The Best Electric Razors of 2020
The Braun Series 9 9370cc/9290cc earns our Editors' Choice Award for its superior shaving performance. It has an ultra-powerful motor that dispatches with stubble in no time. It can be used wet or dry, and we found that it has the best contour performance of any razor in our tests, taking care of hair around the neck and jawline just as easily as on cheeks. It comes with a self-cleaner base, as well as a wide array of indicator lights for the battery, foil replacement, and a travel lock. The rechargeable battery also lasts a full 60 minutes, meaning that it may only require a charge up every few weeks.
As you might expect, all of these great features come at a high cost. In addition to the hefty upfront price tag, the fluid for the self-cleaner needs to be replaced periodically. This is in addition to the blade cassette, so there are definitely notable maintenance costs with this model. The pop-up trimmer is serviceable, but also was not the best of the bunch in our testing. However, if you want a top-of-the-line daily electric razor with the features and power to match, you can't go wrong with this model.
The Braun Series 5 5018s offers an excellent shave on a budget. It can be used wet or dry and performs well even on 3-day growth. We are especially impressed with its trimmer attachment, and we found that it was one of the best that we tested, powering through a two-week beard, without much noticeable tug. It is super simple to clean — there are holes below the foil cassette specifically meant to facilitate efficient rinsing. It also comes with a simple set of charge indicator lights and has up to 50 minutes of run time. For what it's worth, it is also equipped with the most ergonomic grip of the bunch and is rubber-coated, so it is easy to grip and stays put if you rest it on the edge of the sink.
This blade isn't without its flaws. It doesn't quite have the same flexibility as other high-end models, so it takes a few more passes under the chin to get a close shave. The trimmer also comes as a separate attachment, rather than a built-in component, which just means you have to switch it out instead of pop it up. However, if you are looking for a top-notch razor at a reasonable price, this is definitely the place to start.
The Remington F5-5800 Foil is a high-value, inexpensive option. This foil cassette razor feels more substantial than its price tag suggests, and it delivers on performance as well. It comes with a unique, curved ergonomic grip with responsive foils and a shaver head that pivots independently from the rest of the device, making it easier to get hairs under the chin and on the neck. It also can run corded or cordless and has a five-minute quick charge so you can get one shave in even if you wake up and the battery is dead. We love the clear battery indicator light strip, and it is relatively easy to clean under the faucet.
Overall, this model takes slightly longer to charge — about two hours to full capacity. This is a dry-use-only razor, so you can't take it in the shower, which somewhat reduces its versatility. We also found that it wasn't quite as efficient as higher-end razors in this review. During testing, it took quite a few more passes to achieve the same results; however, if you want top performance relative to the price, this is one model to strongly consider.
The Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid is a sturdy, full-featured body groomer that offers versatility at a low price. It has a dual-edge blade, which makes it easier to get the right angle on your shave. It is also adept at touching up sideburns and mustaches. It comes with several attachments — 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm for stubble on your face, and two comfort guards for body grooming. It can be used wet or dry and has a battery indicator light to let you know when it needs a charge or has a full battery.
For people looking for a really close shave, this blade is a complement to a traditional razor, not a replacement. It has a solid run time of 60 minutes from a full charge, but it also takes four hours to get there (which is four times longer than the average razor in this review). It's not going to give you a close baby smooth shave, but that's not what it's meant for. If you are looking for a blade for touchups around a fresh shave or regular body grooming, this one is a great inexpensive option.
The Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium earns a Top Pick for its long-lasting battery and ability to run while plugged in. If you are not one to pay much attention to your battery-powered devices, this model can help bail you out. It has a run time of 80 minutes, which it achieves with just an hour and a half of charging. If you happen to be mid-shave and it loses its juice, you can plug it in and run it as a corded shaver (a surprisingly difficult quality to find in electric razor). It also comes with hypo-allergenic gold-titanium foils and has enough power to smooth the stubbliest faces.
On the downside, this model is a real brick. It's not especially heavy, but it has an extremely boxy shape that can make it somewhat awkward to hold. Though the foil cassette is flexible, the head itself cannot pivot, which makes it trickier for uneven surfaces. There is also no pop-up trimmer included, so it is stubble only with this beast. If you are not inclined to charge your razor regularly or often find yourself with a dead battery mid-shave, this is the model to check out first.
The Philips Norelco AT830/41 Shaver 4500 is a standard rotary razor that is easy to use and reasonably effective. Its three floating heads can take care of two-day stubble around the cheeks in just a couple of minutes, and it performs admirably around the chin. It has a decent run time of 50 minutes on a full charge and has the capability of quick charging in three minutes so you can get in one shave quickly, even if you forget to plug it in. The pop-up trimmer makes cleaning up edges simple, and cleaning the razor is just a matter of opening up the blade housing with the press of a button and rinsing it out.
On the flip side, the rotary razors in our test were just not as powerful or efficient as the foil/cassette models. We found that this one was solid around the jawline, but struggled under the neck and took several more passes to clear the stubble that other award winners would take care of in just a few. If you are committed to the 3-blade rotary razor at a reasonable price, this one will do you right.
