Time is of the essence for many men. You’re off to work, you have family, school and other commitments, and you also try to leave time for a proper social life.
In some cases, you don’t have the time for a traditional shave, i.e., one that includes shaving gels, lotions, and a manual razor. Or, you’d rather not take the time.
And that’s one of the reasons why the shaving gods gave us electric razors.
Electric shavers are fast, convenient to use, and don’t require much shaving technique. But you can still get a close shave, especially with a quality electric razor like the Panasonic ES8243A Arc4 Electric Razor For Men – our pick for the best electric razor for 2018 – and others.
In this post, we’ll cover the 5 best electric razors for men, including what to look for when buying one, how to use one, and a comparison of electric shavers with other types of razors.
Let’s get started.
- Before you buy: 8 things to consider before you purchase an electric razor
- The 6 best electric shavers for men 2018
- The proper way how to use an electric shaver (A simple, 7-step illustrated guide)
- What’s the difference? Foil vs. rotary electric shavers
- Electric razors vs. All the rest
- We chose these razors because…
Before You Buy: 8 Things to Consider Before You Purchase an Electric Razor
Let’s take a moment before we delve into our electric razor reviews to discuss some important considerations before you buy your shaver.
1. Foil vs. Rotary
Electric shavers fall into one of two categories: foil or rotary. Both types operate in similar ways and achieve the same results, but there are some differences. We’ll get into those variations a bit later but, in general, rotary shavers are ideal for beards of medium to coarse beard density (and effective for longer beard hairs), while many men find that foil shavers are better for sensitive skin.
2. Cord or Cordless
Electric razors often come with a power cord while many others are cordless. Which one you choose may depend on a variety of factors, including freedom and convenience (which cordless razors provide), and whether you prefer relying on battery power that needs to be recharged from time to time (something you don’t worry about with a corded razor).
Cordless razors are definitely better for traveling. If you choose a razor that has a cord the length of the cord and its convenience.
3. Battery Life
If you choose a cordless razor you’ll want to make a note of its battery life; particularly, how long you’ll be able to use the razor on a full charge. Most users opt for razors with a longer battery life.
4. Blade & Trimmer Options
Most high-quality electric shavers have multiple blade options that allow you get the smoothest shave possible. The more blades, the smoother the shave. The best electric razors usually come equipped with pop-up trimmers that enable you to do detail work on your beard, mustache, and sideburns.
How fast the blades move is another important consideration when purchasing an electric shaver. The faster the blades move – measured in cycles per minute (CPM) – the closer the shave. Many quality razors reach 14,000 CPMs.
6. Wet & Dry Option
Some electric razors are only for “dry” use while many others are also suited for wet shaving, i.e., they can be used in the shower and with shave gels and creams. Some men prefer shaving in the shower because they believe that the warm water softens their facial hair and results in a closer shave. The good news is that most electric shavers on the market today are good for both dry and wet shaving.
Be wary of purchasing an electric razor that doesn’t come with a warranty or guarantee of some sort. If possible, get the longest warranty available.
Last but not least, define your budget before you buy. Electric shavers come cheap and also come at the cost of hundreds of dollars. Determine how much you’re willing to spend and shop accordingly.
The 6 Best Electric Shavers for Men 2018
No review of the best electric razors for men would be complete without a Panasonic product – at least it seems that way. So, it’s no surprise that the ES8243A Arc4 – the best among many quality Panasonic electric shaving products – found its way to our list.
The Arc4 has a ton of features, as you might expect, and all of them contribute to the kind of close shave men desire. It’s also affordable, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Oh, you can also use it for wet or dry shaving, which is the kind of versatility we always appreciate.
Let’s take a closer look at the ES8243A and it’s many features:
- “Arc4” stands for a four-blade shaving system with 30-degree Nanotech electronic blades. The blades are sharp, and capture, lift, and hold whiskers for a more even cut at their base. You’ll get a close shave, for sure, but also one that takes less time than with many other razors – and without the pulling and tugging that can cause skin irritation.
