The search for a stubble shaver

A while back I asked on my Instagram story whether anyone had recommendations for a stubble shaver. Quite specifically, a shaving device to maintain a certain length of stubble. Over the years I’ve had a few different shavers of a more universal type, where you fit various bits on them to adjust for the desired length, usually also adjusting the position of the blade on the shaver itself as well. My problem with this was, it just didn’t work that well and it felt like the stubble was not cut to a uniform length. Oddly, I didn’t get many recommendations, I actually got more guys asking me to share what I found out! Hence…

Oh, you may be wondering why stubble? It just works for me. It looks ok (my wife says I look weird when I’m clean-shaven and while I think she’s joking, she might not be) and it’s at about the level of maintenance I feel justifiable on a weekly basis.

So, when my latest electric shaver fell on the bathroom floor and developed a new way of working, where it felt like it was pulling out hair rather than cutting it, I decided it was time to “do my own research”. Rather than go for another “swiss army knife” device (a Swiss army knife is, to those in the know, a collection of sub-par tools bundled in a device that while handy to carry will almost always disappoint in use), I wanted to see if there was something more specific to my needs available.

(I was looking for a suitably stubbly celebrity photo to insert here, but unless I find a nice and recent snap of Brad Pitt, just use your imagination. Oh, OK, let’s go with this one, it kind of illustrates the manly look of some stubbly beard vs the cleanly shaven look of a guy that can not be trusted to empty the dishwasher.)


My call for help resulted in a few brand tips: Wahl, Conair, anything cheap (as they always break). The real problem once you start looking is that there are thousands of devices available (if not thousands, at least hundreds, it’s baffling in the extreme). There are also numerous sites offering tests and recommendations, though it’s very unclear whether they’ve actually tried the models they recommend, or whether it’s a bored intern doing a quick Google and building up an article with affiliate links. Plus, it seems like brand and model names vary between markets, models change frequently and the vendors are not great on listing with model numbers that can be searched for. Oh, and given the nature of shavers, the descriptions all read almost the same, full of superlatives and promises of a better life and perfect jawline.

In sum, it’s baffling and annoying and I almost gave up. I didn’t though, I kept trawling the deep searches for a hint of sanity. A few things I learnt underway: Brand names are different in different markets, ConAir and BaByliss are the US and European brand names (and if you ask me, both terrible). There are devices aimed at professionals and home users, and clearly, others are intended for the “gift market” (fancy box, cheap and nasty device). You really need to know what your intended use is, are you wanting a clean shave, to shape your full and lustrous beard, or just maintain a devil may care stubbly look. While, as mentioned above, there are devices that would like to be universal, they may not be the best for the specific purpose you are wanting it for.

I felt like I struck gold when I discovered one that was actually named “precision stubble”. It looked neat, was priced a bit above the more common shavers, but did have digital readouts of both desired stubble length and remaining minutes of battery time. Technology may yet save our species (just kidding, the digital display adds almost nothing to the utility of the device). I had to accept it was made by the very unmanly-named brand BaByliss though. Does the brand name matter at all? I think it does.

In any case, I ordered one and it’s been great. I set it to 2 millimetres, which appears to be a kind of agreed length for stubble, and the display confirms my choice whenever powered up. The other number is just how long the battery has left before I need to try to remember where the charger is (why can’t they just use a phone charger?). Whereas with other devices I found it difficult to find the required angle to allow the desired length of beard to remain attached, this one is smarter and I can basically just zoom around my face and end up with a good, even result. It also keeps most of the removed stubble inside, so it can be disposed of afterwards (this might not be an intended feature, but it works for me). Not having to remove beard-rubble from around the sink afterwards is a definite bonus. Basically, though, it does just what it said on the tin, which was really all I asked for.


So, there you go, the stubble trimmer I ended up with, and paid for myself. This is in no way an ad or sponsored. And I still think the brand name is terrible.


  • Lee 26/08/2021 at 14:14

    I myself have been looking for a decent stubble shaver, but find reviews to be generally unhelpful because they inevitably recommend 13 different models – so thank you!
    I was wondering how you find it on the top lip, as I find this area problematic to get perfect. I feel almost embarrassed talking about it, but getting it all the right length is something I do indeed fuss over.
    Keep up the good work, loving the blog and podcast.

    • nick 26/08/2021 at 14:25

      I feel it does a good job getting the stubble on the top lip the same length. To trim along the lip you flip the guide over and the cutting edge is available for use. While I’m quite whimsical when trimming my chops, this is where I pay much more attention, as that trimming blade will bit if careless.

      Thanks for the great feedback, much appreciated!

      • Lee Huuskes 30/08/2021 at 01:33

        I wish I’d discovered your experiment in gadgetry sooner, as I’ve recently bought one that does the job but lacks a few things. Perhaps I acknowledge the sunken cost and re-invest.
        Take care.

  • Lee Huuskes 30/08/2021 at 01:34

    I wish I’d discovered your experiment in gadgetry sooner, as I’ve recently bought one that does the job but lacks a few things. Perhaps I acknowledge the sunken cost and re-invest.
    Take care.

  • boucherdebois 02/09/2021 at 20:15

    ‘ Perfection is no accident ‘

  • boucherdebois 02/09/2021 at 23:48

    Some experts say ‘designer stubble’ is a 3-4 day growth, others up to 10. It used to be a faux pax [Nixon] and was called a ‘5-o-clock shadow’. When Jack Dempsey fought Jess Willard in 1919, he said he grew one to look more intimidating. Together with his heavy, dark brows and ‘high and tight’, it might have worked. King Camp Gillette popularized the safety razor by patenting disposable blades and obtaining an army contract in WWI. Before that Farmers would go into town on Saturday with their wives to shop and get their weekly shave.


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