Are you hesitant to commit to a full beard? Or, do you prefer a more subtle bearded look, one that’s not necessarily locked, loaded, and bushy?
No worries. You can sport the stubble look instead, whether it’s the 5 o’clock shadow or another style. Stubble is a popular look and, as at least one study suggests, is a look that women love.
They won’t love it if you don’t keep it neat and tidy, however, which is why we want to take a look at the best stubble trimmers for 2018 – including our favorite, the Conair Super Stubble Ultimate Flexhead Trimmer
We’ll take an in-depth look at four trimmers, while also providing some tips for choosing a trimmer, how to use it, and how stubble trimmers compare to other types of facial shavers, clippers, etc.
Let’s kick things off with some stubble trimmer buying tips.
- Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing a stubble trimmer
- 4 Best stubble trimmers 2018 (A simple, 9-step illustrated guide)
- How to use your stubble trimmer to get the best results
- How a stubble trimmer compares to other types of trimmers
- How we chose our best stubble trimmers 2018
Before You Buy: 7 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Stubble Trimmer
Most stubble trimmers come loaded with a variety of features. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you, but it can make it challenging to find the trimmer – and features – that work best for you and your stubble. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for your next trimmer:
The bottom line when it comes to a trimmer’s power is whether you need to make multiple passes over and through your stubble before you achieve the look you want. If you’re like most men, you lead a busy life and the time you save – no matter the task – is like money in the bank. It’s annoying to turn on your trimmer and discover that it lacks the power to get the job done, whether you have fine, thick, or coarse whiskers.
2. Length Settings
The more length settings a trimmer has, the better because it gives you the option of trimming your stubble down to shorter styles – such as the 5 o’clock shadow – or leaving it a bit longer, but well-maintained. Look for trimmers with length settings in the 0.4 to 5 mm range.
3. Cord or Cordless
Stubble trimmers may include a power cord or are battery-powered. Choosing the type that’s right for you often depends on your lifestyle. If you frequently travel, for instance, a cordless trimmer is portable and convenient. If you choose cordless, make sure to check the trimmer’s expected runtime and how long it takes to charge the battery.
Choosing a trimmer with a power cord is a good option if you only plan to use it at home. Trimmers with power cords are often more powerful than cordless trimmers and you don’t have to worry about your battery running out in the middle of your trim. The longer the power cord, the more freedom you have to move around the bathroom while you shave.
4. Size & Design
It’s important to choose a trimmer that’s a suitable size for your needs. Smaller trimmers are more convenient and often easier to use, and are travel-friendly. But that’s not to say that a larger trimmer isn’t effective; it’s mainly a matter of preference.
A trimmer’s design is also important to its overall ease-of-use. Look for a trimmer with an ergonomic design and buttons (like the power switch) that are intuitive and easy to locate.
5. Battery Life
We’ve touched briefly on the importance of a trimmer’s battery runtime and life, but it’s worth a closer look because it’s a crucial factor in choosing a cordless one. You should always check a trimmer’s expected runtime, as well as how long it takes to charge it when the battery runs down.
The number and kind of features vary from trimmer to trimmer and, depending on your preference, you may prefer one with all the bells and whistles. Many trimmers have accessories that allow you to trim your nose and ear hair (and sideburns) while making it easier to shape your complete “look.”
7. Wet or Dry
Some trimmers are waterproof and enable you to trim your beard in the shower. If you like the feel of a wet trim, make sure your trimmer allows you to do it.
Next, let’s take a look at the best stubble trimmers for 2018.
The 4 Best Stubble Trimmers 2018
Getting your stubble to look its best takes more than just an ordinary trimmer and blade, and the Conair Men’s Super I-Stubble Trimmer is hardly ordinary. It has everything you need for a precision trim, not the least of which is its advanced technology electro-chemically formed blades that are extremely sharp and made to last.
While the blades are among the best in the business, there’s a lot else to like about the Super I-Stubble Trimmer. It has a wide range of lengths – from 0.4 mm to 5.0 mm – with ultra-precise motorized adjustments for the ultimate in length control. There’s also a “length memory” feature that remembers the length setting you last used.
It also comes with an ultra-flex contouring shaving head that comfortably tracks the curves and crannies of your face while providing the clean shave that you should expect from a quality trimmer. Moreover, it’s versatile, as you can use it to trim around your mustache, sideburns, and neck.
The Conair Super-I Trimmer also features a protective comb guide that provides a consistent trim, and that’s removable for easy cleaning. Because the trimmer is 100% waterproof, you can clean it by simply rinsing it under the tap (and you can use it in the shower if you prefer a wet trim). You can even use shaving gels, creams, soaps or foams to reduce irritation while providing you with the closest of shaves.
Long-lasting performance and power are aided by the Super I-Trimmer’s lithium-ion battery that delivers reliable cordless use, even when the charge is running low. The battery provides 70 minutes of use, fully charged, or five minutes of use for a single stubble shave. You’ll be back to full battery capacity after 80 minutes of charging; a LED light on the trimmer’s body lets you know how much charge you have remaining.
The Super I-Trimmer is ergonomically-designed for comfortable use and comes in a long, sleek body that’s easy to grip and maneuver. And here’s another plus: it comes with adjustable speed levels, which is unusual for trimmers in this price range.
- Advanced blade technology
- Ergonomic design
- Protective comb delivers length consistency
- Some reviewers mention that the battery life declines after several months
As the name suggests, the I-Stubble Trimmer comes from the same family tree as the Super I-Stubble trimmer. As it also suggests, Conair clearly knows what it’s doing when it comes to stubble trimmers.
There aren’t a lot of differences between the two Conair trimmers, and you really can’t go wrong with either one. They share the same electro-chemically formed blades that are accurate, sharp, and durable, they both have a unique floating head for precise contouring, they both have an ergonomic design that feels good in your hand and is easy to maneuver. However, the I-Stubble is not waterproof, and thus, cannot be rinsed under the faucet.
The differences? Let’s take a quick look:
- The I-Stubble has 15 settings instead of 24
- The I-Stubble is both cord and cordless
- The I-Stubble’s run time is 45 minutes instead of the 70 minutes you get with the Super I-Stubble. It also needs a four-hour charge to bring it back to full power; the Super-I Stubble needs an 80-minute charge.
- The I-Stubble is not waterproof
Other than that, these trimmers are very much alike and very effective. One has a few more bells and whistles, but we think you’ll be well-served by both of them. Here’s another look at the I-Stubble trimmer:
- Blades cut fast and clean
- Very affordable
- Easy-to-set adjustable lengths
- Shorter battery life
- Not waterproof
If you’re looking for a quality stubble trimmer that won’t break your budget, then you’ll want to take a serious look at the Philips Norelco 3500. The Norelco 3500 gets is effective for trimming both beard and stubble, and comes with a long-lasting lithium-ion battery that will give you more than enough runtime.
While you get a relatively simple design for the price, don’t let the simplicity fool you when it comes to the Norelco 3500. It comes with self-sharpening titanium blades that are rounded to prevent scraping and tugging that can ruin a perfectly good trim. The blades stay sharp without oil. It also comes with a comfortable grip that allows for easy maneuverability.
Another reason to like this trimmer is that it comes with 20 built-in length settings (in 0.5 mm increments) and a unique locking feature. What’s great is that you can get a fully customizable trimming experience without a bunch of separate attachments, while the locking system ensures that you get an even trim every time.
Its lithium-ion battery is another feature worth mentioning as it delivers up to 120 minutes of continuous run time after only an hour charge. Similar models require up to 10 hours of charging for an hour’s worth of use.
Note: While you can rinse the shaving head under the sink to clean it, the unit itself is not waterproof. Take care if you’re planning on a wet cleaning.
- Long-lasting battery power
- Plenty of great features for the price
- Compact size makes it easy to maneuver around the face
- 20 length settings in 0.5 mm increments
- It’s not as versatile as some other trimmers
The Remington MB4040 has a lot going for it, including its versatility and durability. The titanium-coated blades provide sharp, smooth cut, and will last a long time, while interchangeable shaving heads allow trimming your stubble into a variety of styles.
Meanwhile, its versatility also makes it ideal for trimming your mustache, and even for shaving other parts of your body.
But there are plenty of other reasons why we’ve included the Remington MB4040 on our list:
- The blades
The precision, premium-ground titanium blades deserve further mention because they deliver a superior cutting performance. Each trimmer includes three blades. Rest assured, the blades are very sharp but keep their edge for a long time without much maintenance.
- Length settings
The MB4040 has nine length settings that make it easy to achieve your preferred stubble and mustache style. The trimmer comes with a wheel that adjusts the various settings.
- Extended battery power
The MB4040 has a lithium-ion-powered battery that provides two hours of cordless runtime. It’s one of the best cordless options available. Many trimmers end up losing power after an hour, but the MB4040 is one that you can take with you – even on vacation – without having to worry about bringing the charger with you. Plus, you’re not tethered to a power cord, so you can use the trimmer wherever you are.
- Multiple uses
Again, the Remington MB4040 has plenty of versatility. Whether you’re trying to achieve a stubble look that best suits you, or styling a goatee, this trimmer helps you do it. And its precision cutter makes it easy to do detail work, such as on your mustache and sideburns. But, as mentioned, you can also use it on other parts of your body.
- Easy maintenance
Another thing we like about the MB4040 is that it’s not hard to take care of: the heads have a quick release option that makes it easy to remove them for cleaning.
- Extended battery life
- Sharp and durable titanium blades
- Good for multiple uses
- Easy length adjustments
- The trimmer isn’t waterproof
How to Use Your Stubble Trimmer to Get the Best Results
Once you’ve chosen the right stubble trimmer, it’s time to put it to the test. Proper use of your trimmer isn’t overly complicated but there are some techniques and other things to keep in mind, nonetheless.
Let your hair grow
OK, so it only makes sense that you can’t trim stubble that doesn’t exist. But you do want to keep a close eye on your facial hair depending on the type of stubble you’re hoping to achieve. In general, three to four days of not shaving results in what’s known as “stubble.” By four days, most men have enough growth to give their trimmer a true test.
If you’re going for a really short stubble look, then one or two days of growth may suffice – depending on the thickness of your whiskers.
Choose your style
Not all stubble beards are the same. We’ve mentioned the ever-popular 5 o’clock shadow, but there’s also light stubble, which takes the 5 o’clock shadow to the next step, and heavy stubble, which isn’t quite a full beard but one that’s thicker than other stubble styles. Choosing your favorite style should take into account your face shape, among other things, and don’t assume that a certain stubble look that looks great on another man will also look good on you.
Comb your stubble
While “stubble” implies a shorter beard length, you should still comb it – and your mustache – before you begin trimming, especially if you have three to four days of growth or more. Always comb your beard and mustache in the general direction of its growth to ensure that any long hairs will be lifted to stand out from the rest. And it’s always a good idea to use a quality beard comb – one that will serve you well no matter what type of beard you choose.
Choose the length of your stubble
This step is along the same lines as the first step and is just as important. While there are no set-in-stone rules about what length of beard works for each man, there is a rule of thumb that says men with lighter-colored facial hair can wear longer stubble than men with darker hair. Whether you choose a shorter or longer style, always strive for a uniform look.
Adjust your trimmer comb’s length setting
Becoming comfortable with your trimmer’s different length settings is important for becoming adept at trimming your stubble. Most trimmers come with a variety of length settings, but we recommend starting with a longer setting and adjusting it as needed because there’s no turning back if you trim your stubble shorter than intended. Moreover, don’t attempt different styles of stubble until you’re comfortable with your trimmer and all of its settings.
The trimming process
In general, always trim toward your chin. Use steady, smooth strokes that slightly overlap to ensure that you cover the entire area. It’s also important to keep your neck in mind, i.e., whether you decide to fade the stubble into your neckline for a more natural look, or to shave the neckline altogether.
Don’t forget the details
Remove your guide comb once you’ve finished trimming your stubble into a uniform look. Your next task is detail work that includes checking for – and trimming – stray hairs; there’s always a few that get missed in the initial trim.
A word or two about trimming your mustache
There are a few things to know if your “look” includes a well-trimmed mustache. First, hold your trimmer in a vertical position with the blades facing you. Doing so creates nice definition lines in your mustache.
If you prefer a tapered mustache, it’s helpful to start with a medium length comb. Start at the middle of your mustache and trim upwards across the top lip and work your way to the edges.
Always clean your trimmer
Clean your trimmer after each use, whether that’s with a brush – that may come with your trimmer – or with water if the trimmer is waterproof. Keeping your trimmer clean helps ensure that it continues to trim your beard efficiently, while also extending its longevity.
How a Stubble Trimmer Compares to Other Types of Trimmers
Stubble trimmers, beard trimmers, razors – what’s the difference? In some cases, the difference isn’t all that much. In others, well, their clearly different types of tools for different jobs. Let’s start with stubble trimmers and work our way through the various types of razors and trimmers.
Perhaps the best place to start in describing what a stubble trimmer is to define what is meant by “stubble.” The stubble style is pretty popular these days for a lot of reasons, but not every stubble style is the same.
Specifically, stubble is short facial hair kept trimmed between 0.4 and 5 mm. Most men can achieve this length in 3 to 5 days, or longer, depending on your natural ability to grow whiskers. The 5 o’clock shadow comes to mind for many people when the term stubble comes up, but there are longer and shorter stubble styles.
