Best Rotary Shaver – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

While foil shavers and single blade shavers have had the grooming world in the palm of their hands for quite some time now, rotary shavers are becoming just as influential, typically for generating excellent shaving results in no time.

In addition to being more effective to use for shaving towards and against the grain, rotary shavers are prominent for generating close shaves within minutes. The shaving technology isn’t just said to be friendly towards the skin, but is also said to be more flexible in comparison to that of foil shavers and single blade shavers.

Whether you’re seeking to maintain your stubble or searching for a companion that will provide you a clean shave in a matter of minutes, investing in a rotary shaver could be the correct move. And if you’re open to skimming through options, consider looking into this article which comprises a list of the best rotary shavers currently on the market!

Rotary Shaver Comparison Chart

NameSpecial FeaturesBatteryPrice
Philips Norelco 9800150,000 Cutting Per Minute60 Min Check price
Pitbull Silver PROLED Light Indicator30 Min Check price
Philips Norelco 3800 27 Self-Sharpening Blades60 Min Check price
Philips Norelco 9700Protective SkinGlide Coating60 min Check price
Philips Norelco 8900Contour Detect Technology60 min Check price
Philips Norelco 4500
3-Minute Quick-Charge50 min Check price
SweetLF 3D IPX7 Shaver
USB Charging System120 min Check price
Philips Norelco 4100 Integrated Pop-Up Trimmer50 min Check price
Philips Norelco 6100Gyroflex 2D Contour-Following System50 min Check price
Philips Norelco 21004-direction Flex Heads35 min Check price

How Rotary Shavers Work?

Rotary shavers were introduced in 1939 by Philishave, now called Phillips Norelco. The original rotary shaver was just one rotating head.

Today, a rotary shaver contains three separate shaving heads powered by one motor.

How Rotary Shavers Work

Each rotary head is made of an outer mesh layer and a metal ring that fits inside it. The metal ring contains four to six steel blades.

When you turn on the shaver the metal blade rotates around the chamber at 15,000 cycles per minute. That’s where the shaver gets the name “rotary.”

As you glide the shaver across your face, your whiskers slip into the wire mesh and the spinning blades slice the hairs at the base.

Because the work of shaving is split between three heads, they are known to be better for cutting longer hair.

Even better, the metal ring inside each head is less prone to damage and easier to clean than other electric shaver types.

Top 10 Rotary Electric Shaver Reviews

Rotary shavers are, without a doubt, some of the best tools to rely on when partaking in grooming. The flexibility of the device enables them to create presentable shaving sessions without causing nicks, cuts, and bruises. Since the blades typically move in every direction, the chances of suffering from tugging and pulling are also moderately low.

Despite being a recommended pick for users with sensitive skin, the amount of rotary shavers on the market remains low to this day. However, if you’re seeking to replace your existing tool with a rotary shaver that is superior in the art of grooming, you’ll definitely benefit by skimming through the following entries!

Philips Norelco 9800

The Philips Norelco 9800 is one of the high-end options among rotary shavers. It has advanced technological advancements that not only get the job done in a short span of time, but do so in a skin-friendly manner and with high precision.

The device has three shaving heads with dual steel precision that can tackle a 5-day stubble with ease. It is also created with SenseIQ technology, which enables this rotary shaver to be friendly towards the skin while providing a close shave.

Philips Norelco 9800

In contrast to most models under the Norelco series, the 9800 is also known for needing fewer passes for generating accurate shaving results. On average, the Philips Norelco 9800 creates 150,000 cutting actions per minute, making it a specialist in time-saving.

In addition to generating accurate results without causing any irritation on the skin, the Norelco 9800 is notable for its Li-Ion battery. Just like most models in the Norelco franchise, the 9800 comes with a battery life of 60 minutes. There’s also a quick charge feature, which is typically unlocked with a 5-minute charge.

On top of finding tons of benefits in its weightless ergonomic build and rubber grip, the Norelco 9800 should also be a walk in the park to clean with the cleaning pod it provides. And although it does come with a high price tag, the device is definitely one of the best rotary shavers on the market right now!

Get Philips Norelco 9800 at Amazon

What I love about this shaver 

  • Brings in accurate results with Dual Steel Precision.
  • Produces 150,000 cutting actions per minute, allowing it to bring results in no time.
  • Uses SenseIQ technology to shield the skin from irritation, tugging, and pulling.
  • Creates a close shave with fewer passes.
  • Comprises a 60-minute battery life with a 5-minute quick charge feature.
  • It is easy to look after with its cleaning pod.

Mild Concern 

  • It is one of the most expensive rotary shavers on this list.

Final Verdict 

The Norelco 9800 is one of the best rotary shavers that not only provides a unique shaving experience but can also last you for a long, long time!

Skull Shaver Pitbull Silver PRO

Pitbull’s Skull Shaver series is another line of rotary shavers that can’t be dismissed from this list. However, since our main aim is to include models that are easy to use as they are affordable, our recommended pick would definitely be Pitbull Silver PRO.

The Silver PRO is constructed with 4-D floating heads that are quick, efficient, and skin-friendly. Having razor bumps only exists in theory with this rotary shaver, as the 4-D blades can move in any direction. Shaving towards and against the grain should also be a breeze with this compact option.

Skull Shaver Pitbull Silver PRO

The device’s groundwork is also something to behold, as it is compact and ergonomic. The device also fits in the palm perfectly and provides an incredible grip as well, both of which make this tool ideal for wet shaving.

While the Silver PRO is glorified for its price tag, it is often called out for its battery life. And although the 30 minutes of runtime that its Li-Ion battery provides could prove to be a deal-breaker to many, the duration should be more than sufficient for multiple close shaves.

This rotary shaver, in my eyes, is the perfect tool to travel overseas with, mainly due to its compact size. The tool is also extremely low-maintenance, typically requiring a quick rinse to look squeaky clean and brand new. If you happen to lose track of the device’s battery life, then its LED battery indicator will definitely be of help!

Get Pitbull’s Silver PRO at Amazon

What I love about this shaver 

  • Has 4-D floating heads that can be used to shave against and towards the grain.
  • Provides an incredible grip.
  • Offers weightless operation with an ergonomic build.
  • It can be used for wet and dry shaving.
  • 600 mAh battery with a 30-minute battery life.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Has an LED battery indicator that changes colours to alert users.

Mild Concern 

  • Its 30-minute battery life does leave a dent on its overall impression.

Final Verdict 

On top of being affordable, the Skull Shaver Silver PRO is a tool that can easily be travelled with due to its compact build.

Philips Norelco 3800

Regardless of how big or small your budget is, you can always get a top-notch rotary shaver without an issue. However, if your budget is moderately low, an option you can throw into the mix is Philips Norelco 3800, the next entry on this list.

Philips Norelco 3800

The Norelco 3800 tackles any hairy situation with its 5-D flex head, which is built with Comfort Cut blades. The blades don’t just bring forward optimal shaving results in quick successions, but they’re also known for being lenient on sensitive skin. Additionally, if you also happen to even out the lengths of your sideburns and eyebrows, know that you’ll love the pop-up trimmer that it comes with.

The accuracy of the blades will surely be of assistance during the shaving session, but its rubber grip will be just as helpful, as it will provide you with an extraordinary amount of control, regardless of whether the device is wet or dry. The device is also made of an ergonomic build, which explains why it feels so light in hand.

Another rewarding aspect of the Norelco 3800 is its Li-Ion battery, which can go on for 60 straight minutes on a full charge. The device also comes with a 3-level battery indicator, making it easier to keep tabs on its power and energy levels.

Its one-touch system makes the device easy to clean, while its 5-minute quick charging feature comes in clutch when working with a tightly packed schedule!

Get Philips Norelco 3800 at Amazon

What I love about this shaver 

  • It is inexpensive.
  • It contains flexible 5-d heads that can be used to shave in any direction.
  • Comes with a pop-up trimmer for shaving sideburns and maintaining eyebrows.
  • Has a powerful Li-Ion battery with 60-minute battery life.
  • Detachable head with a one-touch system.
  • Waterproof and ergonomic housing with rubber grip.
  • An expert in hectic schedules with its 5-minute quick charge feature.

Mild Concern 

  • The Comfort Cut blades often fall short of providing a clean shave.

Final Verdict 

While the device is pretty backdated, the Norelco 3800 is the perfect rotary shaver for first-timers due to its cost-efficient value and skin-friendly blades!

Philips Norelco Shaver 9700, S9721/89

The Norelco 9700 is one of the latest and top rotary shavers from Philips. It’s sleek look won an iF Design Award in 2015. That sleek design includes a user interface that’s state of the art. It’s digital display uses a built-in motion sensor. It displays battery percentage, indicates a low battery, and shows a replacement head indicator.

Philips Norelco 9700This shaver has 8-D contour technology. Each shaver head will move independently from the next. This 8-D ContourDetect tech will result in a closer shave because the shaver never leaves your face. You’ll catch more hair with one pass than you would with another shaver.

