Electric shaver reviews: Features explained
Most electric shavers are now rechargeable so they’re great for use on the move. There are two types – foil and rotary. These look different and shave in different ways. Some can be used wet with shaving gel or in the shower.
To find out which type and models comes top in our tests, go to our Best Buy electric shavers page.
Types of electric shaver
Foil electric shavers
Foil shavers look similar to a traditional men’s razor with straight shave heads. They use oscillating blades beneath a fine perforated foil to cut hair.
Braun and Panasonic electric shavers have foil heads, as well as some Remington models.
Rotary electric shavers
Rotary shavers have two or three circular heads. These rotate to firstly lift and then cut stubble. All Philips electric shavers and some Remington shavers have rotary heads.
Opinion is divided over which type is best and largely comes down to personal preference. We find that both types score well in our tests and give a close, comfortable shave.
You can see how Philips rotary shavers compare to Braun’s foil shavers in by reading our electric shavers reviews.
Cleaning electric shavers
Most electric shavers need cleaning to get rid of cut hair and skin particles. This involves removing the guard and either brushing or tapping the stubble out – most come with a special brush for just this task. Avoid banging the shave head while you’re cleaning – it can damage or blunt the blades.
Wet cleaning shavers
Some shavers can be washed under a tap, which is a quick and easy way to keep your shaver clean and stubble free. Always read the instructions before getting your shaver wet as not all shavers are suitable to be cleaned in this way.
Self cleaning shavers
You’ll find that some top-of-the-range shavers can clean themselves. They come with self cleaning docks and base units filled with cleaning fluid which cleans and sterilises the shave head.
These are a hassle-free way to keep your shaver clean and fuzz-free, but you’ll have to remember to keep fluid levels topped up. Most have cleaning cartridges that are easy to replace, but these can be expensive.
Electric shaver features
Some electric shavers come with a built-in beard trimmer. On a foil model you’ll find the trimmer pushed up beside the shave head. On rotary models they flip out behind the rotary head. Built-in trimmers are typically found on more expensive models.
With some shavers you have to detach the shave head to use the beard trimmer, and on others the beard trimmer needs to be attached separately. Stopping mid-way through your shave to trim your beard can be a hassle, and will add to the amount of time you spend shaving in front of the bathroom mirror.
Wet electric shavers
If you like the feel of a wet shave, some electric shavers can be used in the shower and with shaving foam. The theory is that this gives you the best of both worlds – wet and dry.
Not all wet electric shavers can be used in this way so always read the instructions before getting your shaver wet.
This is smaller than a beard trimmer, and can help with the close detail work of some beards and moustaches.
Some shavers dispense moisturiser while you shave. The moisturiser also catches the cut hair, making shavers like this easy to keep clean.
Top-of-the-range models have displays which will tell you how many shaves you’ve got left before you’ll need to recharge it. This can be really useful if you about to go away and aren’t sure whether to pack the charger.
Other shavers have lights to show you when you shaver is charging, fully charged, how much charge is left and when the battery will need topping up.
Power for shavers
Most electric shavers are mains rechargeable. This means you can use them while they’re plugged into the mains or when unplugged.
Most other shavers are rechargeable, which means you can use them on the move but can’t use them while they’re charging.
Mains shavers need to be plugged in to work. These days you’ll only find cheaper entry level shavers that are mains-only.
Some travel shavers are battery powered, so they’re ideal for holidays. They usually come complete with batteries.