How to Choose the Best Epilator for You
Some of the epilators we recently reviewed in our Best epilator roundup review.
What is the Purpose?
This might sound obvious, but with so many epilators on the market, offering so many different options, it has to be the first and most important consideration.
It is so easy to be side-tracked into thinking that you need to pay more for this or that added extra, and possibly overlook the key thing that you were first looking for.
Epilating - where?
So, what do you want to use the epilator for? Do you just want to epilate your legs, or do you intend to use it all over your body i.e. for arms, underarms, bikini-line etc.
The reason I ask this is that there are some epilators, mostly at the cheaper end of the market, that are recommended for legs only - so be careful and check the box to make sure you are not disappointed.
If you are a first time user, the legs are a good place to start as epilating can be painful and takes some getting used to. A really popular and good value for money option in this case would be the Philips HP6401 Satinelle at less than $30. If you would like more information about this product you can read our full review.
Then of course, do you want to be able to use it on your face? If so you have a couple of options:
- You can purchase an epilator specifically for facial use. These are usually battery operated for dry use and slim in design for travel. My recommendation would be the Emjoi Epi Slim facial epilator - it has the added advantage of being suitable for underarm and bikini-line whilst away.
- Choose a general use epilator with facial cap/head that is recommended for body and face. There is a wide range available to suit all pockets, but my favourite is the Philips Satinelle Advanced Epilator which also has a range of added extras.
Do you wish your device to have more than one function?
There are a range of different functions included with various epilators to make them a more attractive proposition, and these are explained in more detail later.
One common feature is the addition of a shaver head, to give the epilator a dual purpose. This gives obvious advantages; no need to keep 2 devices maintained and charged; space-saving, especially when travelling.
If you decide to opt for a dual epilator/shaver, just be sure that the shaver head is of good quality, with trimmer and comb and has not been added simply as a manufacturer's inducement to buy, for a higher price-tag.
The Panasonic ES ED90-p is a good mid-range example, which can be purchased for around $85.
Budget has to be one of the most important considerations, so what do you actually need to spend to get a good quality, effective product?
Epilators can cost anything from $25 right up to $170+ and there are some good buys to be had at a reasonable cost.
However rule of thumb says, unsurprisingly, that if you want an epilator that will do a good, efficient job for you, it is advisable to go for the best that you can afford.
Not very helpful, I know, but hopefully the following information will help you decide your priorities.
Number of Tweezers
In a nutshell, epilators work in the same way as your everyday manual tweezer, but are able to pluck multiple hairs at once, very quickly.
Therefore, the more tweezers the epilator head consists of, the quicker it will be able to cover larger areas.
This is why, when considering your purchase, you need to think about the number of tweezers in conjunction with which areas of the body you will be covering.
Tweezer heads can have anything from 9/10 tweezers (for delicate facial areas) up to the 72 offered by the Emjoi AP-18 Emagine Dual Opposed Tweezer Head Epilator, which is the maximum we have found currently on the market.
I think it is also worth mentioning here that the more tweezers the epilator has, the more pain is felt but, because it is quicker, it obviously lasts for less time - so there is your trade-off!
Wet or Dry?
Another decision is whether you are happy to use the epilator dry or would like the option to use in the shower.
Obviously, if you want the wet option, you will need to choose a cordless, rechargeable epilator.
There are advantages and disadvantages of using the epilator wet:
- Convenience - Use in the shower or bath as part of your routine
- More Comfortable - can be used with regular shower gels, creams and foams for a more soothing effect
- Flexibility - can be used wet or dry
- Cordless - can easily be used anywhere
- Less Efficient - Generally speaking, epilators are more efficient when used dry, and so are quicker to clear an area
- Rechargeable - need to remember to keep batteries charged and the possibility of batteries running out of charge before completion
- Cost - the cheapest epilators are for dry only use, so you do need to pay a little more
There are different designs to be aware of i.e. ergonomic bodies, with various shapes and grips.
