If you're willing to spend a little more money or are looking to go longer between shaves, the Braun Silk-Epil 5, which was called the Silk-Epil Xelle, 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 about the results they get with this product, which they say improves with time as less hair regrows. The Silk-Epil 5 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-Epil 5 is included in a large comparison review at Australia's Choice magazine, which rates it on smoothness achieved, 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-Epil Xelle, the predecessor to the Silk-Epil 5, was one of three top picks in tests performed by this Australian review publication. Editors say it 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-Epil Xpressive 7781 (a slightly fancier model than the Silk-Epil Xelle) 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-Epil 5 is highly rated epilator on this site. It receives more than 50 reviews. 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-Epil shaver, and epilators in general, are answered by other users.
Review: Braun SE 5180 Silk-Epil 5 Epilator with Ice Glove, Green, Contributors to Amazon.com
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-Epil Xelle 5270 (now called the Silk-Epil 5) 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