What the best men's shaver has

  • A respected brand name. Experts say that when it comes to men's shavers, you really do get what you pay for -- brand-name products from Braun, Philips Norelco and Panasonic tend to provide a closer, more comfortable shave; they also last longer.
  • A pop-out trimmer. Most electric shavers come with a trimmer for dealing with longer hairs or shaping sideburns.
  • A money-back guarantee of at least 30 days. It takes about that long for your skin and hair to adjust to the new shaver, so you'll want to be able to try it out for nearly the full trial period.
  • A two-year warranty. Two years is the industry standard for shaver warranties. Also, check to see whether the foil and blades, or shaving head and cutters, are excluded from the warranty. This isn't uncommon, but it's a good thing to know about up front.
  • A quick-charge feature. There's nothing worse than being stuck with only half your face (or head) shaved. The best shavers can recover enough juice to complete your shave after just three to five minutes of charging. Some will also let you continue shaving while they are charging.
  • Ample shaving time. A shaver should offer at least 45 minutes of shaving time from a full battery charge.

Know before you go

How sensitive are you to noise? While some expert tests rate the noise levels of rotary and foil shavers similarly, other experts and many users hold that rotary models are at least a touch quieter.

How long to you expect to go between shaves? Experts say that rotary models may handle longer hairs better than foil models do.

Do you have a hard time shaving along contours? The multiple, independently rotating shaving heads on a rotary model often do a better job of handling difficult contours (like the chin and neck) than foil models do.

Is a close shave is of the utmost importance? In general, foil shavers get you a little closer to the feel of shaving with a blade, reviews say. In addition, experts recommend shaving against the direction of your hair growth when you're using a foil shaver.

Do you intend to shave with cream or lotion? If so, you need an electric shaver with wet/dry capabilities. If you know you have very sensitive skin or that dry shaving can irritate your skin, experts recommend trying a wet/dry model that allows you to shave with cream or lotion.

Value expectations: The dollars and cents of it

In theory, electric shavers are less expensive in the long run than constantly replacing disposable razors. But is that really true? According to figures published at Razorpedia.com, shaving with disposable razors will cost you about $111 a year. The Best Reviewed electric shavers in this report cost $200, and often less, so in a perfect world they'd pay for themselves after a year or two of not having to buy disposable razors.

However, you must factor in the cost of maintaining your electric shaver. Yearly upkeep typically costs between $50 and $80 to replace the cutting blades and foils. That means you'd need to keep an electric shaver anywhere from two to four years to break even with the cost of disposable razors. If you have a cleaning station for your shaver, and chose to use it (not all do) the cost of cleaning cartridges adds to that even more.

What's to come

With the rise of USB-charged portable gadgets, it was only a matter of time until a USB-chargeable electric shaver became available too. The ShaveTech USB Rechargable Travel Razor (Est. $23) is about the size of a deck of playing cards and can be recharged from any USB port; it provides about 30 minutes of shave time between charges. This rechargeable razor comes in black, but a white version is available as well

Reviewers say the ShaveTech's single shaving foil gets the job done, but its small size means it's very slow -- so it may be best for short trips and quick touch-ups before meetings.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Shavers | Best Foil Shavers | Best Rotary Shavers | Best Wet/Dry Electric Shavers | Best Battery Shavers | Our Sources

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