5 Best Stubble Trimmers For A Perfect 5 O’Clock ShadowThis Article May Contain Affiliate Links
According to a survey that we recently conducted, 75% of women found beard stubble to be attractive. In fact, when compared to all facial hairstyles ranging from clean-shaven to a long beard greater than 2”, a 2-to-10-day stubble was the most preferred facial hairstyle that women want to see in a guy.
Not only is having a slight stubble immensely attractive (as the data has shown), it’s also one of the easiest beard styles to maintain and achieve…
…so long that you have the right tools.
In this review and guide, we not only go over the best stubble trimmers of 2019 that can achieve that perfect 5 o’clock shadow look, but also go over several key features that you should think about before purchasing a stubble trimmer along with a few tips on how to get the most from your new stubble trimmer.
Let’s get started:
In A Hurry? Our Top Picks:
ConairMAN Super Stubble Trimmer
Best For General Use
Norelco OneBlade Stubble Trimmer
Best for Sensitive Skin
Wahl Edge Pro Bump Free Stubble Trimmer
Philips Norelco Multigroom Hair, Body, & Stubble Trimmer
ConairMAN iStubble Stubble Trimmer
Most Affordable (Cheap)
What to Know When Buying A Stubble Trimmer
As we researched a variety of stubble trimmers, we found that the following features were some of the most important (and easiest) ways to compare across brands in an objective and fair manner.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cutting Length Settings
By far one of the most important factors when deciding on the perfect stubble trimmer for you will be the cutting length settings.
When looking at many of the most popular stubble trimmers, you will find that they can usually cut anywhere between 0.4mm to 5mm in length.
Furthermore, within the length settings, the stubble trimmers will remember either through a mechanical dial or digital memory of the last setting used.
This makes regular trimming (daily to once every few days) much easier as you can begin trimming immediately before hopping into the shower.
In addition to having presets, many stubble trimmers will also have small increment settings on the handle which allow you to dial in exactly the length you are looking to achieve.
Therefore, if you are looking for a beard that is just a touch longer than the 5 o’clock shadow, then you should have no problem with the stubble trimmers we reviewed.
2. Head Pivot
Just like when using a foil or rotary shaver, the pivot of the head is nearly as important as the cutting settings.
A stubble trimmer that doesn’t navigate the natural contours of your face effortlessly will miss patches and, in extreme cases, give your beard a sloppy appearance.
Whether you are getting around and underneath your jawline or the top of the mustache area, a stubble trimmer head needs to be small or narrow enough in order to get a clean cut on your whiskers.
If you don’t want to worry about making additional passes with the stubble trimmer and want a much more efficient trim in the morning, then go with one that has a pivot head.
3. Charge Time / Battery Life
If you use any electronic devices during your grooming routine, then you know the downsides of a dead battery.
With a beard half-groomed, having to dock your trimmer to just get you enough juice to finish the job can be incredibly frustrating – especially if you are running late in the morning.
In general, especially when it comes to stubble trimmers, try and go with a device that has a Lithium-Ion battery.
Lithium-Ion batteries have a much shorter charge time (typically around 90 minutes) and can stay powered for longer (typically around 75 minutes).
The other popular (and cheaper) battery option found in stubble trimmers will be Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH for short).
These batteries require a significantly longer charge time (typically around four hours) and will stay powered for a much shorter time (typically around 45 minutes).
In short, if you hate having to charge your trimmer often or live in fear of having the battery die in the morning while in the middle of cutting your beard, get a stubble trimmer with a Lithium-Ion battery – it provides better performance when it comes to charge and battery life while only costing a modest amount more.
4. Cord / Cordless
Nearly all stubble trimmers reviewed in this guide are going to be cordless. Unlike balding clippers or hair trimmers that rely on powerful electromagnetic motors, the blades found in a stubble trimmer require far less power, making them a perfect cordless trimming tool.
While we mentioned battery type in the previous section, it’s worth noting that some cordless stubble trimmers can be powered either via cordless or corded, stopping those hair-raising fears of the battery dying after only half of the beard was trimmed.
But there is a catch:
Stubble trimmers that must be docked to charge cannot be operated while plugged in.
Secondly, some companies disable the trimmer from being operated while plugged in due to the risk of electrocution.
Our recommendation here:
If you are set on getting a stubble trimmer that is corded, or is cordless but can also be used as corded, make sure you read the manufacturer’s description or product guide (typically found on the company’s website) before making your purchase.
This way you know exactly what to expect when the stubble trimmer arrives in the mail.
In an age where there is a device for everything, there is inevitably a lot of frustration on having your bathroom cabinets crowded with stuff you use infrequently (i.e. electric shaver, hair trimmer, nose hair trimmer, etc.).
For the minimalist men that don’t want to have yet another device, or prefer a device that not only can act as a stubble trimmer but also a general beard trimmer and even a body groomer, you do have some options available.
As we go over in our reviews, there are some compromises that you must make though when looking for a multi-functional stubble trimmer (i.e. larger head, not as many clipping settings, etc.).
Therefore, it’s important to be aware that these compromises do exist between devices.
6. Wet or Dry Shave
There are two types of men in this world:
- Those that want to get a good lather with a quality shave cream and use their stubble trimmer.
- Those that want to simply take the stubble trimmer to their dry face and just get to work.
Depending on which sounds more familiar (and likely) for you will dictate the type of stubble trimmer you should consider.
Some brands (such as Conair) waterproof their high-end stubble trimmers so they can be used in the shower – making clean up super easy. These types of stubble trimmers can be used in what’s called a wet operation.
Opposite of wet stubble trimmers are dry stubble trimmers. As you likely already guessed, these are made to only be used on dry facial hair.
Now there is an important caveat to all this:
Typically (always verify with the owner’s manual), you cannot rinse off your dry stubble trimmer under the sink.
Therefore, cleanup for this stubble trimmer is marginally more laborious as you need to use a brush in order to clear away small hair clippings.
Of course, wet stubble trimmers can be rinsed off after use – making cleanup easy.
Stubble trimmers can vary greatly in price.
This is in large part since they come with quite a bit of variety. Looking at the cutting length settings, battery, waterproofing, and, of course, head pivot can dictate how much you will be paying at the register.
Based on our research, we found that a decent stubble trimmer that isn’t overly compromising on many of the important features listed should cost anywhere between $50 to $115.
Those costing outside this price range may be more advanced trimmers (such as a beard, stubble, and body grooming combo) that extend the definition of this category.
Stubble trimmers costing less than $50 will start to greatly compromise on many features or have other hidden costs associated with them that aren’t obvious (i.e. regular replacement of the cutting head).
Now, let’s move forward and review a variety of stubble trimmers in order to find the perfect one for you:
The Best Stubble Trimmers of 2019 Reviewed
Best For General Use
From its waterproof design to the insanely low cutting setting of only 0.4mm, the ConairMAN Super Stubble Trimmer is one of the best stubble trimmers available today.
Here we will break down all the features and why they are so popular with men everywhere.
First, the cutting settings.
As we mentioned previously, this stubble trimmer can cut all the way down to 0.4mm. To put that in perspective, a penny is 1.52mm – that’s 73.68% thinner!
What does this mean for you and your own unique facial hairstyle?
Should you want just a bit of texture to your face and not a full-on 5 o’clock shadow, then this trimmer will have no problem delivering.
For those men who do want to add more length to their beard, you will be happy to learn that this stubble trimmer can extend all the way to 5 millimeters – (or just under .25”) – enough for a very short beard.
With an onboard memory chip, the ConairMAN Super Stubble Trimmer will remember your previous setting used, making it effortless to maintain that same perfect look day in and day out without having to remember some arbitrary number.
While the head on this trimmer looks immobile, by peeking at the profile you will see that it allows for full pivot action – making it easy to wrap around the contours of your face to ensure consistent results across your entire beard.
As we eluded to from the start, this is a waterproof stubble trimmer making it a tool you can take into the shower with you so clippings don’t go all over the bathroom counter. This waterproof design is also advantageous when it comes to cleanup.
