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Philishave HQ5401 Review

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  • Philishave HQ5401 Review

    The Philishave HQ5401 is a razor I got in 2002 as a Christmas gift. It was the first lift and cut razor I owned. It's a part of the Reflex Action series and takes the now-discontinued HQ5 heads. Several years ago, I was tipped off by my contact at Philips that HQ5 heads were going to be discontinued, so I went to ebay and bought six packages of HQ5 heads while prices were still low, so I will be shaving with the original heads for several more years. My review follows.


    When the razor is switched on, you can immediately hear how powerful it is. The heads spin faster than the new Philips razors I own, definitely. The only one that I own that is more powerful is the Philishave HS555 (review forthcoming).

    Shave Time

    I can shave my entire face in two minutes. This model definitely shaves closer and faster than my new Philishave S3552/89, as an example.


    Close overall, including the neck, which can be a problem area with other razors. I just shaved with it today for the first time in several months, and there was a bit of stubble left behind on the jawline, but that is because I hadn't used it in a while and my skin isn't re-adjusted to it yet. After the re-adjustment period, I know that won't be an issue.


    Its weight is comparable to the newer razors I own, such as the S3552/89 and the S5320/08. It is solid, and feels good in the hand.


    Every week, I empty out the hair chamber and brush any residual hair. Of course, this model isn't waterproof like the newer ones today, so water is a no-no. Once a month, I remove the retaining plate holding the heads in place and place one cutter and head set in rubbing alcohol and swirl it around for a while and put it on a towel to air-dry. I do this with each of the other two cutter and head sets and then re-assemble everything, and then I give the heads a spray of Remington Shaver Saver. I then turn on the razor briefly to make sure the lubricant is properly distributed over the heads.

    This is my co-favourite razor, along with my Philishave HS555. I prefer the look of these old-school models over the newer detachable head models, and these old ones definitely have deeper hair chambers, which I like.


  • #2
    My most powerful Philips Norelco shavers are the 1980 era "Norelco Rotatract Razor" shavers. I have both a HP 1318 rechargeable and a HP 1601 corded only versions, both in about 95%+ cosmetic condition. The HP 1601 is even serialized it appears, with a number 01230 below the main information stamp. Another I have seen had a different number in the same position. Both razors sound quite powerful and high speed as well as quite noisy compared to current ones. I suspect part of the noise may be metal internal gears. I need to open one to take a look and possibly grease the gearing to see if that quiets it down. Per Philips tech support these originally used HQ3 heads but current HQ56 heads fit and work perfectly. Heavy shavers as the weight of the HP 1601 is 12 ounces, almost double current Philips triple header shavers.


    • #3
      Definitely. The HP1318/HP1601 models are both really powerful. I have my dad's old HP1318 that he bought on October 28, 1981 (his 29th birthday), and I actually had a shaver repair place replace the batteries a few years ago, but something clearly went wrong, because the new batteries never held a charge. I wish he had bought the HP1601 cord-only model instead. Cord-only models last forever.