Braun have recently released there new beard trimmer, the BT5090; the follow up from Brauns much loved Cruzer trimmer.
While Braun is widely known for their range of electric shavers, their beard trimmers take a back seat. But is there a good reason for this?
We examine the BT5090 in great detail to discover what it’s good at, what it sucks at and most importantly; whether or not it’s the right beard trimmer for you.
Unboxing the Braun BT5090 Beard Trimmer
If you were to tear open the packaging on your band new Bran BT5090 Beard trimmer, this is what you would find inside:
Let’s break it down:
- Braun BT5090 beard trimmer
- Short hair comb
- Long hair comb
- Charging cord
- Charging stand
- Appliance oil
- Soft travel pouch
You will also find an instruction manual. Like most Braun instruction manuals, it is set out pretty poorly and light on information.
Towards the rear of the instruction manual we were pleased to find that Braun also offers the same 60 day satisfaction guarantee that it does on they offer on their electric shavers.
If for any reason you are not satisfied with your beard trimmer you can return it directly to Braun for a full refund of the purchase price within 60 days. It’s a lovely safety net allowing you to trial the BT5090 to see if it’s right for you.
Examining the Braun BT 5090 Beard Trimmer
The BT5090 is by far the best looking beard trimmer in Brauns BT range. The silver contrasts nicely to the black making it stand out on any bathroom countertop.
Don’t be fooled by it’s shiny metallic looks, besides the blade, the exterior of the BT5090 is entirely made from plastic and rubber. We will note that the silver plastic used in the beard trimmer is incredibly resistant to Fingerprints and watermarks, something the gloss black surface of the BT5070 struggles with.
As we saw on Brauns older Cruzer range of beard trimmers (that the BT trimmers replace), there is not power button on the front of the trimmer.
Instead Braun has attached a separate detail trimmer to the front of the unit. Braun’s marketing team has named this the “Slide&Style system”.
Releasing the trimmer is simple. Front and center on the beard trimmer is a oval shaped button:
Pressing down on this button while sliding upwards with your thumb releases the detail trimmer.
The detail trimmer is used when more precision is required than the large main blade can offer. Namely providing shape to goatees, sideburns and mustaches.
The detail trimmer sticks out past the main trimmer when released and locks into place.
Truth be told, we are a little puzzled why Braun would place the worst part of the BT5090 front and center on their flagship beard trimmer. The detailed trimmer can only be called average at best, and we feel that is being generous.
Why is it so bad?
For starters, the detail trimmer sits somewhat loose, even when retracted. Sliding your thumb over the detail trimmer causes it to wobble back and forth. Then there is the facer that compared to the amazingly finished silver body, the plastic used in the trimmer feels cheap and nasty.
Releasing the trimmer is an equally unenjoyable experience. Unlike the built in trimmers on Braun’s electric shavers that spring into action when released, the BT5090 detail trimmer needs to be pushed into position. And the movement is hardly fluid, in fact it’s quite jerky.
Performance wise the detail trimmer is okay if on the weak side. This was highlighted when it was compared to the
We actually feel that the inclusion precision trimmer detracts from what is otherwise a premium feeling trimmer. The best part about the detail trimmer is that it’s use is optional.
Just underneath the detail trimmer you will see a small dark colored oval:
This is the battery indicator and will flash red or green according how much charge is remaining in the battery of the BT5090. We will cover this in more detail in the charging section, further down the review.
At the very bottom of the BT5090, hidden from view is the charging socket:
This is where you will plug the charger into when the time comes to charge the beard trimmers battery.
Now let’s flip over the beard trimmer and take a closer look at the rear:
The rear is covered in a sticky black rubber. Your fingers will naturally rest hear while you hold the shaver. The rubber acts as a grip to prevent the beard trimmer from slipping through your hands during use.
Now when we say sticky, we mean sticky. We found the rubber attracted dust and dirt quite easily. This is a problem with many rubber grips and is nothing a quick rinse under water cannot fix.
