The good: arguably the most comfortable electric shaver on the market, close shaves, great performance when used on longer hairs, suitable for very sensitive skin, very fast shaving sessions, excellent cleaning station, lightweight and well balanced, good build quality and ergonomics
The bad: pricey, plastic body, cleaning cartridges are pricey (compared to the competition), mediocre long hair trimmer, manual cleaning can be fiddly
Braun launched the Series 9 back in 2015 to take over the popular, but aging Series 7 line of electric shavers.
With more power, more cutting elements and a new design, the Series 9 is Braun’s most advanced and most expensive electric shaver yet.
One year after its introduction, Braun suddenly revamped the entire Series 9 line, the most important changes being a new shaving head and wet/dry operation for all the new shavers.
Part of this new generation, the Braun Series 9 9290cc comes in a matte silver finish and includes an automatic Clean & Charge (cc) station.
Moreover, this particular model is shaping up to be one of the best selling Series 9 shavers due to its lower price compared to other similar Series 9 variations.
Braun Series 9 9290cc
But since it still has a hefty price tag, you’re probably interested in finding out if it’s worth your hard earned money.
With that said, there’s a lot to like about the 9290cc, but there are some negative aspects as well.
To find out if it would be a good fit for you, I compiled my findings into this review after thoroughly testing the Braun Series 9 9290cc over the course of one month.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Features overview
- Included accessories
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Battery life and charging
- Shaving performance
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Replacement parts availability
- Wrapup — Who should buy it?
- Alternative shavers
The Series 9 9290cc packs quite a lot of technologies and features, so I’ll briefly go over the most important ones.
4 individual cutting elements
The shaving head of the Series 9 is comprised of 4 individual cutting elements:
- Two foils called OptiFoils that shave hairs close to the skin. They use Braun’s notorious hexagon shaped holes that are supposedly superior for capturing hairs compared to the regular rounded perforations.
- A HyperLift & Cut trimmer — this is a novelty and a distinct element of the Series 9; the specially designed trimmer lifts and cuts flat-lying hairs. You can identify it by its distinctive golden color on the updated Series 9 models like the 9290cc in our review. The unique color of this trimmer is the result of a Titanium Nitride coating, a ceramic material used for its anti-corrosive and edge retention properties.
- A Direct & Cut trimmer that captures hairs that grow in different directions.
One thing that caught my attention was Braun’s attempt at marketing the Series 9 as a shaver with 5 cutting elements.
In Braun’s view, the fifth is the so-called SkinGuard, a piece of metal located right next to the Direct & Cut trimmer that supposedly smoothens the skin.
But let’s be honest, this isn’t a cutter and should not count as one.
Just for the record, the Panasonic Arc 5 is an example of a shaver with 5 active shaving elements.
With the Series 9, Braun ditched the personalization modes of the Series 7 that allowed the user to manually alter the power output of the shaver depending on the area they were shaving.
Those were pretty much useless and Braun probably thought the same.
Instead, they implemented the so-called SyncroSonic technology that reads the density of the beard and adjusts the power accordingly. This type of technology is also found on high-end Panasonic shavers.
I would personally prefer full power for the entire shave as I never found this type of gimmicky features to make any significant improvements to the actual performance of the shaver.
But it is what it is.
10·D Flexible Shaving System
According to Braun, the four cutters are mounted on a 10 directional pivoting head: they can be independently depressed and the whole shaving head can pivot back and forth.
I have no idea how they came up with the number 10, but what I can tell you after using the 9290cc is that this really works.
The Series 9 has one of the best implemented flexing shaving heads of any foil shaver. It’s simple, but it works great (more details on this in the performance section of the review).
For more precision, the head can also be locked into a fixed position with a dedicated switch located on the front of the shaver.
Waterproof, wet & dry operation.
As mentioned earlier, all the updated Series 9 models are now suitable for wet & dry use and can be fully submerged in water up to 5 meters deep.
This means that you can use the 9290cc in the shower or with your favorite shaving cream if you prefer so.
As a side note, all the updated Series 9 shavers can be identified by the model name, 92xxcc or 92xxs.
