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8 best electric shavers for men to keep stubble at bay

Swap in messy manuals for a smooth operator that’s gentler on skin

Lee Kynaston
Wednesday 23 February 2022 13:47
<p>Electric shavers are ideal for sensitive, blemish-prone or mature skin with the odd wrinkle to navigate</p>

Electric shavers are ideal for sensitive, blemish-prone or mature skin with the odd wrinkle to navigate

In the same way that The Beatles and The Stones divide music fans, electric shavers and traditional razors divide anyone who wants to shed some stubble. Both methods of shaving have their pros and cons: wet shaving might deliver marginally closer results but electric shaving is by far the simpler, quicker and less messy option.

Since electric shavers work by gently lifting stubble as they cut, and the blades themselves don’t come into direct contact with the skin, they’re also ideal for those with sensitive or blemish-prone skin, and for older gents with the odd wrinkle to navigate.

The fact that they’re fast, safe and relatively mess-free makes them ideal for festivals, travel and for when you’re generally time poor or just too lazy to bother with all the gubbins involved in wet shaving.

To get the most out of your shaver, use your fingers to stretch the skin on your face as you shave, resisting the temptation to press too hard, clean your shaver as instructed using the brush or cleaning station provided and change the blades and/or foils as instructed.

Above all, be patient – electric shaving is very different from wet shaving and irritation can occur in the first few weeks of switching methods, as the skin adjusts to a new approach. The good news is that this usually subsides after a couple of weeks so don’t give up thinking it’s not a method that suits your skin.

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So, now all you need to do is match the shaver to the man. Luckily, we think you’ll find something to suit in our electric shaver shortlist – whether you’re a total beginner or an electric aficionado.

How we tested

We put each shaver through its paces on two occasions – once on light, day-old stubble and again after several days’ growth. Performance was key, obviously, but functionality, appearance, value-for-money, charging time and how they felt in the hand were taken into account too.

The best electric shavers for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Braun series 9 9390cc: £199.99, Shavers.co.uk
  • Best for sensitive skin – Panasonic ES-LV97-K premium performance shaver: £84.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for ease of use – Philips OneBlade pro face & body: £76, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for robustness – Wahl Lifeproof shaver: £42.99, Very.co.uk
  • Best multi-functional shaver – BaByliss men 12-in-1 multi trimmer: £90, Johnlewis.com
  • Best first shaver – Braun series 3 ProSkin 3040s wet & dry shaver: £49.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for stubble lovers – Remington F6 style series aqua: £46.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for gadget geeks – Philips series 9000 series S9987/55 shaver with skin IQ technology: £224.99, Boots.com

Braun series 9 9390cc

Best: Overall

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Type:  Foil
  • Wet & dry: Yes,100% waterproof
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Charge time: 1 hour charge provides 1 hour cordless shaving, 5-minute quick charge enables one shave
  • Accessories: Protective case, cleaning station with fluid, cleaning brush

A lightweight shaver, with simplicity at its heart, this German-engineered premium offering from Braun might be less “whiz-bang, bells and whistles” than the Philips series 9000 shaver (£224.99, Boots.com) but offers just as good a shave. The heads are optimised to lift hairs and guard skin at the same time, and it boast 40,000 cutting actions a minute. The LED display, meanwhile, tells you how many minutes of shaving you have left, allows you to enable a travel lock and, handily, even tells you when it’s time to replace the foils and cutter cassette.

Overall, results were some of the best – and smoothest – we achieved, though the slide-up trimmer wasn’t as well positioned as on other shavers, making precision trimming a little tricky. A cleaning station makes it a cinch to keep clean which more than made up for that though.

Panasonic ES-LV97-K premium performance shaver

Best: For sensitive skin

Rating: 9/10

  • Type: Foil
  • Wet & dry: Yes
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Battery: Lithium-Ion
  • Charge time: 50 minutes cordless shaving on a 1 hr charge, a 3-minute quick charge provides one basic shave
  • Accessories: Travel case, lubricating oil, head guard, cleaning detergent, cleaning/charging station

This top-end foil shaver features no less than five blades, gently arched and aligned to catch as many hairs as possible – regardless of stubble density or direction of growth. The head itself moves in 16 directions, tilting and wobbling like a jelly to ensure it follows the contours of the face and automatically adjusts to beard density, while a pop-up trimmer allows you to tidy up sideburns and remove stray hairs from under the nose.

