Stay Classy: 4 Best Stubble Trimmers For True Gentlemen
Everybody knows a simple fact: beards are cool.
However, sometimes I get tired of sporting a bushy long beard. Especially during those sticky, god-I-can’t-breathe summer months.
A bit of the stubble would do just fine, I think to myself. True, big beards are majestic and inspire respect.
Well, the stubble goes for sexy, classy looks instead. Oh, and it’s way more convenient.
My usual sidekick is my trusty Norelco Series 3500 stubble trimmer. Cordless, with 20 lengths (1/32″ to 13/32″) and affordable, it’s found its place among my grooming tools:
But here’s the thing, gentlemen. I’d like to ask you this:
What does The Stubble mean to you? Because for some, ‘stubble’ goes into the 5 o’clock shadow territory. For others, it’s obviously longer than that.
If you’re into that whole 5 o’clock thing, a Wahl Detailer (pictured above next to the Norelco) is a better option.
Truth is, the term ‘best stubble trimmer’ can vary according to your preferences and actual needs. I’ll dig deeper into some reviews, but take a peek at this comparison chart first:
- Philips Norelco 3500
- Best for:
General stubble styling. Most well-rounded pick on a good price.
20 lengths from 1/32" to 13/32"
2 hours on 1 hour charge.
- Price: $$
- Philips Norelco 7200
- Best for:
Vacuum trimmer that collects your leftover stubble hair. No post-shave cleanup!
20 lengths from 1/32" to 13/32"
80 minutes on 1 hour charge.
- Price: $$+
- Wahl 5 star Detailer
- Best for:
Professional-grade trimmer. Great power, crisp trimming: perfect for 5 o'clock shadow or short stubble.
3 combs: 1/16", 1/8" and 1/4"
This is a corded trimmer.
- Price: $$+
- Philips Norelco BG2039/42
- Best for:
All-in-one solution: stubble trimmer and body groomer. Waterproof and innovative in its design.
5-length beard comb for short to long stubble.
50 minutes on 1 hour charge.
- Price: $$$
Alright, enough with the intros! Let’s study these little trimmers in detail!
4 best stubble trimmers in 2018
1. My recommended trimmer for stubble:
Philips Norelco 3500
There’s three things I value when it comes to my grooming habits: convenience, freedom of choice, and…yeah, you guessed right, it’s price.
The Series 3500 ticks all boxes perfectly.
First of all, if you want stubble, you don’t need that many lengths. Anything above 13/32″ (or 10mm) might be superfluous. However, you still want to have that customizability.
I mean, different situations call for different beard lengths, right?
This neat gadget spans from 1/32″ to 13/32″ as I said, with 20 lengths altogether. An adjustment interval of 1/32″ between every level is just the right amount for quality stubble shaving.
Now, onto the convenience part: cordless is always a good thing to have. Sure, with hair clippers I might be a little sceptical, as they need more power.
But a wired beard trimmer is just torture. Luckily, the Series 3500 is not only cordless: it holds a darn-that’s-spectacular 2 hour battery. All of that on a mere 1 hour charge!
Plug it in on a sunny Saturday afternoon and voila: you’ll have enough battery for a whole week of stubble trimming. Sounds good to me!
Maintenance can be a hassle with some grooming tools, but not here. First of all, you don’t need to oil the Norelco 3500. Not only this, but you can easily remove the plastic comb (designed to protect your skin) and rinse the blades from excess hair.
Pretty cool, right? This reduces your maintenance to some 3-4 seconds after each trimming session.
On the quality of shaving, I’d classify it as ‘Pretty good for your general needs’. The blades are made of stainless steel, they’re self-sharpening and won’t nick the skin.
That said, the Series 3500 is nowhere near as powerful and professional as a Wahl Detailer, for example. Then again, it’s targeted at people who don’t need a powerhouse tool anyways.
2. Best vacuum stubble trimmer:
Philips Norelco Series 7200
It’s a Norelco-dominated beard world, huh? Or so it seems.
Can’t blame Philips for dominating the market with quality grooming tools, though. And the 7200 has a very, very important advantage:
It says NO to messy sinks full of hair. And that makes you – and if you have a partner, them too, way happier.
So, what’s up with the specifications here?
Performance-wise, the 7200 is quite similar to the Series 3500. The lengths are the same (1/32″ to 13/32″) and it’s cordless. Well, the design is newer and more beautiful, but that’s not something to focus on so much maybe, right?
A small difference you’ll observe here is the shorter Lithium-ion battery runtime. Instead of the 3500 series with their 2 hours, you have 80 minutes here.
That makes sense: we have a vacuum function here after all! Reduced battery is totally worth it, though. While not perfect, the built-in vacuum will sweep up some 80-90% of the hairs you cut.
I don’t know about you, but a sink full of hair is not cool at all. Especially if you trim often, you’ll either have to buy a beard apron (more money spent and inconvenient), or spend a few minutes post-trimming and clean up.
Once again, you can wash the blades and you don’t need any oil. A good addition are the 3 precision combs for finer detailing and shaping up your stubble. Extra customization is always handy!
Even though Philips mention the ‘DualCut’ technology with the blades here, their performance is exactly the same as the Norelco 3500. The real deal here is the vacuum function, no matter how we cut it.
3. Best professional close cut trimmer:
Wahl 5 star Detailer
Let’s break the Norelco hegemony for a bit and go for something that you would probably see your barber use.
Wahl are a stylist’s brand and the Detailer is inarguably the best trimmer from their lineup. It’s classy, powerful, and its blades blow Norelcos out of the water.
There’s a catch: you don’t have built-in lengths here, and it’s better suited for those of you who prefer 5 o’clock shadows.
What the Detailer operates with are standard combs. You have three of them: 1/16″, 1/8″ or 1/4″. So, you either go without using a comb for the 5 o’clock, or you snap a comb on the blades for some longer stubble.
Also, it’s NOT cordless. This is a wired trimmer that once plugged, will jump in your hands with its tremendous rotary motor. Norelcos are child’s play compared with this beast!
The reason you might want to get this is the sheer quality of the shave.
The wide T-blade features Wahl’s 5 star stainless steel blades. It delivers crisp cuts without skin irritation, a true symphony of quality trimming moments.
Seriously, there is a reason why you’re seeing numerous barbers swearing by this neat tool and its quality.
That said, you’re looking at a bit more maintenance here too. The Detailer’s blades need oiling to keep running smooth. Luckily for you, you’ll receive a cute tube of oil with your purchase. It’ll take care of them.
If you want crisp 5 o’clocks and expert-gradee cutting on the price of some convenience: this is your sidekick!
4. Best all-in-one trimming solution:
Philips Norelco BG2039/42
Aaand…we’re back to the Norelco kingdom.
The thing is – unlike me, a lot of people would love to see an all-in-one grooming tool. In short: a trimmer that has different attachments to take care of your facial hair and body hair.
No, it doesn’t sound as gross as you think it does. There’s a small catch here:
The BG2039/42 doesn’t have a set of numerous attachments. Instead, it has a revolutionary dual-sided design.
Not only does it look futuristic, but it also does a darn good grooming job for all your body!
So, the stubble action is guaranteed by one of the sides, and a 5-length beard comb. The lengths aren’t as juicy as the standalone Norelco stubble trimmers, but they’re pretty ok. You can remove them and go with the naked blade if you want close cut stubble too.
The cool thing here is that it’s not only cordless, but also showerproof. So, if you’re into it, you can skip the sink mess and do your grooming under the showerhead (with or without the singing part!)
The battery isn’t spectacular at 50 minutes runtime on an hour of charging. What’s better are the self-sharpening titanium blades. Generally, titanium is a tad better than your usual Norelco stainless steel used with their blades.
Needless to say, but this is a valid/needed choice only if you want to have some body grooming done too. This model works well as a pubic hair trimmer, or as a tool to help you out with underarm hair maintenance and other delicate regions.
If you want a strictly stubble grooming tool, it might make sense to do as I do: just pick a dedicated trimmer from the other 3 models I listed.
All good! How can I maintain a neat stubble?
Having the right tools is one thing.
Perfecting the art is another.
Wait, don’t get all demotivated! Luckily for you, the stubble isn’t exactly rocket science. Still, I’d advise you to stick to a few important things. Follow them and you’ll be fine and dandy.
First of all, you need to be consistent. I don’t know how fast your hair grows (mine does so at an alarmingly quick rate!), but you can’t slack.
Make sure that every 2-3 days you keep to your desired stubble length. Sometimes hair doesn’t grow equally, and there’s nothing worse than a mix of shorter and longer facial hair instead of an even, clean stubble.
The fine detailing
Keeping a stubble doesn’t mean letting things run its course on all parts of your face. Sure, the stubble has that leisure, care-free vibes, but you shouldn’t overdo it.
There are three areas you want to particularly focus your attention on: cheeks, neckline, and moustache.
Your neckline area should be clean, period. Especially around and under your Adam’s apple. Above it, I prefer to set the stubble 1 or 2 lengths shorter than the facial area. Think of it as fading, because that’s what it really is. Your neckline should always be trimmed closer than your beard.
As for the cheeks, I’d like to clean them up a bit. Look at this guy:
His stubble game is pretty strong, but for me the cheeks are a bit lazy. You might want to do some parallel cleaning with a naked trimmer blade so you shape your cheeks a bit better.
Caring about that skin
I’ve written quite a bit on things like beard balm and beard oil. Usually people think these apply only if you have a long beard.
Ding-ding, newsflash: the stubble compels you to care about your facial hair and skin too!
A simple product like jojoba oil will nourish your stubble and your face. Remember that even shorter hairs can irritate your skin (a.k.a. Beardruff.) A soothing moisturizer – preferably natural like the jojoba oil, will soften the hair and calm down any inflammation.
But is it really attractive?
Yes, it is. But what is more attractive is confidence, as you might probably know.
I’ve given you the tools to help out with you rocking a marvelous stubble. The confidence part is up to you.
But you know, I’m pretty sure of something: you’ll be marvelous. It’s impossible to go wrong with a well-trimmed, well-kept stubble.
I love Alpha M’s videos on YouTube, so here are his tips and opinion on the stubble beard: