The 5 o’clock shadow is a style that has increased in popularity since a shift in popular opinion in the 1980s. Thanks to George Michael and other celebs it has changed from being a “lazy man’s beard” to stylish and “laid-back”.
But have you noticed how some men seem to always have a 5 o’clock shadow? Never clean-shaven, but never long or even medium-length stubble. Always short and sweet.
How do they achieve this permanent stubble? Well, what they use is a stubble trimmer. These trimmers are capable of trimming down to exceptionally short lengths with immaculate precision.
If you’re in a rush, the Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 is our top pick here.
An effective stubble trimmer needs to be able to trim down to at least 1mm, but preferably down to 0.4mm. Other factors need to be considered when buying a stubble trimmer, however.
What I’m going to do is talk you through these factors, then go on to list the best stubble trimmers on the market that meet these criteria.
|– High quality
– Good value
– Digital touch
Factors to consider when buying a stubble trimmer
1. Does it meet your length requirements?
I’d prioritize this one, to a certain extent. A 5 o’clock shadow ranges between 0.5mm to 1mm in length. If you know you want very short stubble, be sure to buy a trimmer that allows you to do so.
We’re dealing with very short lengths here. It’s incredibly frustrating when you invest in a trimmer only to find out it doesn’t go as short as you want it to.
To be safe, I’d go for one which trims down as short as 0.4mm. There aren’t really any trimmers that can trim down shorter than that, and to be honest it gets to a point where you might as well call it shaven.
2. Do you need it to be cordless?
Most of the top stubble trimmers on the market today do have both cordless and corded options.
The convenience of a cordless stubble trimmer shouldn’t be underestimated as it makes it so much easier to use while traveling.
Make sure you know how much runtime you can get on a full charge for any trimmer you buy. There’s nothing worse than a trimmer unexpectedly running out of juice mid-trim.
Corded trimmers do have their benefits, however. The most important one to be aware of is that they do pack a little more power for obvious reasons.
But unless you trim close to a socket it is quite an outdated way of trimming. Having the option of going cordless is quite important these days.
You’ll most likely come to appreciate the choice.
3. What are the blades made from?
This is particularly important when trimming stubble because you’re trimming very close to the skin. It isn’t as irritating to the skin as shaving, but it can still do a little damage if you’re not careful.
The blades must be made from a durable, hypoallergenic, non-corrosive material that isn’t too irritating to the skin.
Most of the best trimmers have blades made from titanium, stainless steel, or ceramic. If you go with any of these options you won’t have any trouble.
4. Do you need it to be waterproof?
This may not be specific to stubble trimmers, but it’s still an important question to ask. Some men prefer a wet trim, whether it’s using gel, or in the shower.
If this is the case, the trimmer you use must allow for it. Combining moisture with a non-waterproof trimmer is a recipe for disaster.
Having a waterproof stubble trimmer has the added benefit of being easy to rinse clean. Keeping your trimmer clean, whether it’s by rinsing, brushing or oiling, is the key to keeping it for years and years.
Best Beard Trimmers For The 5 o’clock Shadow 
1. Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70
This trimmer and shaver was built with the stubbled man in mind. It comes with 14 length settings between 0.4mm and 10mm, easily adjusted using its precision comb.
It’s what you may call a “hybrid tool” due to its ability to trim, edge, and shave so effectively. This versatility is what I love most about it.
But another fantastic feature is just how easy it feels on the skin. Even when shaving it doesn’t cut too close, giving the skin plenty of space to breathe and causing minimal irritation.
One of the pitfalls of trying to maintain a 5 o’clock shadow is the fact that you are trimming close to the skin, and the potential for nicks and cuts is greater. It’s refreshing to find a trimmer that takes this into account.
The Oneblade follows the contours of the face, further reducing the risk of scratches and cuts. It allows you to trim the more awkward parts such as beneath the jawline with ease and comfort. It is very easy to maneuver.
It glides pretty effortlessly across the skin.
The dual-sided blade allows you to edge in either direction. This is easy to take for granted once you get used to it but is actually quite a unique feature. Being able to see the lines that you’re edging always leads to better results, with sharp borders and contours.
