The Braun Series 5-550cc electric shaver stands out for its gentle, tug-free shave and ability to lift and cut hairs that lie flat against your skin. It's also very quiet, and comes with a cleaning/charging station. On the downside it's not as strong as some older models, so you have to shave more slowly -- and its durability issues are a little more common than for some of the competition.
Doesn't pull beard. No electric shaver is perfect, and the Braun Series 5-550cc has its share of critics who say it's not perfect -- especially if you only shave every few days. But most users say its integrated trimmer, sandwiched between two shaving foils, really does lift and cut hairs that typically lie flat. The Series 5-550cc also gives a relatively gentle shave; "Unlike other razors I have used, this one has never "bit" me," writes an Amazon.com user with soft skin and a heavy beard that tends to lie flat. On the downside we find some criticism that this shaver is weaker than its predecessors and, thus, doesn't work as fast.
Fully washable. Reviewers agree that the Braun Series 5-550cc electric shaver is easy to use. They especially like the integrated trimmer that lies between the foil blades; it mostly lives up to its marketing hype for lifting and cutting hairs that would otherwise lie flat and possibly missed by another shaver.
Another plus is the cleaning system, which doubles as a charger. Several users credit it with cutting down on the razor bumps and pimples they used to get after shaving, although others say you can get the fully washable shaver equally clean with rubbing alcohol or hot running water. An included power cord and optional corded/cordless operation are undisputed pluses.
A quiet buzz. The upside to the Braun Series 5-550cc electric shaver's less-than-turbocharged power output is that it's really very quiet when operating. "The noise is much lower," writes one Amazon.com user who replaced an older Braun shaver with this updated model. The automatic cleaning station -- which users warn can take several hours to finish its cycle -- is about as noisy (or rather, not noisy) as the electric shaver itself.
Braun promises 45 minutes of shaving time for a one-hour charge, with a five-minute quick charge that gives you enough juice for one shave.
So far, so good. Several users shopping for the Braun Series 5-550cc electric shaver say their previous Braun models lasted for more than 10 years, but we find a few doubters who report their Series 5-550cc breaks much sooner than its promised seven-year life span. The good news is that it's backed by a two-year warranty (excluding foils and cutter block), with a 60-day money-back policy when you first try it out.
Replacement foils and a new cutting block cost about $40 and should be replaced every 18 months, so we estimate this shaver's yearly cost of ownership at about $27. If you use the cleaning system every day, you'll need a new refill cartridge (Est. $20 for four) about every month, adding another $60 to the total annual cost.
More than 200 Amazon.com reviewers weigh in on the Braun Series 5-550cc and the 565cc together, giving them an average score of 4.2 stars out of 5. The general consensus is that it does trim problem areas as advertised, although there are -- as always -- some who do not agree.
Review: Braun Series 5 Shaver System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014
More than 120 Walmart.com users give the Braun 5 Series 550cc electric shaver an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5 possible. Despite the high score, users are relatively critical about the shaver's cleaning system, durability and overall performance.
Review: Braun 5 Series 550CC Razor, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of May 2014
More than two dozen Target.com reviewers give the Braun Series 5-550cc shaver an overall score of 4.5 stars out of 5, making it one of the most popular shavers sold here. However, about half the reviewers note that they received a free product, presumably from the manufacturer, in exchange for writing the review.
Review: Braun Series 5-550cc Shaver System - Black/Silver, Contributors to Target.com, As of May 2014