The Electric Shaver vs Razor: Which is Better? (A Full Comparison)

electric shaver vs razor

If there’s one thing that’s a constant (other than death and taxes), then it’s men needing to shave. It is just one of those things that none of us can avoid but none of us love to do.

It gets in the way of our normal daily routine, usually takes longer than you’d like, and often becomes a struggle, once you need to do it a few times per week.

However, one thing that people often do not figure out is whether they need an electric shaver or a razor.

The electric shaver vs razor debate continues across many workplaces and bars, as all men seem to figure out their own way of making the process more convenient for themselves.

The differences are relatively obvious. A razor only has one possible setting (clean-shaven), and typically requires careful moisturizing, lathering of foam, and more.

On the other hand, an electric shaver gives you that affordable luxury of being able to get your facial hair exactly how you’d like it in a convenient and easy way.

On the face of it, perhaps it seems like the question posed in the title of this article is easily answered.

The electric shaver is for anyone with any sort of facial hair, and the razor is for everyone who just loves the clean, fresh look.

To an extent, we suppose you have a point, but it’s never that simple.

In this article, we hope to thoroughly explain the differences between electric shavers and razors, as well as give a run-through of the different types of shavers/razors that are available on the market.

This will include covering topics such as the best razors for acne, the best electric trimmers for ingrown hairs, etc.

Don’t forget that some men shave their own heads, too, and we shouldn’t overlook the fact that razors and electric shavers have the potential to be a great tool for this.

Electric shavers (A simple, illustrated guide)

The Electric Razor (Shaver)

The Electric Shaver

The electric shaver is generally recognized as an option that provides convenience and control in equal measure.

Rather than the decision of going for a clean shave or a clean shave, the electric shaver can give a multitude of options, from a clean shave to something slightly more chiseled.

Electric shavers, in themselves, are technologically advanced versions of razors. You are able to get close shaves that are as accurate as a traditional razor shave, but it’s more efficient and arguably more convenient.

Grabbing an electric shaver before work seemingly eases the process a little.

If we picture a typical scenario with a traditional razor, you are most likely going to walk into the bathroom, wet your face, grab some shaving foam, apply it, wait a few minutes, and finally begin to shave.

Then regularly rinsing your razor under warm water and keeping your skin supple, so you don’t get any nicks or cuts.

The result can, more often than not, get you a satisfying and complete shave that you are proud of, and then you can continue the rest of your day looking fresh and clean.

The alternative option is the electric shaver. The reason why it is so convenient and popular is because this process is streamlined.

The magic of electric shavers is that they often can be used on dry skin, and this means that you don’t have to waste any time making your skin wet and supple beforehand. This takes a few minutes off of the process before you have even begun.

The result itself is quite similar to a clean shave. You will be able to get right down to the point where it’s pretty much a clean shave (although not quite).

For the majority of men, this is more than enough to look sufficiently smart for work, and you’ll be happy leaving the house and being seen in this state.

So, if you care about convenience and the saving of time, then an electric shaver is probably an option that you shouldn’t take lightly.

It appears that you will be able to make the shaving process easier, and if it is something that you never look forward to, they could definitely be worth the investment.

Some electric shavers are considerably different from others. For example, electric trimmers can differ from rotary shavers to foil shavers. Some are better than others at getting the little bits of straggly hairs that you find difficult to reach with other shavers.

Rotary electric shavers, on the other hand, typically include three heads that move around in circles to get rid of your facial hair. These are both efficient methods of shaving without the typical and traditional effort of a razor shave.

Electric shavers, if we decide to look past the “traditional shave”, also are one of the better options for the detail work that is so popular in 2019. Most men decide not to clean shave these days, and that is because beards and stubbles are most popular.

When you are trying to style your beard in a specific way, then you maybe don’t want to go for a traditional razor. Instead, an electric shaver can make it easier to maneuver around your face to shape up those lines in exactly the way you pictured.

We feel that going for an electric shaver is probably the best option if you are someone with sensitive skin or acne.

When using razors with sensitive skin, you may be used to feeling like you have got to buy particular lotions and moisturizers that are made for sensitive skin.