- The razor comes with a flexible, pivoting electric shaver head that moves side-to-side and up-and-down in smooth, uniform motion. It easily adjusts for the varying contours of your face, including the chin, jawline, and neck. Its flexibility also makes it suitable for head shaving.
- The shaver head has a gentle curve that helps the blades move evenly across your chin and jawline. It also enables you to move the razor in a circular motion, which is helpful for men who are used to rotary shavers.
- The Arc4’s linear motor enables you to shave at speeds of 13,000 cycles per minute and it’s quiet enough that you don’t have to worry about disturbing others in your home. It’s faster than many other razors and delivers twice the cutting force.
- As mentioned, the Panasonic Arc4 provides wet-dry shaver convenience. You can use it with your favorite shave foam or gel, or for a quick, dry shave when you need to get out the door in a hurry. You can even use it in the shower because it’s 100% waterproof.
- The razor comes with an illuminated LCD that includes a timer, a battery indicator, blade and foil replacement reminder, and a cleaning
- We also like that the Arc4 has a pop-up shaver trimmer that’s great for detailing your mustache and sideburns.
It’s also worth noting that the Arc4 shaver blades and foils are hypoallergenic and suitable for even the most sensitive skin. It also comes with a travel pouch.
- Provides a very close shave
- Wet-dry and washable
- Flexible shaving head
- Few, if any, but the battery life could be a bit longer
The Panasonic Arc4 sets the bar high regarding high-quality electric razors because of its many excellent features but, more importantly, because of its close shave. It’s a razor that you can use for wet and dry shaving, while its powerful motor reduces the time you’ll need to get the job done.
The folks at Braun call their Series 7 790cc a “smart” shaver because of the way it adapts to your beard and contours of your face to provide a close shave. That’s strong praise, but not unwarranted given the quality of the razor and its many useful features.
Like Panasonic, Braun has a lofty, well-deserved reputation in the electric shaving world, as well as a long line of shavers to back up the high praise. The 790cc ranks as the best of the lot for a lot of reasons:
- Braun’s innovative shaving technology helps make the 790cc “smart.” It includes three cutting elements and one SkinGuard that work together to capture more hair in one stroke than most other razors.
- The middle cutting element, which utilizes Braun’s ActiveLift technology, captures, lifts, and cuts long hair located under the chin and around the neck.
- It comes with an 8-D contour shaving head that allows it to cover eight directions, as well as floating shave elements that adapt to your skin while gently capturing hair in harder-to-reach areas.
- The 790cc comes with five shaving modes – from turbo to sensitive – that you access with the push of a button.
- An AutoSensing motor powers the unit and enables you to shave even the densest of beards.
- The Braun 790cc is waterproof and you can clean it with running water if you so choose.
- This shave also comes with a clean and charge station that’s alcohol-based. You can lubricate your shaver while you charge it.
- A Li-Ion battery proves 50 minutes of cordless shaving and fully recharges in one hour. The razor’s display unit indicates how much cordless power you have remaining.
- The 790cc also comes with a trimmer attachment that’s great for styling mustaches and sideburns.
- Shaves more hair in one stroke than many other razors
- Charging/cleaning unit
- Flexible shaving heads adapt to your face and beard
- Power cord is rather short
Rest assured, you’ll get a clean, close, and comfortable shave with the Braun 790cc. It’s easy on the skin and comes with many unique features that help make it a real value for the price.
Just because the Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 8900 lacks some of the fancier features found on many other razors doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide a comparable shave – if not better.
Besides, there are plenty of great features on the 8900 that help make it one of the best electric shavers for 2018. Those include wet and dry shaving capability that gives you the option of a comfortable dry shave, or a wet shave while using your favorite shaving foam or gel.
