7 Costly Mistakes to Avoid Buying Your Electric Shaver

How hard could it be?

You go to a store – or online – to buy an electric shaver, check out the products, and put your money down.

Then you realize you spent lots of money to hold a bunch of spinning blades to your neck.

How do you know it’s going to do the job right?



Making a mistake when you buy an electric shaver can put you off them for life. That’d be a shame!

The right electric shaver will give you a great shave, save you time every morning and even save you money in the long term.

So we’re taking a close look at the seven big mistakes folks make when buying an electric shaver.

Read on to find out what they are.

#1: Your Shaver Doesn’t Match Your Beard

Which electric shaver to buy?

Battle of the shavers!

This can really be a hard one to avoid, but with our help we’ll give you the information you need to make the best decision.

As you may know, there are two kinds of electric shavers, rotary and foil.

We’ve covered the differences between rotary and foil shavers here, but the most important thing to know is that each excels with a certain beard type.

Everyone’s beard grows differently. That may seem kind of obvious, but the differences we’re talking about are small and subtle.

The most import thing to know: do your bristles grow in mostly the same direction, or do they swirl around and point every which way?

You can find out by rubbing your fingers against the grain before shaving in the morning.

For some guys, their beard will point generally down or away from the center of the face. These guys should be looking at a foil shaver, which usually performs best when moving in linear motions over the face.

For other guys, their bristles swirl around in whorls, especially beneath the jaw close to the chin and behind the jaw close to the ears.

This time a rotary shaver is going to work better, because – surprise! – they work best when moving in a circular motion over the face. Also, these kind of bristles tend to be a bit tougher which is great for rotary shavers which have a bit more bite!

So now we know what kind is shaver is going to work for you, do you know where to put it?

#2: Your Shaver and Your Bathroom Don’t Match

bathroom electric shaver

No bench space, no outlets and porcelain clown heads. All kinds of problems. Photo credit Les Chatfield. Sorry buddy.

We’re not talking about interior design here, although that can clearly be a problem as well!

No, what we’re talking about is how easy it is to use and store your shaver in your bathroom.

First, you need to check your bench space: some modern shavers come with cleaning and charging bases, and these bases can be big.

Don’t get us wrong, we love them! Having a shaver that’s always clean and fresh as new, and always charged can feel like pure luxury, especially when you’re in a rush in the morning.

But like we said, these cleaning/charging bases take up some serious space.

If there’s not much space on your bathroom counter your shaver could be relegated to the bathroom cupboard.

The next important thing to check – is there an electrical outlet located conveniently to use the shaver?

Most bathrooms are quite sensibly designed with an electrical outlet close to the mirror – makes life easier for electric shavers and hair dryers. However they may not be fantastically located for a device that’s always plugged in – like your shaving base!

So before laying down your cash for a new electric shaver, take a look around your bathroom to see how it will fit in.

If there’s not going to be enough room, you may prefer to use a shaver that can be kept in your cabinet and used directly plugged into an outlet.

Alternatively, if your power outlets aren’t in a convenient location, make sure the charging base has a long power cord!

#3: Your Shaver Doesn’t Travel

buying a shaver mistakes

Hope you booked extra luggage! Photo credit William Cho

Travel often? You’ll need to make sure your shaver can come along for the ride.

If you have a shaver that can’t hold a charge or doesn’t work plugged in, you’re in trouble.

Oddly, it’s easier to take your shaver on week-long vacations than 1-2 day business trips.

This is because, once again, our friend the charging/cleaning base can take up a lot of room.

That’s fine in your checked luggage. But:

If all you have is hand luggage you need to make sure it’s not cluttered up with giant chargers.

A shaver that’s travel-friendly fulfills the following criteria:

  • It holds enough charge for at least 4 shaves
  • It can be used “plugged in” (you travel with the shaver and electrical cord)
  • It speaks foreign currents (read on to see what we mean):

International Travel with Electric Shavers

Now it gets interesting:

As I’m sure you know, the rest of the world hasn’t been kind enough to use the same plugs, current or voltage that you have at home.

It’s not good enough to pack a plug adapter and head overseas – you must be very aware of your shaver’s power requirements.

Many of us have been lulled into a sense of complacency by our laptops and camera chargers – the manufacturers are careful to design these devices to accommodate all kinds of power inputs.

Electric shavers on the other hand, may be more accommodating, or less.

If you’ve bought a non-travel friendly shaver, it may turn into an overheating buzz-saw when it encounters 240v.

Check this carefully before you buy.

Sales assistants should always be able to tell you about the current inputs a shaver can handle.

If you’re buying online, go to the manufacturer’s website and look up your model’s technical specifications.

You want to know that the shaver can accommodate voltages 100v-240v at 50Hz-60Hz.

