Sometimes, I just want things to be simple. When you look at the range of hair products and trimmers on the market today, they come with a dizzying array of options, accessories, and other random things you’ve never heard of, let alone needed. When all you really want is a trimmer that just does what it is made to do, trims your hair quickly and efficiently.
Thankfully, I’ve found the Philips Norelco. It’s a self contained beard trimmer that doesnt even need hair guides. It’s portable, you can plug it into any outlet no matter the voltage, and it’s just everything I needed.
Things to consider
When it comes to style, everybody is different. That’s why buying grooming products is always going to come down to personal preference. Sometimes, even the best product wont have the things you’re looking for. So when you’re buying a trimmer, it’s important to know what you want out of it, and what you want it to do.
Is it capable of cutting your style?
Whilst pretty much any trimmer, beard or hair, should have the option to trim your beard the way you like it, sometimes you’ll need to buy a different length guard than what comes with the kit, or might need a precision guide. It’s best to get self contained kits, so you don’t have to get anything aftermarket.
How powerful is the motor?
A more powerful motor will drive the blades more efficiently. Not only does this mean you get a better cut overall, but it’s also better for the life of the machine. Always get the most powerful motor you can.
How good are the blades?
Cheaper trimmers will have lower quality blades. And if there’s one part of a beard trimmer you need to be high quality, it’s the blade. After all, it’s the part that’s in contact with your face and doing all the hard work.
Some trimmers also have detachable or waterproof head units, blades and all. Whilst this isn’t an essential, it does make clean up a damn sight easier.
Every trimmer will have enough battery life to complete a full shave, otherwise it’s just a terrible product. But it’s worth checking if your trimmer has a lithium ion battery. They’re more expensive, but can last up to twice as long, which saves you so much time in the long run.
The Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 3100 is a specifically designed, self contained beard trimmer with everything a man needs to keep his facial hair well groomed and looking top class.
Its titanium coated chromium steel blades are razor sharp, cutting even thick beard and sideburn hair cleanly and easily, and the blades can be set, and even better, locked, to ten different set lengths, giving you complete control over the length and style of your beard.
A solid battery life of forty five minutes, combined with the quick and easy shave time, means it will last ages between charges, giving you a good few shaves before you even have to think about plugging it back in. It also holds a charge for a long time, so if you need to just drop it in your bag when you’re out travelling or on business you know it wont inconveniently decide to die on you.
It’s washable, which makes cleaning it a cinch. A quick rinse and shake or brush down and it’s clean and ready for next time. Plus it’s designed to be skin friendly, leaving the sensitive skin on your face less irritated than other trimmers, and requiring absolutely no maintenance or lubrication.
As the entry level trimmer in the Philips range, it’s also surprisingly inexpensive, especially for the quality of the unit itself.
- Ease of use. Just lock the blades at the length you need and start shaving.
- A great set of blades. Titanium coated, long lasting, self sharpening steel.
- Solid battery life. 45 minutes off of one charge
- No hassle maintenance. No blade oil, no difficult cleaning, just rinse it off
We Dont Like
- Compared to the more expensive Philips trimmers, it has less options and built in technology
- Long charging time. Around 10 hours. Just remember to charge it overnight
Features and benefits
Despite the fact that the Philips Norelco 3100 is the most basic in Philips’ range of beard and moustache trimmers, it’s still a robust little machine with a great set of features.
It has an exceptional set of blades
The blades on this trimmer are just as good as the ones you’d get on a more expensive model. Considering how vital a good set of blades are, it’s great to know that the makers weren’t skimping on cost. Chromium steel, they’re titanium coated and rock solid.
They’re also self sharpening, and don’t need any maintenance, no oiling the blade or taking it to pieces to get hair out like you might get on cheaper trimmers. Instead, you can just wash it out under a faucet to clean it off and it’ll maintain itself.
The blades cut really well. There’s never any snagging or pulling out whole hairs, and the comb and tips are designed to be skin friendly, so you don’t get that dry, irritated after shave feeling you might get with cheaper, less well built trimmers.
There’s a great set of locking trim lengths.
There are no blade guards or attachments for this trimmer. It’s all built into the head. You just set it to whatever length you want, anywhere from 1 to 10mm, lock it in and start trimming.
There’s nothing worse than losing an essential accessory just when you need to use your kit, I know because I’ve done it. More than once. So having everything built in gives you peace of mind, as well as making the whole trimmer much easier to use.
It has a solid battery.
Even though it’s not a lithium ion battery like you’d get on a more expensive Philips trimmer, the battery in this one is still solid. The manufacturers say you get about 45 minutes of battery life with it. In my experience, with the added usage of turning it on and off and the battery bleed that you get on anything like this as it’s not being used, you’ll probably get about 35-40 minutes instead.
That’s easily a week’s worth of shaves, which is solid. It does take a few hours to recharge, though. But setting it to charge before you go to bed means that it’s ready to go when you wake up, so this isn’t really a problem.
There’s no need for accessories.
A lot of trimmers come with a box full of accessories, most of which you’ll never use. It’s great to me that this is a self contained little unit, and I don’t need to worry about keeping random attachments shoved under the sink.
It also makes it easily portable. All you ever need is the unit itself. And maybe the charger, if you’re going away for a long time.
It’s not just for the head.
Now, I don’t care so much about the whole caveman body hair thing, and neither does my girl, but I’ve heard that this trimmer is just as good on other parts of the body, from the chest and arms to other, more ‘sensitive’ areas. So if you’re due a little manscaping, go right ahead.
Just make sure to give it a rinse after you’re done, yeah.
If you don’t think this is the right product for you, there are a few other options we recommend
An updated and higher range version of the product we’ve just looked at, the 9100 is the top of the range beard and hair trimmer from Philips Norelco.
It’s twice as expensive as the Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 3100, but you get a hell of a lot for your money. It has the same top class blades and powerful motors as the 3100, so you’re still going to get a solid shave.
So what’s different? Well, the lithium ion battery gives you 60 minutes average charge, and charges to full in less than an hour. It’s got almost double the length settings, 17, with as little as 0.2mm between each one, so you can get the exact length you want, every single time.
It’s also got a laser guide. This throws a line down on to your skin, showing you exactly where you’re shaving, and considering how hard it can be sometimes to see what you’re doing in the mirror, this is a great tool to get the most razor sharp, precise shave you possibly can.
Or maybe you’re looking for maximum convenience, with the minimum of mess and cleanup possible. In which case, this Remington trimmer might be more your style. Unlike the others reviewed here, this has a built in hair vacuum to suck away cut hairs, meaning no more wiping the sink when you’re done or spending the day plucking errant hairs off of your shirt after a sneaky emergency shave in the work toilets.
It doesn’t have adjustable blades, instead needing blade guards like an old school barbers trimmer, but it comes with 11 preset guards so you’ll easily be able to find one for the style you want.
Titanium coated blades and a lithium ion battery round out what’s just generally a nice piece of kit.
Wahl Groomsman Pro All-in-One Men's Grooming Kit Rechargeable Beard Trimmers and Hair Clippers, Includes Guide Combs, Precision Detailer, Mini-Shaver Head, and Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer, 9860-700
Then there’s this. The Wahl Groomsman is a complete kit that contains everything that you need to keep yourself looking sharp, delivered on a solid stand that keeps it all in one place, with a minimum of fuss.
Budget friendly, whilst it doesn’t have any magical technology that promises to suck away cut hair or fart out rainbows, what it does do, it does well. There’s a solid motor and premium Wahl blades that make cutting hair simple and easy. It’s still rechargeable, even though it’s really cheap, so no shelling out for batteries, and it comes with a complete kit of guides, combs, oils and brushes, that all slots away perfectly on the handy little included base unit.
If you want solid, no frills trimming and shaving, it’s a nice little pick up, even though it doesn’t do anything fancy.