There’s more, of course, including:
- An innovative shaving system that includes Contour Detect Technology and V-Track precision blades. The Contour Technology allows each shaving head to move (independently) in eight directions and to follow the contours of your face closely. The folks at Panasonic say you’ll cut up to 20% more hair in a single pass than with other razors.
- The V-Track precision blades capture and lift facial hair into the optimal cutting position. The result is a comfortable shave that’s close to the skin. Moreover, the blades are self-sharpening.
- The Philips Norelco 8900 comes with five length settings that enable you to handle everything from a stubble trim to a short beard. Each setting features rounded tips and a comb that’s designed to prevent skin irritation.
- Another nice feature of the 8900 is it SmartClean System in which you can clean and charge your shaver at the same time. The cleaning system is alcohol-free and includes a dual filtration system that cleans gel, hair, and foam. It also lubricates the blades to help reduce friction – a nice option for men with sensitive skin. Note: The 8900 is available without the cleaning station.
- The cleaning station even includes a heating system that dries the shaver, which is something you won’t find on a lot of other shavers.
- The shaving unit comes with three individual cutting heads that adapt to the contours of your face.
The Philips Norelco 8900 is a rotary-style shaver (hence, the three individual cutting heads). There’s plenty of debate about which type of razor is most effective – rotary or foil – but one advantage that rotary enthusiasts claim is that their type is better for cutting a bigger volume of flat-lying hairs.
Rotary shavers also do a good job of cutting coarse facial hair, perhaps more so than foil shavers. In any case, the 8900 does a nice job of shaving thicker beards.
While foil shavers often get the nod regarding the closeness of the shave, the 8900 stacks up well against any product in that department.
- Does a great job of shaving long, flat-lying hairs
- Good cleaning station
- Works well on coarse beards
- Rotary shavers aren’t always the best option for men with sensitive skin
It’s safe to say that electric shavers come in a wide price range. It’s also safe to say that not every man wants to pay a higher price for a quality shaver – especially when he can get a good one at a lower price.
Which brings us to the Remington F5-5800, a shaver that delivers a close, comfortable shave but won’t bust your budget. Plus, it has the Remington name and reputation behind it, and Remington ranks among the most iconic shaving brands.
The F5-5800 comes with a variety of features that we like, not the least of which is its 5-pivot flex foil system with Interceptor Shaving Technology. It’s technology that uses a 3-stage system that pre-trims longer hairs while including two flexible foils that provide close shaving.
Meanwhile, this razor packs a lot of power
The shaver head includes a pivot and flex system that allows it to adjust to the contours of your face while maintaining close contact with the chin, jawline, and neck areas.
The F5 also comes with stainless steel, surgical grade blades that help give you the kind of close shave that you desire. You can also clean it with water, which is a nice feature in any electric shaver.
What else? For one, you can use the F5-5800 with or without a power cord. You’ll get 60 minutes of runtime if you choose cordless. It also comes with a five-minute quick-charge function that provides enough power for one shave should your shaver’s battery power run out.
Finally, the F5-5800 also includes a pop-up detail trimmer that’s great for trimming thick facial hair, as well as for detail works on your mustache and sideburns.
- 5-pivot flex foil technology
- Long-lasting battery
- Quick charge function
- A bit noisier than some other shavers
The Remington F5-5800 has a lot going for it, including that it’s an affordable option that meets the standards – and goes beyond – of many more expensive razors. Its unique technology ensures that you’ll get a close shave every time you step in front of the bathroom mirror.
Philips Norelco rebranded its SensoTouch 3D shavers and now refers to them as the Norelco 8000 shavers. We’ll stick with the SensoTouch 3D name for now and, besides, the quality of the razor hasn’t changed a bit – and we like that.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Norelco 8000 has to offer:
- It features the GyroFlex 3D system that includes three dynamic shaving heads that move independently, flex outward, pivot, and tilt inward, all while following your face’s natural contours.
- The UltraTrack shaving heads catch every hair in just a few strokes, while helping save you time when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning. Three specialized shaving tracks are good for shaving everything from the longest hairs to short stubble.
- You can use it for wet or dry use. It comes with an AquaTec seal that keeps moisture out.
- The SensoTouch 3D has an easy-to-hold, ergonomic grip handle that provides optimum control, including when you’re wet shaving.
- A dual-blade system lifts and cuts hair while cutting comfortably below skin level without leaving stray hairs or stubble behind.
- It comes with a trimmer that provides the precision you need to trim areas such as your mustache, goatee, or sideburns.
- Another one of the SensoTouch 3D’s excellent features is a Jet Clean system that cleans, lubricates, and charges the system at the same time.
- The razor provides 50 minutes of shaving time (it’s cordless). A small display lets you know how much power remains on the lithium-ion battery, as well as when you need to replace the blades.
Your SensoTouch 3D razor also comes with a protective pouch and a travel lock, as well a worldwide voltage function that automatically switches from 100 volts to 240 AC when necessary. All in all, it’s a great razor if you travel a lot.
- GyroFlex 3D system provides an extremely close shave
- Good for wet and try shave
- Easy-to-grip handles
- Some customers have complained about the replacement heads
The SensoTouch 3D system is another top choice in the Philips Norelco long line of quality shavers. It comes with a variety of unique features while its shaving heads effectively cut whiskers of any length.
Braun’s reputation for craftsmanship is built on many things, including its simple designs that are easy to use while providing quality shaves. Such is the case with their Series 3 ProSkin 3040s Electric Razor – which earns high marks for ease-of-use and close shaves.
The Series 3 ProSkin combines many familiar Braun innovations, such as MicroComb technology and Triple Action Cutting System, while it’s also good for wet and dry use (and 100% waterproof). We also like its nub-textured rubber handle that provides plenty of grip while contributing to an overall stress-free shave.
The Triple Action Cutting System consists of three specialized shaving elements that work in conjunction to provide a gentle, close shave. And Braun’s patented SensoFoil protects the skin from ultra-sharp blades. The pressure-sensitive blades also retract to protect your skin.
Further comfort comes from the ProSkin MicroComb that captures more hair with each stroke for a faster shave. Like all of Braun’s shavers, the Series 3 ProSkin uses intuitive, straight strokes that keep you from going over the same spots on your face multiple times.
This shaver also includes a built-in LED display that alerts you when it needs charging. A full, one-hour charge provides you with 45 minutes of cordless shaving. The Series 3 ProSkin also has a 5-minute quick charge feature that provides enough power for one shave.
It also comes with a built-in trimmer that’s great for detail work such as trimming your sideburns and mustache.
- Easy to use
- Also good for wet shaving
- Good for sensitive skin
- Not as effective on thicker wiskers
The Series 3 ProSkin is affordable, easy to use, and offers everything you’d expect from a Braun product. You’ll enjoy a comfortable shave that won’t irritate your skin.
The proper way how to use an electric shaver
Now that you’re ready to bring home your new electric razor and start tidying up those parts of your face now covered by your spectacular beard, here are some tips for using it. Follow these and you’ll be shaving like a pro in no time.
1. Give It Time
We’ve already discussed how you should buy a razor that has a 30-day money back guarantee because you’ll need that time to give your skin and facial hair time to adjust. Don’t give up. You should start to see results in no longer than three weeks.
2. How To Hold It
Hold the razor at 90 degrees. Shave up and down and sideways when using a foil shaver. Shave in a circular motion with a rotary shaver.
3. Go Against The Grain
Unlike how you would use a traditional blade, shave against the grain with electric shavers. Also, stretch your skin with your free hand to get a better shave, and cut in all directions.
4. Wash Later
Don’t wash your face before dry-shaving.
5. Go Easy
Don’t press too hard, because it can cause irritation. Some areas may need more pressure, just be careful.
