Getting the closest possible shave with an electric razor is something that pops up in pretty much every discussion related to electric shaving.
And there’s no surprise in that — wanting to get a close (and still reasonably comfortable) shave seems the ultimate hurdle when using an electric razor.
However, switching from a razor blade to any type of shaver usually implies some sort of a compromise: we’re trading off a bit of closeness for the added benefit of comfort and practicality.
Naturally, we’re interested in giving up as little as possible of that much sought-after closeness.
So can electric shavers give a close shave?
Fortunately yes, some of today’s modern electric razors are capable of providing very close shaves while still remaining adequately comfortable.
But to put it bluntly, some shavers are simply better than others when it comes to cutting the hairs very close to the skin.
And that begs the question:
Which electric shaver gives the closest shave?
Well, when it comes to closeness, the more advanced, powerful shavers will usually provide significantly better results and we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the ones that deliver the closest shaves, including some budget-friendly options.
Unlike most authors of these roundups, I actually bought and tested each of the shavers I’m about to recommend.
In fact, I’ve been using some of them for years and as someone who wants a really close shave, I’m confident that I can provide some valuable info on choosing the right shaver.
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
- What to look for in a razor if closeness is the main concern?
- Foil vs Rotary razors — which one shaves the closest?
- The best electric shavers for a close shave in 2023
- Quick tips to further improve the closeness of your shave
What to look for in a razor if closeness is the main concern?
1. A high-quality shaving unit.
This is by far the most important part of an electric razor and it’s particularly relevant in the context of closeness.
Sharp blades and a thin outer foil, machined with very tight tolerances, are key for a close shave.
The cutting blades aren’t touching the skin but rather oscillate or rotate behind a metal screen.
That screen must be as thin as possible for the hairs to get cut very close to the skin.
But making the foil too thin would compromise the durability, so the manufacturer has to get this just right.
The blades and foils will eventually need to be replaced, so ideally we’ll want them to be readily available and reasonably priced.
2. A powerful motor.
An electric razor fitted with a powerful motor will shave closer, faster and with greater comfort.
As an example, Panasonic uses very fast 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) linear-drive motors on their top-of-the-line electric razors.
Compared to entry-level, basic shavers that use 7 600 CPM units, the difference is night and day.
3. Adequate comfort.
A razor that is comfortable during use will also allow you to shave closer, do more strokes and even apply a bit more pressure.
Comfort is also tightly correlated with the heat generated by the friction between the blades (that operate at high speeds) and the foils.
Therefore, you’ll want a razor that remains reasonably cool during use.
Lubricating the blades will be highly beneficial, not only for the closeness and comfort, but for the lifespan of the foils and blades as well (more details later on).
4. Wet/dry use.
The vast majority of users will prefer to shave dry since it takes less time and it’s generally good enough in terms of closeness and comfort.
That said, using a high-quality shaving cream can result in a remarkably close shave, similar to what you’d get from a razor blade.
In my opinion it’s good to have that as an option, maybe for certain occasions when you want to look extra sharp.
Luckily, most of today’s electric shavers can be used wet or dry.
Foil vs Rotary razors — which one shaves the closest?
While the foil vs rotary debate is multifaceted and there are solid arguments from both sides, when it comes to the closest shave an electric razor can provide, it is generally accepted that foil razors are better.
This is also my personal stance on the matter.
Having used quite a few foil and rotary razors throughout the years, I constantly found foil shavers to be that much better at providing a close shave.
In my opinion, there are a few reasons why foil shavers generally offer a closer shave:
- The foils are thinner than the metal combs used on rotary shavers, meaning the physical barrier between the skin and the actual cutting blades is smaller in the case of foil razors, allowing for a closer shave.
- They use reciprocating blades that oscillate at much higher speeds; as a downside, this also means more noise during operation compared to rotary shavers and possibly more heat generated by the friction between the foils and blades.
- The actual design and operation of the foil razor; the straight edge of the cutting elements and the use of short, linear strokes allow more control and precision.
- Foil electric razors are generally more comfortable. Most users will get a closer shave when using a razor that is more forgiving and allows them to be more thorough and even apply a bit more pressure.
There are of course users that get better results using rotary shavers and that’s perfectly fine as well.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and what works best for you; anecdotal findings should not be regarded as absolute truths.
But again, in most cases, a quality foil shaver should be a safer choice if closeness is what you’re after.
Let’s now see which electric shavers will give you the closest shave.
The best electric shavers for a close shave in 2023
1. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
Buying tip: If you live in the UK/Europe, you can often find the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67-A for a lower price. The closeness and overall performance will be identical.
Panasonic electric razors represent a very solid option if you’re mainly concerned with shaving performance.
In my experience, they even manage to outperform the other big name in the foil shavers camp (Braun) if we consider strictly the closeness of the shave.
If you want the absolute best in terms of closeness without any major compromises to other areas of shaving, then look no further than Panasonic’s range-topping line, the Arc 5.
The Panasonic ES-LV65-S is a more budget-friendly, but still very capable razor from the previous Arc 5 generation.
There are various newer models and revisions included in the Arc 5 family, but all of them share the same important features:
- high-quality stainless steel blades that are honed at a very aggressive 30 degrees angle and ensure efficient, close and effortless cutting;
- 5 slightly curved cutting elements that together form a massive shaving head, capable of shaving large areas with ease and also very fast;
- 14 000 CPM linear-drive motors that provide plenty of cutting power at a constant rate.
All these features work together seamlessly to provide an extremely close shave.
As mentioned above, my personal pick from the second generation Arc 5 line has to be the ES-LV65-S as it usually offers the best performance for the price.
The ES-LV65-S is the razor that paved the road for the newer Arc 5 models.
However, they are very similar specs-wise and the ES-LV65-S is still a highly capable machine today, definitely one of the best electric razors for getting a really close shave.
While the comfort of the newer Arc 5 models is slightly superior, this razor will be more than adequate for most men looking for a very close shave at a more affordable price.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that they’re pretty much identical if we only consider the closeness of the shave.
Tip: You can actually upgrade the ES-LV65 to the latest revision Arc 5 foil (it will fit perfectly). More details here.
The performance is pretty similar throughout the entire Arc 5 family of shavers and picking one mainly comes down to your budget, availability of certain models, and the need for a cleaning station.
Speaking of which, my recommendation would be to skip the station as Panasonic foil shavers are dead easy to clean manually.
By opting for a shaver without a cleaning station like the ES-LV65-S, you’ll also be saving some money.
And being an older model, it’s likely to be found already at an excellent price.
For these reasons I consider the ES-LV65-S to be the ideal choice for most users looking for an electric razor that shaves very close.
The price and performance make this model unbeatable in 2023.
For more details, you can check out my complete Panasonic ES-LV65-S review.
As a result, choosing between them should strictly come down to price and availability in your country.
If you live in the UK/Europe, the ES-LV67-A (blue) will likely be the one to buy as mentioned earlier.
The older ES-LV65-S is almost always cheaper in the USA, sometimes by quite a lot, which is why it’s still my pick in this case.
But definitely check out both before pulling the trigger. Performance-wise, they are identical.
2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q
The Panasonic ES-LV9Q represents the flagship of the newer third-generation Arc 5 family and just like the ES-LV65-S above, it’s one of the electric razors that can get pretty close to a blade with the current technology.
This shaver uses the same high power 14 000 CPM motor and excellent 30 degrees blades as the previous Arc 5 razors, but comes with a few novelties of its own:
- Two comfort rollers that prevent the foils from being pressed excessively into the skin;
- The shaving head can also move up and down; this, combined with the 360-degree swivel makes this razor extremely adaptable and capable of maintaining constant contact with the skin;
- The body of the shaver is made out of brushed aluminum.
The aesthetics and build quality of the razor compared to previous, second-generation Arc 5 models are vastly improved, with the use of more premium materials and a classy color scheme.
Being an Arc 5, the massive head with its 5 cutting elements is able to shave close to the skin even very coarse facial hair.
The middle trimmer and the two flanking foils are designed to cut longer hairs that lie flat on the skin, reducing them to a more manageable length for the two outer finishing foils.
Panasonic shavers don’t excel at this, meaning they work best when used on shorter facial hair (2 to 3 days at most), so in order to get the best results, it would be recommended to shave more often.
The comfort rollers ensure a smooth and gentle glide of the shaver, slightly improving the comfort of previous Arc 5 razors.
This makes the ES-LV9Q even suitable for men with sensitive skin.
While shaving is a very personal matter and the results depend on many factors, I think it is safe to say that the Arc 5 models probably shave closer than any other electric razors you can currently buy without making too many compromises.
As you’ll see later on, there are other razors that might shave closer, but they have some serious limitations.
The ES-LV9Q also comes with a cleaning & charging station.
Panasonic’s cleaning stations aren’t absolutely necessary, but can be a good option if you want a completely fuss-free experience.
The only downside of this Arc 5 razor is the price; being a newer model, it is rather high. The same goes for the replacement foils and blades, which can be pricey.
But again, if the purchase price is not a constraint and you want one of the closest shaves of any electric razor, all in a premium package, this is the one to get.
If your budget is limited, you can safely opt for the number 1 in this list, the older ES-LV65-S (or the ES-LV67); while it doesn’t look or feel as premium as the ES-LV9Q, it will shave just as close and for significantly less money.
Also, if you want the newest Arc 5, I think the ES-LV6U from the latest revision (aka Series 900) would be the best pick right now:
As mentioned earlier, I find it shaves just as close as the ES-LV65, but the new and revised foils are definitely smoother than the one that comes with the older generation (ES-LV65-S, ES-LV67-K).
3. Panasonic Arc 6 ES-LS8A-K
The Panasonic Arc 6 is the latest series by Panasonic and their new high-end shaver.
As the name suggests, it has a massive 6-blade shaving head. That’s one more than the previous flagship line, the Arc 5.
And as I’ve mentioned in my Arc 6 review, it’s currently Panasonic’s best shaver.
So why only the number 3 spot for the Arc 6?
First of all, it used to be really difficult to get.
The Arc 6 family was initially only available in Japan, but it has been released globally as well after one year since the initial launch.
Secondly, it is NOT cheap.
Compared to the number 1 shaver in this list, the ES-LV65-S, it costs a lot more.
And you’re not really getting 3 times the shaver for that money.
Precisely, in terms of closeness, I find it quite similar to the Arc 5.
That extra blade is intended to pre-trim longer, flat-lying hairs, so it doesn’t really have a direct effect on the closeness.
But there is something that could contribute to a closer shave and that is the comfort.
The Arc 6 is Panasonic’s most comfortable shaver to date and a clear improvement over the Arc 5.
So that could allow you to get a closer shave, especially if you have sensitive skin and you prefer to shave dry.
In the case of a wet shave, both the Arc 5 and Arc 6 are equally impressive in terms of comfort (and closeness).
So these would be my nitpicks with the Arc 6 which is, objectively, a better shaver than the Arc 5.
However, if the price isn’t an issue you can certainly go for it — it’s a fantastic performer.
4. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63AA
If your budget is more limited, but still want the closest shave for the money, you’ll have a hard time finding a better razor than the Panasonic ES-LA63 Arc 4.
Tip: there are two variations of the ES-LA63: silver (ES-LA63-S) and blue (ES-LA63AA). Performance-wise, they’re absolutely identical.
Considering its price, the performance of this particular shaver is quite spectacular.
I can only attribute this to the fact that it incorporates some of the technologies found on the more expensive razors from Panasonic, like the ones presented above.
Here are the key features that make the Panasonic ES-LA63AA Arc 4 an excellent choice for a close shave:
- A powerful 14 000 CPM motor;
- 30 degrees high-quality stainless steel blades;
- 4 individual cutting elements;
- A second motor located in the shaving head that vibrates and helps capture longer hairs.
The result of these features is a very close shave, definitely one of the best you can get in this price range.
While the effectiveness of that second motor is questionable — this razor is still not great with long, flat-lying hairs — when used on reasonably short beards it will deliver excellent results.
Granted, the newer, more advanced (and much more expensive) razors will be slightly better, but this one is no slouch either.
Being a Panasonic, cleaning it is a breeze with a bit of warm water and (optionally) some liquid hand soap.
I highly recommend the Arc 4 as a more affordable, budget-friendly option to the razors above.
Buying tip: If you live in the USA, you might still be able to get the older Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A. That one has a slimmer foil frame and is even a bit better at shaving very close.
5. Panasonic Arc 3 ES8103S
Buying tip: Being an older model, this shaver is getting difficult to find in 2023. A perfectly good and also affordable alternative would be the new Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LL41-K.
At this point, you’re probably starting to see a pattern — Panasonic is by far the most popular brand on this list.
But objectively speaking, they are better than the rest at what we’re interested in.
Braun excels at comfort and shaving flat-lying hairs and while Remington has a few affordable models that shave surprisingly close, they’re not as comfortable and the reliability and build quality of their current shavers aren’t the best.
So my pick for a budget-friendly electric razor that also shaves close is another Panasonic, precisely the Arc 3 family.
The ES8103S is an older model that was launched more than 12 years ago, but it’s still a great option.
In fact, newer Arc 3 models don’t bring any significant improvements as far as performance goes, so if we factor in the (usually) excellent price of the ES8103S, it’s by far the more sensible choice.
As the name implies, it only has 3 cutters, but with a punchy 13 000 CPM motor and the same 30 degrees blades, it’s a really good performer.
In this price range you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better one.
It’s also a great choice for a beginner thanks to its slim shaving head, it’s easy to use and to clean and, of course, it shaves close.
For more details, you can check out my review of the ES8103S and the newer ES-LL41-K.
6. Braun Series 9 Pro 9465cc
The Series 9 represents Braun’s flagship line of electric razors and incorporates the best technologies the company has to offer.
Braun shavers are notorious for being very comfortable during use.
The very popular Series 7 remained for many years the benchmark in terms of comfort but was not quite as good as some of the offerings from Panasonic with regards to closeness.
The Series 9 was designed to address this issue and to offer the closest possible shave, while also remaining very comfortable and gentle to the skin.
And it almost lived up to the expectations.
After a couple of incremental updates, Braun introduced the Series 9 Pro range in two years ago.
It is more powerful than the standard Series 9 and comes with an updated shaving head (called a cassette).
As a result, the closeness of the shave is also slightly improved over the standard ones.
And while the Panasonic Arc 5 still has the edge in terms of closeness, the Series 9 Pro is really good.
However, it absolutely shines in terms of comfort and shaving longer, flat-lying hairs, even if they grow in different directions.
It manages to do that thanks to the two middle trimmers that were specifically designed to tackle this type of difficult hair.
Being basically a Series 9 on steroids, the new Braun Series 9 Pro builds upon an already solid foundation and represents a very compelling package.
There are a few variations of the Series 9 Pro, available with or without a cleaning station (cc and solo models, respectively).
My personal pick would be the 9465cc (or 9460cc) as it comes with a very practical cleaning station, it’s available in most countries and usually costs less than other similar Pro models.
I bought and reviewed the 9477cc variation, however, performance-wise, the 9465cc (9460cc) is identical, but it is cheaper since it doesn’t include a charging case (you are still getting the same cleaning station).
So why only the second to last position for Braun’s range-topping razor?
Well, as mentioned previously, it doesn’t shave quite as close as an Arc 5 (despite having other specific pros, like better comfort and the ability to shave flat-lying hairs).
It was definitely more than adequate in my case and I think most men will be perfectly satisfied with the closeness.
Panasonic shavers are generally better at providing a closer shave, while Braun shavers excel at comfort.
And the Series 9 Pro really is supremely comfortable and shaving with it is a real treat.
Secondly, it’s pricey. Compared to a second-generation Arc 5 like the ES-LV65-S, it costs significantly more.
However, if you shave less often or you often get razor burn, it’s probably a better option than any Panasonic, including the Arc 6.
If you have very sensitive skin, but still want a close shave, the Series 9 Pro is probably the best option for you.
In fact, it may even be better for you than an Arc 5 in this situation, even though the latter is superior regarding the closeness of the shave.
While a cleaning station was not really necessary for the Panny, you’ll probably want one with your Series 9.
The station is very practical since you can take out the cleaning cartridge, seal it and store it for future use (you can’t do that with a Panasonic station).
The alcohol-based solution that provides excellent cleaning and lubrication, along with the reasonably quiet and fast operation make this cleaning & charging station worth the extra money.
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use in order to make the cleaning refills last a lot longer; you can also choose from a few cheap third-party solutions as well.
The cost of the replacement blades and foils (92s/92b/92M/94M cassettes) has dropped and the price is now almost reasonable (for a high-end shaver).
