Today’s electric shavers have lost their cords, received a style makeover and are lighter and sleeker than ever. Unlike your father’s electric shaver, today’s models travel easily and work in wet or dry conditions. For men and women tired of blades, Pronto’s Electric Shavers Buying Guide will help you find the electric shaver that’s best for you.
For men, the choice between foil and rotary-head electric shavers is a matter of personal preference. Women can choose between foil electric shavers or epilators that tweeze hairs out.
Make sure that an electric shaver has a head small enough to reach small spaces and a design that can shave a large area with each pass. An electric shaver should fit comfortably in your hand, and electric shavers modeled after cartridge or disposable razors offer the greatest ergonomic benefits to the widest range of users.
Most people will be happy with a cordless electric shaver that stores in its charger. Look for a quick-charge feature or faster charging if you shave more than once a day. Travelers should look for battery life and chargers that will work with overseas electricity.
A wet/dry electric shaver can be cleaned under running water and some models let you use lubricating gel or your favorite shaving cream or soap. If you’re using an electric shaver in the shower or bathtub, choose a fully submersible model.
Try to find an electric shaver with a 30- or 60-day return guarantee to allow yourself and your skin time to adjust to how it shaves. Foils and blades need periodic replacement; look for an electric shaver that includes replacements and compare the cost of ownership against cartridge or disposable razors over the electric shaver’s life span.
A type of electric shaver for women that uses tiny tweezers to pull out hairs at the root. Although it can take some time to adjust to an epilator, it needs to be used less frequently than other electric shavers.
An electric shaver with vibrating blades mounted just beneath a perforated metal skin. Hairs passing through the perforations are sliced off by the blades beneath.
A watertight electric shaver that can be used underwater or in heavy running water.
A feature that allows an electric razor to run for three to five minutes after a short powering cycle.
An electric razor that uses rotating blades beneath a set of perforated round metal contact surfaces.
A small pair of vibrating blades on an electric razor used for grooming or cutting longer hair.
An electric razor that can be used with lubricants, shaving cream or soap.
Electric shavers for men are designed for the face, where hair is coarse and tough. The parts of the body most shaved by women – legs and underarms – have finer, softer hair, so women’s electric shavers need less powerful motors and as a result, cost less. Women’s electric shavers often feature pivoting heads and ergonomic handles that adapt to the contours of the parts they shave most.
Men will likely be disappointed in the quality of a shave from a women’s electric shaver. Women should resist the temptation to use a men’s electric shaver, as their finer hair can clog the mechanisms and dull the blades.
High-tech electric shaver design has replaced the clunky box style many of our parents knew. Ergonomic electric shavers are easy and pleasant to use daily, so long as the electric shaver is the right size for your hands. An electric shaver styled like a disposable or cartridge razor is the best fit for most, although men with large hands may prefer a more substantial electric razor.
Form must follow function with electric razors. Men should make sure that an electric razor’s head is small enough to reach that tricky patch below the base of the nose. Women should look for an electric razor that will work efficiently on legs. And whatever type of electric razor you choose, make sure it’s beautifully designed handle won’t shatter when it gets dropped in a hard sink or bathroom floor.
Men’s electric shavers come in two basic types, foil and rotary head. Foil shavers work by sliding a thin, perforated sheet of metal over the surface of the skin. Hairs penetrate the foil and are sliced off by rapidly vibrating blades that work like scissors with the foil. Rotary head electric shavers use the same principle as blades by cutting hairs poking through a metal face, and feature spinning blades in round heads. Rotary head electric shavers tend to be quieter and easier to clean.
If you have a beard, mustache, sideburns, or just let your hair get long before shaving, you’ll want to be sure your electric shaver has a trimmer, preferably one that adjusts to your desired cutting length.
Women’s electric shavers come in foil models and epilators, in which tiny tweezers pull the hairs completely out, much like a wax treatment. Some women find epilators uncomfortable to use, but they save time over foil electric shavers, as an epilator usually needs to be used once every two or three weeks.
The majority of electric shavers available today are cordless, which means that the electric shaver needs to charge before it can work. Electric shavers that charge exclusively in a base can’t be plugged in to shave when the battery runs down, which can be a problem if you need a shave in a pinch and didn’t charge your razor. Some electric shavers feature a quick-charge system that lets you power up the electric shaver for a short time to provide a three- or five-minute shave. If you’re the forgetful type, look for higher-end electric shavers that include LED or LCD charge indicators, so you’ll know how much battery life is left.
Business travelers will appreciate the convenience of an electric shaver that can hold a charge for a few days, eliminating the need to pack the electric shaver’s charging dock. If you travel internationally, choose an electric shaver with a charging base that works with 220-volt power and includes adaptors for foreign electrical outlets.
Most home users will find an electric shaver that stores in its charger the best combination of service and space. Men who need to shave more than once a day should check the charge times on electric shavers, which can range anywhere from one to 24 hours.
Several electric shavers now include a self-cleaning feature built into the unit’s charging base. You’ll need to change the cleaning fluid periodically, but many consumers prefer this to taking an electric shaver apart to clean out particles.
For go-anywhere convenience, a dry electric shaver is the best choice, but most men know that they’ll get a closer shave in the shower or with shaving cream. Wet/dry electric shavers for men and women offer additional lubrication, and some of these shavers will work with shaving creams or soaps.
Wet/dry electric shavers can be easier to clean than dry shavers, depending on how you use them. For shaving in the bathtub or shower, be sure to choose an electric shaver that is fully submersible. These electric shavers protect electronic components in a watertight housing. Some wet/dry electric shavers only protect the blades, so you’ll short the battery if you get them too wet.
The true test of any electric shaver is how well it works with your skin and hair type. Some electric shavers will be better for you than others, and it takes a few weeks for you to adjust to an electric shaver. Look for a 30- to 60-day return guarantee on an electric shaver, along with a two-year warranty on the blades and motor.
The blades and foil on an electric shaver will wear out over time and should be replaced about once a year for an electric shaver you use daily. Some electric shavers include a second set of blades and foil or rotary heads. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to order these from the manufacturer. Bargain electric shavers may be designed to be thrown away when they wear out. Since a new electric shaver will cost more than replacement parts, make sure the cost and lifespan of the electric shaver is equal to the cost of cartridge or disposable razors over the same period of time.