This can add an extra layer to the process and really make things tedious. Electric shavers do not require lotions pre-shave, and they go the extra step to provide a layer of protection, as you’re not generally ripping the hairs right down to the bottom.

If you suffer with acne, as many men do in their teenage or young adult years, then you will know the struggle that shaving is. You’ll be used to lathering up your face and opening your pores just to feel the pain as you rip the head off of a spot with the razor, irritating it more.

A razor is not the best option if you have acne, because you are running the risk of irritating and inflaming things even more. From the shaving foam to the warm running water and to the razor itself, you are running the risk of making things worse.

An electric shaver can provide you with an answer to all of these problems. The best solution to acne is to not irritate it.

We’ve all heard that touching your face and your spots can make it worse, and funnily enough the same applies when touching it with a sharp razor.

An electric shaver can lightly touch the surface and therefore not quite have the power to irritate and open up spots. Not only that, but, as we discussed earlier, you don’t have to make your face wet.

Most people are unaware, but when you make your face wet with warm water, then you are actually opening your pores and making it easier for bacteria to get inside and get blocked. Dry shaving with an electric shaver can be a lot kinder on your skin – and acne in particular.

As we noted earlier, some men would love to have a simple method of shaving their head.

When you have balding spots, or just generally terrible hair, then shaving your own head can end the pain early and give you back some of your confidence. Rather than spending money getting a barber to do it, you can just do it yourself with relative ease.

An electric shaver can do the job in a matter of minutes, painlessly. If this sounds like something you’d love to do, then perhaps take a look at a few of these best electric head shavers, as we’re sure they’ll suit your purpose.


  • Electric trimmers make the shaving process more convenient for many men, streamlining the steps you need to take to get your desired result
  • Great option for sensitive skin if you typically get rashes and cuts after a shave
  • Great option for those with acne, as you’ll likely experience less irritation and inflammation with an electric shaver
  • If you need something to shave your head, then we’d always recommend an electric shaver. It makes the process easy, and you won’t get any of those little cuts on your head
  • Great option for detail work, e.g. if you try to give your beard a special shape, or you aim for a certain type of shave
  • Over the long term, you will save money. One shaver will last you a few years, and you don’t need to worry about buying new razors every few shaves


  • You don’t always get a shave that is completely clean. A traditional shave will give you better results, if that is what you’re going for

Bottom Line

Electric shavers give people the opportunity to get a (mostly) clean shave at a fraction of the effort.

If you are strapped for time, or generally just want to make your shaving experience slightly easier, then electric shavers should be something that you seriously consider.

If we look past a classic electric shaver, then perhaps we can look at electric trimmers, instead. Keep reading to find out some electric alternatives that could be worth a consideration.

The Electric Trimmer

The Electric Trimmer

Electric trimmers fall into a different category all together, because they don’t involve the same characteristics as the others. Electric trimmers have the option to go for a clean or close-cut shave, but they also have the option to choose from many different lengths.

Electric trimmers are somewhat understated but are actually the best potential option for a man who doesn’t want to go for a completely clean shave.

If you are someone who just likes to keep their stubble at a specific length, then a trimmer can allow you to pick out a perfect length that suits you and stick with it – similar to how you would use hair trimmers for your head.

This means that you can get close and personal with your facial hair and really get rid of the parts that you wish and clean it up however you’d like.

The reason why we felt it was so necessary to include electric trimmers among this list is because it is an option that can suit so many people and for many different reasons.

Firstly, we’ve got the reason that we just noted above. Secondly, we believe that electric trimmers are the best option for men with ingrown hairs and generally men with sensitive skin.

We have seen many reviewers on electric trimmers who note how they suffer with sensitive skin, ingrown hairs, or acne-related issues and how they have solved them with trimmers.

Instead of the way a razor digs into the skin to pull the hair follicles out completely, trimmers only cut the follicle from a specific length. In the short term, this reduces nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs, because they generally come from hairs being ripped out entirely.

Another key positive of an electric trimmer is that you’ll be able to save a lot of time whilst shaving. Simply choose your preferred length and begin shaving.

It really is that simple, and, depending on your trimmer, you’ll be able to get all of the tough-to-shave areas without much effort at all, meaning you can get on with your day without thinking twice.

Another way to look at an electric trimmer is that they are versatile and allow you to shave pretty much everywhere. What we mean by this is that you’ll be able to just grab your trimmer from your rucksack and shave, regardless of where you are or what the situation is.

Obviously, we aren’t telling you to just pull out an electric trimmer at the dinner table, but it is much easier than the lengthy process that is required for a clean shave.

The financial aspect is another point. Many men resent the fact that they have to regularly buy razors. It adds up quickly, and you need to throw them away after a few shaves.

An electric trimmer can provide you with a close shave, or a lengthy shave, and can last for almost as long as you want. The blades often last a long time, and it’ll often be the batteries that give out first.

We feel that electric trimmers are an excellent option for men on a budget, as after the initial outlay you’ll no longer have to worry about additional blades or anything similar.

Plus, if you’re looking for something like this to shave your face, then perhaps you’re also looking for something for your body grooming. It’s another aspect for male shaving that people often overlook.

The thing with razors is that you’ll be always cutting clean, and not everyone wants their chest or back cut to this level. Some of the best options are electric, as you can see in this in-depth article.

The same is applicable for your head. After all, men mostly take electric trimmers and shavers to their head on a regular basis to tidy themselves up.

We really believe that electric trimmers are the way to go if you are looking for a way to groom your body and keep your hair in check.

On the downside, you aren’t going to be getting the cut that you desire from razors. If you are used to razors/electric shavers and like the look that they give you, then an electric trimmer is probably not what you are looking for.

You get a close shave, but nothing quite like a razor.


  • A convenient option – you can literally shave anywhere you’d like with an electric trimmer. It does not require any preparation at all
  • You can get trims from as short or as long as you’d like using guards, similar to how you’d cut your hair.
  • Perfect for detailing. Many men prefer to shape their stubble and get it how they like it. An electric trimmer is ideal for that
  • If you need something to shave your head, then we’d always recommend an electric shaver. It makes the process easy, and you won’t get any of those little cuts on your head
  • Great choice for versatility. One purchase will last you a while, and you can get pretty much any cut you’d like
  • Perfect for body trimming, also


  • Not too great for shaving your head, as you’ll not be getting as clean/close as you’d

Bottom Line

Electric trimmers are often overlooked, but the ease of use and convenience makes them an excellent choice for any man. We believe that you’ll be able to find one that includes the lengths that you desire to give you the trim that you need.

Razors (A simple, illustrated guide)


The term ‘razor’ may as well be an umbrella term. There are many different types, and we will have to try to go in depth on each one to fully explain the differences.

The primary thing to note is that razors seem to be the perfect option for men who want the freshest cut possible. You’ll be able to look truly clean with a razor, and the results are unparalleled when you look at other types of trimmers and shavers.

The best of the best is really a matter of personal preference, but here’s what you should know: Razors leave you with a closer shave than electric razors do, which may be the most important factor for some guys.

They’re less expensive and easier to use as well. But they also require more maintenance and can cause nicks and razor bumps. Electric razors are more convenient, require less upkeep, and don’t cause nicks or razor bumps. But they’re more expensive than regular razors and they don’t give you a shave that’s as close.

Disposable Razors

Disposable Razors

These are probably our least favorite of the bunch, but nonetheless, it’s still one we have to mention. Disposable razors are a great option for men who travel a lot or just generally like to keep replacing things.

Disposable razors are exactly what they say: disposable after a few uses. You shave your face until the blade becomes blunt, and then you can just bin it and move on.

Fortunately, these days, many disposable razors are actually great, and you will be able to find some with pivoting heads and blades that are reminiscent of some of the more expensive razors that we will discuss later on in this article.

As with the positives, there are still some negatives to keep in mind. Disposable razors are notoriously known for being lesser quality than regular razors, because they are designed for convenience more than they are a great shave.


  • Perfect option for men who are travelling or moving around a lot
  • Allows you to shave on the move and not worry about where to keep it
  • Give a convenient shave at convenient prices


  • The blades are notorious for not being as sharp and as qualified as some other types of razors

Bottom Line

There is absolutely no doubt that disposable razors have their place among the list. They give men an affordable and easy option to shave when they have no other.

They are most popular among men who are busy traveling and likely to forget their regular razor, but they are equally as suitable in the home.

Safety Razors

Safety Razors

Safety razors are typically known as the ‘alpha male’ of shaving. They follow on from the straight razor in terms of its development timeline and give the additional benefit of safety – hence the name.

To start things off, they just look great. This is a key factor in many purchases that men make, and justifiably so.

If your razor looks like it means business, then why wouldn’t you want it on show in the bathroom? For this reason, we feel that safety razors are worth a shout.

Safety razors mean you’re going to be getting fewer nicks and cuts, and, for the majority of men, this is absolutely priceless. Many are double-edged, too, meaning that you can use either side and get that look you desire.

The same applies to your head. If you’re too scared to act like a seasoned barber and whip off your hair with a straight razor, then this is the perfect choice. You’ll get that close, bald shave and without the worry of cutting it everywhere.

With that being said, please be careful, because you’ll need to protect yourself regardless.

When we were talking about electric shavers, we noted their durability and the fact that they will last you a long time. This is something that we can say confidently about safety razors, too.

Yeah, you’ll need to buy a top-quality one, but you will save money in the long run, similar to an electric shaver.

So, if we look at the safety razor vs electric razor debate, then we will see that you get a close, comfortable, and safe shave with the safety razor, but you will get a convenient and equally as safe shave with the electric razor.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but there are plenty of safety razors that you should consider, if you are looking to grab one for yourself.


  • They look stylish
  • High performance for shaving
  • Keeps your face safe – you’ll get fewer cuts and nicks
  • Easy for beginners to pick up a razor
  • Reasonable option for shaving your head, as long as you’re careful


  • The handle length often is quite short

Bottom Line

If you are looking for something similar to a straight razor for your shaves, then this could be the best option. It provides a cut very similar to a straight razor but without the danger. You’ll not need to worry about cutting your neck and face, and that’s worth plenty.

Straight Razors

Straight Razors

The straight razor is the old daddy, the godfather, the original. It is what everyone started out using, back when shaving was new. They went out of fashion quite a while ago.

They are too dangerous, and, quite simply, they aren’t as convenient as some of the other options that we have included in this article.

However, they are starting to come back into action. Whether it be because you want to feel like a badass or because you are actually that skilled, then we would love to tell you the positives and negatives of the straight razor.

A straight razor, to summarize them clearly, is often described as a cutthroat razor. If you slip or attack the shave wrong, then you could genuinely cut your throat. However, if done correctly, you will get the closest possible shave, and this is the desired look for many men.

On the other hand, if you are looking for something with a bit more shape and style, then the straight razor is often your best bet.

It is used more and more in barber shops when shaping beards, and that is because you can get that perfect transition between skin and beard, shaping it simultaneously.

Ultimately, the straight razor shave is a signature of a true man, because of the danger and the style involved. We feel that it is a great option for men looking to either shape their existing beards or men who love to go for the cleanest possible look on a daily basis.

For those interested in the process before making their decision, then this video could help:

As with many other razors, the same rules apply. Always make sure that your blades are fresh and sharp, as otherwise you’ll run the risk of irritating your skin.

If you are someone who suffers from acne, then you may wish to stay away from the straight razor, as it is quite likely that you’ll be ripping at spots and causing quite a bit of irritation.


  • You look like a badass whilst shaving, guaranteed
  • You can get a perfect shape or look with its versatility
  • Provides the closest shave possible out of all razors


  • Not great for a beginner. You could easily cut yourself

Bottom Line

If you have the patience to learn how to use them safely, or naturally have the ability to use them safely, then the straight razor is an excellent option. You can get the closest possible shave, and they also double up as shaping tools for existing or more elaborate facial hair.

Cartridge Razor

Cartridge Razor

Cartridge razors may as well be called the classic razor, and that is because it is the generic one that the majority of people will recognize.

They are an excellent option for pretty much all men, and that is because they are simultaneously safe and great at their function. They are available absolutely everywhere, and there is every chance that you already have one in your house.

Ultimately, the success of cartridge razors seemingly comes down to the painless experience in learning how to use one. As opposed to straight or safety razors, cartridge razors are pretty much ‘pick up and go’ and require little to no serious learning process.

