Philips Norelco is the leader in men’s grooming tools and undoubtedly one of the best brands out there for beard trimmers.
With so many different models to choose from, why should you buy the Norelco 5100?
Everybody has their own personal preferences, so there is a trimmer that suits each of those preferences. Norelco has done a great job of making sure they have a model that covers all the different bases.
So, what can the Philips Norelco 5100 do for you?
We’re going to take a deep dive into the features so you can see if it is going to tick all the boxes you need before you decide to buy.
What’s in the Box
You really just get the basics.
There’s just the trimmer itself, a power cord, a brush to wipe away any excess hair and the comb attachment to leave the beard longer.
The nice thing is that it doesn’t need to to include too much. It has a dial to change the length so everything you need is pretty much on the trimmer itself.
One of the things that really helps Norelco as a grooming tool brand is that they tend to use Lithium Ion batteries that don’t end up adding too much cost to the product.
The Norelco 5100 is no exception so you get excellent battery life that provides as much power as you need.
You get 60 minutes of runtime per charge.
How many uses is that? Well, it obviously depends on what you are using it for. But, to do a beard trim with a lineup may take you roughly 15 minutes, so expect 4 to 6 trims before you need to charge it again.
It only takes an hour to charge so if it does run out before you use it, you can still manage to get your beard trimmed assuming you have the time before hand. If you run out of battery mid way through your trim session, then you can use the trimmer while it is charging.
This is why I generally like to go with trimmer that use charging cables over charging docks.
Since it is a Lithium Ion based battery rather than Nickel, you can expect to keep getting a full charge for a few years before it simply won’t take a charge any longer.
An LED light lets you know when it is charging and when the battery is low.
Design and Ergonomics
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles and the design is pretty straightforward. Which I like. I’d rather not need a degree in engineering to figure out how to use a beard trimmer.
With a very slim profile, it fits nicely in the hand and can be gripped easily.
The trimming head is a bit on the narrow side so you won’t be doing any bulk trimming. This is good in my opinion, as it shouldn’t be so wide that you can’t do any kind of detail work when you want to edge your beard.
On the back side is a narrow detail trimmer. To use it you just spin the trimmer head around and it locks into place.
Changing lengths is as easy as turning a dial. So, you get a nice one handed operation. Pretty handy for when you are trying to multitask!
There is a bright LED light so you know exactly what your length is set to. This is a rather unique feature as I have yet to see another trimmer with an adjustable wheel that shows an LED rather than just marks on the body.
Blades and Attachments
Like other Philips beard trimmers and body groomers, the Philips Norelco 5100 has rounded teeth so it is easy on the skin. The angle of the blade is perfect for cutting the hair closely and evenly, but it is nice to know that if you get the angle wrong, it won’t end up pinching or cutting your skin.
The blades are plenty sharp, however. It isn’t like they made them not as sharp for the sake of comfort. So, the performance is still there.
And since they are self sharpening, they will always be sharp as the day you bought them without you needing to do any kind of maintenance.
As I mentioned, the back of the trimmer head has a narrow blade detail trimmer. This is also self sharpening and cuts extremely well. Usually these little trimmers, or even pop ups on some other models.
You would want to use this small trimmer to get areas around your mouth, like under the bottom lip, for instance. You could even use it as an eyebrow trimmer.
There is a plastic comb attachment to leave the beard a bit longer. This is the only attachment as it is all that is necessary since it has a dial wheel to adjust length.
There are 17 different length settings available, it couldn’t be easier due to the flywheel dial.
Just turn the dial to go from 1/64 of an inch to 13/32 of an inch. Wait, what? Don’t you know how long 13/32 is? Why we still haven’t switched to metric is a mystery to me, but I digress. To give you a better idea of what those numbers mean, it goes from 0.4 millimeters to 10 mm.
The wheel locks into place once you’ve set it so it isn’t going to move while you are trimming.
This is really handy for a couple of reasons.
One is that if you like to taper your beard into your sideburns, or you go from shorter cheeks to a longer goatee, then you can really “dial” in on the most accurate length to give you a really smooth taper.
The other way it is helpful is if you are going for a stubble beard but want to try out different lengths. Since you can get some very accurate lengths, you are not pigeon holed to only a couple of different looks.
Ok, so how does this thing work? Does it do a good job or not?
You won’t be shocked when I tell you that it does an excellent job trimming and edging your beard.
Above just about everything is the fact that it never pulls your hair. I don’t know if it is from the sharpness of the blades or the rounded teeth, but the Philips Norelco 5100 doesn’t pull your hair.
When you are trimming, you just keep the comb on it and adjust the lengths with the dial. When you want to use it as an edger, simply pop off the plastic comb attachment and use it as you would any other trimmer to line yourself up. Then flip the head around to use the detail trimmer.
Unfortunately as is the case with many rechargeable trimmers that charge with a cord instead of a dock, you cannot take this in the shower.
I suppose the thinking is that you may forget that it is plugged in and then get in the shower.
It is waterproof enough that when you want to clean it you just rinse it off. If you can’t rinse it I highly recommend making sure you wipe it off with a brush since the hair will eventually dull the blades if you leave it dirty.
You get quite a bit of power since it has a strong Lithium Ion battery so even if you have a thick beard, the Philips Norelco 5100 can cut through it very easily.
Beyond the beard
Can you use the it as a body trimmer too?
Sure, it definitely is strong enough to trim your other body parts. And since it is so gentle on the skin I don’t see why you couldn’t use it on your genitals, too.
The trimmer head is narrow enough to use to manscape and do some light trimming in your sensitive areas. And the detail trimmer could probably also play a part in your pubic grooming.
If you use it without a guard then it does get very close. A little bit below what you would consider stubble.
If you plan to shave with a razor, then this is a great way to take the hair down before you use a blade.
If you plan to shave your chest and have a lot of hair, I think it could probably work, but the small blade head make make it a long job.
You definitely can’t use this to cut your hair on your head. It is not built for that. Even if it does work out enough where it looks presentable, you’re limiting the lifespan severely by using it to cut your own hair.
What we don’t like
Since there is no such thing as a perfect product, there are a few negatives even though Norelco makes some of the best trimmers in the market.
One thing was already mentioned and it is the fact that this can’t be used in the shower. And as I already mentioned this is not unique to the Philips Norelco 5100.
The operation is a bit on the loud side. Especially after you’ve been using it for a few months. It may be that you need to really give it a rinse and even oil the blades even though it is marketed as a trimmer that doesn’t need any lubricating.
And the quality of the plastic comb attachment is mysteriously a bit on the weak side. This is surprisingly common with the Philips Norelco 5100. For such a wonderfully engineered product it baffles me that something so cheap to make well would be one of the weakest links to this trimmer.
Aside from those very small complaints, this is a very good trimmer.
The 5100 vs the 7100
Since the 7100 is an all in one trimmer that can also shave and do some serious head to toe body grooming I will only really focus on performance. It wouldn’t be fair to compare two very different models since the 7100 has so many bells and whistles.
The blade of both is very similar. They both have the same rounded teeth and self sharpening blades, so with either one you can be sure that you won’t experience tugging and you can use either if you have sensitive skin.
They both have long lasting batteries that take very little time to charge.
I think the edge goes to the 5100 since it is so much easier to use. Everything is right where you need it without needing to keep switching out the cutting heads. Even the detail trimmer. No need to have to rifle through a Dopp bag looking for an attachment or accessory.
You also get much more accuracy with the dial to achieve 17 different lengths where the 7100 only gives you 6. Overall you get 18 different settings, but you have to change the attachments to get it where the 5100 has it on its body.
I am a minimalist at heart, so I appreciate the simple aspect of the Philips Norelco 5100. As long as you don’t need it to do it all, you will be happy with how it just works well.
It cuts very well, is powerful enough for any beard thickness without tugging and is easy to maintain.
One handed operation is as minimalist as it get, while still providing a lot of customization.
There are so few negatives that it almost wasn’t worth mentioning them.
Do you have any questions about the 5100 or any other Norelco trimmers? Or, maybe you want to know how these stack up against other brands? Then drop me a line in the box below and I will get back to you ASAP with some help for you!
I love feedback so don’t hold back!
Easy to use9.5/10
Blades & Motor9.3/10
Body & Design9.6/10
- Ergonomic design
- Battery takes just 60 minutes to charge for 70 minutes runtime
- Easy to clean and no maintainance
- Dual trimmer blades with one for detail
- Lots of different lengths with one handed operation
- Kind of expensive
- Plastic comb is not very strong