What’s The Best Electric Shaver For Coarse Hair (2024)?

Coarse, thick facial hair is both a blessing and a curse.

You can grow a majestic beard and it’ll never look patchy, but that’s pretty much where the silver lining ends.

As you can see, it mainly has to do with those times when you don’t actually have to shave.

When it comes down to it, a heavy beard is more challenging regardless if you’re using a manual razor or an electric shaver.

To get a close and comfortable shave you must — among other things — use the right tool for the job.

The Braun Series 9 Pro, one of the best electric razors for men with coarse beards.

Therefore, in this article, we’ll take a close look at some of the best electric razors for coarse hair.

I’ve owned and used all these shavers, most of them for years, and they proved to be the most effective without any major compromises.

But first, let’s get a few things out of the way.

What qualifies as coarse hair?

Determining the coarseness of your beard is pretty straightforward.

A thick, coarse beard tends to have that short, dark, dense look and grows back pretty quickly.

An example of thick facial hair.
An example of coarse facial hair. Source: Flickr

It often feels very rough to the touch, especially when the stubble is very short.

A visible 5 o’clock shadow on the same day is also common for men with thick and dense beards.

Thick facial hair can sometimes appear patchy in certain areas — like on the cheeks — and very dense around the chin, upper lip and neck.

Apart from the visual cues mentioned above, another indicator of a heavy beard is how fast it grows back and how challenging it is to get a smooth and close shave.

Also, if you need to shave daily and your face feels rough to the touch after just one day, then you most likely have coarse hair.

The importance of assessing your beard type

When choosing an electric razor it’s important to have a clear picture of your needs in order to find a suitable product.

The coarseness of your beard should be an integral part of your search for the right shaver.

Not all electric razors are suitable for coarse hair.

You could use any shaver to get it done, but that won’t necessarily result in a comfortable, smooth, close and enjoyable shave.

Nobody wants to spend money on something that will cause discomfort, frustration and unsatisfactory results.

A bad experience with one particular shaver that wasn’t right for the job could even cause someone to stay away from electric razors altogether.

So let’s see how we can avoid this.

What are the traits of a shaver that’s suitable for coarse hair?

Powerful motor

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR is fitted with a very powerful motor and it can handle even very coarse hair.

An electric razor fitted with a powerful motor will be beneficial in pretty much any situation, but they are particularly important if you have a coarse beard.

The difference in cutting power between a decent, but basic razor like the Series 3 from Braun and an advanced one like a Panasonic Arc 5 is even more obvious in this case.

Cutting thick, dense stubble requires serious power and a motor that operates at a high speed will perform significantly better and the time it takes to shave will be reduced as well.

Sharp, high-quality blades

The inner blades of a Panasonic Arc 5 foil shaver.
The two inner blades of the Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5.

This one is pretty obvious as well. A dull blade can yank the hairs while the closeness of the shave will suffer as well.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you have a tough beard and need to shave very often the blades and foils will probably need to be replaced sooner.

Some shavers that use low-quality blades and foils don’t last much until they become dull.

Lubricating the blades regularly will also be important (more details on this later on).

Multiple cutting elements

The Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9.
The Panasonic Arc 5 (left) and Braun Series 9 (right), two shavers with 5 and 4 blades, respectively.

While having more blades won’t always improve the shaving experience to a significant degree, it most likely will in the context of coarse facial hair.

Men with heavy beards almost always have very dense stubble, which means that during a shave more hairs will need to be cut compared to a medium or light beard.

For this reason, I would say that a suitable electric razor will need to have at least three individual cutting elements.

Also, the perforations in the foil will need to handle thicker hairs as well. Some foil shavers have very small perforations which can be a problem.

Closeup of the Prestige angular heads.
The Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige rotary shaver.

A rotary shaver might be a better pick if the stubble is very thick as the more advanced models have both slits and holes in the metal combs.

Wet & dry operation

Wet shaving with an electric razor can be beneficial for men with coarse beards.

This one is not a must, but I strongly recommend giving wet shaving a try, especially if you also happen to have very sensitive skin.

The addition of a quality shaving cream can improve both the closeness and comfort of your shave and make the hairs easier to cut.

You can check out my tips for wet shaving with an electric razor here.

If using shaving cream with your electric razor doesn’t sound too appealing, the next best thing would be a pre-shave lotion that takes just seconds to apply and in most cases, it’s very effective.

The 5 best electric shavers for coarse hair (2024)

We all have the same reasonable expectations from an electric razor — a close and comfortable shave.

And the first step in achieving this is to choose the right shaver.

Now that we know what to look for in a razor suitable for coarse hair, let’s check out some of the best you can currently buy.

1. Braun Series 9 Pro

9465cc.

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Braun.com.

The Series 9 Pro is an evolution of Braun‘s range-topping family of shavers, the Series 9.

The Pro models come with a tweaked shaving head that should handle even better longer, flat-lying hairs.

And while I’ve found both the Pro and the regular Series 9 to be equally impressive in that regard, the Series 9 Pro feels a bit more powerful and fast, which is definitely a good thing if you have coarse hair.

Braun Series 9 Pro vs the standard Series 9.
Braun Series 9 Pro vs the standard Series 9.

If for some reason you cannot get it or you’ve found a great deal on the non-Pro Series 9 (like the 9370cc), it’ll still be an excellent option.

Braun Series 9 9370cc (standard)

Braun Series 9 9370cc.

See the price on Amazon

But the Pro models have the edge, even though the difference is not by any means huge.

Side note: The latest Series 9 PRO+ shaves exactly the same as the Series 9 Pro, but the latter costs less.

An evolution of the iconic and extremely popular Series 7, the Series 9 and 9 Pro are beefed-up, more powerful and more advanced razors that should satisfy even the most demanding users.

The Serie 9 Pro comes in different variations, with or without a cleaning station.

The 9477cc during the automatic cleaning process.
The Series 9 Pro 9477cc during the automatic cleaning process.

My personal pick would be one of the cc variations like the 9465cc for the excellent and practical cleaning station.

It also seems to cost lower than other similar Series 9 Pro models, at least in the USA.

Mine is the silver 9477cc Series 9 Pro which also comes with a charging case.

However, the performance is identical for all the S9 Pro models.

Further reading: You can check out a comprehensive comparison of all Series 9 variations here.

So what makes the Braun Series 9 Pro suitable for coarse beards?

First of all, we have a torquey motor and an excellent cutting system.

Braun Series 9 Pro shaving head.
Braun Series 9 Pro shaving head.

These features work together to provide a smooth and enjoyable shave even if you have a very tough beard and shave every three days, maybe even more.

I personally don’t think there is any other shaver at this moment that can outperform the Series 9/Series 9 Pro as a whole; the comfort, speed, and effortless operation are excellent.

The Braun Series 9 Pro 9477cc.
The Braun Series 9 Pro 9477cc.

If you are “blessed” with sensitive skin and a thick beard like I am, the Series 9 Pro would be a perfectly suitable choice.

It is arguably the best compromise and the most versatile shaver, making it a safe choice for most users.

As for the downsides, the Series 9 Pro is definitely not affordable.

If you need a Braun shaver that offers better value for money and still works well with tough whiskers check out the Series 8 or even the standard Series 9 if you can get a great deal for one.

Also, while the Series 9 Pro should be good enough for most men when it comes to closeness, it’s actually not the best in class, being edged by Panasonic’s Arc 5 shavers.

2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S

Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc5

See the price on Amazon

Also available at WalmartPanasonic.com.

Deal alert: The newer Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR is an equally good option if you can get a better deal on it.

The Arc 5 is a high-end line of electric razors from Panasonic, Braun’s main competitor in the foil shavers segment.

And until the launch of the 6-blade Arc 6 range, the Arc 5 was the most advanced Panasonic electric shaver.

While there are several Arc 5 variations available here as well, my personal pick would be the Panasonic ES-LV65-S from the second generation.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S from the second Arc 5 generation.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S.

This shaver offers the best value for money and the way it can deal with even very coarse stubble is impressive.

In terms of shaving performance, all Arc 5 razors are similar, so the differences between them come down to design, price and the inclusion of an automatic cleaning system.

In the UK for example, the blue ES-LV67 is usually the best pick thanks to its reasonable price.

ES-LV67-A

See on Amazon.co.uk

Since a cleaning station is not really necessary in the case of Panasonic shavers as they’re very easy to clean manually, it makes sense to buy one of these models like the ES-LV65-S or ES-LV67.

Cleaning the ES-LV65-S is very straightforward.

If the cleaning base is a must-have for you, there is the more expensive ES-LV97-K Arc 5 variant that includes one.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S is fitted with an extremely fast 14 000 CPM motor and very sharp blades that are honed at an aggressive 30-degree angle.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S is one of the best foil electric razors you can buy right now.

This allows them to cut thick hairs extremely close, fast and efficiently.

The massive shaving head with the 5 blades can cover very large surfaces with ease, reducing the number of strokes and the shaving time to a minimum.

Personally, I would place Panasonic’s Arc 5 line in the first spot with regard to the closeness of the shave.

While the Series 9 and 9 Pro are more comfortable out of the box, in my experience, the Panasonics are better at providing a closer shave.

However, the Arc 5 works best when used more often (when the hairs are shorter).

The Series 9/9 Pro works great even if the beard is longer and the difference is even more noticeable if the hairs stay flat on the skin.

But generally, if you are mainly concerned with getting the closest possible shave, I recommend the Arc 5 over Braun’s Series 9 or Series 9 Pro.

3. Panasonic Arc 6 ES-LS8A-K

Panasonic ES-LS8A-K

See the price on Amazon

The Arc 6 (or Series 900+ in Europe) is Panasonic’s most advanced shaver yet.

Objectively, I think it’s their best shaver.

It shaves just as close as the Arc 5, but it’s more comfortable and feels a bit more refined as well.

Unsurprisingly, with the same fast motor and arguably the best blades in the industry, it’s an ideal shaver for men with very tough beards.

Panasonic 6-blade shaver (Arc 6).

So why only the third sport then?

Well, the Arc 6 is very expensive compared to the aforementioned Arc 5 shavers.

And while the comfort is better, I still think the Arc 5 would be the better option for most users.

Panasonic Arc 6 vs Arc 5: Which one is better?
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S and Arc 6 ES-LS8A-K.

If you have the budget and also deal with irritation and razor burn, then sure, it’s a fantastic shaver.

Otherwise, you should probably just get the Arc 5.

In other ways, the Arc 6 is very similar to the 5-blade Arc 5.

Despite the use of two specialized trimmer elements to tackle longer (5 and 6 in the image below), flat-lying hairs, it’s still not as good as a Braunb Series 9 Pro.

Panasonic Arc 6 head structure.
The Arc 6 shaving head: Foil cutters (1 through 4), slit trimmers (5 and 6), comfort roller (7).

So using it more often would still be required to get the best results.

The larger 6-blade head will also take some getting used to.

It’s available globally in two variations, the ES-LS8A-K (no cleaning station) and ES-LS9A-K (includes an automatic cleaning station).

However, it is very easy to clean manually and the variation with the cleaning station also costs more.

Rinsing the Panasonic Arc 6 with water in the Sonic cleaning mode.

For more details, you can check out my Arc 6 review as well.

4. Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige

Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige (SP9841/84)

See the price on Amazon

Also available at WalmartPhilips.com.

Rotary shavers also fare very well with thick stubble and according to some, they are even superior to foil shavers.

I will however say that this is usually the case with the more advanced models that have dual track shaving heads.

The angular heads of the new Philips Norelco Prestige.
Close-up of dual track shaving heads on the new Philips Prestige.

These heads will use perforations and wide slits, so the hairs will poke through them and get cut at skin level.

One of the best rotary razors in terms of performance is the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige.

The new Prestige generation.

It is an evolution of Norelco’s former premium line, the Series 9000 (with models like the 9500 and 9800).

With a torquey motor and very effective, comfortable cutters, its performance is among the best you can expect from any rotary shaver.

It’s particularly impressive at how well it can handle longer hairs, being very effective at catching and cutting them in fewer strokes.

The S9000 Prestige shaver held in hand.

So if you are a rotary shaver type of guy, definitely check this one out.

It would be an excellent choice if you shave less often, like twice a week for example.

Unfortunately, the S9000 Prestige doesn’t come with an automatic cleaning station and the price is pretty high compared to other shavers on this list.

The SP9841/84 Prestige model does include a so-called Quick Clean Pod.

The Philips Norelco Prestige inside the Quick Clean Pod.

This is a very compact and basic cleaning system that uses the shaver itself to power it.

It’s not quite as effective and feature-rich as a full-fledged station like the one that comes with the Series 9 Pro, but it is practical and easy to store and transport.

For all the details, make sure to also check out my in-depth S9000 Prestige review.

5. Braun Series 8

8457cc

See the price on Amazon

Also available at WalmartBraun.com.

The Series 8 is a mid-range 3-blade foil shaver in Braun’s current lineup.

We can think of it as a more budget-friendly Series 9 with three cutting elements instead of 4.

Braun Series 8 shaving head.

The Series 8 models starting with 84 and 85 (like for example the 8457cc) even come with the same cleaning station as the Series 9 and 9 Pro.

So if you think the Series 9 or 9 Pro would be a good match for your needs but you’re not willing to spend that much on a shaver, the Series 8 is a worthy, more affordable alternative.

The Braun Series 8 next to the Series 9.
The Braun Series 8 next to the Series 9.

It still has quite a bit of power and should be good enough for men with coarser facial hair.

And while I don’t find it to shave quite as close as let’s say a Panasonic Arc 5, it’s very comfortable and more effective than the Arc 5 if the stubble is longer.

I think you can comfortably shave a 3-day beard with it.

The Braun Series 8.

All Series 8 variations shave exactly the same, so I would only be concerned with price and the inclusion of a cleaning station.

As mentioned earlier, it’s the same station with 3 cleaning modes included with the latest Series 9 and I think it’s worth getting.

The 8457cc is usually the Series 8 to buy, but again, any model starting with 84 or 85 will shave the same.

For all the details you can read my review of the Series 8 as well.

Takeaway

Before wrapping up, I want to point out that in order to get the most out of your shaver, the single most effective thing you can do is to set up an appropriate pre-shave routine.

A few simple and easy-to-implement steps can significantly improve your results.

And since coarse hair makes things more difficult for an electric razor, prep work should not be skipped.

If you have any other questions, make sure to post them in the comments section below.

Article by

Hey. I’m Ovidiu, the founder and editor of ShaverCheck. I independently buy and test electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 10 years, hopefully helping others choose a suitable shaver.

If you found the information useful, consider subscribing to the ShaverCheck newsletter as well. It’s free and I only send a few emails a year. Unsubscribe at any time.

58 thoughts on “What’s The Best Electric Shaver For Coarse Hair (2024)?”

Leave a comment
  1. I want to buy the Braun series 9 shaver for my husband. He is of indian descent and has very coarse hair that grows in different directions and sensitive skin. His hair sounds similar to yours based on what you described in the article. What shaving gel or lotion etc would you recomment i also buy for him to use with the shaver?

    Reply
    • Hi Cherise,

      Based on your comment I think the Braun Series 9 would be a suitable shaver for your husband. Regarding your question, any quality shaving cream or gel will work. I would however stay away from the ones that come in pressurized cans, they are pretty nasty. You can check out some of my recommendations here. Another option would be a pre-shave lotion that must be applied prior to a dry shave. Williams Lectric Shave or Afta Pre-Electric Shave are two of the most popular products of this type.

      The Series 9 is already very comfortable as it is, so a shaving cream won’t make that much of a difference in this case, so it’s up to the user to decide on this matter. For example, I use shaving cream with most of my shavers, but with the Series 9 I really didn’t feel the need to do it. Please keep in mind that if you go for a Series 9 that comes with a cleaning station, the razor must be dry and free of any foam residues before using the station.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for all your help. Your article in itself was a huge help. I researched some pre-shave lotions for the dry shave. I will definitely purchase one of those. I’m leaning more towards the Aramis Lab Series pre-shave mainly due to the fact that it has a faint scent. Thanks again.

        Reply
        • You are very welcome, Cherise. The Lab Series is an excellent pre-shave lotion. I actually consider it superior to the other two popular options. However it’s not as easy to find (at least in Europe) and it’s also pricey. But again, the quality is top notch.

          Reply
  2. Also, do you think the Series 7 would be able to tackle the hair growing in different directions as efficiently as the Series 9 (bearing in mind I would be buying the pre-shave lotion) or should I just stick to purchasing the Series 9?

    Reply
    • The Series 9 is definitely superior when dealing with hairs that grow in different directions. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it’s the best foil shaver in this regard. A pre-shave lotion will help, but only to a certain degree. If it fits within your budget, the Series 9 is the one to buy.

      Reply
      • If you had to quantify the efficiency gains of the Series 9 for hairs that grow in different directions, how much faster/more-effective would you say it is than the Series 7?

        For example, lets say you did the initial passes (with a cheap, low-end foil razor) and all that’s left are the hairs laying in other directions.

        Is the Series 9 (compared to the Series 7) something like 20% faster at finishing off those hairs? 30%? 50%?

        (I ask because the Series 9 is currently 50% higher cost [$270 vs $180], and I’m trying to gauge whether the speed difference for deviant hairs — which is a pet peeve of mine with my current low-end rotary shaver — is enough to justify that 50% price difference.)

        Reply
        • Hi Stephen,

          In my experience, the most noticeable difference between the Series 9 and 7 is when shaving longer, wiry, flat-lying hairs with different grains. So in the specific situation you described, the gains of a Series 9 over the 7 won’t be enough to justify the price difference in my opinion. Things will be different if you’ll constantly have to use it on the type of hair I previously mentioned. In that case, I think the 9 is in the ballpark of 30% to 40% more efficient. That can of course vary among different users and this was just my personal experience when using the Series 9 on a 3-day beard with lots of flat hairs on the neck.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  3. Thanks so much for the quick response. I’m just hoping the foil head doesn’t spoil prematurely. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon where people said it failed after 3-5 months. I really hope that does not happen but I guess only time will tell.

    Reply
  4. I read your recommendation regarding the Series 9 Braun shaver. I am 67 years old and have a thick stubble beard. Some days it seems to grow out faster than others. I have been shaving recently with a Norelco 4100 for ultra sensitive area and blade shaving others taking about 1 hour each day. Many years ago I had a foil shaver and destroyed the foil in about a week. Any suggestions on how to use a foil shaver to avoid the problem and get a shave in a reasonable amount of time? Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Stanely,

      Thank you for your comment. One hour is way too much for completing a shave, so your current setup — a basic rotary shaver and a razor blade — clearly isn’t working as it should. The Philips Norelco 4100 is a decent shaver, but far from ideal in this situation (sensitive skin and thick facial hair). I would say that a more advanced and more powerful foil shaver is the way to go. They are also more comfortable and gentler to the skin compared to most rotary razors. The ones mentioned in this article should be a very good starting point.

      I’m pretty sure that the foil of your previous shaver that broke after one week was an isolated accident. This doesn’t normally happen unless the part was defective from the beginning or it wasn’t properly handled.

      Speaking of which, as long as you clean and lubricate your shaver according to the user’s manual and you don’t subject it to mechanical shocks the foils should last for a long time. Regarding the technique, I wrote an in-depth guide here that may come in handy.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Hello,

    I have a thick beard, and I’ve tried a few Philips shavers, but I take too much time to shave. First I use a hair shaver, then the Philips and finish with a Gillette razor blade.

    Once, I was travelling and I went to a barbershop, the guy used a rectangular shaver that shaved my beard (one and a half week grown) in seconds.

    He told me the name a few times but I didn’t understand. It wasn’t Brawn.

    It was probably a professional grade equipment, but I’d never know which one he used.

    Thanks,

    Reply
    • Hi,

      From what I can tell rotary razors don’t seem to work very well with your beard and you should maybe consider a high-quality foil-based shaver.

      Wahl and Andis electric shavers/clippers are often favored by professional barbers.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. i have braun series 9 it has TERRIBLE performance overall … i had high hope for it i am former philips user 🙁 also my skin is very sensitive …

    Reply
    • Hi Ali,

      I’m really sorry to hear that. The Series 9, while it doesn’t excel in every situation, is considered to be one of the better shavers out there. It is particularly good with sensitive skin, so I was a bit surprised by your experience. I understand that you previously used a Philips shaver; foil-based razors require a different technique and it may take some getting used to before seeing better results. This article may be of help.

      However, if you still don’t see any improvements I would recommend you to go back again to using a rotary shaver; in some cases one type simply seems to work better than the other.

      Reply
  7. I have a very coarse (individual hairs are very thick), moderately dense (hairs are moderately more closely spaced) beard. [As far as I can tell your article doesn’t make much distinction between the two aspects of the problem, but then again, I suspect that from the razor designer’s perspective they are not very different to handle.]

    Alas, I also have some fairly sharp facial contours around the jaw, including some fairly tight concave areas — difficult for any shaver. How do your recommended shavers do vs. sharp, complex jawlines?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. Facial hair particularities come in many forms, so it’s difficult to cover all the possibilities. Usually coarse, thick hairs are also quite dense as opposed to moderately dense in your case. This should actually make things easier for an electric shaver. Rotary razors are usually recommended if you have very prominent facial features, but in my experience with a bit of extra work, a foil razor can work just as well. Using your free hand to stretch and tighten the skin is probably the most effective tip I could give. An electric shaver with a very bulky head like the 5 blade ES-LV65-S will however be more difficult to maneuver compared to one with a slimmer head.

      I would recommend you to check out the Braun Series 9 or the Panasonic ES-LF51-A, they seem like a good fit. I don’t really get along with rotary razors, but if you’ve ever used one with good results, the Philips Norelco 9300 or even the 8900 are among the best you can currently buy.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • Hi Sally,

      Rotary shavers are definitely suitable for coarse hair — some may even argue that they are the best for this situation. However, I do not personally enjoy shaving with rotary razors because I never get the same excellent results compared to using a capable foil-based shaver: closeness, comfort and how long it takes me to complete a shave. Again, this is just a personal preference and others may find rotary razors to be better. For first time users, I tend to recommend foil shavers as I think they are a safer choice in most cases.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. Hi, I’m looking for a durable shaver for my Dad’s very coarse hair, he lives overseas so I need something that is going to last for a long time and doesn’t need replacements. What would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      All electric shavers will eventually need replacements. The blades will get dull with use and the foils/combs will wear out. How fast that happens will depend on many factors, among them being the coarseness of the hair, frequency of use and how well the shaver is cared for (cleaning, lubrication). Any of the shavers recommended in this list should get the job done, the more expensive ones also providing better performance. Choosing one should come down to your budget and availability.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  9. I really don’t mind investing in a great electric foil razor as my skin is very sensitive and I’m forced to shave everyday. However, every model you have presented do not work while plugged in, they’re all cordless and I have had the worst experience with lithium battery products. Can you recommend any good foil razor useable while pluggied? Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Romain,

      I actually wrote a guide that addresses precisely that topic (and also recommended shavers). You can check it out here. As I mentioned in that article, the options are limited and that’s the reason why I couldn’t include any of them in this list. Since you also have very sensitive skin, you should consider one of the dry only Braun Series 7 models (for example the 790cc or the older 720s). Those will work while plugged in as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. I am trying to buy an electric shaver for my 21 yr old son, who has mild cerebral palsy. He has sensitive skin and very course facial hair which lays completely flat on the soft skin of his neck and Adam’s apple. He does have a little trouble with fine motor tasks, so at times he pushes too hard on his razor and scratches himself. It’s very frustrating for him as he wants to be independent but often needs a little help to finish up. I have found that using a rotary shaver to start and a foil to finish up works, but only with help (the rotary does not pick up the hair that lays flat and tugs on his sensitive skin). Do you have a recommendation for us for one shaver that would work for him? I have also never heard about a pre-shave lotion (as mentioned in your article above) for electric shavers, and would appreciate any recommendations about that as well, as it might help with the sensitivity and maybe help the flat hairs stand up.
    Thank you for your article on this…it’s so helpful! Any further information is so greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!
    Mary Beth

    Reply
    • Hi Mary Beth,

      In my experience rotary shavers are not ideal for sensitive skin, I find them a bit too harsh (even the high-end models). They do seem to be more effective at catching longer, flat-lying hairs (at least when compared to a basic foil shaver).

      In this situation, I would consider a Braun Series 9 as it’s really good with flat-lying hairs, but also very comfortable and forgiving. As for which model to choose, it really comes down to your budget. The performance will be the same throughout the entire Series 9 range. The models that come with a cleaning & charging station are more expensive than the solo models.

      Pre-shave lotions are alcohol-based products that must be applied to the skin (massaged into the beard) prior to a dry shave with an electric shaver. The solution will evaporate completely within 20 seconds or so, then you can proceed to shave as usual. In most cases there should be an improvement in comfort, closeness and the time it takes to complete the shave. It can help with flat-lying hairs too. My personal favorite is the Speick pre-shave, but it’s not always easy to get. I wrote a detailed guide and also share other alternatives here.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. I’m African American male who is looking for an electric razor that I can use for my face as well as my head since I am losing up there as well. My hair is a traditional coarse curly hair can you recommend one for me or is it best to stay with the standard razor?

    Reply
    • Hi Clayton,

      Both traditional razors and electric shavers have their pros and cons, so it’s not a one size fit all solution. A blade will get you the closest shave, but also with the associated risks, particularly ingrown hairs and razor bumps being more common among men with coarse, curly hair. An electric shaver could be a better alternative in this case. I would go with a Braun Series 9, it’s arguably the best foil shaver for dealing with this type of facial hair and it’s also very comfortable and forgiving. You can use it on your head as well provided that the hair is reasonably short.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. Hi! I was looking at getting my boyfriend the Panasonic Arc 5. How often would he need to replace the shaver part on it?

    He tends to dull a disposable blade after a couple of shaves and needs to be cleaned shaven for work so he shaves 5-6 days a week. He hasn’t been using a pre shave but will definitely use one w a nice electric shaver.

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa,

      That depends on quite a few factors, so it will be different from one user to another. Things like the coarseness of the hair, the frequency of the shave, how well the shaver is being cared for (cleaning, lubrication) will have an influence on the wear. However, I’d say that when used properly, the blades and foil should last for at least 6 months (worst case scenario). Personally, I’m easily getting more than a year from my Arc 5, but I do take care of it. And by that I simply mean cleaning it after every use and using some oil or spray lubricant for electric shavers.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  13. I have a Braun Series 5. I dull the blades quickly maybe a month. I shave every other day. Shaving takes about 40 minutes and I must keep the razor plugged in to get best motor speed. It takes many passes to eventually get to the skin. Will the 9 really change the amount of time shaving?

    Reply
    • Hi Brian,

      While the Series 9 is a better shaver than the 5 (and it should be considering the cost), if you need to change the cassette monthly and it takes 40 minutes to complete the shave, something’s definitely not right. Even if you have a coarse beard, you should be able to easily get more than a month from a new head. Cleaning and lubricating the shaver should prolong the lifespan of the blades and they will also perform better.

      The Series 9 with an extra cutter and more torque should allow you to finish your session faster, but I would also try to determine the reasons why it takes so long. A pre-shave lotion could also help. By the way, if you go for a Series 9, all models currently available are wet/dry, meaning they will not work with the razor plugged in. Only the older models like 9090cc work corded, but they’ve been discontinued for quite some time.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. I got the panasonic a while back and for 6 months everything was fine then it went dull.. replacement foils and cutters just don’t seem to work for more than a few days before being blunted – which for the price of them doesn’t make it worth it.

    I’m hesitant to pay £200+ on another shaver – is the braun better in this regard?

    Reply
    • Hi Tony,

      The blades going blunt after a few shaves doesn’t sound right. Are you sure they were original blades bought from a reputable vendor? Braun cassettes do tend to last a bit more, but I wouldn’t say they’re dramatically better (I am of course not taking into account the ones that lasted you only a few days).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • It is actually identical to the ES-LV65-S (number 2 on the list) except that it also includes an automatic cleaning and charging station. So everything I said about it is true in the case of the ES-LV95-S as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  15. Which one between the Braun Series 9 and the Panasonic Arc 5 is best on a one day stubble (shaving every other day)? I found that the Braun Series 9 works great (close shave) on a 2-3 day stubble but not so great on an everyday or other day shave?

    Reply
    • I’d say the Arc 5 will be better in most cases — it works really well on short, relatively straight stubble and can actually cut it very close to the skin.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thank you. I have heard that the Arc 5 is a little rougher on the skin than Braun. Braun is very comfortable and smooth.

        Reply
        • You are very welcome. The Braun is indeed more forgiving, while the Arc 5 can be a bit more aggressive if you have very sensitive skin. But as long as you don’t press hard, keep the shaver clean and lubricated and maybe use a good pre-shave lotion, it should be fine as well.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • One more and I will leave you alone. In Canada I can get the LV65 for $260 and the LV67 for $187 (big difference). I am only interested in close shave every other day. Would you still get he LV65 for the price difference? Thx.

          • In this case, I don’t think the pros of the LV65 are worth the price difference. All things equal (including the price), I would pick the LV65 for the reasons I mentioned previously; but in this particular situation, the LV67 would be the more compelling option.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  16. Hey,
    So i’m 20 and use a electric razor but my hair grows back really fast and my skin feel hard and looks dark. And when i use the electric razor it doesn’t fully clean my face, i also usually get pimples around the areas of my face where i use it.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Normally I’d suggest a Panasonic Arc 5 for dense, dark facial hair, but since you’re also dealing with post-shave pimples I think getting a Braun Series 7 (older generation models like the 7865cc, 7893s and so on) or a Series 9 would be a safer choice.
      Also, using a good pre-shave lotion like Speick or Tabac could help with getting a closer shave and reduce the irritation.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  17. I didn’t notice how facial hair gets courser and takes more time to shave as you get older and grey. That is why I think it would be helpful if articles like this would tell me if grey hair is considered course when discussing this topic. None that I have found do.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Grey hair isn’t objectively coarser — its structure doesn’t change, there’s just no more melanin to give it color. However, there’s also less sebum, so the hair gets a lot drier and feels rougher to the touch. I think the best way to counteract this and get a better shave is to use a pre-shave lotion. I will update the article to provide more info on this topic.

      Thank you for the suggestion, much appreciated.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. I bought the Braun 9330S in about 9 months ago. This purchase has been a complete waste of money. Bruan should be ashamed to sell this junk. Initially it gave a nice shave even if I had a 2 day beard. That lasted about 2 months. After that it would only shave if the hair was already quite short. I purchased a new shaving head which turned out to be not nearly as good as the original. In 9 months I have worn out 2 shaving heads (they are supposed to last 18 months). These are quite expensive, I would pay for a new shaver in one year just replacing shaving heads. I do not reccomend the Braun series 9 shaver.

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for the comment. Sorry about your experience with the Series 9 — the 18 months mentioned by the manufacturer is obviously achieved under ideal conditions, so most users will not get 18 months out of a shaving head. 2 months on the other hand is not ok — I would have contacted Braun support and ask for a replacement cassette, they’re usually very helpful in these situations. Also, since you got the 9330s (no cleaning station), cleaning and lubricating it regularly is really important for the lifespan of the head. I have a few Series 9 razors and even my old 9290cc still cuts decently after years of use.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  19. Hi,

    I have a course beard and a pretty sensitive and dry skin, especially in the winter. I also shave 5-6 days per week. I have historically used a manual razor but getting fed up with the nicks so I am looking for the top electric razor and your article and these comments are great.

    I wish there was a clear winner that is fastest, comfortable AND closest, but it seems like you need to sacrifice some closeness for comfort in the Braun 9 versus the Panasonic Arc. How much closer is the Panasonic and is the compromise in comfort worth that closeness if you use pre shave lotion and follow all of your techniques to maximize confort?

    Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      Really difficult to quantify closeness and comfort. How much closer the Panasonic gets depends on your facial hair and if your skin allows a more thorough shave. For example, if your beard is thick, dense and grows relatively straight, the Arc 5 will shave closer, especially above the upper lip and on and below the chin. That 5 o’clock shadow will be less visible and the skin will feel smoother in the evening. With a pre-shave lotion and proper technique, it can definitely work, especially since you shave pretty often as well.

