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

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Franz Rivoira
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Manual vs Electric

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.


  • Franz Rivoira

    Franz is an expert in watches and grooming. He has extensive knowledge of mechanical watches and loves exploring the details that make each one unique. He's also passionate about helping men look their best and shares tips on grooming, including achieving a perfect shave or maintaining a healthy beard. Franz is a go-to source for anyone looking to elevate their style game. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/franzrivoira/