There’s no shave better than a wet shave with a razor, but sometimes we just don’t have the time for that. The next best thing is to use a good electric shaver, some of which get close to a good wet shave.
We’ve reviewed 10 electric shavers, but have filtered the list down to the best five. Of those, two models stood out. The Panasonic ES-LV95 isn’t cheap, but it’s as close as we’ve come to a wet shave, making it the ultimate choice. For simple use and flexibility, the cheap Philips OneBlade is a great budget choice.
Related: Best beard trimmers
How we pick the best electric razors
Electric shavers are all about convenience, offering a quicker and safer way to keep your face smooth than using a traditional razor. To see how good each shaver was, we tested its ability to cope with different lengths of beard growth: single day, two days and three days. That way, we could see how each razor coped with a variety of hair lengths. All scenarios were less than a full beard, for which you’d need a proper beard trimmer.
After each shave, we felt how smoothly each razor had cut, how well they managed to cut in difficult areas (around the jaw, under the nose and the tops of the cheekbones), and how easy they were to operate and manoeuvre.
Each razor was used for two weeks regularly. This acclimatisation period is required to let your skin and hair get used to a new razor. It’s common to suffer some irritation during initial use of a electric shaver.
1. Panasonic ES-LV95
- Very close shave
- Cleaning station
- Automatic power sensing
- Wet and dry
- Takes a while to get used to
- High initial cost
Although it’s a couple of years old now, the Panasonic ES-LV95 remains a top electric shaver. Its body is dominated by the large five-blade head. The middle blade is for longer hairs, the two either side have lift-and-cut foils for flat hair, and the outer foils are for cutting close to the skin.
The razor head can pivot up and down, and side to side, angling automatically to fit the contours of your face. For precision control, you can lock the head, too. A switch flicks up the rear trimmer, allowing you to neaten sideburns, or trim close-up areas.
Most importantly, the ES-LV95 delivered the closest shave of all the electric razors in this test. A single swipe managed to cut close, leaving a smooth feel, whether the ES-LV95 was dealing with one, two or three days of hair growth. We’d go as far as to say that the results were as close to a manual razor as we’ve come. Even trickier areas, such as around the jaw, were easy to reach.
The ES-LV95 cuts without too much mess, either, with most beard hairs ending up inside the foils. Five blades took near-on two weeks to get used to, but there was no irritation after that. To help cut down on irritation, you can use this shaver with a little gel and water (it’s completely waterproof).
Once used, the ES-LV95 can be cleaned and washed in the supplied cleaning and charging station. This takes sachets of cleaning solution that you drop into the tank and then top up with water (around £11 for three sachets). Manual cleaning is possible, with the razor head popping off for easy access to the blades beneath. And, you can charge by plugging the adapter directly into the razor, with a full charge giving 45 minutes of use.
With its close shave and excellent performance, the ES-LV95 is the best electric shaver we’ve tested.
2. Philips OneBlade
- Easy to use
- Effortlessly cuts regular beard growth
- Wet and dry
- Needs replacement blades
- Takes a long time to charge
The Philips OneBlade looks more like a traditional razor than an electric shaver. In truth, it shares a lot with traditional razors: it has a slender handle and body, making it easy to transport, and the blade needs replacing – a new one is recommended every four months and costs around £12.
Despite that, the OneBlade is a true electric shaver, with a blade that cuts safely and finely. There’s a selection of combs to trim lengths of up to 5mm, which is okay for a little facial hair; full-grown beard owners will need a proper beard trimmer. And, a more recent version of the shaver is designed for use on body hair, too.
Focusing on the OneBlade’s shaver performance, we couldn’t help but be impressed. Three-day hair growth was removed quickly and effortlessly, as was two-day and one-day growth. The face didn’t feel irritated at the end of the shave, although it remained a little stubbly.
The problem with the OneBlade is that it leaves a mess – prepare for your bathroom sink to be covered in beard trimmings. Fortunately, using the OneBlade wet with a little shave gel cuts down on the mess.
We found that the OneBlade works well for those who like a little bit of a rough feel, or for cutting down on a few days’ growth, turning to a regular razor for that final finish.
An eight-hour charge is rather slow, but gives 45 minutes of battery life, which we found lasted a few weeks for maintenance shaving. Beard trimming would consume the power faster.
For a simple and easily transportable way of shaving quickly, or just to remove the initial growth, the OneBlade is an excellent choice.
3. Philips Series 9000
- Wet and dry
- Close shaving
- Easily cleaned (mostly)
- Trimmer isn’t integrated
- No head guard
- No stand if you don’t buy the cleaning station
The Philips Series 9000 has the company’s distinctive trio of round circular blades. This isn’t just for good looks; the circular blades and rotating action catch hairs at all angles, making for quick and accurate shaving.
With a comfortable handle, the Series 9000 was easy to wield and quick to get the best results. In fact, the only real downside is that the trimming brush is a separate addition that you replace the main head with. That makes the trimmer both easy to lose and easy to forget when you go on holiday.
Shaving with the Series 9000 is super-quick, and it’s easy to manoeuvre around your face. Its sensitive cutting was easy to get used to with very little skin irritation. As a wet and dry shaver, you can use this model in the shower and with a bit of gel; going dry is easier and less likely to clog the blades, however.
With a dry shave it was possible to achieve a close, smooth finish – although not quite as good as with the Panasonic ES-LV95. Getting around the side of the jaw and under the nose on the top lip was a little tricky with the circular blades. A quick finish-off with a cheap fixed-blade razor did the job, though.
Mess is kept to a minimum with beard trimmings captured, for the most part, in the head. This means that you need to keep the head clean: it pops off, so you can rinse under the tap easily enough. Sadly, the SmartClean charging and cleaning stand is only available separately (around £40).
