Young guys like to flaunt their facial hair as soon as they can grow it, but do women even like beards? A 2019 study found that “3 times more women think beards are “unattractive” relative to clean-shaven” and that women aged between 18-24 found beards to be particularly unattractive.
Facial hair goes in and out of style, but a clean-shaven look is a true classic! It makes you look younger and cleaner, and there’s no need to fuss over it or put hours into maintaining it. All you just need a good close shave electric shaver and you’re all set.
Back in the old days, you needed to shave with a manual razor to get that crisp clean shaven look. Back then, electric razors simply couldn’t cut close enough and there would always be stubble left over. But nowadays, electric shavers cut as close if not closer than manual razors, making them the perfect option for any man looking to for a low-maintenance clean shaven look.
Read on to learn more about modern electric razors and find out what I think are the best close-shave electric shavers on the market!
Table Of Contents
- Best Close Shave Electric Razor Comparison Table
- The Top Five Close Shave Electric Shavers
Best Close Shave Electric Razor Comparison Table
|Shaver||Shaving Elements||Direction||Running Time||Price|
|Braun Series 9 9290cc||5||10||60 minutes|
|Braun Series 7 790cc||4||8||50 minutes|
|Panasonic ARC5 ES-LV95-S||5||multi flex||50 minutes|
|Philips Norelco 9700||3||8||60 minutes|
|Philips Norelco 8900||3||8||50 minutes|
Foil or Rotary: Which One is Better for Close Shave?
When it comes to electric shavers, you’ve got two options: foil or rotary. Which is better for a close shave?
Foil shavers use oscillating blades that are protected by a perforated cylinder, which is the foil they take their name from. They’re used like manual razors: press them to your face and move up and down, rolling the foils along your skin cut your hair. They can shave closer to the skin than rotary shavers, and the foil protects the skin from the blades, so they’re easier on the skin. However, they struggle when it comes to contours and hairs at odd angles, and they’re also noisier.
Rotary shavers use circular blades, and you move them in a clockwise circle against your face. They’re much better at following contours than foil shavers, they can cut thick hair easier, and they can deal with hair that’s growing in different directions. However, they don’t shave as close as a foil shaver, and they can be rough for people with sensitive skin.
Which one you should pick ultimately depends on your needs and your preferences. Since we’re looking at close shaves, we’ve included more foil shavers, but it would be a disservice to not include any rotary shavers at all.
The Top Five Close Shave Electric Shavers
Now that we know the differences between foil and rotary, let’s get to the shavers themselves. This is our lineup of the five best close shave electric shavers on the market.
When you look at foil shavers, you’ll inevitably run into Braun. They make shavers of all kinds from budget to top-end, and the 9290cc is right up top. The package comes with the shaver itself, its cleaning and charging station, and a travel case.
It’s a sleek piece of silver plastic in front, while the back is black rubber. The dots in the rubber give you enough grip that there won’t be any worry about it falling out of your hand.
Though Braun advertises five shaving elements, the fifth is questionable. On the outside are two of Braun’s OptiFoils, whose foil perforations are hexagonal to better capture hairs. The inside elements are a Direct & Cut trimmer that cuts hairs down to a length manageable by the OptiFoils, and a gold-colored HyperLift & Cut trimmer made for hairs that lie flat against the skin. The fifth is the SkinGuard, which stops the blades from getting too close to the skin, but let’s be honest: It doesn’t cut anything, and shouldn’t be counted.
These four elements are on a floating mount inside the head, which is itself flexible in ten directions. This is an unmatched capability to mold to the contours of your face and thus give you the closest possible shave. There’s also a sliding long hair trimmer on the back, helpful for shaping sideburns.
The lithium-ion battery provides fifty minutes of runtime, and needs an hour in the charging station to regain a full charge. You can monitor battery status on the LED display. Normally it shows you a five-bar indicator, but when you’re down to nine minutes of shaving time, it displays an exact number.
It’s also fully waterproof, so you can do your shaving in the shower, and you can also use it with shaving cream. However, the 9290cc provides such a gentle shaving experience that you can actually skip the shaving cream most of the time.
Its main fault is that it’s fussy. The asking price is already high enough, and its cleaning cartridges also cost quite a bit. And while you can easily use it for wet shaving, you can’t just stick the 9290cc on after you’re done; you have to wash off any residue that’s on the shaver and then dry it off before putting it into the cleaning station.
Fussiness and price aside, the Braun Series 9 9290cc is one of the best close-shave electric razors you can get on the market. If you want a comfortable, effortless shave, nothing beats this model.
Also from Braun, the Series 7 gives up a few of the features you find on the Series 9 for a lower price tag.
The package contents are the same: shaver, cleaning station, and travel case. It still has the same design elements as the 9290cc: silver exterior with a black rubber back for grip, but the execution gives it a different face than its more expensive labelmate.
It’s rather surprising how much it resembles the 9290cc. There are still three shaving elements: two OptiFoils and an ActiveLift trimmer. The cutting elements still float and the head is still flexible, although only in eight directions to the 9290cc’s ten. It doesn’t differ much from the 9290cc in terms of performance. The sliding trimmer is still there, only this time it’s in front.
The main difference is that the 790cc gives you more options to play with. It offers three different shaving modes, letting you choose between more power or more comfort, depending on what you need. There’s also the shaver display on the tail, which shows how much charge there is left in the battery and how clean the shaver is.
Battery life is the same as the 9290cc: 50 minutes active, one hour charging time. There’s also a five-minute quick charge if you need a shave now.
Braun advertises the 790cc as wet shave capable, for a given definition of wet shave: it’s shower-safe and you can use it on wet skin, but it’s not compatible with shaving cream.
There’s relatively few downsides. One is the locking mechanism on the head; it’s a tick fragile, and too much pressure on it breaks the lock. Plus the limitations of the waterproofing mean that you don’t have as many options as other shavers.
None of this takes away from the Braun Series 7 790cc’s competence. If you don’t have enough to get the Series 9 but you still want its excellent performance, the 790cc won’t let you down.
They may be more known for consumer electronics, but in Japan, Panasonic is the brand to go to when it comes to personal grooming. The ARC5 is Panasonic’s top-end foil shaver, and it lives up to that billing.
It comes with the expected contents: shaver, cleaning station, and travel case, but it also includes a charger, lubricating oil, a cleaning brush, and a protective cap for the shaver head. The shaver itself is black and silvery plastic, with a curve to let it fit into your hand nicely. You’ll need a good grip, because of the massive head that houses its cutting elements.
Where Braun’s advertised five shaving elements is questionable, Panasonic lives up to the name. The ARC5 features four foils and a comb blade, working from the inside out. The longest hairs are cut by the comb blade in the middle. The two inner foils lift and cut hairs. The two outer foils have their perforations arranged differently so that they can catch any hairs the inner two foils missed.
The head itself pivots to follow contours, and on the back of the head, there’s a pop-up trimmer for detail work on the sideburns and facial hair. You can also use it to pre-trim long hairs to a length the shaver can handle.
Battery life is comparable to the two Braun models: 45 minutes running from an hour’s charging. You can charge it either by sticking it into the cleaning station or by plugging in the charger. You can monitor battery charge status with the LED display in front, and if needed, there’s also a quick-charge option of three minutes plugged in for five minutes of use.
In terms of downsides, the size of the head works against it when dealing with the tight spaces on your face. Often it’s a struggle to bring it to bear around the mouth and nose, as it barely fits. Plus there’s the cost; that quality doesn’t come cheap.
It does require a heavy initial outlay, but if you can afford it, nothing cuts as close. It’s for good reason that the Panasonic ARC5 is our choice for the best close shave electric shaver.
The other big name in the shaver industry is Philips Norelco, and for good reason: they created the rotary shaver. The 9700 is their top-end option, and we’ll look at what it has to offer.
The box comes with the shaver, the cleaning station, a precision trimmer, a cleansing brush, the power cord, and a travel case. The black body sits nicely in the hand with a rubberized back for better grip.
The V-Track precision blades deliver a closer shave than most other shaves (Philips claims up to 30% closer), and they’re also self-sharpening which provides fewer maintenance issues. The heads can move in eight directions to better move with the contours of the skin.
It’s got two attachments. Pop off the triangle shaver head and snap on the new one. You can choose between a detail trimmer for precision work on your facial hair, or a cleansing brush for a deep facial cleanse with your face wash.
It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery that gives you an hour of working time, and it needs an hour to top up the battery. If you need a shave now, there’s a quick-charge: five minutes plugged in gets you enough time for one whole shave. The interface display up front shows a great deal of information, not just battery level, but also indicators for the travel lock, cleaning level, and even a notification for you to replace the head.
It’s fully waterproof, and wet shave capable as well, so apply the shaving gel with a free hand. You can also use it dry, though it may be a little rough if you have sensitive skin. The travel case lets you carry it around if you need a touch-up throughout the day.
Of course, no product is perfect and for the 9700 the main downsides are price and convenience. All this performance comes at the expense of your wallet, and you may need to stretch your budget a little if you really want it. The included trimmer and brush are no doubt useful, but it can be a pain to pop off the head and snap on the new attachment.
But once you move past these downsides, the Philips 9700 is still an incredible shaver. If you want a rotary shaver that cuts as close as a straight-edge razor, there’s no better choice.
Just like Braun had its top-end and a budget version, so does Philips Norelco. Despite that, the 8900 can still put up a good fight.
