Best Rotary Shavers

Updated February 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
129 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best rotary shavers

Last Updated February 2019

Whether you shave daily or need a razor that can handle a week’s worth of scruff, a rotary shaver is a popular choice that is easy to use and maintain.

Rotary shavers are so named from the rotating blades that trim hairs without coming into direct contact with the skin. This makes them a popular choice among people with sensitive skin. Because the blades cut in a circular motion, rotary shavers deal well with hair that grows in different directions.

The three or four rotary blades of a rotary shaver are contained in heads that can bend to adapt to the curves of your face. This enables you to shave tricky areas more easily than with a foil shaver or traditional razor.

Rotary shavers are the best choice for thick or curly facial hair, but they may not be suited to men who want the cleanest shave. However, the simplicity and convenience of a rotary shaver makes it a popular choice.

There’s no better way to shave tricky contours than a rotary shaver, thanks to the rotating blades and flexible heads.

Key considerations

Before you purchase a rotary shaver, consider whether it’s the right shaving method for you.

Foil shavers are best suited to shaving every day, as they produce an extremely close shave without irritating the skin. The blade of a foil shaver oscillates, using a back-and-forth motion to snip hairs. Many foil shavers are designed to lift hairs that lie flat against the skin. Foil shavers are also the best option for shaping beards and sideburns.

Traditional manual razors take longer to get the job done than electric shavers. There is always the risk of cuts or razor burn with traditional razors, and frequent blade replacement can be expensive. But with some patience, you can get a smooth shave from a traditional razor.

Rotary shavers are a good option for a straightforward shave, no matter the length of your hair. They can cut through thick or curly facial hair with ease, and the heads are generally flexible for a comfortable shave. Unlike traditional razors and foil shavers, rotary shavers can be used in a circular motion.

Heads and blades

Rotary shavers aren’t quite as fast as foil shavers, and cutting speeds aren’t usually listed by the manufacturer. This can make it difficult to determine how efficient a particular model is compared to others, though some manufacturers may list the RPM of the motor. Anything above 2,800 RPM will typically perform well as long as the blades are sharp.

One way to measure efficiency is to look at the number of directions each blade can flex. Most rotary shavers have heads that can flex in anywhere from four to eight directions. The more flexible each head is, the better they will adapt to the contours of your face. Most shavers have three heads, but some more efficient models have four heads.

The durability of the blades varies from one rotary shaver to the next, and blades can be expensive to replace. Read customer reviews to see how long the blades are likely to last and look up the price of replacement blades or heads.

Corded vs. cordless

Do you prefer your electric shaver to be tethered or untethered? A corded rotary shaver is a classic choice. There’s no need to charge beforehand, and as long as you aren’t too far from an outlet, you can shave without worrying about powering down.

A cordless rotary shaver offers the obvious convenience of cord-free shaving. This is the most popular design. Charging speeds and durations vary, and in most cases, it is not advisable to charge while you shave. As a result, you may find yourself without power and thus without a shave. But as long as you can remember to plug in before you shave, cordless is a good way to go and can mean one less thing to bring with you on a weekend trip.

Dry vs. wet/dry

Many rotary shavers offer wet/dry shaving, which can allow you to shave in the shower and easily wash away clipped hairs as you shave. Some rotary shavers are compatible with shaving cream. Bear in mind that, for safety reasons, wet/dry shavers will usually turn off automatically when plugged in. Some wet/dry shavers work better in the wet or dry modes, so before you purchase, you should have an idea of how you prefer to shave.

Dry shavers are more common and are best used before you shower. If you don’t intend to shave wet, you may save a bit on your purchase by opting for a dry-shave-only model.

Fast-charging precision

Though it’s on the expensive side, this rotary shaver boasts a rapid charging speed and a useful LED display that tells you when to charge or clean. The wet/dry design allows you to shave how you want.

Features

Rotary shavers vary in more than just their blades, power sources, and shaving styles. Here are some additional features to consider when making your decision.