So smooth is its passage over the skin that we barely felt it going to work, and the results were top-notch. While the sleek design, deluxe carry case, super-fast three-minute quick charge and the fact it’s self-cleaning (you just pop it into the cleaning station) elevates it above most other foil shavers.

If we have one criticism it’s that the flexibility of the head makes it feel a little delicate – even though we suspect it’s actually pretty robust. Truth is, given the premium nature of the shaver (the RRP is over £300), we suspect you’d want to handle it with gloves anyway.

Philips OneBlade pro face and body

Best: For ease of use

Rating: 9.5/10

  • Type: OneBlade foil
  • Wet & dry: Yes
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Charge time: 120 minutes run time on a 1-hour charge
  • Cutting lengths: 14 length settings (0.4 – 10mm)
  • Accessories: Storage pouch, 14-length precision comb, click-on body comb, click on skin guard, 2 blades

The original Philips OneBlade pretty much re-invented the way men shave, thanks to unique blade technology that features a flat, super-safe cutting surface that makes it virtually impossible to nick the skin. Now, this bigger, flashier, pro version pimps things up with the addition of an LED display (handy for telling how much charge is left), a travel lock and the addition of a 14-length precision comb, giving it greater versatility as an all-round grooming tool. Phew!

As the name suggests, it can be used on both face and body and we can report it is as good at delivering a clean smooth shave as it is at trimming body hair. It was also especially good for creating precise edges when tidying up neck hair. You do have to replace the blades every four months and it’s more than twice the price of the standard OneBlade but it’s sleek, simple, portable and we found it almost impossible to fault its performance.

Wahl Lifeproof shaver

Best: For robustness

Rating: 8/10

  • Type: Foil
  • Wet & Dry: Yes
  • Warranty:  5 years
  • Battery: Lithium
  • Charge time: 90 minutes run time on a 60 min charge, 5-minute quick charge for a 5-minute run
  • Accessories:  Travel pouch, blade oil, cleaning brush

Solidity and durability is what Wahl is all about, and this super-tough shaver takes things to the next level. Designed with shock-proof housing but light and comfortable to hold, it’s a great foil shaver for those who might throw their gear around. It’s also perfect for anyone who travels a lot as there’s a handy travel lock function that ensures it doesn’t accidentally go off in your case.

It’s not the quietest shaver we tried but was a cinch to use – Wahl have stuck to basics and kept things simple and it delivered a great shave. The yellow and black design reminded of us of a DIY tool you might pick up in B&Q, but in a sea of blue, black and silver shavers we rather loved it for that.

BaByliss men 12-in-1 multi trimmer

Best: Multifunction shaver

Rating: 8/10

  • Type: Foil
  • Wet & dry: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Battery: Lithium battery
  • Charge time: 120 minutes run time on a 2-hour charge. 20-minute quick charge provides 20 minutes use
  • Cutting lengths: 14 length settings (0.4 – 10mm)
  • Accessories: Storage pouch, Precision trimmer, detail trimmer, nose trimmer, body groomer, foil shaver

With more men than ever alternating between being clean shaven and sporting beards, this versatile grooming gadget is perfect for mixing things up on the facial hair front. A multifunctional shaver/trimmer it sports an array of interchangeable heads allowing you to trim and shave everything from ear, nose and eyebrow hair to body hair, while a dinky foil shaver head allows to get a smooth, clean shave.

Because of the size of the head, shaving does take a little longer and results were excellent rather than exceptional, but then it’s a tool designed to cover a lot of bases rather than focus on one. In that respect, it’s pretty much the last word in multifunctional grooming and with all BaByliss products, a lot of effort has gone into making its design, ensuring it looks as cool AF.

Braun series 3 ProSkin 3040s wet & dry shaver

Best: First shaver

Rating: 9/10

  • Type: Foil
  • Wet & dry: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Battery: 2 long-life NiMH batteries
  • Charge time: 1 hour of charge delivers 45 minutes of cutting time while a 5-minute chick charge delivers 1 shave.
  • Accessories: Protective cap, cleaning brush

A great, mid-priced shaver, this super-speedy foil number from Braun is designed, not only to guide more hairs into the cutting parts – thus knocking a bit of time off the shaving process – but to tackle up to three-day-old stubble too, making it the perfect lazy man’s shaver.

