Perhaps one of the best moderately priced beard trimmers on the market, the Philips Norelco QT4014/42 offers a lot of great features without busting the budget. At this price point, it is one of my clear favorites.
The grooming tool has many of the things I look for when evaluating a trimmer for my own use. Among them are a quality battery system, the ability to easily adjust trimming length and easy cleaning. But, the QT4014 doesn’t stop there. It has quite a few more reasons to make it tops in the price range.
As I mentioned above, this trimmer is loaded with some very good features. Lets go over some of them here. Among the best are the settings and adjustment levels, the blades, the battery and charging system and the warranty. Not really a feature per se, the trimmer also meets the Philips Green Products standards for energy efficiency, recyclability and the low amount of garbage packaging it comes in.
Trimming length is a matter of personal preference, and highly individual. Some guys may be ok with something that is approximately the right length, while others are looking for a cutter that will handle things to the precise millimeter. If you are looking for precision adjustments, the QT4014 might just be the trimmer for you.
This trimmer handles all lengths from 0.5mm to 10mm with 0.5mm steps in between. If you like your bear length to be precisely 5.5mm – not 5mm and not 6mm – you are in business. There are a lot of trimmers that will step in 2mm increments, but I feel that is too much variation for a lot of men. 1mm is probably ok for most people, but 0.5mm steps should satisfy almost anyone.
If you need adjustments smaller that 0.5mm, then check out the Remington MB4450T. That unit has 175 cutting lengths and steps in 0.1mm increments.
With any trimmer, the blades can make all the difference. For me, they need to be sharp and corrosion resistant. Different companies use a variety of materials to accomplish this, and most do a credible job.
For the QT4014, Philips Norelco went with carbon steel blades coated in titanium. Although that may sound overly complicated, it is relatively common in good quality grooming tools. Carbon steel is easy to sharpen and can hold an extremely sharp edge. However, the downside is it also corrodes relatively easily. By coating the blades in titanium, Norelco produces a blade that is very sharp from the carbon steel, yet resists rusting from the properties of titanium.
The blades are self-sharpening. According to the company, they do not need to be oiled because of the built-in lubricity of titanium. However, I do add a drop of oil every week or two just to be sure.
Designed for comfort, the blade points have been blunted. This allows the trimmer to cut hair, but not skin, when used without the comb. For people with sensitive skin like me, this is actually very important. Even if pointed blades do not break the skin, they do ititate it, and leave behind red marks like you have been scratching away at the skin.
This beard trimmer uses a high-quality, AAA-sized Ni-Mh battery. These batteries are considered to have a good chemistry, second only to the Li-ion batteries found in top-end electronics devices like laptops and the iPad. They do not develop a “memory” like the older, cheaper NiCad batteries can do.
The included charging cord takes only 60 minutes to completely charge the trimmer. Some groomers take three or more hours to fully charge a battery. On a single charge, the battery will power the 4014 for about 90 minutes of work. Of course numbers will vary from man to man, but with 90 minutes, I can go for weeks without needing to plug this thing in.
When it is charging, there is a small LED light that will blink green when it is charging. Once the battery is completely full, it will turn to a solid green. When the light begins to blink orange, it is telling you that it should be charged soon.
The QT4014 is designed by Philips Norelco to be compatible with all world voltage standards: from 110v to 240v. You will need a different charging plug for some foreign countries, but you should not need an expensive voltage converter.
Even though the battery is a solid performer that quickly charges and offers long run times, experience tells me that sometimes you might run the trimmer down and forget to charge it. Most beard trimmers will not let you cut with the cord plugged in. The QT4014 is different.
You can trim your facial hair with the groomer plugged into a power outlet. This is, as they say, kind of a big deal. Few other trimmers will let you do that. If this is an important feature to you make sure you carefully check out all of the trimmers your consider.
Philips Norelco offers a full two year, worldwide warranty on this product. Many companies offer warranties that are only good in the country where the product was purchased. However, a worldwide warranty allows the owner to get the groomer repaired anywhere he or she may be.
For example, lets say you bought the QT4014 at home in the United States. Shortly thereafter, your company sent you to Belgium for six months to help start a European office. While there you have problems with the trimmer. A standard warranty would require you ship the product back to the States for service. Fortunately, the Philips Norelco trimmer would allow you to get the trimmer repaired locally saving you a lot of time and hassle.
Care & Maintenance
This trimmer is not waterproof. Some other models are, but the 4014 is not. However, it is perfectly ok to use it in a high-humidity environment like a steamy bathroom.
According to Philips Norelco, you do not need to oil the blades (see above.) However, I do like to add a drop of light machine oil to the blades about once a week. This helps improve the longevity of the blades and reduces the potential for corrosion.
Cleaning the unit is pretty easy. The company includes a small brush with the trimmer to help with that. To clean the unit:
- remove the plastic comb from the end of the tool
- remove the trimming blades by grasping the shaft of the unit and pressing up against the underside of the cutting blades
- use the brush to sweep out any hairs that made their way into the machinery under the blades
- brush out the plastic comb
- with warm tap water, rinse the blades
- dry the blades completely – you may wish to let them air dry for several hours before re-installing them
- snap the blades back into place
- wipe down the body of the trimmer
- lightly oil the trimming blades
|cutting head width||1.26"|
|# of cutting lengths||20|
|range of cutting lengths||0.5mm to 10mm in 0.5mm increments|
|good for stubble?||yes|
|charge time||60 min|
|run time||90 min|
|world voltage?||yes - 110v - 240v|
|warranty||2 years, worldwide|
|includes:||trimmer, stubble comb, charger, cleaning brush|
What About the Norelco BeardTrimmer 3500?
Philips, the parent company of Norelco, is a European company with business all over the globe. Sometimes a product will be called one thing in one region and be called something entirely different elsewhere. That is what the BeardTrimmer 3500 is, a different name for the same exact product. If you see a reference to the Norelco BodyTrimmer 3500, you know they are talking about the QT4014.
In my final analysis, I really like this beard groomer. It offers me all of the “must have” features I am looking for including a good battery, sharp blades and plenty of power. Yes, I would have preferred a Li-ion battery, but the difference between that and the Ni-Mh in this one is not very much. Also, the ability to shave with the unit plugged in is a huge plus in my book.
When you add in the precise level adjustments for trimming length and the great price, I think this is one of the best on the market today. Click here for pricing on the QT4014.