This is convenient for men, and there is therefore no wonder why so many men choose to use them to shave their face, body hair, and head.

A cartridge razor differs from a disposable razor because the body stays constant. The heads are constantly disposed of and replaced with time, but you keep the same body.

Due to the design and the lack of genuinely ‘sharp’ blades, these are often some of the best options for truly sensitive skin.

Some cartridge razors are absolutely excellent and these days include an electric motor.

This helps to accelerate the shaving process and make things more effective, which is actually useful, considering the downsides of a cartridge razor – primarily including the fact that you don’t tend to get a very close shave with them.

Price wise, you’re not looking at much. This is what makes them so convenient. Instead of forking out for a good, high-quality safety or straight razor, you can just pop down the road and buy yourself a cartridge razor for a fraction of the price.

Some of the best cartridge razors, however, may cost a bit more, but they are often worth every penny to ensure that you get your best shave.


  • Perfect option for men looking for convenience
  • Get a close shave without the stress of learning how to use razor
  • Versatile enough for your body, head, or face


  • The shave isn’t close enough for many people
  • Quite awkward to get those ‘hard to get’ areas

Bottom Line

Cartridge razors are some of the most popular razors on the market, and that is because there are so many of them easily available. The reason why is simple: they are convenient, and they do the job.

You don’t have to spend ages learning the best way to use them, and they give you a close shave without too much irritation. With that being said, they are not the best option for people going for a certain style or for those with sensitive skin.

Razor accessories

Razor Accessories

The accessories that go along with a good, clean shave can accumulate pretty quickly, and this is often what pushes people towards the electric route.

Firstly, if you are deciding to clean shave with a razor, then you will need to hydrate your face first.

To put it succinctly, you will want to shave your face just after a shower or after washing your face with warm water. This will soften your hair and open your pores, allowing the hair follicles to come away from the skin easier.

You can use a face scrub, if your skin is firm enough to allow it, and this will remove any excess dirt or dead skin from your face before you begin shaving, and all of these things will add to a comfortable experience.

Secondly, you will need a shaving cream. Unless you are brave enough to just take a razor to your bare face without any worries, then you should buy this first. This will further hydrate your hairs and protect against any sensitivity issues while you shave.

For example, if you have history with ingrown hairs, then the right shaving cream should allow you to feel better about yourself. If you don’t want cream, then go for an oil.

We’ve written a post on this, and they also will go a long way towards an irritation-free, comfortable shave.

Thirdly, aftershave is key. Shaving cream is for that pre- and intra-shave irritation. There’s nothing quite like that post-shave irritation. We’ve all experienced it, and we have all hated it.

You finish shaving and just admire your now bright red face and neck in the mirror. What you can do is use some aftershave, as this will help to soothe the skin and also smell pretty good at the same time.

Fourthly, you will want to consider a shaving brush. This is something that is optional, particularly compared to the others, but they can help you get a closer shave by improving the lather of your creams.

Although this doesn’t explicitly count as an accessory, we feel that additional blades are a worthwhile mention. When using a razor, safety ones especially, they will become blunt or dull over time.

This means that you will start getting a rough shave and really begin to irritate your skin. Instead, you need to be prepared to switch the blades over whenever things begin to get tough, and that’s why you need to buy additional blades – and a lot of them.

Ultimately, the accessories are part and parcel of what it takes to shave as a man, and, for some people, this process is simply too much effort. This could be a deciding factor in your electric shaver vs razor debate.


The electric shaver vs razor debate is one that will go on for plenty of years to come. The more traditional route of using a razor is being outshone and out-commercialized, but many men will not stray away from their roots.

On the other hand, those who made the jump to electric shavers often say that it is the best decision they have ever made, and they love the convenience.

We’d love to hear from you. What do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments.


About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

  • I have tried the two and I can say they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I had bumps with the use or razor and I can never forget the pain and the effort it took me to get over it. I just have to retire to the use of electric shaver.

  • Indeed…. its the classic comparison… whenever I need a close shave I think razor works best and for the regularly used nobody takes the comfort of Electric Shaver, what do you think?

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