If you're willing to spend a little more money or are looking to go longer between shaves, the Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270 epilator is a good option, but as with all epilators (which pull out hair as opposed to shaving it), it can be painful to use, especially at first. We find plenty of complaints of pain, but users seem very satisfied and are very enthusiastic in relaying their results with this epilator, which they say improves with time as less hair regrows. The Silk-épil Xelle 5270 is a somewhat expensive initial investment, although the long-term savings could make the initial cost well worth it. If you prefer a less painful option, reviewers say the Panasonic Close Curves ES2216PC (Est. $33 and up) is convenient and easy to use.
The Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270 is included in a large comparison review at Australia's Choice magazine, which rates it on smoothness of the shave, ease of use and discomfort. We also find more consumer reviews of this epilator on Amazon.com and other review sites than any other model we researched.
1. Choice magazine
The Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270 was one of three top picks in tests performed by this Australian review publication. Editors say the Silk-épil Xelle works well and is easy to use.
Review: Home Hair Removal, Editors of Choice magazine, July 2007
2. Which? magazine
An editor gives the Braun Silk-épil Xpressive 7781 (a slightly fancier model than the Silk-épil Xelle 5270) a wet and a dry test on her legs and underarms. She notes the greater comfort of using it on wet skin that has been lathered with shower gel rather than dry skin, but she still had more underarm irritation the next day than she normally would see after using a razor or wax. She also says the light worked better on wet skin than dry, and she says the biggest drawback is the amount of time it took to get good results.
Review: Epilators: Braun Silk-Epil Xpressive Wet and Dry 7781 WD, Editors of Which? magazine
The Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270 is by far the most popular and highest-rated epilator on this site. It receives more than 1,000 reviews, and more than 600 of them gave it the highest possible rating. Users say it works great and is a cheaper alternative to waxing. However, many say it's painful to use and warn against epilating in sensitive areas, such as bikini or underarms. Amazon.com also has a helpful customer discussion forum where common questions about using the Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270, and epilators in general, are answered by other users.
Review: Braun 5270 Silk-épil X'elle Body System Epilator, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2010
More than 40 reviewers rave about this epilator. Most say any pain decreases over time and is worth it because skin stays smoother longer. Several users note that an epilator is a great investment versus continuous salon visits for waxing.
Review: Braun Silk X'Elle Epilation Shaver, Contributors to Target.com, As of Aug. 2010
This lone video review is helpful for seeing the features and hearing how noisy the Braun epilator is, although the reviewer does not show the Braun Silk-épil Xelle 5270 actually removing hair. She recommends taking an over-the-counter pain relief medication before epilating to lessen the pain involved, especially for those new to this method of hair removal.
Review: Braun Silk-epil Epilator Review, "xevanesco", April 2008