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Men: Do You Like Electric Razors?

This article was written by in Health. 22 comments.


I enjoyed Matthew’s guest post last week, Cutting Down on the Cost of Razor Blades. Several commenters, including MillionDollarJourney and Dimes, pointed out the cost advantage of opting to use a decent quality electric razor. Here’s what (a different?) Matthew had to say:

I’d agree with the above comments about electric razors. I’ve had two now, each cost about $80 and lasted about 8-10 years each. I’ve never had to replace the blades and I’ve learned that when the battery dies, I can just plug it in to use it. $10 a year for shaving? Not bad at all…

Mach 3 TurboBack in high school and college, I was a die hard electric razor user. At some point in my life, someone — perhaps my father — mentioned that a standard razor would be better for my face. Most notably, no more random pimples.

I wouldn’t say that my face was breaking out often back then, but one was sure to rear its ugly head right before dates and job interviews. I made the switch to Gillette Mach 3, and I’ve been paying (for the blades) ever since.

I don’t particularly think the face is any smoother now; in fact, I believe the electric razor (Norelco) provided a closer shave. I’m also not sure that there’s been any difference in the pimple department, either. I don’t go on dates or job interviews anymore. At least, not recently.

I’m thinking of going back to electric. Do you have any tips for the best razor? Or do you think I’m crazy for going back? Please let us know.

Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published April 10, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Matt

I can’t stand electric razors. I’ve owned two pretty high quality electric razors in the past, neither of which seemed to work for me. They never seem to shave close enough and they always seem to miss spots even if I run over them 3 or 4 times.

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avatar Toby

It certainly isn’t the most cost-effective option, but the Braun 360 series is fantastic. I have a previous model (85xx sounds right) and the convenience is great. Being able to shave and go without all the mess of shaving creams is great for me. I also love the base with the alcohol-based cleaner. It really gets the razor clean and fresh for the next time I use it. I have almost no irritation when shaving with this razor (I can’t say the same for standard razors). The shave is fairly close, although not as close as a standard razor.

The major downside is the cost of the cleaner (~$12 for 3 months supply). But for me, it is worth it.

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avatar Stephen Snyder

Hate ‘em. Used electric razors a few times before and they tore my face up and didn’t give a close shave.

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avatar Kevin

I use an electric razor because I have a beard. If I didn’t shave part of my face, I’d be one of those guys hair all over my cheeks and such. The electric makes it easy to shave only part of my face.

But in the days before my beard, I much preferred shaving with a razor. It did a much better job and was less irritating to my skin. Just lathered up some bar soap and used that for shaving cream. Worked just fine.

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avatar Zachary

Electric razors tear up the skin on my neck.

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avatar J.D.

I have a love-hate relationship with shaving. I like a close shave, but I have sensitive skin, so any sort of shaving hurts. Most of my life I’ve had a beard or goatee.

When I was in college, I used what was then (20 years ago) an expensive ($80) Braun model. It worked fine, but never gave me a truly close shave. Since then I’ve used blades. These give a close shave, but I can’t use them every day. Every two days at most, usually every four or so. I have a Norelco electric shaver, but it sucks. My face BURNS after I use it. It’s a last resort.

I recently read Trent’s dissertation on safety razors. They’re kind of expensive, but my wife offered to set me up for my birthday. The goods are on the way from Amazon and should be here next week. I’m curious to see how this new type of razor performs. Ideally I’d shave daily. Maybe a safety razor will let me…

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avatar Bobby

I am with you. My Wahl just died after about 10 years (won’t even work when plugged in) and I am looking at getting a new electric but not sure which brand. Will keep my eye on this post for advice.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

I use both.

I use the electric that I bought about 6 years ago to get a relatively good shave. I then take a shower and use the Gillette Power Fusion.

The electric shave definitely does a good portion and for most people could work by itself. My face feels itchy if I stop there though. I’ll scratch off my neck all day – once again, I’m weird. So I use the Power Fusion and get about a month of use of each blade depending on how much I use the electric (sometimes it’s just a quick once-over, sometimes not at all). I feel that I’m saving costs (as I already owned the electric, I wouldn’t by a new one) by limiting the use of the blades, while still getting a close save.

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avatar Andy

I’m a blade man. A couple years ago I got a nice Braun electric for Christmas to give that a try. I never got a close shave from it. After trying for several months to let my beard adjust I switched back. Life’s too short.

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avatar Doobie

Funny you ask. You should have seen me Friday night after I tried using my electric razor after a two-year layoff. My face was so red I looked like a burn victim. If you’ve got an Acme around you (and I know you do), try the Equaline Matrix3. It’s a more-than-decent knockoff of the Mach 3 and is much cheaper.

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avatar john

I read somewhere that it’s not good to put a electromagnetic power source around your head…something about brain cancer.

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avatar RS

I agree with what most posters above have said about an electric razor…it just doesn’t give a close enough shave. I spent a ton on that self cleaning Braun when it first came out as my first try for an electric. I used it for a few months, but never felt that it did a good enough job, so I switched back to blades.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

These comments reminded me that I did have a major issue with electric razors, at least with the one I used. Using the electric razor would irritate the skin on my neck. The Mach 3 also irritates my neck a little, but not nearly as much.

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avatar Jeremy

I used to swear by regular razors and hated electric. This was about 5-10 years ago though. One christmas I received a nice new Braun electric, I think it was about 3 years ago.

I was reluctant to use it, but I started to get in the habit of using it and now I’ll never go back. It gets just as close as a regular razor without the mess. It also takes less time. It also doesn’t irritate the skin like regular shaving for me.

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avatar shepp

Not all electric razors are alike, and some work better than others for each user – some beards do better with Norelcos, others with Brauns. And it always takes a bit of time to get used to an electric – that’s why most companies offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee. After years of hating shaving with a blade, I got a top-of-the-line Panasonic, the kind with the convex head, and it’s fantastic. Shaves wet or dry, and with a little shaving cream, it gives an me a terrifically close and comfortable shave, even on the neck – even better in the shower. Easily washable, so it doesn’t require an expensive cleaning base. Only downside is that it doesn’t work with a cord, so once the battery goes, that’s it.

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avatar dakboy

I used an electric for about 14 years – it’s what I started on because that’s what my father used (which is probably how a lot of guys end up using what they use).

I went through several Norelcos (relatively low-end ones) and a Remington “micro-screen” and I was never happy with the results. Ingrown hairs all the time, acne, etc.

Sure, it was quick & convenient, but cleaning was a major pain, but the replacement parts were expensive and eventually the batteries just crapped out. If I missed a couple days of shaving, they were downright painful.

Maybe if I’d opted for more expensive models, I wouldn’t have had these issues? I don’t know.

3 1/2 years ago I switched to the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo and couldn’t be happier. My skin is much healthier, no ingrown hairs, and the quality of the shave is better and more consistent.

I get the cartridges at BJ’s for about $32 for 16 (4 packs of 4) and I’m set for about 4 months. Not a huge expense, and my wife is much happier with the results than she ever was with the electrics – so it pays off nicely.

Plus, I never have to worry about a battery dying on me.

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avatar Matthew

I’m the Matthew who made the comment on the other entry. I didn’t expect a whole new posting from it!

Anyway, I think that there are two keys in getting an electric razor. The first is to try to get one of the better brands. Look around for some online reviews to see what people have said about different razors. Some of the middle end razors have nicer features which conform to your face (thus giving you a closer shave without “ripping it to shreds”.

The second key, equally important, is to give it some time. Typically, the manual will say that it takes between two and four weeks for your facial hair to adjust to the cut of the electric razor. Your mileage may vary. Nevertheless, probably a lot of the people complaining gave up after a few days.

Anyway, I’ve used Norelcos for both of my razors. The first was a low end which worked well; the second was a medium end which works even better. Also, I can generally shave much faster with my electric and I’m not stuck in front of the sink when I do it.

My final caveat is that on the rare times that I do let my beard grow out long, I use a straight blade instead of the electric razor when it’s time to lop it off. It’s typically faster; the electric razors don’t seem to cut as well when each hair is an inch long. But for day to day maintenance, electric is definitely the way to go.

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avatar Fellowes

From a close shave perspective, I actually get a closer shave with my electric, except for the spots right at the bottom of my beard growth by my neck.

I use a Braun 8585 and have easily saved several hundred dollars since I started using it.

The one down side I have found though is that my skin is absolutely more sensitive with the electric razor and I do get the occasional ingrown hair that causes me discomfort.

As long as you keep your growth short, I think you would be happy going back to an electric.

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avatar Jose

I travel a lot internationally, and I like to travel lightly. (AC power is different in different places) I like my toiletry bag to be as small as possible and blades do it for me. (I do not even carry shaving cream/foam/gel as I am a brush and soap guy).

I did used a norelco when I was in college and it wasn’t too bad.

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avatar Savvy Steward

I guess it depends on how much you have to shave (hairy?).

I’ve been using a compact Panasonic shaver (ES4815S) that runs on two AA batteries. The batteries lasts a long time, and whenever I’m traveling I have no worries of finding replacements.

I prefer the horizontal shavers so much more than the rotary ones. I can shave a lot faster.

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avatar AS617

I received Panasonic’s highest end razor for xmas this year. (The Panasonic Vortex Nano ES 8228s). Before I got the new razor I shaved only with the Gillette Fusion. I have proplems with acne and would get paidful nicks from the fusion, and it would also increase the amount of acne I had on my face. If you have any skin problems electric is the only way to go. Be sure you get a electric foil razor insted of a rotory head razor, it make a huge difference in the confort and closeness of the shave you’ll get.

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avatar Avi Garret

I was just like most people when it came to electric razors, I was absolutely against them due to my poor experiences, but I found out that there are sleect few who do an incredible job, saved some money and got me one and I never want to go back to manual shaving.

Oh, in case anyone is curious, the one I bought was the Panasonic ES8109S.

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