Truth be told, we feel quite conflicted about the Wahl Aqua Blade (£50), which is probably more conflicted than anyone should feel about any beard trimmer. At its absolute core, this is a quality product. Close to the best of the bunch we’ve tested here in fact.
Although you might not be too familiar with Wahl, it’s been in the grooming game for 100 years. Chances are you have your hair cut every month by a pair of Wahl-made clippers, which goes a long way to explaining the quality of this product’s trimming abilities. With a wide, pin-sharp head, the Aqua Blade breezes through bushy growth and – if you pair it with a decent shaving foam – does a great job fine-tuning your stubble when many beard trimmers struggle at such short lengths. So much so that we emerged from this close cut scenario with nary a scratch.
The downside? It doesn’t quite exude the air of a premium device. A rubberised grip on its sides allows for close control, but the general build quality almost falls on the Fisher-Price side of plasticky. More notably, its attachments for altering trim length feel flimsy and attaching them to the Aqua Blade is awkward. The same goes for reattaching this trimmer’s head if you remove it for cleaning. As such, the Aqua Blade isn’t quite the slam dunk that it really should be.
Pros: Fundamentally a great shaver Cons: Not quite as premium as its price tag; attachments are flimsy
Price: £82 | Check price on Amazon | Boots | John Lewis
King C. Gillette Cordless Beard Trimmer Kit
Strong performer at a very low price
The ergonomic design of the King C. Gillette Cordless Beard Trimmer Kit (£20) doesn’t stand out much; aside from the Harrys-esque packaging here, beard trimmers that look like this are ten a penny.
The proof is in the pudding, though, and, for just £20, it’s hard to argue this King C. Gillette trimmer doesn’t offer strong value for money. Admittedly, those with longer beards or who like precision trimming will want to look at higher-priced devices. However, for those taming a short to mid-size length beard, the performance of this beard trimmer is more than good enough.
In the kit, you get a short beard comb, long beard comb and stubble comb. The short beard comb does a good job of doing away with stragglers and neatening up your look but it does miss the odd hair, meaning you may end up carrying out a longer shave than you might with more capable trimmers. This is slightly worse in the long beard department; definitely avoid if you’re sporting a more substantial face warmer. Both combs are easy enough to adjust, with a slider on the side to move between lengths.
The stubble comb also does what it says on the tin and keeps your stubble uniform, which isn’t always guaranteed with budget models. Cleaning is simple too, with a cleaning brush included and easy access to the inner workings where those awkward hairs build up. The advertised 50-minute battery life lives up to expectations too, meaning you shouldn’t need to charge more than once per week.
For those who may be excited to see something new from Gillette, via the new King C. Gillette branding, it is worth noting that the company has worked with Braun on this beard trimmer – and it’s very similar to its budget offerings rather than something completely new.
Pros: Impressive value-for-money; capable short beard tamer; good on stubble Cons: Lacks supreme precision; not great for long beards
Price: £20 | Check price on Boots | Amazon | Gillette