The Panasonic Arc5 Electric is the razor for those who want high-performance but aren't quite ready to spend too big. During testing, we really enjoyed the pivoting head that moves independently of the grip. This made it easier and faster to shave underneath the chin and around the neck. It has a five minute quick charge that gives enough juice to get through one shave. We also love the wide array of indicator lights that this device has, including battery level, shave timer, blade replacement, cleaning reminder, and travel lock.
There are a few limitations with this razor. It has a modest run time of 45 minutes. It's not bad considering it only takes one hour to charge, but it is definitely at the lower end of the category in that metric. It cannot be used while it is plugged in, and the auxiliary trimmer doesn't come out very far from the razor so it can feel like you just have to bring the whole unit too close to your face to use the trimmer. In any case, this was one of the highest-performing models that is well worth the money you will spend on it.
The Braun Series 7 790cc is an excellent razor with quite a few bells and whistles. It's a powerful model that gets the job done quickly with relatively few passes. It comes with both a traditional plug-in charger as well as a self-cleaning base that makes daily maintenance a breeze. It comes with a lot of indicator icons, including ones for foil replacement, cleaning reminder, and power setting.
There are just a couple of qualities keeping it from a top spot. First, as a dry-only model, it lacks the versatility of others that can be used in the shower. We also found during testing that the pop-up trimmer is situated somewhat awkwardly, making it more difficult to use. However, if you aren't a shower shaver, and want top-of-the-line performance without spending quite as much, this is a great option.
The Panasonic Travel is about as simple as electric razors come. It comes in a palm-sized package, and we like that the travel lock and power button are combined into one convenient slider — it's super easy to use.
This model has a single foil cassette (as opposed to most of the foil models that come with 3-5), so it is noticeably less efficient. It also does not have a rechargeable battery — instead, it runs on two AAs. It could be a blessing if you are going on a short trip (no need to remember the charger), but if the batteries die partway through, you'll have to buy some more.
The Philips Norelco 2300 is another basic rotary razor option. It is really simple to use and clean. It comes with a standard pop-up trimmer, and the razor housing opens with the press of a button so it can be rinsed out quickly. The charge indicator light lets you know when the battery is running low. One of the primary benefits of this model is that it can be used even when it is plugged in.
The downsides of this device are that it takes a loong time to charge — over eight hours for just 40 minutes of run time and that its shaving power decreases more noticeably as the battery level gets close to zero. It's not particularly efficient but could be fine if you are looking for something relatively inexpensive and easy to use and clean.
The Micro Touch SOLO is a compact body groomer. It comes with three attachments — 1mm, 3mm, and 5mm — so you can keep your beard at a precise and consistent length without having to worry about getting the blades too close to your skin.
This model has a longer charge time of four hours. Because the razor head itself cannot be run underwater, it is just a little tedious to clean it with the included brush. During testing, we also experienced more pull than with other razors. It's not our favorite body groomer, but if you are looking for one on a budget, this could be it.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead reviewer Ben Applebaum-Bauch has been reviewing outdoor and tech gear for GearLab for the past three years. He has made a habit of hiking some of America's most iconic long trails, and always comes back from an adventure with gnarly facial hair that no one in the front country seems to care for. With over a decade of shaving experience, often going days weeks and sometimes months between cleanups, he has come to know what features and facets make for a smooth, comfortable shave.
To test these razors, we spent over ten hours with these blades on our faces and dozens more charging, discharging and cleaning them, as well as assessing their features. For models that claim both wet and dry use, we lathered up and patted down.
Analysis and Test Results
We use four primary criteria, each with several additional considerations, to assess the electric razors in this review. We looked at shave quality, runtime and charge time, ease of use, and ease of cleaning for each device. Below, we define what each metric means and provide a summary of how each model compared to the rest.
At the end of the day, the quality of the shave is what matters. This metric covers the closeness of the shave — that is, how smooth it leaves our faces feeling afterward. We also look at facets like the speed of the shave and how many passes it takes to finish, as well as the power of any included trimmers. Where applicable, we ensure that razors perform well both wet (with shaving cream) and dry, and we compare performance across even skin (e.g., on cheeks) and contours (e.g., jaw and under chin).
The Braun Series 9 9370cc/9290cc holds a top spot in this metric. It has a powerful motor, and the device took the least amount of time with the fewest passes to execute a close shave. Though its somewhat awkward pop-up trimmer keeps it from a perfect score, the shaver head contours exceptionally to the jawline and neck. Not far behind, the Braun Series 5 5018s offers excellent performance. The main foil cassette doesn't quite have the same pivoting prowess as the Series 9, but its wet/dry versatility and powerful trimmer attachment keep it up at the top of the list. The Panasonic Ar5 Electric also shares many of the same qualities. Though it doesn't quite have the same power as the Series 9, its head does many of the same pivot points, meaning that it is particularly effective under the chin where other electric razors tend to be a letdown.