V-Track Precision Blades capture each hair and lift before cutting. It doesn’t matter if the hair is one day or 3 days old. The blades cut really close. Along with precision blades, the shaver has personal comfort settings. Choose Sensitive for a gentle shave. Normal will give you a great shave while Fast will give you a quick shave.

The SmartClean PLUS system will clean, lubricate, dry, and charge your shaver. It’ll clean hair as well as foam and gel from the shaver to keep it clean and like-new for a very long time. When blades are lubricated, they keep their cutting edge for longer.

As far as battery time, the digital display will tell you how much time has passed. You’ll get 60 minutes of shaving with the Lithium-ion battery. It will take an hour to charge for those 60 minutes. You can also give it a quick 5 minute charge in case you need one full shave very quickly.

Get Philips Norelco 9700 at Amazon

My impression

All the latest technology is available for shaving with this 9700 from Philips. It has a powerful battery that has the fastest, long-lasting charge versus other shavers. It’ll give you a quick shave in case you forget to check the digital display and see that you don’t have enough time for one more shave.

The AquaTec Technology allows you to take this into the shower, use it with shave gel, or use it dry. It’s convenient for the guy who wants versatility in his shaving equipment. There are times when you’re running out the door and need a quick, dry shave. Other days, you might want to take your time to look your best.

With Precision blades and 8-Directional ContourDetect, you’ll catch more hairs in the blades for cutting than other shavers. When you are able to shave thoroughly in one pass, you’re less likely to end up with razor burn or irritation. The speed settings ensure that you’re getting the shave that works best for your skin, too. If you have sensitive skin, use that setting to keep irritation and burns away.

What I love about this shaver

  • Fully featured, well-made product with the closest shave in the rotary shaver market.
  • SmartClean system sanitizes and extends the life of your shaving heads to over 1 year.
  • The easy-to-read, fully digital display keeps you informed about the many features of the shaver.
  • Three shaving speeds mean you can use the 9700 regardless of sensitivity issues.
  • This is the best-looking rotary shaver on the market and won an iF Design Award.
  • Contour Detect Technology adapts to your face with its 8-directional heads.
  • Upgraded V-Track precision blades cut up to 30% more hair than other rotary shavers.

Mild concern 

  • It doesn’t include a trimmer for edging and finishing.
  • You can’t use 9700 while plugged in, so keep the battery topped up.

Final verdict

If you want the best shave and future-proof technology, then this is the model you buy. Other rotary shavers on the list deliver close shaves too, but none of them come with as much tech and add-ons, nor are they as finely designed at the 9700.

Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 8900, S8950/90

This Aquatec wet and dry rotary shaver is a great option for those that want a premium experience but don’t want to shell out the money for a premium model.

Philips Norelco 8900 The 8900 comes with the Contour Direct technology. It features independently moving, 8 directional rotary heads that are great for reaching difficult areas in fewer passes.

The V-Track precision blades are self sharpening and will last you well over a year. They’re also 20% sharper than the standard Philips blades, meaning you’ll cut more hair with every pass and end up with a closer shave.

Included in the 8900 you’ll find a lithium ion battery that lasts for upwards of 60 minutes. The front facing display provides three levels of battery life, when you need to purchase a new shaving head, and travel lock. The travel lock disables the power button, so the shaver doesn’t turn on while you’re on the road.

You also get a trimmer head with this shaver. All you do is remove the shaver head and twist on the trimmer. Installed in the trimmer is a 5-length setting beard comb, so you can edge and shape a short beard.

Cleaning the 8900 is easy. You can either wash the shaving head under water, or better yet, use the included SmartClean system. The alcohol-free detergent washes and lubricates the shaver head completely in three hours through a dual filtration system.

Another added benefit of the SmartClean system is that it charges your shaver as it cleans. Once the cycle finishes, you’ll have a fresh device ready for the next week of shaving.

The travel case is another great item included with the 8900. The hard-shell case protects your shaver and the soft inner lining ensures bumps and the rough handling of luggage don’t ruin your investment.

Get Philips Norelco 8900 at Amazon

What I love about this shaver

  • A premium shaving experience, providing a close, irritation free shave.
  • Aquatec technology means you can shave in the shower, with gel, or dry.
  • Long lasting lithium ion battery will run for a week or more before requiring a charge.
  • The self sharpening blades stay sharp for over a year, saving you money on replacement parts.
  • Included SmartClean system saves you time and stress cleaning and lubricating your shaver.
  • The advanced contouring technology gives you a shave nearly as close as a razor blade.
  • Durable design will last years before you’ll require a new shaver.
  • New blades are readily available and easy to install.
  • Great ergonomic body, easy to maneuver around your face and neck.

Mild concern 

  • LED indicator doesn’t have as much information as other models.
  • Having to switch to the trimmer head can be annoying.

Final verdict

This is a reliable, well-made rotary shaver. I recommend it for those that want the latest in shaving technology and desire a cleaning station. If you’re on a budget, however, there are better options.

Philips Norelco Shaver 4500 – Model AT830/46

With the Philips Norelco 4500 you can shave with or without gel, in the shower, or first thing in the morning with no product or water.

Philips Norelco AT830/46This rotary shaver comes installed with their famous Aquatec wet and dry technology, sealing the electric components inside a water-resistant housing.

The pivot, flex and float contouring system has 4 directional movements. The rotary head bends inward to better shave your chin and jaw, and the heads pivot to catch hair that may otherwise require multiple passes.

A DualPrecision blade system cuts both short and long hairs, giving you a great shave regardless if you have one or three-day stubble.

Another added benefit of the rotary heads is the super lift technology. Grooves in the rotary mesh unsettle and lift hairs that grow sideways and stick to your skin.

You can fully wash the 4500. Either a quick rinse under the tap, or with a push of a button, release the latch and rinse the blade compartment. Cleaning the device is easy and won’t take you more than a few minutes post-shave.

Once disengaged, the included pop-up trimmer stands horizontal on the side of the shaver. It’s fast and convenient, able to quickly edge sideburns or shape facial hair. Just manually snap it back into the shaver housing once you’re finished.

The LED indicators inform you on basic battery life: charge, low battery, and full battery. The shaver takes approximately 8 hours to charge. A quick-charge option is available, too. In 3 minutes, you’ll have enough juice for one full shave.

Also included with the shaver is a plastic cap to protect the rotary blades, a cleaning brush to sweep away grime inside the rotary blade chamber, and a charging cord. Philips Norelco also adds a 2-year warranty on parts.

Get Philips Norelco 4500 at Amazon

What I love about this shaver

  • A close shave at the price point, you can’t go wrong with the 4500.
  • Superb on thicker beards because of the Lift blade system.
  • The design remains a staple of the Philips Norelco brand, well-built and easy to use.
  • The quick charge option is faster than models three times the price.
  • The replacement blades are cheaper and easier to install than the higher end shavers.
  • Great option for someone new to rotary shavers, or one in need of a travel shaver.
  • Painless maintenance and cleaning and less than two minutes for deep clean.
  • Lithium ion battery means you won’t experience memory loss like with NiCads.

Mild concern 

  • Shorter battery life than other models by 10 minutes.
  • 4 directional contouring not as advanced as the 8 directional systems of the 8000 series and above.

Final verdict

I think this is a great mid-range rotary shaver, perfect for anyone looking for a durable product. You get Philips Norelco’s patented blade technology, smooth shaving experience, and an easy to clean pop-up head system all at a competitive price point.

SweetLF 3D IPX7 Electric Rotary Shaver

SweetLF, short for Sweet Life, is a Chinese company that specializes in consumer products at a reduced cost.

Great rotary shavers are nearly always Philips Norelco, but the price point and customer reviews of this SweetLF shaver were worth placing it on my list.

SweetLF 3D IPX7 Electric Rotary Shaver

The IPX7 is fully waterproof so you can take it in the shower or apply shaving creams and gels, just like more expensive shavers.

SweetLF brands their 4 directional heads as 3D technology. Together the three heads tilt and adapt to your face, giving you a close shave.

The cutting heads designed by SweetLF are unique, too. They have two tracks instead of the more common single track, effectively doubling the blades from three to six. You have twice the likelihood of cutting hair with each pass, reducing your shaving time.

The motor runs cool and quiet, easily quieter than Philips rotary shavers. I’m not sure how they achieve whisper-quiet blades, but it’s a great addition.

The IPX7 charges via USB. This means you don’t get a pronged power cord. Although a negative for some consumers, the benefit of USB charging in today’s hi-tech environments is notable.

You can charge the shaver in your car, through your laptop, a power brick, or an android phone charger. Because of its USB charging, you can charge it with any voltage in the world, adding to its wayfaring appeal.

An informative LED display breaks down your charge into five segments, from 100% to 20%. A full charge lasts you double the electronic shaver, 120 minutes. And you can have a full charge, from empty, in about one hair. That’s an eighth of the time seen with conventional brands.

The shaver also comes with a pop-up trimmer, carrying bag, and protective plastic top.

What I love about this shaver

  • The Dual Track design provides a close shave, both wet and dry.
  • A solid overall package at a budget friendly price.
  • As easy to clean as other brands, just pop open the lid and rinse.
  • Fast charge time, from zero to full in one hour.
  • Clear LED display shows you battery life in 20% increments.
  • USB charging means you aren’t limited by wall outlets.
  • Take the shaver with you where ever you go with universal voltages.

Mild concern 

  • Replacement blades can be hard to find.
  • Overall build quality slightly lower compared to Philips Norelco shavers.

Final verdict

On the market right now you can’t find a cheaper rotary shaver. The product isn’t as well made as other options on my list, but if you’re looking for an entry level electric razor, this is a great option to consider.

Philips Norelco 4100 Rotary Shaver

I think the 4100 is one of the more stylish options in the Philips line of shavers. The blue-on-black design stands out, and the soft touch plastics feel great in the hand.

Philips Norelco 4100

It’s an ergonomic, well-built shaver. And if you’re looking for a budget rotary option that provides a close shave, you need consider the 4100.

The 3 DualPrecision rotary blades cut stubborn hairs without nicks or irritation. Hard to reach hairs on your chin and jaw line aren’t a problem for the 4100 because of the engineered slots and holes in the rotary mesh.

A wet and dry shaver, the 4100 comes with Philips’s renown Aquatec technology. You can take this electric shaver into the shower, or dry shave quickly before an evening out.

Cleaning some wet shavers can be difficult. The shaving gel builds up and is hard to clean. But the 4100 solves this problem with its easy clean system. With a press of a button, you can wash out the blades and housing within minutes.

Philips Norelco is also the only brand on the market with the Super Lift and Cut rotary design, featured on the 4000 models. It cuts hairs just below skin level and provides a comfortable and long-lasting shave.

The shaver comes with a pop-up trimmer that quickly shapes and trims on the fly without the need to switch heads or use another device.

The front facing LED indicator displays low battery, charge, and full battery, which is just the right amount of information to not miss a charge.

You get 50 minutes of shaving time per charge, and it takes roughly 8 hours to fully charge the device.

Also included with the 4100 is the power cord and a plastic cap to protect the blades.

What I love about this shaver

  • A close, irritation free shave, thanks to the patented blade tech.
  • Aquatec technology means you can use the 4100 wet or dry.
  • Great ergonomic body and smart, clean design featuring bright colors.
  • One charge will easily last you a week of daily use.
  • Cleaning the 4100 can be done in just a few minutes.
  • Useful pop-up trimmer cleans your sideburns and facial hair in seconds.
  • Well-built, sturdy body can be taken on the road without an issue.

Mild concern 

  • You can’t use the 4100 while plugged in. Plus, no quick charge option.
  • No travel case, but that’s assumed at this price point.

Final verdict

This is Philips Norelco’s best seller, and it’s easy to see why. I think it’s a good option for first-time shavers and men on a budget who need a reliable device that will last them years.

Philips Norelco Shaver 6100, 1150X/46

The DualPrecision heads will give you an incredibly close shave. The slots in the shaver will cut normal hair as well as short stubble. There’s a Lift and Cut system that will lift the hair before cutting to get as close to the skin as possible. It does it without irritating the skin.

Philips Norelco 6100

The 6100 works well in the shower because of the AquaTec seal. Take it into the shower or use shave gel at the sink for a close shave. The ergonomic handle with non-slip grip makes it easy to handle when wet, too.

With GyroFlex 2D technology, the 6100 will pivot and move with your face. As you move from cheeks to chin to jaw line, the heads will move with the curves. It’ll do so without any added pressure from you.

The shaver comes with a click-on trimmer. Although I can’t use it on the fly, I like the click-on trimmer. It’s bigger than a pop-up trimmer and easier to use for precision shaping around your ear or neck.

One hour of charging will provide 40 minutes of cordless operation. There’s a display that will alert you to when the battery is full as well as when it’s time to charge. If you miss the alert for when it’s time to charge, you can use the 3-minute quick charge. It will give you enough charge for a single shave.

My impression

The 6100 has many great features. My favorite feature is the DualPrecision heads. The Lift and Cut system will ensure that you’re getting a close shave every time. It doesn’t matter the length of hair. The slots and holes will bring in all lengths to lift and cut them beautifully.

