Foil vs rotary shaver- Who takes the glory of the best electric razor

Most new shoppers have a major dilemma between rotary and foil shavers.

And their common question is, which shaver is perfect choice for them?

My honest answer is – It all boils down to personal preferences, hair thickness and convenience.

Both shaver designs are great, and both serve the intended purpose very well.

For thick-bearded folks, a rotary shaver is more of a norm. But if you like to shave everyday or even twice a day, a foil shaver will be best option.

Brands like Panasonic, Remington and Braun make great foil shavers.  But speak of rotary shavers and it is hard to look beyond Philips Norelco shavers.

Stick around with me and I will tell you all you need to know about the two forms of shavers.

                                                          Straight Recommendation: 

Best Foil Shaver :Braun 790CC-4

Best Rotary Shaver : Philips S9311-87

What is the difference between foil and rotary shaver?

  • Shavers design: Both foil type electric razors and rotary razors are ergonomically designed. While the foil type shaver resembles the manual razors in some way, the rotary shavers look quite different due to the cutters on the head. A foil type razor has a rectangular head. The key difference in design is in the head section.
  • Rectangle Vs circle

Rectangular Vs Circular A foil shaver’s blades are covered by a rectangular metal, with patterned holes for raising and arranging hair. Rotary shaver, on the other hand, has three to five circular that cover the blades underneath. There’s an ongoing debate among razor experts as to determine whether the round shape or rectangular shape is more effective.  

  • Shaving speed: Good foil shavers have high vibration rates and you may get 14K cycles every minute. Though some rotary electric shavers have good speed, generally rotary shavers are a lot slower than the foil shavers. Due to high speed, foil shavers shave sideburns and mustaches a lot better than the rotary shavers as they have a straight line shape.
  • Shaving pattern: Though foil shavers have widely varying patterns, the most common of them all is short silt, a wide and long slit, and a rounder hole. The hole facilitates raising the hairs of varied lengths. Rotary shavers, on the other hand, move in a circular pattern and cut the hairs.
  • Different contour: As far as design aspects are concerned, rotary and foil shavers are a lot different from each other. Since a rotary shaver is small, it gives you better access to the tight corners of your face. Foil shavers are not as good as rotary shavers when it comes to contour. An average rotary shaver has definitely a better contour.
  • Ergonomic cutting style and location: Since the foil shaver has a natural straight line shape, trimming or shaving the edges of a mustache or the side burn comes easy with a foil shaver at your disposal. Women can also find these foil shavers quite handy for shaving and trimming public hair. You need to use a trimmer with a rotary shaver to trim your sideburns or mustache edges perfectly.
  • Maintenance aspect: Foil shavers are easier to maintain compared to the rotary ones, particularly due to the rectangular head. You can effortlessly blow the dust or the hairs on the head. You can also remove the head of the rotary shaver to clean it completely. However, maintenance ease varies from one model to another.

Top 5 foil shaver comparison chart

ImageName&BrandMotor speedCharging & Using timeQuick ChargeWarranty
Braun 790cc Braun Series 7 790cc10,000 RPM1 hr /
45 min
5 min2 years
Braun 9090ccBraun Series 9 9090cc40,000 RPM1 hr /
50 min
5 min2 years
Panasonic ES-LA63-SPanasonic ES-LA63-S Arc414,000 CPM1 hr/
42 min
n/a1 years
Braun 5090ccBraun Series 5 5090cc9500 RPM1 hr /
40 min
5 min2 years
Panasonic ES-LV81-KPanasonic ES-LV81-K Arc514,000 CPM1 hr /
45 min
n/a1 years

Top 3 foil shaver reviews

Braun Series 7 790CC

Our impression

The Braun Series 7-790CC-4 electric shavers are powered by revolutionary Sonic Technology which is instrumental in increasing power on different facial areas.

The technology is also effective in removing thick facial hair and public hair.

The foil shaver is arguably gentler and more effective than rotary shavers.

The Series 7 790CC-4 electric shavers come with flexible razors on a fully circulating head, which help in covering the maximum area with each stroke.

This is also a visible feature difference within the Braun 7 series.Moreover, the shaver easily adapts to the density of any beard.

The ActiveLift trimmer is another part if the shaver which works great when it comes to capturing, pulling off and snipping flat lying hairs.

In addition to that, the OptiFoil works really great in getting the ideal closeness.

The blades and foil are all synergized, which is one reason you can get a perfect shave with the shaver.

The Braun series shaver is a fully waterproof one and you can easily use it in shower. Till now this one is best foil shaver.

Best deal I found on the Braun 790CC


  • Gives an incredibly smooth shave.
  • Three different personal settings for different thickness levels.
  • Pleasant smelling.
  • The cleaning system is lot better than the previous model.
  • Lighter shaver with a certain ‘plastic’ feel.
  • Angle lock is a separate switch, which may cause inconvenience.

Braun Series 9 9090cc

Our impression

Braun, the world’s top foil electric razor brand, has made this electric shaver for men who shave once or twice a week.

The product is dubbed as the most efficient shaver in the line of shaving products from Braun.

Advanced SyncroSonic technology is what makes this shaver so special. 4 special cutting elements have been brilliantly synergized and the Sonic Technology is capable of providing 40,000 cross cuttings every minute.

The quadruple action cutting translates into optimal facial adaptability.

The Braun Series 9 9090cc electric shaver can cut hair in different directions quite seamlessly.

The pivoting head is backed by the MicroMotion technology, which is revolutionary in itself. It is also the reason behind the increasing popularity of the Braun 9 series.

It’s a precision trimmer that has li-ion batteries inside.

The shaver is completely waterproof and you can rinse it off on the sink after use.

This one is a skin-friendly shaver that can trim and shave your sideburns with precision.

Click here to see current pricing and reviews on Braun 9090cc


  • Gives close shave.
  • Long lasting battery.
  • Sturdy with user-friendly handle.
  • Easy to carry travel case.
  • Becomes a better performer with a shaving gel/foam.
  • Multiple passes needed for close shave.
  • Side trimmer is not very powerful.

Panasonic Arc4 Electric Razor ES-LA63-S

Our impression

Panasonic Arc4 Electric Razor is an award winning wet/dry electric shaver that come with four 30 degree angled nanotech blades that are all highly durable and sharp.

This one is a high-performance shaver that runs on a dual motor and delivers 14,000 cuts every minute. The Panasonic electric shaver is meant for close and precision shaving.

The foil shaver moves over the face in an up-and-down motion pattern for lifting and holding the whiskers, and moves sidewise for snipping hair perfectly at the base.

The product is quite ergonomically designed and is ideal for both dry and wet shaving.

There’s also an in-built pop-up trimmer inside, which takes care of the moustache edges, sideburns and beards very well.

You can also spot an LED battery life indicator on the anti-slip handle. Rinse the razor under running tap water and reuse it after drying.

If you travel a lot, you may rejoice in the fact that the product comes with an AC adapter and a travel pouch.

Find here best deals for Panasonic Arc4


  • Good foil with close shaving ability.
  • Dry shaving is really great.
  • Fast charging for shaving on the go.
  • Lightweight shaver with pleasant smell.
  • A noisy shaver that can cause annoyance.
  • Can’t perform during charging.

