Electric Shavers: Foil Vs. Rotary Which One Should You Choose?

foil vs rotary

I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that the electric shavers world can be confusing at times.

If you're on the look for a new electric shaver you've probably asked yourself what's the difference between a foil shaver and rotary shaver. After all these are the 2 types of electric shavers that are currently manufactured.

So, in this article I'll explain exactly what's the difference between the two, who should pick what and why.

I hope that this article will help you better understand which type of electric shaver to buy.

Foil Electric Shaver

Foil shavers have a piece of thin metal with many small holes. Through these holes, your hairs can slip in through and get chopped. The blades which are covered by the metal are ordered along a line and oscillate from left to right.

foil shaver

Source: photosteve101 [link]


Our face's contours are not straight lines - think about the chin and jaw line areas. This means it's harder for the foil shaver to go over our face - If you think about it, it's like trying to draw a circle with straight lines, you can do it but you have to do it with very small lines.

Some foil shavers have a pivoting head to address this problem exactly. But it's still can be a bit hard to shave the nose and upper lip areas.

Another disadvantage of the foil shavers is that these things are quite noisy, take that into consideration if it can be an issue.

how to shave with foil shaver


Foil shavers usually give a close shave and are generally considered better for sensitive skin. If you want to preform more precise shave foil shavers are more adequate for that, for example if you have a soul patch or goatee it will be easier to shave around them or make straight lines when you need to.

It's very easy to remove the shaver's head and to clean and oil it. 

As I said before, it's not always correct, and it depends which model you're using.

Rotary Electric Shaver

Rotary shaver has usually 3 round heads or discs  which cover three rounded blades that spin and cut the hair.

rotary shaver

Source: User:Colin [link]

Advantages/Disadvantages of Rotary Shaver

Unlike the foil shaver, the shaving motion with rotary shavers is circular,this together with a flexing head that is common in most of the shavers makes it very easy to shave the rounded and hard to reach areas of the face such as the chin, jaw line and the nose area.

Due to the way they're built rotary shavers won't provide a closer shave as the foil shaver especially in the cheeks area.

Rotary shavers are great for thick or long facial hair, so if you have a thick beard or you're shaving every few days then you should consider a rotary shaver. This is also the place to note that rotary shavers are not meant for precise work, it will be harder to work around a mustache, soul patch or a goatee with a rotary shaver.

Rotary shavers are VERY quite compared to a foil shaver, if this is important for you then a rotary shaver will best for you.

Which One Should I Pick

I've mentioned this before, there isn't an absolute truth about this matter, it's all about personal preference and trade-offs.

There are how ever some rules of thumb that will help you decide which one suits you best.

You should pick a foil shaver if:

  • You want a very close shave
  • You shave regularly or even daily  (meaning you don't have long facial hair)
  • You need to do some precise shaving - have a soul patch or goatee
  • Have fine facial hair

You should pick a rotary shaver if:

  • You don't shave regularly or daily (meaning you have long facial hair)
  • You need a quite shaver
  • Closest shave isn't a priority for you.

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