The 10 Best Electric Shavers
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Power through grizzly bristles and unwanted stubble to leave the skin on your face feeling clean and smooth with one of these electric shavers. These power razors feature some slick attributes, such as waterproof bodies, flexible blades, and built-in trimmers that will help ensure every detail is accounted for before you head out of the house for the office or a night on the town. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 13, 2021:
After taking some time to review our existing choices for this category and seeing what else that the market had to offer, we determined that all of our previous picks were still ripe for another year on this list, and so moved through this round of updates without making any changes. We felt like the last editor for this page did a nice job of putting together a solid list of options that will continue to serve our users well for the foreseeable future — although we’ll certainly continue to keep our eyes peeled during future updates to see if any exciting new models are released.
If you’re looking for a premium model and you’re not afraid to put some money on the table, then our top-ranked Philips Norelco 9000 Prestige and Panasonic ARC5 are both likely to serve you well. On a budget, give some thought to the shock-resistant and waterproof Wahl Lifeproof 7061-100, and for light travel you might be interested in the BaBylissPro Barberology, which is powered by AA batteries and offers exceptionally long runtime, although it isn’t rated to cut stubble longer than 1/32 inch, so you’ll need to stay on top of your grooming.
Electric shavers like the ones on this list are great for anybody looking for a close shave, but if you’re looking to sculpt your facial hair, rather than just extirpate it, then you’ll likely be better off browsing our list of beard trimmers.
May 07, 2021:
While it's true that electric shavers are not for everyone, they also differ from model to model and finding the ideally compatible option that suits your skin type, hair type, and hair density can be a challenge in itself. In our experience, it is often a case of getting what you pay for, and while it's a safe bet that the more expensive models are more likely to garner better results, there are some value shavers that are generally well-received.
These include the Andis 17150 Pro Foil, which is an affordable option from a company that has been making shavers since 1922. If this isn't encouragement enough, they are highly rated by those with sensitive skin and are notably robust. In a similar price range is the BaBylissPro Barberology, which makes a refreshing change to the many plastic models on offer, with its shiny metal or matte gunmetal finish. While its overall performance is well-regarded, bear in mind that it uses AA batteries, and cannot be recharged or powered by an adapter.
At the budget end of the scale, we liked the Wahl Lifeproof, as it still manages to cram in a precision trimmer, a waterproof and wash proof casing and foil, and a carry case and cleaning kit into this affordable package. If you are willing to splash out a little extra, then you may consider the Braun Series 3 3040s, as this upgrade on our previously-listed Braun ProSkin Series 3 has Micro Comb technology, which directs hairs towards the foil more effectively, meaning fewer passes with the shaver and therefore less irritation.
February 12, 2020:
While a majority of the best shavers on the market are built to withstand use in the shower, and even to operate with or without a lather on the face, we made sure to include some more traditional, barber-quality options. For those, we turned to Andis and Wahl, two of the most acclaimed companies behind hair trimmers and clippers, and each of which makes some very fine shavers that are less expensive, but not necessarily less efficient, than their waterproof counterparts like the Panasonic Arc 5.
Most of the models we saw leave the ranking this time around were upgraded by their companies, like the Panasonic Arc 3 and the Braun Series 7. The Braun ProSkin Series 3, however, remains a viable option from the company, especially thanks to its grippy sides and integrated comb. When traveling over your skin, that comb helps stand up hairs just as they encounter its blades, ensuring a close shave, even if your stubble tends to lie flat against your face.
A Quality Foil Makes The Difference
If you simply let those blades run rampant across your skin, you'd end up looking a lot like our friend Harvey.
If you're a fan of the Batman canon and its animated series from the 90s in particular, you'll recognize the character of Mr. Harvey Dent, Gotham's former District Attorney. After an accident, he's turned into "Two-Face," a physical manifestation of conflicting internal states. What makes Two-Face such a compelling character in the Batman lore is the incredible similarity between Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne, Batman's true identity.
After all, both men suffer tragic loss that warps their personalities irrevocably, and both men operate outside the law to satisfy the friction between their dual selves. In Dent's situation, his very appearance is a constant reminder of his, and Batman's, internal division.
All this nonsense is to say that Two-Face is the perfect foil for Batman. And in the world of electric shavers, if you don't have a quality foil, you've got nothing. Power shavers all have blades, and those blades move at incredible rates of speed. They've gotten faster and stronger as their technology has developed. If you simply let those blades run rampant across your skin, you'd end up looking a lot like our friend Harvey.
So, in designing electric razors, manufacturers developed extremely thin pieces of perforated foil that catch your facial hair and guide it toward the cutting surface while keeping your skin a safe distance from the blades. This foil has gotten thinner and stronger throughout the years, allowing it to last longer, while getting the surface of your face micrometers closer to the blades, which ensures a closer and closer shave.
The Myth Of Too Thick
I come from a long line of shaver destroyers. In the 1950s, my grandfather's whiskers clogged and tore up the thin foil coverings surrounding his blades, turning those smaller early motors into paper weights. This generally ruined the hope that anyone in my family could ever enjoy the convenience of an electric shave. Of course, this was a man who took his oatmeal with a shot of bourbon. Harder times, I suppose.
In my case, I shave every three to four days, enjoying the light stubble look until it begins to look a tad vagrant.
My father's situation was much the same, and I recall, as a child, going in with my sister on what seemed like a high quality power shaver for his birthday. He wouldn't even take it out of the box; he said he'd tried them before and they'd all broken. I know I inherited those same vicious whiskers within a beard so dense that, when paired with longer hair and a good pair of aviator sunglasses, you can't see any skin on my face.
But I also know how much the technology has improved in the past 25 years, and I can attest to the close, quality shave I've had from from a quality shaver. It is worth noting, however, that there's something about the rotary design–the shavers with the three pivoting heads–that suits my shaving schedule better.
If you're a daily shaver, required to hover around no more than a 5 o'clock, or maybe 8 o'clock shadow at the office, the straighter profile of the other foil shavers will probably be your best bet. In my case, I shave every three to four days, enjoying the light stubble look until it begins to look a tad vagrant. I find that, for one reason or another, I get a quicker shave on that longer scruff from the rotary style.
So, if you know your routine, you can narrow the list down rather significantly. From there, it's a matter of price and features, as all these five shavers will get you clean.
Shaving With The Sharks
Although we've been shaving one way or another since prehistory, using shark teeth, clam shells, flint, and other found objects, it wouldn't be until the late 1920s that an Army man named Jacob Schick would come around to conceptualize the electric shaver.
Early visions of the shaver relied on an outboard motor the size of a grapefruit, and it was such a monster Schick couldn't find anybody to help him make it.
Early visions of the shaver relied on an outboard motor the size of a grapefruit, and it was such a monster Schick couldn't find anybody to help him make it. As these things go, once he refined his idea and got some money behind it, it became quite the success, inspiring competitive designs that still define the market as we know it to be today. Philips Laboratories, for example, developed their system of rotary blades on the heels of Schick's success, and it's still their primary design.
Once sealed, battery operated designs allowed for wet and dry use, cleaning and maintenance became easier and sales skyrocketed. Today, manufacturers' focus is on comfort and quiet, building electric razors that work faster and more silently, without the kind of irritation that plagued their predecessors. It's a lineup that, superficially, appears to have changed little over the years, but that has–consistently, if slowly–evolved into an excellent product.