The older shavers used the 90xxcc or 90xxs naming template. The cc models include the automatic cleaning station, while the s models do not.
Automatic cleaning station
As you probably know, the Series 9 9290cc in this review comes with the Clean & Charge station that does precisely what the name implies.
Moreover, it also dries and lubricates the shaving head. We take a detailed look at how the cleaning station works later on.
Other noteworthy features of the 9290cc include:
- 5 level battery LED display
- travel lock
- 5-minute quick charge
- long hair trimmer.
Upon opening the retail package, you’ll be greeted with the following items:
- Braun Series 9 9290cc shaver
- Clean & Charge station
- Charging cord
- Hard travel case
- 1 x cleaning cartridge
- Cleaning brush
- User’s manual
Build quality and ergonomics
I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to find out that Braun has decided to use plastic for the Series 9.
For example, Panasonic’s latest Arc 5 shavers have an exquisite brushed metal body.
However, I was glad to see that at least with the 9290cc the silver part of the shaver’s body has a matte, frosted finish compared to the high gloss chrome treatment of other Series 9 models (9295cc, 9296cc etc.).
As a result, smudges and fingerprints are a non-issue with this one. There’s still some glossy chrome around the bottom, around the ON/OFF switch, and on the foil frame.
The Braun Series 9 9290cc is a very handsome shaver. The body actually looks like metal and I still wish it was made out of metal.
The shaver is surprisingly lightweight and its size is very manageable despite having substantial girth towards the top part.
It feels well balanced and adequately secure due to the textured rubber on the back that extends to the sides as well.
The long hair trimmer on the back is cover with the same grippy material.
I personally would have liked the rubber to extend even more on the sides and front like they did with the Series 5, but that would have messed up the aesthetics. With the black color scheme of the Series 5, it wasn’t a problem.
The front of the shaver houses the LED display, the ON/OFF switch (that also acts as a travel lock with a long press) and the head locking switch.
It’s worth mentioning that this is a massive improvement over the locking mechanism of the Series 7 that was prone to breaking if excessive force was applied to the shaving head after being locked.
With the Series 9 (and the Series 5 as well), the head will simply move into a different position with no damage done to the ratcheting mechanism.
Despite being covered with these dimples, the switch is still a bit slippery if your finger is wet and you must press harder in order to operate it.
The one on the Series 5 for example offers more grip, being made out of a softer, rubbery plastic.
On the back of the Series 9, you’ll find the long hair trimmer and two metal studs used for charging the shaver when placed into the station.
The long hair trimmer is very smooth to slide in and out. When fully extended, it just about passes the shaving head.
I have to give Braun props for paying attention to small details. For example, if you slide out the long hair trimmer and the shaving head is in the way (the range of motion is quite large), it automatically slides forward and the trimmer doesn’t bump into it.
Also, there’s a small button in the center of the trimmer that must be pressed — otherwise the trimmer simply won’t slide forward.
The shaving head (called a cassette) appears of high quality and snaps easily and securely into place. It’s also very easy to remove by pressing the two black tabs on both sides of the shaving head.
It’s worth mentioning that with the original Series 9 there were some reports of the shaving head falling apart after just months of use. The culprit was apparently the HyperLift & Cut trimmer.
For the shaving heads of the updated Series 9, Braun outsourced their production to a different manufacturer and the problem was most likely taken care of.
The new shaving heads also use the Titanium coating and have a golden color instead of blue.
The hard travel case is excellent. I like the fact that Braun includes them even with the lower end models like the Series 5.
The case offers excellent protection and looks and feels of high quality.
Overall, the build quality and ergonomics of the Series 9 are good, even though I personally expected a bit more from Braun’s new flagship.
Battery life and charging
Being a wet/dry shaver, the Series 9 9290cc can only be operated cordless as a safety precaution.
The older dry only versions of the Series 9 like the 9090cc could also be used while charging.
However, the battery life is excellent and there’s a 5-minute quick charge option as well.
With the 9290cc I get at least 10 shaves from a full charge which is very good in my opinion. The battery also charges reasonably fast in approximately 60 minutes.
My unit was bought from Europe and came with a flat cord. Some Series 9 can still be shipped with the older (and now discontinued) coiled cord.
When charging, the corresponding bar indicating the current battery charge will flash.
There are 5 levels, each one representing a 20% charge.
This is very useful in my opinion and enhances the user experience. I would actually prefer this solution to the 5 bars approach entirely.
Let’s now get to the most important part of our Braun Series 9 9290cc review and see how well the shaver performs.
I tested the 9290cc exclusively for four weeks and used it for shaving daily, every other day and every two days.
I shaved dry for the majority of the time but also tried it with shaving cream since this model can handle wet shaving as well.
Just to put things into context, I have sensitive skin and coarse facial hair.
And now the big question: how does the Braun Series 9 9290cc shave?
Short answer: amazing.
Braun Series 9 9290cc
I can honestly say that the 9290cc gave me the most pleasant, enjoyable and comfortable shave of any electric razors I’ve used so far.
If I could describe the shaving experience in one word, that would be effortless.
Closeness of the shave
Let’s start with how close it shaves.
Pretty darn close. Again, one of the closest shaves I got from any electric razor.
I would say that the Panasonic Arc 5 is still the closest shaving razor, but in my case, the difference was really minor and it would be hard to say with certainty which one was better.
I guess one of the reasons for the remarkable close shave is just how comfortable the 9290cc feels.
I am usually very cautious when shaving and always make sure not to press excessively or go over sensitive areas multiple times.
With the 9290cc however I could get away with doing these things that would normally leave me with some razor burn or at least a nasty rash.
For me it is particularly difficult to get a close shave right above my upper lip, where the hairs are very thick and dense and I often have to press harder and use more strokes just to get a decent result.
Doing so often leads to irritation, but there was none with the Series 9 9290cc and I could actually get a close shave without any discomfort.
Comfort wise, the Series 9 9290cc is in a class of its own.
While the Series 7 comes very close in this regard, the Series 9 feels subjectively smoother, faster and more pleasant to use.
It’s a combination of various factors, like the increased power and the foils remaining cool even after a long shaving session.
The Series 9 is arguably the most forgiving electric razor out there right now and even when my technique was sloppier it still didn’t cause me any significant discomfort.
Shaving longer hairs
To me, the most impressive thing about the Braun Series 9 9290cc (apart from the comfort) was just how efficient it was at catching and cutting longer hairs that lie flat on the skin.
I have a problem area on my neck were hairs grow in different directions and also parallel to the skin.
The Series 9 managed to perform better than any electric shaver I’ve used. And this scenario — longer, flat-lying hairs — is without a doubt the Achilles heel of most electric shavers.
The Series 9 with its two middle trimmers simply works better than any other foil shaver and better than most rotary shavers
I never managed to get a smooth shave on my neck as fast and comfortable as I did with the 9290cc.
I also never experienced any pulling or yanking on the hairs even with two to three days between shaving sessions.
Because it is so effective at catching stubborn hairs, the time it takes for me to complete a shave is also remarkably short with the Series 9 9290cc.
The four cutting elements form a massive head that can cover a lot of ground fast. The motor is also adequately powerful and never felt sluggish.
The Series 9 has probably the best implementation of a flexing shaving head.
It works flawlessly and allows you to maintain constant contact with the skin even if you have very prominent facial features.
Even though it’s not nearly as advanced as the one of the latest Arc 5 models, it actually improves your shaving experience.
When shaving right below the jawline or on your chin you will really feel the difference compared to most other razors.
The Series 9 is also pretty quiet for a foil shaver. Compared to a Series 5 for example that vibrates excessively during use, the 9290cc is much more refined.
Series 9 shaving head orientation: does it matter?
You may or may not know, but the shaving cassette on all Series 9 models can be fitted in two ways as you can see from the pictures below.
And that begs the question: does the orientation affect the shaving performance?
Braun says that it does not. Some of our readers say that it does.
To find out, I shaved half my face with the head fitted with the titanium coated trimmer closer to the shaver’s front (option 1) and immediately after that, the other half with the head flipped 180 degrees (option 2).
And to my surprise, I did notice a difference.
It wasn’t huge, but with the head fitted with the HyperLift & Cut trimmer closer to the top of the shaver (option 2) it just felt smoother and the shaver was subjectively more effective at catching the longer hairs on my neck.
So during an upstroke, the order of the cutting elements was: OptiFoil – HyperLift & Cut trimmer – Direct & Cut trimmer – SkinGuard – OptiFoil and that seemed to slightly improve my shave.
However, these findings may vary, so definitely try shaving both ways and see which one works better for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if for some it wouldn’t make any difference at all.
Long hair trimmer
I like the positioning, it’s buttery smooth to slide in and out and the cutter itself is adequately wide.
When deployed, it extends a bit beyond the shaving head, so you can sort of see what you’re doing.
However, it just feels dull and I must go over an area multiple times to get all the hairs.
I mostly use the trimmers on my electric shavers to shape my sideburns and it takes me a lot to do it with the 9290cc.
My old Panasonic Arc 4, with its pop-up trimmer that sits perpendicularly to the shaver’s body, shaves a lot faster and requires less effort on my part to use it.
I found this to be the case with the Braun Series 3, 5 and 7 as well. Definitely not a deal breaker, but the performance of the trimmer could have been a lot better.
Wet shaving with the 9290cc
I personally prefer to shave with cream for the majority of the time as I get closer and smoother shaves.
Since this shaver was already very comfortable and the closeness was adequate as well, I mostly used the 9290cc dry.
With shaving cream the closeness was a bit better and the comfort outstanding, but overall the difference was negligible in my case.
And that’s unusual for me as I normally get much better results when shaving wet, particularly with Panasonic and Norelco shavers. But that’s mainly because out of the box they’re not as comfortable as the Series 9.
As a result, I didn’t feel the need to use the 9290cc with shaving cream.
And there’s another reason for sticking mostly to dry shaving as you’ll see next.
Cleaning and maintenance
The cc in the shaver’s name means that it comes with an automatic cleaning station.
As a result, you’ll have two methods of cleaning the 9290cc at your disposal: automatic and manual.
Let’s start with the automatic cleaning.
The station shipped with the Series 9 is specific to this line, being different than the ones included with the Series 3, 5 or 7.
They all use the same cleaning cartridges, but the stations shipped with the Series 9, our 9290cc included, use a fan for the drying cycle of the cleaning process.
The old Series 7 station uses induction heat, the fastest and quietest method, while the Series 3 and 5 don’t have any active drying systems and therefore they take the longest to dry the shaver.
Braun dropped the induction heating system altogether, so the Series 9 cc station is the only one in Braun’s lineup that includes an active drying system.
Apart from the design and the way the shaver sits inside the station, all Braun cleaning stations will automatically charge, clean and lubricate the shaver.
As said previously, the drying feature is now only available with the Series 9.
Let’s take a closer look at the station shipped with the 9290cc and see how it performes.
The design is very similar to the Series 5 station. And that makes sense since the two shavers are very similar in terms of design and proportions, even though they’re in different categories of price and performance.
There’s a single central button on the front that starts the cleaning and drying process.
Right above that button you’ll find a sticker showing how you should NOT use the station.
Precisely, you shouldn’t use it if your shaver is dripping wet or the shaving head is covered in lather.
That’s a bit odd for a wet/dry shaver you would think.
And you’d be right.
However, this is in my opinion the number one minus of this station and of all Braun stations that are shipped with wet/dry shavers.
I wrote about this limitation before on numerous occasions, but what Braun basically tells you is that after a wet shave you should clean and dry the shaver manually before you can use the station.
And that’s a big bummer if you planned on using the 9290cc with shaving cream or in the shower.
Since shaving cream can clog the station’s drain hole (and the cartridge’s filter), you’ll be forced to do a manual clean beforehand and you’ll also have to make sure that the shaving head is (reasonably) dry before tossing it into the station.
The cleaning stations from Panasonic and Philips Norelco don’t have this limitation and can be used with no restrictions, even though a quick rinse of the shaving head is recommended.
Obviously, this won’t be an issue if you’ll be using your 9290cc dry. And I actually recommend you to do so and to consider a Panasonic or a Philips Norelco if you plan on using shaving cream or gel.
Let’s now get back to actually using the 9290cc cleaning station.
