Updated Sep 15, 2022 5:32 PM
In this age of beard love, scruff has never been more beautiful. Shaving items may no longer be de rigueur in every guy’s daily bag of grooming tricks, but even those aiming for hirsute as a fashion statement could use an electric shaver to keep things tidy. The benefits of the best electric shavers are numerous: They eliminate the need for water and shaving cream and lower the risk of nicks and cuts caused by runaway blades. When you’re finished perfecting your beard and mustache, you can use electric shavers for the precise manscaping of other body parts, from the top of your head to your sideburns, hairline, back of your neck, and all the way down.
If you’re ready to go electric, there are a number of different styles available. You can get a shaver that’s shaped like a disposable razor, which will make the transition a lot easier. If your hands are bigger or you have an awkward grasp, you can get a larger model that resembles a barber’s hair clippers. The one drawback of these is they might not be able to give you as close a shave.
For those with especially unruly facial fur, rotary shavers with spinning discs are better than one-direction foil blades at managing it but be prepared to spend a bit more time cleaning them. Although you won’t have to replace the blades in electric shavers nearly as often as you toss disposable razors, straight razors, and razor cartridges, all good things must come to an end, so don’t go more than a year before making a fresh start with your electric shaver. Now chin up and prepare to look your best.
Things to consider when shopping for the best electric shaver
Finding the best electric shaver can be a bit more complicated than settling on Gillette or Schick. There are several pivotal things to consider: 1) Is it waterproof? You might want to pursue a closer shave in the shower. 2) What is the power source? 3) How close to your skin does it get? 4) How often do you need to replace the blades, and will that require an extensive, expensive search? 5) Can you clean it fairly easily and go about your day? Shaving, after all, will be taking up enough of your time.
Dry, wet, or both?
If time is typically of the essence in the morning, you might want to take care of cleaning up, brushing your teeth, and shaving all in the same place: the shower. To that end, you can bring a waterproof electric shaver into the bathtub with you. Waterproof electric razors are particularly great if you’re not ready to give up wet shaves. H20 reaps myriad benefits when used with clippers. It softens the beard for more comfort and less likelihood of being left with razor burn and other types of skin irritation. Be sure to check that it’s charged before getting in, as shavers designed for use with water won’t work when plugged in since water and surges of electricity don’t mix.
The rotary and foil blades in waterproof models may not get quite as close to the skin as regular disposable razors, but they will get you smoother than most dry electric shavers. Whether you opt for wet or dry may be a matter of preference in the end, but it’s worth noting a few cons of shaving in the bath. It tends to be more time-consuming, and you’ll have to splurge on a few ingredients to get the most out of it. Dry shaving, in comparison, requires only the machine, and you can do it outside of the bathroom, even in the backyard, if you prefer to groom while getting your fresh-air fix.
How do you want to charge your razor?
Unlike traditional razors, most electric shavers are powered in one of three ways: plugging into an electric outlet with a cord, inserting batteries, or connecting to a charging station. Corded shavers are probably the least convenient because they need to be plugged in when they’re in use, which limits where you can use them—and practically guarantees the cord will get in the way while you’re shaving.
Batteries eliminate the need for a cord, but the shaver may quickly drain them of power, producing a less than ideal—and possibly incomplete—experience. If you go the chargeable route, which we recommend, make sure the electric shaver is fully charged before each use. If it runs out of power mid-shave, you’ll have to charge it up before you finish the job. Most of them will give you around one hour at full charge, but some will keep buzzing for longer.
How frequently do the blades need to be changed?
Relax—you won’t be buying replacement blades on a weekly basis. The foil and rotary blades in electric shavers do eventually wear out, though, so it is recommended that you change them at least once a year. Before getting a new machine, find out how and where you can buy any necessary replacement parts you’ll need in the future. And let the buyer beware: Expensive electric shavers may require pricier replacement parts.
As with traditional razors, shaving with worn-out blades will be less effective at nicking away hair. Don’t wait until you can barely move the blade across your beard before you start thinking about changing it. Spray cleaners and lubricants are available to extend the lifespan of a shavers’ cutting parts and may be especially useful if you have coarse, thick hair that more quickly erodes the blades.
How much maintenance does it need?
With electric shavers, cleaning is not optional. In fact, you’ll probably need to do a bit of tidying up after every use—even if it’s just removing excess hair—to get closer shaves and prevent potential infections. Waterproof electric shavers can be cleaned with water and liquid soap, but dry shavers can be irreversibly damaged by excess moisture.
