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If you’re one of the lucky few who can get away with never touching a blade to your head or face, consider yourself charmed. By using an electric razor exclusively, you’re free! Free of shaving cream, razors, and messes … except, of course, for the cascade of whiskers in the bathroom sink. And on the counter. And on the floor. And in the grout between the tiles. And in the soap dish. And between the bristles of your toothbrush … yeah okay, it’s handy, but kind of gross.
We used to get a ton of grief from the wife about this. We always brushed up as best we could, but even if we had a portable vacuum we couldn’t get every last whisker. So her frustration was understandable. What we really needed was not a Dustbuster, but rather, a faithful servant to hold a vacuum cleaner to our noggin while we shaved our head and face.
The solution of course was nothing quite so glamorous and ridiculous as a vacuum valet. The answer, instead, lay in one of those “Why didn’t I think of this?” inventions that never occurred to us but makes total sense: a vacuum clipper/trimmer.
Norelco’s 7200 and Remington’s 18-piece Cordless Vacuum Haircut Kit (HC6550) are cordless haircutters with integrated vacuum motors designed to suck up clippings and whiskers. They’re different machines designed to do pretty much exactly the same thing, and both work as advertised, getting the clippings into the machine and off your bathroom counter. For the most part.
The Norelco 7200 ($60 from Amazon) is a small, lightweight beard trimmer with a handy spin-dial that adjusts the length of the trim guard, allowing you to literally dial in a desired whisker length. The vacuum motor is strong, and the suction created by the little machine is surprisingly effective. We tried it with a full beard around ¾-inch, and for shaving nearly clean with the setting at zero — and it worked great for both, not only cutting clean but sucking up both long clips and tiny shavings. It kept the longer beard sharp and even, and our stubbly shadow clean and tight. We even tried it once when our head was growing out, just for kicks. It took a while, but did the job.
The dial-up length is great for on-the-fly adjustments, too. Not happy with how your beard looks on a given day? Pull back, spin the dial, and a new look is just a few swipes away. And clean-up is a breeze: Just unclick the head, and rinse the blade under the sink.
The only drawback to the Norelco is that while the vacuum is strong, most of us swipe, clip, and trim our beards in a variety of angles, and at some point during the process the beard trimmer ends up upside-down. Well, the suction is strong but not that strong, and it took us a few times of mystery hair in the sink before we realized that turning the Norelco upside down caused a lot of the shavings to dump out. Simple, yet annoying. But now we know.
The Remington (also $60 at Amazon) has no such qualms, probably because it’s larger and has a more powerful vacuum motor. But it’s made for haircutting and boy does it suck — in a good way. The blade is wider, almost two inches, which is great for scalpwork. And the chamber for holding clippings is much larger. The unit itself is large and fills the hand, making it slightly harder to manipulate than the beard trimmer.. But that’s to be expected from full-size hair clippers.
Rather than an adjustment dial, the Remington uses traditional clip-on cutting combs. It’s got all the tools most electric clippers do: ear taper combs, scissors, blade oil, cleaning brush, etc. So it looks, feels and handles like a typical cordless hair clipper. The titanium-coated blade is great and makes precise, clean cuts on everythign from tiny stubble to longer hairs. I’ve tried it with the #0 as well as #s 2, 4, and 7, and the results were spectacular.
But it’s that vacuum that makes the machine a 21st century solution. The Remington sucks up everything from whiskers to hairs, and despite the wide mouth of the chamber the shavings stay in there, for the most part. Of course, a few suicidal stragglers make the leap, but the counter and sink are a breeze to clean up these days.
No matter if you want to keep your beard trim or your head high and tight, both of these cordless vacuum trimmers will do the job. Both hold a charge for about an hour, make you wonder how you ever used a blade. Or wiped out a sink.