A battery charge takes an hour, for 50 minutes of use, which is standard fare for an electric shaver. You can achieve a closer shave with rival products, but for the ease of use and price, the wonderfully manoeuvrable Philips Series 9000 is a great choice.
4. Remington Durablade
- Wet and dry
- Great value
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t cut that close
The Remington Durablade is a similar product to the Philips OneBlade. It looks and is used more like a traditional manual razer, although the fixed blade gives you a safer cut. Unlike the OneBlade, the Durablade doesn’t need to have its blade replaced. Remington claims that the blade should remain sharp for the unit’s five-year life.
You can use the Durablade wet or dry. Using it wet with a bit of gel has the advantage of keeping the mess down; with a dry shave, you can get little beard hairs everywhere.
Cutting performance isn’t as good as with the OneBlade. In particular, it struggled to get close to a day’s growth, performing better when there was more hair to pick up.
Even so, the finish was fairly stubbly. So, why bother, you might think? Well, if you’re a bit lazy and don’t shave that often, the Durablade is a good tool to remove the first amount of growth painlessly. Turning to a traditional manual razor for a wet shave then gets you the smooth results you want, faster. All of this can be done without any irritation.
Cleaning is easy under a tap, with beard trimmings easily coming lose and washing away.
Remington ships the Durablade with 1mm, 2mm, 3mm and 5mm trimming combs, too, which are useful for smaller beards or just keeping sideburns in check. If you have a bigger beard and want to keep it neat, a proper beard trimmer is a better idea. A four-hour charge should give around 60 minutes of use.
If you’re going to go all-electric, you can achieve smoother results with rival models; as a tool for removing the initial growth, however, the Durablade is great value.
5. Braun Series 7
- Super-close shave
- Wet and dry
- Cleaning station
- High initial cost
Braun’s top-of-the-range Series 7 electric shaver is also one of the best you can buy. This chunky model has a large shave head that has three cutting blades.
The two foils are for getting that close shave, while the ActiveLift trimmer in the middle is designed to lift flat hairs and trim them. The entire head pivots forwards and backwards, with the blades moving in and out. These two movements let the Braun Series 7 hug the contours of your face.
By default, the razor turns on in automatic mode, but you can adjust the power manually using the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons for full control.
As a result, shaving is easy. We found that the Series 7 easily cut through three-day hair growth, and managed well with two-day and a single day’s growth, too. And, since there are only three blades, it didn’t take long to acclimatise to this model. As a result, we preferred to use it dry – although you can use it wet, if you prefer.
The flat design makes it easy to get to difficult areas, such as under the nose on the top lip. Getting a close shave around the jawline required a bit more effort. A switch at the front slides up the precision trimmer, which lets you neaten sideburns or get to the harder to reach areas.
After shaving, the face was smooth to the touch, with only a hint of roughness. Only the Panasonic ES-LV95 produced better results.
Buy the Series 7 in a pack with the Clean&Charge station and you can also sanitise your shaver as it charges. The charging station takes cartridges of cleaning solution, which cost around £13 for a pack of three.
If you’re travelling, then the Series 7’s razor head pops off, so you can clean it under a running tap. Cleverly, the dial on the back of shaver’s handle shows you when it’s time to clean and charge. With a 50-minute running time, you shouldn’t have to charge too often.
For a close shave and product that’s easy to keep clean, the Braun Series 7 is a great choice.
Those are our picks of the top electric shavers. If you want to know more about choosing the right model, then read on.
Electric shaver buying guide
Best electric shavers – What type of head do I need?
Electric shavers come in different types. Foil shavers cover the blades with a finely perforated foil top. Hairs poke through the perforations, where they’re snipped off by the blades. Such models offer a close shave, without risk of cutting yourself. The straight edge lets you get to harder-to-reach areas more easily, but you may have to move the shaver around at different angles to get the best cut.
Rotary shavers use round blades, which cut at different angles, making shaving arguably quicker and easier. However, we find that these also make cutting harder-to-reach areas more difficult.
Both types come with multiple blades. It’s an inexact science, but the more blades, the closer and quicker the shave. Both types of shaver tend to collect most of your trimmings inside the head, which makes for a cleaner experience.
The final type of shaver is the single blade, such as the Philips OneBlade. This uses a vibration action to move the head and cut hairs, putting the action somewhere between a wet shave and an electric shaver. These models are easy to wield, are smaller than most other models, and make precision cuts easy. The downsides are that you don’t get as close a cut, and the open shaver head results in more mess.
Best electric shavers – What’s a precision trimmer for?
A pop-up trimmer gives you a single blade, which can be used to neaten sideburns, or get to harder-to-reach areas for detail work. Some shavers provide the trimmer as a separate attachment, which isn’t quite as convenient as having it built-into the shaver’s handle.
Best electric shavers – How should I deal with cleaning?
All shavers need to be cleaned after use. At the most basic level, you should remove the head and wash it under the tap, using the provided brush to clean out the gunk. Some posher models have a cleaning and charging stand, which does the job for you. If you use an electric shaver every day, a cleaning stand is a great choice and will help keep everything clean.
Best electric shavers – Do I need a waterproof shaver?
A waterproof shaver can also be used with a bit of shaving gel. This can be helpful if you have sensitive skin or, with shavers such as the OneBlade, to reduce mess. However, shaving with gel can clog up a shaver more quickly, which will as a result require a more involved clean.
Best electric shavers – How important is battery life?
Most shavers will last around 50 minutes on a single charge, which should see you through a week or two of use. Using a shaver on thicker hair or longer beards can reduce battery life.
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