The rotating blades will give you a total of 56,000 cuts per minute. The soft-touch technology will ensure that the blades glide across your face without the need for pressure. You won’t have to pass over the same area multiple times, which will keep your face from becoming irritated.

The battery docking station will keep your new shaver charged and ready for use. You only need an hour to charge the shaver up to full. Even if you don’t have an hour, you can give the shaver less than a five-minute charge to get a close shave.

What I love about this shaver

  • The SkinGlide pivoting system provides a very close, comfortable shave.
  • Great ergonomic body, one of the easier-to-use shavers on the list.
  • The easy to remove and clip-on trimmer gives you extra precision over the pop-up variety.
  • Cleans quick after a wet shave and dries easily on the included stand.
  • Dual precision heads cut short stubble other rotary shavers may miss
  • Worldwide voltages from 100 to 240 AC let you take it wherever you go.
  • Replacement blades match those of other Philips models, like the 4000.

Mild concern 

  • Trimmer isn’t attached to the handle.
  • More LED indicators would be nice, like battery percentage or low battery.

Final verdict

This is a reasonably priced shaver with some really great features. It’ll provide a close shave no matter the length of your whiskers. The shaver’s soft touch means it’ll glide across your skin without added pressure.

Although I don’t recommend rotary shavers for sensitive skin, I make an exception with the 6100. The Sensotouch technology provides a gentle and relaxed shave well worth the money.

Philips Norelco 2100

For the entry level consumer, budget hunter, and deal picker, this is the shaver for you.

The Philips Norelco 2100 combines all the features and benefits of their decades in the industry and reduces them down to the basics.

Philips Norelco 2100

With the 2100, you get exactly what you need for a close shave without all the needless components.

The self-sharpening blades cut close to the skin, giving you a reliable shave every time you turn it on. Philips added the 4-directional, independently moving heads for extra comfort. They match the curves of your face so you don’t have to shave over areas multiple times.

You won’t find premium features like an LCD display with battery percentages, but there is plenty of value here. The pop-up trimmer works great and saves you the trouble of buying a trimmer just for touch-ups.

The installed Aquatec seal means you can use this shower in multiple ways. As a dry shaver, it gives you a smooth, irritation free shave within minutes. Introducing water or shaving gel helps to lift hairs and replenish your face at the same time.

Cleaning the 2100 takes just a few minutes. Like the higher end 4000 models, you just pop open the hood and rinse under warm water. For dry shaving, a simple brush out or rinse will do.

The battery life indicator notifies you when the shaver is charged and when it’s almost dead. A full charge will last you roughly 35 minutes, which amounts to 12 to 14 shaves. You must charge the 2100’s lithium ion battery for about 8 hours.

Philips Norelco includes a protective cap and charger with the shaver. Overall, it’s a well-rounded, durable, and convenient rotary shaver that cuts closer than other products at this price point.

What I love about this shaver

  • Premium shaving experience at a budget-friendly price.
  • CloseCut blade system sharpens as it cuts, saving you money on new blades.
  • The 4-Directional pivoting heads contour to your face just as good as higher end models.
  • Easy to clean inner reservoir pops open for quick rinses and deep cleans.
  • Convenient and easy to use pop-up trimmer works great on sideburns and hairlines.
  • Durable body and rubberized grip add a premium feel to the device.
  • Aquatec seal allows for both wet and dry shaving experiences.

Mild concern 

  • Lowest battery life of the Philips Norelco rotaries.
  • Can’t use the shaver while it’s plugged in, so keep it charged.

Final verdict

Just because the 2100 sits at the bottom of the Philips Norelco lineup doesn’t mean it isn’t worth buying. I recommend it as an inexpensive travel shaver, or for first timers wanting to test the rotary shaving waters.

Things to consider when you buying a rotary electric shaver

To help you narrow down your options I’ve listed the main questions and considerations I recommend to shoppers while hunting for a new shaver.

Sometimes we get so stuck on the facts that we forget to add the most important element: us.

We all have different reasons for needing a shaver, so read my list and decide what yours are.

Rotary shaver buying guide

  • How Often Do You Shave?

Although I love shaving, I don’t shave every day. I work from home and just don’t see why I should shave when all I’m doing is going to my desk.

If you don’t shave every day, then you need to consider a rotary shaver with stronger cutting action and sharper blades. The basic models work great, but they’re optimized for one day stubble.

Also, if you wait a few days between shaves, buy a rotary shaver that comes with a bigger trimmer head. The small pop-up ones are good for edging, nothing more.

