The 10 best epilators for silky-smooth skin

01 April 2021

woman using epilator

If you’re finding the bewildering array of epilators available a little hair-raising, fear not. We’re here to smooth your journey to easy hair removal.

Avoiding the mess of razors or waxing, epilators make quick work of fuzzy armpits, hairy legs, and irritating hairs sprouting from chins and lips (they creep up on you like ninjas, don’t they?).

Epilators work by tweezing out the hairs at the root, so they can provide an instant smooth finish as well as eventually reducing hair regrowth.

Because they contain a multitude of tweezers all working automatically, epilators make grooming much quicker and less painful than simple plucking or shaving.

Once you’ve got to grips with an epilator, you’re unlikely to go back and, having paid the initial cost, you’re then saving money every month. What’s not to like?

There’s a wide market for epilators and you can spend anywhere from under £30 up to hundreds depending on what you’re looking for. Some are designed specially for different jobs, so it’s worth considering how, where and how often you'll use one before making a purchase.

You’re just one click away from hair-free happiness. From finding the best value to working out which bells and whistles you need and which you don’t, we've got you covered.

Here are the 10 best epilators to buy right now.

1. Best overall epilator: Braun Silk-épil 9

“Braun Silk-épil. It has a nobbly gadget that sits over the epilating bit. It really works and isn't sore to use. Way better than the one I had in the early 2000s.”

1. Best overall epilator: Braun Silk-épil 9

This epilator from trusted brand, Braun, offers so many extras and additional features that it's sure to do what you're hoping for. The only thing it doesn’t do is make you a cup of tea.

It works on both wet and dry skin, and also has an attachment that means it can be used as an electric shaver and trimmer.

The wide, flexible head pivots, which makes it easy to get into hard-to-reach areas, and a light on the device allows you to see what you’re doing.

Braun also claims that the Silk-épil 9 can whip out hairs as short as 0.5mm, meaning you don’t have to put up with any regrowth. As you epilate, it exfoliates and massages at the same time, which helps reduce any discomfort as the hairs are pulled out and gives you a smoother finish overall.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Use: Wet and dry
  • Number of tweezers: 40
  • Speeds: 2

2. Best budget epilator: Braun Silk-épil 3

“I would never bother to wax or shave again. I have a Braun Silk-épil epilator – a cheaper one which has to be plugged in to be used, which is fine.”

2. Best budget epilator: Braun Silk-épil 3

If you like the look of the Braun Silk-épil 9, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch, this is a great cheaper alternative from the same company.

It’s corded, so only for dry use, and doesn’t have the fancy pivoting head or raft of blades that the Silk-épil 9 has, but it’s a similar model in many other ways.

It comes with a shave and trim attachment, has a massage roller to help make things less painful and also has a light on it so you don’t miss a single hair.

Easy to hold and small in size, which makes it easier to wield, this epilator is particularly good for trickier areas, like the backs of your legs. A brilliant purchase for a more modest price, and a great choice for an epilator beginner.

Key specs

  • Type: Corded
  • Use: Dry only
  • Number of tweezers: 20
  • Speeds: 2

3. Best laser epilator: Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device

“I just bought the Philips Lumea and can’t believe the results! I'm on my last session of the treatment plan, haven't shaved my legs (or anything else in two weeks) and I am only now getting stubble, but it's very patchy and mostly my body is smooth and hair-free.”

3. Best laser epilator: Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device

IPL epilators are pricey, but they work on a much more long-term basis than most others. IPL stands for 'intense pulsed light,' and they work by directing light at the melanin in each hair follicle, which then stunts growth.

It’s worth being aware that this is very much a long-haul process. You won’t use an IPL epilator and have instantly smooth legs.

You need to remove most hair first so that the device can direct light straight at the hair follicle – if you don’t, you’ll have to put up with a slightly unpleasant burnt hair smell while you work. You’ll also need to use it regularly over a period of months at first to reach all the hair follicles.

However, once you’ve done all that, you’re basically hair-free and will find that, as time goes on and with more usage, you won't really get any new hairs growing.

The Philips Lumea Prestige is the best home IPL model on the market and has some really smart features. Firstly, it has a special sensor that automatically works out how dark your skin is and how thick your hairs are so that it uses the appropriate setting (there are five light intensities).

However, because it works through pigment, it may not work as well on darker skin tones. The higher-intensity settings need it to be plugged in, but it can be used cordless on lower settings.

It also comes with three different heads for using on different areas of the body (face, legs, underarm and bikini line) and is very lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre.

To use it, you simply press it to the skin and pull the trigger. You can also hold the trigger down while sliding it across the skin on larger areas such as the legs. Customers say it’s also less painful than epilating, causing only a mild ‘flickering’ sensation.

Key specs

  • Type: Corded or cordless
  • Number of tweezers: N/A
  • Speeds: N/A – but it has five light intensities

4. Best wet and dry epilator: Panasonic ED53 Wet and Dry Epilator

“Get one of the wet and dry ones. I found epilating in the shower much less painful than dry.”

4. Best wet and dry epilator: Panasonic ED53 Wet and Dry Epilator

A great model with lots of additional extras, the Panasonic ED53 Wet and Dry Epilator has 48 tweezers to help it work quicker than most epilators.

It also has a wide head with a 60-degree pivot and a light, so it gives really good coverage, removing most hairs on a first run. Its slim shape makes it easy to use too.

If swift and effective hair removal isn’t enough to convince you, it can also be used as an electric shaver, bikini comb, foot exfoliator and sonic cleansing brush. You’ll be top-to-toe ready for summer in no time.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Use: Wet and dry
  • Number of tweezers: 48
  • Speeds: 2

5. Best cordless epilator: Panasonic Cordless Wet and Dry EL9A Epilator

“I have a Panasonic. I echo getting a cordless model. Mine's also got a light which is super useful for seeing the hairs.”

5. Best cordless epilator: Panasonic Cordless Wet and Dry EL9A Epilator

As a updated version of the Panasonic ED53 that we’ve also included in this list – and both get great reviews – the Panasonic EL9A has a 30 percent wider head for more coverage and quicker epilating, and a 90-degree swivel to help you reach any tricky areas.

We really like the gentle cap on this model, which holds the skin taut so that the discs don’t touch it as the hair is removed.

It can be used wet as well as dry and you can also pour shower gel onto the head so it foams up as it epilates, which makes things even more comfortable.

Three speed settings (soft, normal and power) give you a bit of extra control. The sonic scrub brush head, which exfoliates skin thoroughly, is a nice add-on too.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Use: Wet and dry
  • Number of tweezers: 60
  • Speeds: 3

6. Best corded epilator: Remington EP7500 5-in-1 Epilator

“I have a Remington 5-in-1 and it's brill. Yes, it hurts like hell the first time after shaving, but I've been epilating for 12 years now, five weeks easily between goes, and it takes 10 minutes. No pain at all anymore unless I've done a lazy leg shave.”

6. Best corded epilator: Remington EP7500 5-in-1 Epilator

Remington Ep7500 5-in-1 is a great-value corded epilator that covers all bases. It has two speed options as well as three different attachments, including a massage cap with aloe vera for more comfortable hair removal and a detail cap for epilating small areas.

It has lots of tweezers and claims to pull out 60% more hair in one pass than similar models. The head can be removed and washed easily, which makes it very simple to care for.

Key specs

  • Type: Corded
  • Use: Dry only (but washable)
  • Number of tweezers: 40
  • Speeds: 2

Price: £40.60

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best facial epilator: Braun Face Spa 810 Epilator and Cleansing Brush

“I got the Braun Face Spa which comes with a facial rotator head for exfoliation, which I love as much as the epilator. Great for keeping skin smooth in winter plus cheaper than buying exfoliators.”

7. Best facial epilator: Braun Face Spa 810 Epilator and Cleansing Brush

Removing hair from your face can be tricky because the skin is so sensitive. This model from Braun is designed with a slim head to give you plenty of control to use on areas such as brows, upper lip and chin.

You hold it like a mascara wand, and it promises up to 200 pluckings per second, capturing hairs as tiny as 0.2mm wide, so it will make short work of even the most persistent brows and face hairs.

It can be used in the shower so it will fit easily into your routine, and it also comes with a cleansing facial brush, which is six times more effective than manual cleansing and should help keep pores squeaky clean.

You can use the facial brush with your usual cleanser and moisturiser to help these products penetrate your skin more deeply and get to work faster. Guaranteed glow!

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless (2 x AA batteries included)
  • Use: Wet and dry
  • Number of tweezers: 40
  • Speeds: 1

8. Best epilator for upper lip: PCSG Electric Epilator Wizzit Tweezers

“After years of bleaching, using depilatory cream and tweezers, I've now got a Wizzit, bought from Amazon, and it's brilliant. It’s a mini epilator for the face. It does hurt a bit at first, but it's so quick and easy.”

8. Best epilator for upper lip: PCSG Electric Epilator Wizzit Tweezers

So handy it will fit into your make-up bag, and very effective too, the Wizzit is ideal if all you want is something to sort those irritating top lip hairs.

This epilator works cordlessly to remove upper lip hairs with as little discomfort as possible. Its hypoallergenic rotary tweezers pluck out hair at the root, without breaking it, making this far more effective than ordinary tweezers.

The Wizzit is small and light, so is really easy to use and, at under £14, it’s a bargain solution to a persistent problem. Say ta ta to that 'tache for good.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless (2 × AAA batteries – not included)
  • Use: Not stated
  • Number of tweezers: Not stated
  • Speeds: 1

9. Best epilator for face and body: Philips Satinelle Advanced Epilator

“I've got a Philips Satinelle and it's been going for a good few years now!”