The bottom line is that stubble by itself can start to look a bit untidy if not kept trimmed, which is where the stubble trimmer comes into play. A stubble trimmer enables you to keep your stubble whiskers at the same length, which makes for a more attractive stubble look overall.
Stubble trimmers are very similar to beard trimmers. The major difference, however, is that a stubble trimmer maintains short facial hair, while a beard trimmer works best for longer styles. To break it down even further; the razor guards on most stubble trimmers allow you to go down to 0.5 mm in length, while the minimum length a beard trimmer allows is typically 1 mm.
Most stubble trimmers come with a variety of length guards, with all of them designed to trim shorter beard styles. Many of them also serve as mustache and sideburn trimmers, with some even work to trim other areas of your body.
If your beard is longer than stubble, or if you’ve let your new beard grow for four to six weeks, then it’s time to put away your stubble trimmer and reach for a beard trimmer. It’s also true that some – but certainly not all – beard trimmers can help you achieve the stubble look – but use a stubble trimmer if you plan to keep your whiskers extremely short.
Beard trimmers have longer length settings than stubble trimmers and their blades should rarely, if ever, touch your skin. A beard trimmer provides a variety of grooming benefits, including:
- They allow you to shape your beard into whatever style you prefer
- You don’t have to worry about the blades leaving nicks and cuts on your skin
- They help you give your beard an even, uniform look.
Like stubble trimmers, beard trimmers come with a variety of attachments and length guards. Some have interchangeable guard combs, while others have fixed combs that move with an adjustable wheel. The general purpose of guard combs is to pull individual beard hairs tight as you trim, which ensures a more even cut.
It’s nice to have a range of options when it comes to length settings on your beard trimmer. In general, the more intermediate settings you have, the better.
Electric shavers, or razors, whichever term you prefer, aren’t meant for trimming your beard, but rather for shaving your whiskers. In other words, they don’t do the detail work of beard and stubble trimmers, but they take care of the heavier work of actual shaving.
One of the advantages electric razors have over other types of razors – cartridge, twin-blade, safety, straight-edge, etc. – is that they allow you to complete the task of shaving in less time. They’re ideal for men on the go, or for anyone who doesn’t feel like dealing with the “mess” and potential nicks and cuts.
Electric shavers come in two types – foil and rotary.
- Foil shavers have oscillating blades covered with thin, metal foil. The foils lift your whiskers and then guide them into the blade. Foil shavers have been around for 100 years or so, and many come with different cutting blades and spring-loaded heads.
- Foil razors are, in general, better for men with relatively fine facial hair that’s not overly long, as well as for men who prefer to shave in straight lines. They’re also good if you plan to use your shaver every day.
- Rotary shavers have three circular heads that cover a spinning cutter blade. An outer guard guides hair into the blades. This type of razor is best used with a circular motion that enables you to follow the contours of your face, and makes it easier to shave around tricky areas such as your neck and chin. Most of them also pivot in different directions.
- Rotary shavers work well for men who have thicker, coarser beards, or if you’re cutting whiskers that have grown longer – like when you go a weekend without shaving. They’re also good if your beard hair grows in different directions, particularly around the neck area.
The names say it all when it comes to hair clippers, i.e., they’re designed to trim the hair on your head and not your face. It’s easy to confuse hair clippers with hair trimmers but there are some important differences.
The biggest difference between a hair clipper and trimmer is that clippers are basically designed to cut longer hair. Clippers come with several attachments, much like stubble and beard trimmers, with each attachment adjustable to the length of hair that needs cutting. Clippers often are used to prepare the hair for the final cut and finish.
Hair trimmers work well with shorter or fine hair and typically have thinner blades that make it easy to work on the final details of your hair. Some trimmers come with attachments but usually not as many as you get with hair clippers. Trimmers do have the ability to cut the hair fairly close to the skin.
How We Chose Our Best Stubble Trimmers 2018
Certain brands tend to dominate the stubble trimmer market – familiar names such as Panasonic, Conair, Philips Norelco, Remington, etc. Those brands, at least at this time, seem to have the highest-rated razors and our task often involved sifting through their many products.
In the end, however, we didn’t rate trimmers based on a brand name or company reputation but took into account other factors, such as ease-of-use, accessories, quality of the blades, and even versatility. We also evaluated battery life – obviously an important factor for cordless trimmers – and ease of cleaning. Ultimately, we came up with a list that we think you’ll find beneficial.
What are your thoughts? Do you use any of the trimmers on our list? If so, what were your results? Or, what stubble trimmer do you currently use and why?
As always, we welcome your feedback!