owns and uses these products on a regular basis.
With every shaver on this list, I will also try to explain why I chose that particular model over another.
Most of the time this will be a matter of price, availability in 2023 and whether the razor has genuinely useful features.
The best men’s electric shavers for 2023
1. Braun Series 9 9390cc
Also available at Walmart, Braun.com.
- Extremely comfortable
- Close shaves
- Great for longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs
- Suitable for very sensitive skin, ingrown hairs
- Practical and useful cleaning station
- Fast and powerful, suitable for coarse beards
- Not quite the closest shaving razor in this price range
- Overkill for light beards and/or everyday use
Deal alert: You can sometimes get the (slightly) better Braun Series 9 PRO 9465cc for even less money than the standard Series 9.
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 online community.
Launched almost 8 years ago to take over the Series 7 as Braun’s new range-topping shaver, the Series 9 had a couple of hiccups along the way.
Among those, there was 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).
The original Series 9, with the supposedly faulty shaving head, had model names starting with 90: 9090cc, 9095cc and so on.
The updated Series 9 models start with 92: 9290cc, 9291cc, 9297cc, 9293s, etc. and all of them are suitable for wet & dry use.
As of 2023, these Series 9 models have been slowly phased out and replaced by the newer 93 models, so I will be focusing on those.
The cost of the replacement shaving heads — called cassettes — has also dropped and they are somewhat reasonably priced (for a high-end shaver).
For these reasons the Series 9 finally represents a viable option.
The 93 models which represent the latest iteration of the standard Series 9 (the 94 being the Series 9 PRO which I’ll get to also) were released in 2019.
These include models like the 9370cc, 9385cc, 9390cc, 9330s, etc.
However, apart from a slightly larger battery, some minor visual changes, and a couple of new colors, the shaving performance of the 93 Series 9 has remained pretty much the same — not a bad thing actually.
Finally, last year, while we were all expecting a Series 10, Braun released the Series 9 Pro.
The Pro models come with a new cassette (called 94M) that is also backward compatible with the standard Series 9 and the shaver itself is slightly more powerful.
However, considering the price and performance, I think the regular Series 9 is generally the best for most users, especially if you can get one for significantly less money.
To me the Series 9 Pro feels slightly more powerful, but that also comes with a small compromise to the comfort — it’s not quite as gentle as the standard S9.
Further reading: for more details on the differences between all Series 9 models, you can check out my Series 9 guide.
I went with the Braun Series 9 9390cc as my top pick simply because it’s usually priced lower than other similar variations.
But any of the Series 9 models starting with 92 (if you can still find one) or 93 are equally good options since the shaving performance is exactly the same.
In the past, 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 these issues have mostly been ironed out, I think we can finally focus on the actual performance of the Series 9.
After thoroughly testing several Series 9 variations, I can confidently say that it is an excellent electric razor.
But as expected, the Series 9 won’t be the best in every situation and I’ll get to that right away.
But I’ll first go over the good parts and when it would be a great choice.
The best part about the 9390cc (and about the Series 9 in general) is the comfort and effectiveness.
I’ve used dozens of electric razors and this one is among the most comfortable, forgiving and gentle shavers you can currently buy.
And because it’s so effective at catching the hairs, including the difficult ones, most men will experience a shorter and more enjoyable shaving session.
When using the Series 9 I can even get away with things that would normally inflict some razor burn and discomfort (like 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 men’s electric razor you can buy right now.
The foils never get hot even after prolonged use and remain perfectly comfortable.
The shaving head is comprised of 4 individual cutting elements: two finishing foils (called Optifoils) and two cutters specially designed to tackle longer, flat-lying hairs that grow in different directions.
Braun’s implementation of these specialized cutters on the Series 9 works better than anything found 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 2 to 3mm) and tend to miss hairs, requiring multiple passes in order to get a clean shave.
Less capable foil shavers will also pull some of the hairs if they’re too long.
I haven’t experienced any of that with the Series 9, not even when I deliberately tried to be sloppier with my technique.
If you tend to shave less often, like every two to three days or even more and have problem areas where the hairs grow parallel to the skin and in different directions, the Series 9 will again be a very suitable option.
The only razors that can match it in these situations are Philips Norelco’s advanced rotary shavers, like the Series 9000 and the Series 9000 Prestige, but those aren’t as comfortable nor do they shave quite as close — at least that was my experience with them.
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.
Again, the Series 9 Pro is slightly more powerful, but the differences are rather minor.
The S9 and S9 Pro are more similar than different and either will work just fine, but price should be a decisive factor.
The Braun Series 9 is also one of the best choices for men who shave their head.
And while I don’t shave my entire head, I have been cutting my hair myself for more than 3 years (forced by the lockdown) and I use a Series 9 for skin fades.
And for that it works extremely well: it cuts the hair on the back and sides of my head extremely close with zero irritation.
Also, many barbers use them in their shops specifically for this.
Let’s now talk about the closeness of the shave with the Series 9.
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 slightly 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 Panasonic models are probably the ones to get.
But keep in mind that they’re not as good or as effective when used on a longer beard — if you shave every 3 days (maybe even more), I would still pick the Series 9.
The Series 9 represents an excellent compromise of comfort and closeness, but again, it is not THE closest shaving electric razor you can get.
And the same is true in the case of the Series 9 Pro — the closeness is the same or maybe marginally better compared to the standard one.
Another issue with the Series 9 is the price.
While it has dropped since the launch, the Series 9 is still a rather expensive shaver.
The replacement shaving heads called cassettes (part number 92s/92b/92M/94M) are pricey as well but on par with the other high-end parts from the competition.
As for which Series 9 to buy, I would actually recommend a cc model that includes an automatic cleaning and charging station.
In my view, here are the main reasons why I think a Braun cleaner is worth considering:
- a cc Series 9 (like the 9390cc) only costs marginally more than a shaver-only variation;
- the station is very effective at cleaning and lubricating the shaving head;
- you can take out the cartridge, seal it and store it somewhere safe when not in use. This also saves cleaning fluid and prevents it from evaporating;
- there are many cheap third-party cleaning solutions available that work the same as the OEM solution.
Manually cleaning the shaver can get fiddly as you can’t always get all the hair clippings and dirt out.
This is caused by the design of the shaving head, with the foils and blades being merged into a single piece that offers limited access for a thorough cleaning.
In time, and especially if you don’t clean it after every shave, this can lead to dirt, dead skin and hair buildups inside the shaving head.
Luckily, the cleaning station takes care of everything for you.
You absolutely don’t have to use it after every shave — for me once or twice a week is more than enough and I simply clean the shaver with liquid soap and warm tap water during the rest of the time.
This ensures excellent hygiene and you also won’t have to replace the cleaning cartridge as often (here are more tips on how to make the refills last longer).
As with all Braun shavers, the models ending in cc (like the 9390cc or 9370cc) include a cleaning system, while the ones ending in s (for example the 9330s) do not.
Please note that an s model (standing for Solo) that starts with 90 or 92 (like the 9293s) will not work with a cleaning station.
And that is despite the fact that they look identical to the cc variations and even have the two metal studs on the back that charge the shaver when placed in the station.
These s models lack a dedicated chip (or use a different one) needed to communicate with the station.
I’ve also read that such a solo Series 9 could theoretically work with a cleaning station after a firmware update, but it can only be performed by Braun in their service centers and I don’t know if they’re willing to do it or how much it would cost.
On the other hand, the latest solo Series 9 models that start with 93 (like the 9330s) or 94 (the Pro Series 9 like the 9419s) will actually work with a compatible cleaning station purchased later on (more details here).
Braun Series 9 9330s
I don’t usually recommend cleaning stations if they’re not needed, but in the case of the Series 9 I think they really contribute to the experience and they’re genuinely useful.
I particularly like the fact that I can take the cartridge out, put the cover back and store it somewhere safe until the next time I use the station.
This prevents the alcohol-based solution from evaporating and the station won’t take up unnecessary space on the countertop.
Also, the price difference between an s and a cc model is not that steep.
The Series 9 9390cc and 9385cc are two such models that come with an automatic cleaning station.
Both sport the newer silver and grey color options that have a matte finish and should handle better any scratches and smudges compared to the glossy/chrome Series 9 models.
Given that the shavers themselves are identical performance-wise, the price (and availability in your country) should be the decisive factor when choosing between any similar Series 9 models.
And on that matter, considering the purchase price and the costs of the cassettes, the Series 9 doesn’t quite offer the best value for money.
If your budget is limited, consider getting the old Series 7 or even the Series 8 instead (more on those later on).
They are cheaper to buy and the replacement shaving heads also cost less.
If you have a light to medium beard and also shave often, the Series 9 with its 4 blades is probably overkill and again in this case the cheaper Series 7 or 8 will easily be good enough.
Finally, if you just want a close shave above everything, the next shaver should be a better option for most users.
2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
Also available at Walmart, Panasonic.com.
- Extremely close shaves
- Adequately comfortable for most users
- Very fast and powerful, suitable for coarse facial hair
- High quality, sharp blades
- Excellent wet shaving performance
- Very easy to clean manually
- Great value for money
- Not quite as comfortable as a Series 9 or 7
- Replacement foils & blades are pricey
- Overkill for light beards
- Bulky shaving head needs some getting used to
- Not as good as a Series 9 or 7 for flat-lying, wiry hairs
Deal alert: If you can get it for less money, the newer Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67-K is identical performance-wise (it even uses the same foil & blades).
Panasonic is Braun’s only real competitor in the foil shavers market.
Even though Panasonic never managed to achieve the same popularity as Braun in the USA for example, the quality and performance of their shavers are usually outstanding.
The Arc 5 line represents Panasonic’s take on what should be the ultimate electric razor: 5 individual cutting elements, a fast linear-drive motor, and extremely sharp blades.
Side note: Panasonic also released the 6-blade Arc 6 two years ago, initially only in Japan. And while it’s a fantastic shaver, the improvements over the Arc 5 are marginal and mainly related to comfort. The Arc 6 is also much more expensive.
As a result, choosing the Arc 5 over the Arc 6 seems, at least for the time being, the right decision.
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 (plus 8 different revisions of the third one), and almost all of them are still available for purchase.
Further reading: you can check out my in-depth Panasonic Arc 5 guide for a complete overview of all the models and the differences between them.
However, the purpose of this article was to make it easier for you to find the right shaver.
And that also means eliminating the clutter created by the excessive number 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 (full review).
This shaver currently represents the best Arc 5 variation in terms of costs and performance.
However, you may sometimes find the ES-LV67 model for less money. This is a newer Arc 5 iteration with a different design, but it shaves exactly the same.
The ES-LV67 is available in two colors: black (ES-LV67-K) and blue (ES-LV67-A).
My advice would be to simply buy the one you can get for less money.
Side note: the last letter (-K, –A, –S) only refers to the color and can often be left out of the name completely.
Tip: if you live in the UK/Europe, the blue Arc 5 ES-LV67-A is usually the best pick thanks to its lower price:
While the Series 9 (and Braun shavers in general) excel in comfort, Panasonic is arguably the best when it comes to closeness.
And this isn’t the case with just the Series 9 and the Arc 5.
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 7/8 and 3 respectively when it comes to closeness.
This inevitably comes with a small trade-off in comfort for Panasonic.
But 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 razor blade with the current technology and without any major tradeoffs in comfort.
Panasonic manages to deliver this excellent 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.
The motor powering the ES-LV65-S is a 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) unit, the fastest yet to my knowledge.
Actually, there is a Xiaomi 5-blade shaver out there that supposedly reaches 15 000 CPM, but during my tests, its performance proved to be underwhelming compared to the Arc 5.
For the sake of comparison, the Braun Series 9 has a 10 000 CPM motor.
Speed isn’t everything of course, but this difference between the Arc 5 and the Series 9 is hard to ignore.
The result of all these features is one of the fastest, closest shaving electric shavers you can buy.
As expected, the Panasonic Arc 5 will have no problem shaving a very coarse beard with ease.
Being a wet/dry model, you have the option to use it with your favorite shaving cream and further improve the closeness and comfort of the shave.
And for me, this option also works really well.
Since Panasonic razors aren’t quite as comfortable as the ones from Braun, adding a quality shaving cream will improve the comfort and this way you can still get that close shave without any major 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 (here’s a roundup of my favorite pre-shaves in 2023).
It’s the next best thing if you want to improve your dry shave comfort (and closeness) with minimal costs and basically no extra work.
To sum it up, the ES-LV65-S/ES-LV67 is one of the best electric razors you can get for very close shaves, coarse facial hair, and fast shaving sessions.
This model is also one of the top-rated electric shavers out there and with the current price drops, it makes a really strong case for itself.
You can get an Arc 5 with a cleaning station as well in the form of the Panasonic ES-LV95-S.
That one comes with the updated and more compact cleaning station, 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 a Braun station for example).
However, I would actually recommend you to skip the station because an Arc 5 shaver is dead easy to clean manually and it usually costs less than the models that include the cleaning base.
The Panasonic cleaning center is also not as practical as let’s say Braun stations (you must mix the detergent with water in the station’s tray and you can’t take it out and store it for later use).
Regarding the costs associated with the ES-LV65-S, it actually fares 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 with the ES-LV65-S definitely helps with this.
The foils and blades are a bit pricey (part number WES9032), but similar to other premium replacement parts like the 92s/92b/92M/94M needed for the Series 9.
Here’s another bonus tip for current or future ES-LV65-S/ES-LV67 users (Panasonic probably won’t appreciate me sharing it).
You can actually use the new foils and blades of the latest (third) generation Arc 5 shavers. They will fit the ES-LV65-S and ES-LV67 perfectly.
The part numbers for those are WES9034P (found on the third generation Arc 5 revision A and B), WES9036 (revision C and D), ES9038 (revisions E and F), ES9040 (revisions G and H).
While the closeness offered by the new foils is pretty much identical, they are a bit more comfortable than the older ones that originally come with these Arc5s.
So this would be a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your ES-LV65-S or ES-LV67 when it’s time to replace the foil and blades.
Still related to costs, you won’t be spending any money on cleaning detergent, but if you opt for the ES-LV95-S variation, the detergent packs are quite reasonably priced and will last longer than Braun’s alcohol-based cleaning solution.
Let’s now see when you shouldn’t get an Arc 5 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, 7 or 8 — depending on your budget.
The ES-LV65-S can be a bit aggressive in this case, even though it doesn’t get as hot as some Arc 4 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 would be 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 focused on closeness and not on enhanced capabilities of catching flat-lying hairs, despite the use of a specially designed slit foil.
A Braun Series 9 or even 7 will simply work 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 of an issue if you shave daily or every other day and the beard is short.
And finally, if you have a light beard or you’re just getting started with electric shavers, an Arc 5 with a whopping 5 blades and a massive shaving head is probably too much.
In that case, I would suggest saving some money and going for a Panasonic Arc 4 or even Arc 3 — I’ll get to them later on.
3. Braun Series 7 790cc
- Very comfortable
- Suitable for very sensitive skin
- Adequately close shaves
- Reasonably priced compared to a Series 9
- Works surprisingly well with longer, flat-lying hairs
- Suitable for coarse beards
- Useful and effective cleaning station
- Not the closest shaving razor in this price range
- A Series 8 is cheaper and similar performance-wise
- Poorly implemented head locking mechanism
- Difficult to find as of 2023
The original Series 7 from Braun is probably the best-selling electric shaver of the past decade.
It was first introduced 14 years ago and quickly gained an iconic status.
Whenever I mention the Series 7 in this article, I am actually referring to the original and excellent Series 7, not the new Series 7 360 Flex.
With that out of the way, there are definitely a lot of good things about the classic/previous Series 7 generation, but there are some shortcomings as well.
First and foremost, let’s address the most common question regarding the Series 7: which model should you buy?
To answer that, it’s important to set a few things straight.
Since its original launch, the Series 7 had received several updates (again, I am only referring to the pre-2020 generation).
They mostly consisted of 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
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 it still seems to be the most reasonably priced cc model and it’s (still) available.
Another model you should check out — for the same reasons — is the Braun Series 7 7865cc.
Again, you should simply get the one you can find at a better price since the performance is identical.
Just like with the Series 9, my choice would be a Series 7 that comes with an automatic cleaning station.
The reason is the same — it’s a very practical cleaning system that takes care of everything and with the cheap third-party solutions, it will only increase your costs marginally.
The original station included with the older Series 7 variations was in my opinion the best that Braun has ever made.
It was the only one that used induction heating instead of a fan for drying the razor.
As a result, the drying phase of the cleaning cycle was very short compared to other cleaning stations.
Another side benefit of induction heating is the complete lack of any noise since there’s no fan spinning.
In my opinion, the lack of an active drying system is not a deal-breaker, but it is disappointing that Braun decided to eliminate it in an effort to cut down manufacturing costs.
As usual, the cc models come with a cleaning station, while the s shavers do not.
But unlike some of the Series 9, all the Series 7 s models will actually work with a compatible cleaning station if you decide to buy one later on.
Braun officially recommends against doing so as the Solo shavers lack the special coat of paint used on the cc variations that should withstand the constant exposure to the alcohol-based fluid.
However, this didn’t prevent a lot of Series 7 owners from successfully using their solo models with a station.
The Series 7 7865cc, 7898cc (wet & dry) and 790cc (dry only) seem to be the best options since they cost less than other similar variations.
Unfortunately, only the 790cc variation seems to be available today in most countries, so that’s why I picked it instead of the other ones.
Let’s now see if the Braun Series 7 would be a good fit for you.
The best thing about this line of electric shavers is again the comfort and effectiveness on difficult facial hair.
Until the launch of the Series 9, the Series 7 was the shaver to beat in terms of comfort.
This makes it a perfectly suitable option for men with very sensitive skin that don’t feel like spending a premium price for a Series 9.
The difference in closeness is negligible in my experience. However, the Series 9 is a bit more refined and it will shave faster.
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, but the Series 7 is no slouch either.
A clear advantage of the Series 7 over the 9 is its compact shaving head.
Because it has 3 cutters instead of 4, it feels very nimble and it’s very easy to maneuver in tricky areas.
Shaving right below the nose and jawline for example is definitely easier with the Series 7 thanks to its smaller head.
The foils move independently and also have a great range of motion, remaining flat on the skin without the need to apply excessive pressure.
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 on shorter facial hair, but you can get excellent results on a three-day beard as well.
It works surprisingly well for a foil shaver and seems to be very capable at capturing those annoying flat-lying hairs.
The Series 7 can handle thick beards, but a Series 9 will shave a bit faster and with fewer strokes.
The price of the Series 7 tends to vary a lot, so make sure to do some research beforehand.
Unfortunately these Series 7 models are getting hard to find nowadays or the price is just too high.
The 790cc and the 7865cc are usually the best cc options, while the 7893s is the best solo model.
The solo variations are a bit cheaper and again the performance will be the same. But as mentioned earlier, I think the station is quite useful to have.
The replacement shaving heads (part no. 70s/70b) are widely available and the cost is pretty reasonable, especially compared to a Series 9 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-LA63AA will shave slightly closer and faster provided that your facial hair is reasonably short.
They also cost less — sometimes a lot 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 very own Series 5 (old generation) and Series 8 (more details later on).
The Series 5 and 8 usually cost less and shave almost as good.
Moreover, the replacement shaving heads are cheaper and the Series 5/8 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?
Absolutely not, especially if you can still get a great deal on it.
It’s one of the most enjoyable and versatile electric razors out there and my default recommendation for someone looking to buy a capable Braun shaver.
However, depending on your priorities (comfort or closeness) and budget, the above-mentioned alternatives may represent better options.
4. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63AA
Also available at Walmart.
- Very close shaves
- Adequately comfortable
- Very fast and powerful, great for coarse facial hair
- High quality, sharp blades
- Excellent wet shaving performance
- Very easy to clean manually
- Great value for money
- Not as comfortable as a Series 7 or 8
- Replacement foils & blades are pricey
- Overkill for light beards
- Bulky shaving head needs some getting used to
- Not great for longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs
In a previous post from almost 6 years ago, I mentioned that the Panasonic Arc 4 shavers are probably the most underrated shavers that you can (still) buy today.
My stance on this hasn’t changed in 2023 and I still consider them to be very compelling as they offer fantastic performance for usually a fraction of the price of other high-end 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.
Granted, some of the Arc 4 models can’t be bought anymore, but the ES-LA63, arguably the most capable of the line, is still available.
The Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63 comes in two variations: silver (ES-LA63-S) and blue (ES-LA63AA) and it’s an electric shaver that I recommend quite often.
I own the silver version, but it shaves exactly the same as the blue ES-LA63AA. Also, the ES-LA63AA is the one readily available in 2023.
Compared to other shavers in the Arc 4 line, the ES-LA63AA has a few advantages, at least on paper: a more advanced flexing shaving head with a second vibrating motor, a 14 000 CPM motor and (usually) a reasonable price.
While the real-world advantages of a more flexible head and of that second motor are questionable, the performance and excellent value for money offered by the ES-LA63AA are undeniable.
Side note: 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 if you can still find it.
But as I said previously, Panasonic razors are extremely easy to clean manually, so the station isn’t a must-have.
As the name implies, the Arc 4 models have 4 individual, slightly curved (ARChed) cutting elements, so that’s one less compared to the Arc 5 range.
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 offers top-notch performance.
As a result, there are only a few situations where an Arc 4 shaver wouldn’t be a suitable choice.
But let’s start with the good parts first.
Just like the Arc 5, the Arc 4 electric 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 (solo), Series 8 or the Philips Norelco Series 7000.
For the budget-conscious buyer that needs an electric razor capable of very close shaves, the ES-LA63AA (or any other Arc 4 variation with a 14 000 CPM motor) is probably the best option out there.
It’s just as impressive as the Arc 5 at cutting very coarse hairs 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 is quite similar to the ES-LV65-S from the Arc 5 line.
A fifth blade only offers diminishing returns, but the Arc 5 is however a bit more refined and more comfortable.
To sum it up, the ES-LA63AA packs a lot of punch, is reasonably priced, easy to clean and will satisfy pretty much anyone who’s looking to get a very close shave without paying a premium price.
It will also work great when used as a head shaver.
Now, there’s no electric razor that does everything right and shines in every possible situation.
The replacement foil and blades set (part number WES9025PC) is priced pretty high compared to the competition.
And 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 8.
This slightly aggressive profile is a side effect of that excellent closeness.
I currently have three Arc 4 shavers in my rotation: the ES-LA63, ES-LF51-A, and ES8243AA.
Unfortunately, the last two are getting very difficult to find nowadays (that’s actually the reason why I didn’t include them in the list).
To put things into perspective, I have sensitive skin and medium to coarse facial hair.
Using them dry can leave me with a rash and some razor burn on my neck if I’m not careful; adding a pre-shave to the mix does improve the comfort, but it’s still not ideal.
The ES8243AA however managed to be a bit more comfortable than the other two during a dry shave — mainly because the foils don’t get too hot.
But if you’re careful not to press too hard, the ES-LA63AA can be adequately comfortable as well.
I wanted to make this side note so you can decide for yourself if an Arc 4 would work well for you.
If you don’t have particularly sensitive skin, you should be fine using one wet or dry.
Another potential problem with the Arc 4 stems from Panasonic’s focus on closeness: it can miss those long, flat-lying hairs, especially on the neck or jawline.
Again, shaving more often can eliminate this shortcoming almost completely.
Despite having a vibrating motor inside the head that should help with catching longer hairs, the ES-LA63AA just doesn’t seem to work any better than the other Arc 4 models that lack this feature.
If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to shave regularly, then a Braun Series 7/8 will probably be more suitable.
Also, if you shave daily and your beard isn’t particularly dense or rough, an Arc 3 will probably be good enough also.
The Arc 3 costs less and the replacement foils and blades are cheaper as well.
5. Braun Series 8 8457cc
Also available at Walmart, Braun.com.
- Very comfortable
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Similar to the Series 7 performance-wise
- Good value for money
- Useful cleaning station
- Suitable for medium to coarse beards
- Doesn’t shave as close as a Panasonic Arc 4
- Not as refined and enjoyable as a Series 7
Deal alert: If you don’t need a cleaning station, you can get the solo Braun Series 8 8417s that shaves exactly the same and costs less. It will even work with a station purchased later on should you change your mind.
Even though the Series 8 was launched almost 3 years ago, it’s actually the newest entry to my list of recommended shavers for 2023.
And that’s because until recently the number 5 spot was taken by the old Braun Series 5 generation, with shavers like the 5190cc, 5040s etc.
Unfortunately, Braun gradually phased them out in order to make room for the new (and inferior) Series 5 generation.
The old Series 5 was an excellent shaver that offered great performance at that price point.
It was basically a cheaper alternative to the Series 7 and it shaved almost as good.
However, it’s really difficult to find one now or it’s outrageously expensive.
Luckily, the Series 8 is a worthy alternative that excels at precisely the same things as the discontinued Series 5: comfort, ease of use, versatility (being effective on short and longer stubble) and value for money.
I’d go as far as saying that the Series 8 is basically a Series 5 with a larger battery.
If you look at them side by side, you’ll have a hard time pointing out the differences (except for the color):
So where does the Series 8 sit within Braun’s current hierarchy?
At least on paper, it should be superior to the Series 7 (790cc). However, it is not.
The Series 7 is still the slightly better shaver (a bit more refined, comfortable and slightly more capable with longer, flat-lying hairs).
But the Series 8 is no slouch either and especially if you can get one at a great price, it’s an excellent performer.
In the same way the Panasonic Arc 4 above is a budget-friendly Arc 5, the Series 8 represents a more cost-effective alternative to Braun’s original Series 7 models.
The Series 8 however appears extremely similar in terms of proportions, construction, aesthetics and weight to the discontinued Series 5, but also to the Series 9:
With its mostly black or silver color scheme, the S8 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 8, are again the same as the ones on the Series 9.
This also means there won’t be any potential problems with breaking the slider.
Upon taking a quick look at the actual shaving head of the Series 8, you’ll notice a striking similarity with the original Braun Series 7:
The Series 8 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 surprise that performance-wise, the Series 8 and 7 are quite similar.
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 because the frame surrounding the foils is not as wide.
As a result, the Series 7 feels slightly nimbler during use.
As I mentioned earlier, the Series 7 is more refined, a bit more comfortable and slightly faster.
The Series 8 also vibrates more when cutting the hairs and makes more noise. But the final result, both in terms of closeness and comfort, is similar.
So if you found the Series 7 790cc to be a good match for your needs, but the price was more than what you were willing to pay or you couldn’t find one, the Series 8 represents a perfectly good alternative.
It’s widely available globally and you shouldn’t have any problems getting one.
There are quite a few variations of the Series 8 available and you can read my complete guide on that topic here.
The S8 8457cc (cleaning station) and 8417s (solo) seem to be the best options at this moment as they cost less than other Series 8 models and the shaving performance is identical.
I own the older S8 8370cc model, but the shaving performance is identical to the newer 84 models.
You can of course buy the older Series 8 models if you can find better deals (like the 8370cc or 8330s).
But if the price is the same, I recommend getting the 84 Series 8 (like the 8457cc) as it comes with a better cleaning station that also includes a fan for drying the shaving head.
Those stations are actually the same ones that come with the Series 9 93xx models.
The one included with the 83 cc models (like my 8370cc) lacks an active drying system.
However, all of them are equally effective at cleaning the shaver and use the same cleaning cartridges.
In the case of the 8370cc, the alcohol-based fluid will naturally evaporate from the shaving head 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.
You can also get a solo Series 8 model if you don’t want the station.
Cleaning it manually is fairly straightforward, but you should do it regularly to avoid dirt buildups inside the cassette.
Because the shaving performance of the Series 8 is 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 the closest possible shave.
I personally find the closeness of the Series 8 and 7 to be good enough, but again, something like a Panasonic Arc 5 or even Arc 4 will provide a closer shave in most cases.
The Series 8 seems to be fitted with a similar motor to the one in the Series 7, so it will have plenty of power to shave coarse stubble.
It works great when used on shorter facial hair, so if you shave more often you should get excellent 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 8 works a lot better in these situations than any other similarly priced Panasonic for example (ie the Arc 4 and Arc 5).
That middle trimmer manages to catch stray hairs efficiently and with fewer strokes.
All Series 8 models are suitable for wet & dry use, but to be perfectly honest, shaving cream doesn’t do much for the Series 8 or 7 in terms of improving the results.
Braun shavers in general are very comfortable during a dry shave and the closeness won’t be improved to a significant degree in the case of a wet shave.
A pre-electric shave lotion would be a better option as it’s very easy to apply and you’ll likely notice a difference.
Regarding the costs, a cc Series 8 does quite well, even though recently the prices have gone up a bit.
The 8457cc usually costs less than a cc Series 7 (old generation) with similar specs and the replacement shaving head (83M) is also cheaper.
To save even more money, you could opt for a solo variation of the Series 8 like the 8330s or 8417s, but in my opinion, the cleaning station is worth spending a bit more.
Also, if you decide to get one later on, it will work with any solo Series 8 model (more details about the compatible Series 8 stations here).
To sum it up, the Series 8 is a more affordable Series 7 that really delivers on the expectations.
6. Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9820
Also available at Walmart, Philips.com.
- Great for long, flat-lying hairs
- Close and comfortable shaves
- Suitable for coarse beards
- Can be used as a head shaver
- Excellent build quality
- A Panasonic Arc 4 or Arc 5 will shave closer
- The Braun Series 9 is still more comfortable
- No integrated hair trimmer
- No cleaning station
Let’s now shift our attention to the first rotary razor on this list, the Philips Norelco Series 9000 Prestige.
While in the past I used to recommend the Philips 8900 due to its decent performance and excellent value for money, that model has been discontinued and it’s getting difficult to find nowadays.
So when it comes to great performing rotary shavers, we’re really only left with two options: the older Series 9000 and the Series 9000 Prestige.
Side note: There’s a new Philips Norelco Series 9000 9500 that also performs really well. But having used both, the Prestige still has the edge in my opinion (a bit faster, slightly closer shaves, better ergonomics). The 9500 is however cheaper and comes with a quick clean pod.
And while the new Series 9000 above is a great alternative, especially considering the price point, I ultimately chose the Prestige as my rotary shaver of choice for 2023.
The Philips S9000 Prestige is arguably the best performing rotary shaver you can currently buy, so if you want the crop de la crème and money is not really an issue, this is the one to have.
There are some caveats of course and I will get to them as well, but first let’s see the pros of this shaver as they’re quite a few.
Being a rotary razor, the S9000 Prestige 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 has three individual cutting heads that can flex inward and adapt to the contours of the face.
The cutting heads of the Prestige models feature both holes and wide slots that capture long and flat hairs with ease, even if they grow in different directions.
By using a combination of overlapping circular and straight strokes, the hair can be captured very efficiently.
Being able to shave a 5-day beard without significantly compromising the experience is probably the most impressive thing about this razor.
Not only did it manage to cut the hairs, but it did so without any pulling, which can often happen when trying to shave a long beard.
Philips claims that it can handle a week’s worth of beard growth; I haven’t tried it myself, but I think it’s doable.
An advanced rotary shaver that can handle long hairs is not really something out of the ordinary though.
In fact, even the older and less expensive models like the Philips 9300/9700 or 8900 performed really well in these situations.
What sets the Prestige apart though is the comfort.
In this regard, it is a massive improvement over pretty much any other rotary razor on the market.
It’s one of the very few rotaries that I would actually recommend to users with sensitive skin.
As I already mentioned, I always had to deal with irritation and razor burn and most rotary shavers would inflict some of that, no matter how careful and thorough I was.
My neck is particularly susceptible to this, so I was pleasantly surprised at how gentle and smooth the Prestige is.
The key is of course to use controlled, circular motions and, most importantly, not apply any pressure at all.
I tried to see how forgiving the shaver is and it turns out it’s not too forgiving — at least when compared to a Series 7 or 9.
Pressing too hard or moving the shaver too fast will cause some stinging and even tiny nicks on my neck.
So while it is a comfortable and smooth shaver, it will fight back if you’re sloppy.
Just let the shaver do the work, take your time, and again, do not apply excessive pressure.
The closeness was again among the best I ever got from a rotary shaver.
Because the Prestige is very comfortable, I was able to be more thorough and really get a smooth shave.
On the cheeks it was actually extremely good but could have been a bit better on the neck, chin and below the nose.
Overall I was pretty happy with the closeness, but the Prestige is definitely not the best in this regard.
A quality foil shaver will yield better results in most cases, with Panasonic being the best in my opinion.
Another aspect worth mentioning about the Series 9000 Prestige is the build quality.
It’s made out of an aluminum-like material and just oozes quality.
Compared to other previous Norelco shavers, it’s just in a different class.
Even the blade retaining rings are reinforced with metal and everything feels premium and very sturdy.
The battery life is fantastic as well.
Let’s now check out some of the cons and see when you should and shouldn’t get this shaver.
And I’ll start with the price as there’s really no other way to put this: the Prestige is an expensive shaver.
It’s among the most expensive on this list and it doesn’t even come with a cleaning station.
Regardless of how useful a Philips cleaner would be, I think they should have included one with such a premium-priced product.
Cleaning is pretty straightforward most of the time (involving rinsing the shaver with tap water and optionally some liquid soap), but it can be time-consuming and fiddly when performing a so-called thorough cleaning.
That involves taking apart each cutting head, cleaning the rotary blade and comb, and putting them back together.
The combs and blades are matching pairs, so you’ll have to take extra care not to mix them as the performance of your Prestige will take a hit.
So it’s a shame that Philips didn’t include a station (or at least a cleaning pod), but if you want the very best rotary shaver, you’ll have to shell out and overlook this.
The aforementioned new Series 9000 9500 does include a cleaning pod, which is a very basic cleaning unit (powered by the shaver itself and doesn’t even contain a filter).
As for which Prestige model to buy, my pick would be the SP9820 model.
It’s widely available and doesn’t come with the gimmicky wireless charging pad (that model costs even more).
If you shave less often and you have a lot of flat-lying hairs, the Philips Prestige can be one of the best options for you.
Some men prefer to shave once or twice a week, which can be a problem for most electric razors out there, regardless of the price point.
The Philips Prestige will however handle that.
Rotary razors are often considered to be better for coarse facial hair compared to foil shavers.
While I don’t agree with this as a general rule, the Prestige is indeed adequate for shaving thick, wiry hairs.
But if you’re interested in getting a very close shave, you should probably look elsewhere.
Again, the closeness is excellent for a rotary razor, but most quality foil shavers will outperform the Prestige in this regard.
Panasonic shavers are still on top and depending on your budget, an Arc 4 or Arc 5 will be a better pick.
Keep in mind though that they’re nowhere near as good with long and flat-lying hairs as the Prestige, so you’ll probably have to shave more often to compensate for that.
Finally, a Braun Series 7 or 9/9 Pro is more comfortable, more forgiving, shaves closer and it’s still a better choice for users with very sensitive skin.
The Prestige can work decently in that case, but you’ll have to be more careful to avoid discomfort and irritation.
Unless you’ve used a rotary shaver before with excellent results, I think you should probably consider a Panasonic or Braun (depending on your needs). You’ll likely be saving some money as well.
To sum it up: a rotary razor like the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige can be an excellent choice for men who don’t shave often and have wiry, thick hairs that grow in different directions.
However, it may not be ideal if you have very sensitive skin or you want a very close shave.
In that case, a Braun Series 7/9 or a Panasonic Arc 4/5 respectively will be more suitable.
7. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s
Also available at Walmart, Braun.com.
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Inexpensive replacement shaving head
- Very good value for money
- Wet & dry use
- Excellent for beginners
- Better than an Arc 3 for longer, flat-lying hairs
- Doesn’t shave as close as a Panasonic Arc 3
- A bit underpowered for very coarse facial hair
- Works best when used on shorter facial hair
- Not as easy to clean compared to an Arc 3
The Series 3 is Braun’s entry-level family of electric shavers and a direct competitor to Panasonic’s Arc 3 line.
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.
While the closeness is not quite as good, the Series 3 is slightly more comfortable and gentler to the skin compared to an Arc 3.
It’s also more effective when used on a slightly longer beard, requiring fewer strokes for a clean shave.
There are several Series 3 ProSkin models available, ranging from dry-only models that include a cleaning station (like the 3050cc) to wet/dry models like the 3040s or 3010s.
My default recommendation for a Series 3 model is the Braun ProSkin 3040s as it represents a great balance between price and features.
Alternatively, the cheaper 3010s that I reviewed here is also worth considering, but keep in mind that it doesn’t include a slide-out hair trimmer.
So it’s basically a 3040s but without the hair trimmer. That’s the biggest (potential) deal-breaker in the case of the 3010s.
The prices and availability of these models tend to change a lot, so make sure to check out both before buying.
For example, if you can grab the 3040s for roughly the same money, definitely go for it.
The Series 3 3040s can be used wet or dry and the simpler shaving head is easier to clean manually compared to the Series 7, 8 or 9.
So a cleaning station is not a must-have in this case.
Moreover, models like the Series 3 3050cc that come with a cleaning base cost quite a lot more.
Whichever Series 3 ProSkin you end up choosing, the shaving performance will be the same.
Selecting the best one for you should come down to the features that you’ll be needing (hair trimmer, cleaning station, wet/dry capabilities, etc.) and, of course, the price.
As with most electric shavers, the dry-only Series 3 models can also be operated when they’re plugged in, while the wet/dry ones cannot due to safety concerns.
If cordless & corded us is a must-have feature, you may want to check out the Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3000s which is basically a dry-only 3010s.
All Series 3 razors will work best when used daily or every other day. Longer hairs will cause problems to most basic foil shavers, including the Series 3.
It is however noticeably better than the Panasonic Arc 3 in this regard.
Because it’s very comfortable, with the foils remaining cool during the shave, the Series 3 is a suitable razor for users with sensitive skin.
If you’re mainly interested in getting a very close shave, then a Panasonic Arc 3 will be better in most cases.
Finally, 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 either.
If that’s the case, investing in a more powerful shaver like the Braun Series 8 or a Panasonic Arc 4 would be a good idea.
8. Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LL41-K
Also available at Walmart, Panasonic.com.
- Very close shaves
- One of the best all-around budget razors
- Fast and powerful, suitable for coarser facial hair
- High quality, sharp blades
- Excellent wet shaving performance
- Very easy to clean manually
- Useful comb attachments for beard trimming
- Not quite as comfortable as a Braun Series 3
- Replacement foils & blades are pricey
- Works best for shaving daily or every other day
- Pricy replacement foil & blades
Side note: If you live in the UK, the Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LL21-K model is often cheaper and widely available. The only difference is that it only comes with a single comb attachment instead of two.
Another great option for an affordable electric shaver is the Arc 3 from Panasonic.
As the name suggests, the Arc 3 electric razors have a three-blade shaving system with the trademark arched profile of the cutters.
This feature 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 recommend considering only those particular Arc 3 variants, like for example the ES8103S (if you can still find one), ES-LT41-K, ES-LL21-K, ES-LT67-A etc.
There are of course other Arc 3 models besides those that will perform identically, so as long as you see in the specs sheet that they use the 13 000 CPM motors, you’re all good.
As of 2023, my personal pick from the Arc 3 line would be the ES-LL41-K (or ES-LL21-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.
In the past, my choice for an affordable Arc 3 would have been the venerable ES8103S:
Despite looking a bit dated — it was launched 14 years ago — its performance was very similar to the newer Arc 3 models and they even use the same inner blades.
Sadly, it seems to have been discontinued, so my new budget-friendly Panasonic razor for 2023 is the ES-LL41-K.
There are other Arc 3 models that look more premium in the so-called LT line, like the ES-LT67, but the shaving performance is the same.
Moreover, those LT Arc 3 are unnecessarily large and particularly the foil frame is very bulky compared to the one on the ES-LL41-K.
Here’s a side-by-side picture and the difference is quite significant:
Even though the LT Arc 3 represents an upgrade in terms of aesthetics, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the ES-LL41-K.
The shaving performance is the same, but are more difficult to use because of that bulky head.
The ES-LL41-K (or ES-LL21-K in Europe) is a relatively new addition to the Arc 3 family and includes two unique beard trimmer attachments.
You may or may not use them, but they are very practical for trimming or maintaining a stubble/designer beard.
They attach over the shaver’s integrated popup trimmer (which is very good on its own) and allow you to cut the hair at a specific length (1 to 7mm in increments of 1).
The ES-LL21-K model only comes with the small attachment (1 to 3 mm).
This may be very practical if you haven’t shaved in a long time and you need to pre-trim your beard before shaving.
So it’s somewhat of a 2 in 1 shaver and trimmer, but the shaver part is the main reason why I picked it.
I think the ES-LL41-K is one of the best affordable foil shavers out there.
With a punchy motor (only slightly less powerful than the ones fitted to 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 Arc 5 excel at providing close shaves, particularly when compared to similarly priced foil razors from Braun.
This trait trickles down to the entry-level offerings as well, the ES-LL41-K (and other 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-SL41-S Arc 3 that I reviewed a while back), all Arc 3 variations will offer similar performance.
So with regards to closeness, the ES-LL41-K fares excellent, better than a Braun Series 3 for example or a similarly priced Philips.
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-LL41-K is very good, but could sometimes cause some irritation if you have very sensitive skin or if you press too hard.
I find it to be just a bit harsher than the Arc 5 models and the foils can get a bit too hot after a few months of use which can inflict some discomfort.
These shortcomings can be reduced 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 good shaving cream.
Again, I know most men will prefer to shave dry, but Panasonic electric razors perform the best out of all the brands during a wet shave, so at least give it a try if you’re not entirely satisfied with the comfort.
To get the most out of the ES-LL41-K or any other less advanced electric razor, shaving more often would be a very effective solution (daily or every other day will yield the best results).
The ES-LL41-K can usually be found at a reasonable price and you’ll often stumble upon great deals.
The replacement foil and blades set (model number WES9013PC) costs less than the 4 or 5-blade Panasonic parts and it’s widely available.
However, a Braun Series 3 replacement cassette is even cheaper and in my experience will last a bit longer as well.
The Arc 3 is an excellent choice for beginners because it’s dead easy to clean and 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 very sensitive skin and you want an even lower cost of ownership, you’ll be better off with a Braun Series 3 that you can buy for less money and it’s more comfortable.
9. Philips Norelco Series 3000 Shaver 3500
Also available at Walmart, Philips.com.
- Suitable for 1 to 3-day beards
- Close and comfortable shaves
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Durable & inexpensive shaving heads
- Great value for money
- An Arc 3 or Series 3 will shave closer
- No travel lock
If you don’t want to fork out for a Prestige, then you should really consider the new Series 3000 from Philips.
While there are a couple of other rotaries that fill the gap between the top-end Prestige and the affordable Series 3000 — like the new Series 7000 and 5000 — I would actually pick the Series 3000 over those any day.
There are a couple of reasons for that.
First of all, the shavers themselves and the replacement shaving heads are cheaper.
Secondly, the performance of those theoretically better shavers like the Series 7000 and 5000 isn’t really better.
In fact, I would argue that the Shaver 3500 and 3800 from the new Series 3000 are better in almost all regards.
The closeness and comfort are at least as good, while the form factor, ergonomics and ease of use are superior.
In my opinion, those things make the new Series 3000 a much more compelling option for someone that needs a reasonably priced rotary shaver.
As a side note, there used to be another mid-range rotary from Norelco that I absolutely loved: the Series 6000.
That one was basically a budget Prestige that came with almost identical shaving heads (check out the side by side comparison shot below) and it shaved almost as good for a fraction of the price.
Oddly, Philips decided to discontinue the Series 6000 after less than 2 years since this shaver was launched.
It used to be my default recommendation for an affordable, but still capable rotary.
But since you can’t get it anymore (or the cost is prohibitive if you still manage to find one), the new Series 3000 is the next best thing and in some ways, it’s even better.
Just like the Braun Series 3 and the Panasonic Arc 3 are the go-to options for an affordable foil shaver, the Series 3000 is a worthy contender from the rotary camp.
There are two widely available models in this series: the Shaver 3800 (this is the one I got) and the Shaver 3500.
The only differences between the two are the color and a charging stand that comes bundled with the 3800.
As such, the Shaver 3500 usually costs less, so if you don’t need a charging stand, you might as well save some money and get that one.
Performance-wise, they are absolutely identical.
While its name and price would suggest a low to mid-range shaver, I think it punches way above its weight and it is in my opinion the most compelling mid-range rotary you can buy right now.
Precisely, the comfort and the closeness are surprisingly good.
Moreover, being a rotary, it deals with longer and flat-lying hair noticeably better than a foil razor that costs roughly the same — like a Panasonic Arc 3 or any Remington for that matter.
The way the Series 3000 handles difficult hair is pretty impressive, but that’s to be expected from a shaver of this type.
I wouldn’t say it was quite as good as the Prestige or the new 9500, but it will nevertheless be more than capable of shaving a 3 days beard.
The closeness of the shave was on the other hand typical for a rotary shaver, meaning not quite the best out there.
I found the Prestige to give a closer shave, but again, you should probably consider a foil shaver if closeness is more important than shaving a longer beard for example.
As someone that never really got along well with rotaries, the comfort of the new Series 3000 was remarkable during my tests.
I’d say it’s only second to the Prestige and to the new Series 9000 (that uses the SH91 blades).
If you don’t press too hard and don’t move the shaving head too quickly, it’s about as smooth as a Braun Series 3.
It’s got a decent amount of power too and will probably be good enough for users with moderate to coarser facial hair.
This is the only area where the top-of-the-line rotaries like the S9000 Prestige are superior, but also cost a lot more than the Shaver 3500 or 3800.
On the other hand, the Series 3000 manages to one-up those in other areas.
For example, it comes with a handy flip-open shaving head which is a lot more practical than having to pry it off with your fingernails.
And you’ll be doing this quite a lot when cleaning the razor.
Speaking of it, the Series 3000 is fully waterproof and you can easily rinse it clean with tap water.
All the models are wet/dry, cordless only shavers, but the battery life is excellent.
I also prefer the shaving head and form factor of the Series 3000 to the Prestige, Series 9000, 7000 and 5000.
Precisely, it’s easier to use and more manageable for beginners, particularly when compared to the large angular slabs of the new Series 7000 and 9000.
The cutting heads themselves are also suspended on these tiny springs which are extremely responsive and really help maintain the guards in contact with the skin.
This is in addition to the flexing of the plastic holders in which the cutters sit.
For some reason, the high-end rotaries like the Prestige and Series 9000 lack these springs and they really are useful, not just some gimmicky features.
Finally, the Series 3000 has an integrated pop-up trimmer.
And while it’s far from being the best (the Panasonic razors are in a different league when it comes to hair trimmers), it’s nevertheless handy for some quick grooming.
The replacement cutting heads (called SH30) are inexpensive and last a long time.
And despite using a single track, these cutters proved to be quite effective in practice.
To sum it up, the Philips Norelco Series 3000 is a great option for users that also sometimes shave less often and need a comfortable electric razor that can handle longer facial hair but don’t want to pay a premium for the high-end rotary models.
Just remember that the closeness won’t be quite as good as what you’ll be getting from a decent foil shaver in that price range (like the Braun Series 3 ProSkin or the Panasonic Arc 3).
Also, if this is your first electric razor, again a Series 3 or the Arc 3 will probably be safer options (more on foil vs rotary shavers in the next section).
10. Philips Norelco Series 2000 Shaver 2300
Also available at Walmart, Philips.com.
- Comfortable (for a basic rotary shaver)
- Very good value for money
- Suitable for 1 to 3-day beards
- Excellent rotary shaver for beginners
- Corded and cordless operation
- Doesn’t shave as close as an entry-level foil razor
- No travel lock
- Can feel underpowered when shaving a coarse beard
A best-seller in its category, the Philips Norelco Shaver 2300 is a basic, inexpensive rotary shaver suitable for dry-only use.
Tip: the European version is (oddly) called the Philips Series 1000 S1332/41. Despite what the model name might suggest, the shaver looks and performs identically.
The Series 2000 sits right below the Series 3000 in Norelco’s shavers hierarchy.
So in what way is it inferior, you might ask?
Well, after using both, I can definitely tell that the Series 2000 is fitted with a less powerful motor compared to the Shaver 3500/3800 in the Series 3000.
In practice, this translates to somewhat lengthier shaving sessions and a bit more work in order to get the same smooth result with the Shaver 2300.
I also find the Shaver 3500/3800 more enjoyable to use than the Shaver 2300 for precisely that reason.
The end result is extremely similar though.
That’s hardly a surprise since the Shaver 2300 uses the same SH30 cutters and everything about the shaving system is pretty much the same, including the tiny springs on which the cutters sit.
The Shaver 2300 does cost less and it will also work with the cord plugged in.
These are rather important aspects to some users and may tip the balance in favor of the Shaver 2300 despite the less punchy motor and a smaller battery.
Again, it all comes down to what would make more sense for your needs.
If you don’t have a coarse beard and don’t want to invest a lot in a shaver, the 2300 should be on your shortlist.
You can only shave dry with it though, but that probably won’t be an issue. It is however waterproof and can be rinsed with water.
Despite the fact that I would choose a foil shaver over a rotary one, during my time with the Philips Norelco 2300 I was impressed by how efficient it was at capturing and cutting longer, flat-lying hairs, particularly on my neck.
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 Norelco 2300, 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 2300 will make it easier for you to get all those stray hairs that a basic foil shaver would sometimes leave behind.
The Norelco Shaver 2300 is also pretty comfortable during use (very similar to the Shaver 3500/3800), so it can be a viable choice if you don’t have very sensitive skin.
If you do, the Braun Series 3 ProSkin for example will probably be a better option for roughly the same money.
Even though it performs very well at this price point, don’t expect anything spectacular. The 2300 is still a no-frills, inexpensive rotary shaver.
If you want something a bit more powerful you’ll have to spend more, the next best thing being the Series 3000 above at number 9 on our list.
Other Series 2000 variations like the Shaver 2500 (S1311/82) come with the same shaving heads as the 2300.
Apart from a slightly larger battery or a better LED display, other Series 2000 models don’t really bring anything that would improve the performance.
For this reason, I think the Philips Norelco 2300 is the budget rotary razor to get in 2023.
The inclusion of a pop-up trimmer is definitely welcome; other more expensive razors from Philips like the Series 6000, 7000 or the Prestige come with a separate click-on trimmer (which isn’t very good, to be honest).
And while the one on this shaver again isn’t anything spectacular (nowhere near as good as the one on the Panasonic Arc 3, for example), it’s better than nothing.
The SH30 replacement heads (that are also fitted to more expensive models in the Series 3000) are durable and reasonably priced.
For example, they cost less than the foils and blades of other entry-level shavers like the Braun Series 3 and Panasonic 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 2300 can be a good starting point.
If closeness is also important, I would get a Panasonic Arc 3/Braun Series 3 and try to shave more often.
Rotary vs foil electric razors: picking the right type for your needs
You may have noticed by now that there are a lot of foil shavers in this list and only a few rotary razors.
And while both can be viable options in various situations, I think for most users a foil shaver will usually be a safer choice.
They exhibit fewer specific shortcomings and it’s easier to get around most of them.
In my opinion the foil vs rotary razors is a futile debate if we don’t take the context into account as well.
Just like we did previously for individual shavers, we can do that for foil and rotary shavers in general.
The Pros and Cons of rotary shavers
Most rotary shavers have three clear advantages over the foil type:
- they are better at cutting longer hairs
- the cutting heads usually last longer
- they are significantly quieter
I don’t know how important the last aspect is, but it’s the one thing we can objectively determine with a smartphone app for example.
And in that regard, the Philips Norelco Shaver 2300, probably the cheapest on this list, is also the quietest.
But the ability to capture and cut longer hairs is in my opinion something that rotary razors generally do better, regardless of the price point.
As we saw previously, some foil shavers are actually surprisingly good in this regard (for example, the Braun Series 7 and particularly the Series 9 and 9 Pro), but the rest of them will only perform well on shorter facial hair.
This is especially obvious with entry-level foil shavers, but sometimes even very advanced and expensive razors like the latest Panasonic Arc 5 are still nowhere near as good as similarly priced rotary shavers from Philips.
So if your budget is limited and you need a shaver that can handle a 3 to 4-day beard, you may want to consider a rotary razor.
As for which one to get, that really depends on your budget.
You can opt for an entry-level model like the Philips Norelco 2300, a mid-ranger like the Series 3000/7000 or a high-end shaver like the Series 9000 Prestige or the new Series 9000 (9500/9800).
I’ve read numerous comparisons of rotary and foil shavers and one aspect that constantly pops up is that rotary shavers are better for coarse hair.
In my experience, this is not exactly true.
Both can be just as good for coarse hair, but as expected, the very basic models will lack the power of the premium razors.
This will of course cause your shaving sessions to take longer and won’t be as enjoyable, regardless if you’re using a foil or a rotary shaver.
Let’s now take a closer look at the cons of rotary shavers.
Since the main advantages of foil shavers are the closeness and comfort of the shave, we can easily guess the main disadvantages of rotary razors.
Because of the very way they work, rotary shavers generally cannot shave as close or as comfortably as foil shavers.
The rotary cutters sit behind metal guards that are pretty thick compared to the perforated metal screens on foil shavers.
This creates a larger physical barrier between the blades and the skin.
In the past, Philips tried to compensate for this by using a double-blade design for most of their shavers.
In theory, the first blade would lift the hair and the second would do the actual cutting.
In reality, this didn’t seem to work very well, even with high-end shavers.
Entry-level foil razors like the Panasonic Arc 3 or the Braun Series 3 ProSkin will usually shave closer and gentler than most rotary shavers (provided your beard is reasonably short).
When using a rotary shaver that features this Lift & Cut technology, the first blade tends to yank the hairs and I can definitely feel it, especially when shaving my neck.
It’s very unpleasant and it can cause small cuts in the skin as well if tiny bits of skin tissue (surrounding the hair follicle) poke through the slots in the combs.
It’s one of the reasons why applying a bit more pressure generally leads to more discomfort when using a rotary shaver.
This is made worse by the very low speed at which the blades rotate (less than 1000 RPM compared to 10 000 – 14 000 CPM in the case of most foil shavers), increasing the chances of hairs getting pulled, so you must really take your time and don’t rush through a stroke.
Some users don’t seem to experience this type of discomfort and that’s great for them. Again, there are men that get fantastic results with rotary shavers.
But for someone with sensitive skin (and for the majority of users in general), a foil shaver is probably the safer choice.
With the latest Series 9000 Prestige and the Series 3000, Philips actually ditched the lift and cut technology and only used a single-blade design.
It’s the same story with the entry-level Series 2000 and 3000.
In fact, all of the current Philips series use these single-blade cutters.
The result is a massive improvement in comfort, but the price of the Prestige models for example is very high and in my opinion a Braun Series 7/8 is still more comfortable, it costs a lot less, it shaves closer and also comes with a cleaning station.
I still decided to include the S9000 Prestige in this list of what I consider to be the current best men’s electric razors because it’s the most capable rotary shaver you can buy right now.
The comfort of rotary shavers can be improved with a few adjustments (pre-shave lotion, shaving cream, proper technique), but still not to the extent of representing a better option for someone with very sensitive skin.
The same goes for closeness — most users will have a better chance of getting a close shave with a decent foil shaver.
The Pros and Cons of foil shavers
In most cases, the pros would be the comfort and the closeness of the shave.
You’ll probably agree that those are some pretty significant pros.
I think most users, including those just getting started with electric shavers, will have a better chance of getting a satisfactory shave using a foil razor.
The very thin foil screens allow a closer shave and because the blades oscillate at a much higher speed compared to a rotary shaver, there are fewer chances of pinching or pulling the hairs, which usually results in a smoother, gentler shave.
Another advantage that stems from this is that foil razors are more forgiving when you’re not too careful with your technique; for example, when pressing a bit too hard or when moving the shaver too fast.
There are of course foil shavers that are plain bad, but in the case of similarly priced, decent shavers, a foil razor will usually get you a closer and more comfortable shave.
Yes, a basic, inexpensive foil shaver will have trouble with longer, flat-lying hairs, but you can get around that by shaving more often.
A pre-shave lotion or shaving cream can help as well.
And finally, if your budget allows it, some foil-based razors are really good at this as well.
Braun is clearly on top here, with models like the Series 9/9 Pro, 7 or even the Series 8.
Most foil shavers are also easier to use and to clean in my opinion.
The shaving unit of most foil razors is comprised of 2 to 6 shaving elements.
These are narrow, straight foils or trimmers that allow greater precision and control, especially above the upper lip or around your sideburns.
Even the Arc 5 with its behemoth shaving head takes less effort to shave those areas compared to any 3-blade rotary razor.
The use of short, straight strokes against the grain makes foil shavers suitable for beginners as well.
And with foil shavers, you also have a lot more options (Braun, Panasonic, Remington, Wahl, Andis), while you’re basically stuck with Philips if you want a decent rotary shaver.
Remington has a few rotary models as well, but I’ve tried several and I honestly cannot recommend them.
Finally, foil shavers aren’t perfect either.
For starters, they just don’t work very well on long facial hair (usually this means a 3-day beard or more, depending on how fast your hair grows).
As mentioned previously, you can get around this issue by shaving more often or by getting a more capable shaver.
Another problem is the heat generated during use.
Because the blades oscillate at a very high rate and they actually rub against the foils, some of them can get pretty hot.
Braun shavers fare very well in this regard, usually remaining very comfortable and cool to the touch. Panasonic and Remington foil razors tend to get hotter.
Lubricating can help with this, so you can use either a light mineral oil or a special cleaning & lubricating spray. The Andis CoolCare Plus works particularly well.
The foils and blades also tend to wear out faster compared to the combs and blades of rotary razors.
A foil is much thinner, the tolerances are tighter and the speed of the blades is a lot higher.
This generates a lot of friction and wear. The blades are also much thinner compared to a rotary cutter.
Finally, foil shavers vibrate more and are generally much louder.
This can be a real issue in several situations (for example, I get a lot of emails from parents of teenagers with autism that need a really quiet electric shaver).
There’s not much to do about it except getting a rotary shaver; that’s simply the best option in such a case.
When should you pick one over the other?
I think we can conclude that overall, foil shavers have fewer serious drawbacks and most of them can be reduced to a minimum.
But again, your choice of a rotary or foil shaver should come down to your personal needs and what would work best for you, so we cannot simply postulate that foil shavers are better than rotary.
If I were to summarize this rotary vs foil dilemma, it would be something like this:
Buy a rotary shaver if you:
- Shave less often (every 3 to 4 days or more) and your budget is rather limited; an inexpensive rotary shaver will likely perform better than an inexpensive foil razor in this case;
- Don’t have sensitive skin;
- Need a really quiet electric shaver.
Buy a foil shaver if you:
- Want the best chance of getting a close and comfortable shave;
- Shave more often. Most entry-level foil shavers don’t perform very well on longer, flat-lying hairs; if shaving more often is not an option, spending more money on a Braun Series 7 or 9 is well worth it;
- Have sensitive skin;
- Have never used an electric shaver before. I think foil shavers are easier to use, clean, and care for, making the transition from razor blades a lot smoother.
Is it better to shave wet or dry with an electric razor?
This continues to be one of the most popular questions when it comes to electric shaving.
And the answer is a bit more nuanced and not as straightforward.
Both methods have their own pros and cons and one may be better than the other depending on the situation.
You can also alternate between them and that’s a perfectly viable option as well.
1. Shaving dry with an electric razor
The most popular way of using an electric razor is the so-called dry shave.
And it’s exactly what it sounds: you just pick the shaver and start shaving right away, without any additional prep work.
Granted, you can apply a pre-shave lotion for example and I think doing so is actually beneficial in most cases, but that’s still practically 0 overhead and no preparation.
And that’s why shaving dry is so popular: it’s quick, effective and cleaning your shaver takes less time.
The downside? Difficult facial hair (very coarse, wiry) and sensitive skin, along with a less capable shaver can make things more difficult for the user.
For example, several Panasonic and Philips shavers are a bit harsh when used dry and can cause some razor burn.
The same shavers are however milder and more forgiving in the case of a wet shave.
In some cases, the closeness of the shave will also be improved with the addition of a good shaving cream, although the improvement can vary quite a lot among different users.
The actual electric razor matters as well.
For example, in my experience, any closeness gains as a result of using a Braun razor with shaving cream aren’t really worth the trouble.
And the comfort should already be good enough even for men with highly sensitive skin.
Personally, I always shave dry with Braun electric razors as they’re good enough in all the areas that matter (comfort, closeness, and effectiveness when shaving flat-lying hairs).
That doesn’t mean other brands or types of shavers can’t work well when shaving dry, especially if you don’t have any serious issues with post-shave irritation.
But I think using a Braun razor for shaving dry is a safe bet.
Also, compared to other foil shavers (Panasonic, Remington), Braun is better at catching the clipped hairs inside the head.
When I shave dry with a Panasonic razor, there’s significantly more mess on my t-shirt and forearms.
The clipped hairs that end up on the face can actually be annoying as you can’t always tell them apart from a patch that still has uncut stubble.
This is yet another reason why I tend to grab a Braun razor when I want to shave dry.
If you don’t have a cleaning station, the cleaning part is also less of a burden.
A quick rinse with warm tap water can be enough.
No soap also means you can get away with lubricating your shaver less often.
If you use shaving cream, cleaning with soap is a must, otherwise the lather will solidify and remain stuck in the nooks and crannies of the foil.
I would however recommend cleaning your razor with water and soap every once in a while, even if you only shave dry.
To sum it up, considering the decent results and the minimal work involved, I think a dry shave will work best for most users as the default way of shaving.
2. Shaving wet with an electric razor
The prospect of lathering probably doesn’t sound too appealing for someone that ditched the razor blade for an electric shaver.
And it’s totally understandable.
A wet/dry electric shaver will however allow you to use pretty much any of the (pre) shaving products you’d normally be using in the case of traditional shaving.
These include shaving creams and soaps, shaving gels, pre-shave oil or even pre-shave creams.
And the purpose of all that is to make your shave better — closer and more comfortable.
So what is normally recommended for an old-fashioned wet shave, like washing your face with a mild cleanser and warm water, hot shower beforehand, hot towel on the face and so on, is still recommended here.
The only difference is that you’ll be using an electric shaver instead of a manual razor.
In my opinion the only tweak you’ll need to make in order to get the best possible shave is with regard to the lather.
Precisely, the consistency.
With traditional wet shaving, you’ll want that nice, rich, cushioning layer of lather.
With wet electric shaving, that type of lather will likely be detrimental to the quality of your shave.
Moreover, you’ll have a hard time assessing the areas that need more passes.
Instead, you only need a thin layer of watery, pasty lather. Palm/face lathering works best in this situation.
Further reading: I wrote a dedicated guide on how to wet shave with an electric razor. I highly recommend checking it out for more info.
While it takes longer than a dry shave, the results can be quite astonishing.
For example, if you have a really coarse, thick and dense beard and you’re usually having trouble with getting a close shave, this may be the answer.
I don’t shave wet too often anymore (because of time constraints), but I do treat myself every once in a while or when I have an event to attend, like a wedding or a more formal dinner.
For me, a Panasonic Arc 5 (or an Arc 6) + shaving cream is unbeatable. The closeness is just phenomenal and the comfort too.
A rotary wet/dry Philips Norelco will also work impressively well.
As mentioned previously, with other shavers (Braun) the differences aren’t really that impressive.
Apart from wanting to get a closer shave, men with sensitive skin should also consider wet shaving, especially if using the shaver dry often results in irritation and razor burn.
I hinted at the downsides of wet shaving before, so no surprises here: it’s time-consuming.
The prep, the shave itself and the more thorough cleaning required all add up.
But in some cases, it’s totally worth it.
Cleaning an electric razor after a wet shave needs to be pretty thorough.
I prefer to use warm water and liquid hand soap as it is highly effective.
If you also have a cleaning station, you should rinse and pat dry the shaver before putting it into the station.
The lather can lead to pressure buildup inside the cartridge (mainly with Braun stations) and the solution will not last as long and you’ll need a new cartridge sooner.
In case of a manual clean, soap also strips away any lubricant, so you will need to oil your shaver after every soap + water cleaning.
You can use either a light mineral oil (like clipper oil) or a spray lubricant for electric shavers.
Further reading: How and when to lubricate your electric razor.
So wet shaving isn’t intrinsically better than dry shaving (and vice versa) and you should just stick to the one you prefer and that gets you the best results.
I’m a proponent of actually trying something to see if it works and it’s worth your time, so just give it a go if your shaver is wet/dry.
How much should you pay for a good electric razor?
Usually, you should expect to pay anywhere from $40 for an entry-level electric shaver to around $300 for a high-end model like the Series 9 Pro.
That said, what constitutes an expensive or a cheap electric razor is relative.
But what is pretty clear though is that some shavers offer better value for money than others.
The above top 10 list of recommended men’s shavers includes the ones I truly consider to be the best in that regard as well.
For example, the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S shaves almost the same as the latest, but significantly more expensive Arc 5 models.
So it makes perfect sense to recommend it over other similar variations.
But if you don’t mind paying more for nicer features that don’t really improve the performance, like an aluminum vs plastic body or a hard leather case vs a soft pouch, then you should get a newer model.
I won’t be mentioning explicit price points as I don’t think my idea of a cheap or expensive shaver is very important or relevant.
What truly matters is being able to decide when upping your budget will be worth it.
For example, if you have very coarse, thick stubble, buying a Panasonic Arc 5 instead of an Arc 3 will probably be worth the price difference.
Likewise, if you have very sensitive skin and often have to wait a couple of days or even more between shaving sessions, getting a Braun Series 7 instead of a Series 3 will be money well spent.
On the other hand, even an entry-level foil shaver will be enough for men with light beards and getting something like a Braun Series 9 Pro for example would be overkill.
Of course it will still work great, but so will a cheap Series 3.
I tried to emphasize precisely these situations for every shaver I mentioned, so hopefully you’ll be able to buy the one that makes more sense for your needs.
The cost of the shaver itself but also of the replacement cutters/foils should cater to various budgets.
How to get the most out of your shaver
Now that you’ve hopefully settled on a shaver that seems suitable for your needs, it’s time to put it to good use.
While this won’t be a comprehensive how-to guide, I’ll try to outline the most important aspects of using an electric shaver and getting the best possible results.
This often comes down to making slight adjustments to your shaving routine/technique in order to compensate for certain shortcomings of the shaver.
As we saw, almost every electric razor has its pros and cons and we just have to pick the one that checks most of the boxes for our needs.
In no particular order, here’s how to use your shaver the right way.
Get the basics right.
Apart from choosing a suitable shaver, these will likely have the biggest impact on the quality of your shave.
- Always shave dry before washing your face or taking a shower.
- Always shave against the grain.
- Do not apply excessive pressure and use controlled, slow strokes to avoid hairs getting yanked and pinching.
Make sure your facial hair has a reasonable length.
I’ve seen quite a few user reviews accompanied by photos of nicks and bloody faces, stating that a particular shaver is absolutely horrible and it will just shred your face to pieces.
But almost all of these reviews had something in common: the users were trying to shave a half-inch beard. With an electric shaver.
I cannot stress this enough, electric shavers are NOT hair trimmers and are only intended to work on short facial hair.
Apart from a couple of models like the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige and even the Braun Series 9 that can handle longer hairs (4 to 5-day beards), most electric shavers will only perform optimally on short stubble.
So if you haven’t shaved in a long time, definitely use a beard trimmer beforehand.
Shave more often if your shaver struggles with flat-lying hairs.
As mentioned throughout this post, some electric razors, especially the less advanced models, can sometimes miss hairs that lie flat on the skin.
The problem becomes worse as the length of the hair increases, so shaving more often could result in better performance.
Braun and Philips shavers are quite good at cutting difficult hairs, so this mainly concerns Panasonic and Remington foil razors.
Use a pre-shave lotion to improve the comfort and closeness of your shave.
Generally, an electric razor that’s able to shave extremely close won’t be that great for comfort — and vice-versa.
In order to address this without adding too much overhead to your dry shaving routine, a high-quality pre-shave lotion is the way to go in my opinion.
They’re fairly inexpensive and take literally seconds to apply.
You should notice an improvement especially if you use a less capable electric shaver like the Braun Series 3 or Panasonic Arc 3.
It can also help with flat-lying hairs.
My current picks for pre-shave lotions are the ones from Speick and Tabac.
After testing pretty much all the popular pre-shave brands out there, these proved to be the best in terms of effectiveness, quality, fragrance and even cost.
Allow your skin a few days to heal if you suffer from severe post-shave irritation.
Subjecting your skin to another shave while it’s still tender will just make things worse.
Instead, you should wait at least a couple of days between shaving sessions.
A gentle shaver that can handle longer hairs would make the most sense here. Depending on your budget, you should consider a Braun Series 8, 7 or 9.
Avoid switching back and forth between an electric shaver and a razor blade.
Some men prefer to use razor blades for that really close shave, but also grab an electric shaver when they’re in a rush and just need a quick dry shave.
This is not ideal and should be avoided.
A razor blade will scrape off a thin layer of skin cells which triggers the body to produce scar tissue.
It takes a few weeks to get rid of it and during that time you won’t get the best results with an electric shaver.
This is why all electric shaver manufacturers state that you should allow your skin a few weeks to get used to the new way of shaving.
So it’s best to simply pick one method and stick to it.
Clean your shaver after every use and lubricate the cutters regularly.
While you don’t have to be extra thorough every time, make sure to clean your shaver after every use.
Most shavers are waterproof and can be simply rinsed with water.
Lubrication is also vital to the shaver’s performance and longevity. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it.
If you use a cleaning station regularly, there’s no need for additional lubrication.
Get a spray cleaner & lubricant.
They’re fairly cheap and can work wonders in several cases.
Apart from cleaning and lubricating the blades, a spray cleaner will also remove mineral deposits and stubborn dirt.
This will reduce the friction between the blades and the foils/guards, thus generating less heat during use and increasing the lifespan of the cutters.
You can use the spray in addition to your usual cleaning and lubricating routine.
As for which spray cleaner to choose, the Remington Shaver Saver and the Andis Cool Care Plus are two great options (widely available and inexpensive).
Make sure the battery has enough charge.
With some shavers, you will experience a performance drop once the battery charge goes below a certain threshold.
This is generally the case with older or entry-level electric shavers.
You’ll want to have at least 30% battery charge in this case, otherwise you will likely experience some hair pulling and the closeness of the shave will suffer as well.
Modern batteries aren’t affected by the memory effect like the old NiMh/NiCd batteries, so you can charge your shaver as often as you need.
Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.
A great shave starts with a healthy skin.
And men’s skincare is actually extremely simple. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Cleanse your face daily with a mild face wash. My favorite is the fragrance-free and inexpensive CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser;
- Exfoliate twice a week. Dead skin cells will clog the hair follicles and cause breakouts, so you must get rid of them. Since electric shavers don’t exfoliate your skin, it’s recommended to do it yourself in order to preserve a healthy skin;
- Use a hydrating, moisturizing balm after every shave. Yes, you still have to do it. You can check out a list of my current picks here.
If you have any serious skin conditions, make sure to check with your dermatologist before making any significant changes to your routine.
Final word on choosing the right electric 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 recommend 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 model that also meets your requirements and you know it 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 method of determining what’s the best electric shaver for your needs will streamline the process and make it less of a chore to decide what would really work great in your case.
If you found this post useful, consider subscribing to our newsletter as well. If you have any other questions, make sure to post them in the comments below.
694 thoughts on “The Best Electric Razors For Men (2023): A Definitive Guide”Leave a comment
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just curious if wd-40 would work?
BTW great overall review, I have pretty much always used a Panasonic, I have an ES7058 that currently does not hold a good charge so I am getting the ES8103S to replace, my other was an ES-LT41 which was a Vortex, never noticed it being more powerful.
Replacement of batteries would not only render difficult on either model but probably more expensive.
If you respond, could you outline the differences between ES7058 and ES8103S
Thank you for your comment, Steve.
I would advise against using WD-40 or other penetrating oils. They also shouldn’t come in contact with your skin.
I believe the ES7058 has a 10 000 CPM motor, while the newer ES-LT41 and ES8103S have 13 000 CPM units and curved outer foils. The difference between 10 000 and 13 000 CPM motors isn’t as noticeable as going from a 7 600 to a 10 000 CPM shaver, at least that was my experience. But nevertheless, it’s always preferable to have a more powerful shaver.
Found this very interesting, I have always used rotary (30 years) decided to go with the Braun 9 series. After a few weeks noticed all the loose debris that should collect in the head was going all over me. It went in for repair to come back good for a few weeks until same happened again. Got my money back now.
Was this just a bad egg or has this happened to anyone else
I am very curious about the defect and how they actually fixed it. Did they say anything with regards to this? Also, some hair clippings will always end up on your shirt or arms unless you’re very careful about this (regardless of the shaver). Rotary shavers do however seem to be better at collecting the debris in the hair chamber compared to foil shavers like the Series 9.
Thanks a lot for all the work that you do on this forum. Choosing a shaver may seem like a simple and a petty thing but for a man its a serious matter. I tip my hat to you from all the men!
Now, I am facing a dilemma and was wondering if you had an advice. A year ago I started using panasonic Arc 5 which I purchased after thoroughly reading your forums, my reason to choose arc5 was its ability to shave close and easy manual clean option as my work involves frequent travel and I can’t really keep the cleaning station with me. Now recently I had a bad case of acne which has made my skin very sensitive and Arc 5 is now giving me razor burns when used frequently, so I am planning to buy a Braun Series 9.
My dilemma is that Arc5 has been my first ever electric shaver and I really like its look and feel, so I don’t feel like selling it or getting rid of it while my wife won’t allow me to keep both as we only have so much space on our bathroom counter. I was thinking of keeping Arc5 for only when I travel and keep Braun 9 for regular use. Do you think that would make sense? Or does frequently switching between shavers cause more issues? How do you manage between so many shavers that you trial and test for this noble forum.
Also FYI, I shave dry and mostly use lectric preshave.
Many thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it.
I think getting a Series 9 does make sense in this case. I find it more suitable for shaving dry when dealing with (any) skin issues. Granted, the closeness of the Arc 5 will be better for most users, but I think the Series 9 is still easily good enough and considering how gentle it generally is, it’s a worthy compromise.
Switching between two electric shavers isn’t bad in and of itself unless one of them is causing you serious issues. It’s definitely not the same as switching between a manual razor and an electric shaver — that can be detrimental to your results. You could very well hold on to your Arc 5 since it’s still in good shape and only use it as a travel shaver. Also, while I generally recommend getting the Braun Series 9 with a cleaning center, you can certainly get a solo model as well. I like the practicality of the Braun stations+cartridges and the cheap cleaning solutions, but you can of course clean it manually with water and soap. If you won’t be using the station, I don’t think there’s any point in getting it.
If you have the chance, maybe you can try some other preshave lotions as well. The one from Lectric shave is a great option since it’s widely available and cheap, but at least for me, some other brands are better. I am referring to the ones from Speick and Tabac and while they cost more, the performance, texture and scent are superior.
Hope this helps.
I’d say this is normal for Braun shavers (or at least the ones with a powerful motor). frankly it’s one of the reasons, I ditched my trusty 10 years old 7 series for a rotary.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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?
Wahl Clipper Corporation and Skull Shaver are two manufacturers based in the USA. Unfortunately I cannot help you any further with other information regarding custom prototypes, but feel free to contact them about it.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!!
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.
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.
I’m not sure why the rotary vs foil is any type of debate; I’ve been using Series 9s and top tier Norelcos for years. Foils are closer vs Rotary shavers are for longer hair/more days between shaves. Currently, I use an Arc5 and an S9000 Prestige. The foil Arc 5 is used almost daily (head and face) for the closest shave. I use the rotary Norelco S9000 in rare evenings, if I want a stubble look by the following evening; or, if I go 3-4 days between shaving. The next item is comfort. All I can say towards comfort is compare any electric to a razor.
Thank you for your comment.
I totally agree and I tried my best not to turn it into a debate and just present the facts in a way that can be useful to someone trying to decide between a rotary and a foil shaver. Just like you said, it makes sense to simply use the one that will be more suitable in a specific situation.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
The price of the 9 Series cassettes are currently significantly cheaper…..$45 and on several vendors at less than $50…I just placed an order for a spare cassette for $45…free shipping and no tax…I don’t know how long it’ll last but for the price is reasonable. Anyway…just FYI…
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.
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.
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 !
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
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.
Again thanks for your excellent article and for clearing away my doubts
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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.
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.
What’s your opinion of the Norelco 9850 ? Costco sells this for 160. How does this compare to the norelco 8900 ? TIA
It’s at least as good — if you can get a great deal on the 9850, go for it.
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.
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.
I’ve been told the foil shavers are very loud vs. the rotary. Can you respond? Is there a quiet foil shaver? Thanks
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.
Thank you. I currently use a Norelco which in recent years IMO has become junk. Very bad quality and performance.
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.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I’m glad you found the information useful.
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.
Thank so much you for the kind words. I’m glad you found the information useful.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hiya; I need to replace an older 790cc and looked at the 740s. Will the old cleaning station work with the 740s?
Yes, it should work with your current cleaning station without any issues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Such an amazing post !! I am inspired by your work and got some great ideas. It really gives me information that I am looking for. Thanks and keep sharing 🙂
Thank you Gary, I really appreciate it.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
You are very welcome, Bruce. Thank you for the kind words and I hope you’ll enjoy using your new Arc 4.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
I have an old Philishave 6740 Coolskin which still works okay, but I can’t use it on the neck because of sensitive skin. I mostly shave using a Gillette Fusion razor, but getting a really close shave is so tedious and it’s not entirely skin irritation free either. Therefore I have started thinking about buying a new electric razor. What would you recommend for me? I don’t need a shaver with lots of bells and whistles, just something that is well built and does a good job, works both wet and dry, and is good for sensitive skin on the neck.
I would suggest a Braun Series 5 — you can go for a model without a cleaning station like the 5040s (wet & dry). For the price it’s a great shaver, it will definitely be an upgrade to your current electric shaver and the improvements in closeness and comfort will be significant.
Thank you for your recommendation. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but I will give it serious consideration. Perhaps I can find a good deal somewhere. Black Friday is only two months away.
You are welcome, Fred. There are less expensive options as well (like the Series 3), but in my opinion it’s well worth spending a bit more on a Series 5; it’s a superior shaver in every way. But as you said, maybe you can grab one on Black Friday, usually there are some great deals on electric shavers.
In the end I actually ordered a 9290cc. It was too expensive despite being on sale, but I’m hoping it will be the best choice for my sensitive skin. I’m growing my stubble now so that I can put it to test when I receive it tomorrow.
That’s great, really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.
I just tried my new Braun 9290cc and I’m extremely disappointed by its performance. I first tried shaving dry until it got very hot. Despite going over the same areas several times there were still a lot of uneven, uncut areas left, so I decided to foam up and try it wet. Guess what, I ended up using my Gillette to get my face shaved. What a horrible shaver. All it does is vibrate and make a lot of sound. Any cheap rotary shaver is better than this crap.
That is very surprising. Unless your unit is defective (which is highly unlikely, but still possible), I’d say that there must be a lot of room for improvement. I have two Series 9 and the performance has been stellar so far and I do have very difficult facial hair (thick and dense and lies completely flat on my neck). The shaving head never got hot despite very long shaving sessions and it is arguably the most efficient shaver I’ve used so far — and I have tried dozens. Since you’re coming from a rotary shaver, I suppose that this would be your first shave with a foil razor. Try using short, controlled strokes and always go against the grain.
For some men rotary razors just seem to work better, but even so, shaving with a Series 9 which is a very capable machine should be at least decent.
My first electric shaver was actually a Hitachi foil travel shaver with AA batteries. As far as I can remember, it performed much better than this Braun shaver. I haven’t used it for over 20 years, but I don’t remember having any problems shaving with it. It even handled week old beards without problem. I normally shave twice a week, but the Braun had trouble shaving a two day stubble, so it would require shaving every day.
At this point I would be tempted to think that you received a defective unit. Again, the Series 9 may not be for everyone, but you should at least be able to get a satisfactory shave. If an old battery powered Hitachi performs better, there’s clearly something wrong. Consider returning it and either ask for a replacement or even a refund.
I’m sorry, to compare it to a shaver I had not used for over 20 years was not fair. I just took it out of my closet to compare, and no it does not shave better than the Braun, at least not anymore. The blades in it have never been changed, but my facial hair may also be more coarse now than 20 years ago.
My disappointment with the Braun comes from the fact that it doesn’t shave as close as my Philishave, despite being new and five times more expensive. The positive thing with the Braun is that it doesn’t irritate my skin, but it seems to be at the expense of getting a close shave.
Unfortunately, the place I bought it from won’t accept returns of a used shaver. Returning it as faulty might be problematic as the shaver works, just not good enough to my liking. I read a review somewhere of someone saying that these shavers have a break-in period before starting to perform well. I am hoping that is the case.
Braun actually offers a 60-day money back guarantee, but I’m not sure if I’m going to use it. Although still far from perfect, the shaving result seems to have gotten better.
Thanks for the follow-up, that’s some good news. I’d say to continue using it during this 60-day period and then decide if you should keep it or get a refund.
Hi, I’m a first-time electric user. Ibought a Panasonic 65 and have not yet used. Do I need to clean the blades after each use to extend their life. The shaver instructions include cleaning instructions but a package insert suggests a faster cleaning instruction. Do they intend them to be used a different times: the rinse method each time and the booket insTRUCTION METHOD for periodic cleaning? As a novice buyer, I appreciate you plain talking reviews.
Thank you for your comment. Yes, you can just rinse the shaver with warm tap water after every shave and only use liquid soap for a more thorough cleaning (like once a week for example). I would however recommend cleaning it with soap after every shave if you use shaving cream. Don’t forget to lubricate the blades periodically, especially after using soap to clean your razor.
Best article I have read with respect to purchasing a shaver. The methodical, systematic approach to cutting through the hype surrounding electric shavers is a huge breath of fresh air.
For years I bought Norelco’s – – – and found their performance lacking to say the least. After reading this article, I bought a Panasonic Arc 5. Stellar performance on my face!
Might have overindulged as I got the one with the cleaning station. Growing lazy (chuckle) in my older years . . .
Thank you for taking the time to ‘pen’ this article, Ovidiu Nicolae. I wish you a long, healthy, happy life.
James, thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad you found the article useful and I think you made a fantastic choice with the Arc 5.
You certainly earned them. I have recently experimented with this shaver on my head and found that it does an excellent job there as well!
Best money I ever spent on a grooming appliance . . .
Your comments are thorough and helpful. I am 82 and have used electric razors since I started shaving around age 15. I have used Norelco, Braun, Remingtom, and Panasonic. My father got very close shaves with a Norelco, but I never could. In fact, until using a Panasonic wet/dry model, I never really had what could be considered a close shave.
Currently, I have an ES-LV 61 which has been pretty good. I cannot remember how old it is but it recently began to cease holding a charge as long. When it gets to 50% it goes to 0 in about 5 minutes. I am thinking of getting the ES-LV 65S you recommend. I gather the newer versions are not worth the significant price difference. I am curious about the replacement blades and foils being cheaper than those recommended for the 65. Do you know the WEP number of the cheaper replacements that fit and work just as well? Thanks.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. I think upgrading to the ES-LV65-S makes perfect sense, especially since you were satisfied with its predecessor, the ES-LV61.
Regarding the replacement foils and blades, the newer ones found on the latest Arc 5 models will indeed fit the ES-LV65-S perfectly. And if you can get them cheaper, that’s even better. The part numbers are as follows: WES9034P (found on the third generation Arc 5 revision A and B), WES9036 (found on the latest revision C and D Arc 5 models). The differences between them are minor, so just buy the ones you can find at a better price.
Hope this helps.
Is it true that foil shavers need to have their blades more frequently than rotary shavers? I have a Philips and haven’t changed the blades for years and still performs excellently.
That depends on many variables, Dimitrios. I’ve received emails and comments from foil shaver users that haven’t changed the blades in many years. How often you shave, how thick your beard is and how well you care for your shaver (cleaning, lubrication) will ultimately affect the life of the blades.
I would say though that it’s more likely to have to change the blades of a foil shaver more often. There are a few reasons for this, varying from the very way the cutting edge of the blades comes into contact with the foils and combs respectively, to the fact that the blades of a foil shaver will move at a much higher rate (at least 10 times faster) compared to a rotary shaver. During a 5 minute shave with a rotary razor, a blade will have performed significantly less cutting actions compared to the blades of a foil shaver. Also, the combs on rotary shavers are a lot thicker compared to a typical foil that actually gets deformed if you press too hard, increasing the friction between it and the blades, wearing them out faster.
Hope this makes sense.
very good list and practical advise!! i am planning to buy the first electric shaver for my son and this list helped me a lot to decide! thanks!
Thank you for your comment, Patricia. I hope your son will enjoy using his first electric shaver.
I happened upon my ideal solution. I use a Remington to knock off the long hair (I do not usually shave every day). The Remington is quick at cutting off most of my beard. Then I use a cheap Braun to finish up. The Braun used to take forever to give me a shave, but I love the closeness, compared to the Remington. I bought the Remington when I thought the Braun might be about shot. I ended up replacing the foil on the Braun, so now I use both!
I also use earplugs. Should have been doing this all along. The much noise right near one’s ears! Not good.
Thank you for taking the time to share this. Can you also mention the model names of your Remington and Braun shavers?
Great review. My problem is that I have a thin and long neck and I could never get a close shave with electric shavors (foil and rotatory) so I reverted to Gilette razors. The Braun 9 series is good for me? Does it get around neck contours?
Thank you for your comment, Ali. Both the Series 7 and 9 should be good options. Out of all foil shaver brands, I think Braun does it best when it comes to floating foils and flexible heads. Despite the fact that they’re nowhere near as complex as the latest Panasonic models, they work better for a couple of reasons.
First of all, the shaving heads are pretty slim compared to other shavers that have the same number of blades. Secondly, the cutting elements move effortlessly and have a wider range of motion, making them more suitable for shaving difficult surfaces.
You may want to consider the Series 7 as well since the shaving head is noticeably slimmer and more maneuverable.
Hope this helps.
I know this is pretty late but just found this site. Not sure what my issue is but I cannot find an electric shaver that is any good. I use to have an old Norelco rotary from probably the late 70’s early 80’s and you could trim your hedges with it, cut through anything fast, cleanly and close. Dropped it a few years back and it broke and have not been able to find anything that gives me a close, smooth shave. Tried some various braun in the past along with newer Norelo’s ( just got a 5675 as a gift, it misses about 1/4 of the wiskers) and with all, i need to pretty much reshave my face with a hand razor to get all the places that were missed. Any suggestions for a close shaving, powerhouse weed wacker of a shaver that won’t set me back another $200.
As far as rotary shavers go, the best I’ve tried so far is the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige (this is my review of it). It is however very expensive, so you could also consider a foil shaver. As mentioned in the article, Braun shavers are better for sensitive skin and can shave longer, flat hairs more effectively than other brands. If it fits within your budget, the Series 9 would be a good option.
Panasonic shavers provide the closest shave in my experience but work best on shorter hairs. Also, they can be a bit harsher and more aggressive than Braun. The Arc 5 ES-LV65-S would be the best pick with regards to price and performance.
Considering the pros and cons of each, you should get the one that seems to better fit your needs.
Excellent. Absolutely loved reading and very helpful at the same time 🙂
Thanks, Russel. Glad you found it useful.
Can you use an electric shaver on body hair(groin area, armpits arms, legs etc.)?
They’re definitely not ideal for this, but you could get decent results if the hair is really short. Most electric shavers will miss long, curly, fine hairs. A body groomer would be a much better choice.
