The 8 Best Epilators
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in February of 2015. If you struggle to find the time to shave multiple times per week, or even every day, you might want to check out our selection of epilators. We've included corded and cordless options in sizes suitable for everything from a full leg treatment to removing peach fuzz from the upper lip. The process takes some getting used to, but it provides a longer-lasting smoothness than a razor blade can offer. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 21, 2020:
When evaluating the best epilator, our top choices were the Panasonic ES and the Braun Silk-Epil 9 for having the latest and greatest features that can make the process more comfortable. Both can be used in the bath or shower, which can reduce the pain, especially during those first few sessions, and both a include an extra shield for sensitive skin, plus a razor attachment if there are some spots you don't want to epilate. We liked the Panasonic ES a little better because it has more speed options, and the slimmer handle makes it easier to maneuver.
While a corded epilator might seem outdated compared to the cordless models, there are plenty of women who prefer corded. Women who want to do their entire legs and other areas all in one session might run out of battery with the rechargeable models. In addition, the corded epilators like the Philips Satinelle Essential and the Braun Silk-Epil 5 tend not to have as many bells and whistles, making them a budget-friendly choice.
In this update we also chose to add a few more compact choices for more targeted areas like the upper lip and chin because the full-size epilators can be too bulky. The Emjoi Epi Slim+ is our top choice among the compact models because it's still large enough that it won't take forever for users who need to do their entire face, plus it's robust enough for coarse bikini line hair, while still allowing for better control.
The Braun Face Spa Pro is best for users who want to do more targeted, detailed hair removal. For many it will be a great companion to a full-sized unit that is used on the legs. It's also perfect women who only want to epilate the hair on their faces and not deal with the full leg treatment.
A Plucky Performer
These can be wonderful additions to your kit, but make sure they're rated as highly as the epilator itself, lest you bleed money for nothing.
Modern epilators all work on the same basic principle. A motor rotates two heads of alternating plates that squeeze together and pluck at hairs as the head passes the top of the epilator. These plates are often thought of as tweezers, and they work much the same as tweezers, though they technically are not classified as such.
Just as that portion of the head passes back toward the underside of the epilator, it releases the plucked hairs and prepares for another pass.
All this happens in a very short amount of time, and the motion of it never stops, as the plates are spaced for continuous reaping.
Since epilators forcefully pull hairs out of their places at the follicle level, there's often a degree of discomfort that the user has to endure for a few sessions before they get used to the feeling.
Some epilators use their adjustable motors for other applications. They come with interchangeable heads that can act as shavers or callus removers. These can be wonderful additions to your kit, but make sure they're rated as highly as the epilator itself, lest you bleed money for nothing.
What Does Your Epilator Mean To You
Picking out an epilator has a few notable pitfalls that are hard to avoid without getting your hands on one and feeling it against your skin. How it might fit the curves and contours of your body, for example, is hard to judge through a computer screen.
We can, however, guide you toward narrowing the field significantly.
Picking out an epilator has a few notable pitfalls that are hard to avoid without getting your hands on one and feeling it against your skin.
The easiest way to reduce your analysis paralysis is to ask yourself if you're looking for a device that can serve as more than just a hair removal tool. If the answer is yes, then that pretty much rules out all the epilators on our list that don't come with other attachments.
If all you want is an epilator, then that's all you need. Sure, you could still buy one of the units with a million attachments, but you'd be paying for them and not using them, which is kind of like going to a really nice steak house and ordering a salad. I mean, really?
Another vital statistic for measuring the amount of fun or frustration in your future is power delivery. Cords provide maximum power to your unit without any falloff. There is that pesky cord to contend with, though, and it means you can't bring the epilator into the shower with you.
Wet/Dry units, on the other hand, can go anywhere and be used comfortably at any angle. I mean, I guess you could bring a corded unit into the shower with you if you're looking to remove your hair via electrolysis.
Disclaimer: Don't actually bring your corded epilator in the shower with you.
Born In Spring
The epilators on the market today are universally the tweezer type described in the section above, but the very first epilators on the market were rather different.
The spring design was effective, but advancement toward a system more reminiscent of tweezers was inevitable.
These early epilators consisted of a coiled spring that would alternatingly expand and contract in rapid pulses. As hairs got caught in the spring's contraction, they'd get pulled out by the motion of the unit across the skin.
If you picture a slinky being compressed and rolled across a lawn you can see it happening on a larger scale. When the slinky (preferably a metal slinky for the demonstration; metal slinkies also take stairs better, for the record) contracts over the grass, the little green blades get snagged and pulled out by the root.
The design came out of Israel by a brand called Epilady, whose parent company (one might surmise) probably made a name for itself in medieval times as a maker of complex torture devices.
The spring design was effective, but advancement toward a system more reminiscent of tweezers was inevitable. The newer designs are less painful and more accurate, requiring less time to complete an epilation process than their spring style predecessors.