3 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Electric Razor Blades (+ How-Tos)

Every time you shave, your razor communicates with you. Sometimes it’s happy and gives you a close shave. Other times it’s crying for help, and your skin may suffer. Is it time to replace your electric razor blades?

On average, the blades on electric razors should be replaced every 12 months. The frequency can vary depending on how thick or coarse your hair is, so if you notice diminished closeness, decreased comfort, or excessive heat, it’s probably time for a blade change.

Read on to find out the warning signs of dull and worn razor blades and how to replace them!

Time to replace your electric razor blades?
Is your electric razor trying to tell you something?

Do electric razors get dull?

Just like any other shaving razor, electric razors dull over time.

Once you notice a decrease in performance or any irritation, it is time to replace the blades. Factors that may contribute to the dulling of an electric razor blade are shaving frequency and the coarseness and thickness of facial hair.

  • Frequency of use – If you shave 3 to 5 times per week, the blades will become dull more quickly.
  • Coarseness of hair – Hair that is more coarse will dull the blades more quickly than fine hair.
  • Thickness of hair – Hair that is thicker will dull the blades more quickly than thin or sparse hair.

On average, a shaver should expect to replace the blades or foils on their electric razor every 12 to 18 months, if not sooner. By replacing the blades, shavers will maintain the closeness they come to expect when shaving. 

A common misconception is that when the electric razor slips in performance, it is time to replace the entire razor. Rather than shelling out money on a brand-new electric razor, buying replacement blades or foils will likely solve any problems and extend the life of your favorite razor. 

How do you know it’s time to replace your electric razor blades?

The dulling of blades is a gradual process.

You know it is time to replace your electric razor blades when you feel pulling and tugging, you need to go over areas multiple times, or the razor feels hot on your skin.

Signs your blades or foils need replacing:

  1. Pulling and tugging: Dull blades make it difficult to cut the hair without discomfort.
  2. Multiple passes are required: Dull blades don’t deliver a smooth shave. Stray hairs are left behind.
  3. Excessive heat: Dull blades require more pressure to achieve a smooth shave. This can lead to hot and irritating contact with the skin.

Can you sharpen electric razor blades and foils?

When the blades get dull, they should be replaced, but can you sharpen the existing ones?

Electric razor blades can be sharpened, but foils cannot. The best way to sharpen an electric razor blade is by attaching sharpening heads to the blades. You can also try a popular alternative method using toothpaste.

Foils cannot be sharpened because of how small the spaces are in between the oscillating blades. This makes it near impossible to attach a sharpening head. Electric rotary blades can be sharpened to extend their life but will eventually need replacing.

Sharpening electric razor blades using sharpening heads

You can purchase sharpening heads for most rotary electric razors. They will allow you to get more life out of the blades.

Sharpening heads are made of a rough material similar to a sharpening stone. Disassemble the razor head and replace the screens with the sharpening heads. After running the razor for a few seconds, each of the blades will become sharper from the friction.

Follow these steps to sharpen an electric razor blade with a sharpening head:

  1. Unplug the razor and turn it off.
  2. Remove the frame that holds the blades.
  3. Remove each blade.
  4. Remove screens around each blade.
  5. Clean each part thoroughly with white vinegar to remove hair and build-up.
  6. Attach and fasten sharpening head in place of screens.
  7. Reassemble, turn on, and let run for 5-7 seconds to sharpen the blades.
  8. Break down the razor to reinstall screens.
  9. Reassemble once screens are installed.

Sharpening electric razor blades using toothpaste

Toothpaste as a blade sharpener? Yes! You’ll follow the same basic steps as above, replacing toothpaste for the sharpening heads.

The abrasiveness of regular white toothpaste is enough to sharpen electric rotary razor blades. Disassemble the head assembly, remove the screens and blades, reassemble and coat each blade with toothpaste, and run for a couple of minutes to sharpen.

Don’t use gel toothpaste or varieties with extra additives. A plain paste formulation is the way to go. After running the razor, disassemble the razor head again to rinse the blades and screens thoroughly. Reassemble one last time, and you are ready to shave with sharpened blades.

