The Best Electric Razors, Because We're Over Lockdown Beards in 2021

Owen Gough
·7-min read
Photo credit: *
Photo credit: *

From Esquire

The last year has been one in which British men have embraced their weirdest beardiness. In every Zoom meeting there's been a secret moustache, a peep of sideburn, a Gandalf-in-waiting. Good for them, we say. When you never see anyone face-to-face, you may as well let your facial hair grow out. Lockdown's tough enough without razor burn.

But have we, whisper it, reached peak beard? Like loungewear and banana bread, have we gorged too much on a good thing? Very possibly. Which is why – and only if you want to, no pressure – now might be the time to give clean-shaved another go.

If you do – or even if you never went shaggy in the first place, and are one of those admirable people who put on a clean shirt every morning for the commute to your kitchen – then may we suggest forgoing the razor blade this time. It's the 21st century, damnit, and you're too busy to spend 20 minutes lathering up and shaving your skin raw. These days, an electric shaver can do the job quicker, more cleanly and with less irritation than a traditional wet shaver, which is why they're an essential on any man's bathroom sink. At least, the good ones are, which is why we tested them all to find the five best electric razors that you can buy right now.

The best electric razors of 2021

Best Foil Shaver: Braun Series 9 Electric Shaver

Best Rotary Shaver: Philips Series 9000 Prestige wet and dry electric shaver

Best Corded Shaver: Remington R3 Rotary Shaver

Best For Durability: Wahl Lifeproof Shaver

Best Budget Buy: Boots Dual Foil Male Shaver

What's the difference between an electric razor and a beard trimmer?

This one's all a question of length. A beard, be definition, is hair that sits beyond your skin. As a result, a beard trimmer doesn't need to cut as close, because the shortest you'd ever want to go is stubble. A razor, however, needs to be able to cut your beard hair flush with your face, which is a much trickier job that involves pulling the hairs away from your face, slicing them with a razor without shredding your skin, and then soothing your mug so it's not left red and raw. That's why electric razors tend to be more expensive than beard trimmers, and why they also tend to be less multifunctional – they're designed to do one (fairly complicated) job as well as possible. (It bears noting that you should not be shaving your face with hair clippers, fyi. Nor trying to cut your hair with an electric razor).

Foil vs rotary: which electric shaver is best?

There are two different types of electric razor, which use different approaches to shave your face. One prioritises precision, the other flexibility. Both offer a close shave, so really it's a matter of personal preference.

Foil:

This is a long, thin strip of oscillating blades that shift in a straight line to lift hairs away from the skin and cut them cleanly. They’re good for getting a really close shave, but it can be hard to get into the ridges and contours of your jawline as the cutting surface is less flexible.

Rotary:

These have two or three rotating blades that depress and shift around your face. The blades pull the hair in a circular motion and cut it close, which gives you more freedom to just move the razor around your chin and jaw, but does mean you sacrifice a little closeness.

How we tested the best electric shavers

For three weeks, 71 men with varying stubble length and hair types tried a range of electric razors. They assessed how close and smooth the shave was, as well as how well each manoeuvred around the jawline and chin area. They also assessed how easy each one was to set up and use, and if they noticed any irritation on the skin.

Best foil shaver

All of our testers were left satisfied with the close finish this premium shaver gave. The pivoting head allows for closer contact to the skin, while a built-in sensor adapts the power according to your beard density.

Our testers appreciated how soft and gentle it was on skin while still giving smooth results – some even said it was like getting a wet shave. It was also easy to operate around the jawline and chin area, and worked well on longer hair. There’s an automated cleaning unit that cleans, lubricates, dries and charges the shaver, too, meaning it’s ready to use when you need it.

  • Type: Foil

  • Able to use wet and dry: Yes

  • Cordless: Yes

  • Run time: 60 minutes

  • Quick charge: Yes

  • Accessories: Clean and charge station, one cleaning cartridge, leather travel case, smart plug, cleaning brush

Best rotary shaver

This sleek shaver has a clear LCD screen that displays useful information, such as the battery level. There’s also wireless charging and a number of attachments that are designed to give a close shave, while sensors pick up on beard density and auto adjust the settings accordingly. The blades are also recyclable via the brand’s recycling scheme.

It’s performance matches its impressive features, too. Testers were pleased with how well the high-tech shaver handled longer stubble, particularly around the jawline and other tricky areas. Those with sensitive skin also appreciated the gentle shave it provided, which still managed to catch those tiny whiskers. Comfortable to hold and use, it’s also fully waterproof.

  • Type: Rotary

  • Able to use wet and dry: Yes

  • Cordless: Yes

  • Run time: 60 minutes

  • Quick charge: Yes

  • Accessories: Charging pad, pouch, precision styler

Best corded shaver

Featuring an antimicrobial head, this corded shaver aims to reduce sensitivity and irritation. There are no fancy features or accessories – which is what you’d expect at this price – but testers appreciated how intuitive it was to use and clean.

The pop-up trimmer was precise, with testers loving how well it shaped the edges of their moustaches and sideburns. Skin was left looking clean and sleek after use, although it didn’t produce as close a shave as the more expensive models here.

The corded design is great for anyone who forgets to charge their devices but does limit its manoeuvrability. There is a three-day stubble guard for those who prefer a bit of stubble, too.

  • Type: Rotary

  • Able to use wet and dry: No

  • Cordless: No

  • Run time: N/A

  • Quick charge: N/A

  • Accessories: Three-day stubble styler, cleaning brush

Best for durability

With ‘lifeproof’ in the name, you’d expect this shaver to be pretty indestructible no matter how accident-prone you are. It’s designed to be able to survive all those bumps against your bathroom mirror and drops down the side of the sink, and our testers were impressed with its hardy, waterproof design.

The movable head provides a comfortable, close shave, while it also handles longer stubble well. Our testers appreciated the pop-up trimmer’s ability to shape moustaches and sideburns too, and you get an impressive 90-minute run time. It would make the ideal travel buddy, or a great gift for anyone entering the world of shaving.

  • Type: Foil

  • Able to use wet and dry: Yes

  • Cordless: Yes

  • Run time: 90 minutes

  • Quick charge: Yes

  • Accessories: Travel pouch, cleaning brush, charger plug and cable, foil guard and blade oil

Best budget electric razor

Coming in at just under £20, this is a bargain for those that want the option of both a corded and cordless shaver. The fuss-free design keeps things simple with just one power setting and a washable head, making cleaning a doddle.

Testers liked its compact, lightweight size but said it was tricky to use along the jawline. It produced smooth results though, and made little noise in the process.

  • Type: Foil

  • Able to use wet and dry: No

  • Cordless: Yes (and corded)

  • Run time: Not given

  • Quick charge: No

  • Accessories: Charging cable

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