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Men's Electric Shavers (36)

Choosing the Right Electric Shaver

Electric shavers are an ideal choice for the busy guy on the go. While a slow shaving ritual can really set you up for your day, it’s not exactly practical when you’re racing to do the school run before an important meeting. Electric options pull up your facial hair before cutting it, giving a quick and close shave, and you can even use them when you’re stopped at a traffic light if you’re careful.

They’re also a long term investment -- while you might be dropping a little more cash upfront, you won’t need to shell out for spare cartridges. You don’t need to sacrifice accuracy for speed either, as most higher-end models come with plenty of features to give in a truly tailored shave.

There are plenty of great options out there, but all this choice can set your head spinning. Not to worry -- we’ve put together a short guide to help you choose the right model for you in about five minutes.

Foil vs Rotary Shavers

At the most basic level, electric shavers come in two types -- foil and rotary.

Foil shavers have sharp, oscillating blades hidden behind perforated foils. The foils trap the hair and pull up the skin beneath, resulting in a quick and smooth shave. Foil razors are best used with the classic back-and-forth motion you may be familiar with from using a manual or safety razor.

Rotary razors, on the other hand, come with three rotating blades which hug the contours of your face to deliver a more accurate shaving experience. Hairs are caught between the blades and cut off quickly. Rotary razors are used with a circular motion .

Foils are more gentle on your face, and are the best choice for men prone to razor burn or who have sensitive skin. The extra power from a rotary razor -- think a weed whacker rather than a lawnmower -- delivers better results for guys with coarse hair, or who don’t shave every day.

Single-blade Pivoting

Single-blade pivoting razors are a relative newcomer to the electric shaver scene, but they’ve hit the ground running. The new models deliver one of the most precise shaves out there, and the back-and-forth pivoting motion reduces pressure on your face -- say goodbye to razor burn.

However, precise or not, a single blade isn’t the best when you’re pressed for time. You can get a great, clean shave if you’re willing to invest a few more minutes, but otherwise, these models are better for beard styling than total facial hair removal.

Trimmers

Trimmers are an essential bit of kit for those who want to keep some facial hair without edging into full-on caveman territory. Sure, you could go at your beard with a scissors, but only if you’ve got all day!

Similar to the head razors you might see at the barber’s, the best trimmers come with several guards of different lengths, but your beard will have to have reached a certain level of growth before you can use one.

Multipurpose shavers:

Multipurpose shavers do exactly what it says on the tin. Usually a foil type, they often come with several attachments designed for beard trimming, head shaving or even manscaping.

Those are the basics, but electric shaving technology has come a long way since your dad’s day. Whether you’re a gadget lover or a proud Luddite, read on to explore the extras.

Blade number:

The number of blades usually varies the most with foil razors -- with some exceptions, the rotary sticks with three. Twin blades are the minimum, but a quick glance at any men’s grooming site will show you that three or even five blades are held as the gold standard.

Are more blades really better? That all depends on you -- if you have thick or coarse hair, multiple blades can make shaving a far quicker, smoother experience.

Blade types:

CERAMIC: Plenty of people swear by their ceramic kitchen knives, but most people have never even heard of ceramic razor blades. A feature on some higher-end foil models, ceramic blades deliver one of the sharpest shaves out there -- perhaps a little too sharp for some men. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to steer clear.

VENEER ALLOY: As the name might suggest, veneer alloy blades are usually coated with titanium or another non-corrosive metal -- perfect if you’re concerned about rust.

TITANIUM ALLOY: Like the veneer alloy, titanium alloy blades are non-corrosive, but since they’re built of solid metal, they usually last longer than their coated cousins.

RECIPROCATING BLADES: These bad boys cut the hair between one blade and a flatter surface, making them another great option for men with coarse hair.

MAGNETIC LEVITATION: The creme de la creme of blade motion, maglev blades move faster and combine all of the benefits of a pivoting head with a quicker, closer shave.

Head types:

PIVOTING HEAD: If you’ve read the entry on the single-blade pivot models, you may have gathered what these do by now, but pivoting heads are also available on foil or rotary shavers. Both types of blades take pressure off your skin.

3-D HEAD: 3D heads can be thought of as pivoting-plus. Usually a feature of rotary shavers, they’re ideal for those who want the contoured shave of a rotary without risking skin damage.

Power options:

Most electric shavers these days are cordless, so your main decision is whether to go for a model that charges up like a phone or one with replaceable lithium batteries. Lithium batteries give a longer shave time. Silent models are also available -- great if you’re on the night shift and trying not to wake the household.

Guards:

Guards aren’t just for beard trimmers -- they can also help protect your skin from the blades.

SELF-ADJUSTING GUARDS: Nothing short of magic, this feature (also called MicroMotion technology) determines how long your facial hair is and adjusts accordingly.

MANUAL GUARDS: Are exactly what they sound like -- they allow you to determine the length and work well for beard trimming.

Wet or Dry Shavers:

A wet shaver isn’t one that you can use in the shower (though waterproof models are available). Wet shavers are used with shaving cream to protect the skin, while dry shavers are used without (the cream can clog the blades).

Shaving brushes and aftercare:

Shaving brushes can and should be used with wet electric shavers for the smoothest shave. Like any other facial hair care product, oils, lotion and aftershave can only benefit your skin.

Not for you?

Some people believe that a good shave takes time. Thankfully, electric shavers aren’t the be all and end all of facial hair removal. Manual and safety razors are still a great, no-frills option, while straight razors are ideal for those who enjoy the ritual of shaving or are prepared to invest the time to get as precise and smooth a shave as possible.