With the launch of Braun’s new flagship shaver, the Series 9, there’s been quite a dilemma in the electric shaving community: should you pick the latest and greatest Series 9 or is the venerable Series 7 still good enough?
Having tested both extensively, in this article we’ll tackle the Braun Series 7 vs 9 comparison and try to present all the relevant aspects in an objective and unbiased manner.
Moreover, we’ll see when you should choose one over the other and if it’s worth the upgrade for current Series 7 users.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Different models in a series, same performance
- Braun Series 7 vs 9: shaving performance
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Purchase price and cost of ownership
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Braun Series 7 vs 9: which one should you buy?
- Series 7 owners: is it worth the upgrade to a Series 9?
Different models in a series, same performance
Before diving into the meaty details, it’s important to note that both the Series 7 and Series 9 are available in different variations.
These include models suitable for dry only use (like the older Series 7 790cc or the Series 9 9090cc), for wet & dry use (Series 7 7865cc, Series 9 9290cc) and they can also come with or without a cleaning station.
Some models can have different names or different colors (market-specific) depending on where they’re being sold.
What really matters is that all the models in a series, be it 7 or 9, have identical shaving performance and selecting one variation over another simply comes down to availability, your personal needs (wet&dry use, cleaning station, etc.), and budget.
For this reason, I won’t be necessarily referring to specific models from the Series 7 or the Series 9, but rather to a series as a whole.
Since their original release, both the Series 7 and 9 have been updated and new models were introduced.
The more recent Series 7 models start with 78; for example, 7865cc, 7893s, etc.
Braun Series 7 7865cc [new]
The updated Series 9 shavers (introduced in 2016) use the 92xx naming scheme (9291cc, 9293s etc). The older models used the 90xx format (9095cc, 9093s etc).
Braun Series 9 9290cc (9291cc) [updated]
As of 2019, Braun released yet another iteration of the Series 9 line, the 93xx. As I mentioned in my review of the 9385cc model, this update mainly consists of a slightly larger battery, some new color treatments, and minor visual changes.
Braun Series 9 9385cc [latest]
As you can see, most of these updates were minor and didn’t improve the shaving performance to a significant degree. Also, all the newer shavers are now suitable for wet & dry use.
If you would like to read more details about all the different shavers in the Series 7 and Series 9 lines, you can check out the links below:
Braun Series 7 vs 9: shaving performance
There are many things to consider when deciding which electric razor would suit you the best.
However, the majority will agree that shaving performance is probably the most important one, so we’ll start this Braun Series 7 vs 9 debate by looking at three key aspects: closeness, comfort, and speed.
The Series 7 was and still is a very popular electric shaver.
One of the main reasons for its massive success was definitely the shaving performance.
The high-quality micro-foil, machined with great precision, as well as the sharp blades and specially designed middle trimmer, made the Series 7 one of the best electric razors of its time, capable of providing very smooth and close shaves.
Braun Series 7 790cc
And speaking of it, for most users, the closeness provided by the Series 7 should easily be good enough.
The difference between shaving one side of your face with the Series 7 and the other one with the Series 9 will be negligible in the majority of cases, maybe with a slight advantage for the Series 9.
However, I will say that getting a close shave with the Series 9 requires less work on your part as it feels a bit faster and torquier.
But again, the end results will be pretty much identical.
The Series 7 was for many years the benchmark in terms of comfort. As far as electric shavers go, it was arguably the best choice for men with sensitive skin.
The so-called micro-pulsations made shaving with the Series 7 feel more like a gentle massage, while the shaving head remained cool during use, further increasing the comfort of the shave.
It’s worth mentioning that the Series 7 has 3 or 5 speed settings that allow you to alter the power output from low (sensitive) to high-intensity.
In practice, the lower speed settings will just make the shaver feel slow and most users won’t see any noticeable benefits from using them.
Since the Series 7 is already very gentle to the skin, I recommend using the high-intensity mode at all times.
In its price range, the Series 7 is by far the most comfortable shaver you can currently buy.
It’s way ahead of the competition and you’ll have to stretch to a Series 9 for a rather incremental improvement in comfort.
With the Series 9, Braun got rid of the speed settings but still managed to improve the comfort slightly.
This probably goes to show that the speed settings on the Series 7 were merely a gimmick.
Featuring what Braun calls an improved design of the shaving head, the comfort during the shave is really outstanding.
The Series 9 foils remain perfectly cool during use, being extremely gentle to the skin.
I’ve tested dozens of electric shavers and this one is without a doubt the most forgiving and comfortable of them all.
Even men with irritation-prone skin will be perfectly fine using a Series 9.
It is supremely comfortable and smooth during use and you can even get away with applying more pressure than needed (which you shouldn’t do).
