04.What to look for
Getting the most from your electric shaver
Give your face a chance. If you’re changing from a razor to an electric shaver, your skin needs up to a month of continuous use to become accustomed to it.
- Clean your shaver following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Hold the shaver at right angles to your skin.
- Don’t press hard against the skin to avoid irritation and/or damage the shaving heads.
- Go against the grain of the hair growth for best results.
- For rotary shavers, small circular strokes give a closer shave.
- Pull the skin taut as this allows you to get better access to the hairs.
- Stretch your top lip taut over your teeth for a closer shave under your nose.
- Change the heads as recommended or when wear is evident (poor cutting, irritation and pulling).
General recommended head (foil/blade) replacement periods (can vary depending on model):
- Philips – every two years
- Braun – every 18 months
- Remington – every six months
- Panasonic foil – outer foil: once a year; inner blade: once every two years
- Panasonic rotary – every six months.
- Type Rotary shavers use two or three rotating heads to lift and cut the hair. Foil shavers use oscillating blades beneath a perforated foil to cut the hair. Each type is said to train hair to grow in a particular direction, so if you’re switching from foil to rotary or vice versa, give your face at least a month to adjust – similarly when switching from a manual razor to an electric shaver.
- Battery-powered models are very convenient. All models on test are battery-powered except the Remington Precision X-System R3150AU. Some models use a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery, but increasingly shavers now use lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries, which are claimed to have better performance.
- A beard trimmer makes it easy to trim longer growth before shaving. All models on test have an integrated trimmer except the Philips Sensor Touch 2D RQ1145 and Aquatouch AT750.
- Waterproof models (often called "wet & dry") can be used in the shower. They can also be used for wet shaving with water, a shaving balm or oil to minimise irritation.
- Washable Look for a shaver you can clean under a running tap. Usually a little liquid soap can be added to help clean the shaver head.
- Charging/cleaning station is a base to recharge the shaver. Some stations have a cleaning system included (see the table). However, a cleaning station can lock you in to purchasing branded cleaning solutions when all the shaver really needs is a good clean under the tap.
- Charge level indicator lets you know how much charge is left and whether it’s time to recharge.
- Charging time Most of the tested battery models have enough power for at least one shave after only five minutes recharging. While most can run for at least a few minutes after the five-minute recharge (from flat), the Panasonic ES-LF51-S841 and ES-LV81-K841 only runs for a little over a minute, the Philips Aquatouch AT750 for just under a minute and the Panasonic ES-SL41-R for only a few seconds. The latter two also have the longest time to reach a full charge (more than eight hours, while the other models take about an hour or less).
- Shaving aids dispense an oil or balm from a cartridge in the shaver to lubricate your skin while shaving (no shaver in this test has this). These can help minimise irritation, but shavers that can be used wet can also be used with a balm, oil or a powder stick of your choice, so it’s not necessary. It also means you’re not limited to the one shaving aid type or brand. Dry shave-only models should be OK for use with powder sticks, but check the manufacturer instructions.