The next tier of razors include the Remington F5-5800 Foil, Braun Series 7 790cc, and Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium. These razors all bring plenty of power for a close shave on 3-day stubble. The F5 and 790cc have multi-direction free pivoting heads, while the Pro Foil has flexible foils, but no pivoting head or pop-up trimmer. The trimmer on the 7 series is awkwardly angles and somewhat difficult to use with the F5 leveraging a more traditional 90-degree trimmer.
The Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid offers the best shave quality of the body grooming razors that we tested. Though these blades aren't meant for baby smooth results, we didn't experience any tug dry shaving with a two-week beard.
Run & Charge Times
Run and charge times are straightforward and important metrics for electric razors. Here we are concerned with how long the devices can run after being charged to capacity, how long it takes to charge them fully, and how long it takes to quick-charge them to get enough juice for a single shave. We also look at the ratio between charge time and run time for each model.
The Braun Series 9 9370cc/9290cc earns the top spot again with an above-average total shave time and below average charge time. The Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium takes has the longest average run time, sometimes managing over 80 minutes on a single charge. It also reaches full capacity with 90 minutes of charging.
The next tier of still above average razors include the Braun Series 5 5018s, Remington F5-5800 Foil, Panasonic Arc5 Electric, and Braun Series 7 790cc. These models all achieve average run times of 45-50 minutes on a single charge and can be at 100% capacity when they are plugged in for one hour. The Philips Norelco AT830 also has 50 minutes of runtime and charges in one hour, but we noticed that the power of the shave diminishes more in this model as the battery gets lower.
It is worth noting that the Panasonic Travel runs off of two AA batteries and is not rechargeable. The Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid and Micro Touch SOLO, two body grooming models, both take at least 4 hours to charge (with the former running for a more impressive 60 minutes versus the 45 minutes of the latter). The Philips Norelco S1211/81 2300 takes a sloggy eight hours to charge for 45 minutes of run time, though it is somewhat redeemed by the fact that it can still be used when plugged in.
Ease of Use & Versatility
As with almost any other product, if it's not easy to use, you are just less likely to use it. For this metric, we look at things like whether or not it can be used wet and dry (bonus points for both) and, similarly, whether the entire unit is waterproof and can be used in the shower. We also assess included trimmers and how comfortable or awkward they are to angle correctly, as well as additional features. Many of these products come with indicator lights for battery levels, travel locks, and blade replacement. Some of these models also have adaptive power modes and ergonomic designs, which help boost a score.
These electric razors are all pretty easy to use, with some variability in their versatility. Models that can be used wet (that is, in the shower and/or with shaving cream) include the Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid, Panasonic Arc5 Electric, Philips Norelco AT830, Braun Series 5, Braun Series 9 and Panasonic Travel. This feature is important because it makes shaving more efficient if you opt to do it in the shower, or more flexible if it happens to just be more comfortable for you to shave with shaving cream.
Though many of these models can be rinsed in water, they are dry-only for shaving: Micro Touch SOLO, Philips Norelco 2300, Remington F5-5800 Foil, Braun Series 7, and Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium.
Some models like the Braun Series 5 and Panasonic Arc4 Electric have solid auxiliary trimmers, and the Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid is exclusively a (high-performance) trimmer. We were surprised that the Braun Series 7 and Series 9 have less-than-impressive trimmers as do the Philips Norelco AT830 and the Philips Norelco 2300. A couple of models like the Panasonic Travel and Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium don't have any trimmer at all.
Ease of Cleaning
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and if you want to be able to enjoy a close, powerful shave from our award winners time after time, these devices have to be cleaned. In this metric, we consider features that specifically facilitate cleaning. Things like rinsing and drainage ports and release buttons for easily removing/opening the foil cassette. A couple of our contenders even come with self-cleaning bases. We analyze whether they make the job easier or are just a lot of hype.
Most of these models are fairly easy to clean and low maintenance. The Braun Series 5 5018s comes equipped with holes at the neck that you can run water through to flush out trimmings. The Braun Series 7 and Braun Series 9 both come with self-cleaning stations that make the task a literal set it and forget it (though they do lose some points because of the periodic maintenance required on the cleaning units themselves).
The Remington F5-5800 Foil, Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid, Philips Norelco S1211/81 2300 and Philips Norelco AT830/41 Shaver 4500 can all be rinsed under water and left to dry — easy enough. While the Andis 17150 Pro Foil Lithium Titanium and Micro Touch SOLO both recommend only dry cleaning the blades with the included brush, which is just more tedious and time-consuming. The two Panasonic models, the Arc5 Electric and Travel, suggest the added step of running hand soap through the cassette and rinsing it — again, extra steps that take more time.
We know that there are seemingly endless options out there as far as electric razors are concerned. Whether you are looking for a really close shave, or something that can trim, self-clean, or quick charge, we hope that our comprehensive expert review gives you the information that you need to make the purchase that is right for you.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch