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A 2019 Buying Guide for Beard Trimmers
There have always been men who chose to express their personalities with beards but in recent years their numbers have grown enormously.
If you’re a beard sporting fashionista, whatever your chosen style, whether it be stubble, goatee, chinstrap or the full hipster look, there are plenty of choices of trimmer available to keep your facial hair looking its best.
Choosing a Beard Trimmer
With so many men choosing to grow beards there has never been a better choice of beard trimmers available as now. The variety of models available is huge as is the range of prices.
Some are versatile and aim to cover all beard types whereas others are more suitable for certain styles.
The best trimmers are a joy to use but the worst can leave you with a patchy uneven beard. Before deciding which to buy, consider your budget, how often you will use it and whether your particular style requires certain features.
It’s important to do some product research before committing to a particular model. The last thing you need after spending ages nurturing and sculpting your perfect beard, is a trimmer which cuts inconsistently or imprecisely.
A poorly maintained machine can give you problems so check how easy it is to clean and maintain your preferred model before buying.
Everybody has a few styles of beard that really suit them and others that just don’t look right. This can be influenced by face shape and by how your beard grows.
Some men need different lengths of cut for their sideburns and moustache and more than one other one for their beard. Whatever trimmer you choose, you need to take these things into account.
Types of Beard Trimmer
As with most portable appliances, corded and cordless models are available, but some models allow both. The obvious advantage of cordless models is their portability.
You can take them with you anywhere, even in the shower for some models, but you do have to remember to charge up the battery.
Corded models tend to be cheaper and have the advantage of always being usable with the disadvantage of having to stay in one spot. They also tend to provide more consistent power than some of the cheaper cordless models.
Dual powered models offer the best of both worlds but can be more expensive. For holidays or extended business trips where you can’t be sure of finding a suitable power point, cordless is definitely the way to go.
Good quality cordless trimmers have lithium-ion batteries which are more reliable, faster charging and hold their charge better than older type batteries.
The typical run time for a good model is around 50 minutes which means you probably won’t need to charge more than once a month.
Charging times vary considerably with some reaching full power in an hour and others taking up to 8 hours. Some can gain enough power for one trim in 5 minutes but need a long time for a full charge.
Certain models have a noticeable drop off in power when the charge drops below around 20%. A number of models have dual battery systems which are designed to keep power constant in difficult trimming conditions.
If you only want stubble and are not interested in growing a full beard, there are a number of stubble trimmers available which will do the job perfectly. If you prefer a longer beard, then you’ll need a model with a choice of comb lengths.
If, like many men, you like to style your facial hair, you will need to choose a trimmer with an edger that can trim the edges of your beard in neat lines and have the capability to trim in small areas.
Maybe you’re looking for something more than just a beard trimmer. With head to toe grooming becoming ever more popular, there are various multigroomers available that come with interchangeable heads so that you can not only trim your beard but also keep body hair tidy and trim your eyebrows, ear and nose hair.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you might prefer a lighter weight of trimmer but often you’ll get a better cut from a heavier model which is easier to keep steady.
Features and Accessories
Blade quality and sharpness are key factors in achieving a good trim. Good quality trimmers will have stainless steel self-sharpening blades.
Blade life can vary, with some models requiring new blades after only a few months of use. Most will only need to be replaced once a year or every 6 months if you’re really fussy about getting the perfect trim every time.
These are key to creating the right look and maintaining the length of your beard. They ensure a uniform even cut which would be hard to achieve with a trimmer alone.
Standard trimmer cutting sizes are from 1.5mm to 25mm with a wide choice in between. Some trimmers come with a selection of combs, others with adjustable combs.
Adjustability maybe anything from 1mm increments to 3mm. If your trimmer doesn’t have the comb sizes you want, most manufacturers supply a range of combs which you can buy individually or in sets to give you the perfect trim length.
There are also unbranded combs available which are cheaper, but you need to be sure that they will fit your trimmer.
Most trimmers come with a storage bag and often this will be big enough for your spare combs as well. Blades can attract dust and dirt, especially if they’ve been oiled, so keeping your trimmer in the bag helps keep them clean and protected.
Cordless trimmers usually have a charging dock that can also be used for storing attachments.
Some blades are self-sharpening and others are designed not to need blade oil but generally the advice would be to keep your trimmer in good condition by brushing off hair after use and oiling regularly.
There are a whole range of manufacturers making beard trimmers and they are all looking for their own unique features to set them apart from the competition.
If you want more than just a basic trimmer here are some that aren’t essential, but make grooming just a bit more special:
• Blades designed to cut in such a way that they leave your hair soft rather than bristly.
• Waterproof so they can be used in the shower and washed clean without affecting the electrical components
• Ergonomically designed for a better grip
• Stainless steel body
• LED power indicator so you’ll know when to recharge
Things to Avoid
Combined beard trimmer and hair clippers. Some manufacturers claim their models can do both but there will be a compromise somewhere so you’re better off using separate devices.
Like anything that becomes really popular, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. Since the fashion for beards took hold, scores of manufacturers have put products on the market.
Beware cheap imitations of the big brands, if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There are some fantastic trimmers out there at a range of prices. If you stick with the brand names you won’t end up with a dud but you still need to do your product research before you buy so that you get the right trimmer for you.