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Cheap Men's Electric Shavers Buying Guide

Our top choices in the cheap men's electric shavers category are the Braun MobileShave M-90 (starting at $20) and Philips Norelco 6948XL/41 (starting at $30). Both earn commendations for light weight and good execution with little to no irritation.

Related Guide:
Facial Moisturizers
Two other cheap electric razors, the Remington MSC-140 (starting at $10) and Remington R3-4110A (starting at $29), are value buys that men like for their user-friendliness and effectiveness. Steer clear of the Panasonic Pro-Curve ES-RW30S Cordless Shaver (starting at $30), however; reviewers ding this budget model for failing the clean-shave test.

What We Looked For in the Specs

Floating Foil/Head.

There are two types of men's electric razors -- rotary and foil. The head on a rotary shaver contains several spinning blades and a foil shaver relies on a mesh-covered blade that moves sideways. Shavers described as having a floating (or flexing or pivoting) head contain blades that follow the contours of the user's face by way of a spring mechanism. This feature is essential for a close shave.

Frugal shoppers are in luck, as most cheap men's electric shavers incorporate a floating foil or rotary head -- and that includes all the models we researched. The Philips Norelco 6948XL/4 and Remington R3-4110A are rotary shavers with contouring heads while the Braun MobileShave M-90, Remington MSC-140, and Panasonic Pro-Curve ES-RW30S sport floating foils; the MSC-140 even boasts two foil screens instead of the usual one.

Users are especially pleased with the close shave produced by the floating rotary head on the Philips Norelco 6948XL/41. One post at Amazon notes that the "give" of the blades is especially efficient for stubborn stray hairs. Reviewers of the best cheap electric foil shaver, the Braun MobileShave, say they experience less skin irritation with a head that floats. By contrast, users grumble that the thin, pivoting blades and vibrating foil on the Panasonic Pro-Curve don't get near as close as they would like, leaving a less-than-clean shave.

Cordless Electric Razors.

With so many budget electric shavers to choose among, there's no reason to pick one that can be used only 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.

All of our top picks offer the option of cord-free operation. The Braun MobileShave and Remington MSC-140 run on two replaceable AA batteries. The Philips Norelco 6948XL/41, Remington R3-4110A, and Panasonic Pro-Curve ES-RW30S are powered by rechargeable batteries; the first two recharge with a cord and the latter through a charging base. Reviews of all these models extol the portability of the cordless option. (Both the Philips Norelco 6948XL and Remington R3-4110A also can be used while plugged in.)

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 a men's electric shaver -- even a cheap one. The models we researched, with the notable exception of the pared-down Remington MSC-140, feature a pop-up trimmer. Reviews of the Philips Norelco 6948XL/41 tout the full-sized trimmer compared with the mini-version that appears on some inexpensive models.

Replacement Heads.

The wear and tear of daily use dulls shaver blades after a while. For the best shave, experts recommend replacing the head periodically, generally within six months to two years. The bad news for frugal consumers is that replacement heads typically cost at least half as much as the shaver itself. In fact, we noted while reading reviews that men often opt for a new unit because it costs only slightly more than a new head.

Review continues below

For example, a single replacement head for the Philips Norelco 6948XL/41 goes for about $22, which is more than half of the upfront price. For the especially affordable Remington MSC-140, replacement foils are not even an option -- the unit is designed to be discarded once the blades dull or the foil screens wear out. But at $10 for a replacement electric shaver, this is still an incredibly cheap deal.

Wet/Dry Razors.

Men who want the option of using water while shaving should opt for a wet/dry razor. Wet/dry razors like the Panasonic Pro-Curve can be fully immersed in water and are ideal for use in the shower with lather or shaving cream, although reviewers caution that a wet shave with that model is near impossible.

As for cleaning, among the cheap men's shavers we researched only the Braun MobileShave M-90 and the Remington R3-4110A can be rinsed under water. The heads on the other models must be brushed clean.

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 cheap electric razor is right for you. Fortunately, manufacturers are accommodating. The Braun MobileShave and Remington R3-4110A boast a 60-day money-back pledge, compared with 45 days for the Philips Norelco 6948XL/41, and 30 days for the Remington MSC-140 and Panasonic Pro-Curve. Take advantage of the offer -- you're sure to find a low-cost electric shaver that is convenient and leaves your face feeling soft and smooth.

by Emily Lugg (Google+ Profile)

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