Best Home Laser Hair Removal Devices – Top 5 Smoothest Review for Nov. 2018
Please find our detailed analysis, buying guide and test results of all the home laser hair removal models after the comparison table.
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Introduction and Buying Guide
Laser technology is moving into the home to help with permanent hair removal, but which device is best for your needs and should you put your trust in? Groom+Style investigates.
You don’t have to be a scientist or a doctor (or, for that matter, Goldfinger or Dr. Evil) to appreciate the utility of lasers.
From laser sights to laser pointers, from the operating suite to the military theater, the power of lasers has been harnessed to perform a myriad range of functions that even the scientists at Hughes Research Laboratory in California couldn’t have envisioned when they turned on the world’s first operational laser in 1960.
Laser Hair Removal At Home – Growing Popularity
We’ll guarantee that they never expected the laser technology to be used for home hair removal. But do-it-yourself laser hair removal at home (LHR) has become the method of choice for many women and men.
There are drawbacks to using lasers for removing hair, including the facts that most machines don’t work well on dark skin or light hair, it’s a long-term process which requires some patience, and of course, it can be expensive.
But there are several reasons for the growing popularity of LHR in recent years: treated areas stay hair-free for months or years, and it’s less painful than waxing or even a few bad razor cuts. (There is still some pain associated with the laser “zaps,” though, so it’s a good idea to start out by using numbing cream until you know whether it’s needed for future sessions.)
There are some who are scared by the word “laser” and would never dream of trying to use one at home. However, we think a laser (which isn’t dangerous at the power levels used in a home LHR machine) is a lot less scary than the prices that professionals charge for laser hair treatments – which can total thousands of dollars, while a good home machine costs only hundreds.
Don’t forget to check Must Know at the end of this article section before making any buying decision.
Laser Technology vs Intense Pulsed Light
First, though, one quick note. All of these machines, as well as many others we haven’t ranked, are referred to by vendors and in the industry as “home lasers.” However, only our #1 product actually uses laser technology. All of the others use similar but less-powerful light systems to remove hair; most use what’s called IPL (intense pulsed light).
How do you know a good laser hair removal device from a bad one? You check Groom+Style’s list of the top 5 best at home hair removal lasers, of course.
1. Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
There really wasn’t much question which laser hair removal product belonged at the top of our rankings. The Tria has been around longer than its competitors, it was the first LHR system approved by the FDA as safe and effective for home use, and it uses the same technology (laser diode) that pros use in the salons which charge big bucks for a full series of laser treatments.
Automatic Lock if Skin Tone is Too Dark
Groom+Style wouldn’t go as far as saying that any machine (of any type) is idiot-proof, but Tria does all it can to make sure this laser is used properly. We’ve already mentioned that most lasers won’t work on dark-toned skin; the 4X makes certain that it’s appropriate for your skin tone with a built-in skin sensor. If it’s safe for you, the machine beeps and unlocks. Otherwise, the Tria stays locked and you won’t be allowed to use it.
Easy to Use Digital Interface
Once you have the go-ahead (and have read the instructions to know what you’re doing), there’s a terrific digital user interface on the 4X which helps you select one of five strength settings (starting low is a good idea) and counts the number of laser pulses you’ve administered during the session (the instructions explain the proper number of pulses required for each area).
Cordless and Ergonomic
We like that the Tria machine operates cordlessly and is ergonomically designed to be maneuvered easily. The size of the laser head is more of a mixed bag; it’s small so it can be used to accurately target areas like the bikini line, but that also means it takes longer to work on larger areas like the leg.
That actually didn’t bother us, since laser hair removal isn’t a quickie procedure like shaving. When it’s going to take a few months to do the number of treatments required to get rid of all stubborn hair, taking things gradually shouldn’t really be an issue.
Finite Number of Flashes – No Replacement Cartridge
One major difference between the 4X and most competitors is that there’s no cartridge to replace, meaning virtually no maintenance is required. However, that convenience comes with a price of sorts; once you’ve “used up” the laser flashes stored in the machine, it becomes a very expensive doorstop.
With a capacity of 90,000 flashes the Tria should last at least a few years, but after that, you’ll need to purchase a new unit. On the other hand, the average laser cartridge (for machines other than the Tria) only provides about 1000-5000 flashes, so you’d have to buy as many as 90 cartridges for those machines to match the price of the Tria 4X.
How Good Is the Hair Removal With the Tria 4X?
The one thing we haven’t mentioned yet are results, and this machine provides them. In the first few weeks there should be small signs that the treatments are working; in 2-3 months the areas that have been treated will be much less dense than they used to be as hair re-growth is lessened and the hair that does re-grow is lighter; after that the treated follicles should stop growing new hair completely, only requiring touchups from that point forward.
Quite simply, the 4X does exactly what it’s supposed to do, effectively removing hair for the long term at a price way below the cost of professional treatments and better than the competition – probably because this machine really does use laser light rather than IPL technology.
