What’s the Best Norelco Shaver? Obviously, the Question We’ve All Been Asking
OK, yes—the title of this post is a little snarky, but bear with us for a moment. We love Norelco shavers, and here we’re going to go over our favorite Norelcos and determine the best Norelco shaver (or, at least, the one that may be best for your situation)—but first let us wax nostalgic for a moment, and confess:
We’re in Love with Norelco Commercials
If you’re under the age of, say, 30, you may not remember how many fantastic commercials Norelco has had over the years. At one point in time, the companies that make electric shavers were in intense competition with each other, and they spent a LOT on ads, all of which have made their way onto YouTube—and they’re all fantastic.
There’s this one, that they’ve redone over the years, where Santa encourages you remove your whiskers with a Norelco:
Then there’s this one—our personal favorite—where the weird voice-over keeps saying GOTCHA! GOTCHA! GOTCHA! every time a guy gets nicked while shaving:
That is so delightfully weird, and you just don’t see that sort of thing anymore…
Then there’s this one, which has that funny “this was futuristic when it aired but now looks ridiculous” vibe:
And finally, this surprisingly inclusive ad from… recently?... that earnestly tries to include literally everybody who can grow facial hair:
How GREAT are these? They’re like a little time capsule of shaving, capitalism, and television-trendiness all wrapped into one. We absolutely love that kind of thing.
But, alas—that’s not what we’re here to talk about, is it? We’re here to talk about Norelcos and which might be the right option for you.
So, thank you for allowing us that brief detour, and now let us get back to the issue at hand:
The Best Norelco Shavers: Summaries of Our Selections
There are a ton of Norelco shavers out there with numerous models in numerous lines.
However, we picked each of our six for a specific reason. Before we go into the full reviews, take a look at this quick overview of the models we chose and why. This will give you an idea of which you should look more closely at:
The Philips Norelco Shaver 2300: a solid “best-bang-for-you-buck” option that can provide a smooth shave without a bunch of extra features
The Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid Trimmer and Shaver: a hybrid model designed to provide a close shave or trim without causing any irritation
The Philips Norelco Shaver 3800: a long-running model, with better battery life and extra features, that “punches above its weight”
The Philips Norelco Shaver 7100: a high-tech option that can provide a neat, professional shave with speed and convenience
The Philips Norelco Shaver 7700: a high-end shaver with a LOT of features that’s great for sensitive skin (and guys who travel a lot—more on that later) and
The Philips Norelco Shaver 9700: one of the most advanced shavers on the market, this model provides a high-quality shave while removing almost all hassle and maintenance tasks.
Alrighty! Those are the models we consider to be the stand-out options. In the next section, we’ll provide a little more detail and tell you why (and what their drawbacks are):
Our In-Depth Norelco Shaver Reviews
Okey dokey—let’s dive in:
The Philips Norelco Shaver 2300
Summary: The Philips Norelco 2300 is one of Norelco’s budget models, offering basic but smooth shaving at (what we consider) a reasonable price point.
Long charging time
If you like the Philips Norelco line of grooming products but are on a budget, the Philips Norelco 2300 can be great option. It doesn't have a lot of extra frills or features, but it can get the job done—ie, a smooth, professional shave.
Besides the lack of features, the main downsides are the budget construction of the casing and the long charging time. Specifically, it takes eight hours to get the 2300 to its full battery run time of 40 minutes. That’s not amazing, but definitely good enough. Our advice would be keep it plugged in when you aren't using it.
However, despite being a mid-range option, the 2300 does have a lot of quality specs usually only found on higher-end models. For instance, the blades are self-sharpening, meaning you can use it repeatedly without it yanking your hair or irritating the skin. This makes it great for men with thick beards who need a clean shave every single morning.
You can also get a consistent shave because each of the three rotary heads has 4D flex, so it stays flat against your skin even as you go over curves. That means a close shave as well as a faster shave because you're less likely to miss spots that you have to go over later.
The 2300 has a pop-up trimmer as well, so you can trim a mustache or goatee even if you shave the rest of your face smooth. The entire head of the shaver also opens easily for cleaning, though this model is unfortunately not waterproof.
All in all, a good little workhorse of a shaver.
The Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid Trimmer and Shaver
Summary: The only model on our list that isn't a rotary shaver, the OneBlade is a hybrid device that you can use to both trim and shave your beard, and it’s made for guys who experience skin irritation from other shavers.
Close-cutting oscillating shave
2 cutting edges
Trimming combs included
Long charging time
The OneBlade is a hybrid model that can serve as both a trimmer and a shaver. This is because, unlike a rotary shaver, this model features an oscillating blade that cuts much closer to the skin than other trimmers or clippers—and it’s designed for men with sensitive skin who suffer from irritation when they use a rotary shaver. That’s fantastic, and we think it’s the best thing about this shaver.
The oscillating blade on the OneBlade Hybrid has two cutting edges, meaning it cuts more hair—and more hair, faster—than other trimmers. That said, it still won't give you as fast a shave as a rotary shaver (meaning, the amount of time you actually spend shaving may not be as quick as with other shavers), and we consider that to be its main downside.
The blade is long lasting and sharp, but you may want to replace it every four months or so. This is easy enough thanks to the removable-but-rotating head that follows the contours of your face for a closer shave.
It's not just for shaving, though—the OneBlade is a hybrid model, and it comes with three trimming combs that you can use to turn an unruly beard into a neat and professional one. It’s kind of odd more shavers don’t incorporate these features—they seem pretty simple, and they’re a big plus.
As for convenience, we wish the OneBlade had a shorter charging time, but we love the fact that you can clean the trimming head by running it under the faucet. Plus, it's cleaner than rotary shavers anyway since hair doesn't get trapped down inside as easily.
We think this can be a great bet if you have sensitive skin, and we love that it’s multi-functional and easy to use and clean.
The Philips Norelco Shaver 3800
Summary: The Philips Norelco 3800 is a great mid-range model, and with a five-minute quick charge and extra features, it can be a great option if you lead a very busy lifestyle (or don’t have much time in the morning for grooming!).
5-minute quick charge
5D flex heads
Ergonomic rubber grip
Low battery power
No digital battery level indicator
As you might imagine, as you move up the number scale, the Norelco models get fancier and more high-tech. The Philips Norelco 3800 is one of the models that starts to incorporate some higher-end capability, while still being a “mid-range” model.
Our favorite thing about this is how quickly it charges. If you’ve ever had to put your plans on hold because you’re waiting for a shaver to charge, it’s the WORST. The five-minute quick charge gives you enough juice to shave, which is nice in case you wake up late and forgot to charge it. It’s always best to leave it while plugged in if you can, but not everyone has counter space for that, and having that quick-charge is a fantastic feature.
We also like that the 3800 is waterproof. In fact, you can use it in the shower or even with shaving cream if you suffer from skin irritation. This design also means it's easy to clean—just open up the head and run it under water—and we deeply appreciate that sort of thing. As they say, cleanliness is godliness—but not when it takes too long.
Finally, the 3800 outdoes models in the 2000 line because it has three 5D flex rotary heads. In other words, they contour even better to the curves on your face, giving you a closer but more comfortable shave. That’s the real “jump forward” in tech here, and you can literally feel the difference on your face (or, we could, anyway!).
As for features, this model also has a pop-up trimmer on top of an ergonomic rubber grip that helps you reach the difficult angles. Also, the 3800 comes with a travel pouch if you need to take it on a business trip, and the charging stand helps you keep it fully charged without getting dirty sitting on your bathroom counter.
We like this one for guys with busy lifestyles, and specifically guys who travel a lot—we consider it a good option if you’re looking for a high-tech, but not too high-tech, option.
The Philips Norelco Shaver 7100
Summary: The 7100 is one of the more advanced Norelco models that uses innovative technology to give you a comfortable shave without hassle—it’s one of the powerful “next-gen” models that’s easy to use and can feel great.
45 blades at 90,000 cutting actions/minute
Low battery life for price range
Few extra features
The Philips Norelco 7100 is where we start to get into the top-shelf Norelco models, with some really impressive features. It’s not as amazing as their super high-end versions, but it’s getting there, and it’s the first of their “deluxe” offerings.