You open the base by pressing the button on the back, then simply slide the cartridge from the back until it clicks into position.
Remember to remove the plastic cap from the cartridge before installing it.
You then close the station, connect the cord and you’re ready to start.
When placed inside the station, the shaver is automatically charged.
The cleaning cycle is very short and takes just over 2 minutes.
During this time the shaver is turned on and off and the cleaning fluid is flushed through the shaver’s head to remove hair clippings and dirt.
The shaver will signal when it needs to be cleaned by showing a water droplet on the LED display.
The station supposedly analyzes the hygiene status of the shaver and selects an appropriate cleaning mode: short, normal or high intensity.
The selected program is depicted by the droplet symbols on the station: one for short, two for normal and three for high intensity.
However, my station never selected any setting apart from the high-intensity one. This was also signaled by some of our readers.
I even cleaned the shaver immediately after one short session and the station still thought that it needed an intensive cleaning.
Since even this intensive cleaning mode only lasts around 3 minutes, that’s not a big deal at all.
There’s a very noticeable, but pleasant boozy, citrusy smell around the station that lingers on throughout the whole process.
Once the cleaning phase is completed, the fan inside the station is turned on to blow dry the shaving head.
The air passes through a slot inside the station and is directed toward the foils.
Since the cleaning fluid contains alcohol, it will evaporate fast and the drying cycle took just under 40 minutes.
I measured an average of 35dB right next to the station. The room normally sits at around 24dB, so that’s reasonable.
The result is a squeaky clean shaving head, ready for the next shave. The station did a fantastic job every time I used it.
The foils feel oily to the touch and that’s a good sign as the cleaning fluid also acts as a lubricant so you won’t have to do it yourself.
Braun Series 9 9290cc
It really is a wonderful thing to always have your razor charged, lubricated and ready for another shave.
The cleaning fluid also leaves the shaving head smelling really nice and fresh. It has a pleasant citrusy scent with just a hint of alcohol.
Upon a close inspection after taking the shaver out of the station I could see just a few traces of cleaning fluid on the outside of the cassette, right below the foils.
The foils themselves however were perfectly dry.
It will be interesting to see how will the paint fare in time, being constantly in contact with the alcohol-based fluid.
We know that the previous Series 7 didn’t do too well and after a couple of years the paint right below the shaving head would start to flake and chip.
The damage was however only visual, with no effects on the performance and functioning of the shaver.
The cleaning station is a must in my opinion and the cost of the cleaning cartridges are fairly reasonable, especially if you opt for one of the third-party alternatives.
However, the original cleaning solutions from Panasonic and Norelco are cheaper and usually last longer.
You can get more cleaning cycles out of a cartridge by removing the shaving head and tapping it gently on the sink to get rid of the bulk of hair clippings before starting the automatic cleaning.
Also, if you won’t be using the station daily, it’s a good idea to remove the cartridge from the base and put the cap back as the alcohol-based solution will evaporate fast.
Depending on how you often you use the station, a cartridge should last for several months before needing to be replaced.
I personally use the station approximately once a week and simply clean the shaver with soap and water the rest of the time.
Which brings us to the next section.
I’ll say it right off the bat, cleaning the 9290cc manually (or any Series 9) will probably not be enough in order to avoid dirt buildups inside the shaving head.
No matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to remove all the hairs trapped inside the intricate cassette.
For comparison, here’s the foil & frame assembly of a Panasonic Arc 4:
You can use the included brush to sweep most of the hairs, rinse the shaving head under warm tap water or even use a bit of liquid soap, but again you won’t be able to quite match the results of the cleaning station.
I normally advise our readers to skip the station if the shaver is easy to clean manually as for example Panasonic shavers are.
However, in this case the cleaning station really is necessary and you should probably avoid the Series 9 variations that don’t have one, like the 9293s.
The price difference is not that high and your costs of ownership with the cleaning fluid will be minimal if you use the tips outlined above.
Also, a Series 9 that didn’t include a cleaning station will not work with one if you plan on purchase it later on.
Replacement parts availability
There’s been quite a saga with the Series 9 replacement shaving heads that started right after the launch of the new shavers.
