If you’re after an electric razor that’ll get you a shave almost as smooth as a manual one, one of these best foil shavers is a must-have.
Table of Contents
Braun Series 9 Pro (Our Top Pick)
This top-of-the-line foil shaver from Braun is as sleek as it gets. It’s part of Braun’s Series 9, which is the brand’s prestige range, and it comes with all of the bells and whistles, including a few bonus accessories and both dry and wet shaving capabilities.
The most impressive thing about this shaver is that it was designed specifically to handle longer growth. Traditionally, foil shavers are only effective at handling a couple of days’ growth at most, but the Series 9 Pro performs on up to a week’s worth of stubble.
The head is fitted with two foil shavers and two central cutting elements that pick up longer hairs. The result is a very close shave that can handle hair that grows in different directions. One remarkable benefit is that, despite cutting quickly and powerfully, the foils stay cool, which helps keep the shave comfortable.
The foils have a bit of give so they move flexibly against the contours of the face. If you find yourself dealing with an odd area, there’s a locking mechanism that keeps the head stationary when you need more control.
It’s definitely an expensive shaver, but aside from being very technologically advanced, it also comes with a really useful cleaning and charging station. Called the SmartCare Center, it cleans, charges, lubricates, and dries your shaver in one. Since it can be used for wet shaving, it’s not possible to use it when it’s plugged in, but the smart station definitely prevents such accidents.
- Able to shave down a week’s worth of growth, making it a more flexible option for men who forget to shave.
- Multiple cutting elements work together to provide a close shave no matter the direction of hair growth.
- Foils remain cool while shaving, for a more comfortable shave.
- Flexible foils can be locked to a stationary setting, for when you need more control.
- SmartCare Center takes care of charging, cleaning, drying, and lubricating your shave, saving you a lot of effort.
- Very expensive.
If you don’t need a super fancy electric razor, this foil shaver from Remington is a solid option. It’s a forgiving foil shaver at an accessible price point, and it’s also very user-friendly.
The shaver head is fitted with a central cutting implement that deals easily with longer hairs, making it another nice choice for men who don’t necessarily like to shave every day. It’s not quite as versatile or flexible as my top pick, but shaving with it is still a fairly comfortable experience.
The final result is a very-close stubble shave. It’s not quite a clean shave, but if your skin is sensitive or you like a slightly more rugged look, then it’s more than enough.
The head is rinseable, which is convenient for a quick clean, but the shaver as a whole is not waterproof so you won’t be able to use it for wet shaving.
The battery is decent – a 2-hour charge will net you 1 hour of use, which is enough for at least a week of shaving for most men. Plus, you can still use it while it’s plugged in.
- This simple, no-frills shaver is excellent for men who don’t want anything fancy.
- Forgiving of longer hair thanks to central trimmer.
- Gives a close stubble shave that’s gentle on sensitive skin.
- Decent battery life and can be used while plugged in.
- Cannot provide a super clean shave.
- Not waterproof so cannot be used for wet shaving.
This impressive foil shaver from Panasonic is often compared to the Braun Series 9 and 7. It’s a good alternative to the Series 9 Pro at a slightly lower price point. It does an exceptional job of cutting down longer growth while protecting sensitive skin.
The Arc5 actually has 5 cutting implements, which work well to attack long or very coarse hair. They’re flexible against the skin, so there’s a minimal risk of irritation. If you need to do detail work on the sideburns or under the stache, there’s a small but sturdy pop-up trimmer that does a great job.
Where the Arc5 isn’t quite as impressive is when it comes to curly hairs that grow in odd directions. It struggles with them a little more than the Series 9, as would most other foil shavers. If you have curly hair, you’d still be able to use this electric razor but you’ll have to shave often.
The Arc5 can be used for both wet and dry shaving, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin or men who like to shave in the shower.
The one downfall is the battery, which only lasts for 40 minutes. That means you’ll have to charge it fairly frequently, although thankfully there’s an LCD display that’ll remind you when it’s time. This particular iteration of the shaver doesn’t come with a docking station, but you can buy one separately if you want effortless maintenance.
- Effectively shaves coarse hair and longer growth thanks to 5 cutting implements.
- Flexible foils adjust to your pressure and prevent irritation.
- A sturdy pop-up trimmer allows for precision work.
- Can be used for dry and wet shaving, making it suitable for men with sensitive skin.
- Not as effective as other shavers at dealing with curly hair or hair that grows in different directions.
- Relatively short battery life requires frequent charging.
This is probably Braun’s most popular shaver. It’s famously gentle, and many consider it one of the best foil shavers for sensitive skin. It’s a flexible foil shaver that fits very comfortably against the hollows of the face and under the jawline.
Instead of having a million cutting implements, this shaver only has 3. This doesn’t prove to be an issue – the foils over each blade are very smooth and gentle, and the center trimmer makes it easy to shave longer stubble (although it’ll struggle against 7 days of growth, unlike the Braun 9 Pro).
It even has a unique adaptive motor that’s designed specifically to adjust the speed and pressure depending on hair texture, and there are also 5 speed settings that you can control yourself. These factors make for a very gentle, adaptable foil shaver.