It is here that Braun has placed the power button for the beard trimmer:
This is interesting in that most manufacturers of beard trimmers place the power button on the side of the unit that faces up. Braun has done the opposite.
And whether you appreciate the button placement or not will entirely depend on how you hold the trimmer. If you like to trim your beard with the blade and comb angled down then the power button is within easy reach and it’s placement just makes sense.
However if you prefer to trim your beard with the blades and comb angled up then the button placement will take some getting used to. While we initially were not fans of where the power button is located, after a few uses it did not bother us at all.
The power button is responsive and makes a satisfying click sound when pressed. We also liked that the button sits ever so slightly recessed, which helped prevent objects from bumping the button; turning the beard trimmer on by mistake.
Also printed on the rear are some basic specifications like the battery inside the unit (NiMH) and the country of manufacturer (China).
Last but not least is the blades:
The trimmer blades [of the BT5090] are engineered to stay sharp for their whole life.
And this is likely true. But Braun is talking about the life of the product, not your life. The battery of the BT5090 cannot be replaced (a common feature of beard trimmers). When the battery deteriorates to a point where the product is unusable years later, the whole unit must be replaced.
We had no complaints about the blades. They were sharp enough to cut through all types of hair they encountered.
Braun BT5090 Combs
The Braun BT5090 comes with two detachable combs. One to give your beard a trim and another to give yourself a haircut.
On either side of the beard trimmer you will find small slots used to attach the combs:
Both of the combs clip neatly into these slots and remain securely attached to the BT5090 until removed.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the combs:
1. Precision comb – for beard hair.
If you like a little length left in your beard and like to keep it neat and tidy then this is the attachment that will receive the most use.
While the tiny detail trimmer is basically useless, we did like that Braun left a gap in the precision comb so that it did not obstruct the detail trimmer from sliding up.
A dial located at the back of the of the comb allows you to extend the gap between the comb and the blades by a precise amount with each turn:
Annoyingly, or not depending on where you are located in the world, Braun has chosen to use the metric system to determine the length raised. Each number on the dial adds an extra .5 mm to the gap between the comb and blades up to a maximum of 10mm.
The wider the gap, the more beard the trimmer will leave behind. On the lowest setting (1) you will be left with a three-day stubble look. On the highest (10) the beard trimmer is able to provide some much needed shape to a bushy beard without thinning it out too much.
Just above the dial is a small grey switch. This switch allows you to lock the dial into your preferred position, ensuring you get the same level cut each time you go to use the beard trimmer.
Overall the Precision comb was well made. Even on the highest setting the teeth of the comb didn’t bend or flex too much, which is a common problem with plastic beard trimmer combs.
2. Hair Comb – For shaving your head
For those of you that also shave your head, Braun has included a long hair comb in the box of the BT5090, essentially creating a trimming tool for your entire head.
While this may seem like amazing value, we must warn you that the hair comb is of poor quality relative to the amazing precision comb we looked at above.
The build quality of the hair trimmer is much worse and it is very obvious that Braun has used a poorer quality plastic in it’s construction. The teeth of the comb also bends and flexes as you guide it through long hair.
The hair comb can be extended from 10 mm to 20 mm in increments of 2mm. The measurement selector is only visible on the right hand side of the beard trimmer. This means that if you hold the BT5090 in your right hand you will have to awkwardly rotate the trimmer to see which length is selected. It is clearly visible when held in the left hand.
While the BT5090 can be used to give yourself a haircut, it was an wasn’t an enjoyable experience. The motor of the BT5090 really seemed to struggle on anything but the slowest swipes, especially for thick hair.
The comb also had a bad habit of getting clogged, sometimes after a single stroke. When this would happen we had to shake or blow the hair out of the comb before proceeding. We will concede that the trimmer appeared to work better on children’s hair than it did on adults.
If you are looking for a hair clipper we recommend skipping the BT5090 and buying a dedicated hair clipper. Use it for beards only.
Charging the BT5090 Beard Trimmer
There are two different ways you can charge your BT5090. Both methods use the charging adapter included in the box:
Braun has done away with the awful curly cord that is found on their range of electric shavers. These chargers had cables that were far too short. Not so on the BT5090. The cable can reach over 6 foot and should be long enough to stretch from your electrical outlets to the bathroom counter.
The charger is multi-voltage (dual volatage) and will work in almost any country on earth. As long as the power outlet outputs between 100v and 240v you your beard trimmer will charge. The only thing you need is a travel adapter to fit the odd shaped electrical outlets you come across on your travels.
The charging cable can plug straight into the socket found on the handle of the BT5090 like so:
The indicator light will flash green to let you know the battery is charging. To let you know that charging is complete the indicator light will permanently shine green.
It takes roughly an hour to fully charge the NiMH battery of the BT5090. When fully charged we were able to use the beard trimmer for an average of 45 minutes before the battery would die. But before this happens the charge indicator will flash red warning you that the battery is running low.
The Braun BT5090 can be used corded. While it will not impact the shave, it offers an extra way to use your beard trimmer.
One advantage the BT5090 has over the other Braun beard trimmers is the included charging stand:
The charging stand is a handy piece of equipment for those of you that shave exclusively at home. Instead of unplugging and plugging the charger cord into the handle of the BT5090, you simply place the beard trimmer down on the stand and it will immediately begin to charge.
Since the charging cable plugs into the charging stand you can only use one method or the other to charge your beard trimmer.
Testing the Braun BT5090 Beard Trimmer
With the battery fully charged, it’s time to take the Braun BT5090 for a testdrive.
We tested the Braun BT5090 on 5 different males of varying hair types. The following contains summaries of their experience.
Picking up the beard trimmer reveals that it is surprisingly light. Fingers neatly wrapped around the handle and the rubber grip helped keep a steady grasp. While the handle felt comfortable to hold in either hand, it did feel a little bottom heavy.
Turning the power button will reward your ears with the loud humming sound that is typically given off by a bead trimmer. While the sound is hardly loud, you may find that it can still wake a light sleeper.
Blade to beard the BT5090 satisfactorily cut through hairs. However it did feel a little underpowered. While the beard trimmer could cut through thick and bushy beards, the movement to do so needed to be slow and fluid. Moving quickly resulted in missed hairs.
Medium to Fine beard hairs? The Beard trimmer cut through those like a knife through butter.
Testers appreciated the fact that only a single comb attachment and were impressed with just how easy they adjusted. Unfortunately, being Americans, the metric measurements didn’t make sense and most testers relied on trial and error to find their preferred length setting.
Without the guard the blade cut whiskers to a short stubble. Care had to be taken around the neck, particularly below the chin and around the jawline. Skin needed to be pulled tight otherwise the blades would nick the skin. The BT5090 gave the most comfortable experience when covered with the precision comb.
While the thicker comb teeth did help prevent the comb from bending and flexing, it also reduced the exposed blade area. This essentially means that the beard trimmer will require more passes to trim your hairs to an even level.
We noticed a dramatic decrease in performance as the battery began run low, something that was much less noticeable on other beard trimmers we tested. However, keeping the battery topped up saw performance remain constant.
Testers also liked that the travel case had enough room for both the charger and the beard trimmer:
However, the case was soft and wouldn’t provide much protection to the trimmer in the case of a fall. Still, it’s a handy inclusion to keep everything neatly together.
The Braun BT5090 is a competent beard trimmer that tries to do too many things at once. As a detail trimmer and hair clipper, there are much better products on the market. We feel that Braun did the BT5090 a disservice by half-heartedly including them.
But as a beard trimmer the BT5090 does it’s job well enough but we can’t help but feel you are paying a premium price for a product that at beast sits in the middle of the pack.
But it trims hairs and the blades remained sharp throughout our testing. The 60 day satisfaction guarantee also provides a nice safety net, allowing you to return the trimmer if you find that it to be unsuitable.
The real question you have to ask yourself:
Is the stylish metallic body, travel case and charging stand worth the extra $20 you will pay over the BT5070?
If you cannot answer in the positive then we recommend checking out the lower model BT5070 for a near identical but cheaper experience.