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The best beard trimmers of 2020

If your beard has grown to Santa Claus-, Gandalf- or even Dumbledore-esque lengths recently, it’s high time for a trim. And for that, you’ll need a quality beard trimmer.

But finding the perfect beard trimmer can be a Goldilocks-like adventure, as they all offer different functions and abilities. It really depends on what you want to get out of it. Do you need a daily trimmer to keep your beard at a consistent length? Do you like to change it up and want a versatile trimmer that can do it all? Or would you prefer one that, above all, will give you sharp, clean lines every time?

No matter what you need from your trimmer, we’re here to help. We decided to go hands-on with some of the industry’s top-rated and best-reviewed clippers and see for ourselves which ones truly stand out. We tested everything from durability to battery life to, most importantly, how well it trimmed. After dozens of trims, careful consideration and plenty of testing and retesting, we found three beard trimmers that — ahem — made the cut:

Our picks for the best beard trimmers of 2020

A quick look at the winners

The Remington Smart Beard Trimmer was the clear winner in our testing pool. At $66.35, it delivers a consistent, quick trim, can take a beating, and is packed with tons of useful technology that prioritizes convenience, making every trim as easy as possible.

Nipping at the heels of our top pick was the Braun Beard trimmer BT7240, a trimmer that provides a solid, quick clip without all the bells and whistles of the Remington. Priced at $69.94, it has plenty of versatility with 39 different lengths, multiple attachments and a long-lasting battery that establishes it as one of the best overall trimmers we tested.

The Wahl Lithium Ion+ Stainless Steel Grooming Kit also stood out due to its precise, efficient trim that can handle any job from shearing down a Jeremiah Johnson–caliber beard to detailing precise lines on your neck and cheeks. At $59.99, it’s the trimmer for people who care about performance above all else.

A deep dive into our winners

Best overall beard trimmer: Remington Smart Beard Trimmer ($66.35; amazon.com)

Remington Smart Beard Trimmer

Remington’s smart trimmer scored exceptionally well in all of our tests, especially in crucial areas that affect your daily prune. What sets this trimmer apart from the rest we tested is all of its “smart” abilities. But this isn’t just the dream trimmer for tech nerds — there’s also real substance behind the flash.

The Remington trimmer provided a quick and easy clip, taking about seven passes to trim beard hair down to the guide’s length. And since we’re talking about length, the customizability on this trimmer is one of the reasons it rose to the top. It has 175 lengths to choose from, thanks to a motorized comb that’s controlled by a digital touch screen on the trimmer’s face. With a simple tap, you can move the guide up or down by increments of 0.1 millimeters.

Though the difference between a 4.1 millimeter and a 4.2 millimeter trim doesn’t really matter in the long run, the Remington ranges from 0.4 millimeters to 18 millimeters, providing a broad swath of options. This, paired with the incredible specificity of the tiny adjustments, makes it adaptable and easy to tailor exactly to your desires. Though with all these lengths, the trimmer didn’t come with any attachments such as a detailer, which could help clean up any lines.

The Remington also has a profile feature that stores your last four length settings. You can tap the profile button, select between the presets, and the guide will automatically go to that length setting. We thought this function was quite useful for instances where you want different lengths of hair. Normally you’d have to switch guide combs if you want your chin hair longer than the hair on your cheeks, but with the Remington it only takes one tap to jump over to another length.

Our winning trimmer also has a wake-up function that, when you pick it up, automatically turns it on and sets it to the last length setting used. Plus, it can sense the thickness of your beard and adapt the blade speed to compensate.

All these futuristic features are nice, but even without them this trimmer performed better than most other trimmers in plenty of our other tests. Most notably, the Remington ranked as our most durable trimmer, a bit surprising considering all its smart functions and heavy weight. But the Remington came out unscathed from our drop test, where we dropped each trimmer from a shaving position three times.

Cleanup was as simple as popping the blade off and rinsing everything in the sink. The entire trimmer is washable, which came as another surprise due to its digitization.