It’s not the most fun you’ll have on the Internet but it can save you a lot of money (and you’ll look sharp wherever you go!).

#4: You Married Your Shaver For Life

buy a shaver mistakes

Til death do you part?. Photo credits Reine Lindqvist, Joana Coccarelli

Yep, it happens:

Everything seems great and you rush into a commitment. After a while, you realize things aren’t going so well.

Is there any way out?

Luckily, if we’re talking about electric shavers (what else?) we can avoid this.

But how do we get into this situation in the first place?

Even following our advice in the first section of this article, you might find that your shaver doesn’t give you the shave you hoped for. The thing is – you don’t always know right away.

It can actually take up to 30 days of daily shaving to get the best results with a new shaving regime, be it a straight razor or electric shaver (we think this is because you become more skillful, rather than your skin adapting, which is the most popular theory).

So you’ve been shaving for a month and you’re not happy with the results, what can you do?

If your shaver manufacturer doesn’t have a return policy, you’re stuck with a shaver that doesn’t work.

However, the big shaving brands do provide a tryout period, after which they’ll return your money if you’re not satisfied with the shaver’s performance.

Always check your brands return policy before buying. It’s not hard to do, because they usually advertise this policy prominently.

And then, once you’ve checked the return policy, make sure you clearly understand how to return the shaver and request a refund if necessary. You don’t want to be making desperate call to call centers and organizing a courier on day 30 of a 30-day tryout period!

#5: You Bought a Non-Serviceable Electric Shaver

We’re sure your skin is as smooth as a baby’s bottom, that doesn’t mean you won’t wear out your shaver with it!

Many people are surprised to learn that the parts on electric shavers wear out!


How many shaves would you expect to get out of a disposable razor? Maybe it’d last a week? Your electric shaver will last a lot longer, but how long?

You can expect to have to replace the cutting head, and probably the foil as well, at least every 18 months. Some guys can’t get more than 12 months out of them.

When you’re buying an electric shaver, do you know where you’ll be able to get the replacements?

From the same outlet you hope, but how long will they be stocking them? And how much do they cost?

These are great issues to consider before buying your shaver. If you can’t replace the cutting parts of the shaver, your shaver will be finished in less than two years.

And since they can cost a few hundred bucks, they should last a lifetime.

You’ll know when it’s time to replace the cutting block – the shaver won’t shave as effectively, and you’ll naturally start pushing the shaver against your face harder. When this happens, it’s time to replace the cutter! The cutting heads aren’t cheap, but much less than a new shaver, and once you’ve got a new one, your shaver will be like new as well.

So make sure you know where to get them for your model before you buy!

#6: You Have to Keep Paying, and Paying, and Paying

That’s right:

Even after you’ve paid a lot of money for your electric shaver, you could find yourself paying over and over again, and not just for replacement cutting blades, as discussed above.

The cleaning bases used by many electric shavers require a special cleaning fluid provided by the shaving companies.

Make no mistake – these cleaning bases returning your shaver to a like-new condition.

But the fluid needs to be replaced frequently, and the costs can add up (remember – this is the industry that came up with the idea of giving away razors in order to sell more blades!).

And that’s even if you can get your hands on it.

So, before putting down your hard-earned cash for a shaver with a cleaning base, check:

  • What kind of cleaning fluid does it need?
  • How often will the fluid need to be replaced?
  • How much does the cleaning fluid cost?
  • Where can you buy the cleaning fluid?

Or, you can just clean it under the tap 😉

#7: You Bought A Big Chunk of False Economy

They say the rich man buys once, and the poor man buys many times. It applies to shavers too.

Why is that?

The guy with money goes for the quality stuff that lasts and lasts. The guy with less goes for the cheap and nasty product that breaks down after a few months, and needs to be replaced.

Replaced with what?

Something else that breaks down, and needs to be replaced. And so on, ad-infinitum.

So who ends up spending more? There’s a reason the rich guy has the money in the first place.

What does this boil down to? Don’t buy a lemon. Pretty simple, really.

However, if it were as easy to spot a lemon, there wouldn’t be any on the market in the first place – they’d all go out of business!

So, before you buy, ask around, do your research. We review a lot of shavers right here, but you don’t need to take our word for it – head on over to Amazon and read the reviews there, ask your friends and family and see what brands and models get recommended over and over again.

And when the time comes, be brave and buy the electric shaver you deserve, and buy it once.

The Final Word on Avoiding Costly Mistakes Buying Your Shaver

You made it all this way – congratulations! You’re all set to get the best shaver you possibly can.

But the final word goes over to you – this is everything we know about making the best choice for an electric shaver. What do you know about it? Are there brands, models or types of shavers that you’d recommend, or avoid completely?

Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

1 comment

Does the Norelco 4500 – AT830/46 have a powerful motor that can work on a beard like mine that is rough and grows every which way?

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