No More Mess From Trimming With The Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer

The concept on this Philips Norelco beard trimmer is great.

Attach a vacuum feature which collects the hair clippings for easy clean up.

I really like the idea, but two basic points need to get covered:

Does it actually work as intended, and does it negatively impact the performance of the trimmer?

As we’ll see in the review, I give the feature a thumbs up, but it doesn’t pass with flying colors. There are a few small issues we need to discuss, and for those who are very particular about their beard trimming, it’s worth checking out.

For this review we’re looking at the QT4050.

There is a newer version called the QT4070, but there seems to be a lot of negative reviews concerning a design flaw in the trimming comb. Unfortunately I can’t confirm these statements, however there are quite a few.

Enter the QT4050 Vacuum Trimmer:

Here are the items you will find inside the box.

  • Trimmer
  • Electrical Cord
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Set of Instructions

First off, you can operate it with the cord.

This is a good feature for these products and one reason it’s in place is because you can’t operate it wet. Many new products won’t offer the corded option if they have a wet feature which is understandable.

The initial charge can take up to 8 hours and when the battery is running low it will glow orange. Once it’s fully charged it will glow green.

As you know, the main selling point is the vacuum feature. When it’s turned on, air sucks the hair clippings into a small chamber. Once you’re finished trimming you can empty it out over the sink or into the trash.

From what I experienced, I would say this feature is not perfect, but it does work pretty well. It won’t capture every single hair, but if you’re trimming a pretty big beard, it will definitely reduce the mess.

The clippings get stored in a little chamber where you can see how much hair has been collected. You can open the plastic door and empty it out when you’re done trimming, or half way through. Be gentle with this door as you don’t want it to break.

You can shake out all the stubble, and you’ll probably need to use the cleaning brush to sweep out the hairs from the corners. I thought it did a good job. 

When it comes to the design, there is the obvious feature which we’ve sort of cover already, but there’s also a feature or design aspect I’m not crazy about.

As we mentioned, beard stubble gets sucked into a chamber where you can empty it out instead of having most of it over your sink. Overall it works well, but that door isn’t very sturdy.

The problem with this feature is that the blades need to get recessed back in order for the vacuum to work. You can see it here in this picture.

The blades don’t protrude very much, and as we’ll see in the performance section, this makes designing facial hair a little tricky.

So with the clean up feature you’re giving away a bit of performance in my opinion.

The other part of the design is the adjustable length comb.

I thought it worked really well and trimming the length of a beard was comfortable. There are 18 settings and adjusting them with the center dial is very easy.

You can slide the comb off, but remember when putting it back on you’ll really need to line everything up perfectly or it won’t fit properly.

During my first trim, I had to make an adjustment which felt a little backwards, but after a few passes I got used to it.

Because of the design of the blades, you need to shave up. Again, this was very easy to get used to, and others might find it pretty normal right from the beginning.

It does a really good job at completely removing a beard. It definitely feels like the motor works really well. It’s worth noting again, that with a lot of other models, trimming a thick neck line would get a lot of stubble over my shirt, or at least all over the sink.

One area where it didn’t perform well was at defining a cheek line. Because the blades don’t protrude, it’s hard to see and really get a nice sharp edge on a cheek line.

For general outlines I thought it did a pretty good job. If you’re shaving up towards facial hair it works fine, but if you have to get into those tight areas it’s a little more difficult.

For basic use it works well. If you need to maintain a beard and just trim down the length, I think you’ll be happy with this model.

One minor thing I noticed was that the lowest setting with the comb attached wasn’t very short. If you want that super short stubble look, you’ll have to remove the comb, but you might find there’s a bit of a gap between the lowest setting with the comb, and the setting without the comb. It’s probably not a big issue for most, but I did notice it.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Here are some final thoughts.

First off, the vacuum feature is pretty good. It doesn’t collect every single bit of stubble, but it does collect most. So if an easy clean up is one of the main features you want, this model should be considered.

I found that as a basic trimmer, it worked well. So if you just want to remove a beard, perhaps you’ve let it grow out over the weekend or a holiday, and you want to reduce the mess you make, I think you’ll be happy with it.

Even if you want to maintain a beard, I thought the trimming comb did a good job staying on the proper length setting. As long as you don’t rush, you should be able to maintain a good beard length. Keep in mind in order to get a perfect outline you will need to keep a razor blade, or some other trimmer on hand.

I thought it came up short in the styling department. There are better options available such as the Braun Cruzer 6 Face if you want to maintain any type of goatee. For styling, I found using it without the comb, so when it’s on the lowest setting was difficult in certain areas.

I did mention earlier that this wasn’t a big factor, but there is a little jump from the lowest setting with the comb attached, and just the setting without the comb. For people who want to style facial hair you might be disappointed with this gap in the length settings. Again, not a huge issue but I did notice it.

At the end of the day, you need to figure out what you really need this type of product for. I personally would put more importance on how the actual trimmer performs, rather than on the clean up feature. So you have to figure out what your goals are.

If it can’t style my goatee very well, but it doesn’t make a mess, well that’s not going to cut it for me. However, if you’re just looking to remove a beard, or maintain a certain length all around, and you want to avoid all the clippings over the sink, well this is definitely a good match for you.

I would say that’s who this is designed for. Those that want to easily remove a facial hair with less mess, or just maintain a basic length. If you’re after anything more, you need to look somewhere else.

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