6 Best Beard Trimmers for Proper Grooming [Tested]
So, beards. Let’s talk about them.
My first something that resembled a beard was that distinctive weak stubble some people get as teenagers. I was 14 and took great pride in those few stray hairs that popped up on my face.
It’s been 15 years since then. Safe for some really short periods of time, I’ve always kept a beard. Combine that with me shaving my head on my own, and BAM! you’ve got the motivation to start a site on hair cutting tools.
Which is why you’ll see me always testing a bunch of stuff – and yes, that is my recommended Philips Series 3500 in the middle:
Usually, I dislike the uniformity of “Best <something>” articles. Take beards for example. There’s the 5 o’clock shadow, the stubble beard, goatee, the full-on lumberjack-style long beard…
You can’t really say there’s one best beard trimmer to take care of it all. Which is why I’ll take a deeper look into 6 different models for your specific beard grooming needs.
Oh, and newsflash: hair clippers are actually way better for taming long beards. A good reason why I threw Wahl’s Elite Pro in the mix.
Let’s kick it off with a quick comparison table and jump to the reviews. I also have some beard keeping tips for you too 🙂
- Philips Norelco 3500
- Best for:
General styling. Most well-rounded pick on a good price, with a good battery and trimming quality.
20 lengths from 1/32" to 13/32"
2 hours on 1 hour charge.
- Price: $$
- Philips Norelco 7000
- Best for:
Norelco's finest, most modern trimmer. Strong fiberglass combs, a lot of accessories for overall grooming, longest battery life.
14 different, reinforced fiber glass guards.
5 hours on 1 hour charge.
- Price: $$$
- Andis T Outliner
- Best for:
5 o'clock shadow & close stubble. A barber-grade trimmer with extra powerful motor and a professional, sharp T Blade.
No guards included. Best used for 5 o'clock shadow/short stubble.
This is a corded model.
- 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 Elite Pro
- Best for:
A hair clipper that will trim any longer beard in no time. Powerful, with quality steel guards. Perfect for DIY hair cutting too!
A full set of guards from 1/16" to 1".
This is a corded clipper.
- Price: $$
- Panasonic Milano Series
- Best for:
A true Panasonic classic. More than decent performance, wet shave/trim-friendly, ergonomic design.
19 lengths from 1/32" to 13/32"
50 minutes on 1 hour charge, older battery technology.
- Price: $$
The 6 Best Beard Trimmers [In-depth Reviews]
1. Best overall beard trimmer:
Philips Norelco 3500
Whenever I decide to keep a neat stubble, I get my Norelco 3500 out of the box and get to work. The past year or so I’ve been sticking to this formula and it’s been working out great.
As most of the medium-range Norelco beard trimmers, the Series 3500 has an adjustable dial with 20 lengths. They go from 1/32″ to 13/32″, which is plenty if you think about it. You can easily rock anything from a slightly longer 5 o’clock shadow to medium length beard territory!
I like three things about it: it’s lightweight, cordless, and pretty affordable. To top it off, it has all these length settings and actually trims quite well!
I’ve learned to be cautious with cordless hair cutting tools and their batteries. However, 2 years later, my 3500 Series keeps a full 2 hour runtime on a mere 1 hour of charging. Ain’t that sweet?!
For those of you who aren’t keen on maintenance, there’s some good news too. First, you can pop the trimmer head off and rinse it with water. Second, there’s no oil needed to make this neat gadget trim your facial hair with precision.
The blades have rounded tips, and there’s a neat plastic comb that ensures additional skin comfort. Made of stainless steel, they aren’t as amazing as what Wahl would make…But still do a mighty fine job!
That said, if you have a bigger beard, or your hair is very thick/dense, there are better choices. For your general beard owner, though, the Norelco 3500 is perfect.
2. Best luxury, all-in-1 beard trimmer:
Philips Norelco Multigroom 7000
If you’re willing to splurge a bit more, Norelco has something out of this world for you. Normally, I insist that Wahl and Andis deliver the most powerful, classy performance. But…
The Multigroom 7000 is definitely cutting-edge. Philips’ newest addition to their trimmer models, it’s designed for those of you who want A Kickass Grooming Session With Your Awesome Beard.
The 7000 goes above and beyond your typical Norelcos in a few ways.
First of all, it has a stunning amount of 23 combs. That’s right: 23! A complete All-in-one solution for anything facial and body hair-related. You’ve got:
14 standard guards for beard trimming: but reinforced so they are sturdier and protect your skin even better
Foil shaver for outlining the beard on your cheeks
Nose + ear hair trimmer for those nasty hairs there
A special addition for extra-wide hair trimming
All that customization would be in vain if it wasn’t for one additional detail:
The stainless steel blades are way better than older Norelco models. This is due to the so called DualCut technology: self-sharpening blades of next generation quality. Crisper cuts, same gentle treatment on the skin, more precision.
For usual cordless sceptics like me, the Series 7000 also dishes out an outrageous running time of 5 hours per charge. This is unrivaled. No, I’m serious. I don’t know of any trimmer or clipper which can get close to this insane runtime.
I mean, this is a nobrainer. Fiberglass strengthened combs, lots of customization, outstanding blades, longest battery around…Oh, and you can rinse the trimmer without any problems.
The only thing not to like is the slightly increased price. But, if I’m to be honest: even at its price, it’s currently better than some of Wahl’s stainless steel trimmers. Good job, Philips!
3. Best 5 o’clock shadow/short stubble trimmer:
Andis T Outliner
I’ve mentioned the T Outliner in a lot of my other best of lists, including the best hair edgers/liners one. There’s a reason: the T God is a true classic for barbers and casual users aside.
Here’s the trick though: this is only for very close stubble. Or, alternatively, for those of you who are in love with the sexy 5 o’clock shadow style.
Because it doesn’t come with any additional combs for length control. It’s just the naked blade and your skin. Sounds scarier than it is, to be honest: it’s my most favorite hair trimmer for dry shaving.
The main benefit you get here is Andis’ distinctive T blade. One of the most precise, most crisp-cutting action delivering stainless steel beauties you’ll ever find.
This grey babe is perfect for mustache trimming, necklines, cheeks and some touch ups across your hairline. Its 7200 strokes per minute electromagnetic motor leaves Norelcos in the dust. This is the most powerful motor you’ll find in any trimmer.
The bad news?
Well, it heats up, and is not cordless. And, as I mentioned, if you want something longer, you’re better off looking at other beard trimmers. But for those of you who want a very short, neat beard and something barber-grade to help out with shaping it…Yep, it’s the T Outliner.
4. Best beard trimmer for clean freaks:
Philips Norelco Series 7200
I’ve been praising this model in my dedicated vacuum beard trimmers & clippers article. For those of you who love stubbles, but hate sinks full of small facial hair scattered around, the Series 7200 is a life savior.
Obviously, the key factor here is the built-in vacuum function. It sucks in the hair you cut, and while it’s not totally perfect, it’s pretty darn good. An estimation would be that some 80-90% of cut hair will fill this beard trimmer’s container, instead of making a real mess out of your sink.
But anyways: we care about convenience, true. What about utility, though?
Good news: this one doesn’t sacrifice comfort for trimming quality. Similar to the Series 3500, it has 20 built-in lengths which you can control via an adjusting dial. From 1/32″ to 13/32″, you’ll be the King of the Stubble in no time.
Battery is a bit weaker at 80 minutes runtime on an hour of charging, but it’s not something to cry about. Still plenty of time, considering you can be done in less than 10 minutes.
Overall function is typical for the mid-range Norelcos. No oiling, stainless steel blades, easy cleaning process.
The only issue is the fact that it’s a bit noisier than your usual beard trimmer. But with a built-in vaccum, can we really expect a totally silent grooming tool? That wouldn’t be fair!
That’s right. I just recommended a hair clipper for you, long-bearded friends. And I’ll tell you what: you’ll never go back to your usual beard trimmers after using it.
The problem with longer beards is that most trimmers max out at around 13/32″ or 20 mm. I mean, you can’t work with that length if you want to go for the full bearded look, right?
At the same time, grooming scissors come into play a bit later. Somewhere around the Full Lumberjack Style on.
I’m choosing the Elite Pro as a good solution due to several factors.
The most important factor are the stainless steel guards it comes with. Norelco’s fiberglass combs are good, but there’s nothing better than stainless steel. It doesn’t bend, allows for the most crisp cuts ever, and makes a sharp, precise blade even better.
Flimsy guards are something that no gentleman should ever feel around his facial hair.
Another good reason is the balance between price and versatility. The Elite Pro is priced very moderately, but comes with a huge number of combs for different beard lengths. You also get a storage case (a heavy-duty one!), a pair of scissors, and a barber’s cape.
Speaking of lengths, they range from 1/16″ to 1″. You also have two blending combs if you ever decide to do some beard fading.
Best of all, if you ever decide to start cutting your hair on your own, you can combine beard trimming with DIY hair cutting.
Being a hair clipper, this neat gadget is way more powerful than any beard trimmer you’ll see. While it’s not among Wahl’s powerhouses, for a home use cutting tool it’s pretty beastly.
The bad news? Well, it’s also significantly heavier than your typical trimmer. It’s also way noisier and can jump around in your hands due to that roaring motor sending vibrations all across the clipper’s body.
However, if you’re sporting a lengthier beard, you definitely want to pick this one for your grooming sessions.
6. Best beard trimmer classic:
Panasonic Milano series
I was 50/50 on including this one in the list, but a lot of people still like this well-designed little guy. And it’s definitely the best out of Panasonic’s mid-range trimmers.
The GB40 kicks it off with stainless steel blades that live up to Norelco’s ones without an issue. A specific manufacturing technique on Panasonic’s side are the 45 degrees angled blades.
You know how Japanese view accuracy and perfection, right?
Somewhere down the R&D line, they came up with the calculation that 45 degrees is the optimal cutting point. Which means that this trimmer delivers outstanding trimming with gorgeous facial hair after a grooming session with it.
The thing is, other brands like Philips have improved a lot in their own products. This is how you get the Norelco DualCut blade technology, for example, which Panasonic lacks.
If we move on to lengths, the Milano comes with 19 included settings: from 1 to 10mm. This is a bit more limiting than most Norelcos, but it still gives you plenty of freedom.
One of the most distinctive parts here is the design. Milano was the To-Go-Trimmer a few years ago, because it just looks cool. Obviously this is more personal of a view, but to me it’s quite stylish.
Unlike a lot of other models, this Panasonic beard trimmer is totally OK with wet use too. In case you’re into trimming with a foam or gel, you’ll be obviously happy to hear this. I’m not that much of a wet shaving fan so I’m indifferent to that feature.
Being a bit older, it doesn’t sport that long of a runtime. You’ll get 50 minutes on an hour of charging with this one.
Which is where we get to the core of things:
You’ll see a lot of guides recommending the Milano, and I dig it too, but…
But it’s gotten older. Beard trimmers have evolved a lot over the recent years. The Milano is a beautiful, well-designed, nicely working product. But it’s slowly becoming a remnant of the past.
Some people like classics. Others are into the latest thing. If you’re from the latter, the Minalo won’t be your jam.
Objectively, it’s still pretty good: but it falls a bit flat when compared with the most recent trimmer models on the market. That’s the harsh truth.
General tips: preparing yourself for a beard trimming session
In many cases, trimming your beard neatly takes only a few minutes and doesn’t involve a lot of preparation.
Obviously, this holds true for shorter beards most of the time.
In any case – especially you, gentlemen with longer beards, should remember two things.
First, your beard has to be clean before trimming it. This means you’d better wash it with soap/shampoo (I prefer mild soaps) and comb it with a nice beard comb.
Combing the hairs in one direction will ensure even, smooth trimming and lack of embarrassing stray hairs.
Second, wet beards are a mess to trim properly. At least that’s what my experience shows. Drying your beard is crucial to having a quick and fruitful grooming session.
Remember your skin
To those of you who have a ridiculously sensitive skin like me: be careful.
Consider exfoliating your skin before a trimming session, especially if you keep a shorter style like a 5 o’clock shadow. In my case, I use gentle exfoliating gloves and a sensitive skin soap. It will clean up your pores and get rid off dead skin cells which can cause irritation.
After your trimming session, I recommend you to use some witch hazel. Close trimming, similar to shaving, can cause some ingrown hairs or razor bumps. Obviously, that’s only if you’re going for a very short stubble or 5 o’clock shadow.
I know, I know, the trimmers mention their blades and guards are sensitive-skin friendly. And they really are. It’s just that some of us are cursed with an insanely delicate skin. It’s not the trimmer’s fault.
I like witch hazel because it’s a natural astringent. Especially if you get Thayers’ witch hazel (which we’ve spoken about in our guide to razor bumps) you’ll also have a non-alcohol product that soothes the skin.
What about beard balm/oil?
If you keep a shorter beard, beard oil/balms will soothe the skin and reduce the irritation which occurs by having prickly, short stubble.
With longer beards, beardruff has always been an issue.
Also, the longer your facial hair is, the easier it will be for it to get dry, exhausted and malnourished. Beard oil comes especially handy in such cases, as it revitalizes your beard. You’ll be getting soft, luscious locks instead of a hard, disheveled mane that’s not fitting for a real gentleman.
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below. We’ll happily help you out.
However, I think that you can hardly go wrong with any of the beard trimmers I recommended above. Just keep in mind what style are you after exactly, and pick a beard trimmer that’s best suited for it.
My final recommendation is to also always stick to established brands. As you see I didn’t list any off-brand beard cutting tools, and that’s with a good reason. It’s not worth it to save, say, $10, to sacrifice trimming quality and have the cheaper product break down in less than an year, for example.