The most notorious company for men’s electric razor is Braun. It is a German company that exists already 100 years. They engineer their products in Germany and you get German quality.
Braun produces razors with a foil head (see later about this).
There are a lot of models of Braun shavers, but they all belong to a serie (level, category).
Serie 3 is the entry level (the most economic one). Serie 9 is the most advanced level. In between there are mainly Serie 5 and Serie 7. Inside a particular Serie, the models differ on less substantial ground, for example one may include a travel case and the other no, one may include more trimmers or a cleaning dock station.
See Braun model 7071cc on Amazon
If you are looking for a good electric shaver, that will last for several years and do a good job at shaving, then one of the best option is to buy a razor from Serie 7 (preferably the newest model). They are produced with high quality and they give a very good shave. The razor usually costs less than 200 $ on Amazon. The next level, the serie 9, is a step more expensive and has features that you may not need, like for example knowing with precision how much battery is left (the simpler models just begin to blink, when you need to recharge).
So, what does this razor (except shaving well) :
- 360 Degree adaptation for a smooth shave, even in tricky areas.
- AutoSense technology reads and adapts power to beard density. Shaving even dense beards.
- Li-Ion Battery for up to 3 weeks of shaving (50 min). 5 min quick charge for 1 full shave.
- 100% waterproof electric razor for Wet & Dry use
- Included: 4in1 SmartCare Center (a cleaning unit) , Beard Trimmer attachment.
So, yes, you can use this razor also on wet face. See my recommendations on shaving, later on.
- If the beard trimmer is important to you, take a look at model 7075cc Series 7 and at model 7085cc Series 7.
- If you don’t want the cleaning station, take a look at Model 7020s Series 7.
- If you want the most advanced Braun electric shaver, take a look at the Serie 9. Model Braun Series 9 9330s
See Braun model 3040s on Amazon
Serie 3, is the entry level but the razors still make a very good job at shaving (I have one and I am satisfied). Compared to Serie 7, this model is more fragile (the button, plastic…), so you should be gentle with it. The advantages of this model is that it is quieter, lighter (0.78 lbs, 0.35 kg), and cheaper. This could be a good option for travelling.
This razor has the capability to shave also on wet (water, foam or gel), if you prefer, over shaving on dry skin (see what I wrote about it later on).
It has a Trimmer on the back. The rechargeable battery can last 45 minutes and the power cord is suitable for international travel (110-240 V).
- If the beard trimmer is not important to you, take a look at Model Series 3 310s This model has no trimmer. The battery lasts a little bit less between charges.
See Braun model 5050cs on Amazon
If you want to upgrade from Serie 3, but keep it cheaper than Serie 7, then there is the Serie 5. This model has a lot of trimmers and a design that allows to wash the head with regular water, without detaching the head.
- Battery for up to 3 weeks of shaving (50 min). 5 min quick charge for 1 full shave
- 100% waterproof electric razor for Wet & Dry use
- Included: Charging Stand, Precision Trimmer attachment, Body Groomer attachment
- If the beard trimmers are less important to you, take a look at model 5018s Series 5
- There is also a Serie 6, which is a step upwards. Model Series 6 6020s
Option 4 : Other companies using the same head system (a foil head)
Braun has competitors in the “foil head” market. There is the Japanese Panasonic and the American Remington.
A popular model of Remington : Remington F5-5800. It is a very simple model, but a popular one, with good reviews.
Option 5 : A rotary head – Philips company
The big competitor of Braun is the Dutch company Philips. In the U.S they are known as Norelco-Philips.
Philips don’t produce “foil shavers” like Braun, they produce shavers with a rotary system in the head. People prefer one system over the other (for the ones who had the chance to experience the two systems). I tried once to switch to the rotary system (Philips) and returned to the foil one (Braun).
The Difference between a foil head and a rotary one.
Look at the 2 pictures. One is a foil and the other a rotary.
The foil is a long net with tiny holes. The hairs penetrates the little holes and the blades inside cut them. The blades move only on one plane (let’s say up and down). In the rotary head on the other hand, the blades move in a circle.
Braun is the prominent company using a Foil head.
Philips is the prominent company using a Rotary head.
Which one is better ?
Some claim that it depends on the type of hair and the part of the face that need to be shaved (apparently, one system has advantage over the other on particular areas of the face).
I would recommend you to try first the Foil head. I am a fan of the Foil head. I have owned once a rotary head and returned to the Foil head. It is more gentle and precise.
My personal recommendations for a good shaving
Changing the head
The electric razor may last many years, but you need to switch the head every 1 or 2 years. There is simply erosion of the tiny blades and they begin to do a bad job in shaving. Sometimes, when you change the head you see a dramatic improvement, and you realise that you didn’t change the head in the last 3 years. Sometimes, the head get damaged on a certain point of the fragile net (maybe, you were pressuring too hard on the skin) and then you must switch the head, because otherwise it will “catch” your skin and hurt you.
Unfortunately, the price of a replacement head is high compared to the price of the whole electric razor (it is like with the price of the ink in printers), I guess that the companies know that once we own an electric razor, we will usually prefer to switch the head instead of buying a new model.
Anyway, you can find a replacement head on Amazon. Make sure that the head is suitable for your specific razor model (the models are specified on the head package). For Braun, a head is usually suitable for many models within the same serie.
For example, look at a replacement head for a shaver from Serie 7, on Amazon.
Wet or Dry ?
Almost all modern electric razors are adapted also for a wet shaving, even the most simple ones, like in the Serie 3 of Braun. The fact that it can be done, doesn’t mean you should do it. There are people (like me) who prefer a dry shaving. In fact, if you are willing to wet your face and put foam, I don’t see why not use a simple manual blade instead of an electric shaver 😉 An electric shaver is basically for a fast and lazy operation, otherwise, a simple mechanical disposable blade (Bic, Gillette) gives a closer shave, compared to an electric shaver.
Still, you can try to use your electric shaver on wet face (or gel, or foam) and see if it works better for you and if you like it.
Shave first thing when you wake up
If you decide to shave dry (like me), then I found out that there is a dramatic difference between an electric shave from the bed, the moment I wake up, than if I wait for a long time (or worse, wash my face). When you are after a sleep, there are tiny wrinkles on the skin and that helps an electric shaver to catch the hair. If you wash your face (and then dry it), then your skin is smooth and the electric shaver will do a worse job.
Get the help of a simple, disposable razor (Gillette, Bic…)
Mechanical, disposable razors (like the Gillette 2 blades etc) are intended to be used with shaving foam. If you will try to cut your beard with it, on dry, it will hurt and you will begin to scream in the morning.
I found that there is an exception : You can first use your electric shaver for a few minutes, then for the final touch, you can pass on your skin with a disposable razor (on certain big areas like the neck and the cheek and not so much on corners). In this case, it will not hurt, on dry skin, because the electric shaver has already made a first cut on the hair. So you get like this the advantage of 2 systems. The disposable blade complete and improve the shaving.
I guess a disposable razor should be used anyway for the back of the neck. It is easier to control than using an electric shaver.
Cleaning the shaver
In most modern shavers, the head can be cleaned with tap water (a gentle flow). Usually, you need to detach the head for that (read the instructions of your specific model). This simple washing operation keep the blades clean and ready for the next use (a cleaning is needed because there are remains of hairs in form of powder). However, there are people (like me) who just do a strong “Fuuuu” (blow of air from the mouth) on the detached head, instead of washing it. It is less perfect, but it takes less time.
The sophisticated models contain also a cleaning dock station, with a special cleaning liquid. In order to use these stations you need to (constantly) buy new cartridges that contain the cleaning liquid. So if you are a perfectionist, use this cleaning station for your shaver. If you are not a perfectionist then just throw away the cleaning station, the moment you receive the package and use the electric razor (usually, people don’t throw immediately the station, they keep it in the closet without use 😉
Is it possible to use the Trimmer of the “face electric shaver” in order to make a haircut on the head ?
No. I am a big traveller and unfortunately I have to carry with me 2 devices. One for face hair (the electric razor we are talking about here on this page) and another device for head haircut (simply a 0 mm haircut). I would be happy to carry only one device for both operations, but it turns out the trimmer that is necessary for the head is different (the density and type of hair is different). I asked professionals about this issue.
It is also possible that the companies who are producing electric razors, are not really interested in making available two functions in one device.
Different people, different skin, different hair
If you will look at the comments on Amazon, regarding a specific model of electric shaver, you will note that some people are very happy and report an excellent shave and others are dissatisfied with the quality of shaving. One reason could simply be that people have different skin and different hair. So for certain persons an entry level razor (like Serie 3 Braun) will do an excellent job and for other persons only a more advanced model will cut well. Some skins are more adapted for wet shaving and others to dry shaving. You need to experience and see what works best for you.
My little adventure of searching an electric razor in Vietnam, during the Corona crisis in year 2021, and what we can learn from it
I happened to be in Vietnam, when the Corona hit the world. Vietnam was a very good place to be, compared to the rest of the world. But we are talking here about shavers : I entered to Vietnam with an electric shaver Braun Serie 5. At some point I noticed that the net of the head was damaged on a certain part and in that case you need to replace it because otherwise it hurts your face during the shaving.
If it would have happened to me in Europe, I would simply go to a big department store and buy a new head for my Braun Serie 5. But, I was not in Europe, I was in Vietnam and it was already more than 1 year that there were no tourists in Vietnam. I was in Saigon, the biggest city in Vietnam and I began to visit stores. To my surprise, I could not find any electric shaver, at least not one of a known mark. It turns out the Vietnamese (and probably most Asians) don’t need to shave in the morning and they don’t need an electric shaver. There were no more tourists in Vietnam and there was no need to import shavers.
After visiting a lot of stores I found one that had a new Braun from Serie 3 and even replacement heads for it. I bought it of course (the price was 3 times the price of Amazon because there are high taxes on this type of product in Vietnam) and then I threw away my razor Serie 5
To my surprise, the simple shaver Serie 3 was shaving extraordinarily well and in much shorter time than with my previous Braun Serie 5. I realised that I had my previous shaver for already 3 years and I have never switched the head. It is a slow process that you don’t notice, but with time the blades are getting less efficient. So it is a good idea to change the head every year or two.
The battery in my new Braun Serie 3 lasts only for 4 or 5 shaves before I need to recharge it. In my previous one, the Braun Serie 5, I was using it for 2 weeks without charging. But, it does’t bother me too much, I appreciate the fact that the shaver is lighter (it has a smaller battery).
So, what can we learn from this experience ?
I had some special circumstances here (a pandemic, a country with no tourists and no local need for this kind of product) so it is unlikely you will be in the same situation, but :
- When you travel, it may be easier to find a replacement part for a simple product. It may be easier to find a replacement head for the Braun Serie 3, than for a Braun Serie 9. It also helps when the mark is very common, like the Braun.
- If you travel, consider bringing with you a lighter shaver, like a Braun Serie 3. It is always better to have a light suitcase. You can keep your more expensive shaver at home (Serie 7 or Serie 9).