While others may require a brush to get the small hair clippings free, you can simply run this trimmer under water for quicker results.
One feature about this trimmer that may be a sticking point for some men will be the charging process. While this trimmer relies on a powerful Lithium-Ion battery that can run for 70 minutes, it cannot be used when charging (rests in a dock) – making for potential issues should the battery run out mid-operation.
However, the LCD on the handle does provide you with estimated time remaining in the battery letting you know if you are running low – so you should never be blindsided with a dead battery if you check this often.
Lastly, detailing. The attachment comb that comes included with the stubble trimmer can be removed making it easy to do detail work around the ears, mustache and neck area.
- Jam-packed with features
- Long battery life
- Pivot head for consistent results
- Docking system prohibits use while charging
Best for Sensitive Skin
While we did a full review of the Norelco OneBlade that initially launched a couple of years ago, we want to switch gears towards the much more robust OneBlade Pro.
Taking everything that was great about the original OneBlade, the OneBlade Pro improves on many features that were lacking with the first model – most notably an improved battery life and the cutting length settings.
Now relying on a more advanced and modern Lithium Ion battery, the OneBlade pro can provide a 90-minute run time after only a 60-minute charge – making it just a touch better (in terms of battery performance) when compared to the ConairMAN Super Stubble Trimmer.
Secondly, the length settings are terrific.
Unlike the baseline OneBlade that only comes with three attachment combs (1mm, 3mm, 5mm), the OneBlade Pro can dial in a length setting anywhere between .4mm and 10mm in length (one of the largest ranges available in a stubble trimmer).
With the raised comb that attaches separately, it keeps the cutting blade just a fraction above the surface of your skin, making it one of the best stubble trimmers for sensitive skin.
Even if you regularly have irritation or razor bumps when using any other grooming tools, you will experience no visual signs of redness when using this unique device.
With a small head that can navigate the contours of your face with ease, this stubble trimmer cuts in a reliable and predictive manner with its pivot head.
When it comes to cleanup, the OneBlade Pro is waterproof and can be rinsed out fully (or taken into the shower with you).
If there were any downsides to this device when compared to other stubble trimmers, it would be the replaceable head.
Yes, you will need to replace the trimmer head on the OneBlade Pro regularly. Norelco recommends a replacement once every four months (assuming twice a week shaving).
- Perfect for sensitive skin as only the comb ever touches the surface
- Long battery life
- Wide cutting-length range
- Blades require regular replacement
Both affordable and powerful, the Wahl Edge Pro Bump Free (hereafter Wahl Edge Pro) is a stout little stubble trimmer that packs a punch.
But as powerful and reliable as the Wahl Edge Pro may be, it garners the most attention with its cutting length.
When going straight to the metal, the Wahl Edge Pro can cut down to an impressive .2mm (1-day stubble). This makes it one of the shortest stubble trimmers we reviewed.
While 5 o’clock shadows may be the in-look, if you want one that looks a few hours earlier and provides a nice ashy texture to your face, then the Wahl Edge Pro can deliver.
Now, if you want a bit of flexibility when it comes to how close you shave your stubble, the Wahl Edge Pro comes included with 12 attachment combs suitable for cutting both your facial hair and top-of-head hair at a variety of lengths.
Unlike other trimmers that rely on either Ni-MH or Lithium-Ion batteries, the Wahl Edge Pro is corded, making it reliable and strong.
Even if you have extremely coarse or thick hair, this little stubble trimmer should have no problem slicing through the follicles cleanly.
Now, of course, given that it’s corded, it isn’t waterproof. Cleaning the cutting blades requires the use of a blade brush (included) in order to clear the head of any leftover clippings.
Priced well below $50, it’s also one of the more affordable stubble trimmers out there and competes head-on with the ConairMAN iStubble.
This stubble trimmer is backed by a five-year warranty giving you additional peace of mind.
- Closest cutting stubble trimmer (.2 mm)
- Extremely powerful due to a corded motor
- Not as precise cutting lengths between attachment combs
No matter where you have hair on your body, the Philips Norelco Multigroom trimmer will make quick work of it.
One of the most versatile trimmers ever made, it can get just about any job done when it comes to cutting hair.
While we will talk about the stubble trimming capabilities in just a quick minute, we want to touch briefly on this trimmer’s capabilities.
When you buy this Multigroom tool, you will not only be able to cut facial hair down to a stubble but will also be able to use it as a full beard trimmer should you let it grow a bit longer during winter months, especially during movemeber or no-shave November, along with being able to trim down overgrown body hair with two body trimming guards included, and even a hair trimmer.
But here’s where the Philips Norelco Multigroom sets itself apart from virtually every other trimmer when it comes to versatility – it has included a foil shaver along with a nose and hair trimmer.
Now on to the reason why this device piqued our (and soon your) interest – the stubble trimmer.
Unlike most multi-function devices, the stubble trimmer here is quite good.
Able to cut down to 1mm (about a 3-day stubble) and steps up in 1mm increments (i.e. 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, etc.), it can cut incredibly close to your skin, making for a respectable 5 o’clock shadow.
In addition to the close cut, this Multigroom tool has a medium-sized head making it easy to navigate the contours of your face.
While some men may have trouble around the mustache area, the attachment combs can be removed from the head, giving it a slimmer profile to reach tough areas through a little bit of detailing.
Beyond the impressive cutting abilities, the battery life is equally good.
With a 5-hour run time, you never have to worry about the trimmer running out mid-shave. If anything, you might have the problem of finding your charger due to infrequent use (not a bad problem to have).
Lastly, this trimmer is washable.
While not fully waterproof, you can simply rinse it under the water to clear out all the clippings quickly. So, if you don’t want pubic hair mixed with stubble hair, no worries here!
- Impressive five-hour battery life
- Can cut any hair on your body including stubble
- Plenty of cut settings
- Head may be tough to navigate around tight areas
- Doesn’t cut as low as a native stubble trimmer (1mm vs. .4mm)
Most Affordable (Cheap)
The little brother to the ConairMAN Super Stubble Trimmer is the iStubble.
One of the most popular stubble trimmers currently available and priced about half of what some of the other premium options on our list are, it does suffer from a few (albeit minor) setbacks.
First, let’s start with the most important feature when reviewing any stubble trimmer – the cutting length.
Surprisingly, the iStubble ranks among the best and has a cut length ranging from 0.4mm (1-day stubble) to 5mm, giving it plenty of versatility in the facial hair length that you prefer.
While the range on this stubble trimmer is impressive, it does only have 15 settings between this range (the Super Stubble Trimmer had 24). Likely not a big deal to many as the difference between a setting is likely only a day or two of beard growth – but is, of course, worth mentioning.
With the cutting range near identical, one compromise that is made on the iStubble is the memory setting. While it is equipped with an LCD screen (indicating that there is some level of simple computing onboard), this stubble trimmer does not retain the clipping setting you previously used.
Therefore, when using this trimmer, you will need to try your best to remember what setting you prefer for your facial hairstyle.
The biggest compromise on this stubble trimmer has to do with the battery.
Unlike most other stubble trimmers that rely on a Lithium-Ion battery, the iStubble is powered with a Ni-MH battery, making the charge and run times lackluster.
Expect this stubble trimmer to take 4 hours to charge and only run for about 45 minutes.
The one added feature to make up for this poor battery performance is that the unit can be used while plugged in.
Lastly, when regularly cleaning this stubble trimmer, you will need to brush it regularly for optimal cutting performance (comes with a grooming brush).
- Great range of cutting settings
- Works when plugged in
- Poor battery performance
- Not waterproof
How to Use A Stubble Trimmer
Now that you’ve selected (or currently own) a stubble trimmer, it’s time to use it to its fullest potential.
To help you on your journey, we wanted to put together this easy to follow guide on how to use a stubble trimmer:
1. Inspect Your Facial Hair
Before trimming your facial hair, it’s important to take a moment to inspect your growth.