To sum it up, I recommend the Series 9 Pro to users with very sensitive, blemish-prone skin; it’s also a better option for men that don’t shave often (every 3 to 4 days or even more).
7. Andis ProFoil Lithium Shaver
To be perfectly honest, I was extremely hesitant about including the Andis ProFoil in a list of the closest shaving razors.
I think it does manage to shave closer than pretty much all the shavers mentioned here, but it comes with a lot of caveats that make it difficult to recommend in most cases as you’ll see next.
But getting back to the closeness, it manages to achieve it by using what are likely the thinnest foils I’ve ever seen on an electric razor.
The Pro Foil is marketed by Andis as a tool designed for finishing fades and removing stubble.
While the first part of that statement is pretty straightforward, the latter is quite vague.
But after using it myself to shave my face on a regular basis, I can’t really say that it’s a viable option as your main shaver.
There are a few reasons for that.
First of all, it works best on really short hair. So you’ll absolutely have to use it daily (every other day if your beard grows at a slower pace).
I tried shaving a 2 or 3-day beard and it wasn’t a good experience.
The razor would vibrate excessively when cutting longer stubble and it feels quite rough on the face.
Also, while it isn’t the most comfortable shaver, it’s even worse when trying to shave longer facial hair.
For me it was impossible to shave my neck without constantly getting some small nicks and stinging.
As a side note, the BaBylissPRO FOILFX02, a similar shaver with two staggered foils, shaves just as close, but it is gentler.
However, it’s quite expensive and I think the ProFoil still offers better value for money if you’re after this type of shaver.
Flat-lying hairs were constantly left behind as well.
But even so, I can’t really blame the ProFoil as it wasn’t designed for this. Again, when using it to shave short hairs it performed a lot better.
Because of this limitation, it’s not very practical or versatile. Having it as a second, complementary shaver does make more sense.
You’ll be able to get a perfectly smooth and close shave on those areas where your regular electric razor just doesn’t seem to do a good job.
I was really impressed by the closeness of the ProFoil when I used it in this manner.
Another minus that further impacts the practicality is that you cannot clean it with water.
This basically means you’ll have to rely on a small brush or maybe use a can of compressed air to blow out the hair clippings.
And since it manages to shave so close, it also produces some of the finest hair dust I’ve seen. And it tends to go all over the place and on the outside of the shaver as well.
I really missed being able to just rinse it clean under the tap.
So in conclusion, unless you always shave daily (it also works great to shave your head) or you have a second, main electric razor, the Andis ProFoil is not the best option, despite the fact that it’s one of the closest shaving razors in this list.
Also, because the foils are so thin, they tend to wear out a lot faster than usual and need to be changed every 6 months (or even sooner).
On the bright side, the blades and foils are quite cheap.
The battery life is really good at 80 minutes worth of cordless shaving and it will also work with the cord plugged in.
For more details, you can check out my full review as well.
Quick tips to further improve the closeness of your shave
Now that you’ve hopefully settled for one of the closest shaving electric razors out there, let’s see how you can make the most out of it.
I wrote a comprehensive article on how to improve the closeness of the shave with an electric razor and I highly recommend reading that one as well.
But here are a few quick and actionable tips that can help you with getting the closest possible shave.
1. Try shaving with a quality shaving cream.
Apart from the Andis ProFoil, all the shavers recommended in this article can be used wet and dry.
Oftentimes the addition of a shaving cream improves the closeness and the comfort of the shave. Give it a try and see how it goes.
2. Use a pre-shave lotion.
If wet shaving is not an option, try the next best thing: a pre-electric shave lotion.
This can significantly improve the performance of your razor during a dry shave and help you get a closer shave.
Pre-shaves are cheap, widely available and take seconds to apply. Here’s a guide where I present some of my favorite pre-shaves.
3. Properly charge, clean, and lubricate your razor.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can read more about how and when to lubricate your electric shaver here.
4. Use a spray lubricant.
They work incredibly well, especially for getting that extra bit of performance out of slightly worn blades.
My favorite is the Remington Shaver Saver spray as it seems to work the best out of all the brands I’ve tried. The closeness is constantly better when I use it and will also extend the lifespan of the cutting elements.
5. Always shave against the grain, using controlled strokes and keeping the shaver perpendicular and flat on the skin.
You can also use your free hand to keep the skin taut on your neck.
6. Replace dull blades and worn foils.
The foils and blades of your electric razor will eventually wear out and you’ll need to replace them with new ones.
Always buy original replacement parts that were designed specifically for your razor.
Spending money on replacement foils and blades is no fun, but it’s vital for a close shave and safe operation.
Over to you now: What was your experience so far in trying to get a close shave with an electric razor? Do you have any other suggestions for shavers that should be on this list?
If you have any other questions, make sure to post them in the comments below.
131 thoughts on “What’s The Closest Shaving Electric Razor (2023)?”Leave a comment
Very useful objective information. I feel I can make a better choice after reading this. Thank you
Thank you for your comment, John. I’m glad you found the article useful.
Thanks for the information. I am a DE blade Wet Shaver and looking to buy my first electric. Definitely want a Panasonic. Need help choosing between the 8243, LA63, or LV65.
all three of them are actually pretty similar in this regard. The ES-LA63-S and ES-LV65-S have a slight advantage over the ES8243S: a bit more power (14 000 CPM vs 13 000 CPM) and more advanced flexing shaving heads. The ES-LV65-S also comes with one extra blade. If you have the budget for it, I would say that the ES-LV65-S is the one to have for a very close shave. Whichever you end up buying, it will take some time to get used to it coming from a DE razor. Your skin must adapt to the new method of shaving and your technique needs time to improve, especially since the Arc 4 and 5 have quite bulky shaving heads – not exactly ideal for a first time user.
Hope this helps.
Hi, this is a really informative article! I’ve been shaving with an electric shaver for years, but I’ve been always disappointed with the closeness. I’m currently using a Braun WaterFlex (it’s specifically made for wet shaving with a shaving cream) and it’s okay, but I still wish I had a closer shave. Now I’m thinking about getting the Panasonic ES-LV65-S, because I’ve read good things about it when it comes to close shaves. Have you ever tried a Braun WaterFlex so that you could compare these two? I’m sure the Panasonic will be better, but I wonder if the difference would be huge, or just minimal.
Thank you for your comment. I have yet to try the WaterFlex, but for all intents and purposes the ES-LV65-S should be better. A lot better. I try to stay clear of making assumptions without actually testing a shaver, but after trying quite a few I think I kinda have a feel for this and I would place the Braun WaterFlex somewhere between the Series 3 and the Series 5 with regards to shaving performance. I own all of them and at least in my case the closeness that I get with the ES-LV65-S is significantly better. It also works amazing with shaving cream.
For me the Arc 5 is a worthy upgrade and probably for the majority of men as well. However, shaving is very personal and oddities can sometimes occur. Hopefully that won’t be the case if you decide to get it.
Hi Ovidiu, thanks for the reply!
I’ll think about it some more, but since I really want to be finally satisfied with a shave, I’ll probably get that Panasonic shaver.
If you’re curious, I’ll leave a comment here with my thought about it after I buy it and try shaving with it a few times. 🙂
You are very welcome, Peter. If you have the time I would surely like to know your thoughts on the Panny.
He gave you an opinion rather than an answer based on direct anecdotal evidence.
I’m really struggling to understand what is the best type of shaver to use on my head, will this go shorter than most clippers?
Am I just better off using a razor, or will these take it down to pretty much nothing?
An electric razor will likely shave closer than a regular hair clipper. The ones in this list are particularly good at cutting hairs close to skin level. A razor blade will get you the closest possible shave, but at the expense of nicks and irritation. An electric shaver is an excellent compromise in my opinion.
I am considering braun series 8 or 9 and was wondering if you had any tips on which to go for as I can’t find much difference other than price on any reviews or shopping pages?
As I said in this post, the Series 8 is basically a rebranded Series 5 with a larger battery. The Series 9 is the better shaver but it’s also more expensive. So I would actually recommend going for one of the previous generation Series 7 like the 790cc, 7865cc or 7893s. Those are quite reasonably priced compared to a Series 9 and would be a really good choice for most users.
Thanks for your site and reviews. I’m always cautious of sites that do reviews, wondering if they have an incentive to favor a particular brand. Do you or ShaveCheck have any support or incentive from Panasonic or any other brand of shaver?