It comes with the shaver, the cleaning station, a charger, a travel case, and a beard styler. It’s easily distinguishable from the 9700 by its blue and silver body. The shape and rubberized back are still there, so it’s an easy, secure grip.
The blades are the same V-Track precision self-sharpening blades as found on the 9700, with the same claim of cutting 30% closer. They still have the same eight-directional range of motion, though the heads don’t turn inwards. All this is to say that performance is still the same.
The head can pop off to accommodate the beard styler. It’s a pretty decent trimmer with its own comb, with five adjustable length settings, which is quite useful if you’re maintaining some facial hair.
Its battery is typical: fifty minutes of shaving time from a one-hour charge, and you can use either the cleaning station or the charger to top up the battery. You also get some nice simple LED indicators up front: battery level (in three parts), travel lock, and blade replacement. It’s not as precise as the digital display on the 9700, but it’s quite functional.
It’s fully waterproof, with all the associated bonuses. You can take it into the shower and use shaving cream with it for a more comfortable grooming experience.
For all its excellent performance, it is still a rotary shaver. Philips’ two-blade arrangement has a way of pulling on the hairs, so if you have sensitive skin, best to break out the shaving cream. Plus the shave still isn’t as close as a foil shaver.
The 8900 delivers a shave that’s just as close as its more expensive labelmate at a fraction of the price. If you don’t feel like breaking your budget, the Philips 8900 will give you the close shave you need.
A Consumer’s Guide To Closest Electric Shaver
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing what shaver is best for you. Now that you’ve seen our top picks, here’s a little insight about what to look for in a shaver.
Foil Vs Rotary
We’ve covered this already, but it bears repeating here. Now that you’ve seen examples of both foil and rotary shavers, you then have to consider which works better for you. If you’re looking for the closest possible shave, then foil is the way to go; on the other hand, if you’re more concerned about reach and whether your shaver can cope, then a rotary model does tight spaces better.
Consider the pros and cons of both types to see which one works to your preference.
Resistance To Water
Is it waterproof? Ideally, you want a shaver that’s waterproof. This solves a lot of problems, because you can take a waterproof shaver into the shower with you; you can wash it under a tap, and you can use it with shaving cream. Most high-end models, including all five that we’ve listed above, are waterproof. Don’t underestimate the convenience and time savings of shaving in the shower.
Shaving Capability: Wet Or Dry
Generally, this goes hand-in-hand with being waterproof. Always go for a shaver that’s also capable of wet shaving. This means it’s compatible with shaving cream or similar products. People with sensitive skin are best served by a wet shave because shaving cream reduces irritation. But even if you don’t have sensitive skin, we recommend a wet shave to get the closest possible shave. Shaving cream lubricates the blade and lets the blade cut closer to the skin.
You don’t want a shaver that’ll die mid-session, so good battery life is essential. Most electric shavers have battery lives in the realm of forty-five minutes to one hour. Now, most grooming sessions won’t last that long, so once you figure out how long your usual grooming session lasts, you can also tell how often you’ll need to charge your shaver.
Ease And Convenience
How simple is it to use? If it offers options, how many does it offer and how difficult are they to navigate? Sometimes it’s cleaning modes, and hopefully you can navigate with just buttons. Other times it’s switchable heads. Most high-end shavers will have an additional detail trimmer for precision jobs around facial hair. The thing is that while all of these may be useful, some can get in the way of the actual goal, which is to deliver a close shave. It helps if you don’t have to wrestle with your own equipment to get your shave done.
Design And Ergonomics
How easily does your hand fit around the shaver? How secure is your grip? How easily does it get at tight spaces? Even within type, some shavers are better than others; the Panasonic ARC5’s large head means it can’t deal with tight quarters as effectively as other shavers with smaller heads.
Ultimately this is going to be unique to each person, so it’s best to experiment and try out what you can get your hands on, to see if a shaver will work for you.
Ease Of Cleaning
Aftercare is important in all things, and that applies to your shaver as much as it does to you. All of the models we’ve listed above come with cleaning stations, but there are also versions of them sold without these stations. With these, you then have to consider how easy it is to clean out the shaver. Waterproofing especially helps, since that means it can be washed under a tap.
The Final Cut
Simple is always better! And there’s no simpler facial hair than just going clean-shaven. You’ll look younger, fresher, and cleaner, and the science shows that you’ll have more women looking your way too.
If you’ve still been shaving with manual razors it’s about time you started living in the 21st century. You can get a shave as close and as clean with an electric shaver, and they’re a lot more convenient as well. Whether you want the classic neatness of a foil shaver, or if you prefer the agility of a rotary shaver, there’s a perfect product out there for you. The best close shave electric shaver can help you achieve the look you want, and the products above are a cut above the rest.