The Philips Norelco 7200 is the only beard trimmer on the market with a built in vacuum. That’s right, this trimmer sucks up your hair clippings which means less mess to clean up.
Is the 7200 the right beard trimmer for you? Find out in our detailed review!
The Philips Norelco 7200 (7215/49) is the only current model in the range of Series 7000 Beard Trimmers.
You may still come across the following models on the shelves:
- 7300 (QT4070/41)
- 7100 (QT4050/41)
If you come across these models it is best you avoid them as you will be paying a similar price for an older design.
Unboxing the Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer
If you were to tear open the box of your brand new Philips Norelco 7200 this is what you would find:
- Philips Norelco 7200 Vacuum Beard Trimmer
- Beard Comb
- Detail Trimmer head
- Medium detail comb
- Large detail comb
- Travel pouch
- Cleaning Brush
- Vacuum cleaning tool
There is also a fold out user manual included in the box. At the back of the instruction manual you will find the terms for Philips Norelco’s 45-day satisfaction guarantee.
The 45-day satisfaction guarantee allows you to test the 7200 beard trimmer. If you find that this is not the right beard trimmer you then you will have the opportunity to return the beard trimmer directly to Philips Norelco within 45 days for a full refund on the purchase price.
The guarantee is a lovely safety net that ensures you are not stuck with a beard trimmer that isn’t right for your beard.
Examining the Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer
Out of all the beard trimmers in Philips Norelco’s Series range, the 7200 is by far the best looking. Part of the reason for this is that Philips has chosen to use a brushed steel frame for the body.
Unlike the polished chrome plastic that is commonly found on men’s grooming devices, real steel is used in the body. The result is an attractive finish that not only looks great but is resistant to fingerprints, watermarks and other smudges.
Using brushed steel on products is a trend we really wish more grooming products would get behind. It really does enhance the product both in looks and functionality.
Located at the very top of the 7200 is the vacuum chamber. We will be looking at this in much greater detail further down the review.
Located in the middle of the beard trimmer is the power button:
The power button turns the beard trimmer on and off. And that’s it. The 7200 does not have a travel lock feature to stop the trimmer accidentally turning on at the bottom of your bag.
Located just above the power button is a black dial. Philips refers to this dial as the “Zoom Wheel”
This is the comb length selector and allows you to adjust the height of the combs to your desired setting. We will cover the dial in more detail in the combs section of this review.
Further down the trimmer you will find a rectangular cut-out in the metal casing. This is the indicator light.
Although it is not visible with the power off, the indicator will allow you to quickly determine the status of the battery.
Located at the very base of the 7200, hidden from view, is the charging socket:
By plugging the charger into this socket you will be able to charge the battery of your beard trimmer
Flipping the 7200 over reveals a less shiny rear:
Since this part of the beard trimmer is covered by your hand during use, looks are not overly important here.
At the base of the rear you will find some basic information on your 72 Beard trimmer including the model number, BT7215, as well as a customer service phone number you can contact in the event of technical difficulties.
This part of the beard trimmer is a helpful resource in the event that you misplace your instruction manual.
It is here that you will also discover the country of origin. Philips manufactures it’s entire Series range of beard trimmers in China.
In the middle of the rear you will find the other half of the length selector dial found on the front:
By also exposing half the dial here you can easily twist the dial between your forefinger and thumb.
Located at the very top of the beard trimmer is the part that does all the work, the blade:
Unlike Philip Norelco’s laser guided beard trimmer, the 9100 which has a ground blade; the blade of the 7200 is stamped.
To put it simply, ground blades are superior to stamped blades both in finish and sharpness. Ground blades are commonly found on Wahl beard trimmers.
Below you can see the blades compared:
On the left you have the stamped blades of the 7200 while on the right you have the ground blades of the 9200. As you can see, the ground blades are much sharper.
Stamped blades can still get the job done but for thicker and coarser beards we much prefer ground blades.
Just below the blades sits the metal comb. The comb prevents the rapidly moving blade from tearing your skin to shreds.
Hairs are trapped by the teeth of the comb and are cut to length by the trimming blade that is recessed just a small distance behind.