The redesigned shaving head, with an additional trimmer that lifts flat-lying hairs, mows through the stubble with ease, reducing the number of strokes and minimizing the risk of irritation and razor burn.
Braun Series 9 9370cc [latest]
So the Series 9 takes the lead and is now the new reference in terms of comfort, although not by much as the Series 7 was already an excellent performer in this regard.
In fact, it would still be just fine even for men with very sensitive skin.
But the Series 9 is just a bit smoother and more enjoyable and at least in my case, it was almost impossible to get any discomfort during use (even though I tried inflicting some).
While the Series 9 marginally beats the Series 7 in the comfort department, it’s the clear winner when it comes to fast shaving sessions and sheer cutting power.
Being practically a beefed-up Series 7, with more power and more cutting elements, the Series 9 shaves effortlessly even a two or three-day beard and does so extremely fast.
Even if you have very coarse facial hair, the Series 9 will have no trouble providing a very smooth and fast shave.
If quick, effortless shaving is what you’re after, then the Series 9 is likely a better choice.
The flexing capabilities of the Series 9 shaving unit are very similar to the Series 7.
Even though it’s a very simple setup, with the shaving head moving in a single plane — up and down — it’s extremely effective.
The movement of the cutting elements and the swiveling of the whole shaving head are buttery smooth on the Series 7 and 9 and both ensure constant contact with the skin.
Braun gets this right by keeping it simple.
Panasonic for example uses an extremely complex system with its latest shavers. And while it’s an impressive feat of engineering, in practice it just makes shaving more difficult.
The Series 9 is arguably one of the best foil shavers in this regard and it will work perfectly fine even when shaving tricky areas like below your jawline.
Braun’s implementation of specialized elements for capturing longer, flat-lying hairs that also grow in different directions is extremely effective.
The two middle trimmers on the Series 9 just work better than anything used on other foil shavers.
While the Series 7 was quite good with longer hairs, the Series 9 is even better and will easily get those stray, wiry hairs that would normally require repetitive strokes and often cause your shaving sessions to take longer.
Winner: the Braun Series 9.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Series 7 set a decent standard for build quality and ergonomics at the time of its launch.
It was a sample of what made Braun world-famous for its simple, innovative, and user-centered design solutions.
The Series 7 has a more understated design and looks a bit lackluster in comparison to the flashy Series 9.
Except for a few glossy black variations, the Series 7 also features a matte treatment on the plastic surfaces.
The construction however feels very solid and the chunky body contributes to this feeling as well.
The generous use of rubberized material on the back and on the sides ensures a fantastic grip.
Being around for quite a while, the design of the Series 7 became a sort of a classic.
While there are a couple of notorious problems with it (I’ll get to them shortly), it’s a tried and tested design that stood the test of time very well.
The new Series 9 is not really a clear advancement with regards to build quality. The body of the razor is made entirely out of plastic and most models have a glossy finish.
The Series 9 9290cc/9291cc for example has a matte, frosted treatment that will handle smudges and fingerprints better.
While there isn’t anything wrong with plastic, I would have expected the use of metal for such a premium-priced product.
The high gloss finish on some Series 9 models like the 9295cc or 9297cc is a fingerprint magnet and it’s impossible to maintain it smudge-free. The glossy plastic will also begin to tarnish in time.
For these reasons I actually prefer the matte treatment used on certain models like the Series 9 9291cc or the 9385cc.
There’s a glossy black version of the Series 9 as well, but it’s not available in the USA.
The shaver itself is larger than the Series 7, but this doesn’t affect the ergonomics in a negative way; it still feels nicely balanced and lightweight in the hand, with the rubber inserts on the back providing a very secure grip.
The shaving head of the Series 7 is noticeably smaller and feels more nimble when shaving tricky spots, like the area above the upper lip or around the sideburns.
I think the Series 7 would be a better choice for a beginner, especially for this reason.
The Series 9 is bulkier and takes some getting used to, but that’s the downside of having an extra cutting element.
It is however very manageable for a 4 blade electric shaver and I think most users will get used to it pretty quickly.
The trimmers on both are pretty average in my experience.
While the positioning and ergonomics are not bad, they just don’t work as well as the ones on Panasonic shavers for example.
They are adequately wide, but the curved profile is a minus in my opinion. For hair trimmers, a straight edge just works better.
Secondly, you must hold the trimmer at a sharp angle relative to the skin in order to cut the hairs efficiently. Otherwise, you’ll have to go over an area multiple times to get all the hairs.
The trimmer on the Series 7 is located on the front and sits perpendicular to the shaver when deployed while the one on the Series 9 it extends from the back and marginally passes the shaving head.
Both will get the job done, but again, neither is particularly good.
