Rotary shaver vs. foil shaver: who will win?

Would you like to achieve smooth, hassle-free electric shaving with ultimate comfort? To achieve smooth shaving, it is crucial to choose the right electric shaver for your head.

What is the difference between foil vs. rotary shavers?

Rotary electric shaver:

  • Consists of rotating circular blades that move in a circular motion.
  • Best for those who have longer hair growth or thicker hair.
  • Ideal for individuals with sensitive skin, as the blades are designed to move with the contours of your face, reducing the chances of skin irritation.
  • Electric shavers can be used for wet shaving and dry shaving.
  • It can be a bit difficult to handle around the neck area and under the nose.


Foil electric shavers:

  • It consists of a thin layer of foil that covers oscillating blades that move back and forth.
  • Ideal for those with shorter hair growth and fine hair.
  • Ideal for those with straight or angular facial features, as the straight blades are better suited for this kind of surface.
  • The foil shaver is mostly used on dry skin.
  • Easy to handle around the neck area and under the nose because of its straight blade.


To sum up, in the foil vs. rotary electric shavers comparison, choose your shaver depending on your hair growth, skin sensitivity, and facial features.

Let’s look at foil and rotary shavers in detail.

Rotary shaver

A rotary shaver is a type of electric shaver that uses rotating cutting blades to remove facial coarse hair without shaving cream.

The blades are usually shaped like circular disks that rotate in a circular motion to cut the hairs.

Electric shavers are often preferred by those with thicker, coarser hair as they can handle longer and more challenging hair types.

They can also be more comfortable on curved facial surfaces, such as the jawline, due to their ability to pivot and flex to match the contours of the face. Do not leave a razor burn.

Rotary shavers are typically powered by rechargeable batteries and come with a range of attachments and accessories for optimal performance.

3 Rotary shaver

How rotary shaver works

A rotary shaver typically has three or four spinning shaving heads that rotate in circular motions, capturing and trimming hair as it comes into contact with the blades. What is a good replacement for a cartridge razor?

Each of the shaving heads is composed of multiple independently moving blades that sway in a circular motion, adjusting to the contours of the face, neck, and jawline.

The blades on a rotary shaver are designed for rapid motion and can cut hair at high speeds without pulling or tugging.

Rotary shavers are ideal for those with thicker hair or a more rugged beard, as they can effectively cut through tough, wiry hair without shaving cream.

The best shavers to buy in 2023?

Now we will give you examples of modern rotary shavers.

Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9820

Philips Norelco’s 9000 Prestige series is currently the top-of-the-line rotary shaver available on the market, except for its high cost. It has a good rotary shavers feature.

Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9820

Philips Norelco 9500 (S9985/84)

The 9000 series is the updated version of razors like the 9700 and 9300, among others. The Prestige line holds the top spot in the Philips range, with the standard 9000 series falling just beneath it.

Philips Norelco 9500 S9985 84

Philips Norelco 9000 S9531/83

This advanced rotary electric shaver effectively operates in dry shaving and wet shaving, showcasing exceptional performance.

Philips Norelco 9000 S9531 83

Philips Norelco 6000

The SH60 blades are the primary cause of the unexpectedly impressive results, especially for the cost.

Philips Norelco 6000

Philips Norelco Shaver 3500

This rotary shaver is genuinely efficient and user-friendly, making it a delightful addition to your grooming routine.

Philips Norelco Shaver 3500

Philips Norelco 2300

The Shaver 2300 is a plain rotary shaver that has no additional features but can effectively accomplish the task.

Philips Norelco 2300

What circumstances are rotary shavers most suitable for?

So, the most positive things about a precise shave.

The shaver for hair growing in different directions

You can use an electric razor in a circular, overlapping motion because it doesn’t require you to shave against the direction of hair growth like a foil razor does.

Rotary shavers for occasional shaves

Rotary razors tend to excel at trimming longer hair in comparison to foil razors, thanks to their distinctive design and operational mechanism.

accurate shaving technique

A rotary shaver can be moved in circular motions, which allows for a more relaxed approach and less need for precision when shaving different areas.

For shaving the head, rotary razors are a great choice

When an individual’s head shape is convex, the rotary shaver can easily contour to it, compared to a straight shaver.

Silent Electric Shaver

Rotary shavers emit a low humming sound only.

longer lifespan

Rotary shavers utilize circular blades and sturdy metal combs, which typically have a prolonged lifespan.

Are there any disadvantages to using these razors?

Typically, most rotary shavers are not capable of providing as close of a shave as foil shavers due to the thicker protective shells, which is a physical constraint.

Foil shaver

A foil shaver is an electric razor that uses metal foils to cover the blades. This feature of the foil electric shaver provides a protective barrier between the blades and skin, reducing cuts and irritation while providing a close shave without shaving cream. Do not leave a razor burn.

Foil shaver

The foil electric shavers trap hairs, which are then cut by the blades beneath as the electric razor is moved over the skin.

Foil shavers are ideal for individuals with sensitive skin as they are less likely to irritate compared to rotary shavers.

How to foil shaver works

A foil shaver operates through the utilization of a thin metal layer that is covered in small holes or slits. What is a good replacement for a cartridge razor?

After activation of the foil electric shaver, the mesh with rotating blades begins to move back and forth, trimming any hair and even ingrown hairs that enter through the holes.

The cut hair is then pulled up and into the foil, where it is trimmed once more until it becomes short enough to be released into the collection chamber.

Additionally, the foil serves as a barrier between the sharp rotating blades and the skin, preventing potential irritation or razor burn.

This foil can also be replaced as needed, ensuring that the electric shaver remains effective for an extended duration.

Choosing foil and rotary shavers: which one is best for you?

Let’s explore the disparities between foil and rotary shavers, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each type, and ultimately summarize their pros and cons.

Choosing foil and rotary shavers which one is best for you

The following are 5 notable variations separating rotary and foil shavers:

  1. The foil shaver blade moves only in one direction, either up and down or left and right, while the rotary shaver blade moves in multiple directions, following circular movements.
  2. The foil shaver is capable of providing accurate and ultra-close shaving results by drawing the relatively fine facial hair inward.
  3. A foil shaver is designed for use on thinner, finely-textured hair, while a rotary shaver is suitable for use on both straight and coarser, thicker hair types.
  4. Although foil shavers are renowned for their sharpness, they’re also the noisiest. They emit a loud buzzing sound when in use.
  5. On the other hand, rotary shavers work at a lower volume and produce no high-pitched noises when shaving.
  6. The foil shaver is perfect for those with gentle facial features, as it can efficiently handle little and delicate regions, which makes it a fitting instrument for accurate styling that necessitates even lines.
  7. In contrast, the rotary shaver is more appropriate for individuals with rough facial features, as it can effortlessly conform to the curves of the face or head because of the improved pliability of its blade heads.
  8. Therefore, the rotary shaver is more applicable for electric shaving extensive surface areas such as the head and face.



Is a foil or rotary shaver better?

The decision to opt for rotary and foil shavers relies on one’s skin sensitivity and personal liking.

Those with delicate skin usually prefer foil shavers, as they function using oscillating blades behind a protective mesh, which prevents direct contact with the skin.

However, rotary shavers work by rotating circular blades that match the contours of the face, providing an ideal solution for people with irregular facial hair growth.

In short, it all boils down to individual preference, skin sensitivity, and the nature of one’s facial hair.

What are rotary shavers best for?

Rotary shavers are ideal for those with denser facial hair and those who desire a more precise shave, particularly near curves, angles, and hard-to-reach sections of the face, like the chin, neck, and jawline.

As rotary electric shavers are less likely to induce skin irritation and razor burns, they are also well-suited for individuals with sensitive skin.

Is a foil shaver better than a razor?

A foil shaver can be better than rotary electric razors in some ways, for example, a foil electric shaver is more effective for capturing thick or coarse hair.

However, a foil shaver may be better for precision and reaching difficult areas.

It ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the individual.

Do foil shavers give a close shave?

Yes, foil shavers can give a close shave. However, the performance of foil shavers may vary between different models and brands.

Some foil shavers may provide a closer shave than others, so foil shaver is important to do research and read reviews before making a purchase.

Additionally, the closeness of most electric shavers also depends on personal preference and skin sensitivity.

If you are looking for more information about shaving, read our article: Can you shave with just water? Detailed instructions, pros & cons


In the end, determining which electric shaver is most suitable for you is contingent upon your particular grooming requirements and, to some degree, your subjective predilections to clean shave.

smiling man
Brian Anderson

I hope that my review articles objectively and honestly worked out on our resource, will help you choose the best tool for yourself with such a massive selection of products from different world manufacturers.

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