Thank you for the time you put into this review! I just wanted to share this info/tip with you and the other readers.
I have an older Braun Series 5 (Model number 8985) that I have had for many years. It came with a cleaning station that you have to buy cartridge/container of cleaning solution for. I got tired of paying for the expensive solution which it seemed to go through to rapidly. Then I discovered that a product sold in stores as a skin care astringent has almost identical contents/ingredients.
The name brand product is SeaBreeze and there are also store brands which are identical sold by Walgreens and others. One bottle cost much less than a single Braun refill, and is enough to refill the empty Braun cartridge twice. I just rinse the empty plastic Braun cleaning cartridge with soft soap and warm water to remove all of the debris from the cleanings, let it dry over night, and then refill it with the Walgreens brand of the astringent. It even looks and smells almost identical to the original cleaning solution.
Hope this info helps someone.
Thank you for the tip, Derek. I really appreciate you taking the time to share that with us. I totally agree, there are third-party options that are a lot more cost-effective than Braun’s original refills.
Your reply to Derek,
“Thank you for the tip, Derek. I really appreciate you taking the time to share that with us. I totally agree, there are third-party options that are a lot more cost-effective than Braun’s original refills.”
But I can’t see where is Derek’s tip?
Derek’s comment and recommendation (SeaBreeze) are right above, accessible also at this link. I double-checked and it does show up.
Trying to buy my fiance a new electric razor for his birthday. His current razor is about 8? years old and he definitely needs an upgrade. Currently he uses a rotary Norelco “Aquatec”. There is no model number on the base, but it looks similar to the Norelco 3100.
My first question is trying to determine if I should get him a rotary or foil shaver. Yes, he uses a rotary now, but I’m guessing it’s just because that’s what his parents bought him. He usually goes a couple weeks between shaves and uses the attached trimmer first. He could do with a closer shave for sure, but perhaps just an upgraded 8900 Norelco would make a difference. I also have my eye on the Braun 5190cc though, and the Braun 9700cc is currently 40% off, so that could be a steal.
As for upkeep, I need something very low maintenance. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t bought replacement blades in years, if ever, so the simpler the better.
Any and all thoughts would be appreciated!
Thank you for your comment. First of all, regardless of the shaver type and its features, shaving every two weeks will still require trimming the beard beforehand, even when using a high-end model. In this case, I think the trimmer attachment of the Norelco shavers will be better suited for the job than the sliding trimmers found on Braun shavers.
This would actually be the main reason for sticking to a rotary razor. The trimmers on Braun shavers are pretty limited in what you can do with them and are really meant for minor touchups. If it weren’t for this issue, a Braun Series 5, 7 or 9 (depending on your budget) will likely provide a better shaving experience with regards to closeness and comfort. If I personally were to shave every two weeks, I would rather get a regular face trimmer and follow up with foil shaver. But that’s just my personal preference and this setup does imply the use of two different products.
As for replacement parts, rotary blades do seem to last longer, so that’s another thing to keep in mind. But then again, shaving twice a month is a lot less than the average and any blades should last for years before needing to be replaced.
Hope this helps.
Ovidiu- Wow… to find such a complete description of these products in one place is nothing short of amazing. Thank you. I have read many of your evaluations on the various Braun models and would appreciate your opinion. For many many years, I have used a blade to shave with and about a year ago found my old Braun 5 563 in a box, pulled it out for nostalgia reasons and began to shave with it. Initially it was only periodic, using the blade cartridge style (Harry’s) most of the time. However, I have transitioned to using the Braun full time now, but must wonder what the advances have been. I really don’t have many issues with the unit, but wonder if I am missing something by not upgrading to a model not 35 years old. I am apprehensive of your description of the 5090cc in that it excessively vibrates and is loud, though I do like its aesthetics. My problem is that I have nothing to compare since this is the only electric shaver I have ever had. So what is excessive? What is loud? I am concerned about the “locking mechanism” issue of the Seven Series, and the Nine Series looks like a monster of a head compared to my single foil Braun. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it.
Regarding the Series 5, it does vibrate more during use compared to other modern foil shavers from Braun and Panasonic. But unless someone is particularly sensitive to such an issue, I clearly don’t see it as a problem or deal breaker. I have been using electric shavers for almost 20 years and the improvements have been noticeable, especially with regards to comfort and the ability to shave longer facial hair. I think the Series 5 will be a solid upgrade from your current shaver.
The Series 7 is a bit more refined and comfortable compared to the S5, but again, nothing dramatically better. As for the locking mechanism, I never felt the need to use it since the 3 blade head is very manageable as it is. I think either will be a great option. The Series 7 is more expensive and the replacement cassettes are also pricier.
Hope this helps.
I’m surprised how little attention has been paid to the fact that some shavers don’t work when plugged in. The battery will die anyway in ~5 yrs (showing reduced power after ~3 yrs), and the models that work cordless only will become useless. Other models can be still be used as plugged in for the next 15 yrs. The cord doesn’t disturb me a lot, as in 99% of cases I use the shaver in a place where there’s AC power available. Yes, cordless gives more freedom but I don’t want to buy a new shaver every 5 years.
That is correct, most of today’s shavers will not work when plugged in — only a handful of older, dry only models and most of them are being phased out. The battery should last for quite a few good years and in the case of the more popular shaver models, it can be bought separately and replaced by the user. However, the waterproofing of the shaver will most likely be compromised.
Thanks for this in-depth and very informative article. After decades of buying “whatever was available when I needed it” and then switching to a manual razor when the machine broke, I have made a more scientific approach this time.
I am looking for a machine at the mid-range price class, and your site is the only one I found so far that actually gives a reliable test and description of the models.
Thanks also for the other articles that dive into the 5 and 7 series.
So now I am down to deciding if I need a wet or dry machine. Based on what is available in the market here (Norway) and what is available in local stores, I am down to a choice between Braun Series 7 7790cc and Series 5 5197cc, where the 7-series is actually a bit cheaper than the 5-series.
The 5197cc claims (in the specification on the shop’s website) to have an integrated lotion applicator, but I can’t find any info about that on any other source, including Braun.
Do you have any idea about that functionality?
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
Regarding the 5197cc, I am inclined to think that it was a mistranslation of some German copy or simply an error. There is definitely no such applicator on the 5197cc or on any other Series 5 model. I would personally go with the Series 7, it’s just a bit smoother and more enjoyable to use. And while I am a proponent of wet shaving, Braun razors perform great when used dry, particularly the Series 7 and 9. And since you can get the Series 7 for less money, that would be my pick.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the clarification. I suspected the possibility for an error in the specs.
Knowing myself, I suspect that I probably will do 95% of the shaving dry even if the razor has wet capability, so I will follow your advice and go for the 7790cc. It also has the hard pouch which I think is better for weekend travels and short business trips where the machine can survive without recharging.
Thanks again for a great site.
There’s a lot of info here. Can you help me by making a recommendation? I’ve been using a Braun Series 565cc for years and think it may be time to replace it. Not sure what to get.
– My beard grows fast. I could easily shave 7 days a week but I hate shaving so most weeks I only shave 5 days if I can help it;
– I shave dry; have never tried using pre-shave lotion;
– a close shave in minimal time is higher priority to me than comfort (within reason);
– I wouldnt say I have particularly sensitive skin;
– I’d say my hair grows in coarse;
– My perception of Norelco’s is that their batteries aren’t as good as Braun’s. I’ve never used/owned a Panasonic;
– cleaning station is a plus;
– I’m not rich, but in this case, budget is not important. My frustration over spending 30 minutes on Mondays to shave 2+ days of growth means I dont care what it costs if it works great. I’ll use it 5 days a week for years so whether its $100 or $300 doesnt matter a whole lot in the big picture if it makes my life better each day.
Thanks in advance if you’re willing to steer me in the right direction.
In your case I’d say the Panasonic ES-LV65-S would be a really good option. There’s also a variation that comes with a cleaning station (ES-LV95-S), so you can get that one instead if you want the station. Panasonic shavers work really well on short, coarse beards and they also shave closer compared to similarly priced Braun or Norelco razors. The Arc 5 has 5 blades and the head is noticeably larger than the one on your current shaver, so you may need some time to get used to it if you decide to get it. But I do think it is one of the best options for what you need.
Hope this helps.
@Michael S. Thank you very much for your very, very very, very diligent and also very, very very 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.” This said, thank you again very, very much for your response!
Thank you for your comment, James. That’s some great insight and yet another confirmation that the rotary vs foil reasoning is not by any means set in stone.
Thanks for a comprehensive guide to electric shavers, a lot of useful information!
I shave mostly dry, every two days. and am in need of a new shaver. I’m deciding between two “mid-range” models which are priced similarly at the moment: Philips Series 5000 s5140/26 or the Braun Series 5 5195cc. Both come with cleaning station and travel case. I have previously used both Philips (although a long time ago) and more recently Braun. The Philips s5140/26 is a “dry only” shaver apparently whereas the Braun is both wet and dry, but I mostly shave dry anyway.
Grateful if you/anyone has any experience with these two shavers and could give me your thoughts and opinion as to which one to get (priced almost identically). Thank you.
The Philips shaver seems to be a bit less available, some product info:
Thank you for your comment.
Between those two models, I think the Braun Series 5 would be the better pick for most users. I haven’t shaved with that particular Philips model (S5140), but have used other similar shavers in the Series 5000 that even share the same cutters (SH50). The Series 5 was (at least in my case) better: more comfortable, closer shaves and easier to use. I am a bit biased toward foil shavers and using rotary razors never got me a better shave compared to a decent foil shaver. With Braun you also have quite a few alternatives for cheap third-party cleaning solutions and the station is more practical (you can simply remove the cartridge, but the cap back on and store it).
So my pick would be the Series 5.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for your thoughts Ovidiu, much appreciated. This is such a good website – well done!
That’s very kind, Eric, thank you! Glad I could help.
I read your review of the Panasonic ES-LV65-S and thought it might be just the thing for me. I looked up the replacement foil and blade price on Amazon and they’re nearly half the price of the razor. On top of that, I saw a lot, lot, lot of comments on the replacement blades that they either don’t cut any better than the now dull original blades or that they don’t last more than a few months before they get dull. It sounds like almost like it would be best to just replace the whole razor every two years rather than pay $40-$50 for replacement blades that are sub-par.
Replacement foil and blades for high-end shavers are usually expensive (Panasonic parts in particular). The reviews are rarely positive, some of the reasons being the price and the sub-par performance of some of them (some parts may not be original). Also, since Panasonic uses separate inner blades and outer foils, many users just replace one of them, usually the blades, which is a really bad idea in my opinion as the performance and the longevity of the parts will suffer and it may seem like the blades/foil were performing badly from the start.
However, I do agree that in certain situations (like the foil & blades set being really expensive and a new shaver available at a discount) it would make more sense to just buy a new shaver.
Thanks for the great info. I recently bought a Braun Series 9 shaver which does a good job, generally. Previously I owned a Braun Series 7 which I loved. I have one issue with the Series 9 shaver which troubles me….it is impossible to shave close under the nostrils. The result is a close shave elsewhere and longer stubble in this area. Do you have any advice for me?
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.
Getting a really close shave under the nostrils is a tricky one for most electric shavers, especially under certain circumstances. Apart from the physical constraints of shaving a tight spot, some men (myself included) also have very dense, thick stubble in that area — definitely thicker and coarser than on the cheeks for example. And on top of that, part of the hair may actually grow at an angle until it pops out of the skin, so even if it’s cut at skin level, you can still see it through the very thin skin, further giving the impression that you didn’t shave close enough.
The first step is to make sure that the foil of your shaver actually comes in contact optimally with the skin right in front of your nostrils. From your comment I understand that this was a non-issue with the Series 7. I can only attribute this to the slimmer shaving head and the more compact plastic frame around the foils. To try to work around the larger Series 9 head, try to lock it in the top part position. This will make the top foil protrude a bit more than the rest, allowing you to shove it right below the nose. You can use your tongue to apply counterpressure from the inside and keeping the skin taut. This can help with getting a closer shave.
One quick way of improving the closeness is to use some pre-shave lotion just on that area. I recommend Freelette and Speick, these brands work the best out of everything I’ve tried so far. I highly recommend you to give them a try, you’ll likely see an improvement.
And finally, the messier and more time-consuming option would be to use a bit of shaving cream (again, just on that area). You can do it right after you completed your dry shave just to get a closer shave below the nostrils. Put a dab of shaving cream between your wet palms, quickly rub them together and apply the resulted watery paste, making sure to massage it into the stubble. Give it a couple of minutes to act (add a bit more water if it’s too dry), then proceed with shaving. Nivea and Proraso are two excellent, inexpensive creams that work great in this case.
I know this last part doesn’t sound too appealing and I only do it if I really need a very close shave for something like an event, otherwise I simply reach out for a pre-shave (it’s good enough). But using shaving cream is the most effective method in case a pre-shave still doesn’t help.
This was a long, but incredibly informative, read…thank you for putting this review into laymen terms for virtually anyone to understand!
Many of the other reviews of electric shavers are just as you mentioned…biased individuals who rate/review based on products theyve never used before! I’m in the market for a new electric shaver! I have used both foil and rotary in the past and when they broke, I opted to go manual razor from one of those subscription-based companies. Mainly because I’ve gone bald (it started years ago but only last 6-7 years is it to the point where my wife shaves it short and I “try” to wet shave it bald when I have time or remember).
Which brings me to my question. Based on total cost of razor itself, replacement blades, detergent (for clean stations) and overall longevity of said razor, blades, etc…it would appear the Braun Series 7 790cc (with older cleaning station) is going to be the most affordable & longest lasting option on the list! The 5190cc series comes close, but I worry it may ultimately need replacing sooner as the reivews I’ve read outside of hear show many 790cc customers are still using the same razor after 7-9 years without issue!
However, I’d like to be able to wet of dry shave my head on an every 2-3 day schedule, just like my current face shaving schedule. Would one or both of the Braun models above work better or worse for shaving stubble from a bald head as well as the face?
Thank you for your kind comment, I truly appreciate it. Both of the Braun models you mentioned should work fine for shaving your head as well. Longevity and reliability are tricky to rate, but as you mentioned the Series 7 is a tried and tested option. The 790cc variation with the older cleaning station is getting more difficult to find, but the newer ones like the wet & dry 7865cc that lack the inductive drying system shouldn’t be overlooked either. I honestly don’t miss that feature, so don’t stress too much about it. The Series 7 shavers are basically the same in terms of build quality and performance and should last for years with proper care.
Between the Series 7 and 5, I prefer the former — it is a bit smoother, faster, has a slightly slimmer foil frame and I just enjoy shaving with it more.
Hope this helps.
Hi. I have been using a Norelco rotary razor for 14 years ( I am 76) and decided to get a new razor. I read your article on foil vs rotary razors and the 10 best and decided to go with th Panasonic Arc 5, # 2 on your list. I used to shave dry and after reading your various articles I now use a preshave soap and an aftershave balm. I have to say that the Panasonic shaver with the
Pre and After shave routine I get a much closer shave even tho I shave every 2-3 days and my face seems so much softer. Thank you so much for your information, suggestions and help.
Thank you for taking the time to share this, I really appreciate it. That’s great, I’m glad you found the information useful in choosing (and using) the Arc 5. It really is an excellent and underrated shaver.
I have an older Norelco AT 880 with SH50 heads, and a new 5940 with SH50 heads. While the 5940 is more comfortable on my face, the AT880 gives a noticeably closer shave. Why is that the case??
New shaving heads will provide a closer shave — the blades sit flush to the combs and can actually touch them, meaning there’s almost no gap between the blades and the combs, hence the closer shave. As for the comfort, rotary shavers may sometimes require some time until they can perform optimally. We can of course factor in some quality control issues or maybe a different technological process in manufacturing the parts (for example, to minimize the costs), but that is less likely.
Hope this helps.
Both my AT880 and my new 5940 have the same heads (the SH50), so the head-type should not be a factor in the comparison. It seems to me the AT880 has a more powerful motor than the 5940. Could that be the reason the AT880 shaves noticeably closer, but is less comfortable? Do the new heads on my 5940 need a “break-in” period? Thanks, Robert
A more powerful motor fitted to the AT880 could translate into a closer (and more aggressive shave). Normally, there’s no need for a break-in period with rotary shavers unless of course the cutters don’t sit perfectly flush against the combs, which could either be QA related (very unlikely) or as a result of mixing the blades and combs. When that happens it usually takes a couple of weeks before they work properly again.
Hi. I’m looking for a rotary shaver that can be used to shave with a cord. I saw the Philips Norelco 2100, but the description on the page says “Able to be used while corded and cordless” in one place and “Cordless operation only” on the same page a little bit bellow. So now I don’t know what is what. Norelco website was of no help. Do you know if this shaver can be used with a cord or can you recommend others that can be used with a cord under $100?
The Norelco 2100 cannot be used with the cord plugged in, despite being a dry only shaver. Check out the Norelco 3100 (S3310/81), that one will work when connected to a power socket and it has a reasonable price as well.
I appreciate the quick response. Is Norelco 3100 (S3310/81) the only shaver that can be used while plugged in? I looked at other more expensive models, but none say that they can be used corded.
You are welcome, Alex. Unfortunately your options are very limited, pretty much all current Philips Norelco shavers are wet/dry models and can only be used cordless. The 3100 is the only current model that I know of, there were a few others in the past, but have been discontinued. The more expensive models, that are actually better than the 3100, will only work cordless as far as I know.
I was afraid that there wouldn’t be too many choices. I found another shaver that may work: Remington R5100 (PR1362). What do you think about it? Do you know how it compares to Norelco?
I didn’t try that particular model but have used other rotary Remington shavers and all of them have performed poorly. That’s why I left Remington completely out of this list. Unfortunately I can’t say anything about how the R5100 compares to the Norelco 3100 since I haven’t yet used the former. I do hope to review it in the near future as it looks a bit more promising.
Unfortunately I need to purchase the shaver very soon, probably before you have a chance to review the Remington. I’ve seen some good reviews for it but I don’t know if I want to take a chance on it since this purchase is not for me. I feel like Norelco 3100 is a safer choice. I greatly appreciate all the the help and I’ll keep checking for your Remington review.
Personally, I shave with a Panasonic ES8224 and I feel like I’ll need a replacement soon. Should I stick with Panasonic or try Braun?
The ES8224 is a decent entry-level shaver, very similar performance-wise to the ES-LT41-K in this article. You didn’t mention the budget for your next shaver and it would have been helpful in assessing the options. But a mid-range, reasonably priced shaver would be the Panasonic ES-LF51-A — really good performance, very close shaves, fast and efficient, particularly on short, dense stubble. As for Braun, in roughly the same price range there’s the Series 5 (no cleaning station) which is again a really good shaver, very comfortable and better than the Panasonic on longer, flat hairs. Choosing between them really depends on what you’re interested the most: closeness (Panasonic) or comfort and shaving less often (Braun).
I just wanted to thank you for your excellent, comprehensive reviews. I have mostly used Brauns through the years but have been less enthused about them for awhile, maybe because I wasn’t buying the top-of-the-line models. But I didn’t need the bells and whistles and was not in a position to spend the money anyway. Last year I did a lot of online research and bought a shaver I shall not name that was too big and too loud but worked well enough for a brief time, but the foil and cutters needed replacing every couple of months.
So recently I started another search and stumbled across your highly informative site, which resulted in my purchasing a Panasonic ES8103S, which is the best shaver I have ever owned. It remains to be seen how often the foil and cutters need to be replaced, but the shave is excellent. And I owe it to you.
I made sure to click through from your site in hopes of helping in some small way. Thank you so much for sharing such helpful information!
Steve, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m really glad you found the information useful and you finally got the right shaver.
Looking forward to reading your newsletter
Thank you for subscribing, Marty. Much appreciated.
How does the ES-LV65 Panasonic compare with newer models of Panasonic arc 5? I am thinking in terms of perfomance for daily use.
They are quite similar, actually. As I mentioned in the article, the newer models represent an incremental improvement in performance, the main differences being a revised outer foil and of course a new design of the shaver, with some of the models using premium materials like brushed aluminum. The new foil is a bit more comfortable in my experience, but if you don’t have sensitive skin you’ll be perfectly fine with the ES-LV65-S. It works particularly well when used daily.
Finally, the new foil of the latest Arc 5 models will actually fit the ES-LV65-S. I wrote a very detailed guide on that topic here.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for that info about matching pairs. I don’t think it’s mentioned in manuals, and it’s the reason why my Philips rotaries have always turned louder and lost their cutting power.
I even recall the slight smell of burning metal when that happens.
You are very welcome, glad you found the information useful. At least with the current Philips models, it is casually mentioned in the user manuals, but without much emphasis on that aspect.
Hi I been looking a shaver that I can uses ever day I shaver my head and face with right now am useing the skull shaver but to be honest it a bit of a joke as they try to say it great for shaving your head and face not ture it broke after a month and it just not very good so I would like to know which one is the best for shaving my head and face every day dont matter about price I just want a great shaver I can be happy with that does a great job ever day
You’re actually not the first person experiencing reliability issues with the Skull Shaver. I’ve received many similar reports and the problem is apparently quite frequent. While I don’t personally shave my head, you could theoretically use any decent electric razor to shave your head as well. If budget is not an issue, check out the Braun Series 9 and the Panasonic Arc 5. Choosing between these two should come down to your personal needs, you can see in the article that I’ve outlined the pros and cons of both so you can decide which one would be a better fit for you.
Thank you Ovidiu for the great amount of time and effort you have invested in the reviews. I have bought an ES-LV65-S, and it does pretty well the job of clean and close shaving, especially when I shave every other day, or the third morning the latest.
It does not deal well with a 3 or more days stub. I’d like to test a rotary shaver for that purpose. Do you have a recommendation for rotary shavers based on your current experience?
Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated.
Out of all the rotary shavers I’ve tried, the Philips S9000 Prestige is the best out there right now. It works really well with longer beards too. But as all rotary shavers, it does come with some inherent downsides (it doesn’t shave as close as your current Panasonic and at least in my case, it’s not as comfortable either). If I were to shave less often, I would choose a Series 9 or even 7 any day. But that’s just me, I simply don’t get along with rotary shavers and I do think a foil razor would be the safer choice for most users.
I reviewed the Prestige in great detail here if you want to check it out.
Which electric shaver would you recommend shaving black men bald head.
From what I understand from barbers actually using it in this manners, the Braun Series 9 works really well. I don’t personally shave my head so I cannot provide more details, unfortunately.
Best article on electric razors I have ever read. Thanks for your time, honesty and info.
Thank you for your kind comment, much appreciated. Glad you found the information useful.
Even after a couple reads I’m still a bit confused so I’ll provide the following;
I am nearing 60 and have blade shaved my entire shaving life. My beard has changed to partial gray, with course and fine hair. The fine white hairs lay down and are difficult to shave. My skin has become (don’t get old) very sensitive and stays in a constant state of angry even after I am very cautious with both soap and razor. I have recently tried an old electric that was given to me to test and found that when shaving dry, it did a nice job but took some time, had to shave in many directions and was left with a little burn. I then follow this up with trimming the goatee in the shower with a razor. Even using an old electric the face pain is far less so I think its time to buy. Your recommendation would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
In this situation, I’d recommend one of Braun’s foil shavers. They’re very gentle and forgiving, which is particularly important in the case of sensitive skin that has lost some elasticity. Compared to the other brands, Braun electric razors are in my experience better at coping with different facial hair, including those flat-lying whiskers.
As for which model to choose, that really depends on your budget. The cheapest, decent Braun shaver would be the Series 3 ProSkin, however, I would recommend spending a bit more on a Series 5 as the performance difference between them is noticeable. You can opt for an s (solo) model that doesn’t include a cleaning station like the 5040s or 5030s, those are usually the best in terms of value for money. If it fits within your budget, you can check out the 5190cc recommended above. The Series 7 is marginally better than the 5 (a bit more comfortable and faster), however the difference is not by any means huge.
Hope this helps.
I appreciate your thorough and well written reviews.
I just read a negative Amazon review of the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV-65s.
The reviewer stated that after his shaver failed within the 2 year warranty period, Panasonic wrote to him that since the shaver was obsolete, the warranty did not apply.
There is a comment from Panasonic below the review that does not deny the reviewer’s statement.
I assume that you have been unaware of this.
Thank you for your comment.
I haven’t read that particular review and I am a bit surprised since the ES-LV65-S doesn’t appear to be discontinued. Obsolete is a very vague term. Granted, there have been newer Arc 5 models launched in recent years (in 2019 as well), but again, the ES-LV65-S/ES-LV95-S still appear to be in production and are widely available.
Panasonic’s answer to this user’s issue is a bit disappointing, but there have been customer support problems with all shaver brands, so I would still consider the ES-LV65-S if it seems like a suitable shaver.
XThis is a helpful essay, especially since the manufacturers themselves present a lot more puffery than information about their products. Curious whether you got a chance to try Wahl shavers yet. I was surprised to find I liked the closeness & ease of use of the Wahl Lifeproof better than my old (well maintained) Braun Syncro, and wondered how thenewer Brauns would compare. Specifically, though the hoils on these shavers are about the same size, the Wahl cutting block is longer, and I do notice that Wahl shaves well along the full length of the foul, but the Braun only shaves well in the middle. The new Brauns use self-contained cassettes, and short of buying one and smashing it, how do we know how long the cutting block is, or infer how much of the foil will actually shave and not just get in the way? Any insight here?
Thank you for your comment.
I haven’t tried Wahl shavers yet, but I will, hopefully soon enough. They are a bit difficult to get here in Europe compared to other brands, even though their hair clippers are quite popular.
As for Braun’s cassettes, I also prefer having the blades separate from the foils, especially for the ease of cleaning, lubrication and even for assessing the wear or damage. With most foil shavers, the middle part of the foil is where the cutting action is most effective as the blades are basically pressed against the foil, while the gap increases toward the extremities.
Mr. Nicolaie watch lubricant you recommend for Braun 9 series shaver.
Spray or oil
Both options will work well. If you go for the oil, make sure it’s a light machine oil or clipper oil. Braun or Panasonic branded shaver oils will also be suitable. As for spray lubricants, I prefer the one from Remington called Shaver Saver, it seems to work the best out of everything I’ve tried so far.
Hello! A very informative and helpful guide. And I have a few questions:
1. This is my first time buying a foil shaver and I was wondering which one do you think I should buy? I have a very limited budget (US$150.00 dollars is my top), very sensitive skin, medium textured facial hair, I don’t like shaving every other day (I currently do it 3-4 days because of how sensitive my skin is).
2. What kind of pre-shave, shaving cream and after-shave do you recommend? I was looking at the proraso sensitive skin line because of the good reviews and I want your opinion on it.
Lastly, Thank you so much for your help, have a great day!
Many thanks for your comment. Regarding the questions:
1. The Braun Series 7 is usually my default recommendation in these situations. It’s a very gentle and comfortable shaver, so a really good choice for sensitive skin and it’s also quite good with longer facial hair. You shouldn’t have any problems shaving a 3 and even 4 days beard. Considerinering your budget, you should be able to get a solo model (no cleaning station) like the 7893s or maybe even a cc model like the 790cc if you can get a discount. The next best thing would be the Series 5. However, I would recommend getting the Series 7 as it’s just a bit more comfortable and enjoyable to use.
2. The best pre-electric shave lotions I’ve used so far are from Speick and Blue Stratos. In Europe they’re fairly easy to buy online, but not so much in the USA. Alternatively, you could get the highly popular Lectric Shave and Lab Series, but I don’t particularly like them as they have a very oily texture and don’t work quite as well as the aforementioned products.
As for shaving creams, you can confidently get any of the following: Nivea, Speick, Proraso or Cremo. They are widely available (again, except for Speick), they’re reasonably priced and work great. My aftershave of choice is Truefitt&Hill Authentic No 10, but it is pricey and sometimes hard to get. The Proraso Sensitive aftershave is another excellent option that you should be able to buy.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for your answer! I really appreciate it.
I’ll get the 7893s model since where I live, we don’t really get any Braun products. So the less the better.
Anyways, I have another question. What should I get for replacement parts? The foils alone? or the cassette?
You are welcome, Angel. All Series 7 models use the same replacement head, precisely the 70s (silver) or 70b (black) cassettes. You cannot buy the foils or blades separately (as you can for example in the case of Panasonic shavers).
Hi, I’m looking at a Braun series 7 (UK), I can see 7898cc for £135 or 7842s for £130 right now.
The thing is, I don’t really want to have to pay for cleaning solution etc. in the future; so, given that, my questions are:
– You say that it’s difficult to clean Braun shavers manually – but is it possible to do so to a reasonable standard, without using the cleaning stand? Would it be worth buying the version with the stand anyway?
– Can you charge the shaver directly from a cable, without using the stand, if you buy the CC model?
– Are there better UK variants of the series 7 out there that I should consider?
– Also, I’ll be moving from a rotary shaver to a foil if I buy this. Do you have any advice for getting used to the new style of shaving?
Thank you for your comment. Regarding your questions:
1) Absolutely, you can clean the Series 7 manually to a reasonable standard, especially if you use some liquid soap and warm tap water (at least every once in a while). The cleaning station is very practical for a thorough cleaning (again, you don’t have to use it after every shave) and there are cheap third-party cleaning solutions available. And since the cc models usually cost just a bit more than the standard solo versions, I usually recommend getting the cc variation.
2) Certainly, you can charge a cc shaver directly with the supplied cord.
3) Only if you can find one that costs less; the performance, build quality and so on will be the same.
4) The technique required is different, but in my opinion foil shavers have a less steep learning curve and you’ll be getting a hang of it pretty quickly. I actually wrote a detailed guide that addresses precisely this — shaving with an electric razor (rotary and foil) for the first time. I think you may find some useful information there.
I need to replace my trusty old Panasonic ES 8095, which frankly was perfect for me but is finally on its last legs and is no longer made. Most important to me is an ergonomic issue you don’t seem to address in your reviews/recommendations – the need for a razor with a small, compact stand to hold the razor vertically when charging and not otherwise in use (to occupy minimal counter space I must share with my wife) – and small and compact enough to easily pack and “take with” for charging when traveling. “Cleaning Stations” do hold razors vertically, but they take up far too much counter space (for an automatic liquid cleaning function I don’t need or want) and are much too big & bulky for efficiently “taking with” for charging when travelling. The Panasonic ES 8095 was perfect, with its tiny, folding induction charging stand that holds the razor upright and packs away easily for travel. Unfortunately, it seems like the current crop of razors either have no charging stand at all and have to be left to lie plugged in horizontally on the counter, taking up maximum not minimum counter space – or have a large bulky “cleaning station” not suitable for either minimal use of limited counter space – or for efficient packing and “taking with” for charging when traveling. Do you have a recommendation for a razor with a small vertical charging stand that holds the razor vertically, takes up minimal counter space, and is easily and efficiently packed for travel? Thanks.
Thank you for your comment.
Your requirements with regards to the charging stand are very specific and unfortunately the options are limited. Your ES8095 is part of a discontinued series that included other similar models (like the ES8092, ES8094 or ES8096) and they all used the same induction charging stand. Nowadays there are only a few models from Braun and Panasonic that come with a compact charging stand that can hold the shaver upright when charging (actually Remington has some as well, but I do not recommend them). Unfortunately none of them are inductive chargers and they basically use the shaver’s charging port.
Since you were satisfied with your Panasonic, I think you should stick to this brand and check out the Arc 3 models that come with a stand: ES-LT5N or ES-LT6N (depending on where it’s being sold). Do keep in mind that despite still having 3 blades, the shaving head of these newer models is larger than the one of your shaver.
Hope this helps.
Hi Ovidiu. Thank you for your very fast reply! Unfortunately, it seems the Panasonic ES-LT5N is no longer available and the ES-LT6N seems to only be available in the UK (I’m in the US). Additionally, the the current crop of Panasonic’s shavers which are available here in the US either have no simple vertical charging stand at all or have a bulky “Cleaning Station” which renders them too big for our counter space (attributable to their having proprietary liquid cartridge cleaning/drying features which I neither need nor want) and which also renders them impractical/unsuitable for travel use. So I’m afraid as much as I wanted to stick with Panasonic, they eliminated themselves from consideration by virtue of their recent unacceptable charging/storage ergonomic design decisions. Luckily, I did find the Braun 3080S, which does have a simple very small vertical charging stand (with a physical plug-in rather than an induction connection to the shaver, but that’s not a material difference to me) . The Braun is probably a small step down from my old Panasonic ES8095 in terms of performance, but frankly it is close-enough for me, considering that the charging/storage ergonomics of all the other alternatives made them non-starters. I purchased the Braun this morning locally for an extremely good price and gave it its first use after charging it up. With its extremely compact vertical stand, it actually has an even smaller counter space footprint that my old Panasonic – which is a definite plus from the “spousal acceptance factor”. The Braun is noticeably noisier than my old Panasonic, but not really objectionally so. Though I probably can’t tell too much from a first shave, it really didn’t seem noticeably different from my old Panasonic when it was new, in terms of closeness and comfort of the shave. Strangely the Braun didn’t come with a protective plastic cap to cover the head assembly when not in use, but I was able to order one online for a very nominal amount. All-in-all, assuming it proves to be reliable – and given that there really seems to be no alternative, given my personal storage/charging ergonomic requirements – I’m happy to have found the Braun 8030s and think it will likely serve me well. Thanks again.
Thank you for the follow-up, glad you manage to find a shaver that suits your needs. The Series 3 from Braun is a reliable and reasonably priced line of electric shavers, so I think you’ll be happy with your 3080s. Braun has this strange habit of including a plastic cap with only a few of their models. Also, the replacement shaving head for the 3080s is cheaper than the blades + foil combo for the Arc 3, so that’s a plus.
Has the performance of the Series 7’s been improved over time? I have a pretty old series 7 and I’ve never been impressed with it, even when new. I end up having to go over the same areas several times to get a clean shave.
Prior to the series 7 I had a Brawn Syncro 7500 series shaver and it was significantly better than the 7 for me. In fact even after getting the Series 7 I kept using the Syncro until it finally died.
I’d say that the improvements have been incremental over the years. If you haven’t been satisfied with one of the first-generation Series 7, in my opinion a new one will not yield significantly better results.
Most of the times, the Series 7 is a pretty safe choice. While it won’t wow you with the closeness, it is a great all-rounder and will be a suitable choice in most cases.
I have been using a Braun Series 5 for the last 10 years and was looking for a replacement. My initial intention was to get a Series 9 but I held off until I did some research. I looked at various reviews and found yours to be the most impartial and you also offer advice on how to choose a shaver which not many reviewers do. Although my skin is not particularly tough I have never found any electric shaver uncomfortable having tried Braun, Panasonic and Philips, so my first priority is closeness. As mentioned elsewhere in this column Philips seem to have lost their way so I discounted them straight away. This left Braun and Panasonic so I read as many user reviews as I could which, if I wanted the best, narrowed it down to the Braun Series 9 or the Panasonic Arc 5. As I mentioned previously my priority is closeness so I opted for the ES-LV65. It took a couple of days to get used to it but once I did I can honestly say it gives me the closest shave I have ever had from an electric shaver. I also agree with your preference of using a suitable cream or something similar. Thank you for providing all that useful information.
Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I’m glad you found the post useful and that the ES-LV65-S turned out to be the right choice. It’s still a fantastic shaver despite its age, particularly for users concerned with getting a very close shave.
I recently had my barber buzz cut the top of my skull. I am balding and what hair I do have on the top of my skull is thin, white and wispy. I have read your reviews but have seen very few statements about the suitability of the razors for skull shaving. I would probably only shave my head every three or four days. Do you have any reviews on those types of razors, or any more information on the razors you reviewed that would meet my needs?
Thank you for your comment.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t address that aspect because I do not shave my head, so I cannot speak from personal experience. I own all the shavers mentioned in this post and have used them extensively, but only to shave my face. I can however recommend the Series 9 for shaving the head based on the feedback from other users. My barber actually uses one for his customers and so far he’s been really pleased with it.
I think any good electric shaver should work as a head shaver as well (for example, the Arc 5, Arc 4, Series 7 or even a middle to high-end rotary Philips Norelco). There is a brand called Skull Shaver that manufactures electric shavers specifically to be used on the head, but I stopped recommending them after receiving numerous reports from users about reliability issues and poor customer service.
Just keep in mind that electric razors work best on short hair, so shaving your head more often will likely yield better results, especially in the case of thin, soft hair.
Hope this helps.
I tried the Braun series 9, the best and latest one I could fine. It was nice and gave a decent shave but I didn’t like the plastic feel and the shaves were not as close as I wanted. also the cleaning stand was much bigger than I wanted. So, I returned it.
Then I found on Amazon what I thought was the latest arc 5, the ES-CLV9DX. It was pricey and looked like a Japanese version because of the Japanese writing on the box, but it was supposed to have USA AC adapter. And in fact it did and I love it. I have sensitive skin but the shaves are irritation free and very close. (I do use a Remington preshave stick.) it’s build quality is fantastic. I love the all metal front surface, and the rubberized back. I love that it locks and unlocks just by picking it up and setting it down. What a fantastic shaver! A luxury product at a luxury price of course.
I wanted to get an English version of the manual, Which is not available anywhere it seems. I went to the Japanese Panasonic website and did find a manual for a similar shaver, and used Google translate to translate that PDF file. That kind of worked but the translated version had no pictures which was a bummer.
Now for my questions.
It seems that Panasonic has released in September yet a newer version of the arc 5, the ES-CLV9EX. Do you know what enhancements have been made to this one? I’m really curious.
Also, where can I get cleaning fluid packets and replacement blades for this shaver?
Thank you for your comment. Panasonic did indeed release a newer version, basically a revision E of your shaver with the model name ES-CLV9EX. Yours is a revision D as the name implies (ES-CLV9DX). It’s still a Japanese market release and the update is a minor one (slightly revised foil and beard density sensor), so I wouldn’t bother getting it. If you want to know more details about this new E version, I wrote a detailed post about it here.
As for the replacement blades and foils and detergent packs, you can find them for example on Amazon. The part number of the blades and foil set is WES9036 (sometimes listed as WES9036Y or ES9036). The detergent sacket is called WES4L03.
Hope this helps.
Thanks so much for your quick reply. You are an absolutely excellent resource!
Isn’t ES9034 The best blade replacement set on Amazon?
The only Panasonic detergent set that I could find on Amazon is this one: WES4L0. Will it work OK?
You are very welcome, Paul. The ES9034 is the older foil & blades set found on revisions A and B. It will also fit your shaver; only the outer foil is slightly different than the one in the WES9036 set, so you can get either. But the WES9036 is the part that originally came with your shaver. WES4L, WES4L0, WES4L03 likely refer to the same product. Here is the Amazon link.
Once again a quick reply. Thank you so much!
I looked for WES9036 on Amazon but could not find it. I would like to get the one that came with my shaver. But search came up with no results for WES9036. Can you provide a link?
Nevermind. By searching outside of Amazon using Google search I was able to find this product on Amazon. So thanks again! I’m all set.
No problem, Paul. Glad I could help.
First of all, thanks for the informative blog. It is rare nowadays to get an unbiased, straight to the point information about a certain product.
I read carefully your comparison of Braun 9 vs Arc 5 and Braun 7 vs Arc 4. It seems that for my purposes the Braun has a slight edge as comfort is the most important factor for me.
However, I checked the price and it seems that the current pricing for Arc 5 is similar to Braun 7, at least in the EU. Do you think that with that in mind, Arc 5 is a better deal or you would rather have the Braun 7 as it still will be more comfortable?
Thank you for the kind words, glad you found the information useful.
Regarding your question, the better deal is definitely the shaver that seems better suited for your needs, in this case the Braun Series 7. And considering that they also cost about the same, I think you should go with the Series 7.
Thanks for clearing that up 🙂 Now I am just gonna wait for the best Black Friday deal and buy. I will make sure to follow a link from here to support the blog.
No problem, Georgi. Thank you, that is very kind of you.
Is there a good way to travel with the arc nine and it’s cleaning base? I’m afraid the liquid in the base will spill. Is there some kind of cover available for it?
I honestly can’t think of a practical way to do it. If you’ll be away for a longer time and you definitely want to take the Panasonic base with you, I think the only option would be to discard the current fluid and bring along a detergent pack and set it up once you get to your destination.
That was my only thought as well. I’ll be away for just five days and so probably I don’t need the charging base and the cleaner, but I like to have it with me and I’ll be driving so there’ll be plenty of room. So I will do as you suggest. Once again thank you my friend.
One thing I don’t think I saw addressed is the best razor for guys with beards. I only need to shave my neck, but the issue is how well the razor shaves next to the hairline of the beard. Is it easy to get right up to that line without going over or tugging at the beard hairs? I’ve only used rotary and have found that the omni-directional nature of the rotary design makes it easy to shave sideways along the beard line. Can a newer foil razor (like the Braun 9 Series) do that well?
Thank you for your comment.
I think you’ll agree that shaving just the neck up to the hairline of the beard is a rather specific situation and I’m afraid I can’t speak from experience since I do not have a beard. However, I think that one electric shaver that would be ideal in this case is the Braun Series 3 3010BT which comes with a clipper attachment that works great for edging / trimming right up to the hairline and getting that clean, crisp edge. You can then simply swap it for the foil head attachment and get a close shave. A Series 9 is overkill in this case and again, I think the 3010BT with the various attachments would be more suitable (and significantly cheaper).
I personally find rotary not quite as good as foil razors when more precision is needed.
In my view there is no better shaver (comfort, closeness, quietness, ease of operation including cleaning) than a Philips Norelco shaver. I’ve been shaving for close to 60 years now and have used most of the foil and rotary shavers mentioned (currently own a Braun Series 9 as well as a Philips Norelco 8900 and a Philips Norelco 9700) and I always come back to the rotary shaver provided by Philips Norelco. What is most notable about the rotary shaver is the ease with which it picks up and cuts hair on both the neck and the jawline. Whereas I will use the Braun from time to time (it was a gift so I feel compelled to make use of it), I would never make it my default shaver. And as for the Panasonic shavers (I’ve had both the Arc 3 and 4) I find them harsh, whiney in the noise they produce and just generally not producing the close, comfortable shave I am used to receiving. We all, it would seem, have our preferences based upon our unique situations and facial hair. For me, the Philips Norelco is the best by far.
Many thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. That’s a great insight that shows once again that nothing is set in stone when it comes to shaving. From what I can tell, a rotary shaver is definitely the right choice for you and you should definitely continue using them.
I’m hunting for a new shaver at the moment. This morning as I was shaving, I noticed that my rotary Philips Norelco 7140XL protective rubberized coating on the power cable wires was literally falling apart! Besides being quieter than my previous shaver, I never really liked it anyway as it took twice as long to shave and months to break in to the point where it wouldn’t cause a rash or bleeding. But having the rubberized coating around the wires literally disintegrate within a couple of years is totally unacceptable. It’s both shoddy engineering and an electrical fire waiting to happen. Norelco should be humiliated and ashamed. I’d wager the entire Norelco line uses the same flawed DC power adapter and cable design. I should note that the DC power adapter and cable on my previous shaver (a Remington foil shaver) that I used daily for over 20 years is still totally fine. So it’s not me and definitely a design defect in the Norelco line and probably an intentional defect too. Granted, UL hands out approvals and certifications like candy but Norelco’s UL approvals and certifications should be universally revoked for producing such shoddy electrical workmanship.
