The good: excellent cost/performance ratio, wet & dry operation, quiet, great battery life, comfortable, close shaves, good build quality
The bad: not so great at dealing with longer and flat lying hair, no integrated trimmer (only a separate click-on trimmer), no travel pouch, can’t be charged without the included stand
The 6100 fills the gap between Norelco’s absolute entry level shavers (like the 3500) and the more expensive ones, combining reasonable price with excellent performance. Continue reading our full Philips Norelco 6100 review as we take an in-depth look at all the important bits after putting the shaver through its paces for two weeks of use.
Table of Contents
The Norelco 6100 features a cutting assembly named GyroFlex 2D due to its pivoting and inward tilting capabilities; shavers from the superior SensoTouch 3D family feature cutters that can also tilt outward.
The cutting heads are fitted with slots and holes to accommodate both longer and very short stubble, while the double blade system – called SuperLift & Cut – supposedly lifts the hairs to be cut below skin level. They also feature a special coating to reduce friction and further improve comfort during shaving.
Other noteworthy features are: cordless operation, LED indicators, click-on trimmer, 5 minute quick charge option, wet & dry use.
Build quality and ergonomics
The design of the 6100 is one step above the usual budget rotaries from Norelco as it resembles the more expensive SensoTouch 3D series mentioned earlier.
The shaver feels very light and comfortable in the hand, while the matte, rubbery insert from the back provides excellent grip. On the front you’ll find the power switch that sits flush with the front part of the shaver. This button also doubles as a travel lock switch by pressing and holding it for 3 seconds.
One the front you’ll also find three indicators for low battery, charging status and travel lock. They are pretty simplistic and basic in their appearance and function, but this is something to be expected in this price range.
The charging stand is surprisingly well made and doesn’t look or feel cheap at all.
For the color scheme they went for a more sporty/aquatic blue; the finish is glossy and looks pretty sleek in my (subjective) opinion.
Overall, the shaver felt well built and nothing really stood out in a negative way.
Battery life and charging
The Philips Norelco 6100 comes with a Li-Ion battery that requires around 60 minutes to be fully charged and provides enough juice for at least 40 minutes of use. I found the battery life to be consistently good and there’s also a 5 minute quick charge feature for those times when you need to shave in a hurry.
One slight annoyance about this particular shaver is that you cannot charge it without the base; as it was the case with the recently reviewed Remington XF8700, you cannot just plug the cord directly into the shaver. For this reason you are forced to always use the charging stand; it isn’t a huge problem, but I personally prefer the versatility of a setup that allows me to charge the razor directly and not have to carry around an extra item.
Cleaning and maintenance
The typical cleaning process of this shaver is dead easy: you simply press the three plastic sides of the head and pull the top part of the shaving unit. You can use the included brush to clean the hairs and dirt from the housing and the top plate. After that you just rinse them under tap water and let the parts dry before putting them back together.
Every once in a while it’s recommended to perform a more in-depth cleaning, especially if you’re using the razor with shaving creams or gels.
A thorough, manual cleaning is more time consuming for rotary shavers when compared to their foil counterparts. The reason for this is because you have to take apart the whole shaving assembly and individually clean each of the rotary blades — which can be a bit fiddly. Moreover, you have to place the cutters back in the exact same location as they cannot be interchanged.
Using the Norelco 6100 for a couple of weeks as my main shaver was generally a very pleasant experience. While I personally prefer foil shavers, I found it to be very comfortable and capable of providing close shaves most of the time. The razor glides smoothly on the skin and there’s no need to apply any pressure at all. The cutting heads do a fine job of tilting and adjusting to the surface that’s being shaved. I would have liked them to be able to flex outward as well, but at this price point that’s asking a bit too much. Another nitpick would be with regards to the pivoting function of the shaving head as it’s not as smooth as on other razors.
When used on a three-day beard the 6100 didn’t perform quite up to my expectations. While shaving the longer hairs was generally a non-issue, it did struggle with the ones that lied flat and left some behind. I had to constantly go over certain more problematic areas on my neck (where other razors also failed to provide a clean shave without additional passes). Again, this only happened with three days long, flat lying hairs on my neck, so if this is an unlikely scenario for you, there’s really no reason to disregard this otherwise excellent razor.
Adding a pre-shave lotion had a positive effect on both the closeness and comfort of the shave and I highly recommend doing it. The wet shaving performance was also good, but having to manually perform a thorough cleaning of each blade after every use made think twice about using it with a shaving cream. A foil shaver is much easier to clean, so definitely keep this in mind if you prefer wet shaving.
A slight inconvenience, but far from being a deal breaker, is the trimmer. Unlike most electric shavers that feature an integrated pop-up trimmer, the 6100 has a separate, click-on trimmer. In order to use it, one must first pull out the shaver head and insert the trimmer.
Why am I not a big fan of this approach? Well, first because it’s yet another item that I have to carry with me when traveling (apart from the charging base); second, it’s another thing that can be easily misplaced and, lastly, something that can break down because you constantly have to take it off and put it back on. Other more expensive Norelco shavers from the SensoTouch line feature integrated trimmers.
My particular review unit bought in Europe didn’t include the click-on trimmer so I cannot make any remarks about its qualities, but I have no reason to believe it will have any problems when used for light grooming, adjusting a goatee or trimming your sideburns.
The retail package is pretty basic and includes the following items:
- Philips Norelco 1150X/40 Shaver 6100
- Charging stand
- Electrical cord
- Protective cap
- Cleaning brush
- Click-on trimmer
You can also check out a short unboxing video below:
Note: my review unit didn’t include a click-on trimmer and was sold in Europe under the Philips brand. The shaver itself is identical to the ones sold under the Philips Norelco brand in the USA.
Replacement parts availability
The Philips Norelco 6100 uses the RQ11 Replacement head and must be changed once every 12 months. The price of this part is not too high, so the running costs of this particular shaver end up being pretty reasonable.
Wrapup – Who should buy it?
If you are looking for an affordable and capable rotary shaver, the Philips Norelco 6100 is a very solid option. Considering the price, it’s pretty much in a league of its own at this price point and it hits a sweet spot for cost and performance.
If you’re just getting into electric shaving and consider rotary razors to be a good fit for you, the Norelco 6100 should be on your short list of options. It’s also a worthy upgrade if you’re looking for a reasonably priced replacement for an older rotary razor that’s not up to the task anymore. The Philips Norelco 6100 is particularly good for daily shaving but can also be successfully used for shaving every two days.
Rotary shavers are great for shaving the head as they allow for a less strict form and can cover large surfaces very fast. The 6100 is no exception and excels as a head shaver as well.
The Philips Norelco 6600 is an almost identical razor that features the same shaving head, has different LED indicators and color scheme, but comes with a cleaning and charging dock; Norelco’s Jet Clean System automatically cleans, charges and lubricates the shaver. It still offers great value for money despite costing more than the 6100 and it’s an excellent choice if you also want the convenience of a cleaning station.
You’ll have to spend considerably more for a rotary shaver that performs significantly better than the 6100, so there aren’t really any alternatives except for the one mentioned above. Additionally, you can also check out our recommendations for the best electric shavers under $100.