Despite the proliferation of hipster beards and whatever the hell is going on with Ben Affleck's face, most of us need a clean shave at least once in a while. Wet shaving is an option, sure, but without the requisite preparation and a steady hand, it's easy to look like you've gone ten rounds with Freddy Krueger.
Electric shavers, whether foil or rotary, give a close, consistent shave with little skin irritation, no gunky mess or the need to replace blades regularly. Most can be used in the shower or bath, too.
When using electric shavers, it's best to move the shaver against the hair grain, using small, slow movements, rather than forcing the shaver through the hair, particularly on your neck. That's how T3 worked it with each of the following electric shavers, helping us to see clearly how these hair-strimming beasts stack up.
One for dapper gents
Braun Series 9 9095cc wet&dry
A premium shaver that looks the business, the Wet&Dry's foil head features four separate cutting elements that top out at 40,000 actions per minute to slice and dice every type of facial hair. This shaver requires little pressure to work through stubble, limiting the chance of skin irritation. The head moves in multiple directions, following the contours of your face, and it can be locked out for awkward areas like under your nose. Post-shave, the alcohol-based clean-and-charge station keeps the head muck-free and the blades lubricated.
One for design freaks
Philips Series9000 s9031
The most lightweight shaver here, the S9031 feels supremely comfortable in the hand. It's powerful, too, meaning it does the hard workto save your face and neck from taking the brunt. Flexible 8x directional heads ensure that no hair escapes, while V-Track precision blades position each hair for optimum cutting, whatever their length. There's also an adjustable click-on stubble trimmer in case you want to keep some light scruff. The SmartClean station keeps the shaver charged, cleaned, lubricated and ready for each shave.
One for stubble aficionados
Babyliss Super Stubble
If the baby-faced look isn't your bag, theSuper Stubble will keep your rugged facial hairtidy. It'll work on your back, chest and other 'personal' grooming areas, too. The comb guide can be adjusted digitally, in 0.2mm increments between 0.4 and 5mm lengths, while the floating head moves smoothly across the face, particularly when your chops are wet. The electrochemically formed blades cut well, but the comb guideclogs easily with longer hair and requires regular cleaning. This is also the only shaver on test that comes with a two-pin to three-pin plug adaptor.
One for budget groomers
Gillette FusionProGlide Styler
Electric shavers can be pricey, but you cansave money with the ProGlide Styler, a neat halfway house between wet and dry shaving. It's primarilya burly wet-shave razor with a rubberised grip for added precision, but with an AA battery installed and the waterproof power trimmer attached,it becomes a stubble slicer with three combs for different lengths. Gillette has even thrown in a precision edging blade. It's not the most efficient or robust option on test, but it's a fraction of the cost of the nearest electric shaver, and it delivers.
One for late risers
Remington HyperFlex Pro
This is the cheaper of our two rotary shaverson test. Each of the three independent cutting heads can float and flex in and out independently to trace the contours of your face, and packs dual-track blades for an enhanced trim, butwe needed to revisit the same facial areas a number of times before achieving a satisfactory cut; longer hair was a chore. The lithium battery takes 90 minutes to fully charge, but the five-minute quick-charge function is super-handy in case you've forgotten to plug it in. The 'charge remaining' display in minutes is a nice touch, too.
One for function over form
The six-direction suspension system ensures that the foil head glides over the skin, leaving triple blades (including 30-degree, polished, sharp-edged inner blades) to keep your shave close. A direct linear motor drives 13,000 cycles per minute and auto-adjusts power depending onthe density of your beard – peace of mind if you're currently rocking a face full of unruly bristles.The shaver styling, LED charge monitor and charging dock are primitive for the price but, like the other electric shavers on test, wet and dry usage and a travel-lock function are welcome.
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