Electric shaver purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What You Need to Know
  • Compared to wet shaving, the risk of injury is significantly lower with dry electric shaving.
  • The shaving blades of an electric razor do not come into direct contact with the skin.
  • Electric shavers are divided into foil and rotary shavers.
  • Waterproof models are also suitable for wet shaving.

Electric shaving – fast and skin-friendly

For most men, shaving regularly is an integral part of their grooming routine. Those who prefer a smooth look reach for the razor more often than someone who wears a beard. But beard styles also need to be cared for and kept in shape. For thousands of years, men shaved with open blades, from flint to bronze to steel. In Germany, excellent quality razors came from the knife metropolis of Solingen. Shaving was truly revolutionised in 1901 by the American inventor King Camp Gilette – a name that everyone still associates with razor blades. He invented the razor plane, from which the blade protrudes only a little. This significantly reduced the risk of injury during shaving, which is why the razor is also called a safety razor. Until the 1970s, the plane remained the predominant shaving device. The first functional electric razors were developed in the 1930s when it became possible to build small electric motors. In 1937, the first handy electric razor came on the market. However, the expensive technology was not suitable for mass use for a long time. Technological progress was accompanied by lower prices and electric shaving became affordable for everyone from the 1970s onwards. For a long time, electric shavers did not deliver as smooth a result as wet shaving, but they have long since caught up in this respect. Well-known manufacturers of electric shavers include Braun, Remington, Philips and Proskin.

Advantages of electric shavers

The biggest advantage of dry electric shaving – compared to wet shaving with a multi-blade razor – is the much lower risk of injury. The shaving blades of an electric razor do not come into contact with the skin. Skin irritation from shaving is kept to a minimum this way, and injuries are virtually eliminated if the device is used properly.

Man shaving

A dry shave is never quite as close as a wet shave. This is because the blades of the electric razor do not touch the skin and thus the hairline. However, if you have impure skin, an electric razor can give a more thorough result than a wet shave. An electric razor may not give as lasting a smooth shave as a wet razor, but it is better for drawing contours. It is also more versatile as it can be used to trim a beard style and keep it in shape.

Compared to wet shaving, dry shaving with an electric razor is much faster. All that is needed is a power socket, and not even that if the shaver is battery-operated. Additional accessories such as a shaving brush, shaving gel or shaving foam are not necessary. The blades of a wet razor also need to be changed much more frequently than those of a dry razor. With wet shaving, a blade change is necessary after about ten shaves, while the shaving head of an electric razor should be replaced after 18 to 24 months.

Ultimately, both types of shaving have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose depends on your skin type and the type of beard you have, as well as your personal comfort level.

Pro points

  • Very low risk of injury
  • Shave without foam or gel
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Sometimes even wet shaving possible


  • Quite high purchase costs
  • Often less smooth results than with wet shaving

Construction of an electric shaver

Electric shavers are quite simple devices. Each model has the same basic components. At first glance, you can see the housing and the shaving head. Many modern models also have a small display. Inside are an electric motor and a rechargeable battery.

The fact that the blades of the electric shaver never touch the skin directly is due to the so-called shaving foil. This sturdy foil sits in front of the shaving blades and is riddled with many small holes. Beard hairs fit through these holes. Behind the foil, the hairs come into contact with the blades and are cut off.

How foil shavers work
This is how electric shaving works. The blades behind the shaving foil touch the beard hairs, but never the skin.

Which electric shavers are there?

Basically, there are two types of electric dry shavers: foil shavers and rotary shavers. The most important difference is quickly explained. The foil razor is moved in straight lines over the skin, while the rotary razor allows circular movements.

The foil razor

The blades of a foil razor move back and forth behind the protective foil and cut hairs as soon as they are picked up. This makes it almost impossible to cut yourself on the blades. The shaving head of a foil razor is rectangular and is moved in straight paths over the skin. Because of the position of the blades, the razor is well suited for drawing contours and thus for beard wearers. With many beard styles, the cheeks and neck need to be shaved regularly. Due to the easy handling, the devices are well suited for those who are just getting into dry shaving.

The advantages in brief:

  • Particularly gentle on the skin
  • Can easily be used as a trimmer
  • Precise shave, even above the lip

The rotary shaver

These devices have three round shaving elements arranged in a triangle. Here, too, the shaving blades lie behind a protective foil. They catch hairs from different directions and cut them off. Shaving in circular motions, which is recommended with these devices, also contributes to special thoroughness. The arrangement of the blades allows the shaver to adapt particularly well to the individual shape of the face. Handling the razor requires some practice, which is why it often takes a short familiarisation phase.

