Electric razors are arguably the best option for shaving on the go: they’re practical, portable and easy to use.
Also, most travel razors are priced quite low, especially when compared to a full-fledged electric shaver.
However, they also exhibit some specific limitations, so when choosing the right travel shaver you must take into account several key aspects.
In this article we’ll take a look at what makes a good travel razor and what are their pros and cons. We’ll also check out some of the more popular models on the market in 2022.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What to look for in a travel electric razor?
There are a few hallmarks of a quality travel razor. Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for when buying one.
- Travel lock and protective cap. This one is pretty self-explanatory and of great importance in my opinion. An electric razor that is suitable for traveling must be fitted with a locking mechanism to avoid turning it on by accident. Also, the shaving head, particularly in the case of foil shavers, is very sensitive to mechanical shocks, so a protective cap is a must when traveling.
- Replaceable batteries or USB charging. I personally think that regular batteries are a decent solution when it comes to travel razors. These batteries are cheap and readily available. Moreover, this eliminates the need for a charger as that’s an extra item to be carried around. Not to mention that you can easily forget about it and leave it at home. Or in your hotel room. With that said, a travel shaver fitted with a micro-USB or better yet, a USB type C connector would be even better as you can simply charge it using your phone charger.
- Compact size. Portability is one of the main reasons one would buy a travel razor, so look for one that is compact in size and lightweight.
- Small power brick. If your razor doesn’t use regular batteries, then at least make sure that it has an automatic worldwide voltage converter (100 – 240v) and that the charger is compact in size.
- Decent performance and low price. Performance-wise, a travel razor can’t usually match a regular electric razor. However, some of them are better than others and manage to perform quite decently.
Let’s now take a look at some of the more popular travel electric shavers you can buy in 2022 so you can decide which one would suit you the best.
What are some of the best travel electric razors?
1. Braun M90 Mobile Shaver
The M90 from Braun’s line of mobile shavers is in my opinion one of the best electric razors for its intended purpose.
And this little razor has quite a few aces down the sleeve that make it a very compelling option for a travel shaver. Here are the most important ones:
Integrated protective cap and travel lock.
This is one of the most unique solutions you’ll find on any electric shaver.
Braun has masterfully integrated a rotating protective cap that also acts as a travel lock: when it covers the foil, the ON/OFF switch is locked and can’t be operated.
This is a rare find on travel razors; while it is very small and only suitable for touch-ups and light grooming, it is definitely a welcome addition.
The M90 is powered by regular AA batteries, making it very versatile and great to be used on the go.
This shaver can be safely rinsed with tap water as rubbers gaskets are used around the battery cover and other parts to keep water away from the internals.
As a result, cleaning it is a breeze.
Integrated cleaning brush.
Another sample of an innovative and simple design solution is the integrated cleaning brush that stays securely attached to the back of the razor.
Solid build quality.
The M90 is well built and feels very sturdy. I would even go as far as saying that you don’t really need a travel case for it. The foil is also very well protected by the integrated rotating cap.
The performance is what you would expect from a small, inexpensive mobile shaver.
It will get the job done and probably better than most travel razors, but you’ll have to spend more time to complete a shave than you would with a proper electric shaver that has a more powerful motor and multiple cutting elements.
Overall, the M90 represents a strong package as far as travel razors go. You can also check out my in-depth review of the Braun M90 here.
2. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV70
The ES-CV70 (ES-CV51 in Europe) is a special model in the Arc 5 range. Precisely, it is a travel electric shaver.
What makes it special though is that Panasonic didn’t make any compromises when it comes to shaving performance.
Precisely, it features the exact same shaving head as the top of the line, massive Arc 5 shavers and they fitted the same powerful 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) motor. However, they also managed to do so in a very compact and lightweight body.
The result is an outstanding shaving performance, by far the best of any travel shaver on the market right now.
The closeness is among the best you can get (and not just for a travel shaver) and the comfort is great.
You can easily shave a two days beard or even more and it will mow through a coarse beard with ease.
The build quality is exceptional: the body is made out of brushed aluminum that feels expensive and premium in hand and also looks stunning in person.
Despite the massive shaving head, it is not top-heavy and the ergonomics are very good.
The Panasonic ES-CV70 comes with a plastic protective cap and features a travel lock.
The included hard leather travel case is among the best I’ve seen. It’s compact, it looks great and offers excellent protection.
Like all modern Panasonic shavers, the ES-CV51 is fully waterproof and extremely easy to clean.
The pop-up trimmer on this razor is also really good.
It’s wide enough and it cuts the hairs efficiently and close to the skin.
So far this shaver would look like the perfect travel shaver. But we do know that there’s no such a thing so let’s get to the cons.
First of all, the price. This thing is expensive. We usually associate mobile shavers with a very low purchase price.
That’s not the case here as the ES-CV70 costs pretty much the same as a regular Arc 5. In its defense, it does shave like a regular, full-size electric shaver.
Also, the Arc 5 replacement foil & blades are pricey.
And finally, there’s the charging issue. The Panasonic ES-CV70 comes with Panasonic’s proprietary charging port.
While the battery life is excellent (45 minutes of use) and you can probably leave the charger at home if you’ll only be gone for a few days, on longer journeys you will definitely need to bring it along.
That said, there is a very practical solution to that. Precisely, a cable with USB-A on one end and a Panasonic connector at the other:
This is a must-have accessory for anyone that uses a Panasonic electric shaver and especially if you’ll be taking it with you when traveling.
It takes no space inside your luggage and you can simply use your phone’s charger with it or you can plug it directly into a USB outlet.
For more details the shaver’s performance, make sure to check out my review of the ES-CV70.
3. Panasonic ES3831K
This Panasonic is my third option for an electric travel razor. And it has a few advantages over the Braun M90 for example, but also some shortcomings.
