In a world where everything is going wireless, cordless and untethered, corded electric shavers are becoming a rare breed.
Yes, most of us would rather shave without a cord dangling from the razor, but as a fallback solution, being able to use an electric shaver directly from a power outlet is a handy feature.
And for some users, it is a must-have.
But almost all current electric shavers will only work cordless. While there used to be many cordless/corded shavers in the past, your options are rather limited in 2020.
However, there are still a few excellent shavers out there that will work with the cord plugged in. You’ll still be able to use them cordless, but also have the peace of mind that you can always plug the cord in and start shaving.
Without further ado, let’s see what’s the deal with corded electric razors and check out some of the best options still available that will suit different budgets and different needs.
Table of Contents
- Corded electric shavers: pros and (no) cons?
- What are some of the best corded electric shavers (2020)?
- Why are there so few corded electric razors available?
Corded electric shavers: pros and (no) cons?
I decided to write this post after receiving many emails and comments from readers asking for recommendations of electric shavers that they can use both cordless and corded.
And the main reason for wanting such a shaver was always the same: they wanted to be able to use it even after the battery is no longer able to hold a decent charge.
That’s a perfectly valid reason, especially for someone that plans on holding on to a shaver for a few good years.
It’s a known fact that rechargeable batteries have a finite number of charging cycles. When that number is reached, they’ll no longer be able to provide the required power in order to operate the motor.
And if it’s a cordless only shaver, that can be a problem.
In this situation, the first thing you could do is replace the battery.
However, pretty much all electric shavers are fitted with batteries that are not user-replaceable. So officially, you cannot replace the battery yourself.
Unofficially, you can actually do it and for the more popular shaver models, the batteries are widely available and you can even find tutorials showing you how to do it step by step.
But if your shaver is not one of them, the compatible batteries are difficult to find or aren’t available at all to end-users.
Another problem with opening the shaver if you do manage to source the battery is compromising the waterproofing.
Precisely, if your shaver was originally water-resistant and you could wash it under the tap, you’ll no longer be able to do that.
Water ingress can and will damage the shaver irreversibly.
So ending up with a shaver that you must baby and take extra care when using and cleaning it doesn’t sound like fun.
Even shaving in an environment with high humidity can be a problem.
Luckily, there are still a few electric razors you can buy that will also work corded.
These shavers are suitable for dry use only, meaning you shouldn’t use them in the shower or with shaving cream or gel (due to safety concerns).
That’s the downside of corded electric shavers, but a minor one as most users would rather shave dry anyway.
Despite this limitation, modern dry only shavers are usually waterproof and can be safely rinsed with water (with the cord unplugged, of course).
Important: dry only doesn’t always imply that a shaver will work with the cord plugged in — there are a few models that won’t — but it’s a good place to start your quest for a corded razor.
The wet/dry electric shavers will only work cordless; again, as a safety precaution.
With that said, let’s check out some of the most compelling corded shavers out there, starting with the more advanced (and more expensive ones) and finishing with a few budget-friendly options.
What are some of the best corded electric shavers (2020)?
1. Braun Series 7 790cc
For anyone familiar with electric shavers, the Series 7 from Braun shouldn’t need any introduction.
It’s one of the most successful, popular and iconic electric razors of the past decade.
And while it’s definitely not flawless, it’s a really good, versatile shaver that will be suitable in a variety of situations.
First of all, it does tick the box for cordless and corded operation, the thing we’re interested in particular here.
Being an older model, it’s a dry only shaver, unlike the newer Series 7 iterations that are all wet/dry models and will not work while charging.
It’s also waterproof, so you can safely clean the 790cc under tap water.
The cc in its name stands for Clean & Charge as it comes with an automatic cleaning station that cleans and charges the shaver.
You can plug the cord directly into the shaver and as mentioned previously, it will actually work in this manner.
So what are the main pros of the Series 7 790cc and who should buy it?
First of all, it’s a very comfortable and forgiving electric shaver.
The fact that it’s a dry only razor isn’t a deal-breaker in this case as the 790cc is really comfortable and the closeness of the shave will also be satisfactory for most users.
I’ve been using wet/dry Series 7 models like the 7865cc with shaving cream and to be honest, the differences in the quality of shave were marginal. So it’s not really worth the trouble of using shaving cream anyway.
For men with sensitive skin that suffer from razor burn, irritation, bumps, ingrown hairs, the Series 7 790cc would be ideal if it fits within the budget.
It’s not exactly cheap, but then again it doesn’t have the outrageous price of other premium shavers, like the Japan-only Panasonic Arc 5 shavers (which won’t work with the cord plugged in anyway).
