What’s The Best Rotary Shaver For Men (2022)?

Switching to electric shavers can be beneficial for most men, especially in terms of convenience, comfort, and even costs.

Whether you’re a first-time user or simply looking to upgrade your current electric razor, you’ll be faced with the decision of buying a rotary or a foil shaver.

Since you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already decided that a rotary shaver would be a better fit for you.

While this ultimately has to do with personal preference and shaving habits, let’s quickly see what they have to offer and how to find the best rotary shaver for your needs.

Pros of rotary shavers — when should you use one?

With no intention of transforming this article into a sterile rotary vs foil debate, here are some scenarios where a rotary razor would be, at least in theory, better suited for the job.

Rotary shavers work better with longer hairs that grow in different directions.

One of the situations where almost all electric razors struggle is when dealing with long, flat-lying hairs.

Things are even worse if the hairs also grow in different directions.

Rotary shaver are more suitable for longer, flat-lying hairs.

Since a foil razor requires shaving against the direction of growth, a rotary shaver used with circular, overlapping motions makes it easier for the hairs to poke through the shaving heads.

The wider slits in the combs of a rotary razor also help in this case whereas a foil shaver would sometimes go over the flat-lying hairs without capturing them.

If you shave less often, a rotary razor is generally better suited for you.

As stated previously, due to the design and operation of rotary razors, they usually work better with longer facial hair than foil razors.

Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige shaving heads.

So if you don’t shave daily or every other day, you should at least consider a rotary shaver.

Some advanced foil shavers like the Braun Series 9 or Series 9 Pro work remarkably well when shaving longer beards (up to 5 days between shaves), but that’s generally not the case with most foil shavers.

Even basic rotary shavers usually manage to perform better than similarly priced foil razors.

You can get away with a sloppier technique when using a rotary shaver.

While a foil shaver offers more precision and control (and some might say even a closer shave), you have to be more thorough and mindful when using one: short, controlled strokes, always pushing the shaving head against the grain.

The razor held in hand.

Using a rotary razor with circular motions requires less strict form and allows you to be less aware of the particularities of the surface being shaved, like the jawline or your chin or even the direction of hair growth.

Shaving these tricky areas with a foil razor would require multiple changes of direction and angle in order to get a clean shave.

Rotary razors work great as head shavers.

Again, due to the way they are intended to be used, rotary razors can be a great option for men that need an electric razor for shaving the head as well.

The flexing rotary heads of a Philips shaver.

Because the individual shaving heads can flex inward, a rotary razor can easily adapt to the spherical shape of the head, which can lead to a more efficient and enjoyable shave.

So men that shave their head don’t have to use a different machine for that.

Granted, foil shavers can work perfectly fine as head shavers, but rotaries usually require less effort for a complete head shave.

Rotary shavers are very quiet during operation.

This is probably the only statement in this list that can be objectively verified.

Rotary shavers are very quiet during use.

Foil shavers have fast motors and blades that oscillate at very high speeds, producing a loud, high-pitched whine and sometimes strong vibrations, while rotary shavers only emit a low hum.

There are certain situations where a quiet operation of your shaver can be important — like not wanting to wake up your significant other, your children or roommate.

Also, some users suffer from Hyperacusis (noise sensitivity), in which case a rotary razor is definitely the better option.

The rotary cutters usually last longer before needing to be replaced.

Rotary razors use circular blades and thick metal combs that generally last longer than any foils + blades setup.

The SH71 cutter (left) next to a rotary cutter with two rows of blades.
Rotary blades.

They’re not only more substantial, but the blades also rotate at a much slower speed compared to the vast majority of foil shavers, so there is less friction and wear.

Philips for example doesn’t even recommend oiling the blades, while most foil razors come with specific instructions on how and when to lubricate them.

Therefore, a rotary razor can actually end up being more economical in time.

What are some of the best rotary shavers you can buy in 2022?

While there are quite a few manufacturers of electric razors out there — some of them lesser known to the general public — rotary razors are practically synonymous with Philips (Norelco).

First introduced in 1939, Norelco has continuously refined and improved the design of their rotary razors and became the undisputed market leader in this segment.

A Philips Norelco rotary shaver.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsed/sponsored by Philips Norelco; all the shavers reviewed on this website were bought and tested by me. The rotary shavers market is unfortunately dominated by a single brand as the other ones simply don’t offer good enough alternatives.