Battery life and charging speed

Lithium-ion batteries are common in cordless rotary shavers and can provide anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of shaving time. They typically hold a charge well when not in use. If you plan to shave frequently, a reliable battery may be a must-have for you.

Most batteries will charge within a few hours, but some charge faster than others. To extend the life of your battery, unplug your shaver when it is done charging.

Noise level

Though they are typically quieter than foil shavers, rotary shavers are louder than traditional manual razors. If you prefer your shaving to be discreet, look for a rotary shaver with a relatively quiet motor.

Trimming modes and attachments

Some rotary shavers only have one mode: shaving. If you want the option to trim sideburns or nose hairs, look for a model with attachments or trimmers.

Trimmers may be built in to the shaver and activated by pressing a button. In other models, they may come in the form of an attachment.

Some models have different shaving speeds, which allow you to accommodate longer or shorter hair. This helps keep your shaver working as efficiently as possible.

LED indicator

Pricier rotary shavers may have an LED indicator that alerts you when the battery is low or tells you what speed you are using. Some models may even offer precise battery levels.

Additional accessories

Some shavers come with additional accessories, such as a cleaning brush, charing stand, or cleaning station. A carrying case is always a nice extra, especially if you travel frequently.

 

EXPERT TIP

Rotary shavers should be used in a circular motion, as opposed to the vertical or horizontal motion that is appropriate with foil shavers and traditional manual razors.


Staff  | BestReviews

Rotary shaver prices

The cheapest rotary shavers cost approximately $20 to $40. These models are often corded and may be limited in functionality. The blades are likely to be less durable than more expensive models.

Mid-range rotary shavers cost between $40 and $100 and will meet the needs of most users. These shavers come in corded, cordless, dry, and wet/dry designs. Additional accessories, such as a carrying bag or charging station, may be included.

The most expensive rotary shavers cost from $100 to $200. These impressive machines will last you for years and typically include different shaving speeds and LED displays.

Affordable yet versatile

This wet/dry shaver is compatible with water or shaving cream and includes three heads for shaving and trimming. Though the materials may not be of the same quality as more expensive models, this little shaver has a lot to offer, including an LED display.

Tips

  • When you start to notice your shaver tugging rather than cutting, it’s time to get new blades.
  • Rather than using your cordless shaver while it is charging, use a quick shave mode if one is offered. Alternatively, give your shaver a brief charge period before you start your shave.
  • Don’t apply much pressure when using a rotary shaver, or your skin may poke through the holes in the foil, resulting in tiny cuts.
  • Only use shaving cream with a wet/dry shaver if the manufacturer specifically recommends it. Otherwise, you may void the warranty and damage the shaver.
DID YOU KNOW?

Some shavers are partly waterproof, allowing you to clean out the head with water. This is different from models with wet shaving capability, however.

Rotary shavers aren’t the best option for shaping beards or sideburns. However, some models have built-in trimmers or trimmer attachments for this purpose.

Staff
BestReviews

Another product we considered

Another model that we like that just missed our shortlist is the SweetLF 3D Rechargeable Wet & Dry Shaver. The two-hour battery life is impressive, and with an LED display and wet/dry shaving capability, it’s an affordable model with many of the bells and whistles of pricier shavers.

Like the look of five o’clock shadow? Most rotary shavers keep the hair long enough for a light shadow by day’s end.

FAQ

Q. Should I oil my rotary shaver?
A.
Yes. Shaver oil or lubricant should be applied to the blades every two or three shaves to keep the blades running smoothly and to reduce stress on the motor.

Q. How often should I clean my rotary shaver?
A.
You should always clean out clippings after a shave, and you should clean the heads with soap and water as often as once a week to reduce irritation.

Q. How long does a rotary shaver last?
A.
A quality rotary shaver should last five to ten years, though you may need to replace the heads and blades several times in that period.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Linsay
    Linsay
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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