What’s the Best Wet Dry Electric Razor? The Definitive Guide

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What's the Best Wet Dry Electric Razor? The Definitive Guide

Electric razors offer quite a few benefits — convenience, comfort and even low costs of ownership being among the most compelling ones.

A wet & dry electric razor can take this one step further and make things that much easier for us.

Moreover, you can use them with your favorite shaving cream or even in the shower, which can often result in a closer and more enjoyable shave.

In this article we’ll go over all the important bits regarding wet dry electric shavers and also take a look at some of the best you can currently buy.

The different types of waterproof electric razors

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding the different degrees of waterproofing and what they actually mean when it comes to electric razors.

We can group waterproof electric razors into two categories:

  • The ones that are only waterproof to the extent that you can safely rinse them under tap water. These are usually only suitable for dry shaving, so using them for shaving in the shower or with a cream or gel is not an option, at least not officially. Some modern shavers can be cleaned with water, even though they are not marketed as suitable for wet/dry use. Always read the instructions manual before using water for cleaning an electric razor.
  • The ones that can be safely used in the shower or with shaving cream. These wet dry electric razors are sealed and fitted with additional gaskets to keep moisture, steam and water from entering the razor and damaging the internals. These shavers are explicitly marketed as suitable for wet & dry operation. For obvious safety reasons, they cannot be used while plugged in.

In this article we will focus entirely on this second category.

I cannot stress enough that you should only use an electric razor for its intended purpose, always in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The black & grey Braun Series 3 3050 in the forground can only be rinsed with water and is not suitable for wet & dry shaving. Even though it looks the same, the Series 3 3040s in the background is IPX7 certified and fully waterproof.

The black & grey Braun Series 3 3050 in the foreground can only be rinsed with water and is not suitable for wet & dry shaving. Even though it looks the same, the Series 3 3040s in the background is a wet/dry electric shaver.

An electric razor that wasn’t designed to be used for wet & dry shaving can get damaged and also poses a risk for your own safety.

Why should you buy a wet dry electric razor?

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should consider buying a wet dry electric razor:

  • You can use it with shaving cream or gel. I am personally a big proponent of wet electric shaving, so a wet/dry, waterproof electric razor is a must have for me. The addition of a quality shaving cream can significantly improve the closeness and the comfort of the shave. This obviously implies the use of a suitable electric razor that was designed specifically for wet & dry operation.
  • You can use it for shaving in the shower. While I’m not a fan of it, you can safely use a wet dry razor in the shower. A Braun Series 3 3040s for example is IPX7 certified, meaning it can be submerged in water up to 5 meters without any issues.
  • Peace of mind. Knowing that your razor can be safely washed and used in environments with high humidity is reassuring. Also, accidents do happen and if you drop it in your water filled sink or bathtub it should be just fine (assuming that it won’t be damaged by the mechanical shock).

Now that we know what a wet dry electric razor actually implies, let’s see what are some of the best and how to find one that would suit you.

What are some of the best wet dry electric razors?

1. Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S

Panasonic es-lv65-s Arc 5

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The ES-LV65-S Arc 5 from Panasonic is in my opinion one of the best wet dry electric razors in terms of performance, comfort and even costs.

Moreover, I found Panasonic razors to perform the best out of all major manufacturers when used with shaving cream or gel, so there will be plenty in this list.

The main reasons for the excellent wet/dry performance of Panasonic razors are:

  • the closeness and particularly the comfort are improved to a significant degree compared to a dry shave;
  • all Panasonic electric razors are suitable for wet/dry use;
  • they are extremely easy to clean manually, unlike Braun shavers or most other rotary razors;
  • if you decide to get one that includes a cleaning station, there are no restrictions on how you use it (more details on that later on).

The Arc 5 is Panasonic’s line of premium electric shavers, featuring 5 individual cutting elements, powerful linear-drive motors and extremely sharp blades.

The result is an outstanding shaving performance, particularly when used along with a quality shaving cream.

There are many Arc 5 variations available for purchase, but my personal pick would be the Panasonic ES-LV65-S from the second generation as it’s the best in terms of performance and costs.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S is an excellent wet/dry performer.

There’s a general consensus in the electric shaving community that Panasonic has the edge over all other brands when it comes strictly to the closeness of the shave and I fully agree.

However, that closeness comes with a small trade-off in comfort as Panasonic razors can be a bit aggressive if you have very sensitive skin.

