We love the flexibility of the three shaving speeds, allowing users to control if they prefer a faster shave or a milder shave. The heads rotate in an impressive eight directions for extra closeness and comfort. LED indicators alert users to charge level, shaving head level, and travel lock engage. This model also includes a facial cleansing brush attachment and handy self-cleaning mode.
The plastic head covers must be removed for cleaning and tend to fall off with prolonged usage.
This model includes Philips traditional three head alignment, so it provides a close and comfortable shave comparable to some higher priced models. The pop-up trimmer means not having to worry about losing an attachment. The one-touch open makes for easy cleaning.
No cordless option means this model is less mobile and cannot be used in the shower.
The flexible head works great, allowing users to get at tough-to-reach spots some other razors cannot, utilizing Philips signature three head blade system for good comfort. The razor outlasts most models with a full charge. Can be used dry or wet.
The trimmer attachment requires removing the razor head to be used, and is easier to misplace than the pop-up attachments on other models.
Gives a surprisingly close wet shave. The razor moves smoothly over skin due to the built-in glide guard, which prevents the rashes and bumps. Heads move in five directions.
The included cleaning system is bulky, requiring more bathroom counter space than expected.
This razor earns its distinction as one of Philips top-end models. The powerful motor gives a shave comparable to manual blades without irritating the skin. The beard styler is simple to attach, and can be adjusted to five different settings. Offers users a lot of flexibility in getting the look they want.
Some users report the shave heads on this model wear down more quickly than on some similar models.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Shaving can sometimes seem like a chore, but with modern technology, it doesn’t have to. Philips manufactures a plethora of grooming products, including one-blade razors, hair clippers, and trimmers, but here we’re focusing on the brand’s Norelco shaver lineup. One of the most popular electric razor options on the market, Norelco shavers come with three heads that rotate in up to eight different directions to fit the exact shape of your face and neck. Not only do you get a clean, close shave this way, but with the right product, you might just look forward to your morning routine.
Norelco shavers are a great fit for first-time shavers and veteran beardsmiths alike. The brand offers wet and dry shaving capabilities, adjustable speed settings, clever user interfaces, and a variety of grooming attachments at different price ranges. If you’re looking to become a grooming guru yourself, read on.
As we stated above, Norelco shavers include three heads that shave in different directions for maximum coverage. There’s more variance within that than you might think, however, with some cutting in four directions, with others cutting in five or eight directions. In addition to that, some heads are significantly more flexible than others, which helps reach stubborn hairs and tricky contoured areas such as the jawline and Adam’s apple. Powder-like metallic pigments and anti-friction coatings further separate high-end models from the rest of the pack. As you might expect, the more dynamic and reactive the head, the better the results. These models tend to cost more as a consequence.
To personalize your experience, top-of-the-line Norelco shavers include multiple speed settings. The Shaver 9700, for example, boasts three — slow for a skin-friendly shave, medium for a thorough shave, and fast for a high-powered shave.
The ultimate shaver
The last shaver you’ll ever buy, the Norelco 9700 has everything you need for a perfect shave. Its flexible three-blade head rotates in eight directions for unbeatable smoothness, and the adjustable speed settings allow you to personalize the experience. The ergonomic handle and LED user interface maximize intuitiveness and comfort, but the included facial cleansing brush and self-cleaning station take it to the next level.
Electric razors are powered by lithium ion batteries, but some have more juice than others. Entry-level variants can run for 30-45 minutes on a charge, but they may take up to 8 hours to replenish. On the other end of the spectrum, expensive versions can be fully charged in just 1 hour and provide 50-60 minutes of run time.
When switching from a manual razor to an electric one, it can take two to four weeks for your skin to adjust. There can be irritation during this time due to the more abrasive electric blades, but this is completely normal and should fade over time.
Everyone’s morning routine is a bit different — some shave before showering, some do it while showering, and some even do it in the car on the way to work. Flexibility is important when choosing an electric razor, so consider your wet/dry options when shopping.