The trimmer blade and comb make up the trimmer head. The trimmer head can be removed from the beard trimmer handle as needed:
With the trimmer head removed you are free to either clean out the vacuum chamber or swap over to the smaller detail trimming head.
Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer Heads and Combs
While the standard trimmer head works just fine for a short stubble, what happens if you want to get a bit more specific with your beard styling?
That’s where these accessories come in:
From left to right:
- Standard trimmer head
- Detail trimmer head
- Adjustable beard comb
- Large detail comb
- Medium detail comb
Unless you use your beard trimmer to detail you the standard trimmer head and adjustable beard comb will be the two most commonly used of the attachments.
Installing the adjustable beard comb is easy. Just behind the trimmer head, on either side of the handle you will find a black plastic slot:
The arms of the adjustable comb slide into here and lock into place.
With the comb attached you can now decide how much length you wish to leave on your beard.
You set the length of the comb by adjusting the black dial found just above the power button. As you turn the dial, a number will light up on the screen above:
The number displayed represents the length you have selected in millimeters. There are 20 different lengths seeting available to choose, ranging from 0.5mm (1/32”) to 10mm (13/32”).
The individual length settings are as follows (in mm):
0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10.
Each of the above settings can be selected with the dial and displayed on the screen.
We found the display screen was not as clear as we would have liked. Depending on how you hold the trimmer the numbers will appear blurry. We much preferred the crisp display screen of the Philips Norelco 9100 beard trimmer we reviewed.
Below you can see the length settings in action:
This is the shortest comb length setting. As you twist the dial to the left, the comb moves further away from the blade, increasing the amount of length left on your beard.
Below you can see the comb set at the highest setting:
Those of you who wish to style and edge your beard are going to need something that offers a little more precision. Philips also includes a detail trimmer in the box just for this occasion.
In order to install the detail trimmer you will need to remove the standard trimmer head from the handle.
The detail trimmer is essentially a miniature trimming head that allows you to add detail to your facial hair. From tidying up your goatee to shaping your mustache, the smaller size of the detail trimmer is better suited to these tasks.
We liked that the detail trimmer also came with it’s own set of combs, something that was uncommon on the beard trimmers we tested.
The first comb is referred to as the medium detail comb:
The medium comb left 0.3mm (1/8”) of length on the hairs.
The second comb is referred to as the large detail comb:
The large detail comb left 0.5mm (3/15”) of length on the hairs.
The detail combs allow you to tidy up your stylish patches of facial hair with more precision that the much larger adjustable comb. We found that the precision combs outmatched the adjustable comb when it came to trimming under the nose.
Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer Vacuum
The main reason you would choose the 7200 over any other beard trimmer is because of the vacuum. The 7200 is currently the only beard trimmer on the American market to offer such a feature.
Philips claims that the Vacuum can captures up to 90% of hair clippings. If you are sick and tired of cleaning up those small black hairs from your bathroom sink then this feature will instantly appeal to you.
The Vacuum turns on when the beard trimmer is powered up and cannot be turned off. Since you would only purchase this beard trimmer if you wanted the vacuum we feel the lack of a dedicated vacuum switch is justified.
So how does the vacuum work?
If you look just above the blade of the beard trimmer you will notice an opening in the body of the 7200.
This is the part of the vacuum that sucks. As the blade trims your hairs, the vacuum sucks up the clippings through this gap.
From here your hairs are captured in the chamber just behind the trimmer head.
Below you can see a diagram of how the suction works:
- Air and hair clippings are drawn through the entrance
- Clippings are trapped in hair chamber
- Air is blown out vents on the front of the beard trimmer
At first the vent placement seems unusual:
Air will blow out of these vents onto your face while you are trimming your beard. If you live in a particularly cold area you may find the cool breeze is the lasting thing you want on a chilly morning.
There really isn’t anywhere else that Philips could have placed the vents given the rear of the beard trimmer will be covered by your grip.
Once you have finished trimming your beard you will still have to clean out the chamber where the hairs have been captured. A cotton swab will be your best friend here.
