If you’re a man who likes smooth skin but hates putting a sharp blade close to your face, then an electric shaver is the way forward.
A traditional razor used with soap or foam doesn’t suit everyone. It can be messy, time-consuming and leave you covered in cuts.
But it’s not easy picking from the wealth of electric shaving products on offer. So if you need to buy a new electric shaver then here are some questions to ask yourself followed by a handy jargon buster.
What are the basic benefits of electric shavers?
An electric shaver can be so much quicker, more practical, less messy and in the long term, actually a lot cheaper than opting for a wet shave.
There are two main types to choose from – Rotary and Foil.
Rotary ones have two or three rotating heads that spin in circles and are designed to be flexible to move with the contours of your face whatever direction you’re shaving in. Philips is one of the most popular brands for this type of shaver.
Foil ones, like those from Remington, Braun and Panasonic, have a more traditional look and as such are popular with an older section of the shaving market who’ve grown up using them. So if you’re a foil fan, there’s no reason to change to rotary. If it’s not broken, why fix it and there are lots of new clever foil models to consider if you’re buying a replacement.
Which is better though?
It very much depends on what you feel comfortable with but rotary shavers will deal with longer hairs well as they grab it from deep down and pull hairs out from the root.
They are perhaps a better choice for men who shave less frequently and certainly tackle harder stubble growth better.
If you’re shaving daily, foil will provide you with a long life product that is reliable and works quickly. Rotary shaving can take longer, as you need to do repeated circular movements over the same patch of skin compared moving up and down with a foil.
You need to remember though that foil shavers will need their foils replacing, which adds to the overall cost.
How do I know what shaver will be the most effective?
Blade speed can be important with foil shavers. Panasonic claims to have the world’s fastest shaving blade with the ES8109 model said to provide the world’s fastest inner blade speed at 13000rpm.
If you’re going rotary, how many rings the shaver has will determine how much hair can be cut in one movement.
But there are many other variables. For example, some electric foil shavers will have a flexing system, to move or pivot the head itself when pushed against your face rather than just the foils moving.
Others like the ES8109 from Panasonic will have differently shaped foils. This has an arc rather than a flat surface.
It hugs the contours of your face better and can make it easier when going around your neck or chin to achieve a closer shave.
Rotary shavers will also have technology to get even closer to the skin. The Philips SensoTouch GyroFlex 3D might sound complicated but it just means there are three separate moving heads that move along the curves of your face with specific elements picking out hairs of different shapes and sizes.
Other things to consider are shavers with lower friction glide heads to minimise any skin irritation as they move across your face.
Do I go for mains or battery?
A shaver that doesn’t need to be connected to the mains, but comes with a rechargeable battery unit is obviously the most practical. Most high-end shavers tend to include this.
But charge time is a big thing to consider, as is battery life – you don’t want to get caught out mid-shave. Some devices will have a screen showing you in minutes how long it can work for.
Others give an audible warning when it is low on charge while some can boost their power with a quick charge in a few minutes giving enough juice for one shave.
What about cleaning my shaver?
The most basic models can be rinsed under a tap but this is not always the most efficient way of cleaning.
Some have removable heads to ensure you get rid of all the hair caught underneath while others are fully washable rather than just meant for a quick rinse under the tap.
If you want to make life even easier, then look for a shaver with a cradle that also cleans it. This self-clean method is simple. Place the shaving head into the cradle, press a button and it will perform an automatic mode to get rid of all the mess inside. This helps look after the foils to extend the life.
What about trimming features?
Many rotary shavers also have pop-out trimmers to cut your sideburns, moustache or more stubborn to reach hairs.
What other features should I consider?
Shavers that can be used in both wet and dry conditions mean you can have the best of both worlds by shaving with soap or foam for a cleaner, fresher feeling, when the mood takes you.
You can also get models that contain a chamber in which you place a moisturising liquid that’s pumped onto the face as you shave. This is designed to reduce irritation.
But remember, it often takes a few weeks for you skin to adapt to electric shaving so it’s not uncommon for irritation to be there in the beginning.
- Rotary shaver – These have a series of circular rotating blades housed in beneath two or three slotted heads
- Foil shaver – A blade moves back and forth at high speed behind a foil or screen
- Lift and Cut technology – A dual blade system, this lifts hairs to cut below skin level
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