Dry shavers are relatively self-explanatory, as they aren’t rated for water and are generally quite affordable. Wet/dry shavers, on the other hand, employ tough seals (commonly branded as Aquatec) to keep moisture away from the sensitive electronics. The convenience allows you to dry shave, shave while bathing, shave in the car, shave with or without shave cream, and everything in between. These combination options are also extremely easy to clean, as the top usually flips open and can be simply rinsed out.
You don’t always need a complete clean shave. In fact, sculpted stubble or a contoured beard can greatly enhance your look. That’s why Norelco products commonly include beard trimmers, whether it be a simple flip-up extension or a separate attachment that clicks into the main unit.
You’ll find SmartClick trimmer attachments on flexible head models such as the Shaver 8900 and S9000, while cheaper alternatives have single-blade flip-up versions.
Generally available on high-end models only, cleansing brushes take your grooming prowess to the next level. These attachments click into the main unit just like the beard trimmers do, delivering a deep, thorough facial cleanse with soft and hygienic brushes.
As if electric razors weren’t convenient enough, select iterations will even clean themselves. Philip’s SmartClean system cleans, lubricates, and charges your shaver all at once, and all you have to do is plug it into the purpose-built dock. These models can cost a pretty penny, but no worry, other models can be simply cleansed with hot water and a soft brush.
Ever wondered if your shaver battery was low, or perhaps if the travel lock was on? Select Norelco shavers boast LED user interfaces with indicators for battery health, blade replacement requirements, cleaning status, speed settings, and more.
Manual razors cut hair at a sharp angle, but electric razors generally do so straight-on. This can result in thicker-looking hair when it grows back, but despite common belief, electric shavers do not actually make your hair grow thicker.
Inexpensive: Despite their high quality and available features, Norelco shavers can be bought for as low as $50. For the money, expect relatively static heads that shave in four different directions. You’ll still get a great shave with these units, but they aren’t as adept at reaching troublesome areas.
Mid-range: For $100 to $200, you’ll find more flexible shaving heads that adapt to every contour of your face. Nearly every option should offer wet and dry shaving at this price point, as well.
Expensive: Finally, at $250 and up, features such as self-cleaning docks, adjustable speeds, digital user interfaces, cleansing brushes, and octo-directional shavers become more common.
Aftershave isn’t required for grooming, but it’s highly recommended as part of your post-shave routine. This is because shaving physically irritates and dries out your skin, and aftershave can help it recover more quickly.
High-end features priced right
The Norelco 5100 epitomizes “bang for your buck.” Despite its affordable price, it boasts similar features to the brand’s top-end models, including a flexible three-blade head, five-direction shaving, and a SmartClick precision trimmer. Battery life is impressive for the money, with 40 minutes of run time on a one-hour charge. Trick LED display indicates battery life, cleaning status, blade health, and travel lock status.
Philips’ Norelco brand has been around for decades, and as you’d expect, the brand provides a stellar amount of choice. One of the other products we considered was the Norelco Shaver 4500, as it’s great for coarse hair and has solid battery life. It’s only $10 cheaper than the 5100 though, and due to its flexible head and trick LED display, we feel the 5100 is an overall better buy. We also had our eye on the flagship 9000 Prestige model, but we consider the 9700 a better value for what you get.
Q. Can an electric razor shave as close as a blade?
A. Modern electric razors are capable of extremely close, clean shaves. That said, there will always be a physical barrier between the blades and your skin due to their inherent designs, and that means a manual razor will always get closer. Electrics offer unmatched convenience though, which is why so many people prefer them.
Q. What is the best way to maintain my electric shaver?
A. High-end electric shavers often include their own self-cleaning stations, so all proper maintenance entails is docking the unit when it’s not in use. For other models, rinse after each shave and clean the blades once a week. Follow manufacturer instructions for specifics, but cleaning generally entails unplugging the unit, removing the cutter head, brushing accumulated hairs off with a brush, and rinsing it under hot water. Apply lubricating oil if instructions direct you to do so. Also, resist the temptation to tap the shaver on the sink to remove whiskers, as this can damage it.
Q. How often should I replace my shaver’s blades?
A. Blade replacement guidelines vary from product to product as well as user to user. Every beard is different, after all, and proper maintenance isn’t always performed. A general rule of thumb, however, is to replace your blades every year or so, keeping in mind refills will cost about $50.
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