Have you ever wondered what to get for the guy in your life that seems to have everything? The answer might be simpler than you think. If your guy has anything less than a full mountain man beard, a new shaver could be just the best guy gift he never knew he wanted. Sure, he probably already has either a disposable razor or an electric one, but unless he’s committed to a regular blade, or already has a new, top-of-the-line electric shaver, there’s probably room to upgrade. And a better quality shaver means not only a closer, more efficient, and less time consuming shave (all things every guy is sure to love), but it also means a smoother face – which is like a present for you, too! So what do you look for?
Foil vs. Rotary
These are the two basic types of electric shavers. Rotary shavers have two to four (usually three) round, pivoting heads that move independently to adjust to the contours of your face, each with its own built in blade. This style handles longer hair better, tends to be quieter, and is ideal for people with very dense facial hair or rounder faces, or guys who tend to shave a little less often – or have very fast growing beards. In this style, the Norelco 8240 is the pick of the litter, acclaimed for its simple, effective design, quiet motor, and utilitarian feature set that make it much less expensive than many other electric shavers.
Foil shavers are designed with a flat, bar-like head dotted with small holes that lift and separate hair, and usually two to four oscillating blades inside to trim it. Foil shavers tend to be a little louder, but give a closer shave, and are generally preferred by people with more angular faces or thinner hair. The Braun 7 Series shavers are the highest rated and most acclaimed of this type (and many consider them the best electric razors period). Ultimately, though, it’s purely a matter of preference – and you can find a shaver of either type and equal quality in about the same price range.
Dry vs. Wet/Dry
To me, this one is a gimmie. Unless your razor specifies that it’s wet/dry like this Panasonic ES-LA93, you can’t take it in the shower or use it with shaving cream or lotion. Now, a dry shaver can give you a perfectly nice, close shave, but if you have particularly sensitive skin, or frequently find yourself in a morning crunch and like to shave in the shower, you probably want to opt for one that won’t die on you if you get it wet while you’re using it.
Money Back Guarantee
It can take a man’s face up to 30 days to adjust to a new type of razor, so be sure to buy one with at least a 30 day money back guarantee, if not longer. If you don’t, you could wind up stuck with a razor that irritates your face and nothing to do with it but pay full price for a replacement. That said, this type of warranty shouldn’t be hard to find on a quality shaver like this Braun 5 Series. In fact, if the shaver you’re looking at doesn’t have one, you might want to reconsider buying it anyway. Big name manufacturers like Braun, Philips Norelco, and Panasonic, almost always come with generous warranties for either an exchange or full refund, but double check with your individual retailer’s return policy before you buy.
Charge Time And Battery Life
This one is really, really, I cannot emphasize enough, REALLY important. If your shaver takes eight hours to charge and only runs for 30 minutes, you’re taking a chance every time you shave that you’ll end up with a dead battery, random patches of hair on your face, and nothing to do about it, with five minutes before you have to leave for work. So, look for a shaver that charges quickly and has a very long battery life, like this Panasonic ES-LA63. Even better, look for one that has a plug in option, or a shaver like this Norelco Arcitec that has an emergency charge feature to give you enough juice in five minutes or less to finish your shave and get you out the door in a pinch.
Once you pass the, oh, say, $50 threshold, shavers of all kinds in any brand start to gain special features. From self-cleaning docks to light up displays, battery charge displays to special vibration settings, many of the extras can be nice to have, but what the companies that make them don’t want you to know is that the actual baseline function of all shavers in the same family is totally indistinguishable. Even shavers that cost as much as a hundred dollars less than higher end models in the same line have the same blades, razor heads, and motors – the acclaimed Braun 7 line is notorious for having many models with slightly different feature sets priced $10-20 apart. So if you’re eyeballing a Norelco SensoTouch 3D but can’t quite afford it, you can get exactly the same razor without the self cleaning base for $40-$50 less. That said, of course, some extras – like the emergency charge – are worth splurging for, so make special note of the specific differences between models in a series so you can be sure you get the one that suits you best.
Refills And Replacements
Almost as important as the cost of the shaver itself is the cost of the replacement parts. Even when well maintained, the razor head will have to be replaced eventually, sometimes in as little as six months, or at least once every two years. If the battery dies, it may actually be cheaper to buy an entirely new razor than replace the part. As well, razors with self-cleaning mechanisms will have to have the (usually proprietary) cleaning fluid replaced about once a month. Special shavers like this Norelco Nivea For Men, which dispenses (an, again, proprietary) shaving conditioner right onto your face while you shave, may be extremely effective and well designed, but can accrue even greater long term costs when you have to buy more lotion every three weeks. So when calculating your initial budget, be sure to factor in long term expenses as well.
Finally, really do take advantage of that money back guarantee to make sure you’re getting a razor you (or your hubby, dad, or other favorite man in your life) are really going to be happy with. Do you have a favorite electric razor? Are you a foil guy or a rotary guy?