Compared to more basic Norelco models, it has a whopping 45 blades that produce 90,000 cutting actions a minute. This means a close shave that's also fast since it's less likely to miss hairs. That number—90,000—is kind of astonishing. A good pair of barber clippers features 10,000+ cutting actions per minute, so that number of 90,000 is pretty bananas.
Like the 3800, the 7100 gets 60 minutes of use for 60 minutes of charge in addition to the five-minute quick shave. That's good, though for a model of this caliber, we would normally expect a shaver to be getting more run time than it takes to charge it. We consider that a negative, but not a terrible one.
The biggest draw of the 7100 is arguably its comfort and adaptability, especially for sensitive skin. This is in part due to the ComfortGlide rings that allow it to easily glide over your skin without causing wrinkles that could lead to missed hairs and irritation. Norelco has long prided itself on not pinching or pulling at your skin (see the “Gotcha!” video, above), and credit where credit is due, the 7100 (and higher models) really do seem to have very few pinches/pulls on your skin.
Part of this gentle whisker removal is due to the SenseIQ technology on the 7100, which includes a motion control sensor and hair adapt sensor. This gives you a personalized shave that conforms to your beard to give you a professional shave without irritation. That sort of technology is why people get a higher-end shaver like this one, and it really is light-years better than previous models, and it’s a lot more “forgiving.” You don’t really need to know what you’re doing, and you can still safely use it.
Otherwise, the 7100 has many of the same features you expect from Norelco. These include a pop-up trimmer and easy-to-hold ergonomic grip. It's also waterproof, usable in the shower, and washable under running water. All great.
We like this as one of the “next-gen” Norelco shavers, where you’re really starting to see some impressive tech, and the tool itself can be very gentle while removing an incredibly amount of facial hair.
The Philips Norelco Shaver 7700
Summary: The Philips Norelco 7700 is a sort of “luxury vacation” shaver—it’s designed for high-end travel and super-close, super-comfortable shaves. Its tech allows it to adapt to your skin and hair for a smooth shave, and a cleaning pod sanitize it after every use.
Adapts to 100-240V
Quick Clean Pod
45 blades at 90,000 cutting actions/minute
Low battery life for price range
Those of you who are very detailed-oriented may have already noticed: the Philips Norelco 7700 is a lot like the Philips Norelco 7100. In fact, it features almost all the same characteristics, and on the whole, it’s pretty similar—but it’s got a couple of added features that provide a more all-around luxurious shaving experience.
The 7700 features Norelco’s advanced tech, like the 360-degree contour rotary heads have 45 blades producing 90,000 cutting actions per minute, and the ComfortGlide rings combine with SenseIQ technology to adapt to your skin and hair. That’s the “shaving luxury” part.
As for travel, the 7700 comes with a travel case and charging stand so you can easily pack it without getting hair clippings everywhere or worrying about it getting broken while they're tossing your suitcase in the hold of the plane. Plus, the power plug comes with a transformer that adapts to any voltage between 100V and 240V, so it works in the Americas and Europe as well as other countries. Those are nice features, especially if you’ll be off globe-trotting or business-venturing.
The ”step forward” with the 7700 is the quick clean pod. While you can easily rinse it thanks to the waterproof design, the clean pod lets you get a deep clean inside the device in just one minute. This also means the blades last longer, and your shave is smoother and more comfortable. That’s the real feature that sets the 7700 apart, and it was among the first of the shavers to feature this sort of gear.
We like this for guys who travel a lot—or who just want to travel in luxury—and for guys who want a really clean electric shaver. If you think you may be experiencing skin irritation because you can’t get your shaver clean enough, this can be a good option.
The Philips Norelco Shaver 9700
Summary: The 9700 is a luxury shaver that has a large number of top-shelf features that provide a close, comfortable shave while cutting down on the amount of cleaning and maintenance you have to perform. This is among “the best of the best” of what’s available in an electric shaver.
V-Track self-sharpening precision blades
Easy-to-use digital interface
SmartClick precision trimmer
SmartClean PLUS stand
Hard-shell travel case
The Philips Norelco 9700 is one of Norelco's most advanced models, and when you read all of its features, it almost sounds silly—who would have thought that an electric shaver could do so many things? It’s kind of amazing, but when you think about it a little further, it’s definitely not silly. When you considering that a shaver is a really a sophisticated device that moves incredibly sharp blades over your skin, it actually sounds pretty important, and it’s incredible how capable models like this are.
The 9700 features 8D rotary heads that contour to just about any angle or curve on your face and let the three heads cut each hair evenly and close to the skin, and its ContourDetect technology results in cutting 20% more hairs in a single pass than other models. If you still don't feel like the shave is close enough, you can even personalize the shaver by changing the speed setting that works best for your skin and hair by operating the device's easy-to-use interface. That’s previously unheard-of in an electric shaver.
It also cuts hairs 30% closer to the skin due to the V-Track precision blades. They capture and then cut each hair without pulling or yanking, and if you’ve read through all of our product descriptions, you’ll see that that’s an advancement on an already-advanced feature. These same blades are also self-sharpening, so they last longer and trim your hair more comfortably—another great feature that can extend the life of the machine. You can use the 9700 as a trimmer, too, thanks to the SmartClick attachment that works a lot better than most pop-up trimmers.
Beyond the shaving experience itself, the 9700 is convenient and easy to charge and keep clean. Specifically, it comes with the SmartClean PLUS system that cleans, lubricates, and charges the shaver all at the same time with one device. It's waterproof, too, so you can rinse it under running water and use it in the shower, making it easy to integrate into your morning routine.
Lastly, the 9700 comes with a travel case. It's not just any case, though, but a deluxe hard-shell case that keeps the device safe while it's in your luggage. Nice!
If you like “the best of the best,” this is usually the Norelco shaver we recommend. Electric shavers have been in a decades-long “tech race” to make the most advanced model, and as far as features are concerned—and performance and comfort—it doesn’t really get better than the Philips Norelco 9700. There are plenty of other Norelcos out there that are very capable, but this is their highest-performing and most-capable model.
And… alrighty, friends! There you have it—our complete discussion of the best Norelco shavers, according to the men of Rough and Tumble Gentleman. We hope something here works for you!
Before we wrap up, we’ll continue to wax nostalgic about Norelcos, and discuss:
What Are the Benefits of a Norelco Shaver?
Norelco is a brand of electronic products manufactured by the Dutch company Philips. Because of a legal challenge by the American company Philco, Philips wasn't originally able to use their name on products marketed in the United States and therefore used "Norelco," an acronym for "North American Philips Electrical Company."
While Norelco once made other devices like video cameras and tape recorders, they now exclusively focus on their lines of shavers and trimmers. In fact, they've been making electric shavers since World War II, gaining popularity in the United States in the 1950s. Since then, the Norelco lines have become well known for their quality and convenience. They have a few big advantages over other shavers, namely…
As a name brand, Norelco shavers have a lot of technology that other brands don't or only poorly imitate. Much of this technology is responsible for the comfort and precision of their shaving cut. Some of the most impressive proprietary technologies include:
Contouring Rotary Heads
Most Norelco shavers are rotary shavers. In other words, they have blades that spin below guards that are on springs so you can press them against the skin, causing the hair to come in contact with the blades.
However, these rotary heads can give you an incredibly close shave without causing irritation, thanks to their contouring pivot design. Top-shelf Norelco shavers are able to pivot in up to eight directions, which means each rotary head is always flat against your skin, and cuts more hair in a more consistent way. This looks better and saves you time, since you don't have to go over the same place numerous times.
Unfortunately, many shavers don't glide easily across your skin. When this happens, it can catch the skin causing wrinkles in some places but stretching it in others. As you can imagine, this results in an uneven shave and can even cause irritation if the blades are able to pinch some of the wrinkled skin.
Norelco attacks this problem with ComfortGlide rings. Using a proprietary material, these rings let the shaver move smoothly over the skin with minimal friction.
SenseIQ is a new and innovative technology you can find on the most advanced Norelco models. It uses infrared sensors to gauge the thickness of your hair and other shaving factors and then adjusts the speed of the rotary blades accordingly. This can prevent irritation while giving you a uniform shave all with very little work on your part.
One problem shavers face is that beard hairs rarely grow uniformly. They splay out in different directions, curl, or sometimes even lie flat against the skin. This makes it hard for shavers to cut them all the same, and it's one of the main reasons shavers miss hairs when you pass over them.
V-Track blades address this problem by positioning each hair vertically at the ideal cutting angle before the blade reaches it. This means a more uniform, professional shave and less time shaving since you don't have to pass over the same area as many times. It also means the shave is 30% closer since it can more easily cut the shaft of each hair.
While most rotary shavers, including many Norelco models, have pop-up trimmers, these don't work nearly as well as a dedicated trimmer head. Luckily, top-shelf Norelco models include one in the form of the SmartClick trimmer. This is essentially an entirely different device that you can operate as a trimmer using the shaver's motor. This is great for men who need to groom and style a full beard or who first need to trim a long beard before shaving it completely.
SmartClean PLUS Technology
Recently, Norelco came up with an especially impressive innovation known as SmartClean PLUS technology. Basically, they combined a charging stand and cleaning station into one and then even gave it the ability to lubricate the shaver and dry it too. This automates a number of otherwise inconvenient aspects of shaver maintenance, and it does it with just one single device.
Waterproofing and Wet Use
One of the places that Norelco shaver models really excel is their use in water. While many shavers these days are waterproof, they often don't work as well wet as dry. For instance, they don't glide over the skin as easily when wet. Additionally, hairs tend to lie flatter when wet, and many other shavers can't cut them in this case. Sometimes, shavers have power trouble in the water.
Norelco shavers handle these issues much better than those of other brands. Not only can many Norelco models be used in the shower, but they can even be used with shaving cream. This even further helps you get an even shave without irritation.
Plus, the waterproof design of most Norelco models lets you clean them more easily. You can just rinse them under the tap.
When you buy from official sellers of Norelco products, Philips Norelco provides a two-year manufacturer's warranty with their shavers. This is something you don't find with most other brands.
It’s important to note that they may not honor this warranty if you buy their products from certain vendors, so check with the vendor—or with Norelco the company—if you are interested in the warranty and do not know if it will be honored.
We don’t always by warranties as an add-on, but they can be great to have, especially when it comes to electric shavers. Shavers are finicky devices with a lot of small moving pieces, and it's not uncommon for the occasional shaver to come off the assembly line with something slightly out of whack. This may not cause problems for a while.
Norelco's two-year warranty shows that the company stands behind their devices and their quality. Moreover, it gives you the confidence to get a model that fits your situation without having to worry about replacing it too soon.
Norelco makes all their shavers with advanced manufacturing processes that ensure reliable and consistent quality.
Many brands merely outsource their manufacturing to countries with inexpensive labor and minimal quality assurance standards. The plant ships them the shavers, and they stamp their brand on them.
This isn't the case with Norelco. While some of their budget models are made abroad, it's in their own, highly controlled factories. Plus, the more advanced top-shelf models are made in their state-of-the-art facility in Drachten, in the Netherlands.
This high-quality manufacturing means more efficient production, which means better shavers at lower costs. For this reason, Norelco shavers have some of the best value on the shaver market, combining both quality and affordability.
Another thing we like about Norelco—somewhat ironically?—is that they are such a popular brand. This means that it's easy to find replacement parts. This is especially important when it comes to blades and shaver heads, which have to be periodically replaced even when they're of the highest quality. With Norelco, it’s not usually much trouble finding the appropriate parts for your shaver model and ordering them online.
Similarly, it's nice that if you enjoy your Norelco product, you can easily upgrade to another model if you have additional needs. You don't have to go through the whole process again of looking for the right, say, trimmer if you already trust Norelco quality.
Wrapping Up Norelcos
Norelco is one of the most popular shaver brands, but it can be hard to pick between the dozens of models they offer—after all, the incredible of features they incorporate (and the odd, copyrighted names of those ironically? — features) can be a little bit overwhelming. They all have their advantages depending on your personal situation, so make sure you're considering all the features when choosing.
We’ve actually gotten a lot of questions about Norelco over the years, so hopefully this helps a bit. Good luck, have fun, and happy shaving!