The Series 5 from Braun is a mid-range line of electric shavers that fills the gap between the entry-level Series 3 and the best-selling Series 7 shavers.
However, if we consider the performance and the overall capabilities of the Series 5, they are a whole lot closer to the Series 7 than the Series 3.
Add in the fact that the Series 5 costs less than the Series 7 and is actually better in certain areas and we have the recipe for a very compelling product.
Moreover, the current generation has received an update, making it even more difficult for the potential buyer to decide which model would be right for him.
In this post we’ll take a close look at all the important differences between the various Series 5 models and see which ones are the best with regards to price and performance.
A short overview of the Series 5
The current Series 5 from Braun is actually the third generation since the introduction of this line.
Some of the previous (discontinued) models — like the 550cc — can still be found, but in this article we will only be referring to the current generation.
You can easily tell the current shavers apart from the older ones as they use a 4 letter template for the model names: 50** or 51**.
The 51** shavers are actually part of a small update to the current line that Braun refers to as the Series 5² (more on this in the next section).
The Series 5 is a foil shaver that features a cutting block with three individual elements, just like the Series 7.
It is available with or without a cleaning station and includes variations suitable for wet & dry or dry only use.
Just like other Braun shavers, the ones that include a cleaning station are the CC models (standing for Clean & Charge), like the 5190cc.
Braun Series 5 5090cc/5190cc
The S (standing for solo) models like for example the 5040s or 5147s don’t come with an automatic cleaning station and will not work with one. The solo models lack a dedicated chip that is used to communicate with the cleaning station.
The Braun Series 5 is an electric shaver capable of providing very comfortable and close shaves, similar to the more expensive and highly acclaimed Series 7.
While the Series 5 lacks the micro-pulsations technology and personalization modes found on the Series 7, this doesn’t seem to make a significant difference in real life use.
The shaving head of the Series 5 is almost identical to the one used by the Series 7, but it costs less.
Moreover, since the shaver itself is also priced lower, has a better head locking mechanism and a better display, I would even say that the Series 5 represents a better option for most men.
And that’s quite something since the Series 7 was and still is to some degree the unofficial benchmark for shaving comfort and it also gained some sort of iconic status in the industry.
The updated Series 5²
Braun recently rolled out an update for the current Series 5 shavers, called the Series 5².
Some of these updated models are now available for purchase — like the 5190cc, 5195cc and 5145s. However, after taking a close look at their specifications it’s obvious that this is — for the most part — just a minor makeover.
The updated models are easy to spot as they use the 51** names (for example, 5190cc) instead of the 50** used by the current Series 5 (like the 5090cc).
Just like the updates to the Series 7 and 9, this is also an attempt at unifying the line and making it less confusing for the user to choose a shaver.
For example, all the newer models are now suitable for wet & dry use and Braun even ditched the model names in the official product pages of their UK site. They are only referred to as Braun Series 5 black or Braun Series 5 black/blue.
The Series 5² shavers still use the same shaving heads as the current ones and I have no reason to believe that the actual shaving performance is anything but identical.
The changes are cosmetic for the most part and include new sleek color schemes and different packaging. The included accessories can differ as well. For example, some models don’t include a soft travel pouch.
Other visual changes are the S5 and Wet & Dry text on the front part of the shaver and a new 3 level battery display indicator.
The new Series 5² shavers are credited with a 50-minute battery running time, while the current ones last for 45 minutes.
It’s very difficult to say if they actually use higher capacity batteries or Braun simply changed their testing methodology. A 5-minute difference is not by any means significant.
Probably the most important feature of the updated shavers in the so-called AutoSense Technology.
With this new addition, the shaver is capable of reading your beard’s density and adjust the output of the motor accordingly: less power for shaving thin hairs and more for dense beards.
In theory, this sounds good; however, in real life use, it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
Having used various shavers with this type of technology, including Panasonic and Braun’s very own Series 7 with its personalization modes, I very much prefer shaving with full on power at all times.
Artificially altering the power output just makes the shaver feel slow without any benefits to comfort or efficiency.
For these reasons, I don’t consider the updated models to be a clear step up from the current Series 5, so either would be an equally good option.
Below you’ll find a table with the differences between the Braun Series 5 and Series 5² models.
Braun Series 5 comparison: what are the differences between the most popular models?
Currently, these are the most popular models available in the USA and Europe as well: 5090cc, 5040s, 5030s, 5140s, 5145s, 5190cc/5195cc.
As seen in the previous section, the ones that start with 51** are part of a new minor makeover.
I will update this post once I can get one and have it tested thoroughly, but I don’t expect them to bring any significant performance improvements over a 50** model.
So as far as performance is concerned, all the current Series 5 models are identical. Choosing one particular shaver should simply come down to the following factors:
- The inclusion of an automatic cleaning station
- Wet & dry operation
- Color scheme
- Included accessories
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Automatic cleaning station
Braun’s clean & charge stations work excellent; they use an alcohol-based cleaning solution that cleans and lubricates the shaver and does so extremely well.
The ones that come with the Series 5 are no exception and since Braun’s shaving heads can be more difficult to clean manually compared to other foil shavers, you’ll probably want the cleaning station as well.
Out of all the models from the 50** Series 5 line that come with a cleaning station, the 5090cc is the only one that has a full option cleaning base, including the hygiene analysis and three cleaning modes (short, normal, high intensity).
The other ones cc models in the 50** generation (5070cc, 5050cc) only have one standard cleaning program and they are only available in certain countries.
The shavers in the new Series 5² like the 5190cc or 5195cc use the same cleaning station as the 5090cc with the 3 cleaning modes.
Braun Series 5 5190cc
The 5090cc is getting more difficult to find at this moment, so the 5190cc or 5195cc would be two equally good alternatives.
For more details you can check out our review of the 5090cc.
As for the downsides, the alcohol-based solution tends to evaporate fast, so you’ll want to put the plastic cap back on the cartridge if you won’t be using it for a long time. Here are more tips on how to make the refills last a lot longer.
The stations that come with the Series 5 lack the active drying systems of the more expensive Series 7 (only certain older models) and Series 9 stations — induction heating or a fan. This means that once the cleaning cycle is over, it will take several hours for the shaving head to dry.
Also, while the cost per cleaning is not that high, it is higher compared to Panasonic or Philips Norelco as their detergent based solution seems to last longer before needing to be replaced.
Braun cleaning cartridge
Luckily, there are third-party cleaning solutions that cost a lot less and work just as well.
Please note that if you use shaving cream with your Series 5, you’ll have to manually clean any lather or soap residues before placing the shaver into the cleaning station.
If you fail to do so the cleaning station can eventually clog.
Because of this limitation and the fact that pretty much all Braun shavers are fiddly to clean manually, the Series 5 is probably not the best option if you plan on shaving with cream or gel.
Panasonic and Philips Norelco are much better options for wet shaving. Stick to Braun for dry shaving.
In my opinion the Series 5 5090cc/5190cc are probably the best option for most men; they come with the full-fledged cleaning station and are also reasonably priced.
Again, the actual shaving performance is identical throughout the entire Series 5 line.
You can of course opt for a solo model like 5040s and clean it manually, but I think the station is really handy for cleaning the shaver thoroughly a few times a month. In this manner your costs will be minimal and this will prevent dirt buildups inside the cassette.
2. Wet & dry use
As mentioned previously, using a Series 5 with shaving cream will always imply a manual cleaning, even in the case of the recently released wet & dry models that include the cleaning station.
If this isn’t an issue, then you can opt for the 5040s variation or other models from the updated series (like the 5145s for example).
Since the performance will be the same, you should simply get the cheaper one.
Braun Series 5 5040s
The models that don’t include a cleaning station usually cost less, but that’s not always the case.
The 5040s has a 2 level battery indicator and can’t be used while the shaver is plugged to the mains.
This is a safety precaution that’s present with all wet & dry shavers. The dry only models like the 5090cc can also be used when charging via the cord.
Price is another factor you should be taking into account when trying to decide which Series 5 to buy.
If you can find a good deal for a particular Series 5 variation that is suitable to your needs (for example the inclusion of a cleaning station or wet/dry operation) you can go right ahead and buy it.
Which brings me back to the 5090cc or 5190cc that can usually be found at an excellent price.
Since all the Series 5 use the same replacement shaving heads (called cassettes) and the same cleaning cartridges for the stations, the only variable is the price of the shaver itself.
Speaking of the replacement shaving heads, the 52s (silver) and 52b (black), the price you’ll have to pay for replacing them is quite reasonable.
Braun Series 5 52S
The Series 5 cassettes cost less than the ones needed for the Series 7, 9 or similarly priced Panasonic shavers, like the Arc 4.
As a result, the Series 5 offers excellent value for money.
4. Color scheme
While I never considered color to be a decisive factor when buying an electric shaver, it can be more or less important to some users.
In my opinion, the Braun Series 5 is (in its current form) one of the better looking electric shavers out there.
I particularly like the hefty appearance that goes perfectly with the black color scheme. The red or blue accents really pop and again, work great together.
It seems like a lot of thought has been put into the design of the Series 5 to make it not only function great, but also look great.
The various Series 5 models are only available in black with a splash of blue, red or silver in certain parts. The shaving head has either a black or a silver finish.
The black & blue color scheme of the wet/dry 5040s or the updated 5195cc and 5190cc looks the best in my opinion.
5. Included accessories
Apart from the automatic cleaning station that comes only with the CC models, the included accessories can vary slightly between the different Series 5 shavers.
For example, the 5090cc, 5195cc and 5145s are the only models that come with a hard travel case. All the other ones only include a soft pouch that offers little to no protection in case of mechanical shocks.
Moreover, the 5190cc and the 5140s from the updated series don’t even include the soft pouch. On the other hand, all of the Series 5 models come with a plastic protection cap except for the 5090cc, 5195cc and 5145s.
All the Series 5 and Series 5² shavers include a cleaning brush and a charging cord.
Unfortunately, a small bottle of lubricant is not included. That would have been a welcome addition, particularly for the S models that don’t have the cleaning station.
The CC models also include a cartridge for the automatic cleaning station.
Below you’ll find a table with the included accessories for the various Series 5 models.
|Model||Hard travel case||Soft pouch||Plastic cap|
|Series 5 5090cc|
|Series 5 5040s|
|Series 5 5030s|
|Series 5 5020s|
|Series 5² 5197cc|
|Series 5² 5190cc|
|Series 5² 5195cc|
|Series 5² 5145s|
|Series 5² 5147s|
|Series 5² 5140s|
Which one should you buy?
When it comes to actually buy a Series 5, there are only a few things that really matter: the inclusion of a cleaning station, wet & dry operation and the price.
The rest of the things that vary throughout the Series 5 line are not that important and, again, won’t affect the performance of the shavers or provide any particular benefits.
The newer models that were introduced — 5197cc, 5190cc, 5195cc, 5147s, 5145s and 5140s — don’t really bring any significant improvements over the 50** shavers.
If you already own a 50** Series 5, an upgrade to the Series 5² is not justified. Also, if you plan on buying a Series 5 and you’re on the fence on whether to buy one of the 50** or 51** models, just get the one you can find at a better price.
If a certain model looks like a good fit for your needs — for example it comes with a cleaning station and is suitable for dry only use — then that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Up until recently the dry only 5090cc was the pick of the bunch. But since it’s getting phased out, the 5190cc represents a very good alternative and the price is also similar.
Braun Series 5 5190cc
Let’s not take a look at the differences between some of the more popular Series 5 models.
Braun Series 5 5090cc vs 5040s
Here are the main differences between the two:
- The 5090cc includes the automatic cleaning station. The 5040s does not.
- The 5090cc is suitable for dry use only, while the 5040s can be used wet or dry. The 5090cc also works with the cord plugged in.
- The 5090cc comes with a hard travel case; the 5040s comes with a soft pouch.
- The 5090cc features a black, red and silver color scheme, while the 5040s is black with blue accents.
- The 5090cc features a 5 level battery display, while the 5040s’ display only has a 2.
How do they shave? Exactly the same. The 5090cc would be the best option in the majority of cases, while the 5040s should be considered if you plan on using shaving cream and don’t mind cleaning the shaver manually.
Braun Series 5 5040s vs 5030s
- The 5040s is a wet & dry electric shaver, while the 5030s can only be used for dry shaving.
- The 5040s features a black & blue color scheme, while the 5030s uses blue for the accents.
- The 5040s has a 2 level battery indicator, while the 5030s has 3.
- The 5040s lasts for 45 minutes with a fully charged battery, while the 5030s should last for 50 minutes.
Braun Series 5 5030s
Which one should you buy? Well, if you need wet/dry capabilities then the 5040s is the one to have. If you don’t then you should pay a bit more and go for the 5090cc instead; it’s basically a 5030s with a cleaning station and a hard travel case.
At least at this moment, the price difference between the 5090cc and the 5030s is marginal.
Braun Series 5 5090cc vs 5190cc/5195cc
If you can’t get the 5090cc anymore, the 5190cc or the 5195cc from the updated Series 5² are two very similar shavers. The 5195cc variation is identical to the 5190cc except for some minor differences in color and the inclusion of a travel case.
Here are the main differences:
- The 5090cc is a dry only shaver that can also be used while charging; the 5190cc is suitable for wet & dry operation and only works cordless;
- The 5090cc and 5195cc come with a hard travel case, while the 5190cc only has a plastic cap instead;
- The 5090cc has a 5-level battery indicator. The newer 5190cc has 3;
- The 5090cc comes in a black and red color scheme, while the 5190cc has blue accents;
- The 5190cc has a beard density sensor. The 5090cc lacks this feature.
So which one should you get? Since the differences between them are not significant, I would simply get the one I can find at a better price. I do however have a slight bias toward the 5090cc; the hard travel case is really useful and most men will shave dry anyway.
The Series 5 from Braun should definitely be considered by anyone looking for a high-quality foil shaver that doesn’t have a premium price tag.
In my opinion the Series 5 is the entry point to Braun’s high-quality shavers and a huge step up from the entry-level Series 3.
With all the available variations, it can be time-consuming to weed out all the marketing fluff and get to the actual details and features that matter.
Hopefully this post has managed to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the Series 5. If you have any other questions make sure to post them in the comments section below.