How to buy the best epilator
By Haddi Browne
How to buy the best epilator
Expert tips on how to choose the best epilator for you, including which features to look for and how much to spend.
Hair removal is a personal choice, but many women prefer epilation to waxing or shaving.
Benefits of epilation can include longer-lasting smoothness, as epilators pull hair from the roots – but the method is also painful.
If you’re reading this page, you may be concerned about how much it's likely to hurt. But when we tested epilators, we were surprised to find quite a big difference in the levels of pain felt – especially with some companies creating specific accessories to help ease pain.
We answer some of your key epilator questions below. Head to our epilator first look reviews for our expert verdicts on top models.
Why should I buy an epilator?
Longer-lasting smooth skin – You might be tempted by claims that epilators leave skin looking and feeling smooth for longer than shaving. Some epilators claim to leave long-lasting smooth skin for up to four weeks, but how long this will last depends largely on how quickly your hair generally grows back.
Flexibility – Unlike waxing, many epilators let you get to work on your skin whether it's dry or in the bath.
You might be put off by the prospect of pain. It’s worth bearing in mind that lots of epilators come with ‘caps’ (attachments you put over the head of the epilator) that are designed to remove hair more gently.
Which epilator features should I look out for?
Can I use this epilator in the bath? Do I need to plug it into the mains? What attachments do I need? These are all vital questions when buying an epilator, so we’ve rounded up the main features worth thinking about.
- Tweezers – Modern-day epilators have rotating metal plates that are designed to tweeze hair out of its roots. The more tweezers an epilator has, the more hair it should tweeze out, and the quicker the epilating process should be – but it could also be more painful. Cheaper epilators often have around 20 tweezers, whereas pricier options typically have 32 or 40.
- Wet and dry – You can use many epilators in the shower or bath, as well as when your skin is dry. The advantage of epilating while your skin is wet is that your pores are more open, which is supposed to make removing the hairs easier. Budget for less than £40, and you’ll struggle finding an epilator you can use in the bath – but there are loads of options when you spend more than this.
- Corded/cordless – You’ll have to plug some epilators into the mains when you use them. The bathroom is possibly the most dangerous room in the house with regards to electrical safety. Sockets aren't allowed in bathrooms or shower rooms unless they can be fitted at least three metres from the bath or shower. And Electrical Safety First says you should never bring mains-powered portable appliances (which would include an epilator) into a bathroom, as you could be severely injured or killed. So you’re better off not buying a corded epilator if you plan to use it in the bathroom – go for a cordless one instead.
- Attachments – Epilators often come with ‘caps’, or attachments placed over the head of the epilator for customised use. Some have caps for the bikini line, face and sensitive or delicate areas. Some caps are also designed for gentler epilation, such as a massaging cap with aloe vera.
- Two-speed settings – Many epilators have two speed settings – one for faster epilation, another for a slower and gentler process.
- Head width – Some epilators have a wider head to let you cover more skin with each stroke. This can make the epilating process quicker, but also means you feel pain across a larger area at a time.
- Lighting – You should be able to spot fine hairs for removal if your epilator shines a light on your skin.
Our researchers have looked at the most popular epilators in the Braun Silk-épil and Philips Satinelle ranges, trying out models varying in cost from £35 to £220. We've found where it might be worth splashing out, so it's worth checking out our epilator first look reviews to help find the best epilator for your skin.
How much do I need to spend on an epilator?
Epilators costing between £30 and £45 generally have fewer tweezers – so the epilating process takes longer. They also often have fewer caps/attachments designed for different areas and for gentler epilation.
There’s loads of choice if you’re willing to spend upwards of around £50. When you spend more, you’re more likely to find an epilator that can be used in the shower or bath, as well as when your skin is dry.
Plus they’ll have more caps for more flexible hair removal.
You can spend over £100 on an epilator, such as the Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa 9-961V or Philips Satinelle Prestige BRE650/00. For this price, expect the full works.