Rotary shavers require a cleaning process that’s a bit more complicated than their foil-blade counterparts. Once a month, you’ll need to disassemble them and clean each of the individual rotary shaving heads. Just be careful not to mix and match the cutters and combs when you put them back together since they are arranged in matching pairs by the manufacturer.
For those who would rather not deal with regular cleaning, some modern models come with charging stations that also clean the electric shaver. A number of them will even disinfect the blades for you.
Best wet/dry: Panasonic ARC5 Electric Wet Dry Razor for Men
The five-blade system of this Panasonic shaver offers a closer, easier shave, while the flexible head pivots in 16 different directions, meaning you won’t have to worry that it won’t glide easily over the contours of your face. Plus, the pop-up trimmer makes your shave faster. A built-in sensor checks the density of your beard 220 times a second while adjusting the power 14 times a second. The result: smoother, even results.
Best for a close shave: Braun Electric Razor for Men, Series 9 9370cc Electric Shaver
This top-of-the-line Braun electric razor is well-built for a firm grip. At full charge, the battery will keep going up to 50 minutes, and a digital display counts down the time left so you don’t have to worry about surprise power outages. For tricky, hard-to-cut hairs, two specialized titanium-coated trimmers use 10,000 micro-vibrations to catch them where they grow. Use this razor wet or dry.
Best precision blades: Philips Norelco SP9820/87 Shaver 9000 Prestige
This Philips electric razor is a bit on the pricey side, but it’ll give you the most advanced blade system the brand offers. The built-in BeardAdapt sensor helps the shaver deliver an exceptionally close and precise cut, checking the density of your hair 15 times per second and automatically adapting to suit the needs of your face. A travel case is included for storage and protection of the electric shaver and its various working parts. Bonus: cleanup is simple—just open the shaving head and rinse with water.
Best easy-clean: Remington F5-5800 Foil Shaver
A great shave is in the details, and in addition to a tool that clips away longer hairs before two foil blades dig deeper, this Remington electric shaver has a head that pivots and flexes for tackling your neck, jaw, and chin. There’s also a pop-up trimmer that allows you to precisely shape your mustache, beard, and sideburns. Cleaning it is even easier than shaving with it. Just hold it under the faucet and wash the excess hair away.
Best budget: BALLS Trimmer Electric Ball Shaver
This BALLS shaver is a workhorse. Micro-trimming ceramic blades ensure for precise trimming sans pulls, nicks, and snags. It’s also waterproof, shock-resistant, and wireless. An adjustable guard lets you control the length from 3 mm to 6 mm. A matte coating allows for an easier grip while in-use. And, a one-button control with a single blade makes shaving and trimming simple and easy.
Q: Is there an electric shaver that shaves as close as a blade?
We can’t emphasize it enough: Even the best electric shaver won’t likely ever get your face or any body part as smooth as a traditional razor. Some higher-end brands may promise the closest shave ever, but keep your expectations in check. Even if your electric shaver yields only average results on its own, you can still improve the efficacy of your morning clipping ritual without buying a new one. They won’t be a problem if you have a full beard and are just looking to trim things to a suitable state of neat.
Q: Do electric shavers leave stubble?
Electric shavers cut the hair further above the skin, so if you have a fair complexion, you might be left with a slight shadow effect. Using shaving lotion or electric pre-shave lotion will get you closer to the skin, while diligent cleaning of the machine and keeping it fully charged to ensure maximum power when in use will help decrease the length of residual stubble.
Q: What is the best electric shaver for the money?
The price of an electric shaver varies wildly. Although you can pay well over $100 for the bells and whistles offered by some brands, you don’t have to shell out a lot to get a great shave. What you spend will depend on how many special but unessential features you need and how much time you want to devote to cleaning your machine after each use. Vifycim’s low-cost electric razor for men may not self-clean, but for a sensible $30, it can give you a decent shave in and out of the shower, and two hours of charging will give you 99 minutes of shaving.
Related: What to buy for a better shave
A final word on shopping for the best electric shaver
Electric razors may not leave you as baby-faced as disposable ones, but if that’s not a deal breaker, they offer a wide variety of benefits. If you get one that’s waterproof, you can use it pretty much anywhere, and you won’t have to worry about blades with severely limited life spans. The best electric shaver may require more regular upkeep, but if you get one that’s self-cleaning the shaver will do most of the work for you.