Rotary shavers make your morning grooming routine laughably quick. In this list, you’ll find the best rotary shaver for you, whether you need a powerful shaver for a coarse beard or one with extra-smooth combs for sensitive skin.
Table of Contents
- 1 Philips Norelco Shaver 2300
- 2 Philips Norelco Shaver 6800
- 3 Philips Norelco Shaver 9700
- 4 Sweet LF IPX7 Electric Shaver
- 5 Philips Norelco Shaver 9000
- 6 Is A Rotary Shaver Better?
- 7 Do Rotary Shavers Leave Stubbles?
- 8 Do Rotary Shavers Cause Ingrown Hair?
- 9 Do Rotary Shavers Pull Hair?
- 10 How Long Do Rotary Shaver Blades Last?
- 11 Things To Consider When Buying A Rotary Shaver
Philips Norelco leads the rotary shaver market, with a lot of well-designed shavers across a very wide range of price points. To start off, here’s a remarkable yet simple rotary shaver.
It’s an unfussy tool that gives a great dry shave. It’s made with Philips’ aptly-named ComfortCut blades, which indeed make for a very comfortable and gentle tool. It’s not necessarily the closest shave I’ve ever experienced, but I think it’s more than enough for most men looking to shave with a rotary razor. In fact, for this reason, it’s probably the best rotary shaver for sensitive skin.
It’s fitted with a pop-up detail trimmer for cleaning up sideburns or catching stubble under the nose. It’s not the sturdiest or most controllable detailer I’ve seen, but it does the job.
It does have to be charged overnight, and a full battery only lasts for 40 minutes. It’s not particularly impressive, but shaving with a rotary razor is very fast so one charge could potentially last you for more than a week of daily shaves. It can be used when plugged in, as well, so forgetting to charge it isn’t the end of the world.
While it’s not designed for wet shaving, you can still pop it open and rinse it under the tap to clean it out, which is as simple as it gets.
- Great unfussy shaver for those who don’t need anything complex.
- ComfortCut blades keep the shave gentle and not too close, which is great for sensitive skin.
- Can be used while plugged in in case you forget to charge it.
- Pop-up detail trimmer allows you to line up your sideburns.
- Requires overnight charging which can be inconvenient.
The 6800 is the next step up from Philips Norelco 2300. It’s a bit more complex, and it also boasts some minor performance upgrades, including a wet shaving option.
The head on this shaver is a little more flexible – both the head itself and the individual rings have some movement and bounce, so they’ll fit nicely against the contours of your face. This feature also makes it the best rotary shaver for bald head since it’s very forgiving when you don’t have much visibility or when you’re working at awkward angles.
This shave has two modes: a powerful default mode for cutting regular and coarse hair and a SkinGuard mode that slows down the blades for those with sensitive skin.
It comes with a detailer replacement head which is a little more reliable and easy to control compared to the pop-up detailer on the Philips 2300.
The battery lasts for 50 minutes of use, and it reaches a full charge in an hour – decent, but not mindblowing. There’s also a quick 5-minute charge option, which is useful since it cannot be used while plugged in in case you forget to charge. There’s also a battery indicator that also helps prevent mishaps.
- A more flexible head fits against the contours of the face for a smoother shave.
- Can be used comfortably at awkward angles, which is perfect for shaving the back of the head.
- Can be used both wet and dry.
- SkinGuard mode slows down blades to suit sensitive skin.
- Decent battery that reaches full charge in an hour and also has a quick-charge mode.
- Detail trimmer clips-on which makes carrying out detail work even more comfortable.
- Cannot be used while plugged in.
Now we’re getting into Philips’ luxury offerings, with this highly sophisticated shaver that comes with lots of bonus accessories.
The 9700 has a few shave settings, including a fast, high-powered one that makes it the best rotary shaver for coarse hair. The added boost allows it to cut even through very thick stubble with ease. It works for both dry and wet shaving with gel, which is great if your skin is sensitive or if you like to soften your facial hair with water pre-shave.
The heads themselves are incredibly flexible, which allows for a closer shave. The handle has an LED display that keeps you updated on the battery level, what setting you’re on, and when it’s time to clean or replace parts.
The battery lasts for 60 minutes following a 1-hour charge, and you’ve also got the 5-minute quick charge option which is helpful since it only works cordless.
It comes with a cleaning station that also charges the shaver at the same time. If you’re too busy to clean your electric shaver regularly, it’s incredibly convenient. The station cleans your shaver, dries it, and lubricates the blades all in one go, as opposed to the multi-step manual process.
The cleaning station isn’t the only accessory, though. Like the 6800, this shaver also comes with a click-on precision trimmer for lining up the sideburns. Additionally, there’s a rotating cleansing brush that clicks on the same way. It’s a great tool for cleansing and exfoliating the skin prior to shaving.
- Very flexible heads allow for a closer shave.
- Multiple shave settings, including a fast one for coarser hair.
- Comes with a cleaning/charging station that saves a lot of hassle and keeps the shaver functioning well.
- Comes with bonus accessories like a cleansing and exfoliating brush and clip-on detailer.
- It’s a more luxury option, and the price reflects that.
If you’re looking for more functionalities at a low price, the IPX7 from Sweet LF is the best rotary shaver for under $100.
Sweet LF is not a household name like Philips, and the company doesn’t invest as many resources in development or innovation. Despite that, this is still a very serviceable rotary shaver at a fantastic price point.
This shaver is waterproof, so you can use it both wet and dry. The combs on the shaver are flexible while the head is stationary, so it provides a comfortable but not super-close shave.