The most effective way to get around this is to throw in a quality shaving cream and enjoy the best of both worlds: a comfortable and irritation free shave that’s also incredibly close.

I think the Panasonic ES-LV65-S is one of the best choices out there if you intend to shave wet, delivering a very close and comfortable shave.

And the price is also right for a shaver that’s right up there with the best from Braun and Philips Norelco in terms of performance.

The ES-LV65-S doesn’t include a cleaning station, but you really don’t need one as cleaning it manually is a breeze.

All it takes is a bit of liquid soap and a rinse under hot tap water and you’re all set.

Panasonic also included a so-called sonic cleaning mode that makes the blades vibrate extremely fast, dislodging any stubborn dirt and preventing water splashes.

The exposed cutting blades of the ES-LV65-S.

The design of shaving head assembly, with the inner blades separated from the foils, makes cleaning a whole lot easier compared to Braun for example that uses a cassette and offers limited access.

If however you still want an automatic cleaning station, you can get it with the Panasonic ES-LV95-S Arc 5 which is an identical shaver.

One of the benefits of Panasonic’s stations is that you don’t need to clean the shaver from foam and dry it before tossing it into the station. Yes, you are required to do that with Braun’s stations, which is a bit of a hassle.

With its massive 5 blade shaving head, the ES-LV65-S can be overkill in several situations, like shaving daily or if you have a lighter beard. If that’s the case, check out the next options below.

2. Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4

Panasonic ES-LA63-S

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The Panasonic ES-LA63-S from the excellent and underrated Arc 4 line is another fantastic option for wet/dry use.

Fitted with the same punchy 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) linear motor as the Arc 5 above, the ES-LA63-S offers similar performance for even less money.

Even though it has one less blade, 4 are still plenty enough and the ES-LA63-S will be an ideal choice for most men looking for a high quality, but still reasonably priced wet dry razor.

The wet/dry ES-LA63-S from Panasonic.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that it is one of the closest shaving electric razors in this price range, out-performed only by the more expensive Arc 5 models.

Also, being an older model, it is very likely for the price to go down even more, making the deal even more attractive.

A unique feature of the ES-LA63-S Arc 4 is a second motor located in the actual shaving head that vibrates and supposedly helps to catch stray hairs that lie flat to the skin.

In reality, it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference compared to other Arc 4 models that lack this feature (like the ES-LF51-A), but it’s there.

Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc 4 (left) vs Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 (right).

Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc 4 (left) vs Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 (right).

The wet shaving performance of this razor is top notch. It shaves extremely close, fast and it remains adequately comfortable even you have sensitive skin.

The wet/dry performance of the Arc 4 is excellent.

In order to keep the price low, the ES-LA63-S doesn’t come with an automated cleaning station, but just like any other Panasonic razor, it is very easy to clean.

Cleaning the ES-LA63-S with soap and water.

Again, if the cleaning station is a must have, you can get it in the form of the Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA93-K. Apart from the black color treatment, the shaver itself is identical.

I personally wouldn’t bother with that, but it’s up to you if you think it’s worth the extra money.

The Panasonic ES-LA63-S is the razor I probably use the most in my rotation and it’s also the one that I recommend quite a lot. It’s a fantastic performer and you won’t have to break the bank if you decide to get one.

For more details, you can check out my in-depth review of it here.

3. Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc 4

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An alternative to the ES-LA63-S above is a slightly newer model from the same Arc 4 range, the Panasonic ES-LF51-A.

In fact, I’d argue that in most cases it would be the more sensible choice.

For starter, it has a more compact shaving head, despite using the same 4 blade setup.

While it doesn’t look much different in pictures, the smaller size is noticeable during use, making it more nimble and a bit easier to use.

Panasonic ES-LF51-A shaving head (left) vs Panasonic ES-LA63-S (right)

Panasonic ES-LF51-A shaving head (left) vs Panasonic ES-LA63-S (right)

Secondly, it can sometimes be found for even less money. And while it lacks that second vibrating motor, the performance on longer facial hair is still quite similar to the ES-LA63-S.

As for wet/dry performance, the ES-LF51-A really shines when used with a nice shaving cream or gel.

The comfort is very good and the closeness of the shave is outstanding.

It’s also very easy to clean manually.

Cleaning the inner blades

As for the downsides, it does work the best when used on reasonably short hairs. But that’s something you’ll experience with all Panasonic electric shavers, even the very latest Arc 5 models.

