At first blush, it hardly seems worth the effort to write a review comparing all the different models of the Braun CoolTec collection. The different models are so much alike you might think it’s not worth your time to read it. Still, you’re not looking for just any electric shaver, even within the Braun lineup, but the exact one best for you.
With that goal in mind, there are enough detailed differences between the various CoolTec models that it pays to do a little in-depth investigating. This comparison is limited to the 4 CoolTec models made for North America: the CT2s, CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc.
|Type||Foil - 3 blades||Foil - 3 blades||Foil - 3 blades||Foil - 3 blades|
|Cleaning Cartridge||Clean & Renew||Clean & Renew||Clean & Renew|
|Battery Status Indicator|
|Charging Time||1 hr||1 hr||1 hr||1 hr|
|Cordless Shaving||up to 45 min||up to 45 min||up to 45 min||up to 45 min|
|Quick Charge||5 min||5 min||5 min||5 min|
|Shaving With Cord|
|Replace Shaving Head Indicator|
|Shaving Head Replacement||40B||40B||40B||40B|
|Finish||Black||Black||Blue lacquered||Grey lacquered|
|Where to Buy?||Best Price||Best Price||Best Price||Best Price|
Basic Features and Similarities
Before we get to the subtle distinctions between one CoolTec shaver and another, a few words are in order about the similarities. They’re legion. That starts first and foremost with the new, most prominent feature.
Every CoolTec gets the name, of course, from housing the special technology that gives you a less irritating shave by cooling as it goes. Since there’s no tiny refrigerator inside, how does it do that?
In the head there’s an aluminum strip attached to a component Braun calls Thermo Electric Cooler (the source for a clever acronym, “TEC”.) Essentially, the system takes heat from your face and from the shaver head (which builds heat up from vibrating) and moves it to other parts of the shaver. Then it’s dissipated into the air.
Interesting geek-speak aside, does it work? Is it of any value? The short answers are: “yes” and “it depends”. It does actually create a cool sensation on your face, the inevitable result of drawing off heat. It might or might not reduce skin irritation. That is a result of several factors, only one of which is heat.
More importantly, probably, there’s a downside to the CoolTec technology. You might be indifferent to the cooling effect or you might love it. But one thing Braun doesn’t advertise loudly is that it does limit how you use the shaver. In a word, it’s best used “dry”.
Certainly, all the CoolTec shavers – whether the CT2s, CT2cc, CT4cc, or CT5cc – are well sealed. You can shave with one in the shower or pop off the head to rinse clean under the faucet, all without fear. The case is completely sealed.
Even so, Braun ads themselves say openly that shaving using creams, electric shave lotions, or even plain water – such as in the shower – can reduce the effectiveness of a CoolTec shaver. It’s not hard to see the reason that might happen. Water, or liquid in general, makes for a very different heat flow matrix than air. Both are technically fluids and either can conduct heat away, but water does it much differently. Moisture interferes with the heat conduction of the CoolTec system.
So, if you’re like me and prefer to use your Wet & Dry shaver, which the CoolTec technically is, in “wet” mode you might want to think twice about buying one of these.
If you’re still with me, there are a great many fine features shared by all these models. Beyond CoolTec, which might strike some as a gimmick, the cutting system is a Braun design and, like others, very good. The CoolTec line is essentially the same as a Series 3 shaver with the addition of the new feature. Not quite Series 5 or Series 7 level but still quite sharp, close, and effective. That aspect is definitely not part of any marketing ploy.
The SensoBlade component is a good example. The name may be a marketing buzzword but the technology works well. Most guys have whiskers that grow in different directions. If they don’t twirl around on the neck, they almost certainly aim one way on the face and another on the neck or chin. Specially designed shaving blades take care of that through a clever arrangement of holes and cutting blade configurations.