6. Bring in a Trimmer, if Needed
Use a beard trimmer or hair clippers to get your facial hair down to a “shaving” level if it’s too long. An electric shaver won’t be kind to you or your long facial hair, unless you like pulling, tugging, yanking … you name it.
7. Take Care Of It
Always clean your shaver after use by using either a cleaning station, running it under the faucet (if it’s waterproof), or using a brush. This will prolong the life of the blades. And always replace dull blades when necessary – which is usually every 1 to 2 years for most models.
What’s the Difference? Foil vs. Rotary Electric Shavers
As mentioned previously, electric shavers come in two types – foil and electric. The type you choose depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which is skin type. Let’s take a look at the two types, including their differences and similarities.
Foil shavers have been around for nearly 100 years and were on the first electric shavers invented by the venerable Jacob Schick. Here are some of a foil shaver’s characteristics:
- The foil head contains oscillating blades (which means they move back and forth). The head is rectangular in nature and has limited pivoting capabilities.
- A thin, curved metal foil covers the cutting blades and remains still during the shaving process. The foils physically lift the hair before guiding it into the blade. The blades then cut the hair as they oscillate back and forth under the thin foil cover.
- Most foil shavers come with several different cutting blades while many come with spring-loaded heads.
- Foil shaving heads are a bit noisier than rotary shavers.
- The technique used for shaving with a foil head involves up and down or left to right movements. Unlike with a rotary razor, you do not want to use a circular motion when using a foil razor. This can be an adjustment if you’re accustomed to using a rotary shaving head.
- The faster the foil shaving head, the more the hair that enters the foils (and reaches the blades, resulting in a closer shave).
Rotary shavers represent a more modern invention although they have been around for some time.
- Most rotary shavers have three circular heads that cover a spinning cutter blade. A stationary, outer guard guides beard stubble into the blade.
- Rotary shavers are designed to follow the contours of your face as you move the shaver in a circular motion that makes it easier to maneuver around tricky areas of your face such as the neck and chin.
- Most rotary shavers pivot in any direction and also gently flex inward in the middle of all three circular shaving heads. The ability to pivot also makes this type of razor ideal for shaving in and around hard-to-reach areas of your face.
- Remember: A circular motion is a key when using a rotary shaver. Using an up and down shaving motion as you would with a foil shaver will pull your hair and result in a fair amount of irritation.
Which Type of Electric Razor is Right for Me?
Choosing between a foil and rotary razor isn’t just a matter of personal preference, it’s also a matter of skin type, the thickness of your hair, and how you use them.
A foil shaver may be best for you if:
- You have relatively fine facial hair that’s not too long
- You have strong hair growth
- You prefer to shave in straight lines
- You prefer the completely bald look on your cheeks
- You intend to use your electric razor every day
A rotary shaver may be best for you if:
- You have regular to tough skin
- You have thicker, coarser hair or beard density
- You’re cutting longer hairs, like after you’ve gone a weekend without shaving, yet still want a close shave
- You don’t intend on using your electric shaver every day
- Your beard hair grows in different directions, particularly around the neck area
- You want easier maneuverability around the contours of your face
A note on sensitive skin and foil and rotary shavers
Skin sensitivity is a major factor in choosing between a foil and rotary razor. While rotary razors adjust to the contours of your face and are easier to maneuver during the shaving process, they’re not as kind to your face as foil shavers. On the other hand, some men with sensitive skin report no issues when using a rotary razor.
Again, what works best for sensitive skin often comes down to personal preference, but neither a cheap rotary shaver nor a cheap foil shaver will serve you well no matter your skin type.
Electric Razors vs. All The Rest
There’s definitely something to be said for using an electric razor. But there’s a lot to be said about other types of razors too, whether it’s a straight edge, cartridge, double-edge or disposable. Let’s take a brief look at the different types and offer a comparison
Why you’ll like an electric razor:
- Convenience – Electric razors can be used at anytime, anyplace, and you don’t have to mess with shaving creams, gels or lotions. Cordless electric shavers are particularly convenient – as long as you make sure to keep the battery charged.
