If you are looking for the best beard trimmer on a budget, you need to take a close look at the Philips Norelco QT4000/42. This grooming unit offers a lot of performance for a really affordable price. It offers a lot of trimming lengths, is rechargeable with a respectable run time and comes with a surprisingly good warranty.
I wound up liking this trimmer a great deal, and think it is one of the best bargains on the market. Let’s go over what you get…
Philips Norelco included a lot of very good features in this value-priced beard trimmer. Here are a few of the best ones:
trimming: The most important function of a beard trimmer is, obviously, cutting whiskers. The QT4000 handles this chore easily.
The cutting width is 32mm, or about 1.26″. This is a good size for many people, though some folks might want one a little wider. It is a matter of personal preference, and I found the blade width to be fine for me.
Blades can be made from a variety of metals, and these are made of stainless steel. Since the blades are stainless steel, they can be rinsed off and washed as needed without too many worries.
I highly recommend drying them off immediately after cleaning and applying a light coat of oil to prevent them from corroding. Although many people believe stainless steel will not rust, it absolutely can. It is just more resistant than carbon steel. Just dry and oil the trimmer blades and you will be fine.
There are 10 trimming lengths built into the QT4000. The closest trim is a 1mm length. From there, the adjustments step up in 1mm increments to a long of 10mm. This range will likely suit most men’s grooming needs.
Trimming length is handled by a click-adjustment wheel. The wheel is easy to use, and adjust as needed. Once the proper length is selected, the wheel locks into place, preventing an accidental change while grooming. If you’ve ever had a trimmer accidentally slip to a shorter length on you, you will appreciate this feature.
I think the adjustment wheel is one of the best designs on the market for changing and locking in trimming lengths. Some other brands do not have such a simple and elegant method of addressing this need.
power: As with many current trimming tools, the Philips QT4000 runs on a rechargeable battery. The battery used in this grooming tool is a AAA sized NiMH unit that can run for up to 45 minutes without needing to recharge. The NiMH, or nickel-metal-hydride, battery is considered by many to be state-of-the-art in consumer rechargeables.
The Philips Norelco unit ships with the battery and a charger. Charging time runs about 10 hours, which seems a little long, but you get a good charge without concerns of “memory” that one could run into with old rechargeable batteries. On the body of the trimmer is a small LED light that lets you know when the unit is charging and when it has completed. A green light means the unit is properly charging.
A real benefit for using a NiMH AAA battery is that you can buy a pair of extra AAA rechargeables and take them with you on a long trip. Fully charged, the three will run for more than two hours before needing to plug in. If you are going to another country where the voltage is different, you do not have to worry about getting an AC adapter. Likewise, if you head out into the backwoods for a long hiking trip, you are packing plenty of lightweight power without being tethered to a wall socket.
If you do travel around the world, and you do not want to have extra batteries, this trimmer is voltage compatible with electrical systems from 100v to 240v. You will need a separate charging cord, but you will not have to buy an expensive converter.
comfort: There are a number of really smart things Philips did to make this trimmer very comfortable to use. First of all, the trimming blades are very sharp, meaning they cut through the whiskers instead of pulling them. If you’ve ever run a trimmer where the blades were not so sharp, you know why this is so important. Having the grooming tool pulling at your whiskers is annoying at best, and torture at worst.
Secondly, the blades are not pointed. Rather, the blade ends are rounded, or blunted, so that they are less likely to scratch or cause skin irritation when used. If you have ever tried to use a cheap trimmer, you will know why I think this is so important. Running the sharp points over the skin will increase redness, cause blotches and make the skin very uncomfortable.
Lastly, for comfort of holding, the Philips Norelco beard trimmer QT4000 has an ergonomic design. For anyone with significant hand pain (as I have from a prior job injury), this can make a huge difference. It would not seem that trimming your facial hair would cause any pain, but it can. Having a properly shaped trimmer like this one can increase comfort by a wide margin. The longer you use the trimmer, the more important this becomes.
cleaning: Unfortunately, this trimmer is not waterproof. (Check out the Panasonic Milano if you need a waterproof trimmer.) However, the head does detach from the body. This will allow you to remove the cutting blades from the unit and rinse it clean.
I recommend a small can of compressed air to blow out the trimmer head between grooming sessions. However, every once in a while, you should rinse it off to get all of the little particles of skin and hair that the air doesn’t flush away.
Who is Philips Norelco?
Philips is a Dutch technology company that was founded in 1891. When the company began selling shavers in the US market, another company called Philco prevented Philips from using their own name because of potential consumer confusion between the brands. So, Philips invented the name Norelco for use in the US market.
In 1981, Philips purchased Philco and could begin using their own name on US-branded products. However, Philips continued using the Norelco brand due to the name recognition. In recent years, Philips has co-branded some products using the name Philips Norelco.
Norelco BeardTrimmer 3100
This is one of those times that having two different company names can be a bit confusing. The QT4000 is also known as the Norelco BeardTrimmer 3100. The two units are exactly the same with the sole exception being the name.
As you might imagine, this has caused more than a little head scratching from consumers who are trying to find the right grooming tool. So, here is the final word: the 3100 is the same as the QT4000.
Styling with the QT4000
Philips Norelco designed this trimmer to help you develop whatever style beard you might be looking for. Everything from stubble to a full beard is possible with the QT4000.
Everyone has their own taste for what looks good. Sometimes, you might even have a different look for different activities. For example, when going camping in the winter you might prefer a full beard, while dating in the summer might cause you to lean toward a stubble look.
This video from Philips Norelco shows the beard trimmer in action:
- model number: QT4000/42
- cutting width: 32 mm
- number of length adjustments: 10 in 1mm steps
- blade type: stainless steel
- power source: rechargeable NiMH battery
- run time: 45 minutes
- charging time: 10 hours
- worldwide voltage (110-240v): yes
- included accessories: cleaning brush
- warranty: two years
The best part of the Philips QT4000 is the price. This incredible beard trimmer is one of the most aggressively priced units on the shelf today. Granted, you do not get the vacuum feature that other, higher-end Philips Norelco units offer. However, you get all of the features listed above and do so without breaking the bank.
Looking for an additional surprise for such an aggressively priced trimmer? Try this: it comes with a two-year warranty is standard.
I like this trimmer a lot. The QT4000/42 is a well thought out design that offers a lot of performance for the price. There are other trimmers that offer more options, but you have to come out of pocket for those features. If price is a consideration, it is very tough to beat this one.