The shaving heads used by the original Series 9 shavers, the 90s and 90b cassettes, were nowhere to be found.
If you were lucky enough to find them, the price was obscenely high.
Moreover, there were some reports of the shaving heads falling apart after just months of use.
With the introduction of the updated Series 9, Braun also outsourced the production of the new shaving heads — 92s (silver) and 92b (black) — to a different manufacturer.
After an initial shortage, the parts are now readily available and the price is also pretty reasonable, at least for a premium shaver.
Braun 92s replacement shaving head
The Series 9 9290cc uses the 92s (silver) replacement shaving head. The 92s/92b cassettes are also backward compatible with the older Series 9 shavers.
Braun recommends replacing the shaving head of the Series 9 once every 18 months, but in reality it depends on how often you shave, how coarse your beard is and how you take care of the shaver (cleaning, lubrication).
Wrapup — Who should buy it?
I think it’s a fair assessment to say that the Braun Series 9 9290cc met and in some areas even exceeded my expectations.
Braun Series 9 9290cc
There’s a lot to like about this electric shaver and about the Series 9 in general, the highlights being the supreme comfort during the shave, its effectiveness at effortlessly shave even coarse and longer hairs and of course, the closeness.
The construction is a bit of a letdown compared to the flagship shavers from Panasonic and Norelco, but there are no serious problems and some of the issues found on the older Series 7 were addressed completely.
As a result, the Series 9 9290cc is a complete package and the shaving performance is excellent.
Unless you’re on a very tight budget or you’re just getting started with electric shaving and don’t want to spend a lot of money on your first shaver, the 9290cc will be a great choice for pretty much anyone.
Granted, if you have light to medium facial hair it will probably be overkill and you’ll be just fine with something like a Series 5 or even 3.
The Series 9 9290cc will be an excellent choice if you’re dealing with sensitive skin and razor burn; it’s by far the most comfortable electric shaver you can currently buy.
Also, the Series 9 will work great if you have coarse facial hair as it has plenty of cutting power and will shave faster than most other electric shavers.
As I said in the performance section of the review, during my tests the Series 9 9290cc performed great when used on longer, flat-lying hairs, so it will work great not just for daily use, but even when shaving every two days or more.
If you have wiry hairs that grow in different directions the 9290cc should again be on your short list of shavers.
As I said in my comparison of the Series 7 and 9, the older Series 7 will yield similar results for most users, particularly when used on shorter hair.
Yes, the Series 9 will shave faster and smoother and I personally find the experience more enjoyable, but if you shave more often and don’t have a lot of flat lying hairs, the Series 7 will likely be good enough for you.
Braun Series 7 790cc
You can go for a dry only model like the Series 7 790cc or a wet/dry variation like the Series 7 7865cc.
However, I would still recommend getting a Series 7 that includes a cleaning station for the same reasons outlined in this review.
If your budget is limited, but still want an electric shaver that works great with sensitive skin, the Series 5 from Braun is an excellent option.
Braun Series 5 5109cc/5090cc
The 5090cc/5190cc seems to be the best pick as it comes with a cleaning station and the price is right as well.
Now, if sensitive skin is not an issue and you’re mainly interested in getting the closest possible shave, a Panasonic Arc 5 would probably be a better choice than the Series 5.
The price of the latest Arc 5 (third generation) is currently very high and I don’t think it’s worth the money.
With that said, I would personally go for a second generation Arc 5, like the ES-LV65-S (no cleaning station) or the ES-LV95-S (includes an automatic cleaning station).
Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5
Panasonic shavers also work better in my opinion when used with shaving cream and are far easier to clean manually, so you can skip the station in this case and save some money while doing so.
Finally, a more budget-friendly alternative to the Panasonic Arc 5 is another shaver from Panasonic, the Arc 4.
With 4 blades, a powerful 14 000 CPM motor and super sharp blades, it will provide very close shaves for just a fraction of the price.
My personal pick would be the ES-LA63-S, a fantastic performer that’s very reasonably priced.
You can get it with a cleaning station as well in the form of the Panasonic ES-LA93-K, but it’s really not necessary. To read more about the Arc 4 family of shavers and the different models, check out this post.