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The Best Electric Shaver (for men)

Updated on May 10, 2011

How It All Began -

The electric razor! Not exactly the most sought after topic on the web, I’m sure. But there is something interesting about how the first electric shaver came into existence. The first electric shaver was invented by Col. Jacob Schick in 1928.

Jacob Schick was sent to the Philippines towards the end of the 1800s and rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel by the outbreak of World War I. Once out of the army, Col. Schick started his business ventures beginning with the Magazine Repeating Razor Co. where he created a razor that could be loaded with new blades without touching the blades and risking injury. Col Schick was also involved in gold exploration in Alaska and in one of these expeditions felt the need to create a dry razor sue to the discomfort of shaving in -40 degree weather. He drew up plans for an electric dry razor that was promptly rejected by all manufacturing companies that he had approached. Before and during this time, Col Schick also suffered from several health problems. But neither his health nor the rejection from manufacturers made him abandon his desire to market his invention.

Col. Schick proceeded to sell all of his assets in the Magazine Repeating Razor Co. to finance his dream invention. But the market didn’t welcome the gadget as much as he had expected putting him in rough times. A stage came when Mrs. Schick had to mortgage their home for $10,000 to help the business survive. But in the end as better improved models developed, the market began to accept this new invention and today quite few of us wouldn’t prefer to do without it. Today, the manufacturing and trading rights of the electric shaver company established by Col. Schick are held by Philips under its Norelco brand.

Philips of course went on to catapult the technology to new heights providing customers with the best shaving experience a dry shaver could offer.

For First Timers -

So how exactly do these shavers work? Put simply, hair enters the foil (or the perforated head) and is then cut off by rotating blades. The fact that you don’t need to use gel or water can make the whole shaving experience quicker and a lot less messy. Always remember that if you are using an electric razor for the first time, it’s bound to give you a ‘not so great’ shave in the beginning basically because your face is getting used to the shaver, and you are just learning to use the shaver properly. Give it some time say about a week or two and try not to use a razor during that time. You could also look at trying wet electric shavers that require to use a gel or shaving cream.

Electric Shavers are basically of two types:

Foil Shavers – In a foil shaver, blades oscillate back and forth to cut hair. The blades are positioned within a foil. There are shavers that have a single foil, i.e. one set of blades within a single foil. There are double foil shavers as well. First timers would be better off using Single foil shavers.

Rotary shavers – These shavers have circular blades mounted below the electric shaver’s head to cut hair. Often these head can move according to the curve of the face. Shaving is best done by making a circular motion on the face.

Remember, while using an electric shaver do not wash your face to soften hair before shaving. The shaver needs the hair to be stiff so that they can be easily cut off once they enter the head of the shaver. Reducing facial moisture will help this process. Once done, you can wash up as normal and use a good after shave lotion.

Unlike a razor, there will be a bit of maintenance required such as cleaning the shaver’s head. You would also need to apply a lubricant occasionally. But don’t worry since all of this will be explained in your owner’s manual and you’ll get used to it after 2 sessions.

The Best Brands

Philips has managed to improve the performance of its rotary electric shavers to be able to quite effectively adjust to the curves on a person’s face. This goes a long way in ensuring that the shave does not leave irritated skin (an issue many early electric shavers of several brands needed to face). Although generally people tend to prefer the foil shavers from brands like Braun, the rotary models from Philip are often preferred for men who shave less frequently or for those who have to cut longer hair. What sets these models apart from other rotary shavers you might find in the market is that each rotary blade pivots separately, allowing it to glide more smoothly along the curves of the face.

With rechargeable batteries you don’t have to worry about the power cord and running to the shop for new batteries too often. Many electric shavers also use a technology where in the hair is first lifted and then cut, making sure the shave is as close as possible.

Panasonic too is another popular brand out there that manufactures electric razors, but most reviews you might find with a little research will tell you that a Philips Norelco or Braun often works for a more comfortable shave. But again, it matters a great deal as to a person’s skin type and shaving habits so this could vary.

One area though, where Panasonic seems to be above the competition is when it comes to wet electric shavers. Wet electric shavers require the use of a shaving lotion or gel while shaving, which to some users beats the entire purpose of a less messy dry shave. Again, this comes down to a matter of individual taste and it's best to try both before deciding which type suits you better.

But if you are willing to go a little higher up in your budget, there seems to be little competition for the Braun Series 7 760cc with users saying it’s the closest you could get to a blade shave. The Braun Series 7 760cc is a Foil shaver. Many consider the Braun Series 7 760cc to be the quietest during operation. Yet another major plus point is the longer battery life claimed for the Braun series as well. All of that pretty much answers for the price differential. The Braun series also has laterally vibrating head that helps to raise hair before actually cutting it. The editors at Popular Mechanics magazine say the Series 7 delivers a "smoother, less painful" shave, but sadly it just doesn’t get as good as manual razor. But remember, not only is the razor comparatively more expensive, but so is the cost of refill cartridges.

Although everyone will tell you that for a really clean shave, you would need to use a razor, for those days that you’re late to work and you can’t spend so much time in front of a mirror, an electric shaver might just do the trick.


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