In finding the best rotary shaver for you, the most important aspects to consider are:

  • cost/performance ratio
  • availability and cost of replacement blades
  • ease of cleaning and maintenance
  • how suitable is a given shaver for your particular needs

I will highlight the pros and cons of each razor and also mention when it would be a suitable choice.

Without further ado, here are some of the best rotary shavers you can currently buy.

1. Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9820

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Philips.com

Pros

  • Very comfortable and close shaves
  • Highly effective on longer stubble (3 to 5 days)
  • Great build quality
  • Feature rich
  • Premium travel case

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No cleaning station
  • Mediocre click-on trimmer

The Series 9000 Prestige is the latest and greatest from Philips Norelco. Price aside, it is arguably the best electric rotary shaver you can currently buy.

Based on their previous flagship series, the 9000, the Prestige line represents a significant improvement, especially in terms of comfort and build quality.

Available in several variations (the differences mainly consisting of the included accessories), the S9000 Prestige SP9820 model is probably the pick of the range due to its availability and lower price compared to the other Prestige versions.

In my opinion, the highlight of the Series 9000 Prestige is the new shaving head.

The new Philips Series 9000 Prestige shaving heads

Precisely, the razor comes with new cutters called SH98 that were specifically designed for this series.

The design of the blades and the combs ensure excellent comfort, the S9000 Prestige being by far the smoothest and most forgiving rotary shaver I’ve ever used.

Philips SH98 shaving heads.
The new SH98 shaving heads for the Prestige series

The closeness is also more than adequate and I think the majority of users will be pleased with it.

Most other rotary razors out there are a bit too rough for my skin and will often yank some hairs and cause a constant pinching and stinging sensation.

However, that’s not the case with the Prestige.

The new single-blade design of the cutters ensures a smooth and clean cut, unlike the old double blade (Super Lift&Cut) used on the previous Series 9000 generation.

This shaver is also very impressive in how it can capture and cut longer, flat-lying hairs, even after 3 days of growth or even more.

So if you don’t shave often, this is the rotary razor you’ve been looking for.

Philips says that it can handle up to one week of beard growth. I haven’t pushed it that far, but I think it can be done.

All the Prestige models feature a brushed aluminum body that looks and feels great and it is a massive step up in build quality from other Philips shavers.

Philips Series 9000 Prestige build quality

As for the downsides, the Prestige models and quite pricey and don’t include a cleaning station, which is a bit of a bummer.

The replacement shaving heads, while very capable and smooth, are also pretty expensive.

The Prestige will end up being quite expensive though, but if you want uncompromised performance from a rotary, this is the one to get right now.

For all the details about this shaver, you can check out my review of the Philips S9000 Prestige.

2. Philips Norelco 9500 (S9985/84)

Philips Norelco 9500

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Philips.com

Pros

  • Very comfortable and close shaves
  • Very effective on longer stubble (3 to 5 days)
  • Good build quality and sleek design
  • Cheaper than the older generation
  • Integrated hair trimmer

Cons

  • Bulky shaving head
  • Quick clean pod feels half-baked
  • Not quite as good as the Prestige
  • Smart features are more of a gimmick

This is the new Series 9000 that replaces the older generation, with shavers like the 9700, 9300 and so on.

The regular Series 9000 is the tier just below the Prestige line which is currently the flagship shaver in Philips’ lineup.

However, it’s no slouch by any means and considering its price, it’s definitely worth considering.

The Philips Norelco 9500 features a distinct angular, pentagonal shape of the shaving heads that we’ve seen trickling down to the less advanced models like the new Series 7000 or 5000.

The design is clearly modern and a step up from the older models, but what really matters is the performance.

The modern design of the Norelco 9500.
Image credits: Philips.com

The new Series 9000 comes with new shaving heads called SH91, while the older generation Series 9000 used the SH90 models.

The old heads were in my opinion too harsh for users with sensitive skin and I’m glad they ditched them in favor of the SH91.

In my opinion, the performance is very similar to the Prestige SH98 heads, but I would still give the Prestige the edge.

Tip: The SH98 Prestige heads will fit the Philips Norelco 9500, so that’s basically a quick upgrade.

Compared to the old Series 9000 which used double-edge cutters, the new Series 9000 is noticeably more comfortable and gentler to the skin.

It’s a smooth rotary that deals impressively well with difficult longer hair.

Again, the performance is similar to the Prestige and the old Series 9000 in that regard.

That said, it has an advantage over those in the sense that you can usually buy it for less money.

The Norelco 9500 S9985/84 in particular is the Series 9000 model that offers the best value for money.

It also comes with a very interesting cleaning device called a Quick clean pod:

The new Philips Quick Clean Pod.
The new Philips Quick Clean Pod.

It was first introduced with the Series 7000 and it’s essentially a very basic cleaning station.

It’s not powered electrically and has some quirks — it foams up and doesn’t have a mesh filter to retain the hair clippings — but it’s still quite useful and practical.

It takes little space and you can actually remove the detergent container and screw the lid back.

The Quick Clean Pod cartridge.
The cartridge that goes inside the pod.

The Prestige for example isn’t available with a cleaning station or pod.

There’s a smartphone app as well for the new Series 9000 that shows various info and also gives you tips to improve your technique. I find it gimmicky and not particularly useful, but it is there.

The Philips Norelco 9500 (S9985/84) is in my opinion the Series 9000 to buy thanks to its price and the inclusion of the cleaning pod.

It is more comfortable than the old Series 9000 and the closeness is very similar. The older Series 9000 does come with a full-fledged cleaning station and again, you can also upgrade the cutters.

The price you’re able to get for either should be the decisive factor in my opinion.

3. Philips Norelco Series 9000 S9531/83

S9531

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Philips.com

Pros

  • Very effective on longer hairs
  • Excellent cleaning station (certain models)
  • Compatible with the new Prestige shaving heads
  • Close shaves

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Difficult to find in 2022

This is the old, original Series 9000 that I’ve been referencing above.

With the launch of the Prestige line, these older models can sometimes be found at a more reasonable price and they still represent an excellent choice.

Unfortunately, the models that come with the excellent cleaning station (like the 9300 and 9700) are pretty much impossible to find nowadays.

So that makes the Series 9000 S9531/83 (no cleaning station) the only available option.

The shaving performance is however identical and it also costs less than the other variations that came with the cleaning station.

It is a highly capable rotary electric shaver that works really well both wet and dry.

It deals impressively well with difficult hair, especially on the neck or right below the jawline.

The shaver needs little to no pressure at all for a smooth and close shave. The highly flexible shaving heads ensure optimal contact with the skin at all times.

While the comfort isn’t quite as good as in the case of the newer S9000 Prestige and 9500 above, it would still be adequate for someone that doesn’t have particularly sensitive skin.

Tip: the SH91 blades of the new Series 9000 and even the SH98 of the Prestige are backward compatible and will fit the older Series 9000 S9531/83. They are more comfortable in my experience.

There’s also a beard trimmer attachment included in the package, very useful for light grooming and touch-ups.

But just like the one that comes with the Prestige, it’s rather clunky to use and I personally prefer the integrated pop-up trimmers.

Even though it’s an old model that’s getting difficult to find in 2022, I think the older Series 9000 still represents an excellent rotary if you can get a great deal on one.

The main appeal consists for it of the fact that you can upgrade the SH90 cutters to the new and better SH91 or SH98.

4. Philips Norelco Series 6000

Philips Norelco 6880/81.

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Philips.com

Pros

  • Close and very comfortable shaves
  • Good performance on longer stubble
  • Reasonably priced
  • Feels like a budget Prestige
  • Enjoyable and easy to use

Cons

  • Difficult to find in 2022
  • Mediocre click-on trimmer

Update: If you can’t get it anymore, the Philips Series 7000 represents a really good and affordable alternative.

The new Series 6000 from Philips is pretty much a budget-friendly Prestige.

While some of the premium features like the aluminum build, LCD display, and speed settings were ditched in order to keep the price down, the shaving performance is not that far off.

Precisely, the Series 6000 is a very comfortable rotary razor (just as good as the Prestige in my experience) and it’s also really impressive at shaving longer facial hair.

The main reason for the surprisingly good performance (at this price point) comes down to the new SH60 blades.

If we take a close look at them, they seem to be identical to the ones on the Prestige:

The SH60 blades (left) and the SH98 (right) used on the Shaver 6800 and Prestige, respectively.
The SH60 blades (left) and the SH98 (right) that come with the Series 6000 and Prestige, respectively.

They even use the same metal-reinforced locking rings, which is again something we’re not used to seeing on mid-range rotaries.

So if you were put off by the price of the Series 9000 Prestige, I think the Series 6000 can be a worthy, more affordable alternative.

The Shaver 6800 and Prestige side by side.

The Series 6000 6880/81 (Shaver 6800) model is usually the best pick thanks to its price (at least in the USA). Alternatively, the Shaver 6900 can be bought if the price is lower (the performance is identical).

