Review of the Braun Series 9 Shaver
Braun’s top of the line electric shaver, the Series 9, is better than ever for 2017. In fact, the innovations in the Series 9’s shaving head make it superior to our former Best Shaver pick, the Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV65S.
I came to that conclusion after spending a month shaving with a review sample of the top-of-the-line Series 9 model 9290cc (from $267.13 on Amazon), pitting it against one-, two- and three-day beards. For comparison’s sake, I also drew against on my years of experience with Braun’s prior-best Series 7 model and the Panasonic LV65-S. The updated Braun Series 9 is the best electric shaver. Here’s why.
Look and feel
Ergonomic and design updates in the Series 9 are obvious at first glance. The Series 9 manages to look more streamlined than either the Panasonic or the Braun Series 7. Although its head is larger than any of Braun’s prior designs — it contains four cutting elements versus the Series 7’s three — the size difference is well camouflaged by the 9’s overall shape.
This is especially obvious in a side-by-side comparison with the LV65-S, whose head looks disproportionately, even weirdly, large. To be sure, Panasonic stuffed more into its shaving head, thanks to five cutting elements, the most we’ve ever seen in an electric shaver. But one fewer cutting element hasn’t created any disadvantage for the Series 9, which is just as efficient at slicing away facial hair as the LV65-S and superior to the Series 7.
In my hand, the Series 9 feels well balanced and comfortable. It’s slightly easier to hold than the Series 7, with a better placed, integrated thumb rest. The Series 9 is dramatically superior to the Pansonic LV65-S in this area. The large head on the Panasonic model makes it feel unbalanced and awkward to use, a problem made worse by the placement of the power button: exactly where my thumb naturally rests on the shaver. By comparison, Braun places a thumb rest there and puts the power button in a lower position on both the Series 9 and the Series 7.
A new style of LED display on the Series 9 shows the same information as the Series 7 and the LV65-S, including remaining battery power and whether the head requires cleaning. The display remains dark and out of sight most times. It lights up when the shaver is powered on or placed in its cleaning/charging machine. I prefer the display on the Series 7, which is always lit and ready to inform at a glance.
Blade design and operation
Like the first-generation Series 9, the updated model’s shaving head contains four cutting elements (shown above). These include two blades on the edges that are hidden beneath foils; a “direct & cut” trimmer in the center that straightens and slices hairs growing in different directions; and a “hyperlift & cut” trimmer, also centered, that lifts and slices flat-lying hairs. A non-cutting element, the “protective skinguard,” adjoins the direct & cut trimmer and smoothes the skin to help achieve a closer shave.
By contrast, the Series 7 (shown below) contains three cutting elements, including two blades beneath foils, an “ActiveLift” trimmer that captures flat-lying hairs and a Protective SkinGuard surrounding the trimmer. The Panasonic LV65-S contains four cutting elements: two blades at each edge, two more adjacent to those, and a trimmer in the center.
Functionally, the Series 9 is much improved from the Series 7. The reconfigured head pivots and flexes in 10 directions, whereas the Series 7 head only moves in eight directions. Braun refers to them as “10-D” and “8-D” heads, respectively.
Moreover, both trimmers are entirely new. The Hyperlift & Cut trimmer is half as thick as Series 7’s ActiveLift trimmer and patterned to capture hairs from two directions rather than one. The Direct & Cut trimmer, which also captures hairs from two directions, has half the slope of the ActiveLift trimmer and a new structure that makes it 2.6 times faster at guiding, directing and cutting hairs, according to Braun.
The Hyperlift & Cut trimmer has also been updated for the refreshed Series 9. It’s been coated with titanium, which makes it more durable than the Hyperlift & Cut trimmer on earlier iterations of the shaving head.
