We really hope you enjoy our review of the best beard trimmers for 2017!
- Effectiveness – does it actually do a good job of trimming your beard?
- Versatility – does it multitask, or is it just a beard trimmer, plain and simple?
- Ease of use – does it weigh a ton? Or too tiny to hold?
- Value – weighing the purchase price AND ongoing costs against its performance.
We assign each criteria a value from 1-10 to help you choose the best option for you. We’ve also assigned a color-code to each score:
Please keep in mind that these are not scientific, qualitative measures (our lab assistant’s on holiday) – just because we use a number doesn’t mean it’s an exact measure! Keep this in mind as you read the reviews.
Traditionally the beard trimmer market has been a tricky place to find a good product. Many choices fell between superbly performing but bulky professional salon trimmers, and cheap and nasty trimmers that break or die after a couple months.
We’ve found a few that break the mold and provide super performance in a convenient package. Read on for the reviews.
Panasonic Cordless Wet/Dry Moustache & Beard Trimmer (ER-GB40-S)
That’s right, it says Wet and Dry right there in the product name. There aren’t many beard trimmers you can use in the shower, and we’re happy to find one.
So you can use it wet – does it actually do a good job of trimming your beard? Read on to see what we found.
The Panasonic Wet/Dry Moustache and Beard Trimmer has very high quality cutting blades that make short work of the coarsest of beards.
While the cutting head is a little on the small side, the high quality blades and guard ensure that only 1-2 passes are necessary while trimming – you won’t be standing there running it over the same spot again and again, waiting for the final straggler to be mown down.
Like we said, it works in the shower, and it’s the only beard trimmer we’ve reviewed that does so.
Trimming in the shower is a big bonus – the hairs go down the drain and not all over your sink, and your beard is much softer and easier to trim. One caveat though – because your beard will absorb moisture from the shower, it’ll be a little longer than when dry. Once you’ve cut it when it’s damp, it’ll end up a tiny bit shorter than you expected. We doubt anyone will notice.
Added to the Wet/Dry combo are the half-millimetre adjustments for the length setting. This provides incredible control over your trimming – you can get fantastic subtle ‘fade’ affects with you beard this way.
It’s cordless, light, small, and has a rubber grip to make sure it doesn’t get away from you in the shower. All these combine to make this unit incredibly easy to use.
The one downside here is the charge time. While it provides a very respectable 50 minutes of operation once fully charged, it requires a whopping 30 hours of charging on the first use, and then 20 hours for a full charge thereafter.
Thankfully it comes with a charging cradle that doesn’t take up much space, so it can live in that on your bathroom counter, and you’ll never have to worry about the charge time.
This trimmer has recently come down in price, and represents very good value. Users have found that it lasts well and continues to provide excellent service, as long as it’s properly cared for.
It’s properly caring for the trimmer that introduces a slight ongoing cost – you’ll need to apply some light oil to the trimmer regularly to keep it in tip-top shape. You should be able to source oil from the same places that sell the trimmer.
Philips 5100 Beard Trimmer (Norelco BT5275/41)
This is the big brother to the 3500 Beard Trimmer we’ve also reviewed here. It’s a step up in price and has some new features. Does the Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer 5100 justify the price increase?
Read our review and see if you agree.
Fortunately, this trimmer cuts as well as the very highly performing 3500. In theory it should do better over time, since it has self-sharpening blades.
Like the 3500, the Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer 5100 handles thick beards and short trim lengths very well.
It has two trimming heads – one wider and the other narrower. The wider head for edging around a beard, and the narrower one for getting into tight spots near the nose and moustache. Men have found that these two trimming heads work well in practice.
Like the 3500, it can be used plugged in or not, which makes life much easier when you need a trim and it’s not charged.
Trim lengths start at 0.4 millimetres and go up 10 millimetres, which covers most men’s grooming needs.
Like the 3500, the Beard Trimmer 5100 it’s very easy to handle and comfortable to hold. It provides 60 minutes of operation from 60 minutes of charging, a 10 minute improvement over the 3500.
The length adjustment dial is easy to operate and the lock works well. It washes easily under a running tap.
The only problem some men have experienced is that the included beard comb can be difficult to remove from the unit.
We’ve marked the Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer 5100 down compared to the 3100 here, because as good as it is, we don’t believe it justifies being almost double the price.
In theory the Lithium-ion battery should last better than the NiMH battery used by the 3100, but it still won’t last forever. Once again, this is where being able to use the unit plugged in is a major advantage.
Philips Norelco QT4014/42 BeardTrimmer 3500
Philips Norelco have shown up their more expensive and feature-laden trimmers with this high-performing budget option.
Read on to find out why everyone’s so happy about this beard trimmer.
Without being too fancy about it, the Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 3500 just does a great job of trimming a beard.
The blades are titanium-coated but don’t have a self-sharpening feature.
Men have found that the unit performs well with thick beards, and does a fantastic job of trimming beards to almost any length. Other models we’ve looked at (and we won’t recommend) struggle with thicker beards, or are unable to produce a close ‘stubble’ style beard.
It’s a beard trimmer, and that’s all. It can be used cordless and charged, or plugged in as well.
It doesn’t perform well for other purposes, like bodyscaping and can’t be considered an all-in-one solution for personal grooming.
Cordless operation is preferred, along with the option for using the trimmer plugged in – when you need to use it now and it’s not charged. As mentioned previously, this trimmer does both.
The trimmer is small, has good ergonomics so that it’s easy to juggle about as you move it around your face.
It has a rotating length setting on it, which locks in the trimming length, making it impossible for the guard to slip, as they can do on some cheaper models.
The battery charges in one hour, and provides 50 minutes of operation from one charge. This is plenty of time to complete several trims, since it cuts so well. This is outstanding performance for the NiMH battery this unit uses.
The Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 3500 is a fantastically valued trimmer. It’s quite cheap and is very good at its intended purpose. In a market filling up with devices with more and more gadgets added to them to justify higher prices, it’s refreshing to find a trimmer that performs excellently at what it’s advertised to do.
The battery, being NiMH will stop holding a charge eventually, but since the unit can be used plugged in, you’ll be able to continue using the trimmer.