9. Best epilator for face and body: Philips Satinelle Advanced Epilator

With different attachments for legs, underarms and face, and an ergonomic S-shaped handle, the Satinelle knows exactly how to get every last hair with ease.

It has a micro-ridged ceramic head which removes hairs gently and at a really fast speed, meaning it should be less painful.

Reviews claim that it’s great for people with really fine hair and for the first stages of regrowth, and the Satinelle claims to be able to extract hairs four times smaller than waxing allows for.

It can be used dry or in the shower and it also has a shaving attachment for any sensitive areas you just can’t bear to think about plucking.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless
  • Use: Wet and dry
  • Number of tweezers: 32
  • Speeds: 2

10. Best epilator for sensitive skin: Remington Smooth and Silky Facial Epilator

“I use a stick epilator on my face. I have dark hair which appears as normal light fuzz and also the odd horror that sprouts overnight (I am early 50s), so it's great to have something that takes seconds to hand in the bathroom.”

10. Best epilator for sensitive skin: Remington Smooth and Silky Facial Epilator

As well as being a great epilator, with eight precision openings to carefully remove facial hairs, the Remington works as a deep-cleansing brush to improve the effectiveness of your skincare regime, and a massage roller to relax and revitalise the skin after epilation.

Its bi-direction feature means it works just as easily on both eyebrows without you tying yourself in knots to work it back to front.

If you’re in dire need of a facial epilator but are worried about sensitive skin, this epilator with its soothing, calming additions might be for you. A facial in a box.

Key specs

  • Type: Cordless (1 x A battery included)
  • Use: Not stated
  • Number of tweezers: 3
  • Speeds: 1

How does an epilator work?

Rotating tweezers pull the hairs out at the root like waxing, rather than simply cutting them off like shaving does.

Epilators can be powered by battery or plugged in. Laser or IPL (intense pulsed light) epilators work by ‘putting the hair follicle to sleep’ and it shouldn’t regrow for at least six months.

Is an epilator better than waxing or shaving?

An epilator is less messy than either shaving or waxing. An epilator means the hairs take longer to grow back (three to four weeks) than they do with shaving, which means a better result all-round.

You don’t have to wait until the hairs are long to be able to epilate again, as you do with waxing.

Although epilators can be quite an expense initially, over the years they’ll save you money, particularly if you go for professional waxes regularly.

Is epilating painful?

Not really. Most women describe the feeling as uncomfortable rather than painful. It also varies from person to person and will depend on your pain threshold, but some areas of the body will naturally be more sensitive than others.

Epilating your legs isn’t typically uncomfortable, but bikini lines and underarms can hurt a bit more. A good tip is to wet the skin first to open up the pores and then pull it as taut as possible.

Some epilators can be used in the shower, so if you think you might find it painful, we'd recommend a wet and dry epilator.

How often should I epilate?

Beginners may need to epilate once every two weeks to start with, so that hair growth gradually reduces over time. After that, every four weeks should be enough.

How to choose the right epilator for you

Does the sheer range of epilators on the market have you pulling your hair out? Fear not. We’ve done the leg work for you and have put together a quick guide to how to find the perfect model.

1. Choose the type: decide whether you want a standard epilator or a laser epilator. There’s quite a big price difference between ordinary epilators and IPL devices.

2. Think about the areas of the body you want to use it: most epilators are designed for legs and underarms but if you want one for your face, look for a model that has a suitable attachment or one that's specially designed for the task.

3. Wet or dry: most of the big epilator brands now make epilators that can be used in the shower, which tends to make things less painful and less messy. That said, you’ll generally find that dry epilators work best and don’t miss as many hairs. Having the option to use it wet or dry might be the way to go if you're not sure.

4. Cordless or battery-powered: corded epilators tend to retain their power better than cordless. Battery-operated wet epilators should last around five years, but a corded version will likely last longer.

5. Number of tweezers: the more tweezers your epilator has, the faster it will work.

6: Speed settings: more expensive epilators are likely to have more speed options. Speed settings can be useful if you have coarser hair.

7. Extra features: it's worth looking at extra features, such as exfoliators, which help guard against ingrown hairs, and massagers which are meant to make exfoliating less painful.

8. Budget: Battery-powered epilators are generally a lot cheaper than corded devices, so if you’re unsure how you’ll get on with it, you could try one of those before shelling out on a more expensive model.

Which is the best epilator to buy?

The Braun Silk-épil 9 is a great all-round epilator that will last for years and is the best epilator to buy right now. It will give you all you need, whether you’re new to epilating or looking to upgrade to a more effective device.

How we chose our recommendations

Mumsnetters have tried out hundreds of epilators over the years and have strong opinions on which are the best, and which leave little to be desired.

So before we did anything else, we first went to the Mumsnet forums to scout out the epilators Mumsnet users swear by. We also looked beyond Mumsnet at trusted review sites and bestseller lists before drawing up a list of the top epilators for 2021.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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Main image credit: Philips