Shavers Product Guide
Historically, removal of facial and body hair represented higher civilizations; it distinguished humans from animals. Through centuries, there were over a thousand methods used for shaving from sharpened utensils to chemicals. Electric shavers brought civility to the art of shaving, offering higher levels of practicality, safety, and comfort.
While there are still many who prefer using disposable blade razors, electric shavers appear to capture a dominant part of the category market share.
Jacob Schick sold his first electric razor in 1931 for $25 in New York. In the same year he managed to sell a whopping 3,000 more. This version contained an oscillating induction motor that drove a sliding cutter in a slotted shearing head. This became the prototype of the foil type shaver.
Despite competing models, there are consistencies among all electric razors. To begin with, unlike with manual razors, it is possible to use an electric razor when the skin is dry. Only since the 1990's, some shavers allow wet or dry use but no shaving cream is required.
Earlier models required that a wall outlet provided power to the DC motor. Newer shavers rely on cordless, rechargeable batteries for power but still require AC power for recharging. A few shavers operate on replaceable batteries.
Types of Shavers
There are two types of men's shavers on the market: rotary and foil. Is any one better than the other? Arguably, the type of shaver one uses is more personal.
Rotary shavers rely on two or three circular rotating blades and tend to be quieter than foil shavers. They also handle longer hairs better, allowing users to go a tad longer in between shaves. Rotary shavers rely on pivoting and retracting heads to track facial features for improved closeness.
Foil shavers use oscillating blades hidden behind thin, perforated foil screens. These screens become thinner as new metallic technologies are introduced. Foils may be so thin that they are virtually as close as a razor blade. Several claim to prefer foil shavers, which they say give a closer shave than rotary shavers.
When using a foil shaver, manufacturers suggest shaving against the grain of hair growth. When using a rotary shaver, shave in circular motions.
Shaver models vary by offering certain convenience features. These might include battery life, wet/dry capabilities, pop-up trimmers for cutting longer hairs and noise level. There are some models that offer automatic cleaning, an LCD battery indicator, or lubricant dispenser, but these features have no effect on the performance of a shaver.
Few shavers are AC corded only. There are a few models that use replaceable batteries. The overwhelming majority use rechargeable power.
It doesn't matter how many fancy features a shaver has if it quits before you finish the job. It's important how long a charge is required for maximum shaving time (some can take up to eight hours for a full charge) and whether the shaver has a quick-charge feature for shorter shaves. Virtually all but the lowest priced shavers offer quick-charge. This means (if you charge the shaver for about an hour) you can get one or two shaves.
The majority of shavers have a rechargeable battery and an AC cord for charging the battery. Some shavers hold charges longer than others but the average appears to be about 10 to 15 five-minute shaves per full charge.
Most models have dual-volt compatible power supplies. You may need to buy optional plug adapters for use in certain countries.
Because shavers are considered personal electronics, regulations restrict stores from accepting returns. This is why all major brands offer a money-back guarantee covering at least 30 days. It takes nearly a month for your face to adjust to a new shaver. Only after this initial adjustment period can you determine whether the shaver is the right one for you. Most shavers include one or two year warranties, depending on the manufacturer, covering repair or replacement (usually the latter).
Virtually all shaver models have foil and blade replacements available. It is recommended that these be changed every 6 to 12 months to assure best performance.
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