Philips Norelco
Electric Razor 2100

The Philips Norelco is just about right at the top of the popularity charts when it comes to electric shavers. That’s understandable, given that it’s very affordable, but that doesn’t go all the way in explaining why people like the 2100 so much. After all, it’s the second-lowest model in the range. It is, however, the cheapest cordless model that Philips Norelco make in this series. So if price were the only factor, you’d expect to see the cheaper model outpace the 2100, which is obviously not the case.

So we know that the 2100 is popular, but lots of things that are objectively bad are also popular. How else do you explain those horrible Twilight movies?

Back to Basics

If we look at the design of this shaver it’s all pretty conventional. It’s a three-head rotary unit that follows your facial hair with four-direction flex heads. It’s got a very nice, simple look. All-black, with a single dark-blue slash and a single green LED. Overall this is just-right in terms of design. I don’t think anyone would feel ashamed to have this in view. Even if this is a budget razor, nothing about the way it looks says “cheapskate”.

A Close Cut Thing

One disadvantage that rotary razors have compared to foil razors is that they just don’t quite give as close a shave. Which is why just about every rotary design tries to improve on just how short they can cut your facial hair with each new generation. The 2100 is no different and features what Philips Norelco refer to as the “close cut blade system”. I know, they fired the whole creative naming department, apparently.

The blades are self-sharpening and precision machined to make the best of your attempts to avoid a straight razor to the neck. From people who have actually shaved with it, the response has been positive. It’s not the closest, smoothest shave in town, but for the money you could do way worse.

Batter-y Up!

The 2100 uses a lithium-ion battery, which is good. What’s also good is the relatively short eight hours it needs to fully charge. That will net you a claimed 35 minutes of shaving, which is about seven full shaves. I don’t see any mention of a quick charge function or the ability to run directly off the cord, so this is definitely not for forgetful people. Personally I consider seven shaves to be the working minimum. Why? That equates to a week’s worth of morning shaves with one recharge overnight. Any less and you run the risk of being caught out, just when you need that shave most.

Spic and Span

I have to rate the washability of this razor highly. I’ve had razors in the past that you basically had to take apart into little pieces just to clean the blades, but the 2100 has a one-button system that flips the head up on a hinge and lets you rinse it directly with tap water. It’s a great design feature. Personally I hate faffing about with brushes, and the stubble mulch gets everywhere. It’s a real pain, so I appreciate this a lot.

Extra! Extra!

The 2100 is light on extra features, but it does have a pop-up trimmer to tackle your mustache or sideburns. Admittedly, this is now quite a common feature, but don’t forget how far down the totem pole the 2100 is in terms of the range and its price. So in that context I really like the inclusion of the pop-up trimmer.

Shower Hour

Although you can rinse the head under water to easily clean this razor, it is not a wet & dry model. So no shower shaves for you if you throw in with the 2100. I’m not too surprised though. Only the top-end 3500 has that feature in this range, so there is no reason to feel short-changed by this.

The People’s Choice

Based on what people who have bought and lived with the 2100 say, it seems there are no real negatives to this razor. Obviously, if you buy something more expensive it will have more battery life, be quieter, and come with features like quick charge and corded operation. That’s not the point, however. This is a razor that’s good enough not to be junk, without adding any extra cost. Basically, it’s one of the best values for the money in electric razors on the market today. It’s perfect for people moving up from cheap disposable razors or from a cheap and nasty electric one.

If I only had fifty bucks or less to spend on an electric razor, I can’t really think of any other product I’d rather buy. I’d say the 2100 deserves its popularity and if budget is at the top of your priority list, this is the one to have.