As body image comes under intense focus thanks to the profound effects of social media, one thing that’s becoming clear is the rising number of the male population taking measures to tame unwanted body hair, whether that’s on the face, armpits, legs, chest or back.
A recent Mintel study found almost half (46%) of men now remove or trim the hair on their bodies, a 10% increase from a similar study just two years prior. It also found that a growing number (57%) of men aged between 16 and 24 prune their pubic hair, up from 40%, while 42% shave their armpits - up from 16%. In fact, it’s estimated that young men remove body hair almost as much as women of the same age.
With these figures in mind, it comes as no surprise that the gadgets designed to buzz the fuzz are becoming increasingly popular, especially the best beard trimmers and best body groomers (also known as body shavers).
If you’ve ever been in the market for either of these devices, you might have discovered just how tricky it can be to tell them apart. It’s true: they are pretty similar, but each has been designed with a specific purpose in mind. So, if you’re wondering what exactly differentiates the two to help you decide which one to go for, you’ve come to the right place.
Beard trimmer vs body groomer: the same but different
Body groomers and beard trimmers are very similar in many ways, with both being comparable in terms of design, size and branding, so it can be hard to know exactly which device is made for what.
One telling factor is the size of the blades. Beard trimmers tend to be smaller to accommodate facial grooming. You might also find that beard trimmers come with more precise attachments - such as adjustable combs - to adjust the cutting length to a specific measurement (down to 0.1mm in some instances). This is to create styling effects like shaping a moustache or goatee - if you’re a sucker for the ‘90s, that is.
A body groomer, on the other hand, usually consists of slightly larger blades and comes with a number of attachments that are set to a specific width to accommodate different areas of the body and to trim body hair without shaving to the skin. Additionally, some brands of body groomers have extendable handle attachments, like an arm, which make it easier for the user to trim or remove unwanted hair on the back, for example, without needing help from some poor sod who probably got emotionally blackmailed into doing it. They are often waterproof, too, for use in the shower.
Beyond that, the generally slimmer and lighter build of a body groomer ensures it is better suited to delicate areas. Some devices even go as far as guaranteeing no snags or cuts on your family jewels, which is always a bonus.
While beard trimmers and body groomers can appear almost identical in appearance, they’re intended to be used in completely different areas, as the name suggests. As a rule of thumb, keep your body groomer from anything below the neck, and the beard trimmer for anything from your neck upwards (but not including your head, as we have explained comprehensively in our Hair clipper vs beard trimmer: what's the difference? article).
Beard trimmer vs body groomer: hygiene
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using a beard trimmer on your body, so you’re more than welcome to give it a go. One thing you should take note of, however, is hygiene – especially if you’re starting from the bottom and working your way up. You definitely don’t want to be trimming back those nose hairs immediately after the, err, you know what.
Nevertheless, most body groomers do also have replaceable heads in the interest of hygiene in case you don’t fancy purchasing two separate devices.
Beard trimmer vs body groomer: the top devices
So now you know the difference between the two grooming gadgets, which one you go for? Well, as we mentioned earlier it’s best to have a device dedicated to the face and one to the nether regions, so here are what T3 considers the best of each category, tried and tested:
The best beard trimmer: Philips BT9000 Prestige
With a steel body, steel blades and heavy-duty rubber grip, the Philips BT9000 Prestige is one classy-looking beard trimmer. It’s not just a looker, though. It boasts an equally classy shave thanks to a robust steel dial that quickly adjusts the blade length from 0.4mm to 5mm. You can even throw on a plastic guard for longer lengths, right up to 10mm.
The best body groomer: Philips Series 7000 body groom BG7025/13
Yes, Philips strikes again and this time in the ‘below-the-neck’ category with the Series 7000 - one of the best body hair removal tools around. Despite premium features such as an integrated trimmer at one end and a close-shaving foil at the other, it doesn't cost very much, and we have to say is quite the bargain, especially for such a versatile device.