      By the way, the Panasonic Arc 6 is a more comfortable Arc 5, but it’s more expensive and will be available in the USA starting this month.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  20. My question is close to a recent comment of yours. As a 73 year old, I have a pretty’s standard beard, just more grey as time passes. Does less sebum prevent the electric shaver to cut? A razor will but an electric does not seem to cut very well. I notice it on my friends too. What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hi Glenn,

      The most effective thing you can do is to use a good pre-shave lotion (or a quality shaving cream if you have a wet/dry shaver and you’re willing to try a wet shave). Can you tell me the model of the shaver you’re currently using? Some entry-level shavers just aren’t powerful enough to effectively cut wiry facial hair.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  21. Thank you for the informative information you offer.. The Panasonic Arc models don’t seem to be widely available in Australia. Do you know if they are branded differently in some countries? My husband has course, thick , fast growing facial hair but shaves sporadically. Very tricky to find a shaver that’s affordable but can cope.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for the comment. In Australia Panasonic only seems to refer to them as 5-blade electric shavers, without the Arc term. There are quite a few available — the ES-LV67, ES-LV6Q and ES-LV6U being the more reasonably priced models. You should get the one with the best price (whichever that may be), all of them are similar performance-wise.

      I do recommend shaving a bit more often especially if you husband has coarse stubble. Electric shavers work best on short facial hair.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  22. Hello,

    I realize the original write-up is older, but it seems to be being updated often. I am a hairstylist in a long-term care home, so I see many fellas each week. I’m currently using a Babyliss Pro FXFS2 and it gets a really great close, smooth shave, but not if the stubble is more than 3mm. I have to use trimmers first and THEN I can go ahead with the foil shaver. I really would prefer to use one tool only.

    The other issue I have is that many of these seniors have very loose skin on their neck with lots of long, white whiskers growing out and the trimmers can nick that loose skin if I don’t stretch it taut enough. Sometimes I only see these folks once a week or once a month. Those whiskers can get pretty wild!

    Could you perhaps recommend tools, products and techniques that would be beneficial for this kind of situation and clientele? Easy cleaning is important because the shaver is used with multiple clients.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Bonnie,

      Thank you for the comment.

      Unfortunately all electric shavers, regardless of price point, will struggle to a certain degree if the hair is longer than 3mm. Foil and rotary shavers are only meant to be used on short stubble.

      That said, some are better than other when the hair is 3mm or slightly more. The BaBylissPRO double foil shaver you’re using performs quite poorly if the stubble isn’t short and doesn’t grow relatively straight. I also wouldn’t say it’s an ideal choice for numerous lengthy shaving sessions. It was mainly designed for cleanups (top of the cheeks, cleaning the neck close to a beard line) or to blend into a skin fade.

      I would consider a Braun Series 9 Pro in this use case. It’s a lot more capable than the BaBylissPRO with more difficult, longer facial hair and should make it easier and more enjoyable for you and for the person getting the shave. However, if you don’t want to use two tools (like a trimmer to pre-cut the beard to a more manageable length beforehand) it would still need to be used regularly on reasonably short hair. Again, it should handle a 3mm beard a lot better than the BaByliss. But you will absolutely need to use a trimmer if there’s more than a week between the shaving sessions. And that will be the case with any electric shaver.

      Some shavers have separate trimmer attachments, but you still need to swap them and honestly those attachments aren’t great — a separate trimmer is more capable.

      The Series 9 Pro is easy to clean manually, but I think the cleaning station that uses an alcohol-based solution would be particularly convenient here, especially since the same shaver is used by more than one person. So a cc Series 9 Pro variation would make sense.

      Loose skin will always make shaving more challenging. The only way to make it more effective would be to stretch the skin and keep it taut with your free hand while shaving one smaller area at a time and then move on to the next one. If possible, a pre-shave lotion can help as well as it makes the hairs stand slightly more upright and primes the skin for the shave, minimizing the nicks. I pesonally like the one from Speick, but it can be more difficult to find and a bit pricey, in which case the Williams Lectric Shave would be a readily available and inexpensive alternative.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • That does help, thank you!

        I am okay with using a trimmer first. It’s absolutely necessary for those longer whiskers. Do you have a recommendation for a trimmer that glides smoother than my little wireless Andis BTF2? I’ve tried it on my own skin and I find it scrapes the skin a bit. When I bought it, I never anticipated needing it for this purpose.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • You are very welcome. I own that Andis as well and it is very scratchy — I only use it sparingly for some lineups, I really woulnd’t use it to trim by beard regularly. Check out the Philips Multigroom Series 7000 (MG7910/49), it’s a lot smoother, powerful and it’s built extremely well. The blade also lasts a long time and the battery life is great (5 hours on a single charge).

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply

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