If fast hair removal and avoiding razor burn are your top priorities, consider an electric shaver. Both of the models in this report 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 totally wet or completely dry, not damp.
Although experts say electric shavers don't render as close a shave as blade razors, they do offer some advantages. Because the vibrating blades are hidden behind a perforated screen and never actually touch the skin, electric shavers cause fewer nicks than manual razors and can be used dry and on sensitive underarms. We also found feedback from pregnant women, and women with arthritis or unsteady hands, saying that using an electric shaver feels safer and more comfortable than wielding a manual razor.
Keep in mind that there's no particular reason women can't consider a men's electric shaver, especially a wet/dry shaver that's designed for use in the shower. See our report on men's
We found lots of compliments from women with sensitive skin who say the Panasonic Close Curves ES2207P (Est. $30 and up) is particularly good for avoiding razor bumps and burns. This shaver receives glowing reviews for its nick- and pinch-free performance on underarms and bikini lines and good reviews for its performance on legs. The main complaint about shaving legs with the ES2207P is that it doesn't shave quite as close as a razor, but then again, no electric razor does.
The Panasonic Close Curves ES2216PC (Est. $33 and up) draws similar comments about performance on legs, although it takes multiple passes to achieve its best possible result. At least the Close Curves ES2207P excels at getting where it's going in just one pass.
Both the Panasonic ES2207P and the ES2216PC are completely submersible in water. That makes cleaning a snap, and it also means they're great for shaving in the shower. Both models draw criticism, however, for batteries that won't hold a charge. This is a particular problem because you can't use these shavers while they're recharging; you have to perch them on top of the tiny, block-like power adapter they come with instead of using a charging cord. When their batteries do work, both shavers should last for a week of shaving between charges.
On the upside reviewers say that both shavers are easy to use, and they both come with pop-up bikini-line trimmers that work well, although some reviewers say they're too big. As long as the battery survives, the ES2207P seems to be particularly tough. We found lots of reports from women who dropped it in the shower and saw the shaver fly to pieces but found that it still worked just fine once reassembled. The Panasonic ES2207P is also significantly quieter than the ES2216PC, making it a clear top pick.
Panasonic doesn't offer any specific guidelines for how often you should replace the foils and blades on this shaver. Assuming twice-yearly replacements -- more frequently than is typical for most men's shavers, since a woman shaves more surface area -- the ownership cost of these electric shavers works out to $3 per month or $36 per year.
Since the Panasonic ES2207P gets a closer shave than the ES2216PC without the razor bumps and is easy to use, it is our top women's shaver pick.