An Introduction to Electric Shavers

foil-vs-rotaryThe electric shaver as we know it today actually dates back to the early 1930’s when Jacob Schick, a retired US Army colonel, launched the world’s first patented electric shaving device. Things have changed a huge amount since then, and today we have shavers for men and women, for wet shaving or dry shaving, for the face and ALL other areas of the body, but the main choice we face when picking a new shaver is whether to go for a foil shaver or a rotary shaver. Just four main manufacturers dominate the market; they are Braun, Panasonic, Philips and Remington.

A Little About Foil Shavers

A foil shaver is so called because it uses a length of fine foil metal to cover the shavers oscillating cutters. The theory goes that the beard hair is ‘trapped’ by the holes in the foil and presented for the cutters to trim. Unlike the rotary shaver, the metal foil head on this type of shaver does not move at all, it merely acts as a ‘guide’ to direct the hair in to the path of the moving cutters blow.

Braun is probably the leading manufacturer of foil electric shavers, and they certainly make the widest range of this type of shaver. They are also extremely popular amongst men who prefer a foil shaver. Remington makes quite an extensive range of foil shavers, and in general they are less expensive than their Braun made equivalents. The third big player in the foil shaver market is Panasonic, but they make a more specialized range of equipment such as wet & dry shavers.

A Little About Rotary Shavers

The rotary shaver was introduced to the world by Philips under the brand name PhiliShave. Its main feature distinguishing it from the foil shaver is its rotating cutting heads. A rotary shaver will typically have three or four of these circular cutting heads that consist of an aluminum top guard that covers the rotary cutters that spin beneath.

A rotary shaver is used differently to a foil shaver as well. It is designed to be worked in a circular motion in combination with a backwards and forwards motion over the area of the face you wish to shave. To get the best results from this type of razor, you can hold the facial skin tight as you shave, and work the shaver against the growth direction of the beard.

Foil or Rotary Shaver – Which is Best?

Many reviewers will tell you that you can achieve the same quality of shave from both types of shavers. In reality though, I think a lot comes down to personal preference, as you will find some people who swear by the comfort and closeness of the shave they get from their rotary, and others who are equally passionate about their foil shaver.

My personal preference is for the rotary shaver because I’ve always been a little disappointed with the foil shaver’s ability to shave the longer hairs on my neck beneath my chin. It’s true, a rotary is more expensive than a foil shaver, but the quality of shaver has to take precedence, and it’s not like I have to go out and buy a new one every three months or even have a new set of blades fitted that regularly.


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