Jacob Schick's 1928 patent wasn't the first one issued for an electric razor, but his design was the one that made the electric razor a feasible option. Electric shavers work by rolling the skin ahead of the blades and forcing the hair above the skin line for cutting.
Today's electric razors come in two styles -- foil and rotary. A foil razor is made of a thin, curved metal foil that covers a cutting blade. While moving back and forth, the blade cuts stubble as it pokes through the foil. A foil shaver may have one, two or three foils. A rotary razor, on the other hand, has three or four round heads. Cutters spin below the heads and cut off the hair [source: Consumer Reports].
Although you might be able to find a battery-operated travel razor for around $20, a quality everyday electric razor can run from $50 to more than $200. Because you'll also need to replace the foils, heads and blades periodically, maintenance costs bump up the overall cost of an electric razor [source: Consumer Reports].
Electric razors, whether you choose foil or rotary, have a number of advantages over blade razors. Convenience is a major one. You can shave on the run, and you don't need to pack shaving cream or gel for travel. Some will even work safely in the shower, and you probably won't get nicked by an electric razor.
The main disadvantage of an electric shaver is that it may not give a close enough shave for your taste. Moreover, some say that the time between shavings is shorter with an electric razor than with a standard razor. However, many men are happy with the shave they get from their electric razors. Read on to find out the best ways to get a smooth shave from an electric razor and whether the closest shave comes from a foil or rotary.