Braun CoolTec CT5cc Review by Chris Schuepfer
The appearance of the Braun CoolTec CT5cc is a little deceptive. It looks at first blush like a low-key variation on any of a dozen other models. But this electric shaver is Braun all the way through – innovative, durable, and highly functional.
The CoolTec CT5cc is in fact like many other shavers from Braun, especially a Series 3. With it and the rest of the CoolTec line the company shows again why it remains in the top tier. It does everything you’ve come to expect from them, and equally as well, adds something new.
That new feature is signaled clearly by the name, but let’s hold off for a few minutes on detailing what CoolTec is all about. After all, if the basics don’t work well, this interesting new feature isn’t going to be worth much.
3-Stage Cutting System
At the heart of any electric shaver is the cutting system. That’s where the action is, so to speak. In this case, that action is carried out by a triple action cutting system with components that move independently.
The result is an improved ability to hug facial contours. That’s a big advantage to a guy like me. I’m saddled with a somewhat unusual blend of sharp angles and round corners. On someone with a more average face, the results will be even better.
That close contour hug is achieved in two ways. The 2 individual blade/foil sections float. And there’s an interesting, wave-like cutter foil down the center.
It’s designed to help lift flat-lying hairs, and moves back and forth 130 times a second. To work well, though, that system has to be implemented by good blades.
Luckily, as with many other models in Braun collections, the CT5cc houses super sharp, highly durable steel. That cutting ability is enhanced by something their marketing department decided to call SensoBlade.
Granted, it’s a buzzword but it actually does something neat in this instance: account for real-world whisker growth patterns. Most guys have neck hair that goes one way, cheek hair another, and often some that goes every which way in either area. This feature allows the CT5cc to capture it no matter how the hair grows. Cool.
Now, for the pièce de résistance, as the French say – the most remarkable feature: CoolTec. True, it’s another marketing buzzword but, like the other one, it really does have a function. It actually cools your skin as the shaving head travels over it.
That sounds like marketing hype if I ever heard it but, amazingly, it really works as advertised.
An aluminum cooling strip integrated into the shaver head (next to the center trimmer) and technology they call Thermo Electric Cooling (an acronym that forms the “tec” in Cooltec) work together to draw heat away from your skin during shaving.
The idea is really simple at bottom. It’s been in use in all kinds of applications for decades. Take a piece of heat conductive metal and use it as a “bridge” to shuttle heat from one place where you don’t want it to another where you don’t mind. The heat sink under your computer’s processor works somewhat like that.
Complicated science aside, real-world use shows it does the job well. Thermal imaging techniques can demonstrate visually how well but they’re not needed. Just feel your skin afterward. Reduced irritation, lack of that common burning sensation, and overall a more pleasant shaving experience. Thank you, Braun.
However, there is one potential drawback to this technology. The CT5cc, like any other CoolTec electric shaver, is designed to be used dry. No cream, no lotion, no water. For sure, you can use it in the shower. It’s a fully-sealed Wet & Dry shaver, in that sense. And it will work with electric shaving aids. But for best results Braun suggests foregoing them, and I agree.
The head can certainly withstand being rinsed. The cleaning system, which we’ll get to in a minute, clearly does that or you can just use water from the faucet. But the shave itself should be done without any assist.
Personally, that’s not how I use my electric and it may not be your shaving style, either. If you’re looking for reduced skin irritation, and who isn’t?, this could be the way to go. But if you’re a committed wet shaver you’ll want to think twice.
Cleaning & Charging System
Speaking of the cleaning system used with the CT5cc, you’ll be happy to learn it works basically the same, and as well, as any other Braun shaver. You just plop it into the shell upside down and press the button to clean. Charging starts automatically when inserted.
However, though it may work the same, it is new and designed to work with the CTxcc line. It’s not a universal cleaner or charger for just any old Braun shaver. It uses an alcohol-based cleaning cartridge much like other collections.
Cartridges mean an added expense, natch. One lasts about 30 cleanings. You can reduce that cost by rinsing occasionally rather than using the cleaner. Keep in mind, though, that water alone won’t get rid of all the residue. In particular, it performs no anti-bacterial function beyond what mechanical action from the flow will.
To explain, washing your hands helps reduce the spread of germs, true. But that’s in large part because the soap, even when not anti-bacterial, reduces surface tension. The water then easily pushes the germs off mechanically. Here, the alcohol inside the cartridge helps increase hygiene. The other compounds in the solution performs the equivalent function of liquid hand soap. The solution also lubricates the blade assembly.
One nifty aspect of the system is something you can’t even see. At the base of the cleaner cartridge there’s a little grid. That allows hairs vibrated loose to fall to the bottom. That optimizes the cleaning system and keeps cleanser “pollution-free” longer.
And, like many Braun models, this station will charge the shaver while it’s sitting in the holder, whether actively cleaning or not. Nothing special in this respect, though. It still takes about an hour to top it up from zero. It will then provide about 45 minutes of shaving time.
There is a quick charge feature, though. A 5-minute session will add enough juice for one brief shave. That’s handy if you’re rushing off to an appointment and find you’ve forgotten to charge your shaver.
The CoolTec CT5cc carries the highest number of the line but that doesn’t make it top of the line. The other CoolTec models are really the same just with different colors and accessories. That said, it performs as well as a Series 3, with the addition of a cooling feature that feels good and helps reduce skin irritation.