Electric razors have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, and, unlike the bulky, uncomfortable and not-all-that-effective buzzers you may have tried in the past, the latest models can easily serve as your primary grooming tool. Even manual razor purists can’t deny the convenience of an electric razor, which lets you shave dry, allowing you the option of a close, comfortable shave without shaving cream (or even a bathroom sink) when you’re in a hurry. And wet-dry models can do both, letting you choose whatever method is most convenient on a given day.
We tested 14 of the most popular electric razors on the market, using them for weeks in our personal shaving routine. We evaluated them on overall shaving performance, ease of use, how easy they were to maintain and clean and their convenience for travel.
The best electric razor overall
The Arc5’s five-blade head gave us one of the closest, smoothest shaves in our testing, and that, along with an assortment of high-end features — an ergonomic handle, useful digital display and an effective cleaning dock — made it the best electric shaver overall in our testing.
The best electric razor on a budget
A no-frills electric shaver that delivers a surprisingly effective shaving experience at an affordable price. It’s dry-shave only, and not as easy to clean as top models, but it gives you an impressively clean shave for the money.
A great splurge electric razor
If you’re looking for a close, smooth and speedy shave and you’re willing to spend a bit more money, the Braun Series 9 will give you that, along with better build quality, an easier to use cleaning dock and an AirPods-style charging case in a luxurious package that’s worth the extra money.
Combining a high-performance shave with straightforward, user-friendly operation, the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 was an easy choice as my top pick. Boasting a five-blade head and cleaning/charging dock, you’re getting the perks of a high-end model without the intimidating price tag.
The Panasonic Arc5 LV95 performed well in my shaving tests, delivering a comfortable and surprisingly fast shave across the board: about 3 minutes total to take care of my 3-day beard. The 5-blade head — four foils and a trimming cutter — worked together to efficiently tackle longer, flat-lying hairs in my 3-day growth test, and gave a really close shave the next day during my maintenance shave. I also appreciated that the pivoting head can be locked in place, which is convenient for precision work.
The ergonomic handle gave the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 a well-balanced, lightweight feel in my hand too, and the textured rubber sides ensured a sturdy grip. The trimmer accessory flips up from the back of the razor head, and I made it easy to clean up my sideburns or stray hairs under my nose or neck.
My favorite feature of the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 — and a great example of its utilitarian design — is the travel lock. A low-profile lever under the power button toggles the lock on and off, with a simple padlock icon to indicate its use. I found this physical control more convenient than the “hold down the power button for 3 seconds” method used by some other razors, and it took any guesswork out of whether it was activated or not.
Cleaning the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 can either be done manually by removing the cassette head, or using the included cleaning station. When cleaning manually under the faucet, a “sonic cleaning mode” vibrates the blades extremely quickly for 20 seconds to better dislodge dirt and hair as you rinse it–a feature that made it noticeably more effective than most other razor models. If you prefer a more set-it-and-forget-it method, simply pop the razor into the cleaning station and select the ”clean” mode.
This process takes about 10 minutes and although it’s much louder than I expected, I found that the competing Braun stations were equally noisy. The main drawback to the Panasonic cleaning station is that it uses an open reservoir into which you pour a mix of a detergent packet with water, as opposed to using resealable pods like Braun. This means that if you decide to travel with a Panasonic cleaning station, you’ll have to dump out the detergent, which is not ideal.
The digital display of the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 is simple and provides all of the information you need at a glance. A circular battery level indicator lets you know how long you have before the razor needs a recharge, and a cleaning mode icon tells you when the sonic cleaning mode is initiated. This display also features an automatic timer, which lets you know exactly how long your shaving session lasted (handy for testing, though it may not have much of an impact on your daily routine).
While the Panasonic Arc5 LV95 isn’t exactly cheap, the user-friendly design, great performance and comfortable shaving experience make it worth the price.
I’ll admit that I had my doubts on unboxing the Remington F5-5800, but as soon as I started shaving with it, I understood why it’s been such a popular razor for so long. Although it has an unconventional shape and lacks the sleek, modern look of more recent, higher-end models, the Remington F5-5800 delivers a surprisingly effective shaving experience at a fraction of the price.
The curved body was a little awkward to hold at first, but I quickly came to appreciate how it naturally placed the blade head in a convenient position for shaving. This design, combined with a pivoting head, made it really easy to comfortably maneuver around the contours of my jaw. Although the head lacks any side to side movement, I never felt limited in the flexibility department, so we don’t think this is a drawback, and a razor doesn’t need to offer 360-degree pivoting to give you a good shave. Our splurge pick, the nearly flawless Braun Series 9 Pro, also only provides back and forth pivoting.
Its three-blade head — two foils and a single trimming element — gave a close, really comfortable shave, even on my thick, 3-day beard. It handled my maintenance shave easily as well, and the pop-up trimmer was perfectly adequate for finishing off any hard to reach hairs and evening up my sideburns.
The Remington F5-5800 lacks a display screen, but a row of LEDs clearly display the battery level in 20-percent increments. Although it can be cleaned with water, the Remington F5-5800 is not a wet-dry shaver, which does limit its usefulness a bit. But a major plus, and a feature not found on many other razors, is its ability to operate when the charging cord is plugged in, so you’re not out of luck if you’ve forgotten to charge.
My major complaint with the Remington F5-5800 is that it feels flimsy compared to more expensive razors — the build quality of the head and blade setup doesn’t feel up to the same level as our overall pick, and some of the functional details aren’t as well thought out. The blade cover doesn’t use any latch or lever mechanism for removal, instead requiring you to grip and pull it off for cleaning, which is not always easy with wet or slippery fingers. Inside, the individual blades were also not fixed to the unit itself, and would fall out when I opened it. These blades were simple to put back in place and stable in use, but the arrangement made cleaning more inconvenient than with the other models we tested.
Given this, we don’t know if the Remington F5-5800 can offer the long-term durability of our top picks, but it does have a solid reputation, and if you’re looking for a cheap, effective dry-shaving razor and don’t need a bunch of bells and whistles, it is a great choice.
If you want the closest, most comfortable — and speediest — shave and you’re not concerned about spending quite a bit to get it, the Braun Series 9 Pro is a great choice. It’s clearly a high-quality tool, the latest in a series that the company has been developing for years, with an obvious focus on providing a superior shaving performance.
The Series 9 Pro has a solid feel with rubber sides and a textured thumb grip that make it easy to maintain control as you shave, and made us worry a lot less about accidentally dropping it into the sink or on the counter during use. First, it seems unlikely, and second, it feels built to survive any minor mishap. It felt like a better-built tool than even the other ultra-high-end razor we tested, the Panasonic Arc6.
My favorite feature of the Braun Series 9 Pro is its multifunctional blade setup, which makes it one of the more versatile razors I tested. With two foils, a standard trimming element, and a “ProLift” trimmer, the Braun Series 9 Pro is designed to capture and trim both short and long hairs, as well as awkwardly angled hairs.
The blades aren’t just there for show — the Braun really delivers on shave speed and quality, I was most surprised at how well, and more importantly, how fast these blades worked, especially during my 3-day beard test. I was able to completely shave my 3-day beard in about a minute and 30 seconds, noticeably faster than the still speedy Panasonic Arc5 LV95, which clocked in at nearly 3 minutes. It was no surprise that this blade setup also made for one of the most comfortable shaves in my testing, with zero irritation issues.
You can clean the Braun Series 9 Pro either by popping off the cassette cover and rinsing it under water, or using the cleaning station. Unlike a lot of other models that required a frustrating amount of tugging and squeezing to remove their cassette covers, the Braun Series 9 Pro features two release buttons on either side of the head that allow you to pop it right off. This convenient and functional design (it reattaches with a nice solid “click” too), only added to my confidence in its overall construction.
The charging dock/cleaning station ensures that the razor is easy to grab whenever you need it, and you never have to worry about plugging and unplugging a separate power cord every time you want to charge it.
The dock is easy to use, too. The included cleaning cartridge was simple to slide into place, and made things less messy to set up than the dock used with the Panasonic Arc5, which required us to mix our own cleaning solution.
Once you’re set up, you simply place the razor into the charging dock, press the start button and that’s it. The razor automatically chooses the intensity level of cleaning required. The unexpected noise level — it’s loud — of the cleaning mode was the only real drawback to the Braun Series 9 Pro, although cleaning only took a few minutes.
The Braun Series 9 Pro also includes a “power case”, an upgraded version of the zippered storage case offered by other razors that works a bit like the charging cases you’re probably familiar with from Apple AirPods and other true wireless headphones. The magnetic lid and sturdy, hard-sided design of this case not only protects the razor during transport, but provides extra power if the razor’s battery runs low. I also really appreciated the dedicated mount for the small cleaning brush, the only razor in my testing pool to offer this.
For someone who wants their morning routine to be as efficient as possible, without sacrificing comfort or performance, the Braun Series 9 Pro could definitely be worth the investment.
If you love using a manual razor, and relish your morning ritual, no, you probably don’t need an electric razor. But, if you find that you don’t always have time for a manual shave, dislike the high cost of cartridges, or you share a sink with a disorganized roommate, an electric razor can make your routine easier.
The most obvious benefit of an electric razor is its ability to dry shave your face. This means that unlike cartridge or safety razors that tether you to a sink and water supply, electric razors let you shave anywhere, which is great if you’re running late for work you can complete your morning shave anywhere: in the parking lot before walking into work, an office restroom, or an airport bathroom after a red-eye flight. (We’ve even seen commuters shaving while they’re stopped at red lights, but we don’t recommend it.)
Those who want to avoid nicks and cuts or razor bumps will also appreciate the safety of an electric razor. While they can still cause some razor burn if used incorrectly, their blades don’t actually come in contact with your skin, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get nicked or scratched, and since they cut your facial hair slightly proud of the skin’s surface rather than flush like a manual razor, you’re less likely to get razor bumps from ingrown hairs if you have coarse, curly facial hair.
But even if you prefer to use your favorite shaving cream or gel, most electric razors are “wet/dry” models, and the higher-end models we tested are waterproof and can even be used in the shower. Wet shaving with an electric razor doesn’t provide quite the same satisfying feel as using lather with a manual razor, however — instead of removing foam and hair in uniform strokes, you’re just kind of moving the foam around your face as you go. You’ll get the job done, but don’t expect the same sort of ritual.
Electric razors have a bit of a learning curve, but once you understand how their blades work, and take the time to read their instruction manuals, they’re pretty straightforward.
Foil razors have thin metal screens that allow your facial hairs to slip through, where they’re cut by a series of small blades vibrating back and forth. Longer hairs can have difficulty entering these small holes, which is why most foil razors also feature a trimmer element with a larger opening. Rotary razors use the same basic concept, but use circular spinning blades and covers that allow beard hairs to slip through. They don’t cut as close as a manual razor — they trim the hair at the inner surface of the foil, so a bit proud of the skin surface — but today’s foils are very thin to begin with, and multiple elements do a thorough job.
When shaving with a foil razor, you’ll want to position the head at a 90-degree angle to your face, and use light pressure to run it against the grain of your beard. Use your other hand to stretch the skin tight, giving the razor as much tight, flat skin as you can. Your beard grain can change around your neck, so you may need to change your stroke direction in order to capture and trim those hairs.
With the foil razors we tested, a mix of vertical and horizontal strokes with any of the razors we tested helped smooth out any stubborn areas with rotary models. For rotary razors, circular strokes are recommended.
For especially hard to reach areas like directly under your nose, stubborn long hairs you just can’t seem to cut, and creating straight sideburns, use the trimmer tool.
Regardless of the type of razor you use, make sure to use gentle pressure at first, to avoid causing irritation or razor burn, which you can still get even through an electric razor’s foil if you push down excessively to catch stubborn growth.
To choose the best razor for you, the most important factor to consider is your personal shaving routine and frequency.
If you’re a strict daily shaver, you can probably get away with a simpler — and usually cheaper — model.
The situation is different if you aren’t an everyday shaver. Electric razors can struggle with longer growth since longer hairs have trouble making their way through the foil. So if you shave infrequently, you’ll benefit from a razor that includes at least one trimming blade in addition to the foil blades. While the foils are best-suited for dealing with short stubble, these trimming blades have a larger opening–perfect for capturing long or low-lying hairs.
You should also think about whether or not you want a razor that includes a cleaning station. While most electric razors are easy to clean yourself by simply popping off the head cover and running under the faucet, if you shave daily, the frequency of this process can be a pain. A dedicated cleaning station uses a solution to thoroughly clean your razor head at the push of a button. These stations can be noisy, and add to the overall price, but they do all the work for you, and most double as a charging dock as well.
When it comes to razor type, I personally didn’t feel much difference between the performance of foil vs rotary models. My research does point towards rotary razors delivering a slightly less-close shave though, and can be slightly more irritating to those with sensitive skin.
We ran each razor through a comprehensive testing process to better understand their specific differences and accurately compare one vs another. It’s important to note that since everyone’s skin and hair type are different, personal preference will be more subjective with electric razors than other products. I did my best to use my personal experience as more of a comparison tool, instead of concrete fact in regards to comfort and skin irritability. It’s also important to remember that my testing window was relatively brief, and that it can take up to 3 weeks to fully see how your skin reacts to a razor. I will use my long-term testing results to update this article.
Since a major selling factor of electric razors is their convenience, it’s important that they’re easy to use. Straightforward operation not only translates into a quicker shave–essential for mornings when time is an issue–but a safer one as well. A razor that’s hard or challenging to use is more likely to result in improper technique that results in skin irritation. I evaluated each model’s overall usability and ease of use, noting if the operational controls seemed unnecessarily complicated, or if any display screens were too cluttered or vague to be useful. I thoroughly reviewed each razor’s instruction manual as well, evaluating it on how well it explained the specific technique to use the razor properly, as well as how to use any additional features.
To test the shaving capability of each razor, I first grew a 3-day beard and shaved each side of my face with a different razor. I compared how effectively each razor fared with these longer hairs, specifically if they struggled and needed several passes to complete the job. I then used the same razors the next day to judge how they worked as a daily “maintenance” tool. During these tests I noted how the razors felt in my hand, how comfortable the head and blades felt on my face, and how close the overall shave felt when I was finished. I also noted their ability to easily maneuver and access challenging areas like under my nose or around my mouth. If applicable, I also tested each razors “wet-shave” function by shaving with shaving cream.
After my shaving tests, I cleaned each razor according to their specific cleaning instructions. I noted whether or not removing the razor head was easy or frustrating, and how effectively their small brushes swept away debris. I also evaluated the ease of use and overall performance of any cleaning stations, noting any issues with loading cleaning detergent, noise levels, and cleaning mode times.
Since electric razors are touted for their travel convenience, I compared the type and quality of their travel locks and storage cases, as well as their overall size and weight. Finally, I packed all 14 razors into my luggage for a cross-country flight, for a real-world test of their usefulness on the road.
I really enjoyed the close, comfortable shave I got with this compact, inexpensive rotary razor, but the cluttered design and “light stimulation” LEDs seemed at best more trouble than they were worth and at worst just counterproductive. These three LED’s can be switched from blue (to, the company claims, reduce the appearance of acne) to red (which Mowbie claims can rejuvenate the skin), or switched “off” for a standard shave. While using the LEDs, the manual directs you to “keep the device in the same area for 3 minutes at a time for maximum benefits,” which seemed contrary to best practices for an effective shave. A disclaimer on the Mowbie website didn’t inspire much confidence in the effectiveness of these lights either. All that said, while the lights don’t seem worth it, I loved the compact size, light weight, and comfort of the rotary blades, which tackled my 3-day growth and maintenance shaves equally well.
The bright yellow color of this wet/dry Wahl shaver is a refreshing alternative to black and silver options (and makes it easy to find in your bag if you take it with you on the road), and it’s affordable. It wasn’t comfortable to shave with, however, and struggled to cut longer, low-lying neck hairs during my 3-day shave test. It also doesn’t have a visual battery level indicator, just a single “low battery” LED to let you know when it’s running low. That said, its ergonomic rubber grip and thick plastic body give it a nice heavy-duty feel, so along with the bright color it is a practical option for travelers who keep it ready in a suitcase or commuters who want something for the glovebox — it just won’t necessarily give you the closest, most comfortable shave. Plus it has a 5-year warranty too, the longest of any razor I tested.
The Panasonic Arc4 wet-dry model was popular option several years ago, and remains on the market, but advancements in design and technology ultimately put more current models ahead of it on my list. The four cutting elements provided a comfortable, close shave in my testing, especially on longer neck hairs, although the bulky head required a bit of a learning curve to use comfortably. This razor is really easy to clean too, just pop off the cassette and run it under the faucet. I also appreciated the physical travel lock, which I feel is just easier to use than models that require an extended press of the power button to activate. It’s a good razor still, but if you want a slimmer head with the same cutting power it’s worth stepping up to a newer Panasonic or getting the more advanced Braun Series 7 7071cc.
This multifunctional device is an all-in-one small bath or travel solution, and features a detachable handle, allowing you to swap out the razor head for the included nose/ear trimmer or toothbrush attachments. Although I appreciated its minimal design and straightforward operation, I found the razor attachment lacking in function and performance. It wasn’t able to shave as close as the other options I tested, and the fixed head was less comfortable to maneuver around my jaw. Even though I probably wouldn’t recommend this as your primary razor, it could certainly be convenient as a travel option, especially since it include a high-quality and roomy storage bag to keep all the extra pieces organized.
I loved the compact size and comfortable, ergonomic handle of this razor, and the pivoting head gave a great shave during testing. The main drawback of this model is the design of the cleaning/charging station, which automatically initiates a cleaning cycle every time you place the razor inside to charge. The surprisingly loud cleaning cycle makes this especially annoying. You can also charge the razor by plugging it into the cord itself, but this does defeat half the purpose of the dock itself. The instruction manual was also inexplicably vague, using basic illustrations and almost zero written instructions. (I also tested the Braun Series 7 7085cc, which is identical to, but is black instead of silver.
This Andis razor has a solid, high-quality feel and along with the Andis Profoil Shaver, received high praise from my barber. I personally had issues with its ability to shave longer neck hairs during my testing, which was especially inconvenient due to the lack of a separate trimmer. The head cover was also really difficult to remove for cleaning, and took a few minutes of tugging to finally pry it off. I did appreciate the slick minimal look though, and the magnetic head cover really makes it feel like a high-end tool.
The unique blade design of the Philips Norelco OneBlade made it one of the most enjoyable razors I tested. Its compact wet-dry head is even smaller than the one on the manual razor I usually use, allowing me to clearly see my shaving area as I went. This combines the convenience of a dry shave with the precision and satisfaction of a manual shaver. This narrow blade does require a few more passes than traditional electric razors, but since its essentially a high-performance trimmer, you won’t have to go over the same area multiple times. It did give a slightly less close shave than multi-blade razors, making it better suited to precision trimming and 2-3 day shaves. A multi-blade option would probably be a better choice for daily users.
I was really impressed with the performance of this little razor, and the enthusiastic recommendation from my barber gave me confidence that it’s durable enough to last a long time. Even though it lacks the pivoting head of higher-priced models, the flat shape, staggered foils and practically weightless body made this razor easy to angle around the contours of my face. It’s not waterproof though, so you won’t be able to wet shave or clean this razor under the faucet. That said, if you’re looking for a no-frills, dry-shave razor, stop looking and just buy this one.
If price is no object, and you want a high-performance tool that looks and feels like the Ferrari of razors, the Panasonic Arc 6 is probably what you’re looking for. Its six-blade head (the most of any electric razor) gave an efficient and close shave, and the ultra-smooth head movement had no trouble traversing the contours of my jaw. Although this blade variety and flexibility makes the Panasonic Arc 6 well-suited to tackle a wide variety of hair lengths and types, it would probably be overkill for everyday shavers. Keep in mind that our “splurge” pick, the Braun Series 9 Pro, does a similarly great job and can be had for about $150 less.
This rotary shaver was a real joy to use, and I was surprised at how well its relatively bulky head was able to reach tighter areas, like under my nose and lips. It also features smartphone connectivity and a mobile app, which monitors your shaving data and provides tips and feedback on your pressure and technique. This app seemed like overkill and likely will be for most, but I could see it being useful for a first-time shaver, or those trying to diagnose the cause of a shaving-related skincare issue. Although the cleaning station is much more compact than other models I tested, it was a bit messy to use, and also does not double as a charging dock.