One stroll around the block will be more than enough for anyone to realize that beards have seen an amazing resurgence in popularity in recent times. The bushy mountain-man look is all the rage right now with the younger (so-called “hipster”) crowd, while the shorter well-groomed beard is ubiquitous among the (slightly) older generations. This has, in turn, created an additional demand for personal care appliances, and numerous companies have jumped at the opportunity to meet said demand.
Philips, being a seasoned and well-respected member of this industry, has always had our attention, and we’ve decided to test out some of their electric shavers in order to help you make the right choice when it comes to keeping your facial hair in check.
To avoid confusion, we’ll quickly point out that “Norelco” is simply a brand name used by Philips for some of their products in America, and all of the items on our list are indeed made by the same company.
Deluxe AquaTec Rotary Razor
Starting off the list with a strong contender, the AT875 Rotary Razor offers a host of features which have become a mainstay in modern electric razors. Its razor heads pivot and flex, following the contours of the user’s face, thereby ensuring a tight contact which helps the blades catch as many hairs as possible. This is done in an effort to both improve the quality of the shave and cut down on the time needed for it, by reducing the number of passes you need to make. Its “Lift and Cut” system positions and aligns the user’s hairs in order to provide a closer shave.
Furthermore, this razor also shows a commendable level of versatility. It features an integrated trimmer, which simply pops up when needed and can be used for detailing. Another feature is the fact that it is waterproof, meaning it can be used for “wet shaving” and is also fully washable.
As for the downsides, we’ve noticed two aspects which could have been handled better by the manufacturer. For one, the package includes a charging stand, which is a plus in and of itself, but the stand is very prone to tipping over when the razor is in it, and seems likely to fall even if you so much as look in its general direction. Secondly, it cannot be used while it’s plugged in, meaning you have to take care you don’t run out of juice in the middle of a shave (it does have a 3-minute quick charge option which mitigates this somewhat).
Continuing the list in an equally impressive manner, the Philips Norelco Shaver 6100 takes remarkable characteristics and packs them in a visually stunning shell. Its heads both pivot and tilt, and the razor sticks to your face like glue because of it. Philips dubbed this the “GyroFlex 2D”, and it can make a world of difference, particularly when you’re in a hurry. It handles shorter and longer hairs equally well, thanks to the “DualPrecision” heads. And as far as the battery is concerned, charge it for 1 hour and you’re good to go for up to 40 minutes.
If you have sensitive skin and need to use a shaving gel or cream, the 6100 will easily accommodate you as it is fully capable of both wet and dry usage. And if you do decide to go wet, it even features a non-slip grip so you don’t drop it in the sink or on your foot.
However, much like the previous item on our list, it can’t be plugged in if the battery runs out mid-shave, but this is largely offset by the quick charge option and the low battery indicator, so at least you’ll know what you’re in for ahead of time. Also, while it can be used for trimming, this requires an entirely separate head attachment and you need to switch over whenever you want to use it, which can be a bit of a hassle, especially when compared to the models which come with a built in trimmer (like the previously covered AT875 Rotary Razor).
Rounding off the list in an unusual fashion, the final product we’ll cover isn’t strictly a shaver, but rather a trimmer. Now, the disadvantages of a trimmer when compared to a shaver are rather obvious – it is primarily designed for precision, meaning it will undoubtedly take you a longer time if you are going for the clean-shaven look. And even after you’ve put in the time, the results of a close shave may not be quite up to par with that of a proper electric shaver.
However, after we took into account the needs of people who intend to sport a beard for an extended period of time, we realized that they simply do not need close shaves. Quite the opposite, they want to keep their beards at a consistent length, which can only be accomplished with a trimmer. Upon further reflection, we realized that the versatility of a good trimmer clearly trumps all of the downsides. And the Philips Norelco 5100 is a very good trimmer.
It has 17 length settings which are easily accessed using a zoom wheel, ensuring you simply cannot go wrong with how long you want your beard to be. Its blades are self-sharpening, and the comb lifts and guides the hairs for maximum efficiency. It is completely waterproof so it’s easy to maintain and features both corded and cordless use (after 1 hour of charging, it will work for 70 minutes). It even has 2 additional comb attachments in case your hair style needs touching up.
Philips did not fail to deliver when it came to providing quality products, and these 3 are the cream of the crop. The AT875 Rotary Razor is a solid performer, and if you enjoy the idea of your razor having a pop-up trimmer, it’s definitely the way to go.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind switching out the trimmer head, the Philips Norelco Shaver 6100 offers outstanding performance with its pivoting and tilting heads and is a marvel to look at to boot.
Finally, it is the versatility and the cost of the Philips Norelco 5100 Trimmer that has led us to declare it the overall winner, and in particular if you intend to have a well-groomed beard for a long time.