How to buy an electric shaver for men: Foil, rotary, cordless or wired…here’s how to choose
If you’re in the market for a new electric shaver, we’ve explained what features to look out for and which is the best type for your face, head, and body
Despite the fact that the end result is always the same, buying an electric shaver can be notoriously tricky. This is because not all electric shavers for men are created equal.
Do you need a foil or rotary electric shaver? Do you want to use one in the shower, or is a dry electric shaver better suited to your needs? Is it important that the shaver is cordless, or are you happy for it to be wired? That’s before you even factor in attachments, price, make, and more.
Let us help! Below we’ve explained how to choose an electric shaver and recommend which ones will best suit your skin type, hair type and more.
Electric shaver for men buying guide
The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want a foil electric shaver, or a rotary one, and your choice will depend on how quickly your hair grows, how often you’ll be using it and your skin type.
Foil electric shaver
As their name suggests, foil shavers use moving blades that are coated with a sheet of foil. This sheet has tiny slots in it, designed to trap the hair and keep them in place for the main blades to cut it.
Foil shavers are best if you’re shaving every day, and you have:
- Straight hair
- Sensitive skin
The main pros of foil shavers are that they are quick to clean and they tend to give a smoother shave. However they can take a bit more effort and can be tricky to move around the face, compared to rotary shavers.
The reason they’re better for sensitive skin is because they keep the blades from directly touching the skin.
Rotary electric shaver
By comparison, a rotary electric shaver has three round heads with spinning blades. As these blades rotate, they lift the hairs and cut them.
Rotary electric shavers are ideal if you’re shaving every other day. They also tend to be quieter than foil versions. They’ll also suit you if you have:
- Thicker hair
- Normal skin
- Curly or wavy hair
The pros of rotary electric shavers are they move and adapt to the contours of your face, making them easier to use. They don’t shave as close as a foil shaver, but that does mean there is less chance of irritation. They can be used wet or dry.
Dry shaving vs wet shaving
Speaking of using shavers wet or dry, there are pros and cons to both so it depends (again) what suits you.
If you’re short on time, dry shaving is fast and easy. You can literally do it anywhere (if you have a cordless model, more on that later) and they’re great if you’re shaving everyday to keep your stubble in order. However, they can be rough on sensitive skin.
By comparison, wet shaving is slightly more time-consuming because you have to do it near a sink or similar, and it means you have to choose a waterproof electric shaver. This tends to give a more comfortable shave and offers more protection for sensitive skin. Particularly if used with shaving gel, foam, or powder, like Magic Shaving Powder. You can read more about the science of shaving in our How to shave like a pro, according to science guide.
What else to look for when buying an electric shaver for men?
Cordless shavers are, as the name suggests, cordless. They run on battery power meaning you can use them anywhere and everywhere like on the commute to work if you fancied a bit of a lie-in. This makes them highly practical and convenient. However, charging times vary, as does battery life. You don’t want to be away from a charger or plug, get halfway through a shave, and then it runs out. So check these specs before you buy.
The performance of the shaver is also dependent on how much battery power it has. As the power drains, the shaver may not cut as well as it did. If you go for a cordless model, look for features such as quick charging technology – these shavers often offer a five-minute option to give you enough power for a single-pass shave or to catch any bits you’ve missed. Some also have a charge display so you know exactly how long you have left.
Alternatively, opt for a cordless electric shaver you can also plug in and charge as you use it. That way it should always have enough charge for when you need to take it out of the house or into another room.
Wired shavers are less practical and convenient but you don’t have to worry about charging them. They also usually have long cables with shaving point plugs.
If you’ve got sensitive skin, or you know you’ll want to use the electric shaver for wet shaving as well as/instead of dry, you’ll need to get a waterproof model.
Some electric shavers have removable heads, which means you can rinse your shaver under the tap. Alternatively, other, non-washable shavers come with a cleaning brush to get into the nooks and crannies. There are also self-cleaning shavers that sanitise the head but don’t remove trapped hair.
And to get the most value for money, we recommend buying an electric shaver with attachments such as combs, hair trimmers, and more.