If fast hair removal and avoiding razor burn are your top priorities, consider an electric shaver. The best women's electric razors can be used wet or dry, although that should be taken literally -- reviewers say you'll get the best results if you shave with your skin either totally wet or completely dry, not damp.
Electric shavers may not deliver as close a shave as manual blade razors, but they do offer some advantages. Because the vibrating blades are hidden behind a perforated screen and never actually touch the skin, electric shavers rarely cause nicks and work great for shaving sensitive underarms. Because they can be used dry, electric razors are convenient for quick touchups in between showers. We also found feedback from pregnant women and women with medical conditions who agree that using an electric shaver feels safer and more comfortable than wielding a manual razor.
We found lots of compliments from women with sensitive skin who say the Panasonic Close Curves ES2207P (Est. $20) is particularly good for avoiding razor bumps and burns. This relatively quiet shaver gets glowing reviews for its nick- and pinch-free performance on underarms and bikini lines, and good reviews for removing hair on legs. Users say the Panasonic doesn't shave quite as close as a manual razor, but then again, no electric razor does. On the upside, because it doesn't shave right down to the skin, owners say they're less likely to get ingrown hairs with the Panasonic than with a regular razor.
Women taking blood thinners or undergoing chemotherapy treatments, who must avoid open wounds, love the safe shave the Panasonic ES2207P delivers. Several Amazon.com shoppers say they bought the Panasonic ES2207P as a safe first razor for their daughters who were just beginning to shave.
The Panasonic ES2207P is completely submersible, so you can use it in the bath or shower (with or without a slick of soap or a lather of shaving cream). Some women say they get the best results this way, while others say they get a closer shave by using the Panasonic dry.
Reviewers find the Panasonic easy to use, with a pop-up trimmer that works well for stray and longer hairs. It's easy to clean, too -- just rinse under water. The charger is a small cube that plugs into an outlet; the cordless shaver sits on top of the cube to charge.
The Panasonic ES2207P does draw criticism, however, from users who say the battery won't hold a charge well. This is a particular problem because you can't use the Panasonic while it's recharging. Plenty of owners are perfectly satisfied with the Panasonic, though -- but some do recommend fully charging it between every shave for the best results.
Panasonic doesn't offer a replacement battery or blade/foil cartridge, either, so when the battery does finally conk out for good (or the blades get too dull, usually within 6 months to a year), you'll need to replace the shaver. Still, that still works out to only $40 per year -- less than half the annual cost of typical refillable or disposable razors, which are discussed in their own section.
The Panasonic Close Curves ES2216PC (Est. $30) doesn't fare as well in reviews, but bears some consideration. This electric shaver is similar to the ES2207P but adds a pivoting head and separate bikini-trimmer attachment. The closeness of the shave, especially when shaving legs, seems to be a sore spot. Owners say that it's possible to get a close shave with the ES2216PC, but where the ES2207P does it in mostly one pass, it sometimes takes multiple passes with the ES2216PC. Noise and durability complaints also surface in the feedback we've seen. That said, the pivoting head does make it easier to follow the contours of your body when shaving, and the bikini trimmer is a useful add on.