Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 3001 vs 5001 – What’s the Difference?

In terms of price the Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert 3001 is currently available online for a fraction under $300, whilst the 5001 comes in at around $354.

So what is the reason for the extra $54 + and is it worth it?  We set out to look at what you get for your money in each case to determine the answer.

First Impressions

First impressions of the two models is that there is very little difference in body design, and both include a Gillette Venus original cartridge razor in the deal.

Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 3001


Braun Gillette Silk-Expert 5001


I think, in terms of appearance, the newer 5001 model does, perhaps, look a bit more stylish with its bronzed head and silver coloured detail as opposed to the original purple trims.  

It also weighs in slightly heavier and is a bit larger, measuring 10.9 x 35.0 x 17.5 cms compared to the 10.4 x 23.6 x 19.3 cms of the 3001 model.

Both models are corded, to be used whilst plugged into the mains.

The Technology

The basic IPL (intense pulsed light) technology is the same for both models. 

IPL uses light pulses to target the dark pigment found in hair and skin, which is known as melanin. The light energy absorbed by the melanin, which is particularly prevalent around the hair root, produces heat to damage the hair follicle.  This causes the hair to fall out, usually around 1 - 2 weeks following treatment.

IPL Broadband Pulsed Light

Our skin tone varies depending on the area of the body being treated, and where it is lighter, higher power levels can be used without causing problems.

Both the 3001 and 5001 include a special skin sensor that continually detects the skin tone being treated and automatically adjusts the power of the flashes to a suitable level. 

Who Can Use Them?

Both devices are appropriate for those with light to medium skin tones (see chart) and with medium (dark blonde, brown) to black hair colour.

Best results are achieved if you have light skin and dark hair, as it makes it easier for the melanin in the hair to be targeted rather than that in the surrounding skin.

Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert hair and skin tone chart

The darker the skin tone, the more chance there is of damage caused by the light being absorbed by the skin, and so lower power levels are used.

IPL technology is ineffective and therefore not suitable for those with light blonde, white, grey or red hair.

There are certain medical conditions and skin conditions which preclude the use of IPL for hair removal.  It is very important that you read the precautions provided with the machines prior to use and check with your physician/dermatologist if you are in any doubt whatsoever.


As explained earlier, the skin tone sensors located on either side of the treatment window detect skin tone to determine the correct power level, so that you do not need to rely solely on continually checking the chart.

They also detect if a skin tone is too dark to safely be treated and automatically disable the device so that it will not flash.

Additionally, the skin sensors have to be in contact with the skin before the device will work, providing a safeguard against accidental eye damage.

You should always carry out a patch test 24 hours prior to full treatment, as described in the instructions provided, prior to use on each area of the body.

Where Can They be Used?

The Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert 3001 and 5001 may be used by both males and females for body hair removal, and by females only for facial hair (below the cheekline).

In common with all home IPL devices on the market - the male face, neck or genital areas are not suitable for IPL.

Braun Silk-expert IPL BD5009 use on face

They may be used for chest, back, arms, stomach, legs, underarms and bikini line but not for any area where the skin has darker pigment e.g. nipples, anal area, on moles, warts or birthmarks etc.

This includes tanned skin, be it through sun or artificially and tattooed skin.

These devices are not for use on eyebrows or anywhere near the eyes including the forehead, nor on the lips or nostrils.

Power Levels

This is an area where we can see tangible differences between the two products.

The 3001 model operates up to a maximum optical output of 4J/cm² whereas the maximum optical output for the 5001 model is 6J/cm².

There are a series of 3 white lights on the 3001 indicating what power level is being used.  When one light is illuminated the lowest power is in use, with 3 indicating the highest.

There is also a gentle setting which you can use to manually reduce the light intensity if you find that it is too uncomfortable.

It is advisable to use the gentle setting if it is the first time you have tried IPL to get used to the process. Bear in mind though, that the higher the output, the quicker and more effective the treatment will be.

The 5001 model has 10 lights indicating 10 different levels of output and also includes the gentle setting, plus an extra gentle setting.

The time between flashes on the 3001 is 2 - 3 seconds depending on output level, whereas this lessens to 1 - 2 seconds for the 5001.  

This means that the 5001 is not only more powerful at its highest setting, but also quicker to use, increasing efficiency and reducing the average time to treat a lower leg by a couple of minutes.

Lamp Cartridges

The devices both come with built- in, non-replaceable lamp cartridges.

The 3001 has 250,000 flashes as against the 300,000 flashes on the 5001.

Although there is a difference here of 50,000 flashes, so the lifetime of the lamp may be increased, bear in mind that 250,000 is, in any case, sufficient to last for many years (up to 15) depending on usage.


There is a choice of two modes of operation; precision mode or gliding mode.

Precision mode is best for small, sensitive or difficult to reach areas e.g. underarm, bikini line or female face.

Braun Gillette Silk-Expert treatment of legs

In precision mode, the device is placed on the skin and manually flashed, by pressing and releasing the power button.   It is then moved to the next adjacent patch of skin to and manually flashed again.

The treatment area is covered in a grid-like fashion, with no gaps between areas but taking care to avoid treating the same spot twice.

In gliding mode, the power button is held down so that the flashes continue automatically whilst you hold the treatment window against the skin and glide it to the next patch.  This makes covering larger areas such as legs, chest, arms etc. much quicker.

Treatment Area (Spot Size)

The treatment windows are both exactly the same, at 3cm², which is on a par with most other devices, although there are some with larger treatment windows e.g.  the Silk'n SensEpil.

Silk'n SensEpil spot

The larger window may seem to be a good idea to cover larger areas more quickly, but the speed also depends on the gap between flashes in glide mode.  For precision the smaller window size is better.

Comparison Table

The two products are similar in many ways, which are:

  • IPL - both use the same intense pulsed light technology
  • Skin Sensor - both continuously detect skin tone and adapt power level to suit 
  • Modes - both have precision and glide modes or operation
  • Check
    Body Areas - both are suitable for female face and body and male body
  • Check
    Treatment Spot Size - both 3cm²
  • Check
    Gillette Venus Razor - both come with bonus cartridge razor

Silk Expert 3001

Silk Expert 5001

250,000 flashes

300,000 flashes

Flashes every 2 - 3 seconds

Flashes every 1 - 2 seconds for quicker treatment

Power - up to 4 J/cm²

Power - up to 6 J/cm² for more efficient hair removal

Gentle Power Option

Gentle and Extra Gentle Power Options

3 Power Levels (normal setting)

10 Power Levels (normal setting)


I think that, given the relatively modest difference of $54 in cost between these two quite pricey products, it is worth the additional investment for the more powerful Silk Expert 5001.

This is particularly the case if you are not one of the ideal, light skinned and dark haired, candidates for IPL.


For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below: