The Braun Series 5 is what many consider the entry point to experiencing the best possible shave that Braun has to offer and that anything less is just settling.
Pretty lofty statements. Can the Series 5 hold up as we explore everything it has to offer in our detailed review? Let’s find out.
There are currently three Series 5 models available on the American market:
5090cc: The top of the line model (reviewed) with included cleaning station.
5030s: Identical to the above model but does not come with a cleaning dock.
5040s: Wet/Dry model. Blue highlights instead of red. No cleaning dock.
Braun Series 5 Electric Shaver
What’s in the box?
If you were to unpack your bran new Series 5 shaver, this is what would be waiting for you:
The Series 5 Box consists of the following:
- Instruction Manual
- Braun Series 5 Electric Shaver
- Travel Case
- Cleaning Station
- Cleaning Cassette
- Charging Plug and Cord
- Cleaning Brush
Let’s take a closer look at each. Starting with…
1. Instruction Manual
If you are stuck, chances are what you need to know is in the Instruction manual.
As I have come to expect; Braun has set out their instruction manual in a confusing manner and even refers to models of the Series 5 that are not available here in the United States.
Next up is the star of the show:
2. Braun Series 5 Electric Shaver
I will be examining the shaver in much greater detail in the next section. Right after I am finished showing you the contents of the box.
To keep your shaver safe and sound; Braun has included a:
3. Travel Case
If you travel a lot or simply want to keep your shaver clean when not in use, a travel case is a must. The hard outer shell is just the thing you need to keep your shaver safe from drops.
The travel case has just enough room for the Series 5 Shaver. Unfortunately, this means you will have to pack the charging cord separately when traveling.
When shaving at home in the comfort of your own bathroom, the cleaning station will be your best friend:
4. Cleaning Station
The cleaning station is essentially a dock that cleans, charges and lubricates your electric shaver. Without any effort from you.
Oddly enough, the cleaning station looks near identical to that found in the box of Braun’s top end shaver, the Series 9. This is in no way a bad. It’s definitely one of the better looking cleaning docks on the market.
The cleaning station runs off Braun’s trademark cleaning cassettes:
5. Cleaning Cassette
Unlike all the other electric shaving brands, Braun’s cleaning cartridges are alcohol based.
In our opinion, the alcohol provides a superior clean but it brings with it a problem.
Many postal services that ship by air classify alcohol in any amount as a hazardous material. As a result, they may charge what is known as a hazardous material handling fee. While the fee is generally minor, it is worth mentioning, especially if you plan to ship this product internationally.
And because you have to charge your Series 5 Shaver somehow:
6. Charging Plug and Cord
The charging cord either plugs directly into your electric shaver or into the cleaning station.
Braun is the only brand to use a coiled cord with their charger.
Last item in the box:
7. Cleaning Brush
Barely bigger than your thumb, the cleaning brush beats picking hair clippings out of your shaver by hand.
And that covers everything that comes in the box. Now let’s take a closer look at the Braun Series 5 Shaver…
The Braun Series 5 is definitely one of the nicer looking shavers on the market. The black color scheme with silver and red highlights has really had some thought put into it.
You may have noticed that the shape of the Series 5 is very similar to that of the Series 9. This becomes especially obvious when compared side by side:
Even things like button placement and charging port are almost the same. Oh, and they feel near identical in the hand too.
So if Braun considers the body good enough for the Series 9 then this is a bargain at half the price.
The top button on the front of the shaver is the shaving headlock:
Sliding this button locks the shaver head into 1 of 5 different positions and stops it from moving back and forth, ideal for shaving tricky areas like under the nose.
When I reviewed the Braun series 7 (790cc-4), the locking mechanism was so awful that it broke on me.
Despite taking up a large amount of space on the front of the shaver, the Series 5 shaver head locking system is far superior.
If you look closely at the shaver button you will notice that the surface is covered with a textured rubber grip. This small detail makes the lock easy to toggle even if your hands as covered in shaving foam!
Just below the shaver lock is the power button:
The power button performs one of two different functions:
1. On/Off: You have to turn the shaver on somehow, right?
2. Travel Lock: Holding down the power button for 3 seconds will activate travel lock.
When travel lock is activated, you will be unable to turn your shaver on by mistake.
As you may have guessed by the name, travel lock is most commonly used when you are squashing your electric shaver into an already overflowing luggage.
Even if something presses up against the power button, the shaver won’t turn on.
When travel lock is activated, a red padlock will appear on the Series 5 display screen (located just underneath the power button). Pressing and holding the power button for another 3 seconds will disable travel lock.
At the very base of the Series 5, you will find the charging port.
That pretty much takes care of all the fun stuff on the front. Let’s flip the shaver over and check out its booty:
The back is covered with a sticky rubber grip. Even if you are the most clumsy person on earth, this thing is staying in your hands, wet or dry.
If you looked closely at the photo above you may have noticed small, black oval shaped button in the center of the shaver.
This is the release for the beard trimmer.
Simply press the button in with your thumb while sliding upwards and the trimmer will spring right up.
The beard trimmer is identical to that of the Series 9. This is both a good and bad thing.
I love how the trimmer blends seamlessly with the rear of the Series 5 shaver and it is probably one of the best looking pop-up trimmers at the time of writing this review.
Unfortunately, the pop-up trimmer sits almost at the same height as the shaver head. This makes it incredibly difficult to see what it is you are trimming.
This problem becomes especially obvious if you are using this trimmer on your upper lip; say if you were tidying up your mustache. You just can’t see a darn thing.
Despite this flaw, the trimmer works best for detailing (sideburns, goatees etc.). The small size of the trimming head means that it will take forever to trim off an entire beard. It’s a sad fact that this trimmer just won’t replace your separate every-day beard trimmer.
Etched into the trimmer molding are the words “Made in Germany”. Germany is the manufacturing location of choice for all of Braun’s higher-end electric shavers.
If you look closely you will notice a metal stud on either side of the trimmer:
These are called charging studs and when they make contact with the included cleaning station, the battery will instantly begin to charge. Much simpler than plugging and unplugging the charging cord from your shaver.
Sitting on top of the Series 5 like a silver crown is the shaving unit:
If you think the shaving unit looks familiar, that’s because it is. The shaving unit is identical to the one found on top of the Braun Series 7 (Model 790cc-4).
In our Series 7 review we looked at how you could take the head of the series 7 and slide perfectly on to of the Series 5, picture below.
The only difference between the two shaving units is that the molding on the Series 5 shaving unit is slightly longer. Because of this, while the Series 7 shaving head will fit the series 5, that of the Series 5 won’t fit the Series 7.
So does this mean the Series 5 shaves identically to the Series 7?
The Series 7 has sonic technology. While this is just another marketing word, it essentially means that the Series 7 shaver uses micro vibrations which help lift flat laying hairs.
In our test of the two, the micro-vibrations made a slight difference to the shave but not so much that we would declare the end result of the shave superior.
The shaving unit contains three shaving heads:
1 x ActiveLift (Middle): Lifts and cuts flat laying hairs
2 x Crosshair Foil Guards (Top and Bottom): Capture and shave stubble down to the skin.
Unfortunately, the pattern of Braun’s foil guards leave something to be desired. The pattern is not uniform the entire way across, and contains odd irregularities like this:
This flaw was also present in the Series 9 and Series 7 Shavers we reviewed. It would be impossible to find how many (if any) hairs are missed by this irregular shape. I am only drawing attention to it because other brands of electric shavers do not contain this flaw.
Each of the three shaving heads can individually flex left and right:
In an effort to help those of you with poor shaving technique, the shaving heads have a certain amount of give. This will be of great help to those of you who are tempted to apply too much pressure when shaving.
As you are no doubt aware, pressing down too hard with your electric shaver will reward you with a nasty bit of razor-burn. The flexible heads make it much more difficult to apply to much pressure (although you still can if you want to.)
There is nothing more painful than razor burn. I am a fan of any feature that helps prevent it.
But it’s not just the shaving heads that can move. The entire shaving unit can tilt back and forth as well:
As you are no doubt aware, you face isn’t exactly flat. This is where the pivoting shaving unit comes in.
As you glide the Series 5 shaver over the contours of your face, the shaving unit will pivot back and forth to keep the heads of the shaver in contact with the surface of your skin at all times.
If it isn’t touching your skin, it isn’t cutting hairs. It’s as simple as that.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, you can lock the shaving unit into one of 5 different positions using the big button on the front of the shaver. This is best used when movement would make shaving tricky, like just above your upper lip.
On the side of the shaving unit is a small black button. Pressing it allows you to remove the shaving heads from the shaving unit:
There are only two occasions that you will need to remove the shaving head from your Series 5 shaver:
Manually cleaning: If you travel and don’t take your cleaning station with you then you will have to take the shaver apart yourself to clean it.
Replacing worn heads: Over time your blades will begin to dull. Simply use this method to swap them out for the replacement part (part number: 52S)
That pretty much covers the electric shaver. It’s now time to take it for a test drive.
But before we do that, we are going to have to charge the darn thing.
Like most modern-day shavers, you can charge your brand new Series 5 shaver anywhere in the world. No matter where you bought it.
The charger can work on any voltage from 100V to 240V. From America to Australia and everywhere in between; you will be able to charge your shaver when the battery dies.
As we mentioned earlier, Braun’s charger is the only one (out of the major brands) to ship with a coiled cord. Like the kind you find on the handset of your office phone.
Unfortunately, the Series 5 charger cord is the shortest of any major shaver brands. This means that you will have to charge your shaver very close to your power outlet and can be quite an inconvenience if you don’t have anywhere to rest the shaver nearby.
I will look at the using the cleaning station to charge your electrical shaver further down in the cleaning section.
Inside the Series 5; the Lithium-ion battery takes an hour to charge and provides 45 minutes of shaving time. I found this number to be pretty close to the mark. I was able to get a full 13-14 shaves out of it before having to recharge the battery.
The battery charge remaining can be seen with a quick glance of the screen. 5 red bars each representing approximately 20% of charge will slowly deplete as you use the shaver.
When the shaver is getting close to running flat, the last red bar will blink at you, trying to get your attention to place the shaver on charge.
Holding the Braun Series 5 in your hand is a comfortable experience. The shaver is nicely weighted and has a premium feel to it.
The first thing you will notice when you turn the shaver on is the vibration of the shaver body. It is strong. Annoyingly strong to the point that if you have ticklish hands then this shaver will send you into fits of giggles.
Braun does not appear to have made any effort to dampen the vibrations and every thunderous stroke of the internal motor is felt in the palm of your hand.
Despite having a very similar body (and supposedly more powerful motor) this issue is not found in the Series 9.
But how does it shave?
Like most electric shavers, the Series 5 is best used when cutting hairs under 1/8th of an inch long (approximately 2 days of growth max).
Anything longer than this stubble will require many passes, in different directions, to effectively shave an area of your face.
If you are a daily shaver or love Braun’s other models then you will feel right at home with this shaver.
Daily shaving will prevent hairs that grow in different directions from growing too long. While the shaver mowed these down when they were a fin stubble, once they grew they were the often missed, most noticeably on the neck and under the chin.
Fortunately, the Series 5 is so comfortable that daily shaving won’t be a problem at all.
The flexible shaving heads and pivoting shaving unit did their work as the razor glided over the jawline with little effort. I am convinced that flexible heads are a must on foil shavers, the difference they make in terms of comfort is surprising (this is true of Panasonics shaver line up too).
One particular area I did have problems with where the hairs right under the bridge of my nose. It took some maneuvering but I was eventually able to slay these odd looking hairs.
Initially, I had more gripes with this shaver but over the weeks of testing, I came to learn that more often than not, a poor shave was the fault of my technique rather than the shaver itself.
Overall I am pretty impressed with the shaving experience and would highly recommend, as long as you can get over the fact it feels like a jackhammer in your hand.
It is recommended that you clean your Series 5 shaver after each and every use.
There are two ways to do this:
- Automatically: Sitting the shaver in the cleaning station
- Manually: Rinsing the shaver under running water
First I will focus on the hands off method, using the cleaning station:
This is your do it all device is your do-it-all device the cleaning station, lubricates and charges your shaver.
The cleaning station runs off the same charging cord that plugs directly into the Series 5 shaver. Unfortunately, the short charging cord strikes once again and you will have to sit your cleaning station quite close to your power outlet.
At the rear you will find a large oval button. Pushing this makes the cleaning station pop up, revealing a space for you to insert the cleaning cassettes:
Here is your predicament. If you want to keep using the cleaning station you will have to buy replacement cleaning cassettes as they run out.
With daily shaving I was getting just over a month and a half out of each cleaning cassette (with daily cleaning). A 4-pack will set you back less than $20 from Amazon and will easily see you over 6 months worth of cleaning. More if you don’t shave every day.
I’ll be straight up, the cleaning station takes all the hassle away from cleaning your shaver. If you like anything that is convenient then cleaning your Series 9 shaver does not get any easier than this.
For you the simplicity and convenience the cleaning station brings will be more than worth the small price of buying replacement cleaning cassettes.
But if you are feeling frugal or are in circumstances where you have to count every penny then there are websites dedicated to making your own cleaning solution.
Important: Using homemade cleaning solutions may void your warranty.
Your shaver will begin charging the moment you place in the cleaning station:
Once you place your electric shaver in the dock the cleaning station will “read” how dirty your electric shaver is and recommend one of three cleaning methods, indicated by the water drop indicators.
- One Water Drop: Short Slean
- Two Water Drops: Normal Clean
- Three Water Drops: Intensive Clean
The amount of cleaning required is determined by the amount of time the shaver has been used, not by how dirty the shaving heads actually are. Cleaning the shaver resets this timer.
A small water drop icon will appear on the shaver when it is beyond time to clean your shaver. You can just make out this icon on the shaver display in the picture above.
Braun’s cleaning stations work the best out of all the major brands and the Series 7 did not disappoint. The alcohol based cleaning detergent thoroughly removed all traces of hair clippings and even lubricated the blades.
Cleaning your shaver does not get easier than that.
But what if you purchased a Series 5 model that does not come with a cleaning station. Or maybe you want to take your shaver on vacation and don’t want the worry of bringing it along.
It is here that you would manually clean your Series 5 shaver.
Use some non-abrasive hand soap and run it under running water. Remove the shaving head and repeat.
But achieving the perfect clean took a fair bit of time, more than you will have to spare if you are already running late for work.
It took a good 2 minutes before I was confident I had cleaned the shaver. And even then I could make out some small dots of hair clippings here and there.
And don’t get me started on the “dry clean” using only the included cleaning brush. If you go down this route then mess and stress are the only things that await you.
The whole cleaning process appears to be designed to steer you towards using the cleaning station.
Now, fortunately, the cleaning station does an incredibly thorough job at removing any traces of hair. In fact, the best out of all the big brands. If you treat this as a shaver that you must use with the cleaning station then you won’t be disappointed.
To this end, I would recommend avoiding any Series 5 models that do not come with a cleaning station.
The Series 5 is where Braun’s Electric shaving line up gets serious. There is no doubt that the Series 5 is in a whole other league compared to shaving with the series 3.
While it does have some minor flaws here and there the Series 5 should be your starting point if you want a fine example of a good foil shave.
Sturdy and reliable, I had a lot of fun using the Series 5.