best in class

The 10 Very Best Beard Trimmers

According to barbers and guys with good beards.

Best Electric Beard Trimmers from Philips Norelco, Braun and BeardScape
Photo: Marcus McDonald
Best Electric Beard Trimmers from Philips Norelco, Braun and BeardScape
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

The perfect beard trimmer can keep facial hair in check, no matter the length or style. (It can also help with manscaping chest and pubic hair, if it has the right attachments). And though it’s more straightforward to use, than, say, a straight razor, there are still factors to consider. As Rob Mac of Mildred New York told us, “Beard trimming is still shaving”.

As I can’t grow facial hair myself, I got creative when it came to figuring out how to test the best beard trimmers. Firstly, I enlisted the help of two guys with very different hair types. A.G. has coarse, thick facial hair that he shapes into a beard, and also has sensitive skin that can sometimes flare up with rashes and shaving spots; R.Y. has medium-thick hair and a mustache. Next, I asked a total of 22 experts — stylists, barbers, and guys with good beards — about the trimmers they use daily.

What we’re looking for

Corded versus cordless

Professional barbers will usually opt for corded trimmers, because they won’t lose momentum as their battery life dwindles — a common issue for cordless trimmers. But I know that a cordless trimmer can be a more convenient option (especially if you’re someone who likes to shave in the shower), so I’ve included a mix of both trimmer types. For the cordless options, I’ve listed the battery life in minutes, so you know you’re getting enough.

Weight

Trimmers should be light and easy to maneuver, so you can reach those tough-to-trim spots, be as precise as possible, and not exhaust your wrist in the process. Compared to their stainless-steel cousins, plastic trimmers are usually the most lightweight option, though some people do just prefer a weighty, fancy-looking stainless-steel trimmer in their hand. No matter the trimmer you go for, you’ll find its weight listed below in ounces.

Blade type

Buying a trimmer with sharp blades is really important, as shaving with a dull set of blades can feel like getting your beard hairs caught in a zipper and will leave split ends and ragged edges in their wake. If you’re on the lookout for blades that will last a long time, you’ll want a trimmer with self-sharpening blades. They use the friction created when shaving to sharpen themselves with each use, meaning that they’ll stay sharper for longer than a regular blade and don’t need to be replaced as frequently — saving you hassle and money. (Of the ten recommended trimmers on this list, only one doesn’t have self-sharpening blades — but our expert thinks its other features make it worth the hassle.)

Extras

Adjustable blades and blade guards make shaving simple; they help guide the trimmer and make sure the hair is cut evenly and at the right length. Blade guards come in different sizes and keep the trimmer at a certain distance from your face — depending on the length you’re aiming for. Adjustable blades have a similar effect but work by moving forward and backward using a lever on the side of the trimmer. When “open,” they act like a guard attachment that’s integrated into the trimmer blades, but they will usually only give you about 1.5 millimeters of added length. In addition to different-length blade guards, some trimmers will come with attachments for trimming nose and ear hair as well as attachments for trimming chest hair and pubic hair.

Best beard trimmer overall

Cordless with battery life of 100 minutes | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Weight: 16 ounces | Extras: 8 guard attachments

Wahl’s Cordless Magic Clip is powerful, sharp, capable, and beloved by grooming professionals. It’s the most-recommended trimmer on this list, with seven endorsements, and also takes the top spot in our roundup of the best hair clippers for men. But as a beard trimmer, Murdock London’s Wood Smith says “it’s the top product to own if you want to re-create a barbershop experience in the comfort of your home.” Fellow expert Sam Buffa, founder of Fellow Barber, says that the self-sharpening blade stays sharper for longer (especially when compared to other options in this price range.) The cordless version is relatively light and the battery lasts for 100 minutes, but you can also get a corded version.

Our experts also told us that clippers work for any length of beard, long or short, so I put our panel of two guys with different hair types to the test. A.G. said the trimmer cut through his beard easily, and he was impressed by the range of guards that let him choose how close a shave he wanted. “I could also get the line at the top of my beard tight and neat” he says. R.M. — who loved cutting the hair on his head with the Magic Clip — said it wasn’t quite precise enough to trim his mustache. And while he’d normally use an electric or manual razor to go clean shaven, the Magic Clip did a good job at “completely trimming my beard hair away with a few goes.”

Best (less expensive) beard trimmer

Corded | Weight: 4 ounces | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Extras: 4 guard attachments

When I asked Mark Miguez, co-owner and barber at New York City’s Friend of a Barber how he keeps the famous beard of one of his clients (style writer David Coggins) so fresh, he told us his most-trusted tool is Wahl’s corded Peanut Clipper. It’s cheaper than the Magic Clip, but that isn’t why he likes it. Miguez says he likes that the Peanut comes with four attachments that are “perfect lengths” for trimming a beard down from a robust hedge in the winter to Astroturf in the summer. He also finds that it has the great quality you’d expect from a Wahl product, and fellow barbers agree: They’ve recommended Wahl products (often this exact clipper) to us time and time again across our grooming coverage. The Peanut is also the favored beard trimmer of former Strategist columnist Chris Black, who praised it because it’s “cheap, dependable, and fits in your designer Dopp kit perfectly.” Miguez perfers the corded version: “I find that trimmers you can plug into the wall have the power to last years compared to wireless ones where the battery slowly gets worse.” If you prefer cordless tools, the Peanut also comes in a cordless version that takes two AA batteries.

Best beard trimmer for customizing length

Cordless with battery life of 90 minutes | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Weight: 14 ounces | Extras: 40 length settings and 3 guard attachments

While Wahl was the favorite brand among the professionals I spoke to, it was the Philips Norelco that received the most praise from regular bearded guys (and though this is the same price as the Wahl Peanut, the lack of professional recommendations is why this isn’t our pick for the best less expensive beard trimmer). This divide checks out for barber David Kim, who tells us amateur cutters can “generally trust Philips Norelco’s more affordable products to work well and maintain a neat beard, as long as they’re not trying to do something too complex or fancy.”

Of the many recommendations I got for Philips Norelco, several were for the 7200 trimmer; unfortunately, that model has been discontinued and replaced with the Philips Norelco 5500. The 5500 trimmer has 40 length settings (double that of the old model), as well as three guard attachments, meaning you can really trim to the precise length you’re after. Unfortunately, the new 5500 trimmer doesn’t have the same vacuum feature as the Philips Norelco 7200 — but if that’s something you have your heart set on, you can pick up one of the very last 7200 models here.

Best beard trimmer for sensitive skin

Cordless with battery life of 60 minutes | Weight: Not specified | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Extras: Trimmer attachment

If you want a super-close shave but tend to find that razors irritate your skin, style consultant Sam Carder stands behind this pick. “It’s supposed to be the electric razor which goes closest to the skin, so it’s fantastic for achieving a wet-shave look without the hassle of using an actual razor blade on your face,” he says. You get a tidy, stubble-free look with minimal fuss. And the razor comes with a wireless charging pad, so you won’t have to mess around with wires.

As he has sensitive skin, I also had A.G. test out this Philips Norelco trimmer. “I sometimes get a few shaving spots or patches of red, itchy skin when I’ve shaved my neck too closely,” he says. “But I’ve been using this trimmer a minimum of twice a week and had absolutely no issues. It gets as close as a manual razor — no trimmer I’ve ever used in the past has ever given me such a close shave.” A.G notes that a full charge will last him around two weeks (or eight to ten shaves), that the trimmer charges up quickly, and that being able to use it in the shower takes a lot of the fuss and mess out of shaving. Although the price point is not something he’d usually consider, A.G says “having used it and seeing how reliable it is, it’s definitely something I’d invest in in the future.”

Best beard trimmer for teens and beginners

Cordless with battery life of 50 minutes | Weight: 5.28 ounces | Blade type: Non self-sharpening | Extras: Snap on comb attachment

Waldman finds this versatile trimmer great for beginners. “You can use it in the shower, with shave gel, or for a quick dry trim,” he says. And its easy-to-use adjustment dial for different hair lengths is a standout. “There aren’t a bunch of attachments to misplace or clutter your bathroom drawers.” For a beginner, that means much less time fidgeting with the trimmer. If your skin is on the more sensitive side, Waldman recommends using a trimmer with wet and dry functions, which this one offers. The trick to not irritating sensitive skin is to soften your beard and lubricate your skin before using a trimmer, Waldman explains. After washing and moisturizing, you can “keep your beard area covered with a damp warm washcloth for about two minutes to further soften the hair,” he says. Then you can go in with this trimmer — whether you’re shaving in the bathroom sink or in the shower.

Best beard trimmer for short beards or stubble

Cordless with battery life of 60 minutes | Weight: Not specified | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Extras: 9 attachments including nose and ear trimmers

Former Strategist senior editor Peter Martin — also a former Esquire grooming editor — keeps a shorter beard that’s typically more of a scruff. After wearing out his Gillette trimmer during quarantine, he bought this exceptionally affordable Philips trimmer on a “strong recommendation” from his brother-in-law. “I wish I’d switched to this a decade ago,” Martin says, explaining that it’s “so much easier to use” with sharp cutting blades that “never get stuck and clip all the hair in basically one pass.” He also appreciates that, unlike his old Gillette, this trimmer “came with nose and ear trimmers, which I pretend I don’t need.”

Best beard trimmer for travel

Cordless with battery life of 45 minutes | Weight: 9.7 ounces | Blade type: Dual side blade | Extras: 3 comb attachments

While Black says the cordless version of the Wahl Peanut will fit in a Dopp kit, if you’re looking for an even more affordable beard trimmer for travel, consider the OneBlade. Quilty-Harper uses it, and it made the cut on Soller’s list, too. “The small size, decent battery life, and punchy color make it just right for my Dopp kit,” Soller wrote. Quilty-Harper adds that it can “get as close as a wet shave” (to wit, the OneBlade also made our list of expert-recommended electric razors), with Soller writing that the gadget falls somewhere “between a traditional beard trimmer and a regular razor.” He adds: “Once you charge the handle and turn on the power, the blade’s rapid movements cut nearly as close as a regular disposable blade but without any fear of bleeding or ingrown hairs.”

Best beard trimmer for mustaches

Corded | Weight: 6.9 ounces | Blade type: Adjustable T-blade | Extras: 3 guard attachments

This less-expensive trimmer for styling ‘staches comes recommended by barber Perry Petit-Beau, who says he “likes the finish and power of the blade.” He also says that while it comes with guards for properly trimming a beard, when used without a guard, you get an “exposed blade for outline detailing and a close shave.” Butler says that this closer T-shaped blade is great for styling mustaches, as it allows you to get into the nooks and crannies under the nose and around the corners of your mustache. “This will give you more control and potentially help you avoid cutting too much hair off of an area you are working in,” Butler says.

Best beard trimmer for outlining

Cordless with battery life of up to 2 hours | Weight: 4.9 ounces | Blade type: T-blade | Extras: 4 guard attachments

“Between barbershop appointments, the best thing you can do at home to maintain your beard is to keep your cheek lines and neckline neat,” Wood Smith told us. “And the Andis Slimline Pro is easily maneuverable to trim even hard-to-reach hairs on the neck.” In fact, all the barbers who praised the Magic Clip told us they will use this trimmer to make beards look as neat as possible. “It’s going to get incredibly close, so professionals use it to create neat lines and then put the attachments on to trim the beard itself,” explains Karac Ruleau of Mott NYC. Miguez agrees, saying that while he wouldn’t use it as his main beard trimmer, it’s the first thing he picks up to keep the area around his clients’ ears and the backs of their necks clean. Albano, another expert who says the Slimline Pro is great for styling, adds that it is “super-light, super-sharp, and built to last.” And Mac, yet another Andis fan, told us he knows from experience that this product works on facial hair of all types and textures and holds its charge for a long time.

While it’s great for styling, our experts note you could use it for a full trim, too. Fajardo echoes other barbers — this trimmer is easy to handle. That’s why she recommends it for those just starting to grow a beard. The T-blade “makes it easy to line up and create symmetry,” which will strengthen the shape and add more definition.

Best waterproof beard trimmer

Cordless with battery life of 60 minutes | Weight: Not specified | Blade type: Self-sharpening | Extras: 13 attachments for beard, mustache, hair, body, ear, and nose

Medium strategist Shaquille Cheris told us he loves this trimming kit from newer grooming brand Hatteker. “It came with what felt like 15 components,” he says, “and it has a great motor compared to the Panasonic I was using before.” Technically meant to be used all over, Cheris says he mostly uses this trimmer to keep the edges of his beard in good shape between barbershop visits. Hatteker claims the product is fully waterproof and, in addition to cleaning its blades, encourages users to soak the beard trimmer itself under a faucet between uses. (Cheris, for what it’s worth, tells me he hasn’t tried this yet.)

Some more beard-care products we’ve written about

Our experts

• Alejandro “AJ” Albano, a barber at Tuft NYC
• Chris Black, former Strategist columnist and podcast host
• Sam Buffa, founder of Fellow Barber
• Patrick Butler, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop’s technical director
Sam Carder, Style consultant 
• Shaquille Cheris, Medium strategist
• Neil Cohen, fashion stylist
David Coggins, style writer
• Raquel Fajardo, a regional Fellow Barber manager in Los Angeles
• Julien Howard, a.k.a. the Velo Barber
• Mac Joseph, DJ and digital strategist
David Kim, barber
• Peter Martin, former Strategist senior editor
• Mark Miguez, co-owner and barber at New York City’s Friend of a Barber
• Rob Mac of Mildred New York
• Ronnie Parisella, Podcast host
• Perry Petit-Beau, barber
• Adam Rinn, stunt performer
• Karac Ruleau of Mott NYC
Miles Wood-Smith, the head barber at Murdock London
• Kurt Soller, Strategist contributor
Conrad Quilty-Harper, editor at New Scientist

Additional reporting by Ambar Pardilla and Liza Corsillo. 

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best men’s wardrobe basics, white T-shirts for men, jeans for men, white sneakers for men, and flattering clothes for men. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The 10 Very Best Beard Trimmers