Thank you for your comment. I am not endorsed by Panasonic or other brand of electric shavers. I never received incentives from anyone and I will refuse any type of compensation. I personally buy all the shavers featured in the reviews and the content on this website represents my personal, unbiased opinion. If an electric shaver is plain bad, I will have no problem saying so as it was the case with this Panasonic for example. Or this Remington model. I will never compromise my integrity or present distorted information to my readers.
Hey I have trouble choosing. Which one would be best to used for a close shave with the same result as that of a razor?
If it fits within your budget, I would go with a Panasonic Arc 5. The ES-LV65 or ES-LV67 (whichever you can get cheaper) would be my picks.
Your articles are very thorough and I’ve tried your methods – the wet shaving but it went really bad – I cut and burned myself.
But the dry electric lotion is great.
I have acquired Braun 9290cc and I still have 2 months “give back money” quarantie.
I imagined the closeness would be the same as Mach3 so I was disappointed. With lotion it is better but I still need to finish with my Mach3 to feel comfortable and not touching my face all the time.
My question is – is there any sense in first dry-shaving and then using the regular to correct the results? Will my skin suffer?
I’ve noticed my Mach lasts longer if I use dry shave first but I do not think it is worth it.
I am considering returning the Braun because I like my face smooth and using both is too much but maybe it is something people do.
I wish I checked your articles before buying but I had only few days to use my discount.
Thank you for your time
I’m sorry to hear that your first electric shaver didn’t meet your expectations. Finding a suitable shaving machine always takes some trial and error.
Switching back and forth between a razor blade and an electric shaver or using both at the same time is clearly not ideal. I would strongly advise against doing so. A razor blade shaves off a thin layer of skin cells which triggers the body to produce scar tissue. It takes a few weeks for the body to get rid of it. During this time you won’t get the best results with an electric shaver. That’s why the manufacturers always say to allow a few weeks for the skin to adjust to the new shaving method after making the switch to electric. Constantly getting back to your Mach 3 will keep this loop going.
It would be best to pick just one — be it an electric shaver or a DE/cartridge razor — and stick to it for at least a few weeks and only then draw a conclusion and decide what to do next.
Also, since you are particularly interested in getting a close shave, I think a Panasonic Arc 5 would have been a better option. Panasonics also work better with shaving cream.
Since you can still return the Series 9, the Arc 5 would definitely be worth considering. Just remember that it takes some time for your skin to adapt and for your technique to improve.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your time to answer.
In the Netherlands I cannot buy Panasonic Arch5. Maybe because they try promoting the Dutch Philips but still I think it is not for me as I have the time to wet shave. I will return the Braun and stay with Mach3 as it gives me no cuts and this tiny margin of lack of closeness irritates me. But this is me. My friend uses the same old electrics for years without changing the blades and is very satisfied.
I do not have the audacity to shave with DE or a straight razor but it was a very informative experience. Not to mention I asked half a dozen of friends how they shaved 🙂
It is good it works for you as it is a great experience to use a fancy electric machine.
I have the Panasonic ES-LA63-s Arc 4 shaver and it’s great. I was using the Braun 799 because I have sensitive skin areas. I noticed that I wasn’t getting a close shave like I get with the Panasonic ES-LA63-s so I stopped using the Braun 799.
The question I have is the Panasonic ES-LV9N-s Arc 5 better for sensitive skin than the
Panasonic ES-LA63-s? The Panasonic ES-LA63-s can be a little tough on the skin at times. I use
Lectric Shave lotion for pre-shave prepping.
I actually have the same problem with the ES-LA63-S, it is a bit too aggressive for my skin during a dry shave. The ES-LV9N-S is more comfortable compared to the Arc 4 line — not by a whole lot, but it is. The foils don’t get as warm and the rollers do seem to help as well. It’s still not as comfortable as a Braun Series 9 or even 7 though, so it would be difficult for me to say how much of a difference it will make in your case.
Thank you for your reponse. Do you get a real close shave with the Braun Series 9 or is the Panasonic ES-LV9N-s that much closer because I do press a little hard on my skin.
The Series 9 doesn’t shave quite as close as the ES-LV9N-S, but for me the closeness is good enough. With the Series 9 I can shave dry with virtually zero irritation, it’s extremely forgiving and better than the Panasonic for flat-lying hairs, particularly on the neck. As you can see none of them is perfect and you’ll have to make some sort of compromise and decide which one would be more beneficial in your case.
I brought the Braun 9295 and I get as close a shave as I did with the Panasonic ES-LA63-s Arc 4 with minimum irration. The reason why I brought the Braun 9295 instead of the Braun 9290 was the price. There was no real difference in the price so I brought the higher number model. Thinkiing I’m will be getting a better shave but what I found out is you still get the same shave. I’m glad I brought the Braun 9295. I can deal with the chrome finish.
Only difference between 9290 (silver) and 9295 (chrome) is the color.
The Panasonic ES-LA63-s shaves closer than the Braun 9295 but the Braun gives a nice none irritating shave which I like.
I thank you so much. I agree, Panasonics are closest:)
The #1 choice is no longer available. Sad. Do you have a replacement #1 that is just as good?
The ES-LV9A is still available, or better yet, the newer C and D revisions of the Arc 5 range. I wrote a detailed article on them here. I will also update this list with the newly available models.
I was wondering. Could I use the Arc 5 to shave my body hair? I currently use the Panasonic body groomer, but would like to use a more powerful razor with a larger surface to speed up the process. I have tried searching for this information, but was not successful.
Foil electric razors are designed to work on short, thick, coarse hair, so they’re not ideal for shaving body hair from the get-go. I guess it would work if the hairs are very short and don’t lie flat on the skin, otherwise you would still be better off with using a body groomer.
What is your opinion on the Philips OneBlade shaver/trimmer hybrid: https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Norelco-OneBlade-QP2520-90/dp/B01D328BG6?
Remington has a product like that called Remington DuraBlade: https://www.amazon.com/Remington-DuraBlade-Lithium-Hybrid-Trimmer/dp/B074XHFNF2/ref=sr_1_1?crid=31JM2TAFZO8H5&keywords=remington+durablade&qid=1563201552&s=gateway&sprefix=remigton+dura%2Caps%2C276&sr=8-1
Rowenta(a German brand) has one called Forever Sharp: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ROWENTA-TN6010-Forever-Sharp-Cortapelos/dp/B07NY27KP4/ref=sr_1_1?crid=WDFE1TRN2VPC&keywords=rowenta+forever+sharp&qid=1563201621&s=gateway&sprefix=rowenta+fore%2Caps%2C610&sr=8-1.
I’ve actually ordered the OneBlade a few weeks ago, but simply didn’t have the time to try it, much less to review it. So I’m afraid I cannot yet comment on it. However, if you’re after that type of shaver, the OneBlade is probably your safest bet. Remington unfortunately has been really struggling with their shavers and everything I’ve tried in the last few years has been mediocre at best. Seeing the user reviews on the DuraBlade, it doesn’t look too good either. But again, I haven’t actually used it. Same goes for the Rowenta Forever Sharp, never used any shavers from the brand, but I am a bit intrigued by it and will try to get one myself.
Thanks. Looking forward to your review.
Thanks for the review. You tested the machines on your face. Do you have information on using the machines on the scalp.
Last time I get irritation in the neck/back of my head by using safety razor and shavinggel. I always shave against the hear for the closest shave possible. Is there a machine with the same results as the razor?
Thanks a lot
Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately I cannot answer you based on my experience as I do not shave my head, but these results should also be relevant if you’re using these shavers on the scalp. You can check out this article as well that addresses the topic in detail.
I need to purchase an electric razor for my 93-year old father. Should I be more concerned with comfort or closeness of shave? He is in a nursing home, so I don’t want to buy an expensive shaver because it might disappear. What would you recommend?
I would opt for an inexpensive and more comfortable shaver in this situation — something like a Braun Series 3 3000s or 3010s. The former will also work corded. Both are very easy to use and to clean. With age, skin loses elasticity and becomes more prone to nicks and razor burn, so a more forgiving razor would be preferred to one that shaves closer.
I have to clean shave daily due to my job and I would like to know which electric razor would should I buy.
If you need to shave daily, I think something like a Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S would be ideal. It works really well on short stubble and it shaves really close. If the price exceeds your budget, then the next best thing would be an Arc 4 model like the ones mentioned in the article.
Hope this helps.
Thankyou I have a problem with a really dark shadow after shaving on chin what do I do I don’t have any dad or family to ask also thankyou for being helpful as it’s embarrassing stay safe
There’s nothing embarrassing about this at all. The chin is one of the more tricky areas as it’s difficult to get a close shave and the hairs are usually thicker and very dense. Personally, I get the best results with Panasonic shavers as they can actually cut the hairs closer to the skin due to the curved profile of the shaving elements and they also have very thin foils. Adding a pre-shave lotion or a shaving cream can further improve your shave.
I would consider a Panasonic Arc 5 like the ES-LV65-S. If you’re on a tighter budget, an Arc 4 would be the next best thing.
Hope this helps.
Hi. I have a hard time with traditional shaving due to the time it takes me to attain good results (which for me, is smooth skin whether I touch from side to side, or up and down), and I always hate the fact these disappear the day after, just for me to take again a lot of time to shave.
So I’ve been eyeing electric shaving for a little while now, and I’ve been wondering what you consider close shaving with an electric razor. Is it baby bottom smooth, or more of a “I can’t see it but I can feel it” type of situation. (Also, I’d probably wet shave, since it seems to yield the best results).
With a suitable electric shaver and a quality shaving cream (as you said), for me, the result is baby bottom smooth. The winning combo in my case is a Panasonic Arc 5 shaver and the Speick shaving cream. It takes longer than dry shaving, but as you said, the result is better. It does however take less time than in the case of traditional wet shaving as there’s no need to have that rich, fluffy lather. On the contrary, that would be detrimental to the closeness of the shave. I wrote a guide on that topic as well if you want to check it out.
Using a shaving balm instead of shaving cream can also result in a faster shave. Moreover, you can actually see the hairs as the product is basically transparent once applied to the beard. One such product is Jack Black Beard Lube that works great with razor blades and also electric shavers.
Hope this helps.
I travel a lot, sometimes for extended times. For that reason, I found the Braun I bought to be unsuitable. The open tub of fluid in the cleaning/charging station makes it entirely non-portable. I had not been made aware of this before purchase.
Traveling with a cleaning station (and cartridge) is definitely not practical. I would only bring the shaver (and charger) and clean it manually. Most modern electric razors are waterproof and can be easily washed with tap water.
I have the Panasonic ES-LV9Q that I purchased 4 weeks ago and it shaves as good as or better than a blade. I did my homework before buying, and read every review written. A few suggested i read stated to use a pre-shave to protect from shaver burn/ rash due to the extremely close shave that is achieved with this shaver. I did my research on pre-shaves and chose Proraso and the reason, no alcohol. The two work beautifully together. The ES-LV9Q is pricey and I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. This shaver body is made from aluminum not plastic and it is a beautiful piece of engineering that feels like a quality build piece that sets great in the hand. Solid!!!!
Pros: very close shave, quality build, made from aluminum, quiet, cleaning station is great and the only one that offers dry only, very easy to clean manually (easier than all top 3 shavers), cost effective cleaning solution.
Cons: pricey, comes with a cheap soft travel case not a hard case which you would think you’d get a hard case at this price range,it has a european plug with an adapter that’s included but with the two plugged together it sticks out from the wall socket 4 ⅜”. The plug was a surprise because the packaging is written in english.
To sum it up, the travel case I replaced with a Khanga brand case made for the Arc 5 that I ordered from Amazon. It is a great case at protecting your investment but it takes some planning when packing it due to the size. Great at protecting but not compact. And as for the plug, I purchased a Panasonic plug for the states that I got on eBay because it was not offered on Amazon. Now it is the way that it should have been from the start. In ending, would I buy it again knowing what I know now, and I say ABSOLUTELY. The pros definitely out weigh the cons and I have never had a shaver with a build quality or a shave that could come close to this shaver. I can now skip a day shaving that I could never do before. SERIOUSLY, that’s how it works for me. I hope this helps those in the market to make an educated decision and good luck.
Thank you for your comment, those are some excellent insights. Glad you’re satisfied with the performance of your Arc 5.
First off, thank you very much for your thorough, insightful reviews!
I’m looking for a replacement for my old Panasonic ES-LA93 because the battery is dying. I fully charge it, then the remaining capacity drops by 10% for each three-minute shave (which is normal), but when the capacity indication reads 60%, it won’t last for an entire shave. So I have to recharge when it’s at 60%. Every few weeks, this number seems to increase…
Anyway, I have a medium to thick beard. Closeness is the most important factor for me. Using my ES-LA93 still leaves a very noticeable five-o’clock shadow, so if I leave home during the evening, I shave a second time that day. (This might partly be due to me not having replaced the inner blades and the foil set for way too long…)
By the way, I never used the included cleaning station, I always cleaned the unit manually.
Given that closeness is most important, and my ES-LA93 never gave me any irritations at all, what would you advise?
a) An ES-LV65 for about € 120, replacing the foils with the newest foils when it’s time to replace them
b) An ES-LV6Q for about € 230
If the ES-LV6Q is closer, even by a small amount, I would not care spending more for it. If, on the other hand, the closeness is not noticeable in practice, especially not after replacing the foils with the newest-generation foils, then I’d go for the ES-LV65.
Many thanks for the kind words, glad you found the reviews useful.
In this case, I would easily recommend the ES-LV65. I find the foil that comes with the ES-LV6Q to be slightly more comfortable, but with regards to closeness, they are really identical in my experience. And since your LA93 didn’t cause you any irritation, you’ll be more than pleased with the ES-LV65. Besides, you can always upgrade the foil and get the one that comes with the ES-LV6Q; it is backward compatible and will fit it perfectly. I wrote a detailed guide here on Arc 5 foils & blades compatibility.
And finally, even if money is not an issue, I just can’t get over the fact that the ES-LV6Q costs twice as much and you’re only getting some incremental (and negligible) improvements.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Ovidiu, that helps a lot!
(Sorry for my late reply… the delay is caused by a lack of time, not by lack of interest.)
I have two more questions, if I may ask them:
1. The ES-LV65 is often listed as ES-LV65-S803. The S would indicate the colour (Silver), but what does the 803 mean?
2. How many stages does the battery-charge indicator have (10 levels, 5 levels, less)?
Thanks in advance,
You are very welcome, Erick.
Regarding your questions:
1. ES-LV65-S803 is actually the full name, but most of the time it’s simply listed ES-LV65-S.
2. There are 5 levels (increments of 20%).
Hey Ovidiu Nicolae,
I have somewhat sensitive skin as I have a few pimples on my cheeks, I can’t decide between the Braun 9 series and the Arc 5, what would you suggest.
I would go with the Series 9 or even a Series 7 in this case. The Arc 5 can be a bit too harsh for sensitive skin.
Your reviews are very thorough and outstanding! Great info. Thanks for what you do. Regarding foil shavers, I have settled on two: Andis pro-foil and the Wahl Finale. Both are retro-looking and, for me, give the closest shaves from an electric that you can get. I had a Panasonic Arc 5, and while it was very good and had great engineering, the shaving head was too big and it couldn’t match the closeness of the Andis or the Wahl. And I have a fairly heavy beard (daily sandpaper). So I highly recommend either of these (they are both comparable and use similar technology with very thin foils).
I also have an NPET rotary shaver -not quite as good as the above foil shavers, but extremely quiet so it’s great for travel.
All 3 of these shavers are reasonably priced. Thanks again for your reviews. I have learned a lot!!
Many thanks for your comment, glad you found the information useful. I’ve also read about the Andis and Wahl foil shavers, however I haven’t had the chance to try them (I live in Europe and they’re basically non-existent here). But I’ll try getting them from overseas, hopefully soon.
Hi, A good site with useful shaver comments.
I am a disabled man who uses an Andis Pro Foil shaver daily. I have to use it 10 times on same area of my face, not ideal. In past I tried a Panasonic shaver but this didn’t suit me as my hands shake and it cut my face. This Andis shaver is relatively cheap.
Now I would appreciate your suggestion as 10 times is to much.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
Going over an area 10 times with an electric razor isn’t necessarily too much, although you should normally be able to get a clean shave with fewer strokes than that. It is too much if you’re left with a nasty razor burn or some nicks.
I personally find the Pro Foil a bit too aggressive for my neck (on the cheeks is fine most of the time), so in this case, 10 times is probably too much. To reduce the number of strokes, try shaving more often (the Pro Foil only works well on short hair) and also use an electric pre-shave lotion if you can get one.