Important: there are a few European variations of the Series 6000 available as well, however, in the case of those, Philips decided to use the older SH50 shaving heads instead of the new (and excellent) SH60 found on the American models.

As mentioned previously, the Philips Series 6000 doesn’t have the speed settings found on the Prestige, but comes with its own implementation called Skin Guard.

This mode, activated by pressing a dedicated button, should make the shaver even more comfortable by slowing down the motor.

The button that activates the Skin Guard mode on the Philips Shaver 6800.

In practice, I found it to be of little to no use since the shaver was very comfortable in the normal mode, but it’s there nevertheless.

The closeness wasn’t quite up there with the Prestige as the motor seems to be a bit less powerful; however, it was still adequate for a rotary razor.

There’s no cleaning station available, so you will have to clean it manually after every shave.

Rinsing all t he parts with water.

And as usual, that’s easy and straightforward most of the time.

The Philips Series 6000 is waterproof and suitable for wet & dry use.

For most users, this shaver is one of the best rotaries in 2022 given its performance and price, especially for users looking for a very comfortable razor.

You can check out my full review as well to get all the details.

5. Philips Norelco Shaver 3500

Philips Shaver 3500.

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Philips.com

Pros

  • Close and comfortable shaves
  • Good performance on longer stubble
  • Reasonably priced
  • Integrated pop-up trimmer
  • Flip-open head
  • Cheap and durable replacement heads

Cons

  • Cordless only use
  • No travel lock

The new Series 3000 from Philips is in my opinion the budget pick for most users.

It punches above the price point — in my opinion it’s better in every aspect than the pricier new Series 5000 for example.

There are basically two highly popular models in this series: the Shaver 3800 and the Shaver 3500.

The only difference between them is the color and the fact that the former also comes with a charging stand.

Charging the Norelco Shaver 3800 via the stand.
The shaver 3800 in the included charging stand.

Performance-wise they are absolutely identical.

So unless you absolutely need the charging stand, you might as well go with the cheaper Shaver 3500.

It’s a really good rotary that gets the job done and it’s a very enjoyable and easy to use shaver.

In fact, I’d say I prefer the head design and form factor to any of the previously listed razors.

The Shaver 3800 held in hand.

It also deals with difficult hairs surprisingly well and it’s certainly better than any foil razors in that price range when used on a longer beard.

Even though the Series 3000 only uses single-track cutters (the previous ones on this list have two concentric tracks per head), it still performs well on difficult facial hair.

The Philips Norelco Shaver 3800 uses a classic 3-blade cutting system.

Philips gets this right, unlike Remington for example which isn’t as effective even with two tracks.

The battery life is also really good at 60 minutes of cordless use.

The Shaver 3500 and 3800 will however not operate with the cord plugged in since these are wet/dry shavers.

I found the closeness and comfort perfectly adequate, maybe only slightly below the Series 6000.

The blades and guards are suspended on these very responsive springs and the plastic holders also tilt inward.

The 5D flexing system in action.

The heads glide easily on the skin and always remain in contact with it.

And speaking of cutters, the Series 3000 uses the SH30 heads, which are reasonably priced and reliable.

SH30 blade and guard.

The cutters use a single-blade design, hence the excellent comfort without that constant feeling of stinging.

For most men, I think the Shaver 3500/3800 would be the ideal budget pick unless you want a shaver that can also work with the cord plugged in.

And that leads us to the last shaver on the list.

6. Philips Norelco Shaver 2300

Philips Norelco Shaver 2300 S1211/81.

See the price on Amazon

Also available at Walmart, Philips.com

Pros

  • Close and comfortable shaves
  • Good performance on longer stubble
  • Reasonably priced
  • Integrated pop-up trimmer
  • Flip-open head
  • Cheap and durable replacement heads
  • Corded & cordless use

Cons

  • Charging takes a long time
  • No travel lock
  • Not as powerful as the Shaver 3500

Finally, there’s the Philips Norelco Shaver 2300 (S1211/81) that offers the best bang for your buck.

While it lacks the wet & dry operation of the shavers above, it costs significantly less and most users will shave dry anyway. It is waterproof and you can still clean it with water.

Norelco shaver 2300.

The Shaver 2300 is a basic, no-frills rotary razor that will get the job done.

As it’s the case with all entry-level razors, the 2300 works best when used more often, even though during my tests it managed to cope remarkably well with longer, flat-lying hairs.