Some are chunkier and heavier than others, whilst some have soft-touch grips or more slender handles. The pictures below show just a few examples of different epilators in the hand.
This really is a matter for personal preference but do bear in mind where you want to use the epilator and how easy it will be to reach.
For example, the chunkier epilators may not be as easy to use for the bikini-line, even when fitted with a special cap, as a more slender design.
You need to hold the epilator at a 90 degree angle to the skin, holding it firmly, and it will help you if you choose one that feels nice and comfortable in your hand.
Most epilators will have one or more caps which are attachments added to the epilator head depending on what part of the body you are epilating.
Commonly, there will be a sensitive area cap for use on underarms and bikini-line and if the epilator is designed for facial use, there may be a facial cap.
These tend to have the effect of covering part of the head so that the number of tweezers in use is lessened. This makes the process less painful, for these sensitive areas, whilst also increasing to a certain extent the amount of precision.
There may be an efficiency cap to help you achieve the correct angle for optimum results.
Some also have massage caps. These are designed to make the process more comfortable, using rollers to help stretch and vibrate the skin whilst epilating.
Some epilators have an integral light which is positioned to illuminate the hairs in the immediate area being epilated.
This can help you to avoid any harder to see hairs; any that are flat against the skin or particularly fine, so that you can epilate efficiently with less need to go over the same area again and again.
All of the epilators designed for full body use have a dual speed function - slower for gentler epilation of sensitive areas and faster for quicker, more efficient coverage of larger, less sensitive areas.
Battery operated facial epilators have one speed.
Some epilators have multi-purposes, as well as shaving, with different interchangeable heads offering different uses:
Facial Cleansing/Exfoliating Brush
This is a useful addition; exfoliating before and between hair removal with the epilator is really important to help reduce the risk of ingrown hairs, one of the common side effects from any method involving plucking from the root.
Included as an optional head, it has the advantage of ensuring that you get a good amount of use from your epilator, whilst giving your skin a deep, cleansing exfoliation.
Generally speaking, once you start epilating regularly, you are not likely to need to epilate more often than fortnightly (depending on area and individual hair growth rate).
The one pictured above is from the Braun Silk-Epil SkinSpa 9.
Some epilators come with a separate exfoliating brush, just as an added extra, but I think the one's with interchangeable head are the most convenient, especially when travelling.
Foot Buffer (callus remover)
Another handy addition, if you want to get the most from your device.
The one's I have looked at have a roller head with a roughened surface to remove calluses and hard skin from the feet (usually the heel and ball of the foot).
They are efficient and you do have be careful not to go mad with them - working gently, a little at a time.
The one pictured on the right is from the Panasonic ES-ED90-p wet/dry epilator, which I recently reviewed in full and which I was pretty impressed with.
From simple drawstring bags to sturdy, zipped pouches (similar to a pencil case) many epilators include this added extra.
They do come into their own when you are travelling, especially if your device comes with multiple accessories, to keep them all together.
As mentioned previously, some epilators come with a separate exfoliation brush as an added extra e.g. the Philips Satin Soft Epilator.
I guess it is an added bonus, but I personally think that the best one's are those that are supplied as a separate head attachment to the epilator.
It is a simple matter to purchase an exfoliation brush of your choice if you want one, so unless the epilator is your favourite, I wouldn't necessarily be swayed by this.
The Braun FaceSpa facial epilator not only has an exfoliation brush head, but also includes a lighted compact mirror, all with a zipped pouch for storage/carrying.
I would say that these are all handy extras, but again, shouldn't be deal-makers. The kit comes at a premium in comparison to other facial epilators, but in this case, the epilator also has unique design features.
(Unusually, it can be used for the area between eyebrows above the eyebrows, with care).
And Finally ..
I guess what I am really saying in all this is that added extras are good if you view them as a bit of a bonus, but the main thing is that the design and recommended use of the epilator is what you want and need.
For more helpful information we have published various articles: