The Difference Between Rotary and Foil

Who doesn’t love starting each day with a freshly shaven face?

Electric shavers are perfect for the time-pressed man: the technology has advanced to the point where it’s possible to get a clean, close and quick shave, every time – and many electric shavers can operate wet or dry. However, there exists some confusion about the differences between rotary and foil shavers. Keep reading – we’re about to demystify things.

Rotary Shavers

series 9000 heads

The term “rotary” refers to the movement of the blades housed in this type of shaver. The blades spin rapidly and are circular in shape. To glide over the contours of your face, they flex within their housing, preventing nicks, cuts and tugging at the skin. If you have strong facial features – a sharp jawline, a prominent Adam’s apple, high cheekbones or a jutting chin – rotary foil shavers may be a better choice, because the independent rotating action of each blade does a superior job of following facial contours.

Other benefits of a quality rotary shaver include quieter operation, multidirectional capability (you can move the shaver along your face in almost any direction) and the ability to handle longer facial hair.

Foil Shavers

series 5 shaver

A foil shaver works in a different manner. Its blades – instead of rotating – oscillate behind an extremely thin metal foil covered in tiny perforations. The foil’s purpose is twofold: It protects skin and lifts hair up and toward the oscillating blades. Hairs are pulled through the perforated foil and then cut.

A typical full-size foil shaver contains three or four blades. As a general rule, more blades mean a larger shaving head and faster results. There is a limit, however, to how much improvement more blades can make. Too many, and the shaver becomes oversized and unwieldy. A large foil shaver is harder to hold and sacrifices manoeuvrability in the name of performance.

The key to getting good results with a foil shaver is to move the shaving head in long, straight lines. Consider it to be a precision instrument (opposed to the “any direction is good” manner in which a rotary shaver can be moved). Maintaining the correct amount of pressure is easier with a model of shaver that features a spring-loaded head, such as the Braun Cooltec foil shaver with its free floating heads. Many men consider foil shavers to cut the closest – but they may be louder than their rotating brethren and don’t cope as well with long facial hair.

How to Choose

A good electric shaver is an investment. It will save you time and help to keep you looking your best. That’s why it’s important to consider carefully which type of shaver is best for you. To simplify matters:

Choose a rotary shaver if:

  • Your shaving style is hurried.
  • Your facial features are prominent.
  • You shave infrequently.
  • You can’t make too much noise shaving.

Choose a foil shaver if:

  • A very close shave is of the utmost importance.
  • You shave slowly and patiently.
  • You have fine facial features.
  • You shave often.
  • Noise isn’t an issue.

Bear in mind that electric shaving technology has made great strides in recent years. Take time to examine the features of both shaver types. Use the suggestions you just read to guide you, but choose based on quality, brand reputation and whichever shaver best meets your needs.