The best electric shaver 2018: fix up, blades sharp

Slay that stubble and barber that beard with the best rotary and foil electric shavers available to man

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Not all men shave every day any more. Well, not their faces anyway. Some men barely shave at all. 

But for the old guard who prefer a smooth appearance, and younger men turning away from the beard, an electric razor is just the thing.

What is the best electric shaver?

Having tried all these models, it's actually quite hard to differentiate between the most expensive, 'flagship' models. I tried them on a daily basis, after three days and – in a bid to be more scientific – I grew a bit of a beard and then trimmed it to 3mm with one of our best beard trimmers. 

However, for overall quality of shave at a non-crazy price, I'd personally recommend new flagship Phillips 9000 Series model S9211/26.

If you really want the absolute best electric shaver, go for the current Braun flagship, the Series 9 'Titanium' model 9296CC. The leap in price doesn't equate to a much better shave, but it is a bit better, especially on the third day of growth. 

How to buy the best electric razor for you

If you want to stay smooth, without facial irritation, you simply MUST go high-end when electric razor shopping.

That's because, despite decades of product development, and billions spent in research, they've really only recently started to crack it, and even then, only on the flagship devices from each of the half dozen brands that dominate the sector.

This is particularly true if you don't shave every day – you'd be better off using a chainsaw or angry dog to remove three-day growth than a cheaper electric razor. Irregular shavers who don't need to be baby smooth might be better off with a beard trimmer anyway. 

The good thing about electric razors is there isn't really a 'correct' way of using them, unlike bladed razors, but if you suffer irritation easily, a wet and dry model could prove a boon. You can use them with running water, or even shaving cream. 

Particularly when it comes to Phillips shavers and, to a slightly lesser extent Braun, there are usually at least three versions of each shaver. You get the same basic electric razor model in each but with a different array of accessories, from a travel pouch to automatic cleaning and charging stations, for cleaning and sterilising your shaver with alcohol-based cleaning solution.

Please be aware that to use these stations properly means you will need to buy replacement cartridges of cleaning fluid, FOREVER. You could, of course, not bother with that and just pop the top off and rinse the blades under the tap after every use. Depends how hung up on hygiene you are.

You will also need to change the blade cartridge every year or so.

The best electric razors available to buy today

1. Philips Series 9000 S9211/26

The best shaver a man can actually get

Battery life: 50 minutes from a 60-minute charge
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly comfortable to use+Removes a day's stubble with minimal effort+Not bad at longer stubble either
Reasons to avoid
-More effort called for on your neck and jawline

The old Series 9000 from Philips was good but definitely lagged behind Braun's Series 9. By upgrading the blades, however, Philips has now sprung ahead in the facial depilation arms race.

This is a rotary shaver and so you use it by rubbing it on your face in a circular motion. This feels totally unnatural, to me at any rate. Since the 9000 Series makes a very quiet noise – almost like its battery is running out – and is very low-irritation, you might expect it to be totally ineffectual but the stubble vanishes as if by magic, even if you've got a few days' worth.

That's particularly true on your face. In trickier areas – your jawline and below – you'll have to rub a bit longer although even then, it doesn't cause much at all in the way of soreness.

The clip-on 'beard trimmer' (realistically, it's just for making sure your sideburns are straight) is quite good I don't really like the fact it's not permanently attached as on most other razors. Then again, who other than ageing mods uses a beard trimmer like this these days anyway?

• There are a number of variants on the Philips Series 9000 but conveniently Amazon has all of them on a single page here. Clearly the best value is the one without a cleaning and charging station, but you might fancy the Star Wars one…

2. Braun Series 9 9296cc

Best shaver for three-day growth

Battery life: 50 minutes from 60-minute charge
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Best electric shave you can get on longer stubble
Reasons to avoid
-Very similar performance to Philips but usually a bit pricier

There is not a lot in it, but if you shave every day, or at least 4-5 times per week, I reckon the Philips is a better bet than this excellent electric shaver from Braun. 

If you're a two shaves per week guy you might prefer this as it is slightly better on longer stubble patches. That's thanks to the titanium tipped blades that give it its 'gold-painted' appearance.

Braun used to be noted in its glory days for producing perfect combinations of form and function, using cutting-edge design techniques. Now I'm not saying Dieter Rams would necessarily be upset by the design of this but, while its functionality is hard to argue with, aesthetically the 9 Series is quite lacking. It looks and feels plasticky, and the way it slots into its charging and cleaning base is not very satisfying. 

But then again, so what? The Series 9 is light, ergonomically sound, waterproof to 5 metres and easy to clean. As with its Philips rival, the 50-minute battery life, from just a one-hour charge, is great. The slide-up beard trimmer is nothing to write home about, but at least it's always there, unlike Philips' clip-on one.

• There are a number of variants on the Braun Series 9 but conveniently Amazon has all of them on a single page here. We think it's pretty obvious which one is the best value!

3. Panasonic ES LV95

Samurai-bladed premium model

Battery life: 45 minutes
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Superb shaving+Build quality feels excellent
Reasons to avoid
-Kinda chunky

Deploying an entirely ridiculous array of five blades, this is another wet–and-dry winner.

The Multi-Flex 3D pivoting head and Quick Lift Foil help make shaving smooth and almost enjoyable. This is particularly true if you've got a few days of growth. The Panasonic ES LV95 will actually sense this, and slow down its motors to methodically lawnmower it.

In all honesty, I couldn't tell any difference in terms of comfort when this deployed, but if you have very sensitive skin, you might find it useful. 

More importantly, overall shaving performance was very good indeed. I felt like the bulk of it made the Panasonic less enjoyable to use, but I am pretty sure you'd get used to it, if it were your only shaver, rather than you were testing half a dozen of the buggers.

Overall, there is very little to tell between this and its premium rivals, but a slightly shorter battery life and higher RRP moved it down the list. If the best price above is a DEAL, however, I'd strongly recommend this.

5. Remington XR1400

Novel, budget shaver

Battery life: 45 minutes
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Compact, ergonomic shape+Decent value+Good for heads too!
Reasons to avoid
-Can't compare to pricier shavers

A rather old-fashioned design at heart, this is short and stubby and designed to be pressed sideways into your beard rather than upwards. It's a little reminiscent of an updated version of the electric razors of the 1950s.

Given its low price, this Remington is not a bad performer by any means, especially if you shave every day. 

It's also, if Amazon reviews are any judge, a highly popular choice amongst the bald community, with its easily-gripped form making for comfortable and effective head shaving.

6. Braun Cool Tec CT2cc

Best razor with a fridge in it

Battery life: 45 minutes
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Remarkable cooling tech+Decent shaving
Reasons to avoid
-A tad gimmicky perhaps

Another more affordable model with a novelty twist, the CT2 actually has an electro-mechanical ceramic cooling strip built into it.

The result is that within seconds of being turned on, the foil chills to near zero, 'reducing irritation'.

Now, while this technology is really amazing, I am not sure it really leads to the shave being any better, but if you suffer very bad skin irritation as a result of heat, it could be worth a try.

Overall performance is perfectly acceptable, although not on par with the more premium shavers.