Let’s now get back to those potential problems of the Series 7.
The Series 7 had a notorious issue with the head locking mechanism that was (and continues to be) pretty poorly implemented.
As some unfortunate Series 7 owners have found out, if you lock the head for more precision and then forget and try to move it, the locking mechanism can simply break.
This is a well-known issue and was even acknowledged by Braun, but they didn’t really do anything about it (the warranty won’t cover it, so take extra care when locking the head).
The updated Series 7 models like the 7865cc still use the same design of the mechanism.
Since the head of the Series 7 is quite slim and compact, I don’t actually feel the need to use this feature.
With the Series 9, this problem was finally addressed and the shaving head would simply move into a different position (there are 5 of them) when applying more pressure.
The second well-known issue with the Series 7 is that after a few years of constantly cleaning it in the station, the paint right below the shaving head would start to chip and come off.
This happened despite Braun’s claims of using a special paint that should withstand the constant exposure to the alcohol-based solution.
However, the damage was only visual. I personally haven’t experienced any of that with my Series 7 or 9 shavers.
Other improvements in the ergonomics department include the addition of a travel lock — the Series 7 still doesn’t have one — and an improved LED display.
The Series 7, even the newer models like the 7865cc use an LCD display on the bottom of the shaver that’s a bit confusing and not particularly useful.
Winner: Tie. It’s pretty tough to pick a winner in this category as both shavers have their pros and cons. The Series 7 feels less plasticky, while the Series 9 improves a few key aspects of its predecessor.
Purchase price and cost of ownership
This is a rare case in the Braun Series 9 vs 7 confrontation where the winner is pretty clear: the Series 7 takes the lead when it comes to value for money.
Braun Series 7 790cc
The price of the Series 9 models has dropped since the introduction of the line, but you’ll still have to pay more to get one.
Braun Series 9 9370cc
We’re interested in 2 aspects here: purchase price and cost of ownership.
At the moment of writing, the price of a Series 7 is lower compared to its Series 9 counterpart. Given the fact that it’s an older model, the price can go down even more as time passes.
The running costs imply new shaving heads (called cassettes) and cleaning cartridges (only for the cc models that come with a Clean & Renew station).
Since the cleaning cartridges are the same, the only difference in the cost of ownership is related to the replacement heads.
The price of the Series 7 replacement cassettes is noticeably lower than the original 90s/90b Series 9 shaving heads (these were discontinued and replaced by the newer 92s/92b cassettes).
Braun Series 7 70s/70b cassette
Braun supposedly uses a different manufacturer for the newer 92s/92b/92M shaving heads of the Series 9.
This likely has something to do with various users reporting a premature failure of the older 90s and 90b cassettes that were used on the original Series 9 models, like the 9090cc or 9095cc.
These problems were most likely solved with the updated 92s/92b/92M shaving heads.
The updated replacement shaving heads for the Series 9, called the 92s/92b/92M, are backward compatible with all Series 9 models, feature a titanium coated middle trimmer and are actually more reasonably priced, but they still cost more than the ones for the Series 7.
Braun Series 9 92s/92b cassette
If you’re on a tighter budget and want to reduce your costs as much as possible, then the Series 7 is the better choice.
Winner: the Braun Series 7.
Cleaning and maintenance
However, I will admit that Braun’s cleaning stations are some of the best in the industry and I actually suggest you opt for a model that comes with one, be it a Series 7 or a Series 9.
The reasons for getting a cc model are quite straightforward.
For starters, it’s a really effective cleaning station. The cartridges use an alcohol-based solution that does an excellent job sanitizing and cleaning the shaver.
The solution also acts as a lubricant, so there’s no need for any additional lubrication if you use the cleaning base regularly.
Secondly, Braun’s shaving heads can’t be taken apart, so a manual, thorough cleaning can be more difficult and time-consuming. A cleaning station is genuinely useful in this case.
You don’t have to use the station after every shave and I actually recommend you not to.
This will allow you to use the cleaning cartridge for a longer time while preventing hairs and dead skin to remain lodged inside the shaving head.
With Braun stations, it’s easy to remove the cartridge, put the cap back on and store them for future use (here are more tips on how to make the Braun refills last longer).
You can simply clean the razor manually in the meantime with tap water and some liquid soap.
As mentioned earlier, both the Series 7 and the Series 9 can be bought with or without a cleaning & charging station.
The models that don’t include one cost a bit less, but I think it’s worth paying more for the added convenience of the cleaning base.
The stations that come with the Series 7 and 9 work in a similar manner and use the same cleaning cartridges, but they are different.
That means you won’t be able to use your Series 7 razor with a Series 9 station or the other way around.