This shaver is only suitable for dry shaving, though. If you never wet shave, it won’t be an issue for you, and it does mean that this shaver will work while plugged in should you forget to charge. It also comes with a docking station that cleans and lubricates the shaver, which is an added bonus. This docking station isn’t quite as advanced as the one that comes with the Pro 9, but it certainly beats having to do your own cleaning and lubricating.
- A famously gentle shaver that provides a comfortable shave even to sensitive skin.
- Suitable for slightly longer stubble.
- Adaptive motor adjusts speed depending on hair coarseness.
- Comes with a docking station that saves you the hassle of cleaning, charging, and lubricating.
- Not as effective on more than 5 days’ growth, so you’ll still have to use it regularly.
- Can only be used for dry shaving, so it’s not helpful if you like to wet shave occasionally.
Lastly, this is a retro-style foil shaver for those who like a more old-school aesthetic. Despite the look, it’s an advanced design with a lot of neat features, and I think it’s quite handy for frequent travelers.
Like the other best foil shavers on this list, it has flexible foils, for easier shaving over the jawline and other curved areas. It also has that central cutting element that’s more forgiving of long hair, and a pop-up trimmer for fixing up the sideburns.
The cutting ability is about on par with the F5-5800, meaning that it shaves stubble down quite well, but it’s not ultra-close nor is it great for hair that grows in odd directions.
This is the only tool on the list that can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient in a lot of settings, especially if you’re traveling and forget your charger at home. A full battery lasts for an hour of use, which is on the longer end for foil shavers. Remarkably, it also works when plugged in, despite being fully washable and appropriate for wet shaving – that’s very rare since most brands can’t engineer a shaver that’ll do both safely.
In general, for self-shaving, I don’t love the stout old-school body. It’s a little heavy and less comfortable to grip compared to a modern-style shaver. However, the simple shape does make for a more compact tool, which could potentially be more travel-friendly despite the weight.
- Retro design for men who like the barbershop foil shaver aesthetic, but with modern features.
- Central cutter and flexible foils deal with long or awkward hairs nicely.
- Pop-up trimmer is perfect for trimming sideburns or under the nose.
- Can be charged via USB for better portability.
- Can be used while plugged in as well as for wet shaving, which is a combination that’s nearly unheard of.
- Provides more of a close stubble shave than a clean shave.
- The old-school shape isn’t quite as comfortable for self-shaving.
What Is A Foil Shaver?
A foil shaver is a type of electric razor known for its ability to give a very close shave.
They’re named “foil shavers” after the round foil guards that cover the blades. The foils sit very close to the two rows of oscillating blades. They are covered in small holes that help feed the hair into the blades without harming the skin.
Foil shavers are designed for shaving with the grain, so they get closer than other types of razors. Even when dry shaving, you can achieve a shave that’s very similar to the results of wet shaving with a safety razor.
What To Look For When Buying Foil Shavers?
What separates the decent foil shavers from the best foil shavers? These are the features to look out for.
Traditionally, foil shavers only have two sets of blades, hidden under rounded foils. But, as is often the case with shaver innovations, brands are adding more and more cutting implements.
I really like when foil shavers are designed with central cutting elements for longer hairs, which is why all of the options on my list include them. Otherwise, foil shavers struggle when faced with more than a stubble beard.
Adding one or two more foils to a shaver often also allows the tool to cut hairs that grow in different directions. For men with curly or just wilder hair, this can make a huge difference, since otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to pass over the same area again and again.
Another feature to look for is flexible foils. That means that as you shave, the foils bounce and move to adapt to the shape of your face and the level of pressure you apply. Old-school foil shavers are often a little irritating precisely because they don’t have much give.
Normally, that added flexibility is what makes a lot of men choose rotary shavers over foil shavers, but with the best foil shavers, you get to enjoy a closer shave that’s still adaptive and minimally irritating.
Wet and Dry Shaving
If you prefer electric razors, it’s probably because you don’t like the fuss of wet shaving. In that case, shavers like the Remington F5-5800 and Braun Series 7 will be perfect for you since they’re only designed for dry shaving.
However, for men with sensitive skin or those who are after the closest shave possible, having wet shaving capabilities can be a nice bonus. It’ll allow you to use shaving cream or even to shave in the shower, both of which can help improve the quality of your shave.
Battery and Charging
For the most part, today’s foil shavers are designed for cordless use. They reach a full charge quickly, and once they do, they offer around an hour of use. That means you’ll need to charge your foil shaver at least a few times a month, especially if you use it on a daily basis.
If you’re the kind of person who often forgets to charge his electronics, you may also want to find a foil shaver that has some workarounds. Some tools, like the Braun Series 7 and Remington Heritage Shaver, can be used while plugged in. Others have a 5-minutes quick charge capability, which is enough for a very quick shave.
So you can definitely clean and lubricate your shaver by yourself, but if you’re forgetful or busy, it’s an added chore. A lot of premium foil shavers come with docking stations that save brainpower and effort. Not only do they keep the foils and blades in good shape, but they also have adaptive charging, so you don’t even have to think about plugging our shaver in.
However, these stations usually also require that you purchase new cleaning fluid every few months, which can become an annoying cost.