Shaving is tiresome. It just is, and humankind has spent millennia trying to work out easier, faster, and more convenient methods of dealing with facial hair. Electric razors promised great things initially, but for decades their promise was better than their performance. That's changing, and if you have a bad opinion of electric razors in general, consider the Norelco SensoTouch 3D and give these shavers a chance to redeem their image.
The Norelco SensoTouch 3D Razor
You could be forgiven for being slightly confused by the Norelco line of shavers. There are several Norelco series and many individual razors within each series. The Norelco SensoTouch 3D is actually a type of tech that Norelco puts on many of their razors. Seven models of Norelco razors have SensoTouch 3D tech, and all are in the 8000 series. Norelco no longer calls them SensoTouch 3D (it is now known as Gyroflex), but many people still do use the term, and the tech itself is very much a standard at Norelco.
What all the shavers in the series have in common are the three independently heads that flow smoothly over your face, going around every contour with ease. This is a rotary razor, as opposed to a foil razor, and the rotary model typically shines in working with thick, curly hair that grows in many directions. The Norelco SensoTouch 3D doesn't disappoint in this regard.
For this particular review, we looked at the Norelco 8900 Wet & Dry edition, which uses the SensoTech 3D heads and is one of Norelco's most popular shavers.
How the Tech Works
All Norelco's shavers use the company's patented dual blade system. The blades work together, with the first one lifting your hair slightly and the second one running along behind to cut it off. The three shaving heads have a unique look when seen from above, and that's because there are three tracks running around the circumference of each. Each of these tracks is a different size. The different sizes of track are there to guide, catch, and then cut hairs of different lengths so nothing gets left behind.
The three heads can also all move independently in as many as nine different directions to catch hair that grows in any pattern. This makes the Norelco a great choice for men with thick, stubborn beards.
How It Shaves
This razor gives an extremely comfortable shave. It doesn't pull, scrape, tear, or irritate. It's also a wonderfully fast shave, so if you're the sort of person who needs, or wants, to get shaving over with quickly and be on to bigger and better things, this is a great choice.
You can also use this in the shower, dry, or with shaving gel or foam; whatever makes you comfortable. The big question, though, is always how close a shave any razor delivers. All in all, this razor does very well in giving a close shave.
Compared to previous iterations of the rotating shaver, this one gets 30% closer to the skin and cuts off an average of 20% more hair length. If you shaved half your face with a straight razor and half with this, as we did, you wouldn't be able to see any difference with the eye. You would be able to feel slightly more roughness on the electric side; but for the speed, convenience, and comfort it seems like a very fair trade.
The Bottom Line
This is one of the closest shaves you'll get with any electric razor, and to the eyes it shaves as closely as a blade can. When you add to that the convenience of being able to shave in half the time it takes to use a blade, and with no mess or water needed unless you want it, this is definitely not your daddy's electric shaver. It's an excellent option for even the most careful and well-groomed man to use on a daily basis.
How It Compares
Norelco has some serious competition in the shaver market, particularly from Braun and Panasonic. Remington has been making quality products for decades, too, so we've done a little comparing. In addition to the SensoTouch, we tried these electric razors:
- The Philips Norelco shaver 8900 is designed to contour to the curves of your face and cut closer to the skin; Experience...
- Unique contour detect technology follows the curves of your face to cut up to 20 percent more hair in a single pass; The...
- The smart click beard styler is designed to prevent skin irritation with its rounded tips and comb and include 5 built...
Ease of Use
There's almost no razor easier to use, especially a bladed one. Click the head in, click the razor on, click it off when you're done, and charge it up when the LED display alerts you to a low battery. All you have to do is run this over your beard.
Only Braun's foil shaver can give you a closer shave, and then only if your beard grows pretty straight. The rotating heads on this Norelco are absolutely the best choice for anyone with a thick beard that grows in different directions.
Depending on how dense your beard is, you should be able to get a week out of the battery. It also charges up in just an hour. However, the heads simply don't last as long as they should. They're advertised as good for a year, but a lot of people see a noticeable drop in shaving quality right around five months. Again, your beard density will affect this issue.
Philips gives American buyers a two-year warranty on this razor.
- Intelligent Sonic technology automatically increases power while shaving in difficult areas and on denser hair
- The Series 7 electric razor comes with an ActiveLift trimmer that captures flat-lying hairs in problem areas
- OptiFoil cuts hair as short as 0.05mm for perfect closeness
Braun has been trying to grab top spot in the electric razor market for a while now, and their 7 Series is a great combination of convenient, close shave and reasonable price.
Specs and Feel
This is a foil shaver, so it typically gives a closer shave with fewer passes; however, it is less effective on really dense beards that grow in all directions. Braun has newer shavers on the market, but, tellingly, the Series 7 remains their most popular.
This is a heavier electric shaver that has a solid, quality feel. The head has two foils to get both short and long hairs, and Braun's SyncroSonic tech moves those foils in micro-vibrations that help catch more of the hair in the foils. This unit comes bundled with Braun's cleaning and charging stand.
Ease of Use
This is a very easy-to-use shaver. It's slightly heavier than the Norelco and not quite as fast, but some people will like the heft. It presses around the contours of the face without causing irritation.
This is the gold standard for electric razors when it comes to shave quality.
The razor itself is going to last you for years. The heads have to be replaced every six months, but Braun is clear about that going in. About the only thing to complain about is the charge and clean station, which has a tendency to stop working a few months in.
You only get a one-year warranty with this shaver, and you have to register to get it.
- Sharp men’s shaver blades: Panasonic Arc5 men's electric shaver with five ultra-sharp precision honed 30° Nanotech...
- Wet/Dry electric shaver and trimmer 2 in 1: Built-in pop up trimmer details mustaches, beards and sideburns; Wet/dry...
- Multi Flex pivoting head: Panasonic flexible pivoting electric shaver head glides effortlessly to trace the individual...
At first, Panasonic tried to wedge their way into the electric razor game by providing a decent-but-not-great razor at much cheaper prices than other manufacturers. Their razors weren't considered the best, but they were usually very reasonably priced and did the job fairly well.
Enter the Arc series, which is a game changer. No longer content to sit at the kiddie table, Panasonic has upped their game, and their price, with the Arc5. While it's definitely more affordable than the Braun or Philips shavers, it's still going to run you about $100.
Specs and Feel
This razor has a five-blade system in a foil system. That translates into a very close shave and a very large razor head. Does it shave you quickly? You bet. Is it the perfect shape for getting those sharp contours? Not so much.
However, for what it can reach, you can expect a nice, clean shave. Add to this excellent head the fastest motor in the electric razor market, and you've got a very good shaver.
Ease of Use
Using this is a snap, and it comes with an intuitive travel lock so you don't accidentally run down your battery in a suitcase. The LED display is easy to understand, and you'll get a nice, firm grip with the ergonomic handle.
Especially considering the price, this delivers an excellent shave. You will be hard pressed to find anything closer or faster. Where it falls down a bit is in comfort. If you have sensitive skin, you might not love this.
Panasonic has a loyal following in part due to the excellent durability of their Arc series razors.
This razor comes with a two-year warranty; however, check if the razor is still under warranty before you buy. Some people have had issues with brand new razors being labeled "obsolete models."
- Pivot and Flex Foil Technology Stays close to skin for smooth results
- Rechargeable battery 60 minutes of cordless runtime
- Pop up Detail Trimmer For finishing touches on your facial hair and sideburns
This incredibly low-priced razor will work really well for some people and hardly at all for others. It's a razor you want to think carefully about before buying; but if it works for you, you'll be the envy of your friends with a close shave and an extra $100 or so in your pocket.
Specs and Feel
This has plenty of power and looks great. It is also deliberately designed for travel and is lightweight and convenient to carry around. This offers a very comfortable shave, awesome battery life, and a pop-up trimmer that will let you shape your beard easily.
Ease of Use
This is very easy to shave with, doesn't require multiple passes, and can be used on any type of body hair. It's simple to clean by running the head under water.
Remington has sacrificed form to keep function as high as possible for the price, but there are still limitations in this price range. If you have a thinner beard or only shave every few days, this razor will work beautifully for you. If you have a dense beard or like a very close shave every day, you're going to be disappointed with the F5.
Remington makes quality products, and this one will last for you. The battery has a good hour of shave time in it and recharges quickly. The foils will last as long as they say for most users, though using it heavily every day may be more than they can handle.
Remington offers a two-year warranty with the option to register and buy another two years' of coverage.
The Norelco Sensotouch 3D is a great razor and a solid choice for anyone who wants a close shave. It is a high-end razor with a price tag to match, but if you need a close shave, and particularly if you have a dense beard, you will love the Norelco Sensotouch 3D.
If budget is a big concern to you, the Remington is worth a look. Just take into consideration that if it doesn't work for you, then you didn't save anything. It might be better to go up to the Panasonic, which is still cheaper than the Braun or the Norelco Sensotouch 3D and provides a better shaving experience.
We also really loved the Braun Series 7, and if your beard isn't too uncooperative and you like a very comfortable, close shave from an electric razor, then take a look at Braun.
But in the end, we were pretty impressed with the Norelco Sensotouch 3D. The SensoTouch system is fantastic. It's almost impossible to beat the speed and ease with which those independent heads whirl around and cut everything. We would give this shaver four out of five stars and recommend it to our friends and family.
Featured image source: Flickr
Last update on 2021-04-11 at 03:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API