Foil Shaver vs. Rotary Shaver: Which one to choose?

Foil Shaver vs. Rotary Shaver: Which one to choose?

Are you looking to switch to an electric shaver?


Do you want to replace your old shaver? 

If yes, you might be bombarded with a series of questions pertaining to the best shaver. You might also be struggling with which type of electric shaver to choose: rotary shaver or foil shaver? 

In this post, we’ll guide you on the differences and what factors you should consider.

What is a foil shaver?

The thin sheets of metal with tiny holes are called foils. These foils cover the blades, and there are oscillating blades behind the foil. The tiny holes allow the hair to enter the shaver. The blades, also known as cutters move back and forth to cut the hair as it enters the foil. The foil shaver must be used in a straight line. 

Why choose foil shaver?

  • Gentle on the skin. The foils smooth the skin and cuts the hairs without pulling. 
  • Gives a more precise shave. The shaver head moves from left to right or top to bottom, allowing you to get near the sideburns or under the nose.
  • Works better at trimming sideburns and styling.

What is a rotary shaver?

A rotary shaver has round shaving foils with blades that move in a circular motion. Rotary shavers also have multiple independent shaving heads. Instead of just shaving in one direction like a foil shaver, rotary shavers can be used in circular motions across all the contours of a man’s head, face, and neck as well. Because you can move a rotary shaver in any direction while shaving, it is easier to shave hard to see and hard to reach places such as the back of your head, neck, or legs.

Why choose a rotary shaver?

  • Works well with fast-growing and thick hairs.
  • Easily maneuver the curves and contours of the face, legs, and back of the head.
  • Better for shaving large areas quickly.

Foil vs Rotary Shaver: Which one to choose?

Basis of Comparison

Foil Shaver

Rotary Shaver

Blade design

Designed to move in one direction.

Move in circular motions and cover a variety of directions independently.

Working System

Unidirectional foils pulling hair inside where oscillating blades cut the hair. 

Three or more rotary heads moving in multiple independent directions. Pulling hair inside where spinning blades cut the hair.

Best Use

Precision shaving where a specific line is necessary. Smaller areas that need careful use.

Shaving larger areas like the scalp, legs, and face. Can cover more surface area quickly.

How to choose between a Rotary Shaver and Foil Shaver?

A Rotary shaver might be best for you, if:

  • You have thick, or medium to coarse hairs.
  • You are shaving a large contoured area.
  • You like to be able to move the shaver in any direction, or want to shave an area that is hard to see.

A foil shaver might be best for you if:

  • You have relatively fine facial hair
  • You need real precision e.g. with sideburns
  • You shave in straight lines


Your shaving frequency and the type of skin and hair are major factors behind your selection. We hope this article has helped you to make an informed decision about which type of shaver you need for your specific look.

Happy Grooming!