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Best Battery Shavers

By: Carl Laron on October 26, 2017

Best shavers for daytime touch-ups and travel

Every electric shaver we've reviewed in other categories has a rechargeable battery, so to a certain degree they're all suitable for travel. However, traveling with a rechargeable shaver means you have to either pack the power cord/charging stand or gamble on not running out of juice before you get home (or in the middle of a shave). Often, the "do I bring it or not" dilemma becomes a moot point, because the charging stand or power cord won't fit into the shaver's carry pouch anyway.

Although most rechargeable shavers automatically convert to world voltage (240 volts), you also have to consider the hassle and expense of tracking down adapter plugs for different-shaped wall sockets -- or simply tracking down an outlet, period -- while traveling abroad. One possible solution: Carry a shaver that's powered by two AA batteries. We've singled out two models worthy of your attention.

If you're a fan of rotary shavers or sensitive to loud noise, we recommend heading straight for the top-rated Philips Norelco PQ208/40 (Est. $15) (also known as the Philips Norelco Shaver 510). Both it and the foil Braun Mobile Shave M-90 (Est. $30) are at their best when tucked into a travel bag or stowed in a glove box or workplace locker for occasional touch-ups. However, in both cases we found a few men who liked these compact, portable models so much that they ended up using them every day. The big plus that the PQ208/40 enjoys is that it is much quieter than the Braun M-90, which a video review from Electric-Shaver-Guide.com shows to have a loud, abrasive sound. It's also a bit less expensive

Most owners say the PQ208/40 also offers a more comfortable shave than the M-90, free of pinches and pulls; it also seems to do a little better with coarse beards, although neither shaver is outstanding in that regard. Reviewers say you get the best results if you shave frequently and don't let your beard grow more than a few millimeters long. Also, budget a little extra time -- both shavers take longer than a rechargeable model to get a really clean shave. Some men also say they like to keep a disposable razor on hand to deal with any stray hairs the battery-powered shaver might miss.

Most reviewers like the Philips Norelco PQ208/40 well enough to forgive its total lack of a pop-up trimmer. If you're picky about your sideburns or want a trimmer to help shave your neck, though, that may be reason enough to go with the Braun Mobile Shave M-90. Users are sometimes perplexed by the M-90's trimmer placement -- it sticks out at right angles to the shaving foil -- but on the other hand, a strangely placed trimmer is better than no trimmer at all.

Testing-based professional reviews of these razors are hard to find, but Moo.Review and ShaverCheck.com do look at the M90. Ben Atkins at Moo.Review says that those who purchase that razor thinking it will be a replacement for their everyday razor are bound to be disappointed, but that "If you are looking for a shaver to slash away at your 5'oclock shadow then this will definitely do the trick." Ovidiu Nicolae at ShaverCheck.com largely mirrors that sentiment, saying it's fine for its intended purpose, but using it for anything more than a one day beard "will most likely result in an unpleasant shaving experience."

Both shavers have caps to protect the cutting heads when not in use, and the M-90's cap swings off to serve as a handle extension. Neither shaver is washable, but both come with a small cleaning brush to help with maintenance.

These shavers are backed by warranties that mimic what each manufacturer provides for its plug-in rechargeable models. Both are covered for two years, but the PQ208/40 has a 45-day money-back guarantee, while Braun M-90's is for 60 days.

Like all shavers, replacement cutting heads or foils are required periodically. However, in both cases, these cost the same or just a little less than what an entirely new shaver would run. Many say that at this cost you might as well buy a new shaver every year. Atkins in his review of the M90 suggests that you consider it a "disposable electric shaver," adding "If you treat this purchase as a handy temporary solution to shaving then you won't be disappointed."

Users say that a pair of AA batteries can last for about two weeks of shaving in either the Braun or the Philips Norelco shaver. That's not an issue for short term use, but battery costs can start to add up if you use these travel shavers regularly.

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