Busting the Myth of Choice – Manual Razor vs. Electric Shaver: Which Is Better?

Your guide to this review is Groom+Style

Manual vs Electric

Electric Shaver vs. Manual Razor: Which Is Better?

Cost, convenience and closeness are the deciding factors when it comes to choosing either a manual or an electric shaver – Groom+Style compares.

Asking which is better, a manual or an electric shaver, is like asking whether tea is better than coffee — they’re both hot, brown and wet, and they both contain caffeine. It’s personal preference. You can buy tea and coffee which costs a little, or you can buy tea and coffee which costs a lot, it’s the same with shavers.


What Is a Manual Shaver?

A manual shaver is anything without a motor, which requires you to run a blade over your beard to cut the hairs. That includes everything from disposable Bic razor, to expensive Gillette Mach III razors.

The Pros of a Manual Shaver:

  • A closer, more precise shave than with an electric shaver
  • No need to charge the razor up
  • A shave like the good old days

The Cons of a Manual Shaver:

  • Not good if you have uneven skin or acne
  • Expensive over time
  • Razor blades can dull quickly, more chance of nicks and cuts
  • Bad for the environment


What Is an Electric Shaver?

An electric shaver can be either a foil, rotary or clipper. See Groom+Style’s article comparing electric shavers for a full run-down. Electric shavers feature oscillating or rotating blades, covered with some form of protective cover.

The Pros of an Electric Shaver:

  • Fast and convenient
  • Good for maintaining stubble or longer styles
  • Longer lasting

Big plus — If you’re a guy who suffers from acne or uneven skin, an electric shaver can help to prevent nicks and cuts, by separating your skin from the blade, either by foil or a rotary casing.

Find out more in our article shaving tips for men with acne

The Cons of an Electric Shaver:

  • Higher cost at the start
  • Arguably not as neat or controlled as manual
  • Noisy (sometimes)


What About Fusion Razors?

Razors such as the Gillette Fusion combine a manual razor with a vibrating head. The idea is to retain the control and feel of a manual shave, while introducing the hair-lifting and speed benefits of an electric shaver. If you’re on the fence about which one to use, a fusion razor could be the answer, although they’re not the most economical — you’ll be paying for both batteries and replacement razors.


In Celebration of the Safety Razor and Straight Razor

With the possible exception of a beautiful straight razor, a safety razor will not only shave closely with a healthy dose of nostalgia thrown in, it also makes a great gift. Sturdy, single-blade safety razors have been around for a long, long time. Check out Groom+Style’s picks for the Top 5 Safety Razors.

If you’re feeling really fancy, you might want to consider a straight razor (like the kind a traditional barber might use, or Sweeney Todd.) The cost of a straight razor (otherwise know as a cut throat razor) is pretty similar to that of a safety razor (depending how fancy you want to go), plus a leather strop for sharpening. The fun factor is through the roof with a straight razor, but be careful, it’s easy to cut yourself with one of these, and getting a good shave requires some practice.  Find out more at how to shave with a straight razor. You might also want to make sure that you’re using the right products with your straight razor.


Conclusion – What is Best for You?

What it comes down to is this: if you have the time to shave manually and you enjoy it, get a manual shaver, safety or straight razor. If convenience and a decent shave are what you’re after, get an electric shaver. If you have money to burn, get a fusion.

Check out the Groom+Style Art of Shaving section for more.