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Cheap Men's Electric Shavers Buying Guide

Easy to use and convenient when traveling, men's electric shavers are a good investment and an ideal gift item. Although many top-rated men's electric shavers carry price tags in the $200 range, a broad selection of good quality razors carrying brand names like Braun, Remington, Panasonic, and Philips-Norelco are widely available at more affordable prices.

Expert reviews of cheap electric shavers are scarce, but reviews written by every-day users are plentiful.

Related Guide:
Facial Moisturizers
Not surprisingly, user opinions about the quality of any specific low-priced electric razor vary drastically. Shaving is, after all, a highly personal activity and each man's beard and facial structure are unique. Moreover, shaving frequency and shaving location also affect users' choice of, and experience with, a reasonably priced electric shaver. Because it takes a while to figure out whether the shaver is right for you, many manufacturers offer a money-back trial period. So don't fret if the budget shaver you choose doesn't cut it -- just return it and try a different model.

There are two types of electric razors -- rotary and foil. Rotary shavers have several spinning blades and foil shavers rely on a mesh-covered blade that moves sideways. Electric shaver reviews by users posted on Metafilter.com suggest that men who don't need to shave so often prefer rotary razors and foil razors are preferred by those who like a closer shave. The posts also indicate that rotary razors require more maintenance -- more frequent cleaning and blade replacement -- and cause more irritation than do foil razors. For men who like to use water while shaving, several good "wet/dry" foil razors at relatively cheap prices are also available.

Electric Shaver Features

Floating Foil/Head.

Shavers described as having a floating foil or a head (if the shaver is rotary) are equipped with a blade(s) that moves to the contours of a user's face by way of a spring mechanism. This feature is essential for a close shave and luckily for frugal shoppers, most cheap foil and rotary shavers have floating blades. Both the Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve Rechargeable Double Blade Wet/Dry Men's Shaver (starting at $20) and the Braun PocketGo P-70 Men's Shaver (starting at $16) have floating foils; the Remington R-960 Titanium Rotary MicroFlex Cord/Cordless Men's Shaver (starting at $36) and Remington R-600 Microflex 600 Cordless Men's Shaver (starting at $30) are rotary head models.

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Users seem to like the floating foil on the Braun PocketGo, which some reviewers on Amazon say gives almost as close a shave as a standard (non-electric) blade. Another budget floating foil razor users favor is the Braun Free Control 1775 (starting at $36); writing a men's electric shaver review on Epinions, one user describes his curvaceous face and chin as a challenge to shave and says the floating foil blade of the Free Control 1775 gives him better results than higher-priced razors he's used in the past. Because so many inexpensive men's electric shavers with floating heads are available, frugal shoppers should avoid models without this feature. The Remington 2x Microscreen Rechargeable Shaver DA307 (starting at $15), for example, lacks a floating head and shaver reviews on Buzzillions and Epinions say it misses hairs.

Among rotary shavers, users give especially good reviews to the floating heads on many low-cost Remington models. The Remington R-960 and R-600 give a smooth, close shave, according to shaver reviews by users on Amazon; users particularly like the value price of the R-600.

Replacement Blades.

The wear and tear of daily use dulls the blades after a while, be they rotary or foil. For the best shave, experts recommend replacing the blades periodically, some time within a six-month to two-year time frame. The bad news for frugal consumers is that replacement blades can cost at least half as much as the shaver itself, which makes this a huge factor when deciding which low-priced shaver to buy. Panasonic sells some of the most expensive replacement blades, with prices reaching almost $55 for its highest-end models, although replacements for the reasonably priced Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve will set you back about $18 or so. Replacement blades for some Remington models are a bit more expensive, with extra blades for the Remington R-960 and the Remington R-600 priced at $25 and $30, respectively. We did note in cheap electric razors user reviews, however, that men often opt to buy a new unit because it costs only slightly more than replacement blades.

Rechargeable/Cordless Electric Razors.

With so many inexpensive cordless shavers to choose from, there's no reason to opt for a shaver that can only be used while plugged into an outlet. Many men pan corded-use only shavers because they aren't travel-friendly and the cord can limit your movements. The majority of cheap Phillips Norelco shavers are corded-use only and garner mixed reviews from users. The Norelco 6940 (starting at $32) and the Philips ReflexPlus 6423 LC Electric Shaver (starting at $35) are two examples; posting shaver reviews on sites like Epinions, Amazon, and Walmart, users grumble that the cords are too short and say the Philips ReflexPlus6423 cord is inflexible.