Charging the Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer
When the time comes to charge the Philips Norelco 9100 you are going to need the help of the charger included in the box:
The charger cord is a little over 5 foot in length and should be more than long enough to stretch from your power outlet to your bathroom counter top.
If you travel for work or take frequent vacations then you will appreciate that the charger is multi-voltage. To put it simply this means that the charger will work on any voltage that falls between 100 -240V.
Charge your 7200 beard trimmer in any country from America to Australia; and everywhere in between. If you do plan on using this as your travel beard trimmer remember to purchase a travel adapter so that you can plug the charger into the odd shaped electrical outlets you come across on your travels.
You will be unable to use the beard trimmer straight out of the box and will need to charge it prior to use.
Your 7200 beard trimmer will begin to charge the moment you plug in the charger and turn the power on.
You will be able to identify that the beard trimmer is charging by the white flashing indicator light.
It takes a full hour to charge the Philips Norelco 7200. When the beard trimmer has finished charging the indicator light will turn off.
An hour of charge will provide you with roughly 80 minutes of run time thanks to the Lithium ion battery hiding inside. A quick 5 minute charge will give you enough battery juice for a single trimming session. You can also use the 7200 corded if you so choose.
When the battery is running low the indicator light will flash orange, warning you that it is time to place the trimmer back on charge.
Examining the Philips Norelco 7200 Beard Trimmer
With the battery fully charged it is time to take the Philips Norelco 9100 Beard trimmer for a test-drive.
For the purpose of testing, eight users were brought in with varying beard types, lengths and densities. The following contains summaries of their experience with the 7200 beard trimmer.
Given that Philips Norelco had worked metal into the body we were impressed with just how light the beard trimmer felt in the hand.
There does not appear to be a rubber grip on the rear and we can’t help wish that Philips chose a less slippery plastic for the rear of the trimmer. Fortuantely the exposed dial offers a section for your fingers to get a good grasp on the handle.
As appears to be a common trend on Philips Norelco beard trimmers, you have to be precise with where you press. Pressing at the sides of the switch to turn the beard trimmer on. You have to press down on the power symbol to kick the trimmer into action.
With the power button successfully pushed the trimmer would burst into action. Despite having a built in vacuum cleaner, the 7200 is no noisier than the competition. Just the normal high pitched whirring sound you would expect from a beard trimmer.
Trimmer to face the blade performed satisfactorily at cutting beard hairs to length. While the trimmer performed fine one fine to medium hairs, coarse hairs saw it require more passes in order to trim every single hair.
One thing we did notice was that trimming under the nose was difficult with the standard trimmer. This is because the vacuum actually reduces the exposed blade area. Testers commented that it was easier to use the detail trimmer for this area.
The adjustable comb did it’s job at adding length to the hair, giving beards a tidy up without losing too much length. Testers did comment that the zoom wheel was on the stiff side which made adjusting a less than enjoyable experience.
Fortunately once you find your desired length setting most people won’t adjust the zoom wheel again.
The detail trimmer struggled with coarser hairs while those with fine to medium hairs were able to give their facial hair some much needed shape.
The usefulness of the vacuum was the subject of much debate. Some testers loved it while others found it useless.
Testers who loved the vacuum had shorter beards. The vacuum sucked up small hair clippings with an easily manageable amount falling to the sink below.
But testers who had long bushy beards found that the hair chamber would fill before they had finished trimming. They had to pause their trimming session, clean out the chamber before continuing. Obviously this added step to the beard trimming process failed to impress.
The effectiveness of the vacuum seemed to vary depending on how the beard trimmer is held. If you find that the vacuum isn’t as effective as it should be then try changing the angle that you use to trim your facial hair.
At the end of the day you will still have to clean your sink with the added step of emptying the hair catcher. Despite this, half the testers really loved the built in vacuum.
There really isn’t any other beard trimmer on the market like the Philips Norelco 7200. If you consider the Vacuum a must have feature then it is likely your mind is already made up.
And if you don’t have coarse beard hairs then you will likely be very impressed with the beard trimmer. A long battery life and 20 length settings being just some of the highlights.
If you have to buy a Philips Norelco beard trimmer than this is as good as it gets.