Epilators are a tidier, faster, and more comfortable alternative to waxing for ladies who want to remove hairs right down to the root! At least, that’s what they ought to be.
Sadly, most epilators on the market are nothing short of torture devices. They’re extremely painful to use, and what’s more, they don’t even do a good job plucking hairs!
Don’t worry, though–we’re here to steer you clear of the crappy models and help you epilate comfortably.
Below, you’ll find our in-depth review of each–plus Alice’s personal take. We’ll talk you through all the reasons we’ve plucked these epilators from the crowded field, and help you figure out which one is the best choice for your hair-removal routine!
Best Epilator Reviews 2018
Braun Silk-epil 3
The Braun Silk-epil 3’s biggest selling point is its price! It’s very affordable, so it’s ideal for anyone who wants to try epilating without making a big investment. This isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but we think it’s the least you can pay for something that’s actually effective and well-designed. We suggest it because it’s a very inexpensive way into Braun’s Silk-epil design, which is by far the best on the market right now.
The 3 follows the same basic design as the more expensive Silk-epil’s. It has an epilating head with fast-moving tweezers, which pluck hairs out as you move it along your skin. The 3 has a 20-tweezer system which is quite effective as long as you move fairly slowly. It does a better job removing all the hairs cleanly than anything else under $50.
While it’s simple, it’s not exactly bare-bones! There’s a light to help you see and nab fine hairs and a set of attachments which includes a massage roller and a shaving attachment. You definitely get a lot for your money!
All in all, we think the Silk-epil 3 makes a good first epilator. It has 2 speed settings, so you can start slow and then speed up once you’ve gotten the hang of the process and become used to the sensation of epilating.
There are many good reasons why we think this is a better budget buy than some of the other, cheaper epilators on the market. For one thing, it’s dermatologist-recommended. Braun has a very impressive design team which comes up with creative beauty gadgets that work while keeping you safe. A lot of the cheap, knock-off products can roughly approximate that functionality but they don’t keep you as safe or as comfortable.
It’s reliable, too. That’s not a word you’ll hear used to describe any other epilators under $50! The rest of the market at this price is disposable crap. The Silk-epil might not be flashy or fancy, but it does the job well and should last a long time.
The upside of having a corded epilator is that you can take as much time as you like without having to think about battery life. That can be especially helpful when you’re starting out and haven’t developed your flow yet.
There are several downsides to cutting costs and sticking with the Silk-epil 3:
There are no exfoliating features, first of all. You might not mind that if you’re just starting out. Still, many of us like to do this treatment before epilating with an exfoliating attachment (like the ones you’ll find on the nicer Braun’s). It’s a nice way to get yourself relaxed and it also prevents ingrown hairs. You’ll find a lot more extras going up the price scale.
The narrow head takes longer to use than other Braun models. You’ll need to spend more time epilating with this one than you would with the 7 or the 9. This one doesn’t always take everything on the first pass, either. Both of those are likely down to the fact that the Silk-epil 3 has fewer tweezers than the newer, nicer Braun models.
Most noticeably, the Silk-epil 3 doesn’t do as good a job on fine hairs as the nicer Braun’s. The 3’s mediocre performance on fine hairs means it’s not a great choice for facial hair removal. It also will become more of an irritation over time. That’s because ladies who epilate regularly will find that hair grows back thinner, so you may outgrow the 3 in some sense, while that wouldn’t be an issue with the 7 or the 9.
The Silk-epil 3 is not a wet-dry model. You can’t wash it under running water, or use it when your body is wet. For most ladies, it’s worth it to spend more and get something you can use with damp body hair (that’s generally more painless).
It’s not cordless, so you’ll need to epilate near an outlet.
Braun Silk-epil 7
The Silk-epil 7 offers a nice compromise between premium functionality and a reasonable price point. It’s priced about halfway between the 3 and the 9, so we think it’s ideal for the average buyer. While you’ll miss out on certain features of the 9 by sticking with the 7, you definitely won’t feel like you’ve cheated yourself!
One of the biggest differences coming from the Silk-epil 3 to the Silk-epil 7 is the effectiveness of the tweezer head. The 7 takes much finer hairs than the 3, making it better for facial use, as well as folks who are already maintaining body hair. We’ve also found that it takes shorter hairs which are harder to grab with the 3. Of course, it’ll still grab all those longer, thicker hairs too!
Overall, the 7 proves to be more efficient in real-world use, taking more hairs in a single pass and getting the job done faster. We’re attributing that to its 32 tweezers, an increase of more than 50% over the 3. Since it makes the process faster and leaves very few hairs behind on the first pass, it’s simply more enjoyable to use on a regular basis.
Wet/dry functionality means you can use the 7 after a bath or shower. It’s more comfortable to epilate when your skin’s wet, so that makes the 7 much more pleasant to use than the 3. It also saves you having to dry off twice, since most of us like to go for a rinse after we epilate. You can even do it when you’re in the shower! With that said, you may find that it’s easier to spot hairs when there’s not water running over your body!
The biggest difference, though, is the fact the Silk-epil 7 is cordless! The 3 is a corded epilator, so you need to stay close to an outlet when you use it. The 7 works absolutely anywhere. Since most of us don’t have a wealth of outlets to use in the bathroom, that’s super convenient! It takes an hour to charge, gives you about 40 minutes of use depending on the settings and attachments you choose.
It keeps all the 3’s winning features: dual speed settings, a massage roller, and a trimmer head.
In addition to those, the 7 also comes with a bikini trimmer! It’s a detail tool which is very handy for trimming your bikini area before epilating (to make the sensitive areas more pleasant to go over). You can certainly buy a detailer separately, but having one thrown in here definitely adds to the value factor for the Silk-epil 7. It has everything you need (aside from creams or lotions) to maintain body hair all over your body.
As well as the separate detail trimmer, you can use the Silk-epil 7 as a trimmer using the alternate head. That’s fairly similar to the feature on the 3, but the 7 also includes a shaver cover which makes the trimmer head more maneuverable around the bikini area! There are also a few other accessories, like a comb head for the trimmer and a few caps which allow you to trim or epilate with a narrower focus. There’s a cleaning brush, too, as well as a carrying bag for everything.
It’s a reliable, dependable little gadget. Unlike other midrange cordless options, the Braun ought to last for a few years of use.
The 7 certainly works faster than the 3, but that’s mainly because the tweezer head is more efficient. It doesn’t give you much extra coverage. You’ll find that the 40% larger head on the 9 makes for an even bigger difference in pace. Is it absolutely essential? No. But, if you’re the sort of person who wants the absolute best thing, go for the 9!
The 9 is even more efficient, too. It has by far the most tweezers, so it stands to reason that it grabs even more hair than the 7. It’s as close to perfect as we’ve found. Again, the 7 is good enough for the average person. For ladies who like to go premium, the 9 is a better choice!
Braun Silk-epil 9
The first thing you’ll notice when you get your hands on the Silk-epil 9 is its size. While it still fits neatly in the hand, it has a 40% wider head compared to the 7! That’s a heck of a lot more coverage, allowing you to epilate more hairs with each pass. You can get the whole thing over with more quickly with the 9! It may not seem like a drastic improvement to simply have a bigger head on your epilator, but let’s face it–epilating is never a soothing experience. It’s always better to be able to get it over with fast.
You don’t lose any precision for the 9’s extra efficiency. Its micro-grip tweezers are just as good at pulling fine hairs out as the smaller 7’s. You can use this absolutely anywhere, even on fine facial hairs. And if you need to use it somewhere the big head doesn’t make sense, it has a few detailing covers to give you a finer touch. These are essentially the same as the caps that come with the 7, but sized appropriately for the 9. We would use them for armpits and facial areas, especially.
As well as having massage rollers like the 3 and 7, the Silk-epil 9 vibrates as it works! That helps to relax you, since you feel like you’re having a massage as well as plucking out hairs. We won’t pretend you’ll be able to forget that you’re epilating, but it definitely makes the experience more pleasant. The vibrations help distract you from feeling individual hairs as they’re plucked. We found that makes the whole operation a lot more enjoyable.
Overall, thanks to its efficient head, precision tweezers and massage function, the Braun Silk-epil 9 is by far the most comfortable and convenient epilator we’ve reviewed to date. Is it perfect? No. Even the best epilator on the market isn’t completely comfortable. Still, this little gadget makes the experience as pleasant as possible until someone comes up with a truly painless model.
Aside from the enlarged head and vibration function, the Silk-epil 9 is pretty much identical to the 7. It has a smart light to help you see all your hairs, it’s completely waterproof, and it’s cordless.
Just like the 7, it takes about an hour to charge and should give you about 40 minutes of use per cycle. It also includes a similar shaver head and a trimmer cap, plus the detailing covers mentioned above. The only significant difference is that the 9’s accessories are 40% larger.
The 9’s big bonus is an exfoliating brush attachment. You don’t get the detailing trimmer that comes with the 7, but you’ve probably already got one of those handy anyway! The 9 includes a spinning, waterproof exfoliating brush which Braun says works 6x better than manual treatments. We don’t know exactly how they’re measuring that, but we definitely agree that it’s effective. We especially love being able to use it in the shower!
The Silk-epil 9 is also available in a Skin Spa edition with extra exfoliating brushes. They’re really quite wonderful if you use them before epilating. If you want the full experience, treat yourself! They’re not essential, though.
It’s very expensive. You could buy several Silk-epil 3’s for the price of one Silk-epil 9. Don’t buy this unless you’re sure you want to stick with epilation and know you’ll get your money’s worth from it!
Even the best epilator on the market isn’t painless.
Which of these should you buy?
The Braun Silk-epil 3 makes for a good first epilator, or a budget choice for ladies who can’t afford to spend more. It gets the job done relatively painlessly and has a decent range of functionality for something well under $50. With that said, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience and be able to work more quickly with the 7 or the 9. Ladies with finer body hair and those who want to epilate facial hair will do well to invest in the 7, too.
The Braun Silk-epil 7 is the model we recommend to most people. It’s as precise as the Silk-epil 9, even if it doesn’t provide as much coverage.
The Braun Silk-epil 9 is simply the best epilator we’ve reviewed to date! It’s more efficient than the cheaper Braun’s, as well as anything else on the market. Its wide head makes epilating go much faster and the additional tweezers pick up far more per pass. You’ll definitely pay a premium for the 9, but you certainly get your money’s worth in attachments, features, and quality. Don’t feel bad sticking with the 7 if you can’t afford this one, though!
A Note On Our Recommendations
We know that it might seem a bit odd to read a buying guide which features only models from one company. You might be wondering at this point why we’ve chosen 3 Braun models, and not included some other manufacturers? It’s a fair question! Here’s what’s up with that:
For a start, there aren’t all that many companies making epilators. Among the big brands, Braun and Panasonic are the only ones making serious investments in epilator design and innovation. You’ll find that pretty much anything else you see is a generic knock-off of a Braun or Panasonic design. We think those models are best avoided, since they’re very cheaply made and can be both painful and dangerous to use.
Looking more closely at Braun and Panasonic, we think there’s just no comparison between the two companies. Braun is unquestionably the innovator where epilators are concerned. Most Panasonic models are tweaked Braun designs, as far as we can tell. We’ve also found that Braun beauty appliances hold up better over time than Panasonic’s.
We’re always on the hunt for new and improved epilators, just as we’re constantly revisiting and revising our other buying guides. So, we’ll let you know if we find something better in the future! At the moment, we can confidently say that Silk-epil models are the way to go.
Our Essential Epilator Buying Guide
Make Comfort Your First Priority
If you’ve ever used one of these devices before, you know as well as we do that the biggest difference between epilators isn’t their attachment set or list of features. No, the epilators that stand out are those that are either extremely painful or almost painless to use. Sadly, most of the gadgets on the market fall into the first category. There are a number of reasons why we’ve chosen the models we recommend, but comfort is the key one. They’re the closest to painless we’ve found.
So, what specific features make a given epilator less painful to use?
Having lots of tweezers is a good first step! The longer you have to spend epilating, the more discomfort you’ll experience. Models with more tweezers help you get the whole thing over with faster. A high tweezer density is the most important thing. You want lots and lots of tweezer sets in your epilator head, so that you don’t miss hairs or have snags and breaks. The more tweezers, the better! You’ll stand a better chance of getting a clean yank on each hair and you’ll leave less behind for a second pass. Epilators with larger tweezer heads can also up the comfort factor, simply because they cover ground faster. Not only does that make for a shorter session, but it spreads out the sensation across your skin so that you don’t end up feeling like you’re feeling needle stabs.
We’ve also found that while some massage features are annoying or gimmicky, having some basic massage rollers or a vibration function can definitely take the edge of epilation. Massage features help relax the skin (and you) as you work. They’re not absolutely essential, but they’re definitely one reason why premium models end up feeling closer to painless.
Decide On Your Budget
Epilators can cost as little as $30 for a decent budget model. You can also spend upwards of $150 for something premium with an accessory kit. There’s definitely a big increase in quality as you go up the price scale. More expensive models have more precise tweezer systems and are likely to have more comfort features like massage or vibration. They also offer the convenience of wet/dry operation and cordless power. If you want something cordless and waterproof, plan to drop at least $100.
If you’re shopping for your first epilator, you have a bit of a dilemma in front of you. It makes sense to spend relatively little on a first epilator, if you don’t know you’ll be sticking with epilation for your hair removal routine. On the other hand, spending more will get you a more enjoyable experience, so you might want to spend up for a midrange model that gives you a more painless session. Think about how much you can afford to spend, and bear in mind that any epilator will quickly pay for itself in savings compared to professional waxing treatments!
Think About Features
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to consider which features are essential for you. Giving thought to specific features before you start shopping will help you narrow down your options fast!
Wet/dry epilators are exactly what they sound like: gadgets which work in and out of the shower, and on wet and dry skin. Many of us find epilation easier with wet skin and hair, and some ladies even epilate while showering. All midrange and premium models are completely waterproof. Plan to spend at least $100 for a good wet/dry model. There are several reasons why wet/dry models are handy, from comfort to cleaning. Still, if this isn’t an essential feature for you, you can save a lot of money by choosing a non-waterproof model.
You’ll find that a lot of epilators are sold with accessory kits in a beauty bundle. If you already use exfoliating brushes manually, this is an easy way to up your game. Motorized brush heads are a lot more effective than your hand tools. You can even use them underwater, assuming you choose a wet/dry model. If they’re not super important to you, you can usually knock a decent chunk off the price of most epilator models by choosing a package without them.
Any decent epilator sold today will also come with a trimmer attachment, which you can use to trim hairs before epilating and to shave areas where you want to maintain some hair. A trimmer head shouldn’t decide your purchase for you, since the vast majority of models include them. If you already have a favorite trimmer to use, you can ignore this part of your epilator kit. However, a lot of us find it convenient to simplify and use one gadget for several things. That’s why it’s worth making sure your epilator’s trimmer attachment will come with combs and caps if you use them to trim!
Finally, think about whether you want a corded or cordless epilator! As with waterproofing, all midrange and premium models sold today will be cordless (that’s essential for using them in the shower, as well as being more convenient). If you travel often, or don’t have many outlets to use in your bathroom, there’s no question that you should buy a cordless model. If you know you’ll always epilate by an outlet and don’t mind having to do so dry, you can save a lot of money by going old-school.
For more of our expert reviews, recommendations, and advice, head to our homepage! That’s the best place to find links to all our guides, as well as fun blogs and tutorials from our team!