If you’re someone with sensitive skin, you’re likely well aware of the advantages offered by electric razors. They provide a close and comfortable shave with minimal razor burn or irritation. Mark Miguez, co-owner of New York City’s Friend of a Barber, points out, ‘Many individuals experience irritation when using exposed blades, making electric razors a more skin-friendly choice.’ Chad Beightol, founder of the grooming boutique Consigliere, concurs, stating, ‘There was a time when electric razors could cause skin irritation and fail to deliver a close shave, but those days are long behind us.’
However, the effectiveness of an electric razor can vary based on factors such as the amount of hair you have and your skin’s sensitivity. For instance, foil razors are ideal for handling stubble, whereas longer hair may require a rotary head shaver. In our quest to identify the best electric razors, both foil and rotary, we turned to the insights of 16 grooming experts for their recommendations and enlisted the help of Strategist writers and contributors to conduct hands-on testing. If you already know the type of shaver that suits your needs, you can conveniently navigate to that specific category using our menu. Otherwise, read on to discover our curated selection of the top 10 electric razors.
Philips Norelco Shaver 7700
When it comes to user-friendliness and efficiency, rotary-style razors stand out as the top all-around choice. Chad Beightol swears by the Philips Norelco triple-head models, noting, ‘They deliver a shave as close as a safety razor without the discomfort of scraped skin.’ Patrick Butler, senior director of creative and technical at Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, wholeheartedly agrees, asserting that ‘Norelco leads the way with their electric rotary razors.’ One specific wet-and-dry electric shaver from Philips Norelco has earned a spot on his list of favorites, thanks to its innovative cleaning pod. After completing a shave, you can simply dip the top of the razor into the pod, and within a minute, the head is thoroughly cleaned and ready for another round. Butler reaches for this razor when he’s in a hurry and his beard is dry. For a smooth finish, he uses it in the shower with shave gel. When aiming for an exceptionally close shave, he recommends leaving the shave gel on for one to two minutes before employing a ‘circular motion that goes with the grain and then against it to pick up and shave the hair close.’ He also highlights the razor’s convenient pop-up trimmer, which assists in tidying up the hairline’s perimeter and sideburns.
In the personal testing conducted by former Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen, an older version of this Norelco rotary razor emerged as his top choice. He praised its lightweight design, comfortable grip, and impressive ability to capture hairs effortlessly on the first pass. Chen concluded that, among all the electric razors he tested, this one provided the ‘smoothest, most effortless shave.’ Steve Waldman, artistic and technical director at Hair Cuttery Family of Brands, also appreciates how the razor contours to the facial bone structure, ensuring a close shave even along the jawline and neck.
Philips Norelco Shaver 3800 with Pop-up Trimmer, Charging Stand and Storage Pouch
While many individuals are drawn to extra features, Chad Beightol, a dedicated user of rotary electric razors for over a decade, emphasizes his preference for straightforward models like this one. Priced at nearly $100 less than the Philips Norelco razor mentioned earlier, the 3800-series razor still stands as a reliable and cost-effective tool, offering many of the same functionalities. It boasts equivalent battery life and is suitable for both wet and dry use. According to Beightol, the razor’s heads pivot, albeit with slightly less dynamic movement compared to the 7700 model, and it includes a pop-up trimmer for precision grooming of mustaches, sideburns, and edges.
Skull Shaver Pitbull Gold PRO Head and Face Shaver
For individuals with bald heads, the quest for the perfect electric razor revolves around finding a tool that effortlessly glides across the curvature of the skull, leaving no hair behind. Brittany Raposo, a master barber and educator at the Honed Barber, emphasizes the importance of locating a razor with pivoting and adjustable blades capable of smoothly navigating the uneven contours of the head. Steve Waldman further underscores the need for blades that can ‘adapt to the head’s uneven landscape.’ Both experts concur that the Skull Shaver electric razor perfectly fits the bill with its ergonomic design and rotary blades. These blades provide a close shave while effortlessly maneuvering over any irregularities on the scalp, all without causing skin irritation, as noted by Raposo. Waldman recommends applying gentle pressure and ensuring consistent contact with the skin for optimal results during the shave.
Braun Series 9 Electric Wet/Dry Electric Razor With Charge/Clean Stand
When it comes to foil electric razors, master barber Angelo Ruscetta from American Haircuts in Kennesaw, Georgia, declares, ‘The Braun Series 9 is the cream of the crop.’ He praises its ability to deliver a shave that is ‘almost as close as a straight razor,’ leaving behind no noticeable stubble. Brittany Raposo notes that it excels at cutting even the coarsest beards, while barber David Kim highlights its popularity within the industry. Much like the Phillips 7700, the Series 9 is designed for use on wet hair, ensuring a close shave without causing irritation to the skin. Barber Garcia, who uses this electric razor in his shop, also recommends it to clients for home use. In addition to its close-shaving capabilities, he praises the higher quality of Braun blades, which are less likely to irritate sensitive skin. Garcia explains that Braun blades achieve impressive cutting power with thinner metal on the foil, making them superior to thicker foils that tend to pull hair. He further notes that while he has had to replace blades on cheaper foil razors due to dulling over time, he has never encountered this issue with his Braun razor. Another fan, Whitely, commends Braun’s technology, emphasizing the brand’s skillful balance between a robust motor and a gentle shave.
While the Braun Series 9 is undeniably a premium option, it’s essential to consider that it represents Braun’s top-of-the-line model, manufactured in Germany and packed with advanced features, including an automatic self-cleaning base. The ability to disinfect between uses, a crucial feature in preventing shaving-induced breakouts, holds particular significance for individuals who shave their heads. Therefore, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking a versatile razor that can handle both facial and head shaving, offering a smooth and clean finish.
Panasonic Arc5 Wet/Dry Electric Razor
While David Kim acknowledges the exceptional quality of the Braun Series 9, he shares his discovery of a Panasonic foil electric razor that offers comparable performance at a more budget-friendly price point, saving you approximately $100. Kim attests to his daily use of this razor, emphasizing its ability to deliver a ‘very smooth cut that’s gentle on the skin.’ He praises the razor’s flexible head, noting that it moves effortlessly, allowing users to reach every area of their face without requiring awkward arm angles. Kim highlights its versatility by mentioning that he prefers dry shaving, but the razor lives up to its wet/dry designation, making it suitable for use on wet hair and easy to clean under running water.