The cleaning station of the Series 9 has a more simplified, almost minimalist user interface that allows you to charge and clean the shaver with only one button.
However, a notable difference compared to some of the Series 7 stations is related to the drying cycle of the cleaning process.
Precisely, the station that used to come with the older Series 7 models (790cc, 799cc, etc) featured induction heating and this process was completely silent and also took less time.
The Series 9 station on the other hand uses a fan to dry the shaving head.
The station included with all the newer Series 7 shavers like the 7865cc doesn’t have any active drying system, which basically means that the moisture will naturally evaporate over the course of several hours.
This is not a huge deal-breaker, but definitely a cost reduction measure from Braun with the updated Series 7.
IMPORTANT: Braun stopped making the Series 7 stations that feature induction heating altogether, even for older Series 7 models like the 790cc. All the Series 7 cleaning stations currently being manufactured lack any active drying systems.
The cleaning base of the Series 9 uses a fan to dry the head of the shaver and while it is relatively silent (compared to other cleaning stations that use a fan), it takes longer to dry the razor compared to induction heating — around 40 minutes, but it’s still way faster than the competition.
Using the s models with a cleaning station: Series 7 vs 9
It’s worth mentioning that a Series 7 s (standing for solo) shaver that doesn’t include a cleaning station (like the 7893s, 740s, etc) will actually work with a compatible Series 7 station purchased later on, while the Series 9 s models (9293s, 9330s, etc) will not work.
That’s because the Series 7 s (solo) models actually come with the special chip found on the cc variations needed to communicate with the station.
The Series 9 solo variations don’t have these components and won’t work with the corresponding cleaning stations.
Braun Series 7 vs 9: which one should you buy?
Now that we’ve gone through all the important aspects of the Braun Series 7 vs Series 9 comparison, let’s see when one would be more suitable than the other.
You should buy the Series 9 if you:
- Want the absolute best in terms of shaving comfort and your budget is not really a concern;
- Have very sensitive, irritation-prone skin;
- Need an electric razor that shaves extremely fast;
- Have very coarse facial hair;
- Shave irregularly, every two to three days or even more;
- Have wiry facial hair that tends to lie flat on the skin and grow in different directions;
- Shave your head and you need a razor that also works well as a head shaver.
Braun Series 9 9370cc
The Series 9 9370cc with the updated shaving head usually represents the best option in most cases.
It’s suitable for wet & dry use, comes with the automatic cleaning station and it generally costs less than other similar Series 9 variations.
Again, shaving performance is the same throughout the entire Series 9 range.
For users in the UK/Europe, the Braun Series 9 9390cc is usually the best pick (for the same reasons).
You should buy the Series 7 if you:
- Want the best compromise in terms of performance, comfort, and costs;
- Have very sensitive skin and moderate to thick facial hair;
- You tend to shave more often, (daily or every 2 to 3 days at most);
- You’re planning on getting a cleaning station later on.
If I were to weigh in on this matter, I’d say that the Braun Series 7, regardless of the model, would be perfectly fine for most men.
My picks would be the 790cc or the newer 7865cc (whichever you can find cheaper).
Braun Series 7 7865cc
Yes, the lack of induction heating is a minus (now with all Series 7 shavers), but it’s not a huge deal and the price of the 7865cc is generally lower compared to other models that come with a cleaning base, so definitely consider this one as well.
As I said in the beginning, the actual shaving performance is identical throughout the entire Series 7 line, but these particular models are usually the most reasonably priced.
You could also opt for a Series 9 if you can get a great deal on one and the price difference compared to the corresponding Series 7 model is not significant.
Series 7 owners: is it worth the upgrade to a Series 9?
If you already have a Series 7 and you’re wondering whether you should upgrade to a Series 9, the decision should be pretty straightforward.
If you’re currently satisfied with your Series 7, then the upgrade won’t be a significant improvement in terms of comfort or closeness — definitely not to the extent of justifying the price difference.
The Series 9 will shave faster and you’ll likely see a difference in the time it takes to complete a shave, especially if you have a very thick beard and shave less often. But that’s about it.
However, if you don’t find the Series 7 to shave as comfortable or as fast as you’d like, then upgrading to a Series 9 is probably the right decision.
How significant will the upgrade to a Series 9 be? Well, that really depends on your beard type and the shaving habits outlined previously.
In the case of wiry, longer, coarser beards, the Series 9 should yield a noticeable improvement in the quality of the shave compared to the Series 7.
There’s really not a clear winner in this Braun Series 7 vs Series 9 battle when you consider all the pros and cons of the two.
Regardless of your decision, you can’t really go wrong with either of them as both the Series 7 and the Series 9 are arguably some of the best electric shavers you can buy today.
If you have any other questions make sure to post them in the comments below.