This device is also fully washable, and so can be rinsed as and when you like. It does make it a lot more practical to clean, although I do still recommend a good brushing and oiling whenever you get the chance.
If you enjoy a shower trim, a waterproof trimmer such as this is essential.
I’ll finish by talking about its battery life. It clocks in at 90 minutes on a full charge thanks to its Li-ion battery – a component that’s very commonly installed in high-quality trimmers.
What you may not like
The trimmed stubble does tend to fly around a little more than I would like. It’s because of how the head vibrates. It isn’t by any means a big deal, however.
Overall, it is the best stubble trimmer available at the moment. It allows for enough variation in length while at the same time keeping things simple. Its blade technology is very hard-to-beat and is actually fun to use.
2. ConairMan Super Stubble
This trimmer is laser-focused on doing one thing very well; trimming stubble. It doesn’t pretend to do anything else, and that’s why it’s so effective.
It’s the most expensive trimmer on this list, and so may not be for everyone.
The ultra-flexible contouring head is the most standout feature of this trimmer. Due to it’s patented “FlexBlade Technology”, the head adjusts itself automatically and very naturally so that the blade is aligned with the facial contours at all times.
This ability to glide across the face reduces the risk of irritation, and also allows for a very even trim. It’s just as good as the Oneblade in this respect.
Moving on to length precision, the Super Stubble comes with 24 settings between 0.4mm and 5mm. These settings increase in 0.2mm increments, which is incredibly tight and will allow you to fulfill any of your stubble desires.
It’s very unlikely that you’d use many of these settings. But the great thing you’re bound to land on a length setting that’s perfect for you.
The 5 o’clock shadow would be a walk in the park, as all you’d need to do is choose a setting between 0.5 and 1mm to achieve it.
I always recommend varying the length slightly in areas of the stubble beard to get a more natural appearance. The wide range of length settings available with this trimmer would make this easily possible.
The battery life on this cordless trimmer is impressive as well. It allows for very worry-free cordless use, with a full charge providing over 70 minutes of use. Many users have praised its reliability and actually doing what it says it does.
The electro-chemically formed, etched blade technology cuts close to the skin with negligible irritation. It provides an exceptionally neat and even cut across a stubble beard. The cost that would have gone into this technology does explain it’s high price.
Moving on to its grip, the Super Stubble is very comfortable to hold thanks to ergonomic design and lightweight structure. I’ve always prioritized this when it comes to trimmers, as there’s nothing more distracting during a trim than an aching palm.
Finally, yes, it’s waterproof. Sure, you can use it in the shower if you wish to. But, more importantly, it is very easy to rinse and clean.
What you may not like
Its high price does take people by surprise. Overall, I would say that it was worth the money due to its unique aesthetic, extremely comfortable grip, and a wide range of length settings.
I placed it second on the list because objectively, it is. But I do also think that the Philips Oneblade QP6520/70 provides better value for money.
3. Philips Norelco Series 5100
Although this trimmer doesn’t have any specific wow features, overall it is a very competent device.
The “Dynamic Beard Guide System” it advertises is simply a lift-and-trim technique used by many trimmers. In other words, the comb lifts and guides the hair into the blades to obtain a neat and even cut.
Although it isn’t exactly original, this trimmer does it very well and an even trim isn’t difficult to achieve with the Norelco 5100.
It is fantastic for maintaining stubble, with length settings ranging from 0.4mm to 7mm using its beard comb (with 0.2mm precision), and 7 – 13mm using its longer hair comb.
The length can be adjusted using its easy-to-use adjustable zoom wheel.
The blades are made from high-quality stainless steel and do have self-sharpening technology. They certainly meet the necessary criteria in that respect; sharp and durable. To top it off the blade tips are rounded to prevent skin irritation.
It is cordless and can run for 70 minutes on a full charge. This isn’t spectacular but is still more than enough for stubble or a short beard. As with most quality beard trimmers, this above-average runtime is thanks to a Lithium-ion battery.
You can also use it corded for when the battery runs out and you’re desperate for a morning trim.
The beard trimmer is also waterproof and washable, which is always a plus as I’m sure you’ve come to learn by now.
What you may not like
A large cause for confusion appears to be with the two available trimmer combs. The Norelco 5100 comes with one short comb for beard and short hair (0.4mm to 7mm), and one long comb for long hair (7mm to 13mm).
It’s important to note that the longer comb isn’t designed for beards – it is designed for hair. Trying to trim your beard with this comb will prove difficult because its shape doesn’t work well in the tight crevasses of a beard.
So, the take-home point is this; if you want to maintain a length longer than 7mm for your beard, do not get this trimmer. Yes, it comes with a longer comb attachment that can trim down to 13mm but it isn’t designed for beards.
This is a stubble trimmer. It just doesn’t advertise it as openly as the Super Stubble does
4. ConairMAN i-Stubble Trimmer
This is the little brother of the Super Stubble and its price suggests as much. You could call it a “budget” trimmer but this would suggest that it prioritizes low-cost over quality. That isn’t the case.
The ConairMAN i-Stubble is similar to the Super Stubble in many respects.
For one, it possesses the same “FlexBlade” technology, allowing the head to adjust to the contours of the face. It also comes with the same electro-chemically formed blades that glide effortlessly across the skin.
These are my favorite features of the Super Stubble, and so the i-Stubble can keep up very nicely due to this.
Although it’s seen as the “budget” version of the Super Stubble, overall it does match up very nicely in a lot of respects.
It’s length settings are also very admirable, with 15 total settings between 0.4mm and 5mm. Trimming a 5 o’clock shadow is no problem whatsoever.
What you may not like
But moving on to talk about where the i-Stubble falls short. The i-Stubble only has a 45-minute runtime on a full charge that takes 4 hours. Although this isn’t terrible, it certainly could impact the overall user experience.
To add to this, unlike the Super Stubble, it’s cordless only. So if it does run out of battery mid-trim, unfortunately, you won’t be able to proceed with a cord in place.
The trimmer is also for dry use only. This could be a complete no-no for men looking for a wet trim, but more importantly, it does mean it requires a little extra effort to clean with brushing, oiling, etc.
Overall, the i-Stubble is a good stubble trimmer that provides arguably the best value for money on this list. It isn’t as meticulous or efficient as the number one choice on this list. However, it doesn’t cut corners when it comes to quality, and it has proven itself to be one of the most popular stubble trimmers on the market today.
If you’re looking to simply maintain a permanent 5 o’clock shadow, short stubble, or long stubble, this trimmer would be an excellent choice for an affordable price.
5. Remington MB4700
This beard trimmer comes with a collection of thoroughly modern touches that make it an exiting device to play with. It comes with a digital touch screen which sets the tone very nicely for this futuristic-looking man toy.
Most relevant to this article is it’s fully motorized comb with a remarkable range of available length settings. The comb moves in increments of 1mm and allows you to access a ridiculous 175 length settings between 0.4mm and 18mm.
Even I would say that this was excessive, but it does make you wonder why all trimmers can’t come with this amount of versatility. Needless to say, yes, the 5 o’clock shadow is an absolute breeze.
It also has an in-built memory that allows you to store your favorite length setting. When this is combined with its “wake up” feature, it really is a dream.
Picture this, you wake up bleary-eyed and drowsy, stumble into the bathroom and pick up your beard trimmer. Without any extra effort, it turns on automatically, set to your favorite length setting. Great, right?
The MB4700 also has an auto-sensory motor. What this does is automatically adjust the blade speed according to the thickness of the beard hair being trimmed.
This reduces pulling, tugging, and snagging and provides a very even trim for even the coarsest of hair.
What you may not like
You would expect better battery life for a trimmer at this price. The company states that you’d be able to get 50 minutes out of it on a full charge, but in actuality, you could probably squeeze out around 1 hour 15 minutes.
I do love modern technology. There’s just something quite refreshing about a grooming device that to push the boundaries a little. Sure, it’s features aren’t revolutionary, but they still provide a decent insight into what may become the norm for beard trimmers one day.
Trimming a 5 o’clock shadow does require a trimmer with specific features. Hopefully, this article has condensed a lot of research that you would have otherwise had to do.
I can see this stubble style becoming more and more popular over the next few years, as its versatility has been proven for decades now. Whether it’s a wedding or a job interview, you can’t go wrong with short stubble.
Do you have any trimmers in mind that should have made this list? If so, let me know in the comments below!