A good beard trimmer is essential for modern bearded folk. Crafting an attractive beard, be it a bushy hipster flex or a more sculpted number, takes time, patience and a good trimmer. Fundamentally you need to ensure you don't look scruffy when dipping in and out of video calls.
Beard trimmers can also be used to cut hair elsewhere, of course – although you might want a pair of the best hair clippers if you’re looking for the smoothest, chromiest dome in town.
If you're looking for regular beard management or the occasional trim, then what is the ideal beard trimmer/shaper for you? As with any premium electronic good, like with the best electric toothbrushes, the best trimmer is the one that fits most tidily into your budget. And a reminder – never pay full price as there are always solid deals to be found.
If you're looking to fully upgrade your grooming routine, then you might want to check out the best body groomer for all-over hair removal, or, if you want to remove your facial hair completely then you'll want the best electric shaver.
The best beard trimmers you can buy today:
The Philips OneBlade is an odd-looking thing, with what appears to be a large Mach 3-style blade instead of the familiar cutting comb (although with the Pro models you get a cutting comb too).
The main selling point here is the absence of razor burn: if you’ve found other trimmers leave your face a fiery red, you will find the OneBlade considerably more gentle. You'll want to stand near the sink, use it in the shower, or keep a cordless vac nearby, mind: the way the head vibrates sends cut stubble all over the place.
The dual-sided blade is designed to cut more precisely than a comb and we find they last about 6 weeks to 3 months before needing to be replaced. That's somewhat less than Philips' claim of 4 months, but the replacement heads aren't especially pricey or hard to find.
The battery runs for 90 minutes on a one-hour charge and it can handle beards up to 10mm via its adjustable comb head. I'd say it is suited to shorter trims on the whole – it's most ideal for those who favour neither beards nor a smooth visage: it does perma-stubble brilliantly.
There are a number of versions of the OneBlade available at Amazon and elsewhere, and particularly if you suffer from facial irritation, they are all excellent.
The hardware of the non-'Pro' versions does have more of a tendency to wear out, however. That's because rather than having an integral, adjustable comb for different lengths, they use interchangeable combs.
The Remington B5 borrows the rotary dial set-up of rivals, which makes adjusting the length of the built-in comb really easy. It also boasts one of the best spread of lengths we've seen in a single comb mechanism, covering 0.4 to 18mm.
When set to its shortest setting, the Remington B5 does a good job of slicing whiskers down to a fairly even trendy perma-stubble, but the large comb does make it difficult to reach tricky spots, like those on neck or just underneath the jaw.
But for AU$60, it feels like a good buy, although it doesn't come with the nose/ear trimmer attachments like rivals we've listed here. Bottom line: it's good for really thick beards but lacks the finesse for shorter or more lavish facial hair designs.
This Braun comes with a huge range and acts as a great all-round trimmer, but it won't break the bank. Similar to the Remington R5, it works on a precision dial with 0.5mm increments. This, along with the short and long beard guide combs give you a choice of 39 different lengths,.
The BT5260 comes equipped with Braun's clever AutoSensing technology, which adjusts the trimmer motor's power according to your beard's thickness - meaning it won't snag or pull at the hair.
It has been known to occasionally clog with thinner head hairs, but it's washable, so should be quick and easy to clean and can be used in the shower.
To cut precision lines on your neck or cheek, you can remove the comb and trim off excess stubble using the blade alone. And there's an additional detail-trimmer attachment for an even closer cut.
Braun promises life-long sharp blades, and even includes a free Gillette Fusion ProGlide manual razor with the BT5260.
I used to carpool for work, and one of my colleagues would always jump in the passenger seat and immediately fire up his electric shaver - something I wasn't happy about until I realised he was leaving his DNA everywhere and framed him for a series of murders. If only he’d bought the Philips, which has an integrated vacuum system to catch most of the facial fallout. It promises to catch 90% of your cuttings (albeit in lab conditions), so that should mean less cleaning up after each cut.
In my experience, you still need to clean up after, just as you do with any other beard trimmer. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that, as with its 'laser-guided' trimmer at #1, Philips has again come up with a trimmer whose 'bonus feature' is a pure gimmick to catch your attention.
On the other hand, also like the laser-trim-o-matic, this is an excellent beard tamer, so long as you aren't too fussed about its headline feature. The lockable cutter has 20 settings from 0.5mm to 10mm and you’ll get around an hour of shaving from a single charge. Also as with the laser one, don’t pay the RRP as it’s frequently available for much less.
The precision dial on the single comb is arguably the Hatteker's party trick, as it allows for a rapid change in hair length without the faff of continuously changing heads.
Aside from that, it's all the usual suspects here: a good array of combs for trimming all sorts of body hair, steel moving and standing blades for a painless shave, a washable body and USB charging for those who travel a lot.
Plus, this doesn't come from one of the fancy big brand names that chuck every conceivable piece of tech at their shavers, so it boasts a very reasonable price tag, too.
While a number of the models on our list are compact enough to fit in your travel wash bag, the Wahl Precision is a much cheaper yet still practical option for a travel trimmer.
Being battery powered, you don't need to worry about different adaptors or power sockets when travelling overseas. And battery charge also makes it perfect for camping.
It comes with a guide comb that locks into 6 different positions between 2mm and 12mm, and features three separate guide combs for cutting lengths of 1.6mm, 3.2mm and 4.8mm.
It might not boast the same power and precision as some of Wahl's more expensive models, but it's still a great addition if you don't fancy taking your everyday trimmer away with you.
How to choose the best beard trimmer for you
When shopping for a beard trimmer there are several things to consider. The first one is length: some trimmers are only suitable for short beards, while others come with a range of heads or guards that can be used for bushy beards.
Most trimmers can be used for body hair and the hair on the top of your head too. But if you want anything other than a clean skull (or a tiny bit of stubble), you'll again want a trimmer that's capable of longer length settings.
Charge time can matter if you’re constantly on the move, and sometimes these things take a few hours to fully juice up. Realistically, that shouldn't be a problem if you only trim once per week or less, but if you suffer from beard maintenance anxiety, you might favour a trimmer with an emergency 'quick charge' feature, giving a full trim after just a few minutes charging.
Watch out for consumables – while many trimmers have self-sharpening blades that last forever, some need oiling, and some even require regular replacement.
As with electric toothbrushes, our biggest tip is: never pay the RRP on higher-end beard trimmers: grooming gadgets are regularly discounted, as reflected in our handy pricing widgets.
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