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Electric shavers

Make the process of removing unwanted body or facial hair easy and quick with an electric shaver. The product options in this section cater to a variety of different shaving needs and grooming preferences, which means that you should take care to consider your options before purchasing. Think about these factors as you shop to ensure you purchase an ideal electric shaver.

Understanding the difference between electric shaver types

The biggest factor to consider is shaver type. The exact type of shaver you choose can have an impact on everything from the kind of hair removal you can accomplish to the technique you should use to avoid skin irritation.

Rotary: Rotary shavers have two or more oscillating razor discs designed to remove beard and mustache whiskers. This kind of shaver isn't intended for use in removing longer beard or sideburn hair, and it isn't always good for precision grooming. A more modern design, rotary shavers are quick and efficient, and when you move the shaver across your face in a circular motion, it removes the hair that grows in different directions. This makes rotary shavers ideal if you have thick facial hair you want to remove completely.

Foil: Foil shavers have a rectangular head that houses a razor that moves in a back-and-forth direction. This shape and razor movement means that you should shave in a back-and-forth or up-and-down direction rather than a circular one. This allows you to exercise greater control over whether you’re shaving against the grain of hair growth, and it also generally causes less skin irritation, making foil shavers ideal if you have sensitive skin. Although foil shavers may not do well at removing longer hair, they can be better for precision whisker trimming because the razor foil is much easier to direct than the discs of a rotary razor. This makes foil shavers preferable if you have sideburns, a mustache or a goatee you want to leave in place while shaving away growth on other areas of the face.

Trimmer: Beard and body hair trimmers usually come with comb attachments and an adjustable straight trimmer head to allow for straight-line shaving or trimming and clipping of facial hair without removal. Some of these shavers come with several comb attachments to allow for greater length control. Though they have a design similar to barber’s clippers, facial hair trimmers are usually more compact to allow for easier access to facial contours. Some foil and rotary shavers come with a trimmer feature built in to facilitate this kind of shaving.

Women’s electric shavers: Electric shavers for use on the legs and arms are usually geared toward women. These shavers usually have a foil-style head due to the typically linear nature of shaving on the legs or underarms. They’re also usually much more compact than facial hair shavers, with a thinner head that allows for greater precision.

Features to look for

Once you decide on an electric shaver type, consider whether these features might suit your needs.

Wet/dry shave: Electric shavers are more suitable for dry use, meaning you apply them to bare skin and don't expose them to water in a shower or bath. Wet/dry shavers are safe to use in wet conditions and are also suitable for dry use as well, giving you greater versatility in your approach to hair removal. It's often best to use most wet/dry shavers on bare skin without shaving cream even when they’re safe for use in the shower, so be sure to read the product instructions before first use.

Attachments: Some shavers come with interchangeable heads that switch from shavers to trimmers or include different trimmer head styles. For example, some versatile electric hair-removal devices include everything from nose hair trimmer heads to beard trimmers with multiple combs.

Head pivot: Electric shavers that can pivot automatically as you move them across your face tend to give the closest, most efficient shave as they don’t require you to pick up the razor and re-angle the head when moving from cheek to chin and across other facial contours. Rotary shavers are the most likely to have this kind of pivoting head, which makes sense for the imprecise circular shaving style these razors allow. Some foil shavers may offer this feature, but it’s not as common. Trimmers rarely have pivoting heads because they typically aren’t used across the entire face the way a shaver is.