The 3-stage system works in conjunction with that to provide a very close shave everywhere you need. The twin foils (with a blade assembly under each one) teeter-totter a little. In addition, there’s an interesting cutter down the center. It moves back and forth 130 times a second between the two foils. That helps lift flat-lying hairs, such as those on the neck.
Naturally, like almost every Braun, those blades are very sharp and very durable. The company recommends changing them about once every 18 months but that’s pretty conservative for most men. Braun has earned its reputation here.
The case itself for each model is similar but varies slightly from one CoolTec model to the next. All of them are the same size, weight, and shape. With your eyes closed you’d find it hard to tell the difference. With your eyes open, it’s easy to distinguish the dual-toned Grey Lacquered CT5cc from the Blue Lacquered CT4cc and from the single-tone black CT2cc and CT2s.
From that point, the differences between the various CoolTec shavers begin to show – sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically.
Clean & Charge System
I could say the major difference between the CoolTec models is in the Clean & Charge system, but that might be a little misleading.
It’s a different housing from other Braun shavers like the 790cc, though even there the similarities are greater than the differences. But it’s the same system across the CoolTec collection – wherever it’s included.
In this case, it’s the cc in the model name that tells you whether a model comes with the Clean & Charge station or not. In other words the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc all come with the Clean & Charge System while the CT2s does not.
Like the 790cc charging system, it takes about an hour to recharge the shaver from zero. You then have about 45 minutes of shaving time. However, there is a Fast Charge feature that gives you roughly one shave’s worth of time (a few minutes) with just a 5-minute charge. I wouldn’t rely on it too often but it’s good in an emergency, such as when you have to rush to a meeting and have forgotten to recharge the night before.
A Charging Cradle and Stand is available for the CT2s – the model without Clean & Charge System. The cord directly plugs into the Charging Cradle/Stand assembly and the shaver is recharged through its metal contacts, just as when it’s placed into the full-sized Clean & Charge System.
The cleaning portion of the shell is also the same across all three – the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc. No surprise since it’s the same physical unit in each case. It’s also substantially the same as many other recent Braun models.
It uses the same alcohol-based solution, mixed with lubricant and a bit of lemon “flavoring” to give it a nice smell. Each cartridge houses a tiny honeycomb grid in the base that allows shaken-loose whiskers to fall to the bottom. That helps the cartridge last longer while it provides a cleaner environment at the blades during cleaning.
One final point on the cleaning system. The shell is a bit large compared to many. Not a major issue in my view, but for those with very limited counter space in the bathroom it might be a consideration.
The other differences between the various CoolTec shaver models are minor and lie chiefly in the accessories or attachments provided (or not).
For example, not all models come with a protective cap. That’s a bit strange; it’s a supremely inexpensive item to manufacture and you’d think Braun would include it automatically with all models. Still, that’s apparently not the case. It’s only available for the CT2s and CT2cc. Weird.
Some of the other differences in accessories included (or not) are not quite so strange, though maybe still a little odd.
There’s a nice protective pouch that comes with the CT4cc and the CT5cc. You’d expect, if they leave it out of any package it would be the lower-end models. Except that there really is no “high end or low end” distinction in this line, just different colors and accessories.
The above mentioned Charging Cradle also comes with the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc models but without the Charging Stand. The cradle is a handy thing to have. Sometimes you’d like to carry just the cord and cradle along on a trip but not the bulky Clean & Charge system.
It’s possible to get lost in the weeds with all these variations. So, I’ll just summarize here that it really comes down to this:
The different CoolTec models are different colors and offer minor differences in accessories or attachments for the most part. The only major difference is between the s and cc models. The CT2cc, CT4cc and CT5cc come with the Clean & Charge System . The CT2s doesn’t.
That said, whether any of the Braunc CoolTec shavers are right for you is a tough call. If you like to wet shave, probably not. Any of these can operate fine in the shower or over a lathered face. However, Braun states that you won’t get the best results from the CoolTec technology that way. And, since that’s the whole point of this collection, that could be a decisive point for a percentage of buyers.