While shavers and razors cut hair off at skin level, epilators use motorized tweezers that pluck it out at the root. We're not gonna lie: It can be painful. A survey published in Australia's Choice magazine reports that 40 percent of epilator users find them to be "very" or "moderately" painful to use and 43 percent experience irritation like itching or redness after hair removal.
Epilating takes a long time, but these nifty devices have quite a few things going for them. Over time, epilated hair comes back finer and stays away longer; after the first few epilations, some women can go a couple of weeks between touch-ups. Experienced epilators also say that as your skin adapts, the whole process becomes less painful -- delivering more of a tingling or prickling sensation than real pain. If you're used to waxing, they say, making the switch to epilation is a cinch. Epilators can also save you money because you don't have to pay for shaving cream or replacement blades.
Noise is a constant complaint with epilators -- we have yet to find a whisper-quiet model. The Emjoi Light Caress Epilator (Est. $90) seems to get the worst reviews for noise. After the first few uses, reviewers say, the Emjoi creates silky-smooth legs or underarms that last for a week or more, but we also found a few complaints about ingrown hairs. Depending on your hair type, you might even get by with epilating once a month or so, but users don't recommend using it on your face, as the skin is too sensitive. It seems the opposite sex has gotten on board with epilating, as a handful of male users praise the Emjoi for tackling their coarse body hair.
This epilator has only one speed, which is the main reason it lost out on being named Best Reviewed to the Epilady Legend 4 Rechargeable (Est. $70) epilator. But, in its defense, the Emjoi Light Caress holds a good charge and can be used either with or without the power cord. Users note that the battery seems to stop working after 18 to 24 months, so despite not needing replacement parts during your ownership, you may need to replace the entire unit every two or so years.
The Epilady Legend 4 Rechargeable catches a little flak for noisiness too, but numerous fans of its gentle, but effective epilating power smooth over the criticism. The small size of the Legend 4 makes maneuvering underarms, the bikini line and even the face a breeze, with no irritation left behind. With two speeds, you can determine how soft or powerful you want your epilating experience to be, making this model ideal for first-time epilator users.
Both epilators are easy to hold, but not so easy to clean -- neither the Emjoi Light Caress nor the Epilady Legend 4 have removable tweezing heads, so you have to brush them out, which can be tedious. You cannot, however, use either epilator in the shower or bath. Replacement heads are not listed for either featured epilator.
Though the Epilady Legend 4 takes time to remove every hair -- as all epilators do -- it's easy to use in delicate areas, and its smooth, long-lasting results make it our Best Reviewed pick for this report.