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First look reviews: Braun Silk-épil and Philips Satinelle epilators

Six of the bestselling epilators are put to the test to see if it's really worth paying more

Woman using epilator

We’ve put six of the most popular epilators from Braun and Philips into the hands of experienced users from our research team, who give their impressions on how they feel to use and highlight any issues you might need to be aware of when buying a new epilator.

When the world’s first epilator, the Epilady, was launched in 1986 it was met with a fanfare of approval. Finally, there was a hair-removal product that was as simple to use as a razor, but offered longer-term results to waxing. In 1988 Philips entered the market with the Satinelle and in 1989 Braun followed suit with the release of the Silk-épil.

Epilators have come a long way from their simple one-speed function origins in the last 30 years, with some of today’s high-end models offering so many functions they could pass as handheld salon spas. But do these features enhance the epilating experience, or are they all a bit unnecessary?

Read on to find out how to avoid paying over the odds for an epilator, or head straight to our first look epilator reviews to see what our researchers made of some of the bestselling models on the market.

The rising cost of epilators

When we tested epilators back in 2005, the most expensive model was the Philips Satin Ice Optima HP6475, at a cost of £55. Although it was a corded model for dry use only, it came with an ice pack to help cool the skin, as well as a shaver head and exfoliating brush attachment.

At the time it was one of the leading high-end models, but 12 years later the most expensive epilator on the market – the Philips Satinelle Prestige BRE650 – comes with eight attachments and has a recommended retail price of £220, with other epilators from Braun also costing well over £100.

Wet and dry use seems to be an innovation worth paying more for, but are you being charged over the odds for accessories you probably won’t use?

Don’t pay more than you need to

Eight or more additional attachments might sound attractive, but they’re pointless if you’re not going to use them. Before shopping for an epilator it’s worth checking out our guide on how to buy the best epilator to see what features you should be looking out for. If you do decide an expensive, feature-rich model best suits your needs, make sure you compare prices at various retailers first.

We’ve found the price of epilators fluctuates massively, so it pays to shop around before stumping up for a high-end model. Though it costs £220 in the Philips online store, the Satinelle Prestige BRE650 is currently available for £110 at multiple high street retailers, such as John Lewis and Argos. Similarly, while the Braun Silk-épil 7 7-921e has a recommended retail price of £160, we’ve seen it in stores for just £80.*

*Pricespy.co.uk data from June-September 2017

Philips Satinelle epilators

The Philips Satinelle Prestige BRE650 Wet and dry epilator

Our researchers tried entry-level and high-end epilators from Philips’ Satinelle range. At £35, the Philips Satinelle Essential HP6423 is one of the cheapest in the range. It’s a basic corded model for dry use only, but does come with a shaving head and a trimming comb.

In contrast the Satinelle Prestige BRE650 is one of the most feature-laden epilators around. It’s designed for wet and dry use on the legs, body and face, and comes with eight varied accessories that include a body massager, shaving head, delicate area cap and a body exfoliation brush. It also has 32 tweezers in the epilator head, which should allow you to catch more hairs in one pass than cheaper models that have 20 tweezers.

These extras are all designed to make the epilation and grooming experience more pleasant and efficient. But do they make that much of a difference, or are they superfluous add-ons thrown in to amp up the price? Read our first look review of the Satinelle Prestige BRE650 to get our opinion on them.

Braun Silk-épil epilators

The Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa 9-961V

We’ve tried models from across the full range of Braun epilators, from the basic Silk-épil 3 3270 with 20 tweezers, through to the indulgent Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa 9-961V that has 40 tweezers and 12 additional caps and features.

Our researcher felt that the inclusion of a smart-light on the Silk-épil 3 3270 was a really useful feature that helped identify fine hairs that might otherwise have been ignored. But what did she make of this epilator’s ability to remove hair? Read our full first look review of the Braun Silk-épil 3 3270 to find out.

Epilator first look reviews

Our researchers got to grips with six different epilators, and we asked them to give us their verdicts. They tried out the following epilators:

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