Fortunately, there are cheap, high-quality shavers that can be recharged and used without the cord. Recharging time varies significantly across brands and models, and can sometimes go on for hours. The Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve, for example, takes six hours to charge while the older Panasonic ESSA40-K Pro Curve Wet/Dry Shave (starting at $32) requires eight hours of charge time, as does the Philips 7110X Electric Shaver (starting at $40). Recharge time for the low-cost Remington R-960 can run up to 24 hours, although this shaver also offers a "quick charge" option. Product specifications for the R-960 say five minutes of quick charge time provides enough power for one shave, and one hour of quick charge time gives 40 minutes running time. Some users, however, complain on Amazon that you can't shave while the unit is charging -- an inconvenience that requires a certain amount of forward planning.

Electric Razor Running Time.

Ideally, a cordless electric shaver lasts through multiple uses after recharging. If you're traveling or using it on the go, you want a shaver that holds its charge for a while. According to one shaver review on Amazon, the charge on the Remington R-960 lasts at least 12 shaves, although some posts say the shaver begins to slow down after a couple of shaves and could use a stronger battery. Another inexpensive shaver with a long operating time is the AA battery-powered Braun PocketGo P-70. This model runs for about 60 minutes until you need to change the batteries, but users advise that you stock a couple of extras just in case; one men's shaver review by a Drugstore.com user notes you can use rechargeable AA batteries -- an appealing option for thrifty and environmentally conscious consumers.

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Money-Back Trial Period.

Experts say it takes a good three weeks for your face to fully adjust to a new electric shaver, so a money-back trial period is ideal for determining if a budget electric razor is right for you. Fortunately for frugal shoppers, manufacturers are accommodating. Braun's PocketGo P-70, CruZer Z-50 (starting at $43), and Series 1 1-150 (starting at $43), for example, come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Low-cost Remington shavers featuring the same guarantee include the R-960, the MS-5100 Titanium MicroScreens 700 (starting at $25), and the R-835 MicroFlex 100 Rotary Shave (starting at $31). With many Philips Norelco shavers, you've got 45-60 days to make up your mind if you're not happy with the process or the results.

As noted above, any given electric shaver works well for some men but not for others. All the models we researched received both positive and negative reviews. So experiment by taking advantage of the free trial period manufacturers offer -- you're sure to find a low-cost shaver that leaves your face feeling soft and smooth.

Pop-up Trimmer.

Trimming the mustache, sideburns, nose, and ears is an essential part of grooming, so a pop-up trimmer is a must-have feature on an electric shaver. Many low-priced Braun, Remington, Panasonic, and Philips-Norelco electric razors come with a trimmer that measures about an inch long. Although the trimmer on the Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve doesn't lock in place, electric shaver reviews on Epinions and Rate It All say it gives a close shave in all the right places.

Extra Features.

Men who want the option of using water while shaving should opt for a wet/dry razor. Wet/dry razors can be fully immersed in water and are ideal for use in the shower with lather or soap. The vast majority of wet/dry razors, like the Panasonic Arc4 Nano Vortex Wet/Dry Razor (starting at $140) and the Panasonic Vortex HydraClean ES8109S (starting at $110), fall outside the Cheapism niche, but there are a few low-cost wet/dry shavers on the market. The Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve is one budget wet/dry razor that men seem to like; multiple shaver reviews on Rate It All write about the clean shave it gives and the convenience of shaving in the shower. Although Braun does not make any wet/dry shavers, theBraun PocketGo P-70 can be rinsed under water and works well on wet skin, according to a user post on Amazon.

Indicator lights that show when the battery is running low or charging and when the head needs cleaning, is another nonessential, but useful, feature. Most medium-priced and expensive electric shavers have indicator lights, but budget models with this feature are not as common. The Remington R-960 and Remington MicroFlex R-450 (starting at $29) feature two indicator lights: one glows green when the shaver is charging and the other glows red when the battery begins running out. The Philips 7110X and Bwe Bell & Howell ZX4 (starting at $25) each have a light that warns when the battery is low.

Many high-end electric shavers, like the Braun Series 7- 790cc Pulsonic (starting at $213), come with a self-cleaning dock that cleans the blades after a shave. A nice convenience, for sure, but there are no economically priced electric shavers with this feature. Budget electric shavers must be cleaned fairly frequently, although this particular chore is not difficult or time consuming. The Panasonic ES4026NC, for example, can be cleaned with soap and water and the Braun PocketGo P-70 can be cleaned with a brush or under running water.

Titanium-coated blades last longer than regular stainless steel blades and some men say they give a closer shave. Cheap shavers with this type of blade are few and far between, but Remington offers several models with titanium blades, including the Remington R-960, Remington MicroFlex R-450, Remington R650 (starting at $30), and Remington R950 (starting at $30).

Many high-end shavers can be converted to different voltages without the help of an adapter. This is a great feature for international travelers but is not essential; the Remington R-960 and Norelco 6940 are two low-cost models that can perform this trick.

Electric Razor Performance

Hair Removal.

Regardless how expensive or highly rated an electric shaver is, it seems to be a universally accepted truth that nothing shaves as close as a regular (non-electric) razor used with water and soap or shaving cream. That said, many users report that certain affordable electric shavers can achieve a result close to the degree of smoothness delivered by traditional blades. According to users, the Remington R-960 performs remarkably well for a budget rotary shaver; one shaver reviewer raves on Amazon that it outperforms expensive Philips Norelco models he has owned, requires no pressure to produce a smooth shave, and leaves no stray hairs. Culling men's electric shaver user reviews from around the web, this site reports that the Braun P-70 gives a close, smooth shave, especially on lighter beards, and performs as well as models that are far more expensive. According to shaver reviews on Epinions the Panasonic ES4026NC generally gives a close shave but may miss some longer or ingrown hairs, while others posting on Drugstore.com particularly like the handiwork of the nose and ear trimmer. The Remington R-600 Microflex likewise garners mostly positive comments for giving a smooth, close shave without any razor burn, although one disaffected shaver review notes on Amazon that it misses the mark on the upper lip and neck.

By contrast, user reviewers of cheap electric razors warn against the Philips Norelco 6940 on Buzzillions, noting it requires several passes to achieve a close shave and leaves their faces and necks red and irritated. Another men's electric shaver that receives similar complaints from user reviewers on Epinions is the Bwe Bell & Howell ZX4, which reportedly can't deal with three days' stubble and pulls at the beard rather than shaving it.

But remember, men's faces vary and a shaver that one user disses, another praises. And some have problems with every model they try. One man writes in his shaver review on Amazon that the Remington MicroFlex R-450 leaves a rash on his neck but notes this is the least bad of the three razors he's used in the past 12 months.

Electric Shaver Lifespan/Durability.

The lifespan of cheap electric shavers varies. Some men report their shavers last five to ten years, while others say they stopped working within months; the Bwe Bell & Howell ZX4 falls into this latter category, according to user reviews on Epinions.

Electric Shaver Noise Level.

All electric razors make a buzzing noise while in use. For some men, this sound is annoying. But it may be the price you have to pay for the convenience of battery- and electric-powered shavers.

by Maralyn Edid (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Men's Electric Shavers

Braun PocketGo M-90
Gold Medal

Braun PocketGo M-90

Powered by two AA batteries that give 60 minutes shave time, this compact model features a thin and wide floating foil that can be cleaned with water, and comes with a trimmer and cleaning brush; users love to travel with this ultra-small model.

Good Inexpensive Men's Electric Shavers

Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve Wet/Dry
Gold Medal

Panasonic ES4026NC Pro Curve Wet/Dry

A rechargeable foil shaver weighing 0.33 lbs that includes floating two-blade system, stainless steel and hypoallergenic foil and blades, ear and nose trimmer, travel pouch and AC recharger; users like shaving in the shower with this unit and say it's quiet and easy to maneuver.

Remington R-600 Microflex 600
Gold Medal

Remington R-600 Microflex 600

An older Remington rotary shaver with titanium-coated, self-sharpening blades, and three independently floating heads that can be washed under a faucet; running time is 30 minutes without the cord, but you can't shave while charging; users generally praise the smooth shave.

 

Don't Bother

Bwe Bell & Howell ZX4

Despite four heads on this rotary shaver and the option of using it with or without a cord, consumers report trouble with stubble, listless shaving action, and poor reliability.

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