If you are looking to create a stubble that sets the backdrop for a complimentary mustache or goatee, you will want to set your course of action for the stubble trimmer to achieve the best results.
2. Comb Downward for Even Length (only longer)
Once you plotted where you plan on trimming your facial hair, it’s now time to get your beard looking uniform.
A combed beard will ensure that all the follicles are pointing in the same direction. This is important as it will ensure that the hairs are evenly cut as some grow in at different rates than others – this is especially important if you are trimming your hairs a few settings up on the stubble trimmer.
3. Work Progressively
While it may be tempting to go on the lowest setting and immediately start trimming down to a stubble, you want to make sure that you practice some restraint.
Therefore, you will want to work progressively through the clipper settings, especially if you are trimming down a longer beard to a stubble.
We would like to suggest that you jump down logically (just odd numbers). For instance, if trimming a long beard to a stubble, start with 5mm, then 3mm, and then finally 1mm.
4. Work in Sections
When you begin to cut down your facial hair, instead of haphazardly going all over your face, work in sections. It will ensure much more uniform and clean results.
Common sections that men may work will be the following:
- Left Cheek
- Right Cheek
- Left Neck (to Adam’s Apple)
- Right Neck (to Adam’s Apple)
Once you feel confident that you got all the areas cut the way you planned out, now comes the inspection part.
Here you will want to look at areas that men commonly miss.
This includes the area directly under the nose (the philtrum) along with on the back underside of the jawline (the area where your jaw curves upwards next to your ear).
In addition to checking out these areas, you may want to use the detailing part of your stubble trimmer and remove any wispy hairs that are a bit higher up on your cheek area or close to your ears.
6. Clean Trimmer Head
Once you are confident in your handiwork, it’s best to get into the habit of cleaning out your stubble trimmer. If you decided to get a wet stubble trimmer, this will be easy; simply run it under the water for a few seconds and let it air dry.
If you own a dry stubble trimmer, then you will want to get out the included brush (if no brush was included, then a stiff-bristled toothbrush can work), and work through the cutting edge of the trimmer.
Should there be any areas around the neck of the trimmer, you will also want to try and knock any small clippings free.
After you’ve cleaned your trimmer thoroughly, you can either rinse off or take a shower in order to remove any clippings that may have stuck to the surface of your skin.
8: PRO TIP: Moisturize
Moisturizing your face doesn’t rank high on the required grooming steps for a lot of men. However, we highly recommend to at least consider it.
When you moisturize your stubble, it will make both the follicles and the skin look much more radiant than if it were left dry. Women love it and you will be happy with the results as well.
If you are unsure of a moisturizer, check out our reviews of some face creams for men.
Common Questions Men Had About Stubble Trimmers
As we got into the weeds with our research to find the best stubble trimmers for you, we found ourselves coming across the same questions (or very similar questions) from a lot of men out there.
Therefore, we thought it best to dedicate a section in this guide to address a few of these should any of them currently be on your mind:
What is the best length for stubble?
According to our findings, the average rate of which a beard grows is .39” per month (about 10mm). That equates to a growth rate of about .33mm of growth per day.
As we reviewed earlier, many stubble trimmers can only cut down to about .4mm (or roughly one day’s worth of beard growth).
What does this mean for you?
It’s subjective and dependent on the type of beard stubble you want to grow. If you want that classic 5 o’clock shadow, then a stubble trimmer set to the lowest setting will suffice.
But if you want a bit of extra scruff as if you just went camping for the weekend, then a 1.5mm setting (about equal to 4 days growth) will be better.
Test it out. Ask your significant other what they think.
Go with the stubble style you feel most confident with.
Can I just use a rotary shaver as a stubble trimer?
While rotary shavers leave a little bit of hair on the surface of your face when used, they aren’t categorically considered stubble trimmers and don’t have any cutting length settings.
This leads to less versatility in your hands, especially if you want to take full control over how your stubble looks and feels.
What length is a day 10 stubble?
As we did the math earlier, a man’s beard grows in at a rate of about .33mm per day. At 10 days of uninhibited growth, you can expect your beard to be 3.3mm.
All the stubble trimmers reviewed in this guide can easily cut to a 10-day stubble.
How do I get a good 5 o’clock stubble?
The best way to get a great looking 5 o’clock shadow isn’t only by using a quality stubble trimmer, but to also moisturize your face daily.
Moisturizing ensures that your skin remains well-nourished and hydrated while also supporting your hair for future healthy growth.
Stubble Trimmer vs. Beard Trimmer vs. Electric Shaver vs. Hair Clippers
Understanding the role of the stubble trimmer in the world of grooming tools can get a little hazy, especially when compared to tools like beard trimmers, electric shavers and hair clippers.
Here, we wanted to take a quick minute to talk about these four tools and how they differ from one another.
Nearly always cordless, stubble trimmers are a specialty tool to achieve that classic 5 o’clock shadow look.
With dial settings ranging anywhere between .4mm and 5mm, men can cut their facial hair to a precise length.
It is especially useful if you want consistency or subtle beard growth to complement a more prominent mustache or sideburn; the stubble is reliable.
Its largest difference, when compared to the beard trimmer, will be both the size of the clipper’s width and the max length that you can change the cutting settings to.
Terrific for men that want short-to-medium length beard styles, the classic beard trimmer does a great job at cutting thick patches of hair rather easily.
While some trimmers can cut down to a near stubble, beard trimmers largely specialize in a more moderate length range (2mm and up).
In addition to a higher cutting length range, beard trimmers also usually come equipped with extra features – such as a built-in vacuum within the handle in order to easily catch most clippings.
Beard trimmers are also generally much larger devices for both ergonomic and functional reasons (larger battery, wider attachment comb, etc.).
While you can use a beard trimmer instead of a stubble trimmer, what you’ll be losing out on is the preciseness of the cut length. You’ll also be using a harder-to-navigate device given its larger size.
Primarily dominated by the big three (Philips Norelco, Braun, and Remington), electric shavers are designed to cut the hair down to the surface of the skin.
Unable to provide a reliable stubble due to the close-cutting nature of this device, electric shavers shouldn’t be considered an equal alternative to a stubble trimmer.
While some higher-end electric shavers feature a detailing cutting blade (typically found on the back of the handle), these are made for only light cleanup of the few stray hairs, not daily use as a stubble trimmer.
The only exception to this would be electric shavers (typically foil-based variants) that come with a variety of attachment combs (such as the Braun Series 3). But again, these attachment combs provide very little in cutting length settings to be a practical alternative to a stubble trimmer.
Hair clippers, like a beard trimmer, are designed to cut through densely packed hair without snagging or pulling.
Usually always corded, hair clippers rely on powerful electromagnetic motors that cut at a tremendous rate per minute.
Unfortunately for this style of clipper, it’s typically all or nothing when it comes to the cutting length size for stubble.
If you go directly to the metal edge, you can cut the hair to just a fraction above the surface. Whereas when you attach the smallest included comb, the hair will be typically cut at a few millimeters in length.
Now, if you decide to go with a major brand of hair clippers (i.e. Andis or Wahl), you might be able to find some aftermarket attachment combs that provide a little bit more variance in cutting sizes.
Beyond cut length, hair clippers are much bigger (given that they are intended to be used on a larger area); this makes using them to trim your face down to a stubble nearly impossible.
The extra-wide head on these clippers won’t do nearly as good of a job near the mustache or jaw area.
When all is said and done, hair clippers and electric shavers aren’t a substitute for a stubble trimmer. The only viable option would be a beard trimmer.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Stubble Trimmer
Picking the best stubble trimmer of 2019 was tough. There were a lot of brands, various price points, and a ton of features to consider.
However, after looking at the leading stubble trimmers on the market and finding the best-in-class for each category (i.e. general use, sensitive skin, affordability), we think our list above represents one of the most comprehensive guides currently available.
We hope that all the information contained in this article will assist you in finding the perfect stubble trimmer to meet your own unique needs.