The advantages in brief:

  • Adapts to the shape of the face even in difficult areas
  • Quick complete shave thanks to the large surface area
  • Beard hairs can be grasped from all sides and are therefore well suited for curly beard growth

The beard trimmer

Men who have or want to have a longer beard should consider whether a beard trimmer or long-hair trimmer is preferable to a classic razor. Even though electric shavers often have a separate shaving head for trimming the beard, the result is often not as precise and even as hoped. In such cases, a beard trimmer designed for longer hair is a good choice. The desired hair length can be easily set with this device.

Wet shaving with an electric razor

Most electric shavers are now waterproof and shave both dry and wet. The IP rating “IPX7” stands for protection against temporary immersion in water up to one metre deep. This is quite sufficient for the shower or bathtub. Shaving in the shower is pleasant, but it is difficult to check which parts of the face have not been shaved properly. It is also difficult to judge the result in combination with foam. It may be necessary to touch up after the shower. The bottom line is that razors that can handle both types of shaving are more versatile, if a little more expensive. Because they can simply be held under running water, cleaning is particularly easy. For safety reasons, electric wet shavers cannot be operated on mains power. They work exclusively in battery mode.

How to find the right shaver

A simple, quick and close shave is the main priority when buying an electric razor. A good result depends on how properly the shaving head works and whether it adapts well to the shape of your face. The second most important criterion is skin compatibility: depending on the skin type, everyone must weigh up for themselves which shaver is most suitable. The condition of the beard hair also plays a role. Is the beard growth curly or rather smooth? Do you wear a full beard, a three-day beard or another beard style? Or do you shave completely every day? In addition, aspects such as the workmanship, the price range and the travel suitability of the device also play a role.

Foil or rotary razor?

With its straight shaving head, the foil shaver does not reach all parts of the face so well, because there are hardly any straight surfaces there. This is why hair often remains, especially on the mouth, chin and neck. The rotary shaver is better equipped for this. Difficult areas are easier to reach than with foil shavers. Models with flexibly mounted shaving heads are even more precise. However, some foil shavers also have this feature. Compared to foil razors, rotary razors put more strain on the skin, so foil razors are considered slightly gentler on the skin.

Rotary shaver

Ultimately, the thoroughness of the shave does not differ fundamentally between the two designs. More important are the skin type and the type of beard growth. Since foil shavers are easier to cut contours with, they are particularly suitable for beard wearers. For a complete shave, on the other hand, a rotary model is recommended. Ultimately, it is difficult to make a definitive comparison between the two designs. After all, other purchase criteria such as price, comfort, maintenance, workmanship and personal preferences are more important than the design.

Foil razors

The shaving result

The heart of every electric shaver is the shaving head. The better equipped it is, the closer the shave will be. There are usually two blades in the shaving head. This way, even short hairs are first set up and then cut off. If there are more than two blades, it is not necessary to shave the same area as often. Another important factor for a good result is how fast the blades move. Flexibly mounted scissor elements adapt better to the structure of the face. If only a few strokes are sufficient for a satisfactory shave, the skin is consequently less stressed. In very good models, the power of the electric motor changes depending on how hairy an area of the face is and how much resistance it therefore offers.

If the shaver loses power, it is usually because the blades have become dull. In this case, it is advisable to buy a new shaving head, because a new electric shaver is incomparably more expensive. When buying a replacement, be sure to check the model series and additional specifications to ensure that the new shaving head is compatible with the appliance.

The blades make the difference

The number of blades in the shaving head varies. There are shaving systems with only one blade, but most modern devices have several blades. The more blades an electric shaver has, the faster and closer the shave.

Protect your skin

As a general rule, men with sensitive facial skin should shave dry rather than wet. Whether skin irritation occurs after shaving depends more on your personal skin type and skin care than on the razor you use. Nevertheless, the shaver can contribute to healthy skin. With a powerful, effective shave, you don’t have to touch up as often, which is easier on your skin. Some models still shave thoroughly even if only little pressure is exerted on the skin and it is therefore less stressed.

Men with sensitive skin or skin diseases such as neurodermatitis and acne are advised to use a foil shaver. In addition, the skin must be treated with care products after shaving and the razor must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Getting used to it: The skin needs time

After buying a new razor, it can happen that the desired shaving result is not achieved immediately and skin irritations occur. This is normal for many men and no reason to exchange the new device. Both skin and beard need some time to get used to the shaver. You should therefore shave regularly within the first three weeks.

Workmanship of the appliance

An electric shaver is a product that is intended for daily use and should be used for as long as possible. The housing, the controls and the shaving head must be sturdily built to withstand daily wear and tear. For uncomplicated cleaning, it is an advantage if the shaving head can be easily removed and put back on again. To ensure that the shaver lasts as long as possible, it should be treated with care.

