What Does Your Facial Hair Deserve: Rotary Vs Foil Shaver

by Jeel Patel

Growing a beard only requires patience, while shaving it off requires ample tools and accessories.  The first and foremost thing to add to the grooming arsenal is the razor or shaver.  Assuming you have already been using a traditional razor and want to switch to electric shavers due to them being clogged up with the shaving cream and hair.

Also, buying a set of cartridges or razor blades piles up the overall cost of the razors.  Furthermore, traditional razors are vulnerable to cuts and nicks.  If not this, then it may also cause razor burns, bumps, itching, and irritation.  The chances of pulling and tugging aren’t negligible.  

On the other hand, electric shavers have been becoming a trend.  With a plethora of advantages and convenience in shaving, it has won millions of hearts. It not only takes care of normal skin but also looks after the sensitive skin.

Now you might have a question, is it budget-friendly or costly?  And is it worth it to invest in electric shavers? Which type of electric shaver is the best: Foil or Rotary?  All the answers to your questions are in this article. It has everything you must know about rotary vs foil shaver.

So, let’s witness the battle and know the best one out of the two that you can add to your grooming kit.

How does the Foil Shaver Work?

rotary shaver vs foil

The mechanism of it is straightforward.  A thin sheet of steel foil with tiny holes covers the blade that oscillates at a faster rate.  It uplifts the hair and brings it closer to the blades to shave it off.  It needs to move up and down or left or right on the cheeks, jawline, and neckline.   

Foil shaver does not offer a close as compared to the traditional razor, but it will not disappoint you as well.  It is best for the ones who prefer everyday shaving and are having straight hair. It is also good for sideburn precision.

You can understand the shaving pattern by looking at the below picture.

Benefits & Pitfalls of Foil Shaver

Firstly, we will start with the benefits of Foil Shavers:

Takes Care of Sensitive Skin

If you are a sensitive skin guy, then a foil razor could be the best investment you can make for your everyday grooming.  The working technology of this shaver is far better than any other shavers.  It neither pulls hair nor pokes the skin.  I find this shaver to be gentle and kind to the skin.  

The foil is the reason why you will get a perfect and close shave.  The blades do not come into contact with the skin, yet foil manages to pull the hair into the holes without tugging.  That’s the reason why the foil shavers work well on sensitive skin.

Offers A Close Shave

Looking for a close shave, but confused about which tools to choose? In my opinion, foil electric shavers should be given preference.  Why?  Because it comes with thin foils that make sure every hair enters into the tiny holes.  Also, if you are a fine hair guy, then the foil razor is worth an investment.

It can trim the coarse hair as well, and all the credit goes to the thin micro-foils.  Rotary razors with thick metal combs may fall short when it comes to offering the best possible close shave.  The reason is the thick layer between the blade and the skin.  A thin layer is superior to a thick layer.  Of course, it doesn’t mean rotary shavers are good for nothing.  It does deliver the results to some men, and it is suggestible to use the product that matches your expectation.

Easier to Clean

Most of the brands offer a cleaning station with a shaver or trimmer that cleans, lubricates, and sanitizes the grooming tool.  However, the results of the cleaning station may vary or not match the expectations.  And at the same time, it also increases the overall cost of the product.  If we compare the cleaning convenience of rotary and foil shaver, then the latter is easier to maintain and clean.

You can even clean it under running water with some liquid soap.  However, there are foil shavers that consume more time than others.  For instance, the Panasonic and Remington shavers are easier to clean by separating the foils and inner blades.  

On the contrary, brands like Braun use cassettes that merge blades and the foils into a single piece that is difficult to clean manually.  Hence, it requires a cleaning station to remove all the shaving cream and hair.  

Touch Ups & Precision Work

What if I tell you that the foil razor is ideal for both newbies and the ones who are looking for a precise shaving tool.  The working mechanism makes it ideal for sideburns, goatees, and necklines.  

Unlike rotary shavers, the foil shavers have a rectangular-shaped blade that either move in the up and down or left to the right direction.

It can make a perfectly straight line in these hard to reach areas.  And, it gives more control when shaving as compared to rotary shavers.  

Shaves Any Type of Hair

The foil is responsible for shaving when it comes to the foil shaver.  And, this foil comes in a variety of patterns that makes it ideal for every hair type.  It has a short slit, a long and wide slit, and a rounder hole.  

These holes come in a hexagonal or wavy pattern that ensures every type of hair passes through them.  As soon as the hair passes through the foil, it lifts and cuts, irrespective of hair length.

Quick Shave

Foil shavers will be impressed with its quick shaving time, and the reason is the blade speed.  It rotates and vibrates at the speed of 14 000 cycles per minute.  It makes the shaver move quickly from one side to another without taking much time.  You don’t need to pass the electric shaver several times over the same area.

Everyday Shaving

Foil razor does a commendable job when it comes to everyday shaving.  If you are worried about the short stubble then, you should ponder upon this shaving tool.  It will try to get as close as possible to the skin for a better and close shave.  Many men prefer a clean shave and do not want to experiment with different styles.  For those men, this tool is a great deal.

It would be unfair if you know only the benefits and not the pitfalls. After all, you are going to invest your hard-earned money, which should not go in vain.

Limited Pivoting

The pivoting of the foil shaver is restricted to back and forth or left to right movement.  This is generally difficult for the ones who prefer a circular movement.  You don’t get the freedom to move the shaver on your skin like a rotary one.  Due to this, it falls short in following the contours of your face.  Ultimately, it negatively impacts the overall experience and performance as well.  

Straight Lines

A circular motion isn’t possible with the straight-edge electric razor.  And not every man prefers straight lines shaving.  So, this might not be an ideal option for rotary shaver users. 


Undoubtedly, the foil shavers are noisy, and the reason is the motor and the cutter.  It can be annoying not only to the one who uses it but also to the surroundings.  It is not an ideal tool if you are sharing space.  And bringing it closer to the ears while detailing the sideburns will often distract you, which may ruin the detailing.

Along with the pros and cons, you must look at the factors affecting performance to get a better and clear picture.

What to Consider While Buying a Foil Shaver?

These factors will help you in researching on your own whenever you want to buy a foil shaver.

what is a foil shaver used for

Wet and Dry Shaving

You should always go with the shaver that offers both wet/dry convenience.  Why is it important?  Because wet shaving gives you the freedom to use shaving cream for your sensitive skin.  This will make sure that you get the best possible close shave without irritation and skin issues.


Blade speed plays a crucial role in achieving a better shave.  The foil electric shaver blade oscillates at cycles per minute, and this is important to check when buying such shavers.  The faster a blade oscillates, the quicker it shaves.

Battery Life

Battery life should be the first thing to consider at the time of buying an electric shaver.  Because you don’t want to be left half-shaven while shaving off with an electric shaver.  

Nowadays, some electric shavers come with a quick charging feature that ensures a single morning shave.  The average electric razor offers 45-50 minutes of runtime with a single full charge.  

What else you should look for is the travel-lock feature.  With this, you will be free from the risk of accidentally turning on and letting the batteries away, leaving you disappointed at the time of shaving.

You have seen everything about a foil electric shaver.  Now, let’s look at the rotary shaver so that it can help you in making a purchase decision.

Factors Affecting Performance of Foil Shavers

rotary vs foil shavers sensitive skin

Keeping it Wet

Rusting starts developing on the tool if you do not dry it after washing.  It results in dull foil blades and poor performance.  You must rinse the shaver under running water and then clean it with a towel and let it dry.  Also, you can store it in the storage case where you feel it will remain dry.  Do not leave it on the bathroom counter or in a damp place.  Also, you should not forget to lubricate it at times.

Overpressuring Against the Skin

It is a myth that applying additional pressure will give a more precise and close shave.  Instead, it will degrade the performance.  Also, it can cause skin issues, such as itching and irritation.  Care and delicacy are key components to achieve a successful shave with enhanced performance.

Tapping Foil Head to Hard While Cleaning

Do you want to waste your hard-earned money? If not, then stop tapping the foil head against a hard surface with a motive to clean it.  You are not cleaning it, but you are making it fragile.  Often tapping could lead to a decrease in performance and lifespan of the foil shaver.  Also, it may lead to an increase in the cost of buying a new foil head.

Ignoring Protective Cap

Many high-quality foil shavers from top-brands offer protective caps to reduce the deterioration rate and upkeep the blades.  Here, many users neglect the protective cap and throw it away.  Well, you must understand that whatever the company offers, there must be a purpose behind it.  If you throw away the protective cap, you are decreasing the blade lifespan.  If you love your shaving companion, then you must cover it.

Ignoring Manufacturers Instructions

The manual guide you see with every electric gadget comes with a reason.  In the foil shaver’s case, you must go through the guide before using it.  You will get to know how to use it and the way to clean and maintain it.  If you don’t follow the manual, you might miss a useful and vital piece of information.

Cleaning Only with Brush

The brush is not the only thing you should use for cleaning your shaver.  At regular intervals, disassemble it and access all the parts to remove any stray hairs stuck in it.  You must also wash the blade under lukewarm water and let it dry out.  Using only a brush for cleaning will decrease the lifespan of your foil shaver.

Using it Against Long Hairs

If you are not trimming an excessive length before using the foil shaver, then there are chances that the long hairs will get tangled up in the foils.  It results in poor performance of the blade and ultimately, replacement. 

Ignoring Overheating

Heating issues are common in corded or cordless electric shavers, be it low-quality or premium shavers.  Normal heating is not a problem, but with excessive use, it may cause overheating.  Firstly, you can apply lubricant to the metal and check if it is overheating or not.  If the issue persists, you can replace the foil heads.  Also, do not buy cheap products, go for the original ones. 

With this, we hope you know the nitty-gritty about a foil shaver and could have made up a mind to buy.  But wait, you must know the following things before you buy one for yourself.

How does the Rotary Shaver Work?

foil vs rotary shaver

A rotary shaver has three-round, spinning, and independent shaving heads.  It has circular blades that offer the optimum results if moved in a circular motion.  Unlike foil shavers, it matches the contours of your face.  

The lines in the razor are responsible for cutting the hair.  As soon as the hair comes closer to the opening, it will cut as close as possible.  The rotary shaver makes sure that it reaches all the areas of the face.

The shaving pattern is well described in the below picture:

Benefits & Pitfalls of Rotary Shaver

electric razor foil vs rotary

Cuts Thick Hair

The rotary shaver works well on the fastest growing hairs, i.e., thick and coarse hair.  What I like about it is the way it shaves the 4th or 5th-day stubble. It not only can shave off the very next day stubble but also works well on a week-long hair.  So, it becomes an ideal shaving tool for the thick hair guys.

Cuts Wild Hair

If you are worried about the neck hair that grows in different directions, then a rotary shaver is the solution.  It is built to cut the hair grown in different ways and ensure it reaches all the areas.

Ideal for Long Hair

Your schedule may be so tight that you hardly get time to shave off your facial hair.  In such a situation, stubble grows into long hair, which either needs shaving or grooming.  And when you decide to shave it off, you will require a tool that does the job for you.  A rotary shaver is the best option as compared to other razors.  A normal shaver shaves 2-3 days long hair, but this rotary electric razor has the potentiality of shaving long hair as well.

Works Even on Rough Skin

The rotary razor works well even on tough and rough skin.  It means if you are shaving for a long time, and planning to switch to the rotary shaver, then you don’t need to worry about it.   However, you cannot use this shaver on sensitive skin as they are less kind to it.  Hence, a newbie in the grooming world should prefer a foil shaver against the rotary shaver.

Peaceful Shaving

Unlike foil shavers, it makes sure that it neither distracts you nor disturbs others with its noise.  Even if your bedroom is close to your bathroom, it won’t disturb the one who is sleeping or trying to sleep.  

Easily Maneuvers

The rotary heads offer a 360-degree shave that follows all the contours of the face.  It can go on the places like behind the ears and under the nose.  Also, if you have Adam’s apple or high cheekbones, then you must opt for a rotary shaver.  This shaving tool makes sure that every corner is clean-shaven.

Just like the benefits, there are pitfalls that you must know to make the correct decision.  Unlike others, we don’t want our readers to have half a piece of information.

No Close Shave

If you are planning to switch from foil shaver to have a much closer shave than your current tool, then you should drop your idea.  They aren’t like foils shavers that go close to the skin and shave it off.  Also, you cannot expect precision and detail on sideburns.  And the reason is independent rotating discs.

Difficult to Clean

The cleaning task of the rotary razor is quite tedious and daunting.  You need to disassemble all the parts and wash them every time you use them.  For proper cleaning, you must also read the user guide that comes with the rotary razors.  It would not be an ideal option for the one who prefers quick and easy cleaning.

Can Cause Irritation

Rotary shaving comes with a steeper learning curve that is required for proper shaving.  Many men suffer from irritation while using a rotary razor as it does not smooth the skin, like the foil shaver.

After looking at the pros and cons, you must look at the factors that affect the performance. 

Factors Affecting Performance of Rotary Shavers

Factors Affecting Performance of Rotary Shavers

No Proper Cleaning

If self-cleaning is not the option, you must opt for manual cleaning.  If you clean your rotary razor parts properly, you make sure that it stays intact and working. Any compromise in cleaning will lead to poor performance, dull and blunt blades, and a decrease in lifespan.

Wet and Dry Shaving

Wet shaving makes sure that you can use it under the water or with the shaving cream.  It maximizes performance and efficiency.  And in the case of thick and curly hair, wet shaving is the only solution to shave it off.  It makes the coarse hair soft and easy to cut.  However, it is not suitable for fine and straight hair.

Applying pressure than Required

An urge to apply pressure for achieving a close shave should not be put into action.  The rotary razor is not built to put pressure for a close shave. 

The factors to consider will even help you in researching on your own and do not miss it

What to Consider While Buying a Rotary Shaver?

Power Source

The corded electric shaver is outdated, yet it offers the convenience of not charging it.  It doesn’t mean you always prefer the corded ones, you can even buy a cordless electric shaver that is battery-operated.


The most important thing is the feel and portability of the electric shaver.  You must buy a shaver that works on the go and is quite portable.

Blade Options

What if I  tell you that with the rotary shaver, you will not get one but three blades shaving at a time.  You must replace all the blades once a year for consistent shaving.

Now, you know everything about both types of electric razors (rotary versus foil shaver), so let’s dive deep into the key differences with which you would be able to make up a buying decision.

Battle Between Rotary vs Foil Shaver

Battle Between Foil vs Rotary Shavers

Blade Design

Both the foil and rotary shavers have a unique blade design.  We will see it separately by starting with foil shavers first.

Foil electric shavers have blades that are built to move in the back and forth direction.  And, you should stick to the same working mechanism, unless you want to encounter razor burn or other issues.  The foil covers the sharp blades, making sure it doesn’t cut your skin.  It results in a smooth and comfortable shave.

On the counterpart, a rotary electric shaver works with spinning disks and blades.  The three spinning heads ensure a close and safe cut.  You must move in a circular direction for efficient results.


If you are looking for a tool that matches the contours of your face, then a rotary electric shaver is an ideal option. It not only cuts long hair but also works well on flat surfaces.

On the other hand, foil shavers can also work on flat surfaces but it will take more than the usual time in shaving off all the surfaces.  The premium foil electric shavers are the best for precise cutting.  Contrary to this, if you want quick shaving, then rotary shavers are the best maneuverable tool.

Cutting & Cleaning

How precisely does your shaving tool cut?  This should be your primary concern.  Cutting and cleaning mostly depends on the brands and models you use or choose to use.  It varies between a foil and rotary shaver and here are the differences.

A rotary electric shaver is tedious when it comes to post-shaving but is accurate when cutting and cleaning.  A rotary shaver is a good option for the ones who prefer to go bald.

Quality foil shavers take minimum time for shaving and are also easy to clean.  Investing in such electric shavers will never go in vain.

Sensitive Skin

The sensitivity of the skin depends on how much shaving it has experienced.  A foil razor is good for delicate skin and beginners, while rough and tough skin guys can opt for rotary razors.  On the contrary, if you bring home a cheap foil shaver then there are chances of roughness.  Both foil and rotary shavers’ experience depends on the sensitivity of the skin.

Wet and Dry Shaving

Wet shaving consists of either use of shaving cream or using under the shower.  You will be able to achieve the best results if you opt for wet shaving.  It requires learning the right technique.

The dry shave is mostly preferable by the sensitive skin guys who find it less irritating and fast.  Also, you can dry shave almost anywhere without any hassle that a rotary shaver comes with.

Charing Time & Portability

The battery life and portability is one of the major concerns of electric shavers (foil or rotary).  All the electric shavers are portable and travel-friendly.  And about the battery life, then you can gain the maximum battery life, only if you charge it in the right way. 

  • Make complete use of the current battery before charging it.
  • Do not overcharge your batteries
  • Always prefer Ni-MH batteries against Li-ion as it holds more charging.  


Foil razors come with sonic technology that measures the density of the whiskers.  Once it reads the face, it will adjust the power needed for cleaning.  An innovative technology that you won’t find in other shavers.

On the other hand, rotary electric shavers have their own wet/dry shaving system.  This is also known as Aquatec technology that allows shavers to use it in running water or with shaving cream.


1. Which is better: foil or rotary shaver?

The foil electric shaver is good for daily use, while the rotary razor is capable of cutting 3-5 days stubble. It entirely depends on your convenience.

2. What is a foil shaver used for?

The foil razor aims to go close to the skin without using razor blades. It gives a lot of flexibility to the users as you can use it without shaving creams or gels.

3. Which shaver is good for black men?

The rotary razor can efficiently shave off thick and coarse hair on the face. This is usually found in black men. With the rotary razor, it won’t irritate your skin or face.


So, this is the rotary versus foil shaver battle where you have seen how electric razors like foil move back and forth and can be used to shave every day.  On the other hand, a rotary shaver that moves into a circular motion can even be used for head shaving as it can work in different directions.

This ultimate battle between foil versus rotary shaver ends here and I hope you find this article well.  You can even subscribe to our website for more such good reads.  Also, you can share your feedback and suggestions.  We would be more than happy to listen to our customers.


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