So in order to get the best results, you should shave daily or every other day. If you have a light to medium beard, you can of course get away with using it less often and still get really good results.

For more details, you can also check out my review of the ES-LF51-A.

4. Braun Series 7 7865cc

Braun Series 7 7865cc

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Let’s now focus our attention to the other big name in the foil shavers market, Braun.

While I mostly recommend Braun shavers to users that prefer to shave dry, Braun does offer quite a few models that are suitable for wet/dry use.

And while the performance improvement is not as radical as in the case of Panasonic shavers, you can of course get better results in the case of a wet shave.

The Series 7 is arguably Braun’s most successful electric shaver and the newer 7865cc is one of the better picks of the range because it’s a wet/dry model and it also costs less than other similarly specced Series 7.

The wet/dry 7865cc Series 7.

The comfort of the Series 7, even when used without shaving cream or gel, is excellent.

However, closeness was not quite at the same level as a similarly priced Panasonic shaver. However, that can be further improved if you add a good shaving cream like Speick or Nivea.

Moreover, the Series 7 is better than pretty much any other foil shaver in this price range for shaving longer, flat-lying hairs.

Cleaning it manually can be a bit more difficult as in time some hairs, dirt, dead skin and gunk can remain lodged inside the cassette.

Below you can see it next to a Panasonic foil block that offers better access since the inner blades are removable.

Luckily, the 7865cc does come with an excellent cleaning station that takes care of everything for you, including lubrication.

You don’t have to use it after every shave; in fact, you shouldn’t and in this manner, you can also save some cleaning fluid.

When not in use, you can simply remove the cleaning cartridge, put the cap back on and store it in a safe place.

The price of the OEM cartridges can add up, but there are also cheap third-party solutions that work really well. Here are more tips to make the refills last even longer.

So when should you get a wet/dry Series 7 over a Panasonic? Well, if you have really sensitive skin, I think the Series 7 is still better and more gentle. Also, if you shave less often and have wiry, curly facial hair, the 7865cc will again be a better choice.

5. Panasonic Arc 3 ES8103S

The Panasonic ES8103S, an affordable shaver that offer excellent performance

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The Arc 3 is Panasonic’s entry-level line of electric razors. With 3 cutting elements, powerful motors, and sharp blades, they still pack quite a punch.

And what matters most, they are waterproof and suitable for wet & dry use.

So which one should you choose? To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t really matter as all of them are very similar in terms of performance, at least the models in the older Arc 3 line.

Just make sure to pick one that is fitted with a 13 000 CPM motor, like the ES8103S or the ES-LT41-K.

The new Arc 3 razors like the ES-LT3N-K are not significantly better and at this moment they are also quite expensive.

My advice would be to simply buy the more affordable models, like the ones mentioned above.

With 3 shaving elements, they are noticeably easier to maneuver compared to an Arc 5, making them ideal for beginners as well.

Since they are rather basic electric shavers, it’s best to use an Arc 3 daily or every other day. They work particularly well with shaving cream and since they are suitable for wet/dry operation, you should take advantage of that.

6. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s

Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s

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Finally, let’s take a look at an affordable wet/dry shaver from Braun.

The new Series 3 ProSkin offers some very compelling models, the 3040s being probably the pick of the bunch.

It’s a wet/dry shaver that can often be bought for a reasonable price, it is very comfortable and shaves adequately close.

The 3040s has got to be one of the most cost effective wet dry electric razors you can buy today. And with inexpensive and widely available replacement parts, the Braun Series 3 3040s represents a very attractive budget-friendly option.

This razor is also is IPX7 certified, so waterproofing is taken care of.

The 3040s works great for wet shaving and yields the best results when used daily. However, it is more capable than an Arc 3 for tackling longer, flat hairs. Don’t expect Series 7 level of performance though, it is still a basic foil shaver.

It’s also very comfortable and suitable for men with sensitive skin. The generous rubber inserts provide a secure grip, while the light weight of the razor makes it extremely easy to use.

Since it uses a basic shaving head, it’s also easier to clean compared to Braun’s more advanced electric shavers, like the Series 7 or 9.

You can read our in-depth review of the Series 3 3040s here.

Bonus tips for using a wet dry electric razor

Let’s see how you can make the most out of your wet dry shaver, prolong the lifespan of the blades and improve your shaving experience.