Handling and ease of use

A shaver is held in the hand, which is why it should have good ergonomic and haptic properties. An ergonomically shaped razor with rubberised surfaces in the right places fits perfectly in the hand. At best, the body of the razor is not too heavy and is designed in such a way that it can be turned and twisted without effort.

Another aspect of handling is how intuitively the shaver can be operated. In a good shaver, all the controls and the purpose of the accessories are clearly visible. It should be obvious how to clean the device. A cleaning station that may be included should be easy to use and clean the shaver satisfactorily.

An LED display is a practical feature that gives the user various information, for example about the battery and cleaning status. Some models also indicate that the shaving heads need to be replaced or that the travel fuse is active. With this safety lock, the shaver can be locked when travelling to guarantee that it does not switch on accidentally in the luggage. Depending on the model, it is possible to select particularly gentle shaving modes.

Accessories for the electric shaver

In a travel case, the often expensive devices are protected from shocks. The shaving blades are particularly sensitive. The shaver’s range of functions can be extended with various attachments, such as trimmers. The shaving head can be kept in good condition with special cleaning brushes.

Battery life and charging time

A rechargeable battery is mandatory for electric shavers. Even inexpensive models now have an integrated energy storage unit and therefore also come with a charging station. In the low price segment, however, the quality sometimes varies greatly. A fully charged battery should last at least 50 minutes. Very good shavers can even last several hours on one battery charge. A quick-charge function is also highly recommended. With this function, the shaver has enough energy for a complete shave after only a few minutes on the cord.

How much does an electric shaver cost?

Inexpensive shavers are available from around 20 euros. However, these only offer a minimum of functions. Purists who do not value additional and comfort functions will find a suitable shaver in this price segment. Because even among the inexpensive devices, there are many models that shave satisfactorily. In the price range of 50 to 100 euros, there are many mid-range shavers that offer more comfort, for example with a flexibly mounted shaving head. More blades ensure a tidier shave. A quick-charge function is standard here, and some devices even have a cleaning station. In this cost range, good shavers can be found at a moderate price. There are almost no upper limits for shavers. Some premium models cost 300 euros and more.

Beware of follow-up costs

As with wet shavers, the wearing parts of the shaving system – the shaving foil and blades – have to be replaced after a while. Therefore, you should pay attention to how expensive and readily available the spare parts of a shaver are. Other wearing parts are attachments and the power cord.

Tips for use

Before using an electric razor for the first time, it is a good idea to think about how to use it for a while instead of just shaving. If you follow a few steps, you will achieve the best possible shaving result. In addition to taking care of your own face, it is also advisable to take care of the razor. Careful handling of the device guarantees a long service life and prevents skin irritations.

How to get the perfect electric shave

Shaving should be quick and easy, especially in the morning. For a smooth skin texture and as little irritation as possible, dry shaving with an electric razor requires a little preparation. It is best to shave before showering, because the water causes the beard hairs to swell. The electric razor can then no longer grip them so well. In addition, pay attention to the following:


Wash your face with lukewarm water. This removes dirt and sebum deposits. Then dry the face thoroughly. For shaving, the beard hair should be as erect and dry as possible. This is ensured by a pre-shave. Now the beard is ready for shaving.


Run the electric razor over the skin. Apply light pressure. Start with the sensitive areas around the mouth and chin. Then come the neck and cheeks. Do not run the razor over the same area too often so that the skin is not too stressed.

Whether you shave with or against the grain depends on your hair and skin type. Each man must find the method that suits his beard growth. If you have a lot of beard growth, shaving against the grain is recommended because it is more thorough. If the skin is slightly irritated, shaving in the direction of growth is recommended. This prevents razor burn and redness.


After a dry shave, an aftershave is recommended, although not mandatory. Even though the razor blades never touch the skin, the shaving head always removes small parts of the upper skin layer. Shaving therefore puts a lot of stress on the skin. An aftershave helps to soothe it.

Cleaning and caring for your razor

Hair and body fat collect in the shaving head of an electric razor. To ensure that it continues to function properly, the device must be cleaned regularly. The following tips will help you clean your shaver:

  • A waterproof razor can simply be rinsed under warm running water.
  • Use disinfectant spray to kill germs on the shaving head.
  • For a more thorough cleaning, the shaver’s shaving head can be removed and the blade block cleaned with a brush, such as a toothbrush.
  • If necessary, cleaning spray must be used. It is sprayed on the shaving parts, where it soaks for some time and is then rinsed away.

Regular cleaning pays off. If the shaver is quickly cleaned with a brush or paintbrush after each use, you will be spared an even more elaborate cleaning later on. Devices from the higher price segment often come with a cleaning station. This takes care of all the cleaning tasks. The shaver is placed upside down in the station, which cleans, disinfects and oils it. However, this convenience is associated with additional costs, as the cartridges with the cleaning fluid have to be replaced every few months.