The only place the Remington stumbled was in battery and aesthetics. It isn’t the sexiest-looking trimmer, but its shiny lights and touchscreen make up for that. In terms of battery, it lasted more than one hour and 20 minutes, which was below the one-hour-and-58-minute average runtime for the field. The charge time was also second slowest, at one hour and 50 minutes, which can be somewhat expected from a trimmer with this many smart features.

There are tons of fancy functions in this trimmer, but above all the Remington trimmer makes the entire shaving experience simple and convenient. You won’t have to fumble around with dozens of attachments, run over your beard for what seems like hours to trim it down, or spend longer cleaning up than you did shaving. It’s all made easy with the Remington Smart Beard Trimmer.

Runner-up: Braun Beard Trimmer BT7240 ($69.94; amazon.com)

Braun Beard Trimmer BT7240

The Braun Beard Trimmer BT7240 is an excellent trimmer all around: It gave us an accurate and consistent trim, although it didn’t cut as much hair as quickly as the Remington or the Wahl Lithium Ion+. The lines it gave us weren’t the sharpest, but it comes with a detailer attachment that helps trim up any troublesome spots. Overall, the Braun provided an above-average trim, while other features like its versatility and battery pushed it beyond the rest of the pack.

The Braun had the second-highest number of lengths behind the Remington, with 39 different options ranging from 1 millimeter to 20 millimeters. This is a wider range than our winner’s, but the Braun only notches up every 0.5 millimeters (in contrast to the Remington’s 0.1 millimeters). This range comes from two attachments that can be controlled by a dial on the trimmer’s face. The guides themselves are comfortable and allow the blades to carve through beards quickly, while protecting against any slip-ups or uneven spots.

The cleanup was fast and easy with the Braun, since both the blades and the body can be rinsed under water once they’re disconnected. The trimmer was easy to hold, winning points for its ergonomic shape and small grip, and if you do accidentally drop it, the BT7240 can take the hit. During our drop tests, the blades popped off from the body, but there was zero damage to any part of the trimmer.

One thing that truly stuck out with the Braun trimmer was its battery life and Quick Charge feature. Our device lasted two hours 16 minutes running on full blast with a fully charged battery. Once dead, we charged it for just five minutes to check how long it would last if you needed to shape your beard up under a time crunch, and it buzzed for 23 minutes off that short charge.

If you’re looking for a consistent, reliable trimmer, the Braun BT7240 is a great pick. While it didn’t cut hairs as fast as the Remington and doesn’t have teeny tiny length increments, it went punch for punch with the Remington during our testing. It comes with a mini foil and detailer attachment, so for someone who doesn’t need all the fancy features of our number one pick and is willing to give up some shave quality for accessories and a better battery life, this trimmer from Braun is the one for you.

Performance pick: Wahl Lithium Ion+ Stainless Steel Grooming Kit ($59.99; target.com)

Wahl Lithium Ion+ Stainless Steel Grooming Kit

For those who need the cleanest of lines and will sacrifice versatility and extra features for the best pure shave, the Wahl Lithium Ion+ is definitely the trimmer to go for. It scored the best in overall trimming performance, with the second highest marks for trimming ability. The Andis Slimline Pro Lithium Ion T-blade Trimmer scored the highest for trimming ability, but we ultimately decided to highlight the Wahl because the Andis broke after our drop test and wouldn’t charge. We tried multiple times to recharge and run it but it never turned on. The Slimline Pro was one of two major casualties in our drops, the other being a chipped blade from another Andis trimmer.

The Wahl Lithium Ion+ offers a powerful, smooth trim that cuts precisely through beard hair. While the guides are a little flimsy, especially the larger ones, the Wahl gave us one of the best all-around trims with an outstanding ability to shape lines. With the standard blade, the lines we cut along our neckline were phenomenally clean and sharp. There were no stray hairs, and the line was completely uniform. The standard blade is a bit wide, so we had to be a little careful that we didn’t get overzealous and carve out a crooked line, but the trimmer comes with a small detailing attachment that helped out with more precise cuts.

While we would recommend the Wahl given its trimming abilities alone, it also scored really well overall, coming in third place in total points. Its battery life is stellar: The lithium ion battery lasted nearly two hours more than the next best trimmer (again, the Andis Slimline Pro) with a whopping four hours and 48 minutes of runtime. While it came in short of the advertised six hours, it’s still more than enough juice to last months in between charges. And if the trimmer unexpectedly dies right before you run out the door, it has a killer Quick Charge function. Once it finally died, we recharged it for one single minute and got an extra nine minutes of trimming in return.

In other areas of testing, the Wahl fell short of some of the other trimmers. The body can’t be rinsed, so you have to clean the inside with a brush, and it needs to be oiled on a regular basis, though the directions suggest once per month should suffice. It’s quite durable; the only thing that broke during our drops was the guide comb. It comes with 15 attachments, including 12 guide combs, so you’ll definitely have a bag overflowing with accessories. The Wahl’s combs range between 1.5 and 25 millimeters in length, but the gaps are much bigger than the Braun or the Remington. Instead of increments of 0.1 millimeters, it jumps anywhere from 1.5 to 3 millimeters between lengths, so you might get stuck between 13 millimeters and 16 millimeters when you really want something in between.

The Wahl Lithium Ion+ has a couple of shortfalls, but if you’re willing to sacrifice a little convenience, it’s a solid all-around pick with great battery life and is the best option for someone whose top priority is a precise, high-level trim that keeps your beard looking sharp.

How we tested

When looking for the best beard trimmer, we wanted to test the devices’ every single feature, so we trimmed, timed, weighed and drop-tested them for over a week, taking meticulous notes the entire time. We broke the testing into four categories — performance, durability, versatility and design — we could look at the different pros and cons of each trimmer and rate them against each other directly. Within each category, we had multiple tests to try out each of the trimmer’s functions. Here’s a full breakdown of our testing process.

Performance

  • Trimming ability: We trimmed our beard with each trimmer, seeing how much hair it cut in one pass, and how many passes it took to get down to the guide length. We also judged how consistent the trim was, looking for any long stray hairs or short spots.
  • Precision: We cut lines into our beards at the neck and cheek, both with the standard blade and with the detailer blade if the trimmer came with one. We looked at how clean and straight the line was and how easy it was to get that line.
  • Hair catches: While testing and shaving, we took note if the trimmer caught or tugged on any hairs.
  • Shaving ability: When cleaning up the cheeks and neckline, we attempted to shave down to bare skin with the standard blade, or with the foil shaver attachment if it came with one. We looked at how long it took to shave down and how short any stubble was.
  • Battery life: With an iPhone timer, we tracked how long it took each trimmer to die after a full charge, as well as how long it took to fully recharge. If the trimmer had a quick charge function, we tested those claims as well.
  • Irritability: When trimming and shaving, we noted if the blades started to get hot or felt especially rough on our skin. We also took note if the trimmer got hot during the battery test.

Durability

  • Cleaning: We cleaned each trimmer by following its directions, judging how easy it was to clean by the time it took and the effort required. If we could simply rinse it under the sink, we deemed it easy to clean, whereas if we had to oil the blades or if brushing the trimmer was difficult or awkward, we docked points.
  • Oil: We read the instructions to see if the trimmer required oil and if so, how often it was recommended to apply the oil.
  • Waterproof: We read the directions to see if the trimmer was waterproof or washable. If it was, we tested it by putting it under running water from our sink.
  • Drop test: We dropped each trimmer three times from a shaving position into our sink. We took note of any broken pieces (including guides) or if the blades popped off, and checked to see if the trimmers continued to work afterward.
  • Warranty: We looked at the length of the warranty for each device.

Versatility

  • Adjustability: We counted how many trimming lengths each device had and included any additional attachments.
  • Attachments: We looked at any included attachments and judged how useful and effective they were.
  • Portability: We weighed each trimmer on a food scale and also considered if the trimmer came with a carrying case, which we threw in a backpack to see how much room it took up.

