All men need to shave their facial hair, some more often than others. It may be cheaper to use good old fashioned shaving cream and a disposable blade razor, but the majority of men still prefer to use an electric shaver. The quality of shave is probably no better with an electric razor versus the disposable ones, but it sure saves time and they are more convenient to use. I for one have used my electric shaver while driving in the car on the way to work. That's not possible to do with shaving cream and a razor. The newer shavers also can get wet so you can use them in the shower and clean them off easily right in the sink after you are done. No need to worry about fried motors or ruined interior parts if water gets on them.
The two types of electric shavers are foil and rotary. Foil shavers are predominantly made by Braun, Remington, and Panasonic and they use oscillating cutters to provide a close shave. Rotary electric shavers feature spinning cutters that swivel to the contours of your face. I, as well as most men I asked, have always been a little disappointed with electric shavers ability to get all the hairs on my neck or even along where my jawbone meets my chin. I'm always trying to adjust the shaver and try different angles to get a complete shave. I know several guys who use an electric shaver first and then follow it up with a little shaving cream and razor action. I have used Norelco shavers for years and am fairly happy with results. They are expensive, but it's not like you have to purchase one every 6 months or something. I find that I get about 2 years from an electric razor before I need to replace the blades or the entire unit. I also have found that certain electric razors irritate my skin more than others and some cause severe razor burn on your skin. Look for an electric shaver with features like popup trimmer for dealing with sideburns or when you want to shave a beard. Also, make sure the unit you select holds plenty of shaves on the charged battery. I took a recent trip to Europe and instead of hassling with their different electrical outlet plugins, I was able to use my charged up Norelco for the entire week without having to plug it in. Another feature you'll want is the ability to use the electric shaver in the shower or clean it off regularly under the tap. Norelco makes some excellent wet dry shavers that are easy to clean. In terms of cost, Braun has the most expensive foil shaver we found at close to $170 and the Philips Norelco rotary shaver (Arcitec 1050X) was similar in price. You can find much cheaper electric shavers from Remington that perform also the same for $60 to $100. The brand of Wahl was noted on some reviews we found, but we have always associated their shavers more with electric hair trimmers that you find in barber shops. Wahl products are great for trimming beards or mustaches, but they don't perform as on day to day shaving basics. Replacement parts like cutters, foil screens, and rotary heads can be found online for around $15 to $25 and should be replaced every 6 months to 2 years (depending on your shaving regularity). The best review we found for electric shavers was of course done by Consumer Reports and they tested quite a few foil and rotary shavers for shaving ability (close shave), noise levels, cleaning ease, and overall features. Not surprisingly some of the more expensive models won out in scores, but for overall value there were a few surprises. Amazon.com also features lots of reviews from customers who send in feedback and opinions on the electric shavers they bought. It's an excellent source for finding our drawbacks to particular products or reading head to head comparisons so you can rate each one accordingly. Check out the best selling electric shavers on Amazon.
Best Foil Shaver:
RECOMMENDED - Hands down the best foil shaver on the market is sold by Braun, the Braun 360 Complete 8995 which retails for as high as $175 at Target and slightly cheaper online at Amazon.com. The review on Amazon support exactly what Consumer Reports (CR) found. The Gillete Blade technology on the Braun shaver will not tug or pull at facial hairs, it gives you close shave without the discomfort of other razors. The SmartFoil provides the smoothest shave on the market since it does such a good job of cutting hairs that are growing in all different directions as it runs across them. It's quiet to run and the Clean & Renew System that the shaver sits in when not in use cleans the shaver head in alcohol. An LCD screen tells you how much shaving time is left on the batteries. Charge time is about 1 hour and the batteries hold up to 50 minutes of shave time. You can run the unit corded or cordless. Braun is the #1 rated foil shaver on the market, although you will pay a price for it. See all the Braun Shavers on Amazon for the best pricing and inventory.
Top Rated Rotary Shaver:
Rotary shavers run quieter than most foil shavers but they don't shave quite as close as foil models. However, in several reviews I found they are preferred over foil shavers and I happen to agree with these comments. I used to use an older Remington foil shaver and the Norelco model I currently own gets the areas like my chin and neck better than the foil type. RECOMMENDED - The Philips Norelco SpeedXL 8240XL Men's Shaving System ($90) is top rated by CR and gets great reviews on consumer product sites like Amazon. It's easy to clean, runs quiet, has plenty of features and gives you a pretty close shave. A slightly less expensive option is the Remington Titanium Pro which retails for around $100. See all the top rated Philips Norelco Shavers on Amazon.
Budget Electric Razor:
When it comes to electric shavers, you don't have to spend $170 on a Braun, just go with the cheaper Remington MS2-390 Microscreen Rechargeable/Corded Men's Shaver for $60. The shave quality is hardly noticeable between the Braun 360 Complete foil shaver and the Remington. The MicroScreen 500 was the second highest rated shaver in the recent Consumer Reports survey (June 2008) and it received their CR Best Buy award. The Remington shaver comes complete with 2 titanium microscreens with ComforTech contour technology, a 3-position popup trimmer, and it's fully rechargeable with a corded plugin. A full charge works out to about 60 minutes of run time which is plenty when traveling or going on vacation. The owner reviews for this product on Amazon are very positive with a 4 Star rating. Owners say things like "great razor", "excellent value and a close shave", and "better than you think". The price was down to $48 at the time of this article on Amazon. Makes a great gift for dad on Christmas or Father's Day.
Wet Dry Electric Shavers:
The convenience of being able to shave while in the shower is a huge plus and there are several electric shavers that do a great job at that. The Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve Rechargeable Double Blade Wet/Dry Men's Shaver ($35) is one of the best choices for shaving in the shower The Panasonic is a basic foil shaver with not a lot of added features like the more expensive Braun 360 Complete but it will do the job. As for rotary shavers that work well in wet conditions, the Philips Norelco Speed XL performed excellent.