The Shaver 2300 held in hand.

The closeness and comfort are adequate, but again can’t really match the performance of the high-end rotary razors like the Philips Series 9000.

And to top it off, it works both corded and cordless.

As for the downsides — there must be some compromises in order to sell it at that price, the Shaver 2300 takes almost 6 hours to fully charge.

The battery capacity is also slightly smaller, providing 40 minutes of use compared to the 60 minutes in the case of the Shaver 3500 and 3800 above.

The Philips Shaver 3800 next to the 2300.
The Philips Shaver 3800 next to the 2300.

But you do have the option of shaving with the cord plugged in.

Finally, it feels slightly underpowered compared to the Shaver 3500, so I think it would work best for men with light to moderate facial hair.

Both the Shaver 2300 and 3500 use the same SH30 blades, so the costs of ownership will be minimal in case of both.

For more details, make sure to check out my complete review of the Shaver 2300.

Cons of rotary razors — are there any shortcomings?

So far this guide might make you think that rotary shavers are flawless and represent the absolute best choice.

I’m afraid that’s not the case as rotaries do have a couple of specific disadvantages.

Generally, a rotary razor will not shave as close as a decent foil shaver. That’s a physical limitation caused by the thicker guards.

The Philips Norelco Shaver 3800 uses a classic 3-blade cutting system.

Foils are really thin, while the guards on all rotary razors are thicker.

While this allows the rotary cutters to last longer, it also means they can’t cut the hair quite as close to the skin.

That’s not set in stone though. Some men can only get a decent shave with a rotary.

The second con has to do with comfort.

While some of the more recent single-blade design cutters have rectified this, a good foil razor is usually more forgiving than a rotary.

This means you can get away with a faster stroke and even apply more pressure, especially with Braun shavers which are in my opinion the best option for men with very sensitive skin.

But in the end, any electric shaver, regardless of the type, means you’ll be making a small compromise.

You just have to go with the one that makes the most sense in your case.

Final word

This pretty much wraps up my top 6 recommendations that will hopefully cater to everyone’s needs for a rotary shaver.

There are of course other excellent or similar razors out there, so definitely check out the reviews section as well for in-depth, real-world reviews of the most popular electric shavers.

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

Article by

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

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

47 thoughts on “What’s The Best Rotary Shaver For Men (2022)?”

Leave a comment
  1. Thanks for your helpful point can you please elaburate how to clean the heads should it be cleaned by decapping them or wadhig them would be sufficient? Specially the one located in the center .
    Thanks
    Sparsamail@gmail.com

    Reply
  2. Thanks for your helpful point
    I got a Q-rotary Shaver with 5 heads.
    can you please elaburate how to clean the heads ?
    should it be cleaned by decapping each head to clean . or washing them under watet would be sufficient? Specially the one located in the center which doesnt seem to be oppend easily.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Saeid,

      I haven’t personally used a Q Shaver, so I’m afraid I cannot give you any advice on how to take apart the center shaving head. Your user’s manual should normally include detailed instructions on how to perform this operation. Regarding the actual cleaning, the exact steps and how to perform them when taking apart the shaving heads for a more thorough cleaning will vary for different shavers. I’ve only used Norelco and Remington rotary shavers, so I don’t think it would be of much help in this case. It usually involves removing the shaving head holder, removing a retaining frame that holds the cutters inside the combs and then cleaning the cutters and the inside of the combs one by one, taking extra care not to mix them up. In the case of your shaver this can be different to a less or higher degree.

      Also, this in-depth cleaning should be performed from time to time, like once every week or two if you don’t have or use an automatic cleaning station. Again, this depends on your shaving frequency and you can do it more or less often.

      Reply
  3. I had an Arcitec Shaver, used the now discontinued RQ 10 replacement head. I bought a 7000 series razor which isn’t as good as the Arcitec. Why did Norelco Philishave discontinue the RQ10? Haven’t enjoyed a shave since then.

    Reply
  4. Hi,
    first wanted to congratulate You for this site. I have a question regarding new Philips Star Wars edition of rotary razor – SW6700. Have You checked that out or will You check it in near future? What’s interesting in this little fellow – same shaving head as 9000. Also I believe it uses the same replacement blades as SH90. Instead of personalization mode it has turbo mode, probably known from 5700. I was wondering about razors performance because in my country You cannot find 8900 so there is no cheaper 9000 alternative and maybe SW6700 could be one (around 110$).

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comment. I haven’t tried the SW6700 yet, but its performance should be similar to the 8900. You are correct, they use the same cutting heads as the Series 9000. For $110 I would say that it looks like a good deal as well.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Hi, could you include Philips AquaTouch S5070? It’s so hard to find decent review of this particular type.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I haven’t got the chance to try that one yet, so I’m afraid I cannot help you.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. First of all, amazing articles!!!, this place is the shaver heaven!!, thanks for share.

    I am searching for a new shaver, actually, I have an HQ6950 which is more than enough (I don’t have a lot of beard, in fact, I shave every 3 days my mustard and I use the pop up trimmer every 5 days.
    I am planning to buy a 4100 and a Multi Groomer MG3750. What do you think? I also thought in a foil shaver buy I never had one and for the mustard maybe the rotary is better.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words, Santiago. Since you were pleased with the HQ6950, going for another rotary shaver is probably the right thing to do. The 4100 is a very good shaver in its price category and I think it’ll serve you well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Which razor have you heard is the best for shaving heads? I shaved my head over a year ago and with blades, I sometimes get razor burns on my head. A friend recommended using a 3 head electric razor. Just don’t know which is best for heads. Can anyone help? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Mitch,

      Any decent electric shaver can be used for shaving the head as well. The Series 9 is really good (and it’s even being used at barbershops specifically for this). It’s also very comfortable and gentle, so you likely won’t get any significant razor burn. Rotary shavers can be more practical as they adapt better to the spherical shape of the head but aren’t as comfortable in my opinion and foil shavers also shave closer in most cases.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. A question regarding the slots and holes on the Norelco heads. The simpler SH30 heads (Comfort Cut) come with only slots whereas the SH50 (Multiprecision Cut) heads have both holes and slots. I know many men who swear by the simpler head found in the 3000 series and below. Have you any experience with this? In other words, is the explanation given by Philips actually valid or more marketing hype than anything else (i.e. that the holes provide for a closer shave in terms of picking up stubble whereas the slots more easily pick up longer hairs sometimes found on the neck)?

    Reply
    • Well, in my opinion the main advantage of having both holes and slots is the better performance when shaving longer hairs. The improvement is particularly obvious if we compare a basic rotary shaver like 3000 Series with the S9000 Prestige, the latter being arguably the best in that regard. A simpler head (with only holes) could yield better results for someone that shaves often for example, so it’s mostly short stubble.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  9. Honestly, the best combination is to get the cheaper Norelco 9300 and then add the SH98 blades. The new blades fit the older 9000 series razors(even though Philips says they don’t, look up the reviews of the blades on Amazon) and the blades are what make the s9000 prestige so good. The extra sensing motor really doesn’t do all that much(I had the s9000 Qi but returned it), at least not as far as I can tell.

    Getting the 9300 with the SH98 blades, gives you the shave of the S9000, along with a cleaning base, for a cheaper overall price.

    Reply
    • That is true, I’ve even mentioned this in my review of the Prestige. For current 9300 owners, it is definitely a worthy upgrade.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. I am a long time Philips Norelco user. I purchased Prestige shaver last year. It gave a close shave but it would pinch my neck skin between the heads. I sold it and bought a foil shaver. It shaved a little closer, but as you have noted, it was very noisy and it did “burn” my skin. I noticed that Philips updated their 3000 shaver to a “new series” 3800 model. It’s like one I had years ago. I bought it and I find that it gives a good shave when using a gel and it doesn’t pinch my skin. It is far less cheaper than the Prestige, had “flip top” cleaning, and comes with a trimmer installed. It was like “back to the future”.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Michael. The pinching is the main issue I also have with rotaries, especially with the models that use the Lift & Cut double blades. The Prestige does actually come with a single blade row, so I find it a lot less likely to pinch. So at least in my experience, it was better in that regard than most other Norelco models I’ve used. I haven’t tried the new 3800 yet, but it uses the same blades as the old 3000, so I think the performance will be similar as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. The top five are all Philips Norelco. Hum. That seems just a little suspicious. What were all the brands that you considered? Are you paid or reimbursed in any way for your opinion?

    Reply
    • Just as it is stated in the about page, this website is not paid or reimbursed in any way by Philips or any other manufacturer. I buy and review all the shavers myself. The reason why all 5 are Philips is because Philips is currently the only brand that makes decent rotary razors. I’ve used (and reviewed) Remington rotary shavers as well, but they’re just plain bad. And apart from a few cheap Chinese knock-offs, that’s pretty much it.

      By the way, in my top 10 shavers of 2020, there are only two Philips shavers. Two out of ten.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. I recently bought a Chinese Jinding 5-cutter rotary shaver. Big mistake. It doesn’t shave nearly as well as a 10+ year old Norelco 8865 with the original parts. (The Norelco’s power switch/button has worn out.)

    No discussion of electric shavers I’ve seen addresses the problem of the vibrations from foil shavers aggravating Reynauds syndrome. This involves the loss of circulation in fingers due to the destruction of the capillaries from using tools such as chainsaws – and foil razors.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Steve. Chinese knockoffs are usually very poor when it comes to performance.

      I actually posted an article some time ago where I make the case that rotary razors are better in certain cases due to the reduced noise and vibrations. I am not a medical professional so I cannot weigh in on the specific matter of Raynaud’s syndrome.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  13. Hi Ovidiu,

    In your Best Shaver Guide, you said:
    “Because of that, I can’t really recommend getting the European versions.”

    However here you instead stated:
    “while in Europe there are other variations available, but the performance is identical.”

    Should probably mention the inferior head in this article too.
    Also the international versions seem to have 60min batteries.

    Any thoughts on the new pentagonal Series 5 & 7?
    I appreciate the lubrication guide, very slick!

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Many thanks for the heads-up, I will update the information here as well. The European versions do have a different/inferior head as mentioned in the Best Shavers Guide. I’ve just received the Series 7 with the new cleaning pod (model S7782/85), but I haven’t got the chance to shave with it yet. I will of course post a detailed review after a few weeks of testing.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • With regular/daily use, at least 3 years would be a reasonable expectation. That’s standard battery lifespan according to most shaver manufacturers, but generally a battery should last longer than that (provided you take proper care of it).

      Being a new model, I’m afraid I don’t have any info regarding the exact type of battery needed.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. CVS Pharmacy is still selling the 2500, and at a “good” price. If you’ve reviewed this one in the past, can you point me in the direction of the review, please? Thanks, Ron

    Reply
    • Hi Devon,

      You can check out my in-depth review of it here. I didn’t include the S7700 in this roundup because the Series 6000 is a better budget pick in my opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  15. As an owner of a Prestige 9000 for a couple of years now I thought I’d share my two cents worth. It is without doubt the best rotary shaver I’ve ever used after 20 odd years experience of using multiple lower end shavers include Phillips and other brands.

    The reason I say it’s the best is due to the closeness of the shave and also the comfort in that I have never experienced any irritation, pinching or any other discomfort. However the biggest thing for me was how using it has eliminated ingrown hairs from around my neck and throat area.

    I had horrible cystic acne when I was younger which persisted into adulthood particularly around the neck / throat. I now realise that this was probably caused by the cheap “lift and cut” rotary shavers I have previously used. The single blade heads in the prestige 9000 have completely eliminated this issue for me therefore greatly increasing my self confidence. I bought this in June 2019 in Australia for a great price ($450) during end of financial year sales.

    Worth every penny

    Reply
    • Many thanks for taking the time to share this, Dylan. I was never a fan of the lift & cut blades either — I didn’t get ingrown hairs, but almost always resulted in folliculitis in addition to being very uncomfortable during use. Glad you’re enjoying your Prestige, it’s also my favorite rotary (by far).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  16. Hello, Ovidiu

    I’m looking to upgrade my rotary shaver soon, and I’ve found your article very helpful. I just have one question to ask that will help me make my purchase decision. I’ll try to be as specific as I can, so you know exactly what I’m asking.

    Can I buy a Philips Norelco Series 9000 S9721, or similar, which comes with/uses an SH90 head, replace the head with an SH98 head(the one used by the prestige), and have it work just fine? Would it fit onto the shaver? What would be the difference, if any? Would I still be able to fit it in the Smartclean stand, and have it clean just fine?

    Reply
    • Hello Paul,

      Yes, the SH98 will fit the older Series 9000 (it is a tighter fit, but still works fine) and you will be able to clean it in the Smartclean station. The main difference in my case (SH90 vs SH98) is the vastly improved comfort provided by the SH98.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  17. I mainly use foil shavers, but recently picked up a Norelco Series 5000 on sale, to add a bit of variety to my routine. After about a week, the closeness & comfort seem adequate, not great. Some questions:

    Since rhe closeness does not seem adequate to account for the level of irritation, I wonder whether Norelco’s Lift & Cut feature might be the culprit. I think you mentioned the Prestige models avoid this feature, which mbegs the question why other models still have it. Is there a comprehensive list of rotaries that do & don’t have Lift & Cut?

