The 10 Best Wet/Dry Shavers
10. Remington Smooth & Silky
9. Philips Norelco 8950 Edition
8. Panasonic ES-ED90-P
7. Braun Series 3 ProSkin
6. Remington XR1400 Verso
5. Braun Series 7
4. Panasonic ES2207P Ladies
3. Philips Norelco Star Wars Poe
2. Max-T Quick Charge
1. Panasonic Arc5
How I Converted To The Wet/Dry Shaver
When I was old enough to split the cost of a gift for my father with my older sister, but still too young to be shaving my face, she and I saved up and bought our dad an electric razor. It was a mid-level model, something we could afford that was still nice, though it was only capable of dry applications. He was appreciative, but let us know that the men in our family never used electric razors. It’s not that there was any stigma to using one or anything, it’s just that our facial hair had a tendency to be so coarse and thick that we would often break them. Of course, this was the early 1990s, and the technology has made surprising leaps since then.
Eventually, my own facial hair started to come in, and like my father’s it was thick and coarse. Growing a beard without a lot of high-quality beard grooming products was agony — alternating states of pain and itchiness that never really went away. And I always remembered my father’s words about electric shavers, so I never even bothered to try one.
Then, in my late 20s, I got a job as a traveling salesman that took me all over the country, and in one of the locations where I was working I saw a wet/dry shaver on sale. At this point in my shaving life, I had already taken to religiously shaving only in the shower, amid thick plumes of hot steam in front of a fogless mirror. It was the only way that the scruff would get soft enough to shave without significant razor burn. And here was a wet/dry shaver that could work in a pinch if I needed a quick grooming session between showers, but that would also give me a surprisingly clean shave in the shower with no risk of electrocuting myself or damaging the unit.
Let’s just say I was converted. I’ve been working exclusively with a wet/dry shaver ever since, and my brand even makes an appearance on our list. I won’t say exactly which one, as we’re not in the business of making top one lists around here; no solution is quite one-size-fits-all. We can give you some advice about how to choose the best option for yourself, however.
The Right Wet/Dry Shaver For You
A good wet/dry shaver is not solely intended for men. Anyone at any point on the gender spectrum can make use of these tools to keep their faces, legs, and other body parts nice and smooth. That said, the models aimed at male users tend to have their flexible parts designed around the average contours of the male face, while women’s models are designed to accentuate the curves on a pair of legs. That doesn’t mean that a woman can’t use a men’s model on her legs or that a man can’t use a women’s model on his face, but doing so might not give you the results you’re looking for.
Beyond gender specifications, that flexibility is a good place to start when evaluating one shaver over another. Some units are built like older electric razors, with a pair of horizontal, sharpened spinning rollers beneath a layer of safety aluminum, but even these are often built with some give to prevent excessive pressure around the chin and jawline. Nicer models tend to have more advanced designs that are less likely to cut you, and far more likely to give you a nice, close shave.
Maintenance is another key issue to consider. Most models today are rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about swapping out batteries, but you do have to make sure that your unit stays charged. That charger will sometimes also serve as a cleaning station for the shaver, and that’s a feature that’s worth its weight in gold. Unclean razors are a top cause of razor burn, so keeping your shaver heads as clean as possible is the best way to protect your skin. If your shaver can do that for you itself, you’re more likely to have a clean unit every time you need it.
The balance of a given unit and how comfortable it feels in your hand is also important. Some models may be more comfortable in one hand than another, so lefties or anyone looking to use their shaver for whole-body grooming would do well to look for a unit that appears symmetrical in design, so that it will be comfortable in both hands.
A Brief History Of The Electric Razor
For the larger part of human history, shaving was achieved with a single sharpened edge. Early on, that edge was the edge of a stone. Later on, various metals were used, eventually settling on old reliable steel to get the job done. The advent of the electric razor was kept in check by a noteworthy absence of electricity, at least until the late 1800s, when John F. O’Rourke received a patent for the first razor powered by electricity.
Despite his patent, there was little O’Rourke could do to keep the competition from inventing their own variations on his creation on through the 1930s, many of which proved to be improvements on his design. Among that competition was Col. Jacob Schick, as well as The Remington Rand corporation, and, overseas, a Professor by the name of Alexander Horowitz who developed a rather effective electric razor for Philips Laboratories. Meanwhile in Germany, Roland Ullman of Braun found himself creating a similar product.
Over the next few decades, the popularity of the electric razor skyrocketed, particularly in the US, where the dreaded 5 o’clock shadow was considered anathema to a company man’s chances at climbing the corporate ladder. Battery-operated versions of the razor came along in the 1960s, and after that the designs and features stayed pretty much the same.
The Philips Norelco line of electric shavers brought big changes to the tried and true design of the electric razor in the 1990s, and these developments, along with wireless charging stations and improved synthetic waterproofing materials, gave us the variety and quality of wet/dry shavers we see today.