After using rechargeables for more than 25 years, I’ve come to hate rechargeable everything, which includes electric shavers. I want to plug directly into the wall and go. Batteries wear out after 2-3 years and after about 5 years completely refuse to hold a charge and you can rarely replace the battery without replacing the whole unit. It’s wasteful of Earth’s resources and harmful to the environment not to mention a waste of hard-earned consumer money. Any company that only offers irreplaceable batteries in devices without a direct bypass option to use wall power should be permanently put out of business. A rechargeable shaver sounds wonderful until you are in the middle of a shave and the battery runs out of power and you’ve only shaved half of your face for the day. I want a wall wart + a physical switch to turn it on and get the same amount of power for the same shave every single day. Consistency and longevity of components are what I value most. It’s simply not possible to engineer decent hardware by using garbage components. Especially plastic. Plastic breaks. I’ll take hardened steel any day that will last 40+ years over plastic bits that are purposely designed to break in as little as 2 months. All the real engineers who understand the importance of designing things correctly so that they last are either retired or dead and we are left today with a bunch of wimps who couldn’t engineer their way out of a wet paper sack. Also there’s the matter of pride. There’s no way anyone can legitimately take pride in their work when it doesn’t last more a couple of years. I can see it now – an engineer today pridefully attempting to describe their job to someone else, “Yeah I build refrigerators that only last 3 years. But no one else builds them to last any longer either, so you have to take what I make for you.” Embarrassing. Start revoking certifications, approvals, and licenses though and you better believe quality will suddenly improve. The effect of “we revoked DZQ, Inc’s licenses and they are now out of business…you’re next” is pretty powerful stuff.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I understand where you’re coming from and I am totally in favor of durable and reliable products as well. The cordless only products are however more prevalent nowadays and that’s the case with electric shavers too. There are only a few left that will work when connected to a power outlet. You’ll want to check out the dry only models, but again, your options will be rather limited. Here are a few models at different price points that I would consider: Braun Series 3 3020s, Remington PF7500, Braun Series 5 5030s, Braun Series 7 720s, Braun Series 7 790cc.
As a wet-only electric shaver, I agree with most of the above comments. I currently rotate between the Braun Series 9, Arc 5 and Norelco 9000 Series, and foils are indeed quicker and closer. And they CAN be more comfortable. They also deal less effectively with longer, less uniform hairs. So on the above, check. Foils also, ultimately for me, invariably produce more ingrown hairs, and while I find I need a longer adjustment with a rotary, it eventually produces a more comfortable shave with no ingrowns. I’ve had a theory, developed over years, that foil shavers because of their speed and linear motion, cut more cleanly, leaving an angled tip to the hair at skin level, which is more likely to divert inward. Rotary shavers, at a slower speed and multiple cutting angles, as well as leaving a longer hair shaft, tend to round the cut tip above the skin (discounting the lift and cut technology, which is actually more irritating), producing fewer ingrowns. Would be interesting to see some actual research with SEM to confirm or disprove. Potentially, one significant advantage of rotaries.
Thank you for your comment, Allan. Those are some excellent points.
In my opinion, the main cause for more ingrown hairs is the closer shave in the case of foil razors. The hair being cut at skin level, its tendency to curl back into the skin, along with your some particularities of the skin (for example, dead skin cells that cover and block the hair follicle) will eventually lead to ingrown hairs.
An angled tip of the hair can definitely contribute to this as well. For example, using a razor blade will always leave behind more of these pointy stumps, that’s why ingrown hairs are a more common problem with traditional shaving. The angle of the hair relative to the blade is what will determine that angled tip. With electric shavers, foil or rotary, it is usually a straight, clean cut since the hair is straightened as it pokes through the foil/comb and the blade is basically perpendicular to the hair. I hope this makes sense.
Good explanation! That’s why an SEM study would be interesting – in the micro-environment of cutting a hair shaft, I envision the back-and-forth reciprocating motion of a foil shaver as flexing the shaft as it’s cut – in other words, consider a straight stick pointing up, with a blade pushing it in one direction and shearing it off. If the blade is sharp, it may well shear the shaft cleanly and squarely. As it dulls, it may “push” the shaft before cutting, resulting in a uni-directional angled cut. Or the return stroke of the blade (maybe several in the case of the Panasonic) may produce an angle in the opposite direction. Or not. In the case of a rotary shaver, one blade shears the shaft in one direction, and the following blade shears in a slightly different direction, and so on. That’s why it would be interesting to see the finished product – a cut hair shaft tip – under an electron microscope, with a range of blades and wear. And I’m certain, as you point out, that the height of the shaft above skin surface when cut makes a difference. I know I’ve seen an SEM scan of a hair shaft cut with an electric razor (can’t recall where), but it looked like it was done with a well-used 1950s Remington and was chewed into a ragged tuft. Just technical musings, but research papers have been published with far less practical application! And BTW, thanks for the great site and reviews – electric shavers have gotten short shrift in the rest of the shaving world forums.
Thank you, Allan. As usual, that’s an excellent and insightful comment. Just checked out the image you posted below, I recall seeing the one on the left a few times before, but never the other one (from the electric shaver). I think with modern shavers, the pushing of the hair shaft will be restricted to a higher degree by the foil/comb and also because the blade basically rubs against the inner part of the foil. These tolerances are a lot tighter now than they used to be, so there’s less wiggle room for the hair. The return stroke of the blade could actually round the tip of the hair even more, which should be beneficial in reducing ingrown hairs.
And you’re also right about forums — nowadays apart from a few isolated topics, electric shavers are basically non-existant in these communities. Wet shaving forums still thrive though.
Greetings. Tremendous wealth of information here. Thanks for all your hard work in creating this guide.
Question for you- Costco is selling a Braun Series 8. Is this a rebadged (for Costco) Series 7, an entirely new product (perhaps exclusive to Costco) positioned feature-wise somewhere between the Series 7 and 9, or something else?
Thank you for the kind words, glad you found the article helpful.
The Series 8 is more like a rebranded Series 5 performance-wise, so I would place it somewhere between the Series 5 and the Series 7. Initially, it was only available through Costco, but it can now be bought in other places as well, including Europe and Asia.
I would get a Series 5 instead, it usually costs less and the shaving heads are widely available as well. And apart from a slightly larger battery, the Series 8 doesn’t really bring other significant improvements over the S5. The Series 7 is still a better shaver in my opinion (for all the details you can check out this article).
Hello. Should I replace my Braun Series 3 with the Series 5 or buy a better one?
If you’re satisfied with the Series 3, you don’t have to necessarily upgrade to a more expensive product. The Series 5 is a better shaver than the Series 3, more powerful, more comfortable and better suited for a coarser beard. It’s also better with flat-lying hairs. But depending on the situation, not everyone will notice a significant improvement. For example, someone with a light beard will likely be satisfied with a more basic shaver like the Series 3.
I’m afraid I can’t recommend going for the Series 5 or other more expensive models without knowing more details.
Found it: left hand side, DE blade, right hand side electric shaver (type unspecified).
I’m sure a modern electric delivers a cleaner cut, but scary photos nonetheless. Sometimes you don’t want to see sausage made….
First, thank you for all this very useful information. I am planning to get myself an electric shaver and your reviews helped me understand the specs of each brand/model.
I have a question for you though: I have decided on a Panasonic but am hesitating between the Arc 3 ES8103S and the Arc 5 ES-LV65-S. I am a beginner, I shave every morning but don’t have a very coarse beard. Which of the 2 models should I get?
Thank you for your comment, glad you found the website useful.
In this case, I’d say that the Arc 3 should be good enough. It’s also easier to get used to since the shaving head is noticeably smaller than an Arc 5. The ES8103S may feel a bit harsher during a dry shave compared to ES-LV65-S, but if you don’t have sensitive skin, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for your quick reply! The price is not significantly different on Amazon. Would it be worth “upgrading” to the Arc 5? Again, I am a beginner with electric shavers.
You are very welcome, Gael.
For me, personally, it’s well worth the price difference — the ES-LV65-S is one of the most underrated shavers still in production and if you can get one at a discounted price, that’s even better. I do have medium to coarse facial hair and it would make more sense in my case to spend some extra money on an Arc 5. Again, I think in your situation the Arc 3 will be a suitable shaver as well.
It never hurts to have more power and features especially if the price is not an issue (and from what I can see, it’s not). All Arc 5 models have a large head and that’s not ideal for a beginner as it will make the transition more difficult. But I do think that you’ll eventually get used to it (most users do). Some found it too difficult to maneuver in tight spots and even to see what they’re doing. However, these situations are pretty rare.
An excellent article. I have used an electric for decades and, at 69, consider my Braun Series 7 to be the best one yet. Originally a Norelco guy, I had to back away from it with the lift-and-cut “improvement” because of ingrown hairs on my lower neck. The use of LectricShave preshave is a must. The high-pitched whine of a Braun can set your teeth on edge at first, but I was raised with six sisters so high-pitched whines don’t bother me that much.
This may sound like “health care 101”, but shaving before your shower is spot on! Also, using a washcloth on your face in the shower really helps to exfiloate the skin and lower the chances of ingrown hairs, especially in the neck area.
Again, thanks for a great review. Well done.
Thank you for taking the time to share this, Edward. Glad you found the review informative.
As a side note, I only had one sister, but somehow I wasn’t spared of high-pitched whines. So it’s a non-issue for me as well.
Great site and reviews, thank you for taking the time to deliver them. I was in the market for a reasonably high end shaver to replace an old Panasonic ES-SL41 and eliminate the razor .
I have chosen the Panasonic ES-LV65-s as per your recommendation. A lot cheaper than the Braun 9000 to buy and run, I have an ultrasonic cleaner for small items which I use to clean the old Panasonic periodically, I will do the same to the new shavers blades and foil.
It is great to have found a site with good reviews and advice on shaving, I m in my late 50’s and found useful tips
Many thanks for your comment, Robert; glad you found the site useful. I think the ES-LV65 is a worthy upgrade and I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with it.
Any comments on the quality of replacement blades for Braun/Panasonic? I had an older Braun (don’t remember the model, I ditched it some 5 years ago) that was great but all the replacement blades I tried were horrible – pulled my hair, left razor burn and didn’t last long. Current amazon reviews seem to show this is still very much a problem for Braun (and possibly Panasonic too).
I have somewhat sensitive neck skin – my Norelco 3000 gives me neck burn though my dad’s more high-end Philips seems to be fine); I only do dry shaving. How would Arc5/Arc4 compare to Norelco for sensitive skin? I’d generally prefer a foil shaver but am very hesitant to drop $200+ on a Braun that may not be usable after the original blade is replaced…
Those are very fair concerns. Replacement blades/foils usually get some serious bashing in the reviews. To be honest, they are rather pricey, which may be one of the reasons. As long as the parts are genuine (third-party blades are usually horrible), the performance and longevity should be similar to the original parts.
In my experience, using a good foil shaver will be a lot better for a sensitive neck compared to a basic rotary razor like the Norelco 3000. Even an Arc 5 or even 4 that are a bit harsher compared to similarly priced Braun shavers will yield better results in most cases.
You should check out a Braun Series 5 as well; some models (particularly the ones without the cleaning stations) are quite reasonably priced and the replacements heads are cheaper as well. And the S5 is a lot more comfortable than a Norelco 3000.
I have tried many many electric, both rotary and foil, I never found one that was right for me, so in the end I had to go back to a blade shaver for a close comfortable shave
It would be interesting to know what shavers have you used and what exactly was the problem. I still think you can find an electric shaver that can give you a very decent shave.
Ovidiu, Your comment about a foil shaver head moving faster than a rotary razor being an advantage is puzzling to me. A foil shaver blade vibrates beck and forth and does not travel a great distance in once cycle compared to a rotary head. The rotary blade on my Phillips S3212 travel past approximately 100 stationary cutter blades in one revolution. They are tiny and hard to count but that number is within + or – 5 of the exacty number. I don’t know how many blades the foil razor passes in 1 complete motion cycle but I would guess that it is could not be more than 5? But I believe it cuts in both directions as it vibrates back and forth; not sure. So a foil razor cuts in both directions, it would have to run about 10 times faster than the rotary to have each moving blade pass as many stationary cutter blades as the rotary passes in 1 cycle. The S3212 had 3 heads each with 8 cutter blades, all continuouslly moving at the same time. The foil moving blades actually stop moving during part of the cycle as it changes direction; so for part of the cycle it actually stops cutting. The rotary razor blades never stop cutting until you turn it off. Because of these basic differences in the principles of operation, it seems to me that the apparent speed of the razors being judged by the sound is illusionary compared to what is actually going on at the cutter blades. I am not commenting on the accuracy of your observations as to which is smoother, closer or faster; just your comments about the reasons that you give for why one is better than the other; in particular your comment about the actual mechanism being faster at cutting than the other one,.
Thank you for your comment, this is really a very interesting topic.
However, I feel like your analogy isn’t exactly fair. First of all, what you’re referring to as being approximately 100 stationary cutters are just slots in the combs — similar to the perforations in a foil. The actual blades are the ones on the rotary cutters. You can’t consider all the slots of a rotary shaver and only a single perforation in the foil when comparing them. Your Philips S3212 uses the SH30 heads, so a cutter has 9 blades. During a revolution, for a single slot, there are 9 cutting actions per that particular slot (9 blades passing over it). Given that most rotary razors operate at around 800 revolutions per minute, it means that in a minute we can have a maximum of 7200 (9×800) cutting actions per slot.
Let’s take a typical foil shaver that operates at 10000 oscillations/cycles per minute. An oscillation means the blade moving back and forth. Let’s consider that one blade passes over a single slot (although there are likely more). This means that over one minute, there are 20000 (2×1000) cutting actions for that slot. And again, this is in the worst-case scenario (you mentioned 5 slots, I only used 1 for this example). Not to mention that there are foil shavers with much faster motors (up to 14000 CPM).
A rotary shaver has 3 heads, but a foil shaver also has 3 to 5 cutting elements. It’s difficult to compare them at this point without getting into an apple vs oranges polemic, but what we can objectively state is that the speed at which the blades move is a lot higher in the case of foil shavers. The first direct benefit — there’s a lot less likely to experience hairs getting yanked during a faster stroke and shaving will take less (this is of course highly dependent on the type of hair and the shavers themselves).
But specs aside, it’s totally normal to have a preference towards one or the other. I still think most users will have a better chance of getting a satisfactory shave using a foil shaver for the reasons mentioned in the article.
Hope this makes sense, I’m not sure how well I managed to communicate what I had in mind.
Hi, I have always used Braun shavers, more recently 5 series and then 7000 series since 2008. I found that the 7000 needs a new head every 3 – 4 months to maintain optimum performance. I used to just replace just the cutter blocks (also every 3 – 4 months) on my 5 series but I suspect Braun stopped this to make more profit! With my 7000 now quite old, extensive paint missing and broken springs on the long hair trimmer and head I felt it was time to replace. I was always happy with the closeness of shave (which can be varied with the rocker either side of the on/off button), and normally shave every day. I used the clean and charge every 7 days.
I treated myself to a new 9000s, thinking this would be a step up from the 7000. I have used it now for 6 weeks. I am impressed with the quietness of the new shaver but I have been disappointed with the closeness of the shave – not as good as the 7000. I subsequently discovered it could not be used in a clean and charge. I returned the 9000 to the retailer and had a full refund. I am wondering whether a 9000 cc would be as good, or should I buy a new 7000?
Performance-wise, a Series 9 s is identical to the cc variations. You’re essentially just getting a cleaning station by going for a cc model. I personally find the closeness between a Series 7 and a 9 to be pretty much identical, but if you constantly got better results in that regard with the Series 7, I think you should probably stick to it and just buy a new Series 7.
I checked several different websites for shaver evaluations.
Yours was by far the best. I purchased the Panasonic Arc5.
Thank you, Dennis, glad you found the information useful. Enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5.
What is your opinion on the barber type of foil shavers such as Babyliss Pro FX 02 & Wahl 5 star finale? It seems they are decently priced and provides a very clean shave.
Also, if you had around $100-120, which foil shaver would you buy? (Mostly for neck hair thats very thick)
I haven’t had the chance to use any Babyliss or Wahl shavers, unfortunately. So I’m afraid I cannot say anything from my own experience. I do plan on getting and reviewing some Wahl and Andis shavers, hopefully pretty soon.
From what I’ve read, the Wahl 5 star finale does get very close, but it works well as a finishing tool on very short stubble. Also, the foils appear to be rather brittle and aren’t as durable as the ones on Panasonic or Braun shavers.
In that price range, I would go with a Panasonic Arc 5 (like the ES-LV65-S) or one of the Arc 4 models referenced in this post. They work really well on very thick facial hair provided that it’s reasonably short and doesn’t lie flat on the skin. Otherwise, a Braun shaver should work better (something like a Series 5 or maybe a solo Series 7 if you can find a great deal on one).
Hope this helps.
I appreciate your candid thoughts on the razors. I decided to go with a Braun Electric Razor for one very simple reason: While reading the reviews for the Panasonic Razors on the Amazon website, there were quite a few one star reviews indicating that the Panasonic company would not stand behind their razors even when they broke within the warranty period.
One person documented his situation and Panasonic responded in a template type of comment indicating that they were sorry that the razor didn’t meet their (customer) standards and hoped that this would not prevent them from buying Panasonic products again. No offer to help was given.
If this happened only once or twice, I’d be tempted to think it was a disgruntled customer. Unfortunately, it was too pervasive… and many of the reviews were dated in 2018 and 2019.
Thank you for your comment, glad you found the article useful.
I only had a problem once with a Panasonic razor and it was rather swiftly and professionally taken care of in a Panasonic service center. I guess the quality of user support can vary from country to country, but as long as the damage is not the result of faulty operation, the company should take full responsibility for repairing or replacing the product. They are legally required to do so. It is disappointing to hear otherwise, especially since their electric shavers are actually among the best.
Hope you’re enjoying your new Braun razor!
Few days ago I bought Philips S9000 Prestige electric shaver. I have Braun Series 9 9280cc shaver and it works really good. However I was impressed with the design of Philips S9000 Prestige. That’s why I bought it. But when I switch it on it vibrates a bit, just a half a second vibration, and it squeaks a bit. Againa just a half a second and nothing too loud. Then it runs smoothly. Is this normal for a rotary shaver? Or I should send it back? Let me know please. Thanks.
That is perfectly normal, you can rest assured that there’s nothing wrong with your shaver. My Prestige does the same thing. Rotary razors are squeakier in general, but for some reason, it is more noticeable with the Prestige. My guess is that it has a torquier motor and it makes that squeak when the blades go from still to full speed. So there’s really nothing to worry about.
First of all I would like to thank you for such an informative article… my electric shaver passed away a few days ago and your website has become my field guide.
I was using a Philips Series 3000 that did the job for me many years, since I only dry shave twice a week (performing surprisingly well with larger hair), however, it did leave me an irritating rash on the neck, and to be quite honest, I didn’t enjoy my shaving time at all.
By reading your articles, I had become very interested in upgrading my whole shaving experience. I want to get a better machine and also include some other features into my routine, such as pre shave lotions and shaving cream (I’m only using an after shave balm at the moment).That’s why I would like to ask for your advice in this matter.
I have coarse hair, sensitive skin (considering my experience with my previous shaver), I only shave twice a week and I’m not crazy about getting the closest shave ever, just a proper one. Also, I would like to try some ocasional wet shaves, but the performance in this modality is not determinant in my decision. In other words, I just want my shaving experience to have better results and to be more enjoyable.
Taking this into account, and having read your article, I think the perfect shaver for me would be the Braun Series 9. However, I find it to be way too expensive for what I’m looking for. Therefore, my options come down to the Braun Series 7 and 5 (without the cleaning station), and the Pannys Arc5 and Arc3. I also wanted to include the Arc4, but I can’t find the ones you described above here in Spain, probably because only the most popular models are sold here, so this might also be an issue in the future regarding to replacements.
I would really appreciate if you could guide me with my decision between these options, and if the extra cost of the most expensive models would be worthy in my case, considering that I’m not looking for a premium shave, and I shave every 3-4 days.
Many thanks in advance,
Thank you so much for the kind words, glad you found the article helpful.
The Series 9 would indeed be a great fit, but as you’ve mentioned, it is a rather expensive shaver. And in my opinion you’re not getting a whole lot more compared to a Series 7, which would be my recommendation in this case. I think you’ll be pleased with the performance, especially coming from a basic Philips shaver. Panasonic makes some great shavers too, but given that you’ll be shaving every 3 to 4 days and you do get some irritation on your neck, I would lean more towards Braun.
You can definitely try a pre-shave lotion, I think you’ll be quite happy with this setup. Since you live in Spain, you can probably get the Speick pre-shave. It is the best in my experience and makes a dry shave more enjoyable. And you can of course try a shaving cream as well and then decide if it’s worth including in your routine.
I understand that you’re interested in a shaver without the cleaning station, so you’ll have to opt for one of the Series 7 models that end in s. It doesn’t really matter which one as the performance will be the same.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for your prompt response and the recommendation. I fully agree that the Series 7 would be the best choice for me, and I just found a great deal for the 7880cc, so I’m happy that I would be able to include the cleaning station into my shaving upgrade.
I’m already looking for the Speick pre-shave lotion, sounds like the prefect setup. I’m also considering to get the Speick shaving cream for my ocasional wet shaves, and another aftershave such as the Proraso sensitive aftershave balm or the Nivea sensitive cooling post shave balm.
Thanks again for your advice and your amazing work.
You are welcome, Gaston, glad I could be of help. It’s great that you were able to get a cc Series 7 for a reasonable price — I’ve always considered the station quite handy, even for occasional use.
A Series 7, along with the Speick cream and pre-shave should be a worthy upgrade.
Happy shaving! 🙂
Happy shaving indeed!
I just had the best shave of my life… thanks for inspiring it!
Wonderful! Glad it turned out to be the right choice.
Hi, I recently just started shaving my head. I’ve been doing some research and want to purchase a panasonic foil razor. Problem is i keep facial hair trimmed and not shaved. I’m looking to find a razor that can shave my head and keep my face trimmed. So far I can only find 2 options
ES-RT77 which has a comb attachment or the ES-LL41K which has 2 attachments. any recommendations of which one would be better suited for myself. or any other panasonic razors that I don’t know of. thanks . awaiting your reply.
As I already replied in this comment, you don’t really have too many options with Panasonic. The ES-RT77 has the older 10 000 CPM motor which is significantly slower than the 13 000 and 14 000 CPM units, so I wouldn’t consider it. The ES-LL41-K is a better choice at least in that regard and should work decently on the head as well provided that the hair is short.
