Every electric shaver we've reviewed in other categories has a rechargeable battery, so to a certain degree they're all suitable for travel. However, traveling with a rechargeable shaver means you have to either pack the power cord/charging stand or gamble on not running out of juice before you get home (or in the middle of a shave). Often, the "do I bring it or not" dilemma becomes a moot point, because the charging stand or power cord won't fit into the shaver's carry pouch anyway.
Although most rechargeable shavers automatically convert to world voltage (240 volts), you also have to consider the odds and expense of tracking down adapter plugs for different-shaped wall sockets -- or simply tracking down an outlet, period -- while traveling abroad. One possible solution: Carry a shaver that's powered by two AA batteries. We've singled out two models worthy of your attention.
If you're a fan of rotary shavers or sensitive to loud noise, we recommend heading straight for the top-rated Philips Norelco PQ208 (Est. $15) (also known as the Norelco Shaver 510). Both it and the foil Braun Mobile Shave M-90 (Est. $23) are at their best when tucked into a travel bag or stowed in a glove box or workplace locker for occasional touch-ups. However, in both cases we found a few men who liked these compact, portable models so much that they ended up using them every day. The big plus that the PQ208 enjoys is that it is much quieter than the Braun M-90, which a video review from Electric-Shaver-Guide.com shows to have a loud, abrasive sound.
Most reviewers say the PQ208 also offers a more comfortable shave than the M-90, free of pinches and pulls; it also seems to do a little better with coarse beards, although neither shaver is outstanding in that regard. Reviewers say you get the best results if you shave frequently -- don't let your beard grow more than a few millimeters long. Also, budget a little extra time -- both shavers take longer than a rechargeable model to get a really clean shave. Some men also say they like to keep a disposable razor on hand to deal with any stray hairs the battery-powered shaver might miss.
Most reviewers like the Philips Norelco Shaver 510 well enough to forgive its total lack of a pop-up trimmer. If you're picky about your sideburns or want a trimmer to help shave your neck, though, that may be reason enough to go with the Braun Mobile Shave M-90. Users are sometimes perplexed by the M-90's trimmer placement -- it sticks out at right angles to the shaving foil -- but on the other hand, a strangely placed trimmer is better than no trimmer at all.
Both shavers have caps to protect the cutting heads when not in use, and the M-90's cap swings off to serve as a handle extension. Neither shaver is washable, but both come with a small cleaning brush to help with maintenance.
These shavers are backed by warranties that mimic what each manufacturer provides for its plug-in rechargeable models. Both are covered for two years, but the PQ208 has a 45-day money-back guarantee, while Braun M-90's is for 60 days.
Like all shavers, replacement cutting heads or foils are required periodically. However, in both cases, these cost the same or just a little less than what an entirely new shaver would run. Many say that at this cost you might as well buy a new shaver every year. Users say that a pair of AA batteries can last for about two weeks of shaving in either the Braun or the Philips Norelco shaver. That's not an issue for short term use, but battery costs can start to add up if you use these shavers travel regularly.
Elsewhere in this report: