Shavers.jpgToday we consider the question of how to choose between rotary & foil shavers by learning important details about each type. While both kinds can certainly get the job done, there are some notable differences between them, and it may prove useful to arm yourself with a few key shaver facts. If you ever want to give an electric shaver as a gift, knowing something about each type will help you to make a wise decision. After all, shavers are very personal items, and many men have pretty strong feelings about what passes muster when it comes to a good shaver. Keep reading for some useful shaver info!


Foil Shavers

Shaver foils.jpgFoil shavers are relatively flat along the shaving surface, which sometimes leads to complaints about their ability to effectively shave in and around the nooks and crannies of one’s face. In other words, foil shavers may not be as good at clearing facial contours as their rotary counterparts.

Consisting of one or more perforated steel foils covering a set of oscillating blades, foil shavers are also noted as being generally more noisy than rotary models. Some people also report a potentially painful pulling sensation if you fail to observe straight, sweeping motions (either up and down or side to side). One should therefore avoid moving the shaver erratically or in circles. You may also experience pulling if you allow your beard to grow too long between shaves.

I personally only shave every 2-3 days, so a foil shaver is not ideal for me; I find them painful to use. If you’re a daily shaver, however, you’ll likely fare much better.

Foil shavers are also noted for giving an overall close shave (particularly in less contoured areas) and generally provide at least a few shaves on each battery charge, so you can quickly shave in the morning before work. If you forget to charge your shaver ahead of time, most electric shavers (whether foil or otherwise) will quickly charge enough for a single shave (within about 5 minutes).

Many electronic shavers can also be used either wet or dry (i.e., with shaving cream or without), and shaving is generally not possible while the unit is plugged in. This is an important safety feature to keep you from accidental electrocution while having a wet shave (possibly even in the shower) with the unit plugged in. Below are a couple of fine examples of the Foil Shavers currently available at Best Buy.


10256625The first of these is the Panasonic Milano Triple-Blade Linear Shaver, a model that boasts a close, comfortable shave driven by a series of magnetic pulses (up to 13,000 cycles per minute). This easy-to-clean shaver features an  incredibly sharp 30-degree nano blade that provides a super close shave with no unpleasant tugging. It also includes a convenient charging stand & carry holder, and a manual to help you get the most out of your unit while properly taking care of it for many years of comfortable shaving.

The Panasonic Milano even has a feature called “Stubble Sensor Technology,” which can automatically sense & adapt to different hair types & thicknesses. All in all, I suspect that this triple-blade shaver would be more than sufficient for anyone with a foil shaver preference.


10143148Another great model from the same manufacturer is the Panasonic Wet/Dry Shaver. This simply named shaver is not simple at all. Featuring a 4-blade cutting system that can be used either in or out of the shower, this model cuts even the shortest of stubble thanks to the follicle stimulating action of a small, built-in motor.

The end result of its thousands of micro-impulse vibrations is that your whiskers actually stand up to meet the blade half way. Pretty slick! Add to that Panasonic’s “Curved Arc Technology,” wherein the world’s sharpest nano polished blades come at your whiskers from a tilted, 30 degree angle (so as to provide an incredibly close shave every single time), and you’ve got one awesome sounding foil shaver!10361835_2Rotary Shavers

Rotary Shavers are known for their 3 disk rotary blade system, which, thanks in part to the revolving motion of their blades, are commonly thought to provide one of the closest shaves possible. This is especially true of those difficult to reach, contoured areas of the face. In many units, the rotary disks have the ability to flex inward, thus helping to provide even greater access to facial curves and crevices.

If you’re planning to buy a rotary shaver, I would suggest avoiding static, non-flex models. For the best and easiest of shaves, look for a model featuring titanium blades. These blades are incredibly hard and therefore cut extremely well. For the user, this means a pain-free shave that’s quick, close, and very comfortable—all highly prised qualities to the typical shaving man. A shaver with these intangibles may be worth its weight in gold to the end user.

Rotary shavers are also very comfortable to use, allowing for a quick, anytime shave that can even be done on the fly. For instance, depending on your commute arrangement, you could shave as your wife drives you to work. One thing I can say from personal experience, though, is that longer periods of growth can lead to pulling and discomfort, so I advise waiting no more than 3-4 days between shaves for the highest level of comfort. It is also worth mentioning that rotary shavers are relatively easy to clean. They are easy to disassemble, clean thoroughly, lubricate, and put back together in just a few minutes. Keep reading for a couple of examples of fine rotary shavers.

10178335First up is the Philips AquaTouch Men’s Shaver, which is very similar to the model that I use. This shaver is great for either wet or dry use, and it provides over 50 minutes of cordless shaving time on each full charge. It also has a 3 minute quick charge feature that provides enough power for a single shave when you’re running late in the morning and have forgotten to charge your shaver.

Other great features here include a pop-up trimmer that’s perfect for sideburns, goatees, moustaches, or any other edging work you may need to do, and an included cleaning brush, protection cap, and shower hanger (pouch). This easy-to-use shaver was designed with comfort in mind—particularly when used with an appropriate gel as part of a wet shave. It gets everything from the shortest of stubble to the coarsest of whiskers, and can quickly and easily be rinsed clean at the end of your shave. Overall, this is a very nice rotary shaver model.


The last of the rotary shavers that we’ll take a look at today is the Philips SensoTouch 2D Electric Shaver, which is chock full of great features! On such example is its dual-blade system, which first lifts, and then cuts, whiskers, so that they’re actually cut off at a point below skin level, making for an exceptionally close shave. Another useful feature is the “DualPrecision Shaving Heads.”

These heads are equipped with special slots that give the blades access to even the shortest of stubble. Also included with this model is a precision trimmer (for goatee & moustache edging, etc.), a charging stand, a cleaning brush, a storage pouch, and a number of other useful bits and pieces. And that’s not even considering features like its GyroFlex 2D System & SkinGlide Shaving Surface, which contribute to making the Philips SensoTouch 2D a world class shaver by anyone’s standards!

To learn more about both Rotary Shavers & Foil Shavers, click on their respective links and read up on a few of Best Buy’s current models. One thing I noticed when doing this myself was that Panasonic largely dominates in the Foil Shavers category while Philips is the overwhelming leader in Rotary Shavers. Whether this holds true for electronic shavers at large is difficult to say, but it’s certainly reflected in my selections here today. And of course, the folks at Philips are the ones who actually invented the rotary shaver back in the ’60s.

One way or another, buying an electric shaver is not something to be taken lightly, and doing a bit of research is highly advisable. When it’s all said and done and you’ve made a great selection, your face (or the person’s you bought for) will thank you. Good luck!

Leonard Bond
Leo enjoys writing about everything from secret agents to tech toys and gadgets to professional hockey. Find his reviews and other product related commentary right here on the Best Buy Blog and his latest hockey rants at


  1. Hello Leonard!
    Ah, detailed, always do deep research when selecting Razor! Just wanna add, its all about trial and error, keep searching for the one suited you the most and because maybe Philips Norelco 9700 is best for me might not for others… 🙂 Agree?

    • It’s entirely true. What works for one person might not suit another. Choosing the right razor is definitely a personal and individual choice!

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