For the past few years, I’ve been shaving with different types of disposable razors while traveling. None seemed to give me a good shave. Nothing compared to the double-edged blades I used at home. Of course, those blades are not allowed in carry-on so I had to make do with disposables. Perhaps it was time to try something different. Possibly even battery operated travel shavers.
About a year ago, I bought a Panasonic ES3831K Single Blade Travel Shaver ($13.77 at Amazon, 5.7 oz.) I was surprised how good a shave it gave me right from the start and before I had really broken it in. (It takes 2-4 weeks of use for your face to get used to an electric razor.) It can be used wet or dry and can be cleaned under running water.
I then wondered if there were other battery operated shavers and how well they would perform. So, for the past two months, I’ve been trying out all types of battery operated shavers. Today we’ll focus on foil shavers.
Next up was the Braun Mobile Shaver – M90 ($20.99 at Amazon, 5.8 oz.) This shaver had the best design–twist cap to protect the foil head and prevent the shaver from being turned on in closed position, precision trimmer for sideburns and facial hair, and storage slot for the cleaning brush. It too can be cleaned under running water. This was the most expensive of the shavers and the heaviest.
Next up was the Remington MSC-140 Men’s Titanium Battery Operated Foil Travel Shaver ($9.99 at Amazon, 4.8 oz). This was the only dual headed shaver and the least expensive. It can only be used dry and can’t be cleaned under running water. The clear protective cap has a slot for the cleaning brush which is also clear and can sometimes be hard to see.
I had been using the above three shavers for a couple of weeks when I came upon the Eltron #el-3040 Compact Travel Shaver. ($11.99 at Amazon, 4.1 oz) This was the smallest and lightest of the shavers. I had never heard of this California based company but the few reviews on Amazon were positive. It can only be used dry and can’t be cleaned under running water.
All of the above shavers take two AA batteries and the weights listed include batteries. Each also comes with a cleaning brush and protective removable, clear foil cover (except the Braun.) The manufacturers suggest changing the blade about every year yet buying a new shaver is cheaper than buying the replacement blade. (Does this make sense to you?) As for battery life, I’ve used each razor at least 10 times and have not yet needed to change them.
The results were very surprising.
Let me first state that I have a very thick beard and my 5 o’clock shadow shows up by noon. That meant each shaver would have its work cut out.
In last place, was the Braun M-90. Sadly, as much as I wanted it to be the winner with its great design, it never gave me a close shave. I had to use one of the other shavers to complete the job. It also left my skin irritated at times.
In third place, the Remington MSC-140. It wasn’t bad as a shaver but it often left my skin irritated and red.
That leaves two shavers. And here’s the surprise….I’m going to say both tied for first. While I knew the Panasonic was a great shaver, I was really surprised on how well the Eltron performed. It gave me a fairly close shave and never irritated my skin. The Panasonic would occasionally irritate it but nowhere near as bad as the Braun and Remington. The only down side I saw to the Eltron was that the foil cover was at times difficult to get off and once it took off the razor head as well. (This pops right back on.)
I did give all the shavers the two-day shave test where I didn’t shave for two days. Electric’s are not known to do well with a longer stubble. Here, the Panasonic just slightly edged out the Eltron.
If you have a light beard, any of these shavers might work. If you like the convenience of using the shaver wet or dry, using it in the shower, or being able to clean it under running water, get the Panasonic. If you like having a trimmer and want a smaller, lighter option, get the Eltron.
I’ll be alternating between the two. That seems to work well with my face. I’ll also be taking along a disposable razor and shaving sheets for trimming my sidburns and any facial cleanup that might be needed.
As a sidenote, I didn’t expect to use any of these shavers as an everyday shaver so I ordered a Panasonic ES-LA63-S Nanotech 4-Blade (Arc 4) Multi-Flex Dual-Motor Electric Shaver ($130 at Amazon, now discontinued) because it had great reviews. Surprisingly, it didn’t do any better than its smaller, battery operated cousin so I sent it back. (Since Eltron did such a good job with its small battery shaver, perhaps I should look at one of their regular shavers for daily use?)
I focused these reviews on battery operated shavers rather than rechargeable shavers because I didn’t want to carry yet another item that needed to be recharged. With batteries, I never have to worry about forgetting to charge. All I need to do is carry an extra pair.
Ladies–sorry, I know this is a review of men’s shavers. I just didn’t feel like shaving my legs to review women’s shavers. But if any of you would like to do a review, let me know and I’ll be happy to post it.
Next up: Part 2– Battery operated rotary shavers and Part 3–Pre Shave treatments and shaver cleaning products.
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Addendum: 9/13/13–I just found out the Panasonic ES 8381K has been discontinued. There was no word on whether or not Panasonic plans a replacement.