- Ease of use – There’s not a ton of technique when using an electric shaver; a first-time user can get the hang of it in very little time. Moreover, it doesn’t take a lot of time to shave with an electric razor because they force the hairs upward and shave more hair with each pass – meaning you won’t have to make multiple passes.
- Safer – Yes, it’s possible to get skin irritation when using an electric razor (because of the friction) but the chances of cutting yourself – as with a traditional razor – are slim and none.
Cons of an electric razor:
- Not the closest shave – Electric razors won’t give you the same kind of close shave as you’d bet with a manual razor. You’ll still get a close shave, mind you, just not as close in most cases.
- Battery-powered – Not that there’s anything wrong with battery power, but it does mean you have to monitor your electric razor’s power source so it doesn’t quit in the middle of your shave. Fortunately, most electric razors include LED battery-charge monitors.
Why you’ll like a straight razor:
- Because it’s bad-ass – Using a straight razor is old school but very cool old school. It was the only choice for shaving in many previous centuries and is still used today by men who prefer the ultimate in manual shaving.
- Close shave – A good straight razor will give you a close shave unlike any other. Its blades are sharp, sharp, and sharper, and with the right technique (and perhaps a pre-shave hot towel on your face to soften up your facial hairs), you’ll get a shave as smooth as a baby’s butt.
Cons of a straight razor:
- You’ll need some practice – Not many men can pick up a straight razor for the first time and get a perfect shave. For one, the blade is fully-exposed, which raises the risk of nicks and cuts, but you do have full control of the blade’s angle, which you don’t have with other manual razors.
- Price – Most quality straight razors cost more than many other razors. Then again, you’d be hard-pressed to find a closer shave once you get the hang of it.
Why you’ll like a safety razor:
- It covers all the bases – The great thing about a safety razor is that it addresses three main shaving issues – time, safety, and ease of use. There’s a much gentler learning curve than with a straight razor though you’ll need to take more care when shaving than you would with an electric.
- The price is right – You’ll find many high-quality safety razors priced as low as $30.
- The option – Safety razors come in one-piece, two-piece, and three-piece designs.
Why you’ll like a cartridge razor:
- Availability – You never have to go far to purchase a cartridge razor. You’ll find one in practically every supermarket, pharmacy, convenience store – and even at your corner gas station.
- Ease of use – It doesn’t get much easier than a cartridge razor. They’re designed with the novice in mind (although not every man who uses a cartridge razor is a novice) and has a fixed angle that decreases your chances of getting nicks and cuts. Many of them include a lubrastrip that lubricates your skin as you shave.
Cons of a cartridge razor:
- The price – While the initial cost of a cartridge razor is very inexpensive, the cost of replacement razors is usually anything but cheap. No wonder that many supermarkets keep replacement cartridge blades in an enclosed case that an experienced bank robber can’t access.
- The shave – While you can still get a close shave with a cartridge razor, it certainly won’t be as close as a straight razor, or as close as a cartridge razor.
We Chose These Razors Because…
We take into account several factors when choosing the products for our “best of” reviews, and the same is true when it comes to electric razors. Performance is, of course, of vast importance and we studied each of the chosen razors carefully to make sure that they delivered where it counted most, i.e., when shaving all types of facial hair growth.
We also considered the various features of each razor, such as trimmers, LED displays, and whether they were appropriate for wet or dry shaving, or both. Moreover, we made sure to include both foil and rotary shavers in our reviews.
Last, but certainly not least, we considered the price of each electric shaver. We always want to include a broad price range, from expensive to budget. Perhaps surprisingly, many of the razors we included come at a price that won’t cost you an arm and a leg yet still deliver a high-quality performance.
With that, we wrap up another review. As always, we encourage your feedback – whether it’s about the shavers listed here, or about another brand of razor you use that you think should be included on our list, or about anything related to men’s grooming. We’d love to hear from you.