Since the launch of Braun’s new flagship line, the Series 9, there’s been quite a dilemma in the electric shaving community: should you pick the latest and greatest Series 9 or is the Series 7 still good enough?
In this article we’ll tackle the Braun Series 7 vs Series 9 topic and try to objectively address all the relevant aspects. Moreover, we’ll see when you should choose one over the other and if it’s worth the upgrade for current Series 7 owners.
Different models in a series, same performance
Before diving into the meaty details, it’s important to note that both the Series 7 and Series 9 are available in different variations. These include models suitable for dry only use (like the 790cc or the 9090cc), for wet & dry use (799cc, 9095cc) and they can also come with or without a cleaning station.
Some models can also have different names or color scheme depending on where they’re being sold. What really matters is that all the models in a series, be it 7 or 9, have identical performance and selecting one variations over another simply comes down to your personal needs and budget.
For this reason I won’t be referring to specific models from the Series 7 or the Series 9.
Braun Series 7 vs 9: shaving performance
There are many things to consider when deciding which electric razor would suit you the best. However, most of us will agree that shaving performance is probably the most important one, so we’ll start this Braun Series 7 vs 9 debate by looking at three factors: closeness, comfort and shaving time.
The closeness of the shave
The Series 7 was and still is a very popular electric shaver. One of the main reasons for its massive success was the definitely the shaving performance.
The high quality micro-foil, machined with high precision, as well as the sharp blades and specially designed middle trimmer made the Series 7 one of the best electric razor of its time, capable of providing very close shaves.
For most men, the closeness of the shave with the Series 7 should easily be good enough. The difference between shaving one side of your face with the Series 7 and the other one with the Series 9 will be negligible in the majority of cases, with a slight advantage for the Series 9. However, I will say that getting a close shave with the Series 9 requires less effort from your part as it’s significantly more powerful and also faster.
The Series 7 was for many years the benchmark in terms of comfort. As far as electric shavers go, the Series 7 was arguably the best choice for men with sensitive skin. The micro-pulsations made shaving with it feel more like a massage, while the shaving head remained reasonably cool during use, further increasing the comfort of the shave.
However, the Series 9 takes things one notch higher. With a more powerful motor and an improved design of the shaving head, the comfort during the shave is outstanding. The Series 9 remains perfectly cool during the shave, being extremely gentle to the skin.
Even men with blemish prone skin will probably be perfectly fine using the Series 9. The redesigned shaving head, with an additional trimmer that lifts flat lying hairs, mows through the stubble with ease, reducing the number of passes and minimizing the risk of irritation.
The Series 9 is the new reference in terms of comfort, although not by much as the Series 7 was already an excellent razor in this regard.
While the Series 9 marginally beats the Series 7 in the closeness and comfort departments, it’s the clear winner when it comes to shaving time and sheer power.
Being practically a beefed up Series 7, with more power and more cutting elements, the Series 9 shaves effortlessly even a two or three day beard and does so extremely fast.
Even if you have very coarse facial hair, the Series 9 will have no trouble in providing a very smooth and fast shave. If speed and effortless shaving is what you’re after, then the Series 9 is likely a better choice.
Winner: the Braun Series 9.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Series 7 set a very high standard for build quality and ergonomics. It was a sample of what made Braun world famous for its simple, innovative and user centered design solutions.
The new Series 9 is not really a clear advancement in this regard. The body of the razor is entirely made out of plastic and has a glossy chrome finish. While there’s not anything wrong with that, I would have expected the use of metal for such premium price, especially on the mighty expensive cassette — the older Series 7 actually has metal for this part.
The chrome finish is a fingerprint magnet and it’s impossible to keep it smudge-free. The gloss will also begin to tarnish with time. There’s a glossy black color scheme as well, but it’s not available in the US.
The shaver itself is larger than the Series 7, but this doesn’t affect the ergonomics in a negative way; it still feels nicely balanced in the hand, with the rubber inserts on the back providing a very secure grip.
The shaving head of the Series 7 is definitely smaller and feels more nimble when shaving tricky areas, like the mustache or around a goatee. The Series 9 is bulkier and takes some getting used to, but that’s the downside of having an extra cutting element.
The pop-up trimmer on the Series 9 is definitely better; its positioning and operation are definitely an improvement over the one found on the Series 7.
Winner: the Braun Series 7.
Purchase price and cost of ownership
This is a rare case in the Braun Series 7 vs 9 confrontation where the winner is pretty clear: the Series 7 takes the lead when it comes to value for money.
We’re interested in 2 elements here: purchase price and running costs. At the moment of writing, the price of a Series 7 is significantly lower compared to its Series 9 counterpart. Given the fact that it’s an older model, the price will probably go down even more as time passes.
The running costs imply new shaving heads (called cassettes) and cleaning cartridges (only for the models that come with a Clean & Renew station). Since the cleaning cartridges are the same, the only difference in running costs is made by the replacement heads.
Even if the prices for the Series 7 replacement cassettes have gone up lately, they’re still noticeable cheaper than the corresponding Series 9 parts, which are, in my opinion, outrageous.
If you’re on a tighter budget and want to reduce your running costs as much as possible, then the Series 7 is definitely the better choice.
Winner: the Braun Series 7.
Cleaning and maintenance
I usually don’t recommend buying an electric razor with a cleaning station as I don’t consider them to be necessary, especially with foil shavers which are generally very easy to clean manually.
However, I will admit that Braun’s cleaning stations are probably the best in the industry and I actually suggest you opt for razor that comes with one, be it a Series 7 or a Series 9.
The reasons are quite simple; first, it’s a really great cleaning station. The cartridges use an alcohol based solution that does an excellent job sanitizing and cleaning the shaver.
The solution also act as a lubricant, so there’s no need for additional lubrication of the shaver if you use the cleaning station regularly.
Secondly, Braun’s replacement cassettes can’t be taken apart, so a manual, thorough clean is more difficult. A cleaning station is definitely useful in this case.
Both the Series 7 and the Series 9 can be bought with or without a cleaning & charging station. They work the same way and use the same cleaning cartridges, but they are not backwards compatible. That means you won’t be able to use your Series 7 razor with a Series 9 station or the other way around.
The cleaning station for Series 9 has a more simplified, almost minimalist user interface that allows you to charge and clean the shaver with only one button. However, the real downside compared to the one of the Series 7 is related to the drying phase of the cleaning cycle.
The older model that comes with the Series 7 uses induction heat for drying the shaving head and this process is completely silent. The new base of the Series 9 uses a fan and while it is relatively silent (compared to other cleaning stations that use a fan), it takes almost three times longer to dry the razor. On the plus side, it does seem to dry it better than induction heat.
Braun Series 7 vs 9: Who should buy which?
Now that we’ve gone through all the important aspects of the Braun Series 7 vs 9, let’s see the scenarios where one would be more suitable than the other.
You should buy the Series 9 if you:
- Want the absolute best in terms of shaving comfort and closeness and your budget is not really a concern
- Have very sensitive, irritation prone skin
- Need an electric razor that shaves extremely fast
- Have very coarse facial hair
- Shave irregularly, even every 2 to three days
You should buy the Series 7 if you:
- Want the best compromise in terms of performance, comfort and costs
- Shave mostly daily or every other day
- Have sensitive skin and moderate to thick facial hair
If I were to weigh in on this matter, I would say that the Braun Series 7, regardless of its variations, would be perfectly fine for most men.
Series 7 owners: is it worth the upgrade to a Series 9?
If you already have a Series 7 and you’re wondering whether you should upgrade to a Series 9, the answer is not that straight forward.
If you’re currently satisfied with your Series 7, then the upgrade won’t be a significant improvement in terms of comfort or closeness. Definitely not to the extent of justifying the price difference. It will shave faster and you’ll likely see a difference in the time it takes to complete a shave, especially if you have very thick stubble. But that’s about it.
However, if you don’t find the Series 7 to shave as close, as comfortable or as fast as you’d like, then upgrading to a Series 9 is the more sensible decision. How significant will the upgrade be? Well, that really depends on your beard type and the shaving habits outlined above.
There’s really not a clear winner in this Braun Series 7 vs 9 battle when you consider all the facets of the problem. Regardless of your decision, you can’t really go wrong with any of the two as both the Series 7 and the Series 9 are arguably some of the best electric shavers you can buy today.