The Series 9’s sonic technology has also received a significant upgrade. It vibrates the head side to side at 40,000 times per second, adding a cross-cutting motion to the head’s forward and backward rotation. This is a huge increase from the Series 7’s 10,000 microvibrations per second and the Panasonic’s 14,000. More microvibrations should translate to more efficient slicing and dicing of stubble. I certainly did find the Series 9 ate my facial hair more quickly than did the Series 7, though not necessarily faster than the Panasonic.
Hands on with the Braun Series 9
A shaver’s performance varies widely from person to person because everyone’s facial hair is unique. Nevertheless, Braun claims the Series 9 is the most efficient shaver in the world, and it validates that claim with scientific studies.
In my experience, the Series 9’s refinements really do translate to a cleaner shave with fewer strokes across the face, regardless of stubble length, compared with Braun’s earlier best performer, the Series 7. Not surprisingly, I noticed the greatest advantage when shaving a one- or two-day beard growth.
The Series 9 is quieter than the Series 7, roughly comparable to shavers I’ve tried from Panasonic and other brands such as Philips Norelco.
Overall, I’d gauge the Series 9’s performance as comparable to that of the LV65-S. Yet it’s hard to pinpoint which design change in the Series 9 is responsible for the better performance.
One other selling point for the Series 9 is Braun’s Clean & Charge Station, a machine that can be used to scrub and lubricate the shaving head and top off the battery after each use. This is not an offering unique to Braun. Panasonic and Norelco both offer similar accessories, too.
But the device that comes with the Series 9 is a design downgrade from the one that comes with the Series 7, in my opinion, simply because it’s less convenient to use. Its rear-facing orifice requires you to turn the machine around every time a new cleaning fluid cartridge must be replaced, normally about once a month. The machine that comes with the Series 7 reloads cartridges from the front, which I prefer.
The bottom line
The new Braun Series 9 model 9290cc (from $267.13 on Amazon) shaves as fast and closely as our former top pick, the Panasonic LV65-S, and it’s easier to use and hold, making it our new choice for the best electric shaver.
[Image credit: Robert Calem/Techlicious]
I have the Panasonic LV65-S for about 3 years now and enjoyed it a lot. I wash it manually with water every day (don’t like cleaning stations and I use shaving oil) and somehow water gets trapped in the razor.
Do you think it is worth the switch and is it possible to clean it under running water like the Panasonic?
Switch if you're unhappy
Yes, it is possible to clean the Braun Series 9 under running water like the Panasonic LV65-S, and even used in the shower, according to Braun. However, I have not personally rinsed the Series 9 under water, nor used it in the shower, so I can’t attest to its performance or durability when used those ways. My preference is to use the cleaning machine paired with the Series 9, and that’s all I’ve ever used to clean it.
I would not regularly rinse my LV65-S under running water; I usually just blew out the residue. When I would rinse it (or any other shaver), it would be with the shaving head removed, and I’d let all components air-dry before reassembling it.
My preference would be to switch to the Series 9, because I think it’s aesthetically and ergonomically better than the LV65-S. But you should follow your instinct. Functionally, the LV65-S is not worse than the Series 9, and If you’re happy with the LV65-S you should stick with it; you may not be any happier with the Series 9. Having said that, though, it strikes me as unusual that water gets trapped in your Panasonic shaver, and you may want to contact Panasonic about that.
Note: Braun does not say the Series 9 is compatible with shaving oil. Braun only specifies shaving gel or foam as compatible…and I don’t recall Panasonic claiming that the LV65-S is compatible with shaving oil. So,FWIW, I wonder if your use of shaving oil may have something to do with the water getting trapped. ???
If you do switch to the Series 9, please return here and post your thoughts comparing it to the LV65-S.
Robert E. Calem
Yes, you can
According to this video I would say you can use it even under water (completely submerged) . Do note it’s a previous generation model (9095cc): https://youtu.be/7JfXZOeCAV0?t=3m1s
My only concern with the 9 series is the size of the head…the thickest part of my beard is under my nose and I’m wondering on the experience on shaving this area vs the 7 series.
Series 7 might be better for you
My instinct is to recommend the Series 7 for you. In my experience, the Series 7 is easier to maneuver under the nose (upper lip area) than the Series 9 — and although the Series 9 head can be locked at a number of angles to accommodate this area, I never remember to take advantage of that feature, so it’s not a particularly useful feature for me.
I hope this reply helps you decide.
Robert E. Calem
Hi, can you fit the
Hi, can you fit the Braun serios 7 in the cleaning station Braun serios 9?
No, you can’t.
I have both products and am more happy with Series 7
Totally agree. I returned my
Totally agree. I returned my 9290 and went back to my 790 it shaves better
I have used the series 9 for a year and i would never purchase again I do not get a close shave
When something is of good quality, both in material and in use, you do not need to decorate it. But if, despite all this, the packaging is of a superior category, the result is excellence. I have to say that she had been using different Braun shavers and that the last one, since a little over a year ago, was a series 7 with which she was very happy, but the Braun 9 9299s far surpasses it.
In the first place, its presentation, as I said before, is extremely well cared for, both in the box - which can possibly be put to good use in another land, as in its leather case. Only with this product in hand can you get an idea of what you will find inside and opening it does not disappoint. Aesthetically it is impeccable, both in design and in ergonomics, with a very comfortable grip and a wide head equipped with different elements that facilitate the rush and smoothness. I shave daily and I do not have a hard beard so perhaps, in my case, the best hurry and where you can fully appreciate the possibilities of this shaver is on the beard of a couple of days. The vibration is subtle and with much less past the hurry is totally different from the other Braun tested. In difficult areas such as the neck, where before had to complete the shaving with a blade to avoid irritating the area with too many passes in this case with four or five is enough to achieve a perfect finish without irritation. I was worried a little in principle that the width of his head was uncomfortable for the area of the mustache but after two or three tests, with the activated lock and the correct inclination the results are perfect.
Another point to note is the durability of your battery. I put it to load at the moment of its reception and nineteen days later it continues perfectly loaded, with practically daily shaves. This provides a tremendous autonomy and, despite the fact that the charger - with a nice design also in the product line - is of small size with this duration of the load it is perfectly avoidable to take it for punctual departures or even for a fortnight of vacations.
As for maintenance, at first, perhaps because of the custom with previous shavers, I would have liked a brush but I recognize that being washable, its cleaning is also more comfortable and lubricating the head from time to time with the product of the Own brand is more than enough.
In short, it is an unbeatable option. True that its price may be a little higher than others but its advantages, design, haste, maintenance, autonomy, more than compensates for that difference. Good job, Braun!
Great first shave
I was skeptical about buying this after reading lots of online reviews, but the $80 off and 20% coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond brought the price down enough for me to make the jump. I have very thick facial hair and have never found a electric razor that worked well. After charging this for the recommended hour, I gave it a whirl. I first had to shave my full beard down to stubble using my Wahl hair clippers, which left me stubble length of a two day growth. The Braun 9 series had no issue shaving it all down. It took me a bit longer to shave as it was my first time and was learning my shave angles that work with my growth pattern. No hairs were left behind. The razor foils left zero irritation or burn, and the razor gives a very close cut, I’d like to say even better than my Gillette mach3 razors. I’m looking forward to using this every couple of days if not daily. The size and weight felt really good during the whole shave. Keeping the foils clean and lubricated is a must as this thing is fast and I don’t want to wear things out without proper care and maintenance. The cleaning station Is a bonus, not sure how often I will use it over rinsing under hot water after every use and oiling once a week, but there are lots of DIY solutions for the cleaner that will help save $.
This is just first shave opinion, and I’m hoping my feelings won’t change as I continue to use the series 9 from Braun.
Glad you like it
We were big fans of the Panasonic Arc5, our prior pick for best shaver (https://www.techlicious.com/review/the-best-mens-electric-shaver-december-2013/). So the Braun 9 Series had a very high bar to beat - and it did.