Hope this helps.
Hi. Thanks for the information. I am wanting to buy my husband an electric shaver. He likes the rotary kind better. Can u tell me the best one that doesn’t cost $100 or more. If possible, I am looking for comfort and closeness. He used one years ago but can’t remember what brand it was. We are on a budget so we can’t afford expensive ones. Thank u
A good budget-friendly option would be the Philips Norelco 4500 (AT830); it’s widely available and the replacement cutters are reasonably priced as well.
Just got my Braun Series 9 a month ago and I really love it. For years I used Norelcos, and while I could get a close shave, I always ended up with neck irritation and sometimes, ingrown hairs. The Braun had solved both problems.
That’s great Raymond, thank you for taking the time to share this.
I am looking for a close shave but also have some longer flat hairs. Do not think I would use a cleaning system.
What do you suggest?
I would consider a solo Braun Series 7 model like the 7893s. Also, if there are only a few longer/flat hairs, a Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S would also be a good choice (you can simply use the popup trimmer to get the few stubborn hairs). For most users it will give a closer shave compared to the Braun Series 7.
Great info and i agree 100% . The Panasonic models clearly shave closer than the Braun models , iv’e had both .
Thank you for your comment, Herb, much appreciated. That seems to be the case for most users, regardless of the price range.
I am planning on purchasing the Braun 9290cc and was wondering if that needs lubrication or is does the cleaning unit do that?
Also, how frequently would you say I should replace my razor if I plan to shave 3-4 x a week?
Also I wasn’t clear about what you said with regard to shaving perpendicular. If you can explain that I would appreciate it.
Thank you. Great article!
Thank you for your comment.
If you’ll be using the cleaning station regularly, there’s no need to lubricate the blades yourself. The cleaning solution also acts as a lubricant.
Regarding how often you’ll need to replace the shaving head, that’s always difficult to predict as there are a lot of factors at play: the coarseness and density of the hair, how often you shave, how you clean and take care of your shaver and so on. Braun says that you should replace them every 18 months, but in practice you’ll probably have to do it every year, maybe even sooner depending on the aforementioned factors.
Regarding the shaving technique, you should try to hold the shaver at 90 degrees relative to the area being shaved in order to be the most effective.
Hi there. Your site is so thorough and full of information, I should be able to draw a conclusion on my own, but I wanted to see what you would recommend for my specific situation.
At nearly 50 I have light, slow growing facial hair. I can’t really grow much of a beard. I’ve never liked the closeness of a razor, as I find it irritates my skin and can usually get away with shaving maybe twice a week. My solution has been dry shaving with a beard trimmer most of my life, and the resulting light stubble has been fine and keeps my skin more comfortable. Problem is my facial hair is starting to grow in gray, and I’m wanting to maintain it more and keep it a little closer. I’ve tried the shaver element that comes with my Wahl trimmer, but it’s very small, and tedious at best.
Originally I was looking at the Braun 7865cc or 790cc, thinking it might serve my sensitive skin better and tendency to let my facial hair to grow out a bit between shaves. But the idea of needing a cleaning station and maintenance costs that come with the Braun put me off a bit . After reading more of your reviews I also started looking at the Pani Arc 5 ES-LV65-S, but wonder if it will be too close for me and rougher on my skin? I also like the idea of a trimmer element built in to the shaver, rather than an additional head, but have durability concerns about the different designs.
Appreciate any insight you can offer. Thanks!
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
Considering how often you usually shave and also that you have somewhat sensitive skin, I think the Braun Series 7 would be a more suitable shaver. It will get pretty close to the skin as well — the Arc 5 edges ahead especially when used on very coarse hair, which isn’t the case here. I would pick the Series 7 over an Arc 5 if I had to shave light, slightly longer facial hair.
As for the Braun stations, yes they’re nice to have, very practical as well and with the cheap third-party cleaning solutions, I think they’re worth getting. You could use the station only from time to time and just clean the shaver manually in the meantime. That said, if you’re still put off by the idea, you can also choose one of the solo models (like the 7893s), making sure to clean it with water after every shave and sometimes with a bit of liquid soap.
Pop-up trimmers are great for some touch-ups (like edging and shaping your sideburns), but not ideal for trimming an entire beard on a regular basis.
Hope this helps.
Thanks so much for getting back to me! Your logic makes total sense. I was pretty set on a 7 Series until I saw the $99 price tag currently on the ES-LV65-s. At essentially 1/2 the price and not really benefitting from a cleaning station, it threw me into a spin. But thanks for grounding me in the reality of my use case.
I have dry skin. Are traditional shaving gels/creams/foams a good option for electric shavers?
Definitely. In fact, some of them work really great. My personal favorites are the Speick shaving cream and the Beard Lube shaving balm from Jack Black. I wrote a very detailed guide regarding wet shaving with electric shavers here, I think you can find a few very useful bits of information there.
I’d like to see a review of the Wahl Lifeproof, Speed, or Smart Shavers. I find the Lifeproof’s closeness is pretty good competition for the Arc 5, at about half the price, though the experience is quite different. The Wahl gives me more control, and is more technique sensitive, and does better on the jaw line, whereas the Arc 5 seems to adapt to facial contours on its own, and it has a slight edge with comfort. Wahl also has amazing battery life. The Wahl Shavers deserve mention. Curious what you think.
As I replied in this comment, I haven’t tried the Lifeproof yet, but plan on doing so (hopefully soon). I will need to import it from the USA as I can’t find it where I live. My experience with other Wahl and Andis foil shavers has been a mixed bag — they can shave really close, but tend to be way too aggressive. I will definitely be updating the post and include the Wahl Lifeproof if that will be the case.
Hi I’m about to buy my first electric razor the things that I care about the most is how close they can shave and that they don’t irritate my skin (I have very sensitive skin) which razor from the market would you recommend me ?
Well, therein lies the rub — usually there’s a bit of a compromise regarding either the comfort or closeness. Your best bet for getting a close shave would be a Panasonic Arc 5 like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67, but those aren’t quite as forgiving as Braun Series 7 or 9. You can use a pre-shave or a shaving cream to make them more comfortable though. However, if you have very sensitive skin, in the long run, I think you’d be better off with a Braun Series 7 or 9, even though the Panasonic has the edge with regards to closeness.
Thanks for your advice and time, i have decided to take your advice and i was going to buy the Braun series 7 but i notice that there is two types the Series 7 7085cc 360 Flex Head and the Series 7 790cc which one will you reccomend me and why ?
I would definitely go with the 790cc because it’s the better shaver. You can check out my detailed comparison of the two where I discuss pretty much everything about the new and old Series 7.
Which would you suggest for a woman with facial Hirsutism that has sensitive skin?
If you’ve discussed this issue with your doctor and using an electric shaver turned out to be the best solution, I would suggest a Braun Series 7 or 9 if the budget allows it. Both are very gentle and should provide an adequately close shave.
There are decent cheaper options as well like the older generation Braun Series 5 or Series 3 ProSkin, but again, if you have the possibility, a Series 7 or would be better.
In the past, the French company Calor produced electric shavers for men. Do you know why it stopped producing them?
It was in the ’50s I believe, long before being bought by some French group (Calor was originally a German company). They haven’t made any shavers for decades from what I know, just epilators and the likes. Probably a product strategy shift.
Thank you Ovidiu
I had a Calor lc4 razor back in the ’80s and it was great and it shaves faster than any razor available today.
Excellent article. Here is my dilemma. I am bald and have a beard. I have a relatively small sized head (I sometimes wear a youth large hat or a men’s small and pull the strap all the way to the farthest setting when not wearing a fitted cap). I was just put on a blood thinner because I survived a heart attack. So, sensitive skin means something a little different to me. I would like to use one razor to both neatly trim my beard and keep my head bald. For all these nuances, (bald/beard/small head/blood thinner) which razor do you recommend?
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
Before getting any further with a shaver recommendation, please let me know if you maintain a full beard or is it just something like designer stubble. The length of the beard is particularly important here, and depending on how long you keep it and how often you need to trim it, some shavers that come with trimmer attachments and combs could work really well. It would also be useful to know how often you’ll be shaving your head as most shavers only work well on short hair.
I keep a full beard. I carve out slightly around my cheeks. I like to keep a nice line around my jaw and chin. I currently have a Phillips Norelco BT 5275 that is set anywhere from 7 (in the winter) to 4 (in the summer). I also use it to trim my chest to a 4 or 5.
I like to shave my head every 2-3 days. I would do it everyday if I could.
I’ve used a blade for my head and to maintain my lines. But, due to medical reasons for fear of bleeding in need to change how I shave.
I would also like to use the new razor you recommended to shave/remove hair without fear of bleeding from private parts as well.
I am ok if all of this requires 1,2 or even 3 different shave systems. I truly appreciate your expert knowledge and experience. Thank you.
First of all, I think you would need a dedicated body hair trimmer that you can use exclusively for the private parts and chest. Those have blunt/rounded blades to prevent nicks. However, please keep in mind that any electric shaver/trimmer that uses shearing blades, foils or rotary cutters can still cut the skin, so do proceed with care and take your time. My personal favorite for the groin area is the Philips Norelco Bodygroom BG7030/49 (BG7040/42) (here is my review of it if you want to check it out). It has one foil head with a double edge clipper (blunt blades) that cuts hair at skin level and another trimmer that must always be used with the integrated adjustable comb (this one does not have rounded blades).
Now, to maintain your beard and also to shave your head you will need either one or two shavers.
The first approach would be a one in all machine. For example, the Philips QC5580 has a clipper with two adjustable combs to trim your beard and hair (from 0 to 15mm) and a separate foil attachment that you can use on your head. It should give you a really close shave, however it will work best when used daily or every other day (that actually depends on how fast your hair grows). You can use the other attachment if you need to pre-trim the hair to a more manageable length. Again, be careful when using any clipper without a comb attachment as it can cut skin.
Another option would be a regular foil shaver that also comes with a trimmer attachment and various combs. One such model is the Braun Series 7 (2020 update) like the 7085cc, 7027cs, etc. (more details here). The Series 7 will also get at least as close as the QC5580 when shaving the head using the standard foil head. However, it might be a bit awkward to use since it’s a regular shaver (the QC5580 has a rotating head that makes it easier to shave the back of your head). But I don’t think it would be a problem since you’re already shaving your head with a regular beard trimmer.
Finally, you could go for a dedicated head shaver like the Skull Shaver Pitbull (again this one works best when used more often) and a separate beard trimmer — there are quite a few highly rated trimmers out there from Philips, Panasonic and Braun.
In my opinion either of the two approaches (one vs two machines for the beard and head) is perfectly fine, so it’s up to you to decide which one makes more sense in your case.
I am unfortunately back in the hospital. I am reviewing your response and want to thank you—I have some time to look at all the choices based on your recommendations and make a decision and order finally.
Although I may have other questions I thought I would start with the dedicated head shaver. Pitbull has three levels: Platinum, Gold and,Silver. What is the difference and which one would you recommend? They are currently having a promotion bundle with its Beast Clipper (not sure if it’s the pro version or not). Would you recommend either the pro or regular version of the Beast Trimmer regardless of the bundled price?
Michael, I’m terribly sorry to hear that — I wish you a speedy recovery.
The differences between the Pitbull versions are related to battery and accessories. IMO the Gold makes the most sense considering its price and the battery size (90 minutes of cordless use, same as the Platinum model). As far as I know, the Pro clipper has a larger battery compared to the standard one (90 vs 60 minutes) and an LED display.
I honestly can’t say much about using the Beast clipper, however, I do cut my own hair with a regular Wahl cordless clipper and I’m not sure that the design of the Beats clipper makes more sense. In the case of a rotary head shaver like the Pitbull, absolutely, as you’re using circular motions. But with a hair clipper, you must always go in a straight line and against the grain. And at least when cutting the hair on the sides and top of my head, I would prefer a conventional clipper with a conventional grip. If you watch the presentation clips on their website, you may notice that even during their demonstration things don’t look as smooth. As a beard trimmer it should work just fine though. Just something to keep in mind.
Thanks for your well wishes and I out of the woods and on the mend! I went with the Pitbull Platinum and I love it. It’s not quite as close as shaving with a regular blade but with shaving gel It’s pretty damn close. It’s also super easy and fast! And, for the added security of not getting cut and bleeding it is definitely worth it. The only issue is trimming properly around my ears. I’ve actually used it to trim my chest as well and it works pretty good, after trimming it first of course. I’m sure I’ll go through replacement heads much faster, however. Due to promotions, I got the Beast Trimmer and the Baby Beast but have not used them yet. But, I would think the Baby Beast will do the trick. Thanks for all your advice!
That’s awesome, Michael, glad you’re feeling well. Enjoy shaving with the Pitbull, it seems like a perfect fit.
I apologize! My mistake! I expected an answer via email. I see your response and I humbly apologize ans will respond to it. Thank you!
Hi, love your reviews, I keep some facial hair but like to shape my beard, and use a razor for my cheeks, and razor for my bald head, I want a foil shaver to replace the razor, I’m sold on the Panasonic, will it work for me? I also have a Wahl beard trimmer I’ll be using, for me I like a very close shave both on face and my head, I will be using a beard shaper on my face so it won’t cut the 0.5 length facial hair I have. Will you still recommend me purchasing the Panasonic (number 1) or would you recommend a razor type foil shaver? Thank you, I’m pretty new to this and been exploring for a week and so hard to choose, but your content has helped me a lot i.e. 1400 is better. 🙂
Thanks for the comment, glad you found the info useful.
The Panasonic Arc 5 is pretty much the best foil razor if your priority is getting a close shave, but in this case, I’m not exactly sure that it would work well with a beard shaper. I don’t think you’ll be able to get the foil as close to the shaper as needed in order to get that clean line (the shaving head of the Arc 5 is also quite large). And that’s an issue you’ll be having with any electric shaver. I think something like the Andis T-outliner will work better, but it won’t cut the hairs as close to the skin as a good foil shaver. So a manual razor could still be your best option.
As a head shaver, the Arc 5 will work great provided your hair is reasonably short, otherwise you will need to trim it with a clipper before using the Arc 5. If you plan on using a foil shaver on your head daily or every other day, it should work just fine.
Hope this helps.
Thank you very much for your efficient reply, really appreciate it, my beard is very small, starting from my side burn is a 0 and on my chin probably 2 and 1.5 in between, I keep a faded beard about 2 inches in thickness, and grow hair on my cheeks quite high up which I would rather foil shave than using razor. I have been so confused on what to get. Added benefit is that I can use it on my head. With the added detail any suggestions /recommendations would be awesome.
You are very welcome. It will be tricky to do all that with a single machine, to be honest. I don’t think a foil shaver that’s suitable for the head can also work well to get a clean shave on the top part of the cheeks (using a beard shaper). You need a large shaver for your head that can cover a large area with ease, but it won’t be great for finesse work. Maybe the Andis ProFoil or the BaBylissPRO could do both reasonably well.
Thanks so much for the detailed reviews, they have helped a lot with the research of my first electric shaver.
I have sensitive skin, patchy growth, and can’t grow much of a beard but still need to shave every other day. I have decided to purchase either the Braun 790cc or 7865cc.
Are the induction heat system and the quick cleaning mode on the 790cc that important? Would they be enough for you to recommend the 790cc over the 7865cc just for those features?
Buying a 790cc nowadays will likely get you one of the newer iterations of the 790cc (the full model name being 790cc-6 or 790cc-7) that come with the same station as the 7865cc, so no quick cleaning mode or inductive heating. In the past, the station used to be a reason to buy the 790cc over other newer variations, plus the ability to use the shaver with the cord plugged in — this feature is gone as well and all 790cc currently being manufactured will only work cordless. So nowadays I simply recommend getting the one you can find cheaper, be it 790cc or 7865cc.
First of all, thank you for the very detailed reviews! I have a question. How does the closeness of a shave with a Panasonic Arc 3 compare with a newer 7 series from Braun? I’ve read that Panasonics shave closer, but is that still true with a lower end Panasonic compared to a medium end Braun?
Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.
I’d say they’re pretty similar in terms of closeness. The Series 7 (newer generation) feels more powerful though and it takes fewer strokes to catch longer/flat-lying hairs. It’s not as good as the older generation though in that regard.
Not sure you can answer this (based on your picture) but here goes. I have what I think is called a “circle beard”. I’ve used a rotary shaver as long as I can remember but I’m thinking of switching. The rotary does ok with getting to the small “clear” spots below my lip, but I’m wondering how the foil shavers would do with that, especially the 5-blade ones which seem pretty wide. (I probably would lean toward a smaller 3-blade on, but even then I wonder how it would do. Thoughts?