Got the ll41K. Thanks for the advice. Just used for the first time. Worked great on my head and the trimmer was acceptable for the face. Will take a little getting used to but better than using 2 razors. If anyone else is wondering for head/face razors I think this is a good choice. FYI I’m not bald yet so my head is still relatively thick. Facial hair not thick. Just shaved after 4 days and had no issues.
You are very welcome, glad you’re satisfied with its performance.
I shave my head, and keep a stubble beard once in a while, too. Bite the bullet and get two devices. I’ve tried many top end Norelco’s, Braun’s, Panasonics, Brio’s etc. I’ll suggest you get an Arc 5 for the closest to a blade head shave. I use a Philips OneBlade for beard trimming or removal.
Great read, very thorough.
Question for you. I have a Braun 7 series. I have had it for a few years now. I have replaced the cassette a number of times, and its time to do so again. I was looking on Amazon and noticed that many of the recent reviews of the Genuine Braun Cassettes have bad reviews. Most stated that since the P&C acquisition of Braun, the cassettes are no longer made in Germany, but are now made in China. As a result (according to reviewers) they only last about 3-4 months and some fall apart during use…
I am trying to decide if I want to risk forking out $35-$40 for a replacement (which if it doesn’t last long will result in the need to get another, and another… in 18 months I will end up spending more then I would for a new shaver) or if I should risk it. Any thoughts? Have you heard anything about the quality of the replacement cassettes going down?
Thanks in advance.
Thank you for your comment, glad you found it useful.
Replacement foils and blades generally get pretty bad reviews, not just the ones from Braun. It’s pretty much the same with Panasonic and Philips parts. They can sometimes be pricy and not live up to the expectations of the buyer, which is inclined to think that the quality of the parts is lower compared to the original ones that came with the shaver. I personally didn’t have any serious issues that would suggest something like this — I did however always make sure to buy genuine parts.
Regarding the Series 7 specifically, the cassettes are still made in Germany. I actually bought one last year for my 7865cc and the Made in Germany text was printed on the blister. I haven’t come across one that was made in China.
The very first generation of the Series 7 was released after the P&C acquisition and it came with a higher quality cassette — particularly the steel — and with higher quality Bosch electronics. Those models are long discontinued, but even so, the Series 7 is still a really good shaver, both in terms of performance and reliability.
I would replace the cassette first before pulling the trigger on a new shaver.
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply!
First off I have to say, Ovidiu,this is amazing work. I wish this was the standard for review lists, the intro perfectly put my feelings about other list into words. It’s a pain switching between multiple lists and customer reviews where you don’t know whether or not their criticisms and negative comments are from user error.
I just ordered my first foil razor (the Arc3 ES8103S) and have a few questions since I’m pretty new to shaving properly. You mentioned using aftershave as well as shaving before washing your face. I wash my face in the shower and was wondering do I still use the aftershave and just hop right in or would it be better to wait a bit before washing my face? After I finish my shower I moisturize with tea tree oil and CeraVe, would tea tree oil be a sufficient as a replacement for aftershave? If not, do you have any aftershave recommendations? Seeing your suggestion of a wet shave, I plan on using up my left over Harry’s shave gel. When that eventually runs out what would you recommend to use? Finally, any other tips or products I should use/try (with brand recommendations) would be much appreciated, thanks!
Thank you so much for the kind words, glad you found the article useful.
What I’ve found to work best for me is to shave, then hop right in the shower. I only then wash my face again with cold water, pat dry with a towel and apply the aftershave. I never use aftershave before getting in the shower as most of it will be washed off anyway.
If the tea tree oil + CeraVe combo works well for you, then great. After all, the main purpose of using aftershave is to moisturize the skin. Right now my aftershave of choice is the Truefitt & Hill Authentic No 10 Post-Shave Cologne Balm (quite a mouthful). It’s a wonderful product, it smells amazing, it’s very calming and doesn’t have a greasy texture. It is a bit on the pricey side though. Other cheaper great alternatives would be the Proraso Sensitive Aftershave Balm and the Nivea Sensitive Cooling Post Shave Balm.
As for shaving creams, the best I’ve used so far is from Speick. It’s a small German brand, quite affordable and I get the most comfortable and close shaves using it. Another good product that I’ve been using lately is the Jack Black Beard Lube. It’s a shaving balm and it’s transparent when applied, which makes it a lot easier for beginners to shave. I highly recommend both of them.
First i would like to say how impressed i am with the work you are doing here! it is amazing and not taken for granted. keep going!
second, my Philips HQ9190/21 SmartTouch-XL stopped working after almost ten years of almost daily use! it was by far the best shaver i had.
as i’m looking for replacement i cam across the 9000 series which was for me almost the natural choice – i wanted something VERY STURDY that will both shave and will work for another 10 years.
BUT – when looked into reviews, i came across the 7000 series and your reviews of the ARCs. i must say i never used such shavers but reading what you wrote on the 9000 as well as the closeness shave of the ARCs it make me wonder if i should try something totally new.
But in case i’m staying with rotary, do you see a big advantage for investing in the 9000 series over the 7000?
Thank you for the kind words, glad you found the website useful.
In this case I’d say to stick with the Series 7000. Spending more on a Series 9000 will probably not bring significant improvements for a seasoned rotary user. The Series 7000 uses different (slightly cheaper) heads and comes with some cost-saving features (very basic battery indicator, the station doesn’t have inductive drying), but the shaving performance is similar.
I think most users will get better results with an Arc 5 provided that they shave regularly (daily or every other day, maybe more if the hair grows slow). If that sounds like you, you could give foil shavers a try. At least in terms of closeness, I consider the Arc 5 to be quite a bit better than any rotary shavers you can currently get. But again, the key with Panasonic shavers is to use them more often on short facial hair, otherwise they can struggle with getting long and flat hairs.
I ran across your very complete guide after a quick search. I really like that you’re personally tried these units and let us know what you like and don’t and why–it really feels like you’re having a chat with someone else who takes their shaving seriously, as well as the tools!
My faithful Spectra 8894XL Bond Edition was dead after I didn’t use it for a month (I usually shave every two weeks), and it hasn’t woken up yet so it will need to head to repair. But in the meantime, I need to get this hair off my face! I don’t mind a solid investment in a new 9000, but will it be the same as what I’m used to? I’ve had 2 Norelcos my entire shaving career so far, and have a cheap foil unit that a friend gave me that I also do like.
I typically will use the trimmer to trim off anything long so the shavers don’t have to work too hard (and I don’t have to work too hard cleaning them). I’m used to the Norelco’s lack of precision in terms of exactness, but seem to get a much closer shave with the lift and cut.
Thoughts and recommendations? Thank you in advance!
Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.
I didn’t get the chance to use the 8894XL, so I cannot compare it directly to the Series 9000 (Prestige). But from what you’ve said about your shaving habits and preferences, it should be a good match. If you particularly like the results you’re getting from rotary shavers that use a double blade design (Lift and Cut), there’s also the option of getting the older (and less expensive) Series 9000 — the regular ones, like the Norelco 9300 and 9700, not the Prestige. As I said in the article, I personally am not a fan of that feature as I find the Lift & Cut technology to cause me serious irritation, but if that’s not a problem for you, definitely consider them.
The click on trimmer that comes with the Series 9000 will also be more suitable to pre-trim your beard than other integrated trimmers that are only suitable for some light touch-ups.
Hope this helps.
I used a Norelco Spectra 8894XL Bond Edition shaver from 2004 to 2015. It seemed to get the job done, but I sometimes noticed irritation. I replaced it with a Norelco 4500, which worked about the same. After the battery died, I tried several shavers, including the Philips Norelco Prestige 9000, and wound up with the Panasonic ES-LV65-S, which I’ve been using for over a year. It’s better in every way than the Norelcos: less irritation, closer, faster. I clean it daily with plain water and weekly with liquid soap and water, and put a drop of Wahl clipper oil on each blade after cleaning with soap (and after the shaver dries).
This is great website and I encourage people to buy products through here.
I have thick, coarse hair and shave daily on my head, face and body. I would still have a shadow by shaving with a blade against the grain. The skin would be a mix of BBS and irritation and razor bumps but, still a shadow.
I will say modern electrics ARE closer than shaving with a blade and doing a two pass shave, against and across the grain. I’ve been shaving electric for 15+ years and don’t know why electrics are not more popular. Even popular DE youtubers get unclose two pass shaves, nicks, and marred necks from 3 passes against the grain shaves.
I’ve gone through too many Braun Series 9 broken cassettes and misaligned/broke head oscillating pins. I finally got a Panasonic Arc5 and was pleasantly surprised by the increased closeness and simpler/less expensive operating costs, thanks to this site.
Thank you for your support and for taking the time to leave a comment, Keith. Glad you finally found a winner in the Arc 5. Happy shaving!
I am chagrined that the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige cannot be used with a cleaning system (unless you have another S9000 shaver and cleaning system in which you can put the S900 Prestige head on during cleaning). And I am wary that mere water can keep it clean and lubricated.
Do you see any harm in running the S9000 head in Norelco Philips solution or a substitute that is poured into a small receptacle? If so, would you use an alcohol-based or non-alcohol-based solution for this purpose.
I don’t see any harm in cleaning your shaver that way — on the contrary, I think it’s a good idea. A detergent-based solution like the Jet Clean (HQ200) from Philips is probably a safer choice.
Hey Ovidiu, excellent website and this is really great you are helping so many people out here!
I’m looking for my first electric shaver and I’m absolutely lost, and not entirely sure there’s a suitable product for me.
I clean shave once a week, sometimes 2 weeks and do this in the shower with no shaving cream. Call me lazy, but this is just how I’ve always done it! Looking at the reviews for the many different shavers and beard trimmers, there doesn’t seem to be an ideal product for taking off this much beard growth back to as smooth as possible. Could you offer any suggestions here? Would ideally want to spend around $100 Australian (probably $60-$70 USD), but would spend more if the right product was out there. Thank you in advance!
Thank you, much appreciated.
I don’t think an electric shaver alone would be ideal considering your routine. There are a few that are quite good at shaving longer hairs (like the Philips S9000 Prestige or the Braun Series 9), but they are way over your budget and even so, they may not be what you need. It also depends on how fast your hair grows, but unless you have a light beard, I doubt you’ll get a satisfactory result.
If I were you, I would look into getting a wet/dry electric shaver that comes with a beard trimmer attachment like the Braun Series 3 3010BT. You can use that attachment to trim your beard to a more manageable length, then follow-up with the foil attachment to shave the remaining stubble. It’s also quite reasonably priced. Another option would be the Series 5 5018s, but it’s only available in the USA and Canada.
Finally, you could have a beard trimmer and a separate shaver, but the total price will be higher and you’ll have two products to fiddle with.
Hope this helps.
Hi Ovidiu, Thanks for the interesting and rich review.
I have been using Philips (Norelco) shaver for many years.
For the past twenty years, I’ve also shaved my head and found that the PT870 shaver was right for me … until last year.
I shave daily – head and face – dry. In the last year there have been a lot of miss shaving in the neck and jaw line. That’s why I have to use the knife to “clean” twice a week.
I’m debating whether to move to Brown Series 9, or stick to Philips (Norelco) and buy a machine in Series 9 (9270?).
* My neck skin is more sensitive.
1. The quality of shaving the face.
2. The quality of shaving the head.
3. Stimulation and ruby in the neck.
4. Shaving time. (I’m afraid Brown Shaver will take a lot longer to shave my head).
I would appreciate your advice.
All the best,
Many thanks for your comment, glad you found the article useful.
If you wouldn’t be shaving your head as well, I’d probably tell to go ahead and try a foil shaver like the Series 7 or 9. As face shavers, I think most users will find them superior to a rotary razor, especially when used daily.
But if you’ll be shaving your head yourself, you are right, a rotary razor will usually be more suitable, easier to use and it will take less time to do it. The Series 9 in particular is very good at shaving the head, it’s even used by many barbers in that manner. But it can be tricky when shaving your own head, especially the back part.
You will have a tough time finding an electric razor that excels at shaving both the face and the head. You’ll simply have to pick the one with the fewer cons. I think you should maybe stick to a rotary shaver since you were satisfied with the PT870. Since that model is now discontinued, you could try a similar one that comes with the same shaving heads, for example the Philips 4100 (AT810/41). Depending on your budget, you may also go for a better rotary razor, like the 8900 or something from the Series 9000 family.
Again, I don’t think they are superior to the Series 9 (closeness and comfort) when used daily to shave your face but are better suited for shaving your head.
I suggest a Braun for head and face shaving, over the Norelco. For me, I had to make too many circular passes on the head with a Norelco (Prestige). This only added minimal discomfort over the Bruan but alot more time and second passes. The Braun also handled heat and the large amount of shave time needed for head and face shaves. Panasonics are almost too warm to shave the face/head, after shaving the head/face.
Thank you for the insight, Keith. Braun does handle the heat a lot better than Panasonic, especially during a lengthy shaving session.
Currently I have a Braun 360 Complete 8975, which I bought new in August 2008.
So far I have replaced the head 7 times, whenever the replacement light came on:
January 2010, October 2012, November 2014, December 2015, July 2017, March 2018 and last time in April 2019.
It seems that the light comes on quicker after each replacement…
I always got the genuine Braun (51s) replacement set.
I shave dry every day, have normal skin and (by now grey, I’m 75) light hair grow.
Don’t use any AfterShave or cream.
The original battery still needs to be charged only once every 8 days or so.
The other day the replacement light has come on again, time for 51s renewal #8?
Or should I look for a replacement shaver? It still does its job after all these years.
Based on your test (and my minimal requirements), I think a Braun 3040s might very well do the trick, or should I go for the Braun 5030s?
No interest in a cleaning set.
But I am interested in your opinion, thanks much in advance.
First of all, I think you should change the foil and blades only when they fail to provide a decent shave. The replacement reminder is basically a timer that keeps track of how long have you been using the shaver (like a cleaning reminder). Just because the light comes on, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should change the parts at that moment if they’re still in good working condition.
Getting 8 days of cordless shaving from a 12-year-old shaver is really impressive. In my opinion, if you’re satisfied with the shave, you should probably still hang on to it. When you decide to upgrade, I’d recommend going for another Series 5 like the 5030s you mentioned (that one can also work with the cord). For shaving daily the 3040s will probably get the job done, but I think it’s worth spending a bit more on a Series 5. You’ll be using it a lot and you’ll appreciate the superior performance of the Series 5.
Thanks for your review of the Panasonic ES8103 shaver. I used one for 5 years and I think it’s the shaver that delivers the biggest bang for the money. I used it daily, rinsed and then charged it weekly. The screens and cutters only began to wear after five years of use. The only reason I replaced it was that the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for an entire week and the cutters began pulling at my beard and needed replacing. I was planning on replacing it with a new ES8103 because the cost of a new shaver is only a few more dollars than buying new a set of cutters and screens. The shaver on Amazon is $69.99 and the cutters and screens are a total of $57.
I replaced it with a Braun 7983s which I bought in April 2019 at Costco for less than one hundred dollars.
Thank you for your comment, Bob. I totally agree, the ES8103 is a great shaver that offers great value for money and it’s built like a tank. Considering the price of the replacement parts, it sometimes makes more sense to just buy the whole shaver.
Surprisingly, this shaver has most of the useful bells and whistles. It has the 13,000 speed motor, an LCD digital battery charge indicator and clean indicator. The pop up trimmer died after a couple of years, but it probably would have lasted longer had I turned off the shave before extending and retracting the trimmer.
another commenter mentioned:
“I’ve gone through too many Braun Series 9 broken cassettes and misaligned/broke head oscillating pins.”
is this a big problem for the series 9? debating between series 7 (cc) and series 9 (cc) for my dad. (price is not a major concern.) he’s in his 70’s and always used a blade as far as i know, never electric. i want to get him an electric since he’s on bloodthinners, so i think it’s safer than nicks with a blade.
not sure about his specific characteristics, but i think the comfort is more important than closeness (retired, goes a day to a few days between shaving although i don’t think he’d go beyond 3-5 days between shaves at most, older skin so maybe more fragile or easily irritated), plus getting used to switching from a blade to an electric.
leaning toward series 9, but concerned about this comment and wondering if this is a common issue? (only other concern is possibly the series 7 might be easier with a more compact head to maneuver around and shave the upper lip….)
i would appreciate your thoughts. thanks for such an informative guide!!
The Series 7 is actually my default recommendation in most of these cases. The performance gains from a Series 9 will be marginal for most users, but I do find the Series 7 easier to use and more manageable. I think this is particularly important for an older user that has never used an electric shaver before.
As for the Series 9 reliability issues, there were definitely some, especially with the very first iteration (the models starting with 90 that used the old cassettes). There still seem to be some with the updated shavers that may simply be quality control related. I own 3 Series 9 shavers and so far so good.
I would personally go with a Series 7 for my dad, mainly because it’s easier to use and performance-wise still an excellent shaver.
Hi! I have been using a Braun 3020s for years. I love the simplicity, how you can just tap some warm water on it, and the cleaning is done. I put some oil on the shaver head once in a month. Its awesome. When going for travel, I only take the shaver with me, no need for cleaning station and stuff.
I have been looking at the series 7 and the series 5. If I buy a 5030s without the cleaning station, how can I clean/lubricate the shaving head DIY without using the cleaning station?
The 5030s is actually waterproof (even though it is only suitable for shaving dry), so you can also clean it with warm water and (optionally) some liquid soap. Same goes for any Series 7 that actually uses an almost identical shaving head. You can check out this guide I wrote on how to clean an electric shaver manually.
Thanks for your complete reserch!!.
I have try Braun (I worked at Gillette company), and some Philliphs, and they have great products, but in my experience, if I have shave at 7am, near from 2pm I seems like if I havent shave.
Since 10 years I shave diarily with Mach 3, or the new top model. But I will like to get an electric shaver to get perfectly flush. I have read that Wahl or Andis are better than others.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
I actually reviewed the Andis ProFoil not long ago and it does shave really close, but as I mentioned in that review, it will only work decently on short hair, can’t really get any flat-lying hairs, it’s rather messy to clean and it isn’t very comfortable. So if you have somewhat sensitive skin, Wahl and Andis aren’t really viable options. But if that’s not an issue and you plan on shaving daily, it does shave closer than most other shavers, at least when used dry.
Do keep in mind that Andis and Wahl use very thin foils to achieve that and if used daily, the foils will wear out faster compared to other brands. That, plus the subpar performance on anything than short, straight stubble prevents me from recommending them as viable options for a main, everyday shaver. One of the Panasonic models in this list (depending on your budget) would be better for most users. They’re a lot easier to clean, more comfortable and the closeness will likely be satisfactory as well.
Thanks for taking the time to answer me, the cost is not a big problem, because if you evaluate the long duration, vs the catridge of the mach 3 or similar, and the posibility of shave used dry, at any place, in any time, can be a good inversion, and I don have problems with my skin. Few years ago, I bought an expensive philips (or top of brand), which was shaving fantastic (according to the seller), I explained that I had tried several Braun but that after 7 hours of shaving, it looked almost as if I had not shaved well.
After trying it at home for 3 days, I went to return it, since it did not achieve the desired shave, as I get it with a blade. I will try Panasonic Arc5.
Thanks, and thake care.
Hi! That’s a really informative comparison!
I don’t really understand one thing, though. In the Arc 5’s description, you said that it has the fastest motor, with 14 000 CPM, while Braun Series 9 has 10 000 CPM. I checked the official websites, and Panasonic describes the Arc 5’s motor as 14 000 cycles per minute, while Braun describes the Series 9’s as having 40 000 “cuts per minute”. My guess would be that one cycle is two cuts (the blades going back and forth?), but that would still make the Series 9 significantly faster. Or are they counting it differently?
Braun’s 40 000 cuts per minute statement is misleading. They basically took the speed of the motor which is 10 000 CPM and simply multiplied it by the number of blades (4 in the case of the Series 9), ending up with the 40 000. The Arc 5 does have a faster motor at 14 000 cycles per minute (or 70 000 cuts per minute if we multiply the speed by the number of blades).
This is a really well-written comparison you’ve done!
I‘m Angela from Indonesia. I really no nothing about men electric shaver before, but I plan to buy and give my Dad one of them as his upcoming birthday present. Hence, I will be surely needing your advise.
I plan to get the best one suited for him, one which can last long, good quality, and in reasonable price too.
As for my Dad who is now in his 50s, all this time he’s been using manual razor shaving with shaving cream, so he never tried any electric shaver before. He shaves every morning, so all this time he never keep his beard or mustache hair long. He shaves I believe in dry condition after brushing his teeth (but getting one which can be used in wet or dry will be safer I guess). He likes to keep his beard and mustache in clean cut. His hair is a bit coarse. Also, he’s the kind of person who does not like the troublesome for the extra effort to cleaning the shaver and maintaining tasks. He’s a busy person so he likes to keep things simple and always put speed in no. 1. Hygiene is another thing that I want to cover for the electric razor I want to get for him, since he’s going to use to every single morning.
After reading your review, so far I’m planning to get him a foil shaver, to avoid any unwanted injuries for a beginner in electric razor for him. Eyeing on the Braun series. Either Braun Series 3 3040s (the price in my area USD 125) or Braun Series 7 7898cc (USD 279) or Braun Series 9 9291cc (USD 375). The cleaning station looks appealing as it overs more hygienic option. But then again, I have a concern for the future cleaning station maintenance (the liquid) and the head replacement which are quite pricey. I’ve checked in my area, the Braun liquid cost USD 15 per pcs. As for the head replacement Braun Series 3 32S cost USD 59 per pcs, Braun Series 7 70S cost USD 75 per pcs, and Braun Series 9 92B cost USD 85 per pcs.
Looking at My Dad needs and the concerns I have as mentioned above, what will you best suggest, of course the most suited for My Dad?
Looking forward for your reply.
Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
I would suggest getting the Braun Series 7 7898cc, I think it’s the best option in this case. It’s very easy to use for a beginner (it has the slimmest shaving head of all three, including the 3040s), the costs are better balanced than in the case of a Series 9 and the performance will be more than enough. There are much cheaper alternatives to Braun’s cleaning refills (more details here) as well. It can also be cleaned manually, but I think the cleaning station is handy to have as well.