True to its promise, it powered through weekend stubble like a freshly sharpened mower through an overgrown lawn. The slide-up trimmer is handy for navigating tricky bits while the LED display tells you how the battery’s faring. Another noticeable attribute was how secure this particular shaver feels in the hand during shaving, and how it manages to be both lightweight yet robust.

With cool design and great performance, simplicity of use, a reasonable price point and the quick charge feature – you can get a quick five-minute shave on a five-minute charge – this is the perfect shaver for newbies.

Remington F6 style series aqua

Best: For stubble lovers

Rating: 8.5/10

  • Type: Rotary
  • Wet & dry: Yes, 100% waterproof
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Battery Rechargeable
  • Charge time: 90-minute charge delivers 60 minutes cordless shaving. 5-minute chick charge enables one shave
  • Accessories: Pouch, stubble styler

A couple of things caught our eye about this shaver... Firstly, it comes with a “stubble styler” guard which clips onto the shave head, allowing you to maintain a three-day-old stubble look if you fancy a change from being totally clean shaven. Secondly, the pop-up detailer is – quite literally – a stand out feature. Distanced a little further away from the body of the shaver than on some other models we tested, it makes defining much easier, making this model perfect for precision freaks.

The multi-direction shave heads make fast work of stubble, wherever it sprouts, while the textured grip offers fantastic stability – handy if you’re using this 100 per cent waterproof shaver in the shower. And with USB charging, meanwhile, it’s super-practical for travel, while the mid-price price point makes it superb value for money.

Philips series 9000 series S9987/55 shaver with skin IQ technology

Best: For gadget geeks

Rating: 9/10

  • Type: Rotary
  • Wet & dry: Yes
  • Warranty: 2 year
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Charge time: 1 hour charge provides an hour cordless shaving, 5-minute quick charge enables one shave
  • Accessories: Protective case, cleaning station with fluid, charging stand, cleaning brush

The daddy of electric shavers (its suggested RRP is over £469), this state-of-the-art rotary number offers everything you want from a top-end shaver and then some. Beautifully designed – it looks and feels super-luxe – it’s engineered to provide an incredibly smooth shave with minimum irritation. The construction of the blade guards makes their passage over the skin incredibly smooth, while an inbuilt sensor “reads” skin and stubble and adjusts accordingly. It really does glide over the skin and can even tackle five days worth of growth with relative ease.

What elevates this shaver, though, is how interactive it makes the shaving experience. Not only does a (very Star Trek-looking) pulsating ring of light around the shave head tell you when you’re applying the right – or wrong – amount of pressure, you can link the shaver to an app for customised advice about your shaving technique. The digital display is both fun and useful, too, but unless you’re really into your gadgets (or sci-fi) they’re possibly a bit gimmicky. We still got a superb shave though.

Electric shavers FAQs

What are the different shavers?

There are two types of shavers you should know about: rotary ones and foil ones. Rotary shavers use rotating shaving heads (usually three) to slice through stubble at different angles, while foil ones have blades that cut from left to right that are concealed under a protective foil.

As a rule of thumb, rotary shavers are good if you have tough stubble while foil shavers are a little more straightforward, easier to master, and are better for those with softer or lighter stubble, who are new to electric shaving or have sensitive skin.

Each requires a different technique (you move using gentle circular motions with rotary shavers and back and forth swiping with foil ones) but the results are generally the same – a no fuss, super-smooth shave with the minimum of irritation.

The verdict: Electric shavers

Electric shavers are a bit like cars: you either see them as practical devices that get a specific job done or as things to covet because of their design, prestige and desirable features. As we discovered, you don’t always get what you pay for – with cheaper models delivering a perfectly serviceable shave and more expensive ones sometimes over-complicating things. Although, we do recommend looking out for special offers on the premium ones as they’re often heavily discounted.

If you’re a beginner the Braun series 3 ProSkin ticks a lot of boxes and is worth a punt if you just want to try electric shaving, while the Braun’s series 9 shaver is our absolute favourite.

Panasonic’s premium performance shaver is also great for experienced shavers or those fancying an upgrade. And we have to give a special nod to the Philips OneBlade pro – a brilliantly versatile tool that deserves a place in any man’s grooming armoury.

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