Specifications of the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X:
2. Remington iLIGHT Pro Plus Quartz Hair Removal System
IPL rather than Laser Technology
This product uses the IPL system, rather than an actual laser, to remove hair. It ranks #2 on our list of the top 5 best at home lasers because it outperforms most IPL devices, thanks to the use of quartz light rather than flashes from an ordinary glass bulb.
This model can only be used on the body, see section 2.1 for an iLIGHT model that can be used safely on the face (for women).
The Remington operates in a fashion similar to the Tria; you give each target area the designated number of flashes, and over a period of time all of the hair follicles are disabled so hair doesn’t grow back. That period of time, however, is longer than with the Tria because IPL pulses simply aren’t as strong as those from a laser.
Larger Area but Less Accuracy
The light-emitting head on the iLIGHT Pro Plus Quartz is larger than the head on the Tria 4X, meaning the light reaches an area more than twice as large which makes it possible to work faster. The downside is that it’s trickier to use this unit to treat small areas like the bikini line with pinpoint accuracy.
As with most laser systems, this one is not meant for dark skin or light hair, and there’s a skin tone sensor similar to one on the 4X. The manufacturer also specifies that it should only be used below the neck. It’s easy to hold and use this unit because it’s shaped much like a computer mouse and fits nicely in the hand.
Good for 30,000 Flashes
A real positive when comparing the Remington to other IPL devices (including the lower-level Remington, the iLIGHT Pro Plus without the quartz bulb) is that its cartridge is built to deliver 30,000 flashes, good for at least a year’s worth of treatments before it needs to be replaced.
However, the iLIGHT is also more expensive than most IPL machines. There are two arguments for choosing the Remington over the Tria:
1. the treatments are less painful with the iLIGHT (but that’s simply because the skin is being hit with light flashes that aren’t as powerful as the ones produced by the Tria’s laser).
2. depending on your preferences, the iLIGHT is corded so you do not have to worry about recharging it between treatments.
2.1 Remington iLIGHT Ultra Face & Body Hair Removal System
Remington also has a more expensive model that also uses a Quartz lamp, is capable of 65,000 flashes and is FDA approved for use on facial hair (for women only).
You’ll see good results from this FDA approved at-home “laser” when used properly – you’ll just have to wait longer to see them than if you had used the Tria or gone to a salon for professional treatments.
Looking at the details of the Remington iLIGHT Pro Plus Quartz Hair Removal System:
3. Philips Lumea Comfort IPL Hair Removal System
Approximately 200,000 Flashes at a Reasonable Price
If the price tags of our first two choices are a little steep for your tastes, the Groom+Style Team suggest taking a look at this Philips Lumea IPL unit – this could be your budget choice.
It is meant to last a very long time; the bulb cartridge can’t be changed, but the company claims it provides a whopping 200,000 flashes before the machine needs to be replaced. (Others have estimated the number to be closer to 100,000 flashes, but that’s still a lot.)
Glide/Slide & Flash – Glide the Unit Over Your Skin
One nice feature of this hair remover is a “slide and flash” mode, which lets you glide the unit over your skin, flashing as it goes, rather than having to deal with each patch of skin individually. There’s also a “stamp mode” meant to be used on the smaller areas of the bikini line and the face. As with our first two choices, there are five intensity modes and a skin sensor on the Lumea Comfort because it isn’t meant for dark skin or light hair.
The downside and upside are the same as with other IPL machines. It will take longer to see results than with the Tria laser because the light pulses aren’t as powerful, but that means the treatments aren’t quite as painful.
The Philips Lumea comes with a 180 day trial with money back satisfaction guarantee (at the time of writing this was for the United States, please do check the specifics for your country of purchase).
3.1 Philips Lumea BRI956 Prestige IPL Hair Removal for Body, Face, and Bikini
The top of the range model released by Philips, that can be used corded or cordless, is safe for the body and face, and is suitable for those with a skin tone of Type V (on the Fitzpatrick scale). For those who prefer IPL and have a larger budget, this model might be worth considering.
A nice machine at a nice price – but sooner or later, it will have to be thrown away since you can’t buy replacement cartridges.
Facts and figures for the Philips Lumea Comfort IPL Hair Removal System:
4. Silk’n Flash & Go Hair Removal Device Original
Please also read section 4.2 & 4.1 below as there are newer models that no longer require replacement cartridges.
Corded IPL Device for Lighter Skin
Another IPL system (they call it HPL for “home pulsed light”) which is the least-expensive of the “laser” hair removal devices on our list, this product from Silk’n is shaped like a police radar gun and has defined the medium-range hair removal market for quite a while.
The Flash&Go is similar to the IPL units we’ve already discussed: it’s corded, it’s FDA approved, and it has a skin sensor because it’s not appropriate for use on dark skin (see section 4.2 for the Silk’n Infinity which can be used on dark and light skin).
5,000 Flashes with Replacement Cartridge (see section 4.1 & 4.2 for versions which don’t have replacement cartridges)
The standard bulb on the Silk’n machine is good for 5,000 flashes after which the bulb cartridge must be replaced, and the machine is OK for use on the face – although it has a head that’s on the large side, so your results working on small areas may not measure up to the performance of the Tria or Lumea. As with all quality IPL units, you’ll see good results but they’ll take longer to occur than with the Tria because of the less powerful IPL light flashes.
Cartridge Replacement Options
This Silk’n model has 1000 flash replacement cartridges, although the company does offer a Long Life Upgrade cartridge with 120,000 flashes. There’s also a Silk’n “Luxx” model similar to the Flash&Go unit gives you 120,000 flashes standard. If you plan to be a heavy user, either of those options would probably make sense for you.
Going in-depth on the Silk’n Flash&Go Hair Removal Device:
4.1 Silk’n Compact & Express Models – No Replacement Cartridges
Note – Silk’n have done it again and released a newer model – see section 4.2 especially if you have skin or hair colors unsuitable for other at home laser hair removal devices.
The latest and greatest hair removal models released by Silk’n in 2016 are the Compact and Express. These models no longer have replacement cartridges.
The compact version provides 150,000 light pulses.
The Advanced version has a whopping 300,000 light pulses.
4.2 Silk’n Infinity 400,000 – Suitable for Almost ALL Skin and Hair Colours
Silk’n keeps innovating and improving their products, and have released the Silk’n Infinity 400,000.
This product gives hope to people who have previously been unable to use at home “laser” hair removal devices due to the color of their skin or hair.
Although Groom+Style have not tested the device on the full range of skin and hair available Silk’n say that the Infinity 400,000 is suitable for all skin colors and almost all hair colors.
Effectively, the product is only unsuitable for people who have BOTH black skin (Type VI on the Fitzpatrick Scale ) AND white or grey hair.
The product works via a combination of galvanic and optical energy – see diagram below.
Other great features of this product are that:
– as the name suggests the Silk’n Infinity will emit up to 400,000 pulses.
– it can be used on facial and body hair
– it is suitable for both men and women
– it can be used via the pulse and glide method, meaning treatments should take less time
5. Tanda Me My Elos Syneron Touch Hair Removal System
ELOS Technology For Darker Skin
OK, those of you with dark skin have been very patient, so we have a “laser” hair removal just for you. The Me My Elos uses a slightly different FDA-approved technology called ELOS, which is similar to IPL but “color blind.”
Just about everything else about the Tanda is similar to the IPL at home lasers we’ve discussed, so we won’t go into great detail. It can be used on the face as well as the lower body, has a large head for covering good-sized patches of skin, and comes with a quartz cartridge delivering 500,000 flashes.
The latest model is called the Elos Touch Advance and has 500,000 pulses.
Unfortunately, as with most products which have the market cornered (in this case, the dark skin market), the cost is high.
When you consider the number of flashes included, though, it’s not a terrible deal and it’s a good system for an IPL model.
The specs for the Tanda Me My Elos Syneron Touch Hair Removal System:
Things You Need to Know Before You Go Shopping for Your Laser Hair Removal Device
There are a lot of factors that go into determining which system is the best for you, and these are but some of the vast number of systems that are available in stores and online. Each of these systems offers benefits for the consumer, and the system that you purchase will depend on your specific needs.
Based on the objective facts, and taking the majority of the population into consideration, the best laser home hair removal system is the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X, with its ease of use and low operating costs. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get the look that you want, but you can’t assume that you can spend next to nothing for your perfect look either.
Skin Tone: Though there have been some technological advancements that made laser hair removal systems viable for darker skin tones, if you have olive colored skin or darker, you need to find a system that is FDA rated for your skin tone. Fair skinned women can use just about any system out of the box with no problem. Talk to your dermatologist to get some help determining whether or not a home hair removal system is suitable for your skin type.
Darker skinned women (and men) can check out the Silk’n Infinity in section 4.2 and the Tanda Me in section 5.
Hair Color: Blondes might have more fun, but when it comes to laser home hair removal, blondes have a tough time. The lasers have a hard time picking up the light pigmentation of blonde, white or red hair, and so the systems are not as effective with those hair colors. On the other hand, if your hair is brown or black, you should see fantastic results with most laser removal systems.
Lighter haired women (and men) can check out the Silk’n Infinity in section 4.2.
Price: The upfront price of a home system might seem shocking at first, but when you compare it to several trips to the doctor for treatments, you actually come out ahead. Be sure to invest in a quality system, otherwise, you do run the risk of skin damage and ineffective removal. A good starting point is around $300 for a mid-range kit.
Ongoing Costs: Finally, there are several systems on the market that have a low initial setup price, but they prove to be more costly to operate in the long-run because they require replacement cartridges every few months. Depending on how often you plan to use the machine and how expensive the replacement cartridges are, you might be better off paying a little bit more upfront for a cartridge-free kit.