Also, it handles longer, flat-lying hairs better than any other foil shaver in this price range. So if you don’t shave often, the 790cc would again be a good option.
It only has 3 shaving elements, but it performs excellent and it’s powerful enough for a coarse beard as well.
And with proper care and maintenance, it should last for years and you can still use it even after the battery deteriorates completely.
The Series 7 has a good reliability track record in general. You will however have to keep in mind that it has a flawed design of the head locking mechanism.
Precisely, the head of the Series 7 can swivel up and down, so Braun fitted a head locking switch that allows you to lock it in place when you need more precision.
If you lock the head in place, then try to move it, the mechanism will simply break. I personally never lock it to avoid any risks of this happening.
Besides, the head of the Series 7 is very slim and nimble, so I never felt the need to use the locking function.
I chose the 790cc over other corded Braun Series 7 models because it’s basically the only one still available.
Other options are the 760cc and 720s (no cleaning station), but those were discontinued and are now difficult to find.
But if you still manage to get one and for a better price, definitely go for it. The shaving performance will actually be the same.
2. Braun Series 5 5030s
I prefer to think of the Braun Series 5 as a more affordable alternative to the Series 7.
While not quite as refined and fast as the Series 7, the differences in performance and in the quality of the shave are really not that significant.
So if you found the Series 7 above to be a good match for your needs, but didn’t feel like spending that much on a shaver, you should really consider the Series 5 5030s.
This particular model is a dry only shaver, so again you will be able to shave with the cord plugged in.
It’s a solo model, hence no cleaning station; but it does cost less than other Series 5 variations that come with one.
The station is handy, especially for removing some stubborn dirt buildups inside the shaving head, but you can still do a decent job cleaning it with a bit of liquid soap and water.
The shaving head of the Series 5 looks awfully similar to the one of the Series 7 and the performance is similar as well.
While the Series 5 vibrates more, it feels a tad slower and maybe a bit harsher, it’s still a really comfortable foil shaver that will be a suitable choice for the same reasons as the Series 7.
The closeness is again adequate, although something in the same price range like a Panasonic Arc 4 will likely provide a closer shave. All Panasonic shavers will however work only cordless (except for the very expensive and difficult to buy ES-LV9C-S).
Just like the Series 7, the main pro of the Series 5 is the comfort. It’s a gentle, smooth shaver that will be perfectly suitable for sensitive skin.
It will also work surprisingly well on a 2 to 3 days beard and while it’s not quite as capable as the Series 7 in this regard, it’s definitely good enough.
The newer Series 5 models that start with 51 are suitable for wet/dry use, so you will not be able to use them corded.
The 5030s is one of the few Series 5 still available that will also work when connected to the mains.
Other corded Series 5 are the 5020s and 5090cc, but in most countries, they aren’t available anymore.
The Series 5 5030s offers better value for money than the Series 7 790cc since it costs less to buy and the replacement shaving head is cheaper as well.
So overall, it strikes a really good balance of performance, features, and costs.
3. Braun Series ProSkin 3 3000s
The last Braun model on our list of corded shavers is from the entry-level Series 3 line.
Precisely, the Series 3 ProSkin 3000s.
This is a dry only shaver that can usually be found at a very affordable price, offers very decent performance for the price, it’s comfortable, reasonably powerful and a great choice for the budget-conscious buyer.
While the Series 5 and 7 above are clearly the more advanced (and better) shavers, the 3000s is not too bad for such an inexpensive razor.
It’s a basic, no-frills, 3-blade shaver that will work great for someone who shaves more often and has a light to medium beard.
While it will eventually shave a dense, coarser beard as well, I highly recommend going for a Series 5 or 7 in that case.
The 3000s is easy to use and to clean, making it ideal for a beginner as well.
The replacement shaving heads are cheap and widely available, reducing the costs of ownership to a minimum.
The Series 3 3000s is again a comfortable and gentle shaver, especially at this price point. The comfort during the shave is actually Braun’s main advantage over the other brands.
The closeness is not the best though, but if you want a comfortable and cheap electric shaver that will work corded, the Series 3 is pretty much the only choice.
The 3000s is one of the more reasonably priced Series 3 models and the one I would recommend.
Other Series 3 models that will work while charging are either difficult to find (3020s), have a poor battery life (300s) or they cost a lot for a basic razor (3090cc, 3070cc, 3050cc, etc.).
4. Remington F5-5800
Remington is another important name in the electric shavers industry, but one that has lagged behind the Panasonic, Braun and Philips trio.
The quality and reliability of their recent shavers just aren’t quite up there with best.
Nevertheless, the F5-5800 is a model that stands out from the lineup.
It’s probably the most popular Remington shaver in recent years.
The main reasons for that are the affordable price and surprisingly, the performance.
Precisely, the closeness.
The F5-5800 shaves closer than other shavers in that price range, like the Series 3 from Braun.
However, it does so to the detriment of comfort. So the F5-5800 won’t be a suitable choice for users with somewhat sensitive skin.
It also works well only on short facial hair. So if you don’t shave daily or every other day at most, the Braun Series 3 3000s above will again be a better option.
And then there’s the problem of reliability which seems to be very spotty with Remington shavers.
There are reports of the blades eating through the foils after a few months of use, so this is something you should consider as well.
The Series 3 from Braun has a better reliability history.
But again, the Remington F5-5800 is a very interesting option for a corded foil shaver as it comes from a different manufacturer and is capable of delivering some very close shaves, provided that you don’t have very sensitive skin and you usually shave daily.
5. Philips Norelco Shaver 3100 (S3310/81)
Up to this point we’ve only looked at corded foil shavers.
Well, for users who prefer rotary razors, the choices are even fewer, unfortunately.
Philips (Norelco) is basically the only option and most of their shavers still in production will not work when powered with the cord from an outlet.
But again, we can still find a few exceptions.
The Shaver 3100 (S3310/81) is a basic, entry-level, dry only rotary razor that operates both corded and cordless.
Apart from that, it’s usually very reasonably priced, it’s easy to use and to clean, it’s quiet and works surprisingly well on longer facial hair.
It’s also fitted with a pop-up trimmer and while it’s pretty average, it’s nevertheless a useful and welcome addition.
As for the downsides, the closeness and comfort could be better, so if those are deal-breakers, you will be better off with one of the foil shavers above.
Also, the battery of the Shaver 3100 takes a whopping 8 hours to charge. Luckily, you can shave with the cord plugged in.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a more advanced rotary razor that you can use while charging, you’re out of luck.
All the middle to high-end Philips shavers will not work from a wall socket.
So the Shaver 3100 is basically the only option nowadays. Actually there’s a model called S1150/81 that is a corded only rotary shaver, so it doesn’t even have a battery.
6. Philips Norelco S3552/89 (Heritage edition)
The S3552/89 (Heritage edition) is the other unicorn from Philips Norelco.
It uses the exact blades as the 3100 above, so it will shave pretty much the same.
But unlike the 3100, it only takes one hour to fully charge and yes, it will also work corded.
It has a very reasonable price and comes in this really nice seafoam color which gives it a vintage vibe.
The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to get. It’s available only in several retail stores in the USA, so for most users, the 3100 (S3310/81) at number 5 remains the only option for a corded rotary razor.
Why are there so few corded electric razors available?
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I get quite a few messages from users complaining about the somewhat short lifespan of today’s electric shavers compared to what they used to be back in the day.
While it wasn’t uncommon to use a shaver for 10 to 15 years, such numbers seem really far-fetched nowadays.
And the argument of being able to use a shaver corded is almost always brought into the discussion.
This makes sense as the battery is usually the first component that will fail.
So why there are so few of these shavers on the market?
I guess we can always make a case for the manufacturers’ intent to sell more products and thus making them intentionally less reliable.
It’s a recurrent theme that we’ve seen in the case of smartphones, cars or washing machines.
The official reason in the case of cordless only electric razors is safety. Since a large chunk of them are suitable for wet and dry use, the manufacturers decided to prevent operation when the shaver is connected to a power outlet.
You could argue that it’s a cop-out and a convenient one instead of making more effort to educate and inform the user and so on.
But then again the risk is real in the case of improper use and we must look at this from their perspective as well.
And since most users won’t be bothered by cordless only operation, at least not to the point of not wanting to buy an electric shaver, it’s pretty clear where things are heading.
We’re likely to see even fewer corded electric shavers in the years to come.
I would personally like to see electric shavers with user-replaceable batteries. And USB charging.
That seems utopic right now, but we can always hope, at least for the latter.
I usually have a hard time coming up with lists of recommended shavers for specific situations.
And the main reason for that is the sheer number of available models.
However, in this case, precisely the cordless & corded electric razors that are still readily available, there was only a handful to consider.
If the ability to use your shaver from the mains is a must-have for you, the above-mentioned models should be available in most countries and you should pick one based on your needs and budget.
I hope this article will be useful and will help you in your search for a suitable corded razor.
What was your experience with corded electric razors? Are there any other out there that you would recommend? If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments below.