Fashions come and fashions go. There will always be men who opt to shave, but it so happens that the beard is back in style – and some men choose to be bearded simply because they (or other people in their lives) prefer the way it looks and feels.
But beardedness does not imply slovenliness – a man looks his best when his beard is evenly trimmed and well-groomed, and to achieve that, you need to see our top rated beard trimmer…
Enter the beard trimmer – an electric grooming tool similar to the electric clipper and electric shaver, but different – with finer teeth designed to cut through coarser hair, and giving you greater ability to trim long beards and shape facial stubble.
We’ve put this short guide together to inform you about beard trimmers and to give our expert recommendation on choosing a beard trimmer.
Remember – beard trimmers are not clippers or shavers. While technically possible to maintain a beard with hair clippers, it’s not an enjoyable experience. Clippers excel at cutting hair on the head, but the spacing of their teeth and width of their blades make them ineffective and uncomfortable when used close to the face. In addition, the size of a typical hair clipper would make using it for fine detailing work cumbersome (and increase the risk of lopping off part of your beard).
An electric shaver, on the other hand, is just that – it shaves. The closest thing to a beard which it might leave behind is extremely short stubble – at which point, you might as well break out the razor.
Rechargeable Trimmers are Your Friend
For the utmost in convenience and ease of use, look for a beard trimmer which is powered by a rechargeable battery. Some models only plug into the mains – that means being tethered to a cord, a cord which gets in the way during use. A rechargeable trimmer, on the other hand, can simply be plugged into the wall or set on a base to recharge the battery. It’s ready when you are. Some trimmers feature lithium ion batteries, which deliver significantly more power and longer life than traditional NiMH (nickel- metal hydride) batteries. Models which plug directly into the mains with an adapter can sometimes be used while charging.
Though the ubiquity of disposable AA batteries makes them convenient for certain devices (flashlights, for example), they’re not well suited to high-drain, motorized tools such as trimmers. Go with a good rechargeable model – you’ll never look back.
Consider Your Intentions Before Choosing
When it comes down to it, all beard trimmers trim – but some include few or no accessories. These Spartan grooming tools are designed to take hair down to a certain length, every time, and nothing else. Other trimmers include features and accessories which expand your options – like switch-adjustable blade heights, varied widths of detachable blades and removable guards, which enable the user to vary the length of their facial hair or choose a blade better suited to broad areas of trimming, or precise detail work. Just make sure you don’t get carried away – a trimmer with 30 attachments and accessories is likelier sit in a drawer unused than a model with just 5 or 10 well-thought out extra parts which actually suit all your needs.
Quality and Brand Reputation Matter
…more so than price alone. There are a number of brand names which call to mind high quality beard trimmers – Philips Norelco, Braun, Panasonic, Wahl, Oster – and many of their products have prices which reflect that quality. A beard trimmer should be seen as a tool, not a throw-away gadget. As such, investing into a model that’s well made, built to last, and repairable (rather than disposable) will bring you greater returns than “cheaping out” on a low-end trimmer.
If possible, choose a model with self-sharpening blades.
Not all trimmers feature such blades, but if you find one that does – and it’s a good match for you otherwise – consider it, because though such blades don’t last indefinitely, their lifespan is usually greater than that of traditional blades. If you can’t find a trimmer whose blades self-sharpen, look for a model with a high quality removable blade, and purchase a spare, so you’re not without a trimmer when it’s time to send the original blade in for sharpening.
Find a trimmer that’s comfortable to use.
If you’re going to be using your beard trimmer on a regular basis, your enjoyment (and quite possibly, results) will be maximized by selecting a model which sits comfortably in your hand. A trimmer that’s too large or heavy will feel cumbersome; one that’s too small, too light or not ergonomically designed will cause you to grip it too tightly or apply unneeded pressure while trimming.
Furthermore, consider the noise and vibration factor. All trimmers use electric motors – but there’s a difference between a poorly designed motor and one of high quality. While some beard trimmers emit an irritating buzzing noise and vibrate strongly in the hand, those of better quality tend to run more quietly and smoothly. Consider how important this is to you before settling on a trimmer to purchase.
What’s Our Best Rated Trimmer 2016?
We’ve been testing and reviewing lot’s of different beard trimmers, and there’s a lot out there. But we keep coming back to the Philips BT5262/13 Series 5000 Beard Trimmer because it’s such a unique design, and there’s really nothing out there that ticks all the boxes like this one. Everything from the build quality, precision guide, effortless cutting power, to the stylish looks of the shaver handle and display.