Top 5 rotary shaver comparison chart

ImageName&BrandShaving SystemContour followingSmart clickCharging & Using time
Philips S9311-87Philips Norelco 9300V-Track blade PRO8-direction Contour Detect HeadsYes1 hour /
60 min
Philips S8950-90 Philips Norelco 8900Gentle Precision PRO Blade5-direction Dynamic Flex HeadsYes1 hour /
50 min
Philips 1150X-46 Philips Norelco 6100Multi Precision Blade5-direction Flex HeadsYes1 hour /
40 min
Philips AT810-46Philips Norelco 4100Dual Precision BladeDynamic contour responseNo1 hour /
50 min
Philips AT830-46Philips Norelco 4500Dual Precision BladeDynamic contour responseNo1 hour /
50 min

Top 3 rotary shaver reviews

Philips Norelco S9311/84, Shaver 9300( Most advanced rotary shaver)

Our impression

Each shaving head of the Philips shaver moves in no less than eight directions.

Riding on the breakthrough Contour Detect technology, the Philips Norelco shaver quite intelligently contours to the smallest curve of the face.

The Contour detect technology also helps in cutting 20% more hair than any other foil or rotary shaver with a single stroke. The V-track precision blades are highly effective in collecting facial hair.

To add to all these, the Philips Norelco S9311/84 won the prestigious iF design award in 2015.

Check the design out and you will understand why this one is being dubbed as one of the most stylish shavers on the market.

The Aquatec technology helps you get a wet or dry shave in or outside the shower anytime.

The Li-ion batteries provide 50 minutes of continuous shaving with just one hour of charging, whereas you can just charge it for 5 minutes to get adequate power for a full shave.

Check price – Philips Norelco Shaver 9300


  • Trimmer comes as a separate head.
  • High battery life.
  • Even the fastest speed does not cause irritation.
  • Easy to use cleaning system.
  • Only one cable for charging comes in the kit.
  • Quite a noisy shaver.

Philips Norelco Shaver 8950/90

Our impression

Yet another gem from Philips Norelco line of products, the 8950/90 is referred by the manufacturer as the most advanced shaver in their related product line yet.

This wet/dry electric shaver contours to the curves of the face and cuts up to 30% closer.

The SmartClick beard styler comprises of five different length settings for you to get the desired look.

Contour Detect technology sends each head in eight different directions and the V-track blades collect the hair perfectly well.

However, the best part of this rotary shaver is the SmartClean feature, which helps you keep the shaver clean after every use.

Philips has used a skin friendly and alcohol free formula which helps greatly in cleaning hair and foam.

The system also lubricates the blades so as to reduce friction. The LED battery life indicator is just another brilliant addition to this stylish, new-age electric shaver for men.

Read Other Customer Reviews on Amazon Here


  • It’s a quiet shaver.
  • Shaving around the tighter corners like the jaw is a breeze.
  • The trimmer is great.
  • Good value for money.
  • The self-cleaning system is not as good as claimed.
  • Charging system is not user-friendly.

Philips Norelco 1150X/46 Shaver 6100 (cheap but worthy)

Our impression

It seems we can’t stop loving the Philips Norelco series shavers.

It is simply the outstanding electric shaver under $100 The Philips Norelco 1150X/46 Shaver 6100 is a sleek and smart shaver that has GyroFlex 2D technology at core for providing maximum comfort and precision.

The two-dimensional contouring technology helps the head pivot in a circular way as well as tilt inward.

The technology is also instrumental in following each contour and curve, thereby minimizing pressure and skin irritation.

The Shaver 6100 comes accompanied with a protective cap, a trimmer head, a power cord and a cleaning brush.

The DualPrecision heads have different slots to shave normal hairs and holes for shaving the stubbles.

It has a bon-slip grip and is ideal for both wet and dry shaving. By charging it for one hour, you can get 40 minutes of non-stop shave.

There’s also a quick charge option, which allows you to charge the shaver for three minutes for a quick full shave.

View Philips Norelco 6100 on Amazon


  • High-performing electric shaver.
  • Ideal for daily shaving.
  • Smooth and noiseless.
  • Quick charging.
  • Shaving heads can be washed.
  • Sleek and attractive design.
  • Trimmer needs manual attachment.
  • Leaves long hairs during shaving.
  • Blade replacement costs too much.

Things to consider when buying a best foil or rotary shaver?

  • Shaver with a pivoting head: Shaving heads that pivot are considered more flexible and reach the contours of the face quite easily. Many high-end models of electric shavers come with pivoting heads and you can choose these shavers for everyday shaving. Typically, rotary shavers come with two to five pivoting heads, though some foil shavers also have pivoting heads.
  • Suitable size: In general, foil shavers are larger than rotary shavers, which does not make them the most travel friendly electric shaver.That said, both have their own sets of pros and cons. While smaller shavers can easily reach tighter corners of your face such as the space just below your lower lip, the larger ones can remove more facial hair with each stroke.
  • Does the shaver waterproof? You can use waterproof shavers in your bathroom with foam or gel. Though electric shavers were invented for facilitating fast and dry shaving, many manufacturers these days come up with waterproof shavers. Keep in mind that some shavers are just water resistant, which means you can rinse them after use but they are not actually safe for use with foam or gel.
  • Shaver with an ergonomic handle: The handle design should be taken into consideration besides the other aspects. An electric shaver that has an ergonomic handle would reduce the Royal Pain of shaving to a great extent, especially when you are shaving for a long period of time. Look for electric shavers that come with anti-slip grips.
  • Easy to clean: If cleaning shavers is something you hate, go for models that have self-cleaning abilities. You just need to place this type of razor on a dock to clean it. The razor can also get charged during the process of cleaning. Alternatively, you can use the tested dry bush method to clean your shaver.
  • Low battery warning: If you are going for a rechargeable or a battery powered electrical shaver, you should look for shavers that indicate while the battery is low. This helps you understand when it is the right time to change the batteries or to plug in the shaver to the power supply socket.
  • Automatic shutoff facility: Like in all other electric devices, overcharging will harm your shaver’s battery. Therefore, it’s useful to look for a shaver that has an auto shutoff facility. A shaver of this type stops taking charge whenever the battery is fully charged. A shaver of this type has a long work life due to the long life of the batteries.

Faq (frequently asked questions)

  • Is rotary electric shaver good for sensitive skin?

Though there are few great models of rotary shavers that are just perfect for sensitive skins, foil shavers are usually chosen over rotary ones by people who are prone to skin irritation and redness. This is due to the fact that foil shavers provide closer shave compared to the rotary shavers.

On the other hand, some rotary models forcefully pull out hairs, which can create some discomfort and irritation. If you do not need daily shaving and you have dense or long beard, choosing rotary shavers won’t be a bad idea.

  • Does foil electric razor work for tough beard?

Foil type razors cut back instead of rotating in a circular pattern. Therefore, these razors pull the tough beards of their roots and nip them off. Many razors from reputable manufacturers use the ‘lift and snip’ process to shave the tough beard.

Rotary shavers are not really a wise choice for people who have dense and tough beard. Choose from high-end foil type electric shavers to get a good shave even if you have tough beard.

  • How to shave your pubic area with a foil electric razor?

For shaving your public hair, you need to wash the area with soap before bringing a shaver into play.

Use a gentle gel and remove the hair from the outskirts first. After that, trim the hair on landing strip. After that, give the entire area an overall trim.

Be careful when you trim the hair in these areas. Things that you will need for shaving your public area are a good foil razor, unscented gel and lotion, a trimmer and a mirror.

  • Foil or rotary! Which shaver gives you better bald shave?

Since foil shavers are usually considered ideal for small hair, choosing a foil hair for a bald shave is advisable.

There are both foil and rotary shavers for bald heads and you can easily shave your head perfectly well with the right tool. All that you need to do is to read reviews of shavers for taking the right decision.

Final word
In a way, the foil vs rotary is a useless debate since choosing a shaver very much depends on personal preferences. With time, both foil and rotary shaver manufacturers have come up with models that have overcome the shortcomings of their predecessors. Therefore, you should do your own research and listen to your heart while choosing an electric shaver.

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