How Does Electric Razor Work? (A Guide For Newbies)

As you know, the old-fashioned razors irritate and cause minimal damage to the skin surface. For that reason, the electric razor stands out as a prominent alternative and this product starts to get a lot of attention from gentlemen. 

As a result, the question “How Does Electric Razor Work?” pops up and sticks to their mind since then. Thus, this article will work as a thorough guide and explanation for all gentlemen about the way that electric razors work.

Let’s jump right into this article to discover more.

What Is Inside An Electric Razor?

When it comes to electric shavers, there are two types available on the market. They are rotary and foil shavers.

Although there are some different components that constitute the whole product, these razors still have a lot of things in common.

Inside the razors, there are four main parts:

  • A battery with rechargeable cells
  • A circuit board
  • A system of gears
  • A motor
  • Blades.

In order to keep the shaver in a compact size, the motor and battery are connected by copper wires while the circuit board is placed under the battery.

Lee's Razors
Lee's Razors

On top of that, there is the location of the gears and blades.

Rotary shaver blade heads
Rotary shaver blade heads

How Does Electric Razor Work?

Foil Shaver

Foil shaver is an electric razor that works by sliding the blades beneath a foil screen. On the foil screen, there are numerous holes and perforations which allow hair to get through easily.

The head of this modern shaver has two key components: foil and trimmer.

There are two layers of metal foil with properly sized holes, covering the internal parts of the shaver’s head, which allow the hair to get inside easily. 

Inside two layers of foil is a location of an extremely thin trimmer. This trimmer will trim any hair that gets through the metal by using its blades. In some brand new products, they even have an extra trimmer that will handle some hairs growing crookedly to provide a better shave.   

In essence, foil razors use blades that move in an oscillating motion beneath a thin layer of steel foil. For a close, comfortable shave, the gear raises the hairs and trims them.

Foil electric razors are the best option if you want a precise finish, such as cutting your mustache, beard, or sideburns.

For individuals who shave daily, foils must be at the top of their wishlist.

Foil head shaver
Foil head shaver

Rotary Shaver

Rotary shaver is similar to the counterpart as the blades are covered by a layer of foil, however, the foil is kept in place and can not be removed. 

Below the foil layer, there are circular blades engaging in a gear system which earn mechanical energy from the motor.

When operating, the blades rotate around the vertical axises with the assistance from the gear system to cut off any hair which is captured by the outer foil. The foil layer covering the blades has various grooves which hair can get in easily. 

The greatest feature of rotary razors compared with the foil counterpart is that each circular blade can spin and flex in a separate direction which follows the natural lines of your face. 

These blades can swivel and bend on their own as they move along the surface of your face and neck. For that reason, you can have a close and clean shave without skin irritation.

There is a small room for the cut hair to stay and wait for the owner to dump away when he finishes shaving. For that reason, they don’t come into contact with your skin and cause discomfort.

Rotary razor will be a good fit for individuals who have a routine to shave once a week as well as those with thick and long hair as it can trim your hair quickly thanks to the circular motion of the blades.

A rotary shaver is a great option if you’re looking for a clean slate on Monday.

Rotary shaver
Rotary shaver

Which Razor Is Your Best Fit?

Pin To Pin Comparison

Foil Shaver Rotary Shaver
The design of the blade Only move with fixed direction Move in multiple directions thanks to circular design.
How it works Hair gets through the holes on foils and into the cutting area where blades moving in oscillation will cut it off. Each rotary head moves in an independent direction. The outer foil will capture the hair and the spinning blades below will trim it off.
Mobility Move perfectly on the cheeks but struggle a little bit when traveling from neck to jawline. Follow the contour of the face easily
Skin Type Sensitive  Normal or rough
Hair Type Straight, fine hair Thick, coarse hair

Pros And Cons

Both types of electric razors also come with some pros and cons. For that reason, you can pick the best fit for your needs.

Below are the benefits and withdrawals of both devices.

Foil Shavers

  • Give you a clean, close shave without causing any irritation or redness
  • The great buddy for sensitive skin as when the foils touch the skin, the hair can easily get through the holes without pulling the skin. Therefore, the hair and skin is nearly stress-free, and post-shaving experience is significant.
  • Regardless of the situation of the hairs, foil shavers can cut it off nicely and smoothly thanks to the usage of different foil patterns. Foil patterns ,which are usually hexagonal and wavy, assist to line up all types of hair and the blades can give a flawless shave.
  • If you tend to use this tool on a daily basis, a foil razor is in the top list thanks to the close and clean shave it provides which might make you more confident when going out. 
  • When the motor and blades  are rotating in unison, the sound generated from the razor may rise to a level that might be unpleasant when held near to the face. Therefore, You have to suffer from the noise this machine makes while operating.
  • You might feel a bit of difficulty when moving this tool from your neck to jaw line as its straight line design can not follow the lines of your jaw.
  • You might struggle when dealing with long and thick hairs as they can easily get stuck in the holes.
Using electric razor easily with one hand
Using electric razor easily with one hand

Rotary Shavers

  • It can deal with thick and coarse hair easily.
  • The smooth movement when moving on your face as the blade’s movement is not limited like the foil counterpart. The reason for that is because the blade heads of a rotary razor operate independently and can shave in different directions. Moreover, the round design allows it to follow the face’s contour easily while shaving.
  • If your hair grows fast and in a random and odd direction, this tool can solve this issue as the round heads of this machine can catch and cut these hairs without any difficulty.  
  • The sound this machine makes while working is so faint that you can use it in the middle of the night without waking up your roommate.
  • Tough skin is not a challenge towards this tool as it can shave smoothly thanks to the free movement of its blades with the assistance from the gear system.
  • The shaving result is not as fine as the foil shaver as the small and minor hairs are usually left behind. Therefore, users must move the razor back and forth on this surface several times which ends up damaging the skin in this area.
  • Rotary razor might consume a lot of your time when cleaning as you have to take apart various components in this razor’s head and clean them separately.  
  • It can not be as precise as its foil counterpart and usually misses the small and short hair.

Final Verdict

Foil shaver will be your best buddy if:

  • You want a super smooth and clean shave.
  • You shave on a daily basis.
  • Your facial hair is fairly fine
  • You are looking for the accuracy in shaving.
  • You only use it for straight line shaving.
  • You have time to clean your razor frequently

However, you should pick up rotary shaver if:

  • Your skin is normal or rough.
  • You don’t have a habit to shave daily
  • You have coarse, thick hair.
  • You can’t stand the noise from a foil razor.
  • The hair on your face grows in odd directions especially around your neck.
  • You want to feel comfortable when moving the razor from the neck to the jawline.

How To Use Electric Razor Properly

In order to have the best shaving experience, these are some steps that you should follow:

  • Assure your beard isn’t too long before you begin any dry shave. Excessive length might cause tugging, which can result in a painful shave or even skin lumps. If necessary, you should trim your beard first and then shave later.
  • In order to save your time and to lessen skin irritation, move the razor in the circle and against the hair growing direction.
  • If you tend to go for wet shaving, remember to use facial wash to cleanse and remove any extra oil on your skin’s surface. This action will soften the hair and support the razor to move smoothly and softly on your skin.
  • After that, put some foam or gel on the area around the neck and face and let it sit there for approximately five minutes. Then you can start to shave.
  • Don’t forget to shave against the growing direction of the hair. Use your free hand to support by gently pulling and tightening the skin to straighten the hair so that the blades can cut properly. To avoid skin irritation, never press the shaver extensively against your skin.
  • Start with the most sensitive parts first, such as the neck, since razors produce heat. Prioritizing more fragile areas first will reduce the heat generated during the cleaning process. It’s best not to travel over these areas too often.
  • After each usage, be sure to thoroughly rinse off the shaver and dry it completely. This is a simple way to extend the device’s lifespan. Nonetheless, make sure your electric razor is waterproof or else you can end up damaging your buddy.
Circular cutting blades of electric shaver
Circular cutting blades of electric shaver

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Easy To Clean An Electric Razor?

The majority of electric shavers are easy to clean.

Removing the head and carefully scrubbing and brushing the top of the blade is the most efficient method to clean it. You should check the cutter on a regular basis to make sure that no hair is sticking to it.

Besides, you should never brush actual foils or cutter blocks as those parts are very delicate and can be easily damaged. And the best way to keep your electric razor in a good condition for a long time is to strictly follow the guidebook of the manufacturer.

When Should I Replace The Blades Of My Electric Razor?

In order to know the exact time to change the blades, you should read the manual from the manufacturer.

If you can’t find the manual, you can consider replacing the cutters every 12 to 18 months

You might need to consider removing your old blades sooner than the period proposed above if you have thick and coarse hair and need to make yourself look great every single day. 


We hope that with all the information provided in this article, you can have an answer for the question “How Does Electric Razor Work?”. 

In brief, the mechanism of both foil and rotary razors is to let the hair get through the foil via holes and perforations and let the blades beneath to do the job.

As always, feel free to ask any further questions in the comment section. Also, if you think this post is useful, please share it with others.

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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