There’s nothing quite like a shave at the barber’s. The reverential preparation, the shaving cream producing more suds and bubbles than ever possible at home, the sharp blade glinting as your barber uses all his expertise to produce the closest shave you’ll have all year.
Perhaps the greatest moment: the pageantry of the hot towel placed over your freshly-shaved face and neck, the warmth making you sink into the chair, the darkness producing an overwhelming feeling of calm. Then, like a flash, you’re back outside and into the real world.
Sadly this experience has been few and far between especially in the last year. In fact, a wet shave in front of the bathroom mirror has been the best we could get. But time spent doing that is time not doing something else and let’s face it – it almost never goes as smoothly as when you’re in the chair.
Thankfully, electric shaver’s have become our saving grace. Providing a quick, professional shave at home, they banish any trace of 5 o’clock shadow when you spent all weekend binge watching too much Netflix.
Still the question remains between shaver styles. Is foil or rotary the best way to go? There’s always, of course, personal preference on looks and feel. But as a rule of thumb rotary shavers are best for longer hair and thicker skin – people who don’t want to shave every day and need a machine that can pick up and dispatch longer whiskers. Whereas, foil shavers are more suited to everyday use, more sensitive skin, and for a particularly close shave in comparison to rotary.
The invention of “wet” (ie waterproof) shavers means that even more time can be saved by shaving in the shower, and that those with particularly sensitive skin – or those who want to make doubly sure of no razor burn – can also use shaving cream. We made sure the shaving cream was to hand as we tested the best electric shavers on the market, both rotary and foil, wet and dry.
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Braun series 7 70-N7200cc
Braun’s series 7 is the brand’s top range, with the tools offering one of the best shaves on the market, and this wet or dry model is no exception. Its head is attached to a flexible base, meaning that there’s permanent contact with the face, minimising any risk of nicks and cuts while ensuring you won’t miss a spot. Its “autosense technology” adapts to the density of your beard or stubble, providing extra power when needed, and a precision trimmer attachment is provided, with extras available to buy.
A full charge provides 50 minutes of shave time, ample for weeks of shaving, and the charging dock doubles as a cleaning station. We think it’s still a worthy purchase even at full price, but at its current reduced price on Amazon, it’s hard to beat.
Buy now £164.99, Amazon
In terms of power and resulting shave, the Panasonic ES-LV95 is the best on this list. It has five blades, feels sturdy and safe to use, and provides the closest shave – it also, oddly, sounds the best, with an encouraging, quiet, high-pitched hum. The foils surrounding the blades are shaped differently for specific purposes, either to lift flat-lying hairs or to deal with any stubborn whiskers.
Similar to the Braun Series 7, this model has a shaving sensor to provide the required cutting power, lessening the impact on your skin. The blades are ever-so-slightly arched, meaning that there’s always contact with the skin – especially useful for under the chin, where most rebellious whiskers hide after a shave. It basically did everything we asked of it to an even higher standard than was expected, and will last you years. Worth the investment.
Buy now £330.99, Panasonic
Gillette heated razor starter kit
Remember when we said there’s no feeling quite like a barbershop shave? Well, Gillette is running it close. The brainchild of futuristic-sounding GilletteLabs, the heated razor is something that perhaps initially sounds superfluous but is now a firm fixture in our bathroom.
Once wirelessly charged on the magnetic dock, a single press of a button heats the razor’s warming bar – just below the blades – in less than a second, giving your skin some luxurious warmth as you glide. The head is attached to a flexible disc, ensuring contact with the warming bar each stroke, and there are two warmth options – although the highest setting is such a joy that the lower heat option won’t see much action.
This isn’t an electric shaver, as such, but the technology is new, and the experience of a wet shave at home feeling almost like a professional wet shave is something we couldn’t miss off this list: it’s a luxury item for a decent price. You do also charge the thing, so we’re technically in the right.
Buy now £149.00, Gillette
Remington style series F4 foil shaver
This shaver does much more than its price tag would suggest. Ergonomically, it’s one of the best on the list, fitting the hand very comfortably and adding to a sense of control. The motor is powerful, giving you a close shave, wet or dry, and the head either pivots for flexibility around the contours of your face, or locks for straight shaving. The F4 is a sensible choice for regular travellers, with a strong feel and good cut minus the price of more high-end options.
Buy now £39.99, Remington
Braun series 5 50-B1200s
Braun’s more budget-friendly series 5 might not have some of the more headline features that make the series 7 such a good shaver, but it still provides a great shave. Its blade system is the same as the series 7, providing a close cut, and the precision trimmer is a really handy addition (with more attachments available). Ease is the name of the game: you can eke out a full shave from five minutes of charging, and the “easy clean” system means you can clean the head just by running it under the tap.
Buy now £64.99, Amazon
Wahl aqua blade 10 in 1 multigroomer
The name gives away this shaver’s appeal. The aqua blade’s versatility is in full force the moment you take it out of the box, with three heads (including a very capable foil head) and 16 guide combs for various beard lengths, making it very much a one stop shop for daily or semi-regular shaving. Its range also means it’s perfect for use on the top of your head, providing a clean and easy haircut, and the other attachable heads deal with unwanted nose and ear hair. A sturdy option at home and on the go, with an impressive battery life.
Buy now £93.87, Amazon
Remington ultimate series rotary shaver R7
As a rotary, the Remington R7 has a different design approach and technical appeal to the foil options in our round-up, and the advantages of the system certainly come through. Although it feels a little light and underpowered, the blades still cut through thicker whiskers easily to leave a smooth finish. Time spent shaving might be slightly extended due to the R7’s speed, but the result is a clean, close shave.
Buy now £79.99, Remington
Hatteker precision trimmer and hair clipper
There are a few brands online that have seemingly popped up from nowhere, Hatteker included. The name doesn’t reflect its origin: produced in China’s Zhejiang province, you’d be forgiven for steering clear of a brand that has little pedigree. However, we were curious about the quality a model such as this could provide, and were pleasantly surprised.
Coming with multiple attachments perfect for all types of facial hair, we used this as both a beard trimmer and head shaver, and were impressed with the results. It’s not as sturdy and powerful as a machine like the Wahl 10-in-1 multigroomer, but its performance makes it more than good enough to be included in our review.
Buy now £30.59, Amazon
The verdict: Men’s electric shavers
We can’t get over the price of the Braun Series 7. Its long list of features, battery life, ease of storage and cleaning capabilities make this a no brainer for us. At full price, this shaver would still be worth the investment, but to be able to buy such a shaver in the mid-£100 range is seriously impressive. The Panasonic ES-LV95 still has a place in our hearts though and is undeniably one of the finer shavers on this list, you’ll just need to save the pennies for a while.
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