The battery itself is great – since it’s a lithium battery it has a lot of power and its full charge lasts for up to two hours of use, beating out all of the other shavers on our list. However, unlike other shavers, it charges through a micro-USB cord, and an actual adapter is not included. You’ll have to use your computer or a cell phone charger to charge it, which can be inconvenient if you don’t already have one on hand.
- Excellent budget option for those who want more functionalities.
- Waterproof build makes it a great choice for men who like to wet shave.
- Flexible, smooth combs provide a gentle shave.
- Quick charging, long-lasting battery.
- Sweet LF is not as reputable as Philips.
- Non-flexible head cannot provide a very close shave.
- Comes with a micro-USB cord but no wall charger.
Finally, we have this shaver from Philips’ Prestige line. This is the brand’s most high-end option, and it wins my spot as the best rotary shaver for a close shave. The main reason for this is because it’s fitted with multi-directional technology that hugs the face and guarantees an incredibly close shave.
Compared to any of the other tools on this list, this design just feels more sophisticated and sturdy. The rotary heads are a new Philips design, and I find that they move even more smoothly over the skin than any of the other shavers on the list (and those were already pretty smooth). They’re a little more forgiving when it comes to longer growth, which is a bonus if you don’t like to shave too often.
Like the 9700, it also comes with multiple speed settings and a very robust display. This shaver also has the same battery specification, meaning a full 1-hour charge lasts an hour, with a quick charge option but no corded use.
Despite the higher price, this shaver doesn’t come with as many added accessories as the 9700. It has a similar clip-on detailer and carrying case, but sadly, no cleaning station.
- Sophisticated rotary technology hugs the face for the closest shave.
- A luxury tool that feels sophisticated and sturdy.
- New blade design that is more forgiving of longer hair.
- Very expensive.
- Doesn’t come with many accessories.
Is A Rotary Shaver Better?
If you prioritize convenience above all, rotary shavers are better than other types of shavers and razors.
The biggest benefit of rotary shavers is that they’re total no-brainers. The round blades spin as you move the shaver over the skin, which allows them to cut hair no matter what direction it grows in.
As a result, they give a close shave, and they demand very little prep or technique from the user. They’re also very forgiving of longer hair, which makes them a convenient option for men who only shave once or twice a week.
On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who likes a lot of control you’ll do better with a foil shaver, which gives a closer shave.
Do Rotary Shavers Leave Stubbles?
Rotary shavers cut fairly close to the skin, so I wouldn’t say that they leave a stubble. That said, they don’t give that close of a shave, either, especially compared to wet shaving with a razor or using a foil shaver. You’ll still look fairly clean-shaven, but perhaps with the slightest masculine shadow.
Do Rotary Shavers Cause Ingrown Hair?
The closer your shave, the more likely you are to end up with ingrown hairs. Rotary shavers are less likely to cause ingrowns when compared to foil shavers, but there’s still a risk.
Ingrown hairs result from the hair folding over in the hair follicle or getting blocked by dead skin buildup. To prevent them, no matter what kind of shaver you use, make sure to use a face scrub or chemical exfoliant a few times a week.
Do Rotary Shavers Pull Hair?
A quality rotary shaver isn’t going to pull your hair when you use it regularly over short growth. Tugging and pulling are usually only an issue if you wait too long to shave or if you use a low-quality rotary shaver. The only exception is if you’re using a shaver with old, dull blades.
If you’ve been using your rotary shaver for a while and you start noticing that it’s pulling on your hair, it might be time to buy replacement blades.
How Long Do Rotary Shaver Blades Last?
Rotary shaver blades tend to last for between a year and a year and a half. The better you take care of your shaver, the longer the blades will last, of course. Some men find that with a good level of maintenance, their rotary shaver can keep on shaving beautifully for up to a few years.
If you’d like to save some money, I have some tips for how you can keep your razors sharper for longer, including advice specifically for electric shavers.
Things To Consider When Buying A Rotary Shaver
Not sure which rotary shaver will suit you best? Here are some factors to consider.
A great rotary shaver should always move smoothly over your skin and leave minimal irritation. This one is non-negotiable. For a shaver to be able to do this, it has to have very sharp blades, smooth, high-quality combs to protect them, and just enough flexibility so the head can keep moving over the hollows of your face and neck.
You should consider how close of a shave you like. If your skin is a little more sensitive, it might be better to choose a shaver that won’t give too close of a shave, like the Philips 2300, which will be more gentle on the skin. Otherwise, shavers with a flexible head and rotaries that can move individually are the better choice, since they fit more closely against the skin.
Batteries and Charging
Most rotary shavers, once fully charged, can work for 1 to hours, which is enough for a full week of shaving for many men.
If you’re the forgetful type, like me, always double-check the charge time, as well. I always look for features that’ll make up for my poor memory, like a 5-minute quick charge or the option to use it while it’s charging. If you have your life together and this is never an issue for you, it’s still important to know what to expect.
Rotary shavers are usually a little more expensive than other kinds of electric razors, but there are still some nice options at lower price points!
Usually, at the lower end of the scale, you can expect simpler designs with fewer functionalities. Often, budget shavers also have a little less movement and flexibility, which means getting a nice shave that might not be as close.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, you’ll find shavers with more sophisticated rotary construction that often results in closer shaves that are still gentle. That’s also when you can start to expect better batteries and more add-on accessories.
Wet or Dry Shaving
Rotary shavers are generally designed for dry shaving, but many can also be used for wet shaving. If you have sensitive skin or you’re after a very close shave, you might prefer a model like that, since the added layer shaving gel will protect your skin.
Most men don’t need special settings, but if you have a very coarse beard, you may want to consider it. The faster the motor runs, the stronger the shaver will be, so look for an option like the Philips 9700 or 9000 with added speed settings. If your skin is sensitive, a slower speed will be your friend instead.