Sharpen your electric razor blades with toothpaste!

How often do you need to replace electric razor blades?

To maintain the performance and safety of your electric razor, they should be replaced every so often. 

You should plan to replace the blades on your electric razor every 4 to 12 months. If you shave frequently, the replacement time will be on the short side of the range. Coarse or thick hair can also cause the blades to become dull faster. A decrease in performance is a signal to sharpen or replace the blades.

Every brand is different. Some might call for blades to be replaced in a shorter time frame than the average. Some razor blades might last for 2 years. It all depends on how often they are used and the type of hair you have. 

You should also refer to the razor user’s manual to find out how to care for your razor properly. Most brands recommend daily and weekly cleanings to keep the parts clog-free and operating at top efficiency.

While performance is important, not replacing your electric razor blades can also pose a health risk. If they are not sharp enough, they might cause increased irritation, redness, or ingrown hair. 

We’ve compiled a table of popular electric shavers and their recommended replacement schedule.

Blade replacement recommendations by electric razor brand.
Recommended blade replacement intervals by brand.

How often do you need to replace the electric shaver foils?

Electric shaver foils are a bit different than electric razor blades. Should a shaver apply the same time frame to replace them?

As a rule, electric shaver foils should be replaced every 12 to 18 months, depending on the brand. Like electric shaver blades, the blades inside the foils become dull over time. Shaver foils can degrade with use. To lengthen the life of the foils, be sure to follow routine maintenance practices. 

The useful life of an electric shaver foil is pretty consistent among manufacturers. Panasonic, Philips, and Braun recommend foil replacement every 12-18 months. It is always recommended to replace the shaver foils with brand-specific replacement foils. You may encounter issues when using generic foils.

As always, regular maintenance of your electric shaver foils will lengthen the foils’ lifespan. By doing daily cleanings and weekly deep cleanings, a shaver can generally expect the shaver foils to last within the estimated time frame. 

You cannot sharpen electric foils.
Electric foils cannot be sharpened. Replace them instead.

How long do electric shavers last?

Electric razor blades and shaver foils can last 12 to 18 months on average, but how long does the shaver itself last?

High-quality electric shavers are known to last up to 7 years, while you may only get 3 years out of a lower-quality one. Since electric shavers do have long lifespans, it is important to realize that when performance slips, it is often only a sign that the blades need attention. 

An electric shaver’s life is directly proportional to the amount of maintenance you perform on it. By properly maintaining the electric shaver, you are ensuring that it has the capability to last for 3 to 7 years. Without proper maintenance, an electric shaver can bite the dust early. 

How to change electric razor blades

In order to maintain your electric razor, you need to know how to change your electric razor blades

Changing electric razor blades is a simple and quick process. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete the job. This includes taking the time to clean your razor head assembly.

Here are the basics every shaver should know to properly change their electric razor blades: 

  1. Turn off and unplug the electric razor.
  2. Remove the shaver head.
  3. Unlock the blades.
  4. Remove the blades.
  5. Install new blades.
  6. Reassemble the shaver head. You should hear a clicking noise once it is secure.
  7. Turn on the razor to double-check and test installation.

Summary of replacing your electric razor blades

If you notice a decrease in comfort, diminished closeness, and excessive heat or irritation, it’s probably time to replace your electric razor blades. You can successfully sharpen electric rotary blades to extend their lifespan. However, you cannot sharpen foils due to their design.


How do I know when my electric razor needs a new blade?

Your razor needs a new blade when you notice pulling and tugging of the hair when you shave. Having to go over the same spot multiple times and feeling excessive heat can also signal that your blades are dull.

How long does it take to replace electric razor blades?

Disassembling the razor head, cleaning the individual parts, and installing new blades should take less than 10 minutes.

What is the life expectancy of an electric shaver?

Electric shavers can last upwards of seven years, depending on care, maintenance, and shaving frequency.

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