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How Many Heads Does a Rotary Shaver Really Need?

In men's grooming, more is often touted as better. But with rotary shavers boasting anywhere from three to nine(!) heads, the choices can be overwhelming.

Do more shaving heads provide a better shave, or is there a case where less is more?

Let's cut through the marketing hype and discover how the number of heads on your rotary shaver impacts your daily shave.

What are Rotary Shavers?

Rotary shavers are electric-powered razors equipped with rotating circular cutting blades. They work by shaving in a circular motion, lifting hair, and cutting it as blades spin, making it ideal for those with thick, coarse hair.

rotary shaver shaving direction

History of Rotary Shavers

The first rotary razor was introduced by Philips in 1939.

Philishave rotary razor

The Philishave, as they called it, had a single-cutting head and cylindrical body. In 1951, a double-head razor was launched, which eventually became a three-header in 1966.

They continue to sell rotary razors under the Philips Norelco brand.

Rotary Shaver Head Configurations

One critical difference in rotary shavers is the number of heads. Some models may have a single head, while others boast multiple heads for enhanced performance.

Single Head Shavers

single head rotary shaver

Single-head shavers are used mainly for facial hair. For facial hair, a single or double head shaver is enough, no need to buy three or five head shavers.

Here are the advantages of using a single-head razor:

  • Lightweight

  • Cordless

  • Compact

  • Have sharp, long-lasting blades

  • Easy to clean

  • Have longer battery life

  • Great for travel

Features that many shavers find helpful, especially for those on the go.

Multiple Head Rotary Shavers

5 head rotary shaver

As technology advances, it's common for an appliance like a rotary shaver to improve, such as adding more heads. Two to three head blades are good for the face and body while four to five head blades are great for the head.

But more shaving heads are not always better. We recommend not to go over five heads on a blade when buying a rotary shaver, they're just a gimmick.


Here are the advantages of having more shaving heads on your rotary shaver:

  • More coverage area

  • Faster shaving time

  • Fewer passes

  • Lower risk of skin irritation


  • Less mobility

  • Difficulty in reaching certain areas like those behind the ear and some neck areas

  • More expensive replacement blades

  • Bulkier

Choosing the Right Number of Heads for Your Rotary Shaver

Shaving Your Head:Four or Five Heads

Shaving your head and shaving your face are two different things. When choosing a rotary shaver for head shaving, it's best to pick one explicitly designed for it. Rotary head shavers hug the curves of your head for a smoother and closer shaver.

While rotary facial shavers may work on your head, rotary head shavers are ergonomically designed and have blades and heads that follow the shape of your head.

Today's best-selling head shavers, like Freebird's FlexSeries and FlexSeries Pro, have 5 and 4 shaving heads, respectively.

You may have seen shavers on Amazon with as many as nine heads, but do you need that many?

We believe that the 7- and 9-head razors available are all hype and a marketing gimmick. Sadly, many still purchase these shavers, thinking more is better.

There's a reason why top brands like Freebird and Skull Shaver have stuck with 4 to 5-head rotary shavers.

They work.

Freebird FlexSeries - Best Five-Head Rotary Shaver

FlexSeries Shaving Kit

The FlexSeries from Freebird is one of the top-selling five-head rotary shavers. The FlexSeries covers more surface area with five shaving heads than shavers with fewer heads. But five heads only matter if your blades are sharp enough and your motor is strong.

The FlexSeries has super-sharp ScalpSafe technology blades that are safe for sensitive scalps. It also has an 8,500 RPM motor that makes quick work of even coarse and thick hair.

Buy from the Freebird website or on Amazon.

FlexSeries Pro - Best Four-Head Rotary Shaver

FlexSeries Pro

Freebird FlexSeries Pro - Best Four-Head Rotary Shaver

If you prefer a shaver with four heads, the Freebird FlexSeries Pro is the best rotary shaver you can buy.

The latest rotary shaver from Freebird has features that are hard to beat:

  • Smoother shave

  • Enhanced four-blade design

  • Easier cleaning

  • More powerful and adaptive motor

  • Upgraded battery

  • IPX7 waterproofing

  • Travel lock feature

  • Free attachments (nose trimmer, hair clipper)

Get one now for only $69.95

You can read our article on the best head shavers for a comprehensive list.

Facial and Body Hair Shaving: One to Three Heads

When shaving facial hair, the sweet spot is choosing between single, two, or three head rotaries.

Single- and double-head rotary shavers are compact and excellent choices for travel shavers. They also work well for the face.

Three-head shavers are bulkier and have more features, which makes them good picks for dedicated face and body shavers.

The Best "One to Three Head" Rotary Shavers

Philips Norelco CareTouch - Best Three-Head Rotary Shaver

Norelco CareTouch

The Philips Norelco CareTouch costs $54.96 and comes with ComfortCut self-sharpening blades that last for 2 years. The blades are also made from hypoallergenic steel that's rust-resistant, protects skin, and prevents ingrown hairs. The CareTouch also has IPX7 waterproofing so you can shave wet or dry.

Buy from their website or on Amazon.

Norelco Travel Men's Shaver PQ 208 - Best Two-Head Rotary Shaver

Philips Norelco Travel Shaver

The Philips Norelco travel shaver is our top pick for a two-head rotary shaver. It's a cordless shaver with self-sharpening blades that Philips claims last for 2 years. Its 60-minute battery life is more than enough for weekend trips.

Buy from Amazon.

OpDooke Mini Electric - Best Single-Head Rotary Shaver

OpDooke Mini Shaver

For $29, you get a single-head shaver with a powerful 6500 RPM motor, 30-day battery life (at 4 minutes a day usage), and so small (it's the size of an egg) you can put it in your pocket.

It has IPX7 waterproofing, so you can shave either wet or dry.

Buy from Amazon.

The Bottom Line

A rotary shaver with more shaver heads doesn't mean it's better. The number of shaving heads is just one aspect that determines the result of your grooming routine. You also have to consider blade quality and motor speed. If the blades are dull or the motor isn't that powerful, the benefits of a single or multiple-head rotary shaver will be diminished.

The number of heads on your rotary shaver matters whether you're shaving your head or face.

A four or five-head rotary shaver is the best option for head shavers. Don't fall for the overhyped 7 to 9 head shavers you may encounter on Amazon.

You can't go wrong with single to three head rotaries for facial hair shaving.

Stick with brands that are market leaders in the shaving arena for the best shaving experience.

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