  1. Develop an efficient pre-electric shave routine specifically tailored for wet shaving. This includes washing your face with a mild cleanser, using plenty of warm water, exfoliating your skin regularly, taking a hot shower beforehand and so on. You can read more here.
  2. Use a quality shaving cream. A good shaving cream can vastly improve the closeness and the comfort of your shave. Make sure to check out our comprehensive guide on finding the best shaving cream.
  3. Use lather sparingly and allow it a few minutes to act on the hair. The outer layer of the hair, called the cuticle, is a very tough lining that can only be softened by the alkaline components found in the shaving cream. So don’t start shaving right away and allow it a few minutes to act on the hairs. Also, only use a very thin layer of slick lather, you don’t need that thick, fluffy layer of foam — it will actually have a negative impact on your results.
  4. Thoroughly clean your razor. Dried lather buildups on the blades and foils will negatively impact the performance of your razor. Make sure you do proper cleaning after every use.
  5. Lubricate your razor. Using liquid soap and water for cleaning also strips off the blades of any form of lubrication. Therefore, make sure to apply a drop of lubricant on the blades and foils. Here is how to do it.
  6. Allow the razor to fully dry before storing it. A wet dry electric razor is likely to get wet, so after using and cleaning it, pat it dry with a clean cloth and let it air dry before putting the shaving head back together. Only after that you should store it in a cabinet.

4 comments on “What’s the Best Wet Dry Electric Razor? The Definitive Guide

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  1. Arjun

    Hi,

    As always, a very informative and well drafted article. I bought a Braun 3040 wet and dry shaver about 5-6 weeks back. The decision was largely based on the recommendations and knowledge gained from your website and my budget constraints.
    I am making a transition from traditional wet shaving using DE blades. I have a Feather razor – the model I have is less aggressive than other brands/models of DE razors. But their blades are very very sharp. I therefore settled for 7 O’clock DEs instead. Despite using DEs and careful preshave routines, razor burn has continued to be a problem. Just the thought of wearing a shirt and tie after a shave was debilitating. Until I chanced upon your website. So thanks a lot!!

    I use the Braun 3040 for wet shaving. I haven’t tried dry shaving yet. I’ve used it with Gillette foam, gel and also with regular Nivea/Dettol shaving creams. One very interesting idea I got online (here or somewhere else?) was to use my hands instead of a brush, when using cream. The trick is to create a weak and wet lather with shaving cream and then apply/massage it onto the face, with palms itself. It appears to be quiet an effective option for wet shaving. But rather messy!!
    I guess the most important part, irrespective of using foam/gel/cream, (you also mention in your article) is to create a sparse lather on the face. I suppose, thick lathers will impede the small, high speed blades of an electric shaver from working effectively.

    I have few lingering doubts, and would request your opinion.
    Firstly, does wet electric shaving give better closeness than dry shaving?
    Secondly, does wet electric shaving cause lesser irritation than dry shaving?
    Lastly, will wet shaving with a foam/gel/cream reduce the life of the blades and require an earlier change, as compared to dry shaving?

    Thanks in advance,

    Arjun.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Arjun,

      Thank you for your comment and for being a reader of this website, I really appreciate it.

      I actually wrote in this article about using your hands instead of a brush to work a very thin layer of lather into the stubble — in my experience it works a lot better than a thick layer of cushiony, rich lather.

      Regarding your questions, I would say that using a quality shaving cream with an electric razor will yield better results in most cases — that is a closer shave and with less irritation. How big of a difference it will make compared to a dry shave really varies from one person to another. Your shaving technique and the shaver itself matter as well. I would however recommend you to avoid canned foam/gel; they’re just not as good a cream that comes in a tube. Nivea, Speick and Proraso are just a few examples of very cheap, but fantastic performers.

      The use of shaving cream shouldn’t reduce the lifespan of the blades. As long as you clean your shaver after every use and lubricate it regularly, it’s all good.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  2. Graham Lovell

    I have had 3 of these 3040s Braun shavers in over 4 and a half years… everyone of them has water ingress into them and they are not fully 100% waterproof. Do not buy this type as it has a water ingress problem. I gave it the benefit of the doubt when I bought the 3rd one but now completely fed up with this shaver.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Sorry about your issues with the 3040s, Graham. I own a few Series 3 shavers, including a 3040s and so far everything seems to be ok. I rarely shave wet, but always wash them under the tap and I’ve never had any water ingress problems. That doesn’t mean of course that it can’t happen.

      –Ovidiu

      Reply

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