Sonic Technology Specmanship
The 40,000 vibrations per second given by Braun is the number you get by multiplying 10,000 cycles per second times the 4 heads. The Panasonic shavers actually do 14,000 cycles per second. If you multiplied that time 5 heads, you’d get an even more astounding (and meaningless) 70,000 vibrations per second.
In the end, 10K vs 14K is probably not as important as how the total design of the shaver works on your own particular face.
Braun Series 9 (9295cc)
Hello Robert. I have been a double edge blade shaver for approximately 40 years. I believe I have sensitive skin and coarse facial hair(subject to ingrown hairs causing razor bumps). I went to my skin doctor and he advised me to switch to an electric razor. I informed him that I tried one and it didn’t work very well. He asked me when was the last time I tried an electric razor and I told him about 30 years ago. He laughed and said that they’ve come a long way. So he told me to try the Philips Rotary shaver but I didn’t like the complicated monthly cleaning regimen and having to switch heads to trim side-burns. Anyway, I read a number of reviews which stated the Panasonic ES-LV65/95 shaved closer but may cause more ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Because of this I opted for the Braun 9 (9295cc)series which offered a more comfortable shave especially if you were prone to ingrown hairs.
Worst electric razor I've ever used
Used a Series 3 razor for many years and was happy with it’s performance. With the advent of COVID-19 I shaved less often and therefore was confronted with the need for a razor that handled a 2-3 day beard with less pain.
The Series 9 advertised itself as fitting that bill.
Unfortunately it didn’t live up to that promise. If you are a masochist who enjoys having your beard “pulled out”, then the Series ( is for you.
Even shaving a one day old beard is painful.
Since it is still functional I’ll probably go back to my old Series 3.
Nothing but praise.
I owned a series 3 w/cleaning station for more than 5 years, it more than paid for itself, and when I upgraded to the current system 7, I tore down the 3, cleaned it and replaced the batteries. My brother has now been using it for 4 years, and I am still using the 7 I purchased to replace it. From what I see, the initial cost of the System 9, the exorbitant pricing of replacement heads and the fact that my System 7 still makes my face and head smooth as a baby’s bottom, I tend to think that it will be many more years before I will be looking at an upgrade. Even when this System 7 wears out or breaks down, which I don’t see it doing,I will be on the hunt for another System 7.
Not a Reliable Shaver
My Braun Series 9 gave a great shave…when it worked. The unit required repair just before the 2-year warranty was about to expire. By the 3-year mark it is dead as a door nail and the company seems to have no interest in standing behind its product. Braun’s local service center estimates repair costs of $160 to replace battery, circuit board and stand. I’m already into this shaver for over $300 and will not continue throwing good money after bad. For the expensive pricetag, my expectations of a well-engineered and long-lasting product were not met. I would not purchase again from Braun after this bad experience.
From Robert Beaulieu on May 02, 2017 :: 3:27 pm
You are nuts if you think I would pay three hundred dollars, two hundred dollars or even one hundred dollars for any electric razor. period not one of them is worth that kind of money period.
Have you used any of them?
From Josh Kirschner on May 03, 2017 :: 8:24 am
The performance of the higher-end shavers is far superior to lower cost models. While the initial price may seem high, these are products you’ll be using daily (or close to it) for years. In our opinion, it’s well worth spending the extra money. And if the Braun Series 9 is out of your price range, the Panasonic Arc 3 is also an excellent shaver, and was our top pick under $100: https://www.techlicious.com/review/best-shaver-under-100-october-2013/
From Sal on March 17, 2019 :: 9:18 pm
You should shut your mouth and keep your comments to yourself unless you know what you’re talking about. Like the man said you obviously haven’t tried the more expensive razors. It’s like night and day. It’s like driving a Volkswagen then getting into a corvette. Yes it’s more expensive but I’m positive everyone in the world rather have the corvette.