    Why, precisely, does a rotary shaver call for shaving in a circular pattern & a foil shaver does not? I have used a circular motion with foil shavers also, on areas where hair grows in different directions, and it seems equally appropriate in such areas irrespective of the type of shaver. Am I missing something basic?

    Reply
    • Hi Barry,

      Those are some excellent questions. In my opinion the Lift&Cut blade is the main culprit for the discomfort during the shave, but could also contribute to post-shave irritation. Another cause could be the slow rotational speed of the rotary blade which can yank some hairs instead of cutting them clean.

      The idea behind circular vs straight strokes is to optimize the way the hair is fed into the cutting heads. In the case of both rotary and foil shavers, the movement should be against the direction of growth, and since the holes of a rotary head are arranged in a circle, going in these elliptical/circular patterns is usually the most effective way of shaving. I strongly recommend trying various techniques depending on your hair type though. For example, when using a foil shaver, you will need to adjust the direction of the stroke multiple times as you’ve also mentioned since the hairs have different grains.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. Hi Ovidiu,

    I was delighted to come across your site!

    I have a old ( I have to buy generic blades as Norelco no longer supports the model) 5811XL Norelco razor, Which is beginning to “chirp” internally.

    For me, the major feature is that it came with a “drop in” recharging station”.

    Is there any model of Norelco razors that still off that feature or do they all require being plugged in like a cell phone to recharge?

    Reply
    • Hi Clint,

      Thank you so much, glad you found the site useful.

      There are actually several Philip Norelco models at various price points that do come with a charging stand. Here are a few (from high-end to more affordable shavers): the new Series 9000 9800 (S9987/85), the Series 7000 7700 (S7782/85), the Series 6000 Shaver 6900 (S6810/82)>, the Shaver 3800 S3311/85. There might be others as well (for example the old Norelco 6100 that was discontinued), but those are the ones I immediately thought of.

      Alternatively, there’s a Philips Norelco charging stand (sold separately) that is compatible with quite a few (older) shaver models if the ones mentioned above aren’t suitable.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  19. I have a BRAUN series 3 330 dry foil rechargeable/mains shaver and also a PHILIPS series 3000 wet/dry rechargeable shaver; both shavers are fantastic, giving me very close, clean, smooth and redness/irritation-free shaves every time; when it comes to a very close and more detailed shave, the BRAUN 3 330 dry foil is wonderful only if I use it every day or every other day, it can be used for every morning shave and the results are just great; but if I leave my face without having a shave for more than 5 to 6 days, then the PHILIPS 3000 wet/dry shaver is the champion, the only downside is that this shaver can give me a bit of irritation if I use it for an everyday morning shave that is not even that much but in comparison with the BRAUN 3 330 foil dry shaver that is the only bad point of the PHILIPS; in resume, both shavers are complete to my full satisfaction and personaly I could recommend any of these shavers to anyone that needs good and cheap shaver to get optimous results.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comment, Eddi, that actually makes a lot of sense. The Series 3000 is clearly better on a 5 to 6 days beard, though not as comfortable as a mild foil shaver like the Series 3 from Braun.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  20. Thanks for the informative article. I have a Norelco 1290X which works fine but the blades (RQ12) are not great and don’t last long (have purchased several replacement heads for the unit). Are the blades on the Prestige or the 9000 unit different or better? If so, can I purchase those blades and use them on my 1290X unit or do I need to buy the new one? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you for the comment. I think the blades are RQ12+ or RQ12 Pro, the original RQ12 have been discontinued for many years. Regarding the SH98, I think they should fit your shaver, but I cannot say that with certainty as I don’t own a 1290X to try them. I definitely think they’re better than the RQ12+/RQ12 Pro. But again, I am not 100% sure they’ll fit your razor.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  21. Ovidiu,

    Love your comprehensive, detailed reviews! One question: Will the SH98/72 Heads fit my 9450 (Sh9531/83) shaver and, if so, is that the preferable Head for the 9450?

    Thank You!

    Joe

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Joe.

      Yes, they will fit your shaver. In my case the upgrade to the SH98 is definitely noticeable and the shaves I get are a lot more enjoyable and smooth. That said, if you’re not particularly bothered by the more aggressive SH90 cutters, the performance bump may not feel that significant. But you should nevertheless experience a better shave.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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