First, let’s check out the good parts.
Powerful 8500 CPM motor.
The Panasonic ES3831K is powered by a snappy 8500 linear motor, a significant bump in performance compared to other compact shavers.
This will translate into faster and closer shaves. Don’t expect an Arc 5 level of performance — that one is in a different league — but it’s good enough for a cheap travel razor.
Wet & dry operation.
The Panasonic ES3831K can be used with shaving cream as well, which will improve the comfort and the closeness of the shave.
Unlike with the Braun M90, the improvements of a wet shave are actually quite noticeable if you’re willing to give it a try.
I don’t think many men would go through the trouble of carrying and using shaving cream when traveling — after all, you buy a travel shaver to get rid of that — but it’s nice to know you have that option.
Regular AA batteries.
Just like the M90, the ES3831K uses two AA batteries.
The price of the Panasonic ES3831K is usually lower compared to the M90. In fact, it’s among the cheapest travel shavers you can buy.
The replacement foil and cutter are also inexpensive and widely available.
Protective cap and travel lock.
The ES3831K also ticks this box, even though Panasonic’s implementation isn’t as impressive as the one from Braun.
Located on the triangle-shaped ON/OFF slider there’s a small button that you must press and hold in order to be able to operate the slider. The protective cap also covers it, so there’s an extra layer of security.
As for disadvantages, there’s no pop-up trimmer, which is a bit of a bummer. The build quality also seems to be better in the case of the M90 and the materials used by Braun are grippier.
Finally, in my experience the Braun was more comfortable and also managed to provide a slightly better shave when used on a short beard.
In fact, the most comfortable of these inexpensive, battery-powered shavers was another Panasonic, precisely the ES4815P that I’ve reviewed here. Unfortunately, that one didn’t make it to this list as the replacement foils and cutters are expensive.
The performance of both the Panasonic ES3831K and the Braun M90 is pretty bad when shaving longer, flat-lying hairs, so it’s best to use them daily.
Choosing the two should come down to your personal needs and preference.
The Braun M90 has the edge in terms of build quality and performance, while the Panasonic has the advantage of a lower price and wet/dry use.
Either way, these two are among the best cheap travel electric shavers you can buy.
You can check out my in-depth review of the ES3831K here.
4. Xiaomi 5-blade shaver (MSW501)
Finally, there’s the 5-blade foil shaver from Xiaomi that I reviewed a while back.
Even though it isn’t a travel shaver per se, it has some key characteristics that would make it ideal as one.
Here they are.
It’s very compact and sturdy
This is a full-fledged, 5-blade foil shaver. However, it is very compact and lightweight.
Even the shaving head is smaller than the one on the Panasonic Arc 5.
It comes with a protective cap and there’s a travel lock function as well.
It has a USB Type-C charging port
This is in my opinion the right direction that all other brands should follow.
You don’t need a cable or a charger when traveling with this Xiaomi razor.
And on top of that, the battery life is fantastic with over 90 minutes of use on a single charge.
The shaving performance is very good
While the closeness isn’t quite on the same level compared to the Arc 5, it’s still better than what you’d get from an AA battery-powered compact travel shaver.
It’s very comfortable and you can use it wet or dry. Cleaning it is also a breeze since it’s fully waterproof.
For more details, you can check out my in-depth review of it.
It’s reasonably priced
Granted, it costs more than a compact mobile shaver, but the price is still way below the Arc 5 for example.
There’s no travel case in the package, but with the protective cap, travel lock and the solid build I think it’ll be just fine among your clothes.
So what about the downsides?
Well, it doesn’t have a hair trimmer. This is by far the most important one, at least for me.
Secondly, it’s usually only available in China, so you’ll have to buy it from Aliexpress or Banggood.
Other than that, I think it would make a great travel companion.
Should you use a travel electric razor?
Well, it depends.
Some men can get away with using a travel razor as their main, daily shaver, while others can’t even stand using one for a few days when traveling.
Travel razors feel underpowered and usually have a single cutting element (in the case of foil shavers) or two shaving heads (rotary shavers), so completing a shave takes more time.
If you want a close, comfortable and fast shave or you have coarse facial hair then just opt for a more capable, regular electric razor. The same goes for men that don’t want to shave daily as travel razors don’t fare well with long hair.
If the budget is not an issue, the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV70 or even the Xiaomi razor will definitely provide a satisfactory shave.
Using your regular electric razor when traveling
The Panasonic ES-CV70 is currently my travel razor of choice and for my needs, it is clearly the best.
But before that, I would simply take my main shaver with me when traveling.
I prefer to give up a bit of space in my luggage for a proper electric razor and enjoy a decent shave.
When I am away for shorter periods I also leave the charger at home as a fully charged razor should easily last for a few days of shaving (I only recommend doing so on short voyages).
I also own a Braun M90, but I rarely find myself using it. It’s very practical as you can just toss it in your glove box, gym bag or keep it in a drawer for some impromptu shaving sessions.
But using it constantly, even for just a few days in a row, simply does not work for me.
The best argument for travel razors is the price and convenience of replaceable batteries. If they get damaged or lost it won’t be that big of a problem.
In the end, the right electric travel razor can either be just your regular shaver or a dedicated mobile one.
The decision is entirely personal. You might as well use both depending on the circumstances.
Something like the Braun M90 works great if you want to travel light for just a few days. But if a few cubic centimeters in your luggage are not a big deal, then you can bring along a proper razor and really treat yourself.
Or opt for the Panasonic ES-CV51 (ES-CV70) which is basically a high-end electric shaver in a compact form factor. It does come with a hefty price tag though.
Finally, make sure not to overlook the must-have features of a travel razor if you decide to choose one — those can r eally make a difference.