Close Shaves

Courtesy of Braun

New high-tech blade wizardry means that today’s portable electric shavers outperform their predecessors, and that’s good news for guys on the go. The shave still isn’t quite as close as a manual blade’s, and fussy cleaning systems can be frustrating (although replaceable cartridges of sanitizing solution help). We tested three high-end models from Braun, Panasonic, and Philips.

Panasonic Vortex Nano Es8228S

HOW IT WORKS A 13,000-rpm motor reduces friction between skin and extrasharp blades. Cleans with cartridge system or under running water.

WHY IT WORKS The waterproof unit allows for wet and dry shaving. Good built-in trimmer.

WHY IT DOESN’T Closeness falls a bit short of a straight-edge.

OVERALL The gold medal for smooth performance, versatility, and design of main and cleaning units. $250;

Braun Series 7

HOW IT WORKS The 10,000 pulses per minute vibrate the blade head to stimulate skin and expose hairs. Cleans with water or cartridge system.

WHY IT WORKS The motion feels like a subtle facial massage.

WHY IT DOESN’T Confusing battery-life indicator. Plastic-looking cleaning system.

OVERALL The silver medal. Shaving is fine, but heavyweight and dry-only shaving disappoint. $270;

Philips Norelco Arcitec 1090X

HOW IT WORKS Rotary heads flex and swivel independently. Cleans under running water.

WHY IT WORKS The razor covers curved areas—like the chin—more easily than a straight blade.

WHY IT DOESN’T Flat areas such as cheeks require multiple passes. Cleaning is a chore. Dry shaving only.

OVERALL Razor burn, a spotty shave, and no cartridge cleaning warrant only the bronze medal. $250;