Design

  • Aesthetic: We judged each device on its overall aesthetic appeal.
  • Comfort: We held each trimmer and noted how comfortable it felt to use each, taking into account shape and grip.

How we rated

We attributed a maximum number of points each trimmer could get for every test above, including a higher number of possible points for the tests and categories we deemed more important to the user experience.

  • Performance had a maximum of 40 points: Trimming ability (10), precision (5), hair catching (5), clean shave (5), battery life (10) and irritability (5).
  • Durability had a maximum of 30 points: Cleaning (5), oil (5), waterproof (5), drop test (10) and warranty (5).
  • Versatility had a maximum of 20 points: Adjustability (10), attachments (5) and portability (5).
  • Design had a maximum of 10 points: Aesthetic (5) and comfort (5).

We also took the price of each trimmer into account after looking at the overall scores.

Other beard trimmers we tested

Philips Norelco Multigroom 3000, Philips Norelco Model 7000 Beard & Hair Men’s Electric Trimmer with Vacuum, Andis Slimline Pro Lithium Ion T-blade Trimmer

Philips Norelco Multigroom 3000 ($19.99; target.com)

This trimmer from Philips was the cheapest we tested and had some nice qualities, but ultimately it wasn’t up to par when it came to trimming. The trim was quick but not very consistent. It had a guide that didn’t completely protect your hair from the blade, so you can’t buzz around willy-nilly if you want to avoid spots that turn out shorter than others. It’s super compact, handles easily and didn’t take any damage during the drops.

Philips Norelco Model 7000 Beard & Hair Men’s Electric Trimmer with Vacuum ($59.99; bestbuy.com or target.com)

Our biggest issue with this Philips trimmer was the guide. It was so bulky that it took much longer than other devices to trim our hair down to the desired length. Its vacuum also failed to meet our expectations. It claims to capture up to 95% of cut hair, but we found it to catch more like 60%. And once the hair is sucked up, the body can’t be rinsed, so we had to bang out the trimmings into the trash and brush out any that didn’t fall out.

Andis Slimline Pro Lithium Ion T-blade Trimmer ($78.99, originally $86; amazon.com or $64.50; barber-and-beauty.andis.com)

This trimmer from Andis gave us a remarkably consistent, smooth and precise clip. It actually would have been our performance pick if it didn’t shut down after the drop test. The blades are a little rough on the skin, and cleaning it is a pain since the blades can’t be easily removed and the trimmer can’t be rinsed in water. It requires a lot of maintenance and care since it should be oiled before, during and after each use — but if, ultimately, you want the absolute best trim and don’t care about anything else (like durability), this trimmer should be in the conversation with the Wahl Lithium Ion+.

Andis Professional Cord / Cordless T-Outliner Li Trimmer, Braun All-in-One Trimmer MGK5245, Hatteker Hair Clipper Beard Trimmer Kit

Andis Professional Cord / Cordless T-Outliner Li Trimmer ($159.49, originally $215.56; amazon.com)

Similar to its smaller brother in the Slimline Pro, this Andis clipper was fantastic at trimming hair, but fell flat in other areas. It’s heavier and bulkier than the Slimline, and unfortunately bits of the blade chipped off in our drop tests. If you’re looking for a high-caliber trim, go with either the Wahl or the Slimline.

Braun All-in-One Trimmer MGK5245 ($44.94; amazon.com)

The Braun All-in-One did fairly well — it just cut a tad slower than its beard-oriented counterpart. It’s durable, it has a great battery and it can basically do everything the Braun BT7240 does, with a little less precision and versatility. Though at the low price point, it’s definitely worth consideration.

Hatteker Hair Clipper Beard Trimmer Kit ($52.99; amazon.com)

The Hatteker provided a decent trim. It has a bulky guide that we didn’t love but still trimmed down to the desired length quickly. It’s completely waterproof, which is a big plus, and it comes with tons of blades, attachments and combs. Our biggest issues with the Hatteker were its battery life (it turned in the worst performance with a run time of just over one hour) and its durability. In the drop test, the key attachment that adjusts to 10 different lengths exploded on the first drop.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing:

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