Great web site by the way!
Thank you for the comment. I actually find foil shavers that have a compact head easier to maneuver compared to rotaries. I prefer a clean shave, so I’ve never used one to maintain or edge a beard. But for shaving below the nose, around the sideburns and so on, I have more control with a foil razor.
I think you should consider a 3-blade foil shaver like the older generation Braun Series 7 or the Series 8. As for more budget-friendly options, there’s the Panasonic Arc 3 also mentioned above or even a Braun Series 3 ProSkin — the latter has a really thin shaving head and the 3 cutters stick out a lot, which I think helps in this situation.
I have hair that are growing all different directions, specially around neck area. Even razor will have hard time to shave them off from time to time. Based on the information from your article, do you believe Braun Series 9 Pro 9460cc will able to help me?
I think you have the greatest chance with the Pro — it will likely perform better than pretty much any other shaver you can currently buy.
I am looking at your website with great interest because I have not seen such a committed person in helping others for a long time.
Using your expert knowledge, I would like to ask you which of the listed shavers is the most accurate currently (I noticed there are a few Panasonic shavers out there that are not listed on the site or in the comments).
Respecting your spare time, please only indicate the one that cuts closest to the skin (unless you consider the differences between them to be important regarding choice). The price is irrelevant.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
The ES-LT67 is actually an Arc 3, so we can rule it out from the start. If you’re interested in getting the one that cuts the closest, the ES-LV65, ES-LV67 and ES-LV95 would be my picks and are all identical in that regard. The ES-LV6Q and ES-CV51 have the newer foils with the two comfort rollers that some users feel like they interfere with getting the closest possible shave. I haven’t found that to be the case while using them, but just to be extra safe, you should consider getting either the ES-LV65, ES-LV67 or ES-LV95. Choosing one depends on your preferences — with or without a cleaning station, price and design. Again, all 3 shave the same.
Thank you for your comprehensive answer. As I care about the charging station, considering availability, I have the ES-LV95 and ES-LV97 to choose from. The main difference seems to be the moving blades in 97. Do you think this has any effect on shaving accuracy or skin irritation? I am grateful for your help.
You are very welcome. The way the 5 blades move/flex independently is exactly the same. The difference is in the way the whole shaving head flexes. Precisely, the one on the ES-LV97 can also move vertically, but the range of motion is very limited and in my experience that won’t translate into any noticeable improvement.
Thanks so much for all your info. I have the Arc5 and I love it. I have only used it dry shaving and until I read that you recommended using it wet with shaving cream I’m amazed how close of a shave it can give . I would say equal to safety razor. I tried a safety razor for a few months and could not stop the irritation and nicks. The Panasonic Arc5 is the best way to shave without any irritation.
That’s awesome, Mark, thank you for the comment. The Arc 5 works great with shaving cream, definitely one of the closest shaves you can get with an electric shave.
I really would like to thank you for what you´re doing here. I started wet shaving with DE razors, but for a daily shave, it was too aggressive for my skin.
I moved to electrical and purchased the Braun 9260s. My wrong idea was, if it is the most expensive, will shave closer. I have a coarse, hard beard and at 4pm I had already stubble, even if I shave every day.
After reading you will move to a Panasonic ES LV67, hoping for a more durable shave.
What I appreciate is that in every website everybody speaks in general about electric razors, saying they´re great, with pros & cons. You are the one to made a serious, in depth review really useful. Thanks!
Thank you for the comment, much appreciated. In my opinion this is where the Arc 5 (like the ES-LV67) really shines compared to any Braun shaver, including the Series 9 — and you should see an improvement. For coarse beards and shaving daily, the Arc 5 is superior in my opinion.
Unbiased and extremely useful information thank you.
Thank you, Ferdi, I really appreciate it.
I bought Andis foil shaver after going through this exercise once before. Great shaver, but foil needed replacement after a few uses. So, now I want a rotary shaver. I want a list of my best options.
The foils on the Andis do wear out faster compared to most other foil shavers. A rotary (pretty much any model) will be a lot more durable in that regard and will require new heads a lot less. The closeness on the other hand won’t be as good. You can check out some of my recommendations here and here depending on the budget.
Thank you for this detailed explanation.
Shaver/razors do give me bumps. I read that trimmers, though may not give shaves as close as shavers, trimmers could help overcome bumps associated with using shavers. Please suggest any trimmers that you think I can consider. I’m writing form Canada
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
That is correct — a trimmer or any device that doesn’t cut the hairs at skin level is usually beneficial in reducing the risk of bumps. While I generally prefer a clean shave and my experience is mainly with electric shavers (that cut the hair close to the skin), two trimmers you should be considering are the Philips OneBlade/OneBlade Pro and the Panasonic ER-GB42-K. They are entirely different concepts, the latter being a classic beard trimmer you would use to maintain a fully grown beard. While it will also work for designer stubble, it’s maybe a bit overkill; the OneBlade is lighter and a bit more user-friendly.
Many thanks. Although i have not written to you before, i have beeen following your blogs and i actually decided on a panasonic Arc 5 which i have been using for about 4 months now.
The problem i am having is my ingrown hair left behind that i have to spend hours pulling out or the flat facial hair. Do you thing the Braun series 9 will be a good additing to get the ingrown hair under control?
Thank you for the comment, much appreciated. Normally the Series 9 should be better than the Arc 5 in precisely those areas, but how much an improvement will it be, that tends to vary among different users. For me personally the Series 9 is clearly better at getting the flat hairs, especially when I shave dry. It doesn’t get quite as close as the Arc 5 (especially on the chin and below the nose in my case) but that also helps with not getting folliculitis and I think it should be beneficial for your ingrown hairs problem as well.
Hi, I have a Braun series 7 from a few years ago. Is it worth upgrading, and to what, and why? Thanks
If you only want a closer shave, I think you’ll see an improvement when switching to a Panasonic Arc 5. The ES-LV65 or ES-LV67 would be my picks for the reasons outlined in the post above.
I have tried multiple Panasonic, Braun, Norelco rotary and Oneblade, and Andis shavers, but none of them have been very satisfactory.
My complaints have been the painful yanking of hairs (happens with the Andis Pro Foil), the creation of ingrown hairs (happens with rotary blades), an inability to shave hairs under the chin (happens with most shavers), and not close enough cuts.
I have always had trouble shaving under the chin, perhaps because of flat hairs.
I don’t grow any beard or mustache.
My best electric shaver was a Remington model from the late 1980s or early 1990s (the Victor Kiam days). I wish I hadn’t thrown it away, because nothing newer has been able to cut as well and have as much comfort. I do not remember the model.
I don’t care about price; I’d pay $5000 if I could find the perfect shaver to last a lifetime. Instead, I buy a new one around every two years, throwing away the old ones which aren’t satisfactory. I replace the foils/cutters regularly, so I know that’s not it.
That really sounds like you’re having a hard time finding a shaver that’ll perform decently. A few thoughts on your experience:
The Andis ProFoil will absolutely yank hairs unless you’re using it on really short stubble. Many barbers use them just to finish a fade or clean up a small area — like the upper cheek and only to the beard line. I also said in my review of it that it doesn’t really make sense to be used as a main shaver precisely because it’s more of a niche product (like the Wahl Finale or the BaByliss FOILFX2).
You should probably focus on finding a good foil shaver if rotaries give you ingrown hairs.
I find the Panasonic Arc 5 and Arc 6 to be the best at shaving close under the chin, an area where most electric razors struggle. I don’t know if you’ve tried them, but these probably have the best chance of giving you a satisfactory result. If you have lots of flat-lying hairs under the chin, I recommend using them more often. Flat hairs are less of an issue for Panasonic shavers if they’re short. Otherwise you will need many passes to capture all of them.
Thank you for your great insights. For a very close shave, which one would be the best between Arc 5 ES-LV65-S and Arc 6 ES-LS8A-K?
I would go with the ES-LV65-S. The closeness is basically the same but it costs like a third of the price with the current discounts.
I own the Panasonic Arc 4 and arc 5. I also own the Braun 9 Pro which , in my opinion cuts as close or closer than My Panasonic…
Thank you for the comment, John. That’s definitely possible, there are many different variables that can affect the performance of a shaver against others.