  • Budget

I want as many features as I can get. But that doesn’t mean I need them. When looking at which shaver to buy, consider your budget.

The most important thing is that the shaver delivers a close shave. The rest, although cool, is often filler. Think about what you really need.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy something with more features. If you’re forgetful, for example, an LCD or LED screen would be useful. The point is to opt in to the things you need your shaver to do and save money where you can.

  • Cleaning Systems

The new cleaning systems that come with the premium models save you time. Plus, they lubricate the blades, which adds longevity to your shaver.

But you can do that stuff on your own, too. The real question is, will you? If you’re the type that likes to clean their own tools, and you can rely on yourself to do it, then you don’t need a cleaning system.

Cleaning a rotary shaver isn’t hard. You can do it in ten minutes. The question is are you the type that will? But if you often put things off you should buy the cleaning system.

  • Consider Your Contours

If you have a deep jawline or wide chin, it may be worth getting a shaver with 8 directional rotary heads.

Philips Norelco calls it the Contour Detect system. It’s found on the higher end models. Customers state the technology reaches hair in difficult spots better than the cheaper 4 directional models.

When you shave for less time, you save wear on your blades, motor, and battery. So, you big jaw guys need to consider the more advanced systems as they’ll save you money in the long run.

  • Display Features

How forgetful are you? Some of my picks don’t have an LED display. A few only have a light indicator to tell you when the product is charging or on.

That means you must keep up with charging, cleaning and other maintenance on your own. If you’re forgetful, it may be better to buy an LED model.

Most products have a quick charge option, but sometimes even that will take too much time. If you’re diligent, then this won’t be a problem.

  • Space Restrictions

While gadgets are great, you need to ask yourself if you have the room.

The SmartClean system covers a significant space in your bathroom. But other little bits like the removable trimmers and brushes can also add clutter. It comes down to what you need and what you’ll never use.

What seems like a good idea today may end up being trash tomorrow. Some customers, however, use the cleaning system and love it.

If this is your first rotary shaver, I’d advise you to go for one without a cleaning system. Then you can learn how to clean the shaver on your own.

  • Travel Companion

Do you travel a lot? Like to bring your shaver with you? Then you need to think about travel cases.

The case you get with the rotary shaver varies wildly from product to product. Some, like the 9700, come with a great hard-shell case. Others don’t come with anything.

Although rotary shavers are more durable than foils, they can still damage when brought along on a trip. Spending the extra money on a travel case won’t be necessary if you do your research and choose a model that comes with a case.

7 Easy Steps to Shave with a Rotary Shaver

Once you get the hang of it, shaving with a rotary electric razor is simple. Below, I list 7 easy to follow steps that lead to a perfect rotary shave.

  • Pre-Shave Routine

Pre-Shave Routine

Develop a ritualistic pre-shave routine. This begins by deciding if you will shave wet or dry. If a dry shave, then make sure your face is completely dry. Rotary shavers work best either dry or fully wet. Don’t shave with clammy, damp skin. That’ll only irritate skin and miss hairs.

No matter if you decide to shave wet or dry, you can ruffle your hairs to lift them up. That way they’re better exposed to the rotary blades. To do this, scrub your face with a towel or lather a shaving gel deep into your skin.

  • Trim Down Prior to Shaving

Trim Down Prior to Shaving

Rotary shavers are the best types of electric razors for longer stubble. But that doesn’t mean you can mow through five-day hair. If it’s been a while since your last shave, trim your hair down to a manageable length. That way your shave won’t take forever, and you avoid the risk of nicks and pulled hairs.

Depending on your shaver model, attach the trimmer or unlatch it from its down position. Trim up, against the grain. It’s best to perform this step in the bathtub or over the sink as it can be messy.

  • Move Shaver in Circular Motions

Move shaver in a circular motion

When you’re ready to shave make sure to use circular motions. Unlike a foil shaver where you shave against the grain, rotary shavers work differently. Think of it as buffing a car. You want to work on one section at a time in, buffing as you go.

Keep the device at a 90-degree angle to your face so the blades are flat against your skin. Trying to angle the shaver will only cause irritation, as the blades were designed to cut a specific way.

  • Keep Skin Tight

Keep skin tight

It’s important to keep your skin tight as you shave. There are many ways to do this. You can use your free hand and stretch the skin you’re shaving. Also, you can blow up your mouth like a blowfish. This serves to agitate hairs that stick close your skin.

Troublesome areas, such as under your chin and jawline, shave better when you lift your head up and to the side. And always remember to keep the shaver flat against your face. It’s better to contort and pull your skin than it is to manipulate the shaver too much.

  • Go Slow

Go slow

A great shave isn’t a race. No one is standing beside you making you hurry. Even if you’re late for work, it’s better to take your time while you shave.

Rushing will only lead to cuts, pulls, and damaged equipment. Plan at least ten minutes for your entire shaving routine. Moving a rotary shaver quickly across your face cuts less hairs, and you’ll end up spending more time shaving than if you paced yourself.

  • Multiple Passes Is Normal

Multiple Passes Is Normal

Even an expensive shaver takes at least two passes. Once you’re done the first full pass of your face, use your free hand and check for patches that need more shaving.

If you used shaving gel, you can add more for the second pass, or just wet your face. It’s up to you.

The rule of thumb is that a good shaver should take three full passes. If you find yourself standing at the mirror for fifteen minutes going over the same area six times, you may need new blades.

  • Post-Shave


Once you’re finished shaving, rinse the device under warm water. This is especially important if you applied shaving gel or cream. The build up of shaving gel inside the device clogs the blades. Ignoring your shaver for just a few days will lead to a decrease in performance.

A good rotary electric razor shaves nearly as close as a safety razor. Because it performs so well, I recommend you use an aftershave. Non-alcoholic is best, as it keeps your skin fresh and doesn’t damage it.

The Easy Way to Replace Rotary Shaving Heads

Replacing your rotary shaving heads isn’t hard. Remember, these systems are made to be user friendly, and the removable parts are completely safe to handle.

Replace rotary shaver heads

  • Designate a work area

Set up a work area. Hair and other gunk will probably fall out when you go to replace the blades. I set a few sheets of paper towel down on in the bathroom.

  • Detach Shaver Head

A button the side of the device will unlock the head, either it’ll flip open or come off completely.

  • Unlatch Shaver Blades

Each blade has a rubber ring that locks the blade into place. Twist it to unlock and place it somewhere safe.

  • Remove Blades

Pop out the blades. If they’re stubborn, use your finger and press from the outside to free them.

  • Replace

Take out your new blades and insert them the same way the old ones were inserted. Try not to touch the blade itself. It’s sharp!

  • Re-attach blade locks

Working one blade at a time, insert the lock ring and twist counter-clockwise to lock it back into place. Wiggle the blade to make sure it’s secure.

  • Close the Shaver Head

You’re done! Just close the shaver head and make sure you hear a clicking noise which tells you it’s locked.

Rotary Shaver Maintenance Tips

An electric shaver can last you years. But without proper cleaning and maintenance, you risk cutting that time short.

Don’t worry, maintaining an electric rotary shaver isn’t hard. Here are the big four things you can do to keep your shaver clean and in perfect working order.

  • Lubricate

Lubricate rotary shaver

The single best thing you can do is lubricate your shaving heads every week.

If your shaver doesn’t come with clipper oil, buy some or use baby oil. Place a drop of oil into each blade once a week.

The oil does two things. First, it removes residue that builds up on the blades. Second, it coats the moving parts with a thin layer of protection. Oiled blades last longer and cut better.

  • Deep Clean Monthly

Deep clean monthly

A few of the shavers on my list come with a SmartClean station, which is great. But you should still open the rotary blades once every month and give them a deep clean.

Thoroughly cleaning the blades removes build up that the cleaner systems can’t get to. A freely moving blade lasts longer than one that has gunk adhered to it.

  • Protect Your Shaver

Protect Your Shaver

This one may sound easy, but many consumers end up replacing a shaver because they stored it improperly.

Keep your rotary shaver stored somewhere where it won’t be knocked over or where it’s exposed to cleaning products like bleach and Lysol, which corrode the metals. Also, when you’re traveling, house the shaver in a case.

  • Replace Blades

Replace rotary shaver heads

Dull blades not only cause pulls and nicks, they stress the motor and lead to premature deterioration.

Most of the shavers on my list show when they need new blades. My general rule is that if you shave every day or two, you must replace the heads once a year.

Choose with Confidence

I hope my best rotary shaver list will help you find a rotary shaver you can’t live without. My list doesn’t include all the rotaries, but it covers the options I think you should consider.

If this is your first step into the rotary world, don’t worry. I think rotary shavers offer great benefits over foils and safety razors.

For example, I think out of the three they are the least likely to damage your skin when used improperly.

Keep in mind that it may take you a while to find the right product. Don’t just choose the first one that seems to fit what you need.

Read up on the products I mention and consider all your options. When you feel confident in your purchase, that’s the time to buy.

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