“Beard trimmer” doesn’t quite tell the full story with these devices. Yes, they’re built to help you detail and even out facial hair, but, with the range of attachments to swap on and off, many can deliver impressively close shaves, blurring the line between trimmer and electric razor. Some will even remember your last length setting for you. We set out to find which are the best in this age of sleeker and higher-tech trimmers. Take a look at helpful buying advice below, then scroll farther for in-depth reviews of the top-performing models.
Most of the trimmers you’ll find below have at least one guide comb, detailing razor, or other sort of attachment that you can swap on and off the fixed head to tailor the shave to the length you want or kind of hair you’re cutting. Keep these in mind when determining which trimmer is right for you. But don’t rule one out if it looks promising but doesn’t have a ton of attachments—some have the added functionality, like length adjustment, already built-in. Yes, this can sometimes mean coughing up more money, but you may appreciate not having to keep track of a dozen guide combs. And if you don’t care to trim your nose hair, well, no reason to get a separate head for it.
Battery Life and Quick Charging
Often, it doesn’t take anywhere close to an hour to fully detail or shave a beard, so you don’t have to worry about maxing out the battery on a cordless trimmer in one go. But if you don’t use it that often, it can be easy to forget how much battery life your trimmer has left, which could lead to you reaching for it one day only to find that it’s dead. Some models will run while they’re plugged in, but others may not charge if you turn them on with the cord attached. A solid battery life, like the Remington Beard Boss has, could run for as long as a couple of months, depending on use, but quick-charging capability will come in handy if you’re simply looking for a fast shave. It will vary by brand and model, but usually trimmers with this feature only need to be plugged in for a few minutes for them to hold enough of a charge so you can get in a hasty touch up.
Wet vs. Dry Use
Unsure whether you can use a trimmer in the shower? Look for a little symbol on its body. Naturally, it’s a shower head icon and indicates whether or not the trimmer is safe for use under the stream of water, but not necessarily whether it’s just water-resistant or fully waterproof. And in most cases, the difference between resistant and proof won’t factor in much if it’s just getting sprayed, not dunked. (A faucet symbol means that the trimmer can be washed with water but shouldn’t be misinterpreted as telling you if it’s shower-safe.)
How We Tested
Every trimmer on this list has been thoroughly evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and rely on our own experience shaving our unkempt chins. To get our facial hair in shape for this test, we began by letting it grow out for two months to the point where it was good and scraggly. Then we tested over the course of a couple of weekends (and one particular marathon shaving session), using each trimmer first to touch up the edges of the mustache and on our cheeks to gauge the detailing chops and closeness of the shave. After that, we moved on to the jawline and underbeard, seeing how well the trimmers handled the thickest, densest hairs and whether or not they irritated the more sensitive skin on the neck. All the while, we took stock of how ergonomic the trimmers were, whether or not the housing remained grippy when wet, if the trimmers tugged and pulled hairs rather than cut them cleanly, how easy it was to swap the attachments on and off, and how intuitive the control were. We also factored in the number of attachments, claimed battery life and charging time, if the trimmers had quick-charge functions, and price.After all that, these seven came out on top. All told, though, we tested 13 trimmers, cordless and corded. But you won’t see any corded models here, since the cordless ones beat them out for the better versatility and ease of use. Read on for reviews of the best performing beard trimmers. You’re bound to find one that will suit your needs while making touching up facial hair a little easier—maybe enjoyable, even.
Battery life: 5 hrs. | Charge time: 4 hrs. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: 5 guide combs, 1 adjustable metal comb, T-blade, foil shaver
This Remington trimmer won us over with its straightforward capability. There’s not much in the way of flash (though the metal front to the otherwise grippy rubber housing is sleek). And it comes with fewer attachments than many other models. But the Beard Boss Perfecter was the only trimmer we tested that put speed control in our hands, via the button on the back. We kept it on low when trimming shorter hairs, then kicked it into “Turbo Mode” when plowing through sideburns and two-month-old underbeard, with no snagging or pulling. We especially appreciated the high-quality metal comb, which adjusts from 1.5 to 5mm (by the half-millimeter), meaning we weren’t swapping attachments on and off to achieve a variety of shorter cuts
If we had any complaints, they’d be that the Beard Boss can get pretty noisy in Turbo, and, once drained, the battery takes four hours to fully charge. The saving graces are that the trimmer can run for up to five hours when juiced and the battery indicator is clear, telling you how much life the Beard Boss has left in quarter increments. Oh, and it’s waterproof for use in the shower.
Braun MGK5080 Beard Trimmer
Battery life: 1 hr., 40 mins. | Charge time: 1 hr. 5 mins. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: 4 combs, 1 foil shaver, 1 detail trimmer, 1 nose and ear hair trimmer
The MGK5080 is hard to beat when it comes to range of uses. The default trimmer head on its own didn’t get a very close shave, shearing hairs down to relatively long stubble. But its many attachments were easy to swap on and off, and the rotary head delivered a close crop. The nose and ear hair trimmer is a nice add-on, even if it could have done a better job of clipping longer hairs without pulling. We found that the curve of the MGK5080’s handle could sometimes lead us to grip it awkwardly when shaving against the grain, and the body was a bit slick. Braun claims its “auto-sensing” motor detects the resistance based on hair length and adjusts power accordingly—while we didn’t notice any audible change in the trimmer’s volume, there was also no snagging on our grown-out beard. What’s more, the package comes with a Gillette ProGlide razor to finish the job if you’re going full baby face.
Panasonic Arc 5 Electric Shaver
Battery life: 45 mins. | Charge time: 1 hr. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: None
We know, technically the Arc 5 is an electric razor, not a trimmer, given that its default head is a foil shaver. And it pivots up and down, side to side, conforming nicely to the contours of our neck as it swept away stubble. Now, the foil shaver wasn’t great at clipping longer, more flexible hairs. But the Arc 5’s pop-out trimmer head was pleasantly powerful, impressively more than we’d expect from such an add-on, many of which often feel like afterthoughts. We used that to buzz fully grown hairs before switching to the foil head for the closest shave of any model here, even against the foil shaver attachments of the other trimmers. Each of the five blades cuts 14,000 times per minute, which is plenty fast and led to very little irritation once we were done. Like the Braun MGK5080, the Arc has a built-in sensor to adjust the power output to the length of hair. And, also as with the Braun, there wasn’t any discernible change to the trimmer’s (somewhat annoying) high pitch as we dragged it through long and short hairs. The battery level indicator clearly displayed the percentage of power left, and if you happen to run it all the way down, a quick three-minute charge will get you one shave’s worth of juice. We’ve been consistently reaching for the Arc 5 to take care of daily touch ups. Just be prepared to pay for the capability.
BEST FEATURE SET
Remington Smart Beard Trimmer
Battery life: 50 mins. | Charge time: 4 hrs. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: 1 comb
Smart tech makes it further into your home with this Remington trimmer. The comb attachment adjusts between 0.4mm and 18mm in 0.1mm increments intuitively via the arrows on the touchscreen, which also shows you the exact length setting to prevent accidental over-trimming. (As a heads up, the arrows don’t do anything if the comb isn’t attached—the main head is fixed at one length, and tweaking the length moves the comb closer to or farther away from the head.) Perhaps the smartest feature is that the Remington can store up to four length settings, which we were able to toggle through with several presses of a single icon. We had to pay attention when swapping between presets though—the number one displayed on the touchscreen doesn’t correspond to the shortest setting, nor does number four correspond to the longest. They’re ordered in whichever sequence you set them, so number one could indicate 1.5mm, number two 0.7mm, and so on.
Ooh and aah functions aside, the Smart Beard Trimmer handled the actual shaving without fuss. We were worried our fingers would accidentally graze the touchscreen as we were shaving, but it powers down once you turn the trimmer on. This model also has automatic speed adjustment, and crossing from tight stubble to two-month-old mustache hairs produced a noticeable change in frequency but a smooth shave without snagging. And the Smart charges via a micro USB, so you can power it off of any compatible device—handy when you’re traveling and don’t need another cable to untie.
Philips Norelco OneBlade Electric Trimmer
Battery life: 1 hr. | Charge time: 4 hrs. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: 4 stubble combs, 1 body comb
If you’re looking to split the difference between a full razor and a capable trimmer, the OneBlade is the ticket. Without any attachments, it delivered a close shave (you’ll still have to touch it up or shave off stubble with a safety razor), and flipping the quick, 12,000-cuts-per-minute trimmer to shave with the top edge of the blade left us with clean, uniform lines. The rubber on the ergonomic handle afforded reassuring grip, even when wet—just note that the OneBlade isn’t fully waterproof. The comb attachments felt a bit flimsy, and we were hesitant to pull them too hard to remove them. But they survived. With the longest comb being 5mm, the OneBlade is best used for closer shaving and detailing shorter beards. We would have liked a shorter recharge time, though: four hours to fully juice a small trimmer like this is a long time. And you’ll have to fork over the money for replacement blades once the first one (and the second that comes included) wears out. That said, for portability and trimming versatility, the OneBlade is a standout.
SIMPLEST TO USE
Andis Cordless T-Outliner Trimmer
Battery life: 1 hr., 40 mins. | Charge time: 1 hr. | Wet use: No | Attachments: 4 combs
Call the T-Outliner the lawn mower of trimmers. Its wide carbon-steel blade easily cut through our grown-out beard, leaving tight edges that were easy to line up without having to make many repeated strokes. And that’s pretty much the T-Outliner’s wheelhouse—it’s a fairly bare-bones trimmer aside from that. There’s one toggle for on and off, which was nice because it has enough resistance and is out of the way that there’s almost no chance of flipping it while you’re shaving. We didn’t have any snagging or pulling when using the trimmer on our beard, despite its relatively slow speed of 7,200 cuts per minute. Be careful if you try it on other parts of your body, though. The T-Outliner gave us a small cut when shaving off chest hair. The ribbed plastic housing was easy enough to hold but could have benefited from touches of rubber to enhance the grip, especially when wet.
Wahl Vacuum Trimmer
Battery life: 1.5 hrs. | Charge time: 1.5 hrs. | Wet use: Yes | Attachments: 8 combs, 1 nose and ear hair trimmer
Most of us have been there, tediously wiping shorn hairs out of the sink or emptying a bottle of Drano to unclog the plumbing. Wahl’s Vacuum Trimmer saves some of the hassle by sucking hairs up into its built-in chamber. And it worked well, only letting a few stray pieces of stubble escape. Longer hairs were a different story. When we pulled the trimmer through our two-month-old beard, a clump got caught in the intake, negating the benefits of the vacuum. Nothing that can’t be solved by shaving slowly, though. And the chamber’s easy enough to pop off, holding an impressive amount of clippings before it needs emptying. The vacuum trimmer is a great value as well, with eight guide combs and an ear/nose hair trimmer head. Alas, with that vacuum comes a constant high whine. The handle could be a bit slick too, with no rubber patches for added grip, and we felt some snagging and pulling on longer hairs. Taking all that into account, this offering from Wahl is still a winner for the convenience of minimal clean up.