Types of Electric Shavers
This type of electric razor has oscillating blades hidden behind thin, perforated steel foils. The foils lift your facial hair (or any hair, really) up to the blades for a close shave. Most of the foil shavers we evaluate have between three to five blades. The number of blades determines the size of the shaving head and, in theory, the speed of your shave. However, bigger isn't always better. If a foil razor's shaving head gets too big, it can be hard to maneuver over the contours of a smaller face and neck.
Rotary razors use spinning circular blades, which flex in their housing to accommodate the contours of your face. Because each blade on a rotary shaver swivels independently, these shavers may do a better job than foil shavers at following the contours of your face and neck. Rotary shavers tend to be quieter than foil shavers, handle longer hairs better, and offer the advantage of letting you shave in almost any direction -- up and down, side to side, or even moving the shaver in circles.
While many electric razors can work either wet or dry, if a wet shave is a priority, razors designed specifically for wet shaving get the highest marks. Many users comment favorably on the smooth shave they get from grooming during or just after a shower, and those with sensitive skin usually benefit from using a shaving lotion or cream. The versatility of a good wet/dry shaver means you can fine-tune the shaving experience to suit your skin and hair type, or to how much time you have for grooming on any particular day.
Battery Powered Shavers
Most modern electric shavers have a built-in rechargeable battery, but for travel -- especially to locations where the electric service differs from the U.S. -- a shaver powered by standard, AA replaceable batteries is worth considering. Performance is typically a notch (or more) poorer than standard electric razors, but these cost less and are lighter in weight, making them good for toting around on globetrotting adventures, or to toss in a briefcase for touch ups during the day. Both foil and rotary versions are available.
Don't make a snap decision
reviews suggest that rotary shavers work better for men with dense hair and
round faces, while foil shavers are better suited for men with light hair and
thin faces. However, your personal preferences will always trump these broad
generalities. It's also important to realize that it can take a few weeks for
your face to adjust to any new shaver, so if you're not happy with a new razor
right away, don't be too quick to give up on it -- you may see a major
difference in results as your skin and beard adapt.
still unhappy after that time frame, the good news is that most name-brand
shavers come with a 30-day (or better) money-back guarantee. Be sure to be
aware of what kind of guarantee your new shaver includes, so you can return it
within that time frame.
Although name-brand shavers from Braun, Panasonic and
Philips Norelco -- all of which dominate at least one category in this report
-- cost more than other models, experts say the quality of their shave and
construction justifies their higher price tag. These brands consistently
outrank budget brands in comfort, ease of use, performance and durability,
making them better values in the long run.
The name-brand shavers in this report are all backed by a
two-year warranty -- a good thing, because every single shaver has its share of
durability concerns, usually related to battery life in one way or another.
Shaver companies aren't known for their great customer service, although the
rate of complaints seems to have eased off significantly over the last few
Overall, we found that the best electric shavers --
the ones that will give you a close, clean shave without ruining your hearing
or yanking your beard out one hair at a time -- cost anywhere from $70 to $250
or more, with yearly maintenance costs that range from $20 to $230 depending on
the shaver and what sort of cleaning stand it has (if any).
neither foil nor rotary shavers can shave quite as close as manual razors --
but the best models get pretty close. See our report on razors for reviews
of the best manual models.
Finding The Best Electric Shavers
"The Best Electric Razor"
Finding the best electric shavers for this report is a little bit of a
challenge as the nature of your face and facial hair can play a large role in
influencing which type and model of electric shaver will leave you most
satisfied. Still, we found good hands-on testing -- often over long periods of
time -- at several sites, including ConsumerReports.org, TheSweethome.com,
TopTenReviews.com and elsewhere.
To complete the picture, we turned to retail sites that allow users to
post reviews of products they own, including Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and BestBuy.com.
While some electric razors get only minimal feedback, others draw hundreds --
and in some cases thousands -- of user reviews, and that helps fill in the gaps
regarding shaver reliability and the long term satisfaction of users. We
consider both user feedback and expert testing in our analysis, and the result
is the best reviewed electric shavers for any face and any budget.