Welcome to our Philips Norelco 5500 review. Electric shavers are a major convenience in the shaving scene and I think every guy should have one. They can be a real time saver when you're in a hurry in the morning or maybe just a little lazy like me.
One thing I want to make sure you know before we review the Norelco 5500 is if a rotary shaver is for you. A lot of guys don't know if they should be using a rotary shaver or a foil shaver. I'll cover this quickly before reviewing the rotary shaver.
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Is Rotary What You Need?
A lot of people don't know if they should be using a rotary shaver or a foil shaver. With the Norelco 5500 being a rotary shaver it's important to know which one you should be using.
The quick way to tell if rotary is better for you is to take a moment a judge your facial hair. If your facial hair is thick, curly, and grows in different directions a rotary shaver is definitely what you should be using. If your facial hair only hits 2 of the 3 things we mentioned I would still go with the Norelco 5500.
A foil shaver is better suited for someone with straighter facial hair. While all facial hair is thicker than the hair on your head its a personal judgement if its thicker than most other's facial hair. If you think you might be better off with a foil shaver I highly recommend checking out our Braun Foil Shaver review.
How to Use Rotary Shaver
With the Norelco 5500 it can be used wet or dry. I personally prefer dry shaving, but that might just be me being lazy. Either way, with or without shaving cream, here's the rotary shave method I like using.
Step 1) Warm your face with warm water or a hot towel. I really like using a hot towel because it just feels amazing. If you've never experienced it then give the hot towel a try. You'll do this step for both wet and dry shaving.
Step 2) If you're wet shaving begin massaging the cream into your whiskers. If you're dry shaving use a damp cloth (hot towel) and massage your whiskers. The goal is to lift the hairs off the skin and it'll help you get a closer shave. If you don't like wet shaving because of the cream you may enjoy shave oil.
Step 3) Using your Norelco 5500, or any rotary shaver you want, shave in a circle motion. A small circle motion helps the rotary shaver grab hairs and cut them. Slowly make the circle bigger and move the shaver around the cheek as you shave.
Our Rotary Norelco 5500 Review
The Philips Noreclo 5500 rotary shaver is a higher end shaver. It's a quality built design from Philips that comes with the shaver, charger, and precision trimmer attachment in the box.
I really like the flip top design on the rotary shaver for easy cleaning. Your rotary blades can be flipped over and ran under water for a quick cleaning solution. Always make sure to clean your electric shaver after each use. Others make the mistake of not cleaning their shaver after each use and you really cut down on the shavers lifespan when you do.
In Your Hands
When you first pick up the Norelco 5500 it does feel like a quality shaver. It has a nice weight to it and its a good size that fits nicely in your hands.
If you have larger hands it might appear a little smaller than expected. The body is made of plastic but doesn't feel cheap. It's a harder plastic which makes it a little more durable.
This rotary shaver does a very good job shaving your whiskers. The blade heads flex with the contours of your face and follow over the curves nicely. Just make sure to follow our shaving guide for a rotary shaver we talked about above.
Some people have reviewed the cutting of this shaver negatively. From what I was able to read it seems like these reviews came from people that should of been using a foil shaver.
Overall the value of this rotary shaver falls in the mid range. What I mean by that is I would buy it if I could find it on sale. If I could get it for $15-25 cheaper than its normal retail price I would consider buying it.
I think it would make a terrific spare shaver. Something to keep at the office or to take with you traveling. I don't think I would keep it for my main home bathroom shaver.
Philips Norelco 5500 Features
During our Philips Norelco 5500 review we looked into the features that make up this shaver. Some features you'll expect on most shavers, but this shaver does have some of its own unique features that I like. Here's the breakdown of those features.
If you've got extra thick facial hair and find it difficult to cut through those whiskers you'll like Turbo mode. The turbo is designed just for those of you with thick whiskers. It provides a 10% boost in cutting power to cut down the thickest of hairs.
Multi-Precision Blade System
The rotary heads have a system that lifts the hairs and then cuts them. It gets you an even closer shave that removes small stubble. The hair lifting system combined with our tips to a closer shave will combine for a powerful smooth shave.
5 Direction Flex Head
These multi directional heads are great for working with you on a wet shave. You can opt for a quick dry shave or take advantage of the flexibility in these shave heads and get a wet shave.
They'll follow and glide with you to give an extra smooth shave while not allowing the shave cream to deter the level of closeness you can achieve. If you've ever wet shaved with an electric shaver you know it can sometimes be trouble. This flex system really helps curve that problem.
Wet or Dry Shave
Like most other shavers the Norelco 5500 can perform a great dry shave. It's ability to excel on a wet shave is what makes it even better. If you love wet shaving with an electric shaver you'll be happy with this rotary shaver.
Smart Click Precision Trimmer
Once you're done shaving that mug of yours and its silky smooth it'll be time to line up the edges. Simply click on your precision trimmer they provide and line up those sideburns and hair lines to really polish your style.
Quick Charge Time
With a powerful lithium ion battery you'll get 45 minutes of shave time. Philips quotes that at 15 shaves after 1 hour of charging time. Plus a 5 minute quick charge that's enough juice for one full shave when you need it.
Super Lift and Cut
With the added super lift technology it really helps you get a closer shave. The rotary head pulls the hairs upward before actually cutting them. Giving you a much closer shave than you might even suspect.
When you like the nicer things in life you'll like a shaver with an LED display. It has a 3 level battery indicator, lets you know when it needs cleaning, tells you when the heads need replacing, and tells you when its locked for travel.
Alternatives to Philips Norelco 5500
Philips Norelco 9300
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The Philips Norelco 9300 is a great alternative to the 5500 if you need a higher quality shaver. While you're going to pay more for the 9300 it's a better shave to keep at home.
It comes with a cleaning base station, all the benefits of the 5500, and just performs at them better. The 5500 is better suited as a secondary travel or office shaver.
To have a rotary shaver that going to cut through the muck and really handle business the Norelco 9300 is a really great alternative choice.
Philips Norelco 3100
The Philips Norelco 3100 model is a more affordable model compared to the Norelco 5500. This however doesn't mean its not as good of a shaver.
You be surprised to find out that the Norelco 3100 actually has a more positive review when compared to the Norelco 5500. Not only does it have better consumer reviews but its also a lot more affordable.
It's more affordable but it doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the 5500. You don't get the LED Display and some of the other perks. That hasn't seemed to change the mind of the buyer and they say it gives a better shave.
Philips Norelco 6400
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The Philips Norelco 6400 and 5500 are very similar rotary shavers. The 6400 has a few less technology aspects, but delivers a quality shave.
It's also a cheaper option to the 5500. If you like the Norelco 5500 but don't want to pay the asking price you may want to consider the 6400 as your other option.
You're basically getting the same shaver at a better price if you removes just a couple aspects like the turbo boost. It's not a bad trade off honestly and I'd give this some serious thought as an option.
Before You Go
I hope our Philips Norelco 5500 review was able to help you make an informed decision. It's a good shaver, but it's not the absolute best shaver. It's something I would have for traveling or a secondary to keep at the office.
If you're looking for a rotary shaver to keep at the house consider the alternatives we listed or the Norelco 9700.
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