Let’s be honest – we all hate shaving our legs. It’s an annoyance that just never goes away. And even worse, women spend over $10,000 on hair removal products in our lifetimes! I know I have better things to do with my time and money.
It’s no secret that I’ve been an epilator junkie for quite some time, but recently I discovered at-home laser hair removal. Yep – lasers. At home. Sound crazy?
Maybe a little. But the results of home laser hair removal are pretty hard to beat. It’s incredibly long-lasting, safe, effective, and quick. And you can do it in the comfort of your own home, for less than expensive salon treatments.
You in? Me too. But there are literally hundreds of these home laser devices available. So I did some digging, and even took some for a personal test drive, so I could share the details with you.
Let’s take a look at the best home laser hair removal devices on the market!
Reviews – Best Home Laser Hair Removal Machines
Want the full scoop on home laser hair removal, and more detailed product reviews? Keep reading! We’ve reviewed all of the top devices on the market.
Home Laser Hair Removal – What, Why, & How
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal works by directing a high-powered, concentrated beam of light at a hair follicle. The laser’s light is absorbed into the pigment of the hair. The pigment in your hair absorbs this light just like black clothing absorbs sunlight and white clothing reflects it. The light turns into heat, damaging the follicle and rendering it unable to continue growing. The beams of light are sent out repeatedly by the machine in lightning quick pulses until the entire area has been treated.
Laser Hair Removal vs IPL?
Most of the laser hair removal devices marketed for at-home use, are actually IPL devices. IPL stands for “Intense Pulsed Light”, and is a great description for what is actually happening during these treatments.
The heat and light source for IPL devices is a lamp, similar to a light bulb, so it is less powerful than a traditional laser treatment in a salon. But it’s still a highly effective means of hair removal, and one of the only permanent hair removal options that can be managed at home.
For a better understanding of the differences between these hair removal technologies, check out this article.
What are the benefits of home laser hair removal?
Home laser hair removal will provide longer-lasting results than any other hair removal method. With modern IPL devices, the procedure is simple and quick, with minimal discomfort.
Hair removal treatments in a salon can cost anywhere from $200-500 per session, with multiple sessions needed to achieve complete results. At an average cost of $300-700, home laser hair removal devices are a fantastic value in comparison. Plus, you get the convenience of using the device in the comfort of your own home.
Is IPL permanent?
Home laser hair removal will permanently reduce hair growth, but not eliminate it entirely. After 8-12 sessions, you should see minimal hair growth returning and the hair that does grow back will be finer and easier to manage with maintenance treatments.
Is laser hair removal painful?
Honestly, a little bit. But nothing you can’t manage. Many people compare the discomfort of laser hair removal to the feeling of snapping a rubber band against the skin.
All permanent, or long-lasting, hair removal methods involve some degree of pain. Laser hair removal is not much different than the discomfort you might feel with epilation or waxing.
We have also written an article on reducing epilator pain, and many of the tips can be used with laser hair removal as well.
Is laser hair removal safe for everyone?
Laser hair removal devices require FDA approval, and are safe to use as directed. It’s important to note that IPL devices can be dangerous for individuals with certain skin tones or hair colors.
Because the IPL devices work by narrowing in on those frustratingly dark hairs, the surrounding skin is spared when it’s significantly fairer. This is good news for our pale, brunette friends, who are the very best candidates for these home laser hair removal treatments.
On the other hand, people with very light hair and fair skin or dark hair and dark skin may not achieve any substantial results because the laser will struggle to find the right target and distinguish between the two similar colors.
Even worse, the melanin in darker colored skin can absorb too much light from the laser, and lead to burns or scarring. For this reason, it’s important to closely adhere to the manufacturer’s directions regarding suitable skin and hair colors for each device.
As an example, this chart shows the safe skin and hair color ranges for the popular Philips Lumea Prestige device:
It should be noted, that a variety of lasers are being produced and tested to suit all combinations of skin and hair coloring, with the Nd:YAG laser being the go-to for darker skin tones.
To learn more about laser hair removal for dark skin check out our article here.
Drawbacks to At Home Laser Hair Removal?
The main drawback to home laser hair removal devices, is the restriction on suitable skin tones and hair colors. If you have very light hair, or very dark skin, your options for home devices will be limited.
While easy enough, the process of laser hair removal can be a bit time consuming. Certainly, it takes longer than shaving. However, the long-lasting results are worth the effort and will save you time in the long run.
Many of the higher end home laser hair removal devices offer features that make them faster and easier to use – such as cordless operation, attachments for reaching small areas, and automatic skin tone sensors that select the right level of treatment for each body area.
Choosing the Best At Home Laser Hair Removal Device
Features of IPL Machines
It’s important to consider which type of features are most important to your laser hair removal experience. Safety features are one of the most important to consider. Many of the newest machines include built-in technology to help detect skin tone and deliver the correct (safe) intensity for each individual.
Some of the higher end devices, like the Philips Lumea Prestige, are even able to adapt as they move around your body. This is convenient, because there is often quite a bit of variation in skin color in different areas of the body. Think about the difference in tones between your face, legs, and bikini areas.
Also consider design elements that will make the device easier or more difficult to use. For example, some IPL machines are battery-operated while others are cordless. And some comes with a variety of attachments for treating specific areas of the body.
How many flashes are included?
You’ll definitely want to consider the number of flashes, or pulses, that each IPL devices promises. These machines operate by emitting bright pulses of light to damage the hair follicles. And like any light bulb, their lifespan is limited.
I personally would look for a device with 200,000 – 300,000 flashes. This is way more than you will ever need – lasting for 10+ years. I would be willing to bet that in a decade, we will have moved on to some newer hair removal technology.
Many of the less expensive devices offer fewer flashes, but some do offer the ability to purchase replacement bulbs, such as the Remington iLight Pro.
Look for a device that is ready to use right out of the box, without purchasing lots of additional accessories. Most IPL machines will comes with the device itself, a power cord for operation or charging, and a user manual.
Some will include convenient accessories like a carrying case. And the more premium kits will include attachments for treating particular areas of the body more easily.
Ease of Use
One of the first things you will need to decide is whether you prefer a corded or cordless laser device. There are benefits to both.
Obviously, battery-operated IPL devices are easier to maneuver, especially in hard-to-reach areas of the body. However, these devices use quite a bit of power, so it’s typical for a battery to last only 30 minutes or less. This may be inconvenient if you are treating your full body and need a longer session. With corded devices, you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice!
The Philips Lumea Prestige is essentially the Cadillac of the home laser hair removal world. It offers the ability to operate as both a cordless or corded device. It also comes with a variety of attachments specially designed for specific areas of the body – face, underarms, bikini, body – which make the whole treatment process much easier to manage. If you can manage the investment, this machine is the most pleasant to use!
It’s also good to evaluate the size of the treatment area for each device. Some devices have smaller or larger heads. Obviously using a smaller devices means treatments will take that much longer.
While I know that brand reputation doesn’t always correlate with quality, it seems to be a pretty good indicator in the world of laser hair removal. I know that if I’m going to point a laser device at my skin, I want to feel pretty confident in the brand!
The top brands include Braun, Philips, and Tria. All of these manufacturers have been offering home IPL devices for years, and can be counted on for safety and efficacy.
Warranty & Service
Again, brand matters here. Most devices comes with a manufacturer warranty of 1-2 years. And the top manufacturers, like Braun, Philips, and Tria, can all be relied up on for reliable support if you run into any issues.
These devices are certainly not cheap, but they actually offer a fantastic value when compared to the cost of professional laser hair removal treatments in a salon.
An entry-level device can be purchased for as low as $200 – although it will come with fewer features and less flash capacity. At the higher end, the most premium devices, with all the bells and whistles, can go for $600-700.
Reviews of the Best Home Laser Hair Removal Devices
The Tria was one of the very first FDA-approved home laser hair removal devices. And it remains one of the most popular on the market. It’s actually the only machine in our review that uses traditional laser technology, rather than IPL.
This is the newer version of the machine, which boasts better results in half the time. In a study of 80 patients, 70% of their average hair count was decreased by the 2nd treatment and it only took 3 treatments to see a constant hair count decrease.
The Tria 4X Laser is a very reliable device that’s designed to give a completely professional treatment at just a fraction of the professional cost.
The Tria has a small head making it perfect for smaller, more sensitive areas – but not very suited to larger areas like your legs.
For even more details, check out our full review of the Tria 4X Laser Hair Removal Device.
The Philips Lumea Prestige is on the pricier side, but that’s because it’s one of the best devices on the market.
The Philips Lumea Prestige is the only home laser hair removal device that comes with a set of attachments that are specially designed for difficult to treat areas of the body – like the face, armpits, and bikini area. This makes a huge difference in the comfort and ease of using the machine.
It’s also the only IPL device that can be used either cordless or with a cord attached. This is perfect – use the cordless operation of hard to maneuver areas and the corded operation for long treatment sessions.
It is built to last for a long time, so it won’t need replacement for many years. So if you are looking for quality and have the budget, the Philips Lumea Prestige would definitely be my pick!
For even more details, check out our full review of the Philips Lumea Prestige.
The IMENE IPL is a new value offering from the new-to-the-scene Imene Brand. It’s definitely an entry level device, but if you’re looking to try out home IPL based hair removal without making a huge investment right away, it could be an excellent fit.
I particularly like that the IMENE IPL comes with two flash modes – one for larger areas (like legs) and one for smaller areas where you want to be more precise (like the bikini line).
And it offers up to 500,000 flashes! I’m not sure I completely believe that claim to be honest – but for the low price tag, it might be worth a shot. It also adds a unique built in ice compress plate to keep post treatment irritation to a minimum.
The IMENE product has more limitations on the range of skin and hair tones that can be treated than higher end brands like the Philips Lumea Prestige, so be sure to check that it’s a suitable fit before purchasing.
The Braun Silk Expert 5 laser hair removal device is another great buy. Not only is it fast, user-friendly and effective, but it will last you for a very long time.
It works incredibly fast so you can get a smooth hairless body in no time. The SensoAdapt sensor keeps your skin protected, and ensures simple and effective treatments.
For more information, check out our full review of the Braun Gillette Venus Silk Expert 5 IPL Machine.
Remington is a reliable brand, that’s been in the market for many years. The iLight Pro is a great, entry-level device that will get you started with laser hair removal safely.
The large head and ergonomic shape, make it easy to use on arms, legs, and other larger areas. But it’s tricky to maneuver in tight spots or smaller areas of the body.
The biggest drawback of the Remington iLight Pro is that it has a low flash capacity – and requires the purchase of replacement cartridges. But for the price, it’s a great value!
For a more detailed review, check out our full review of the Remington iLight Pro and Ultra IPL Devices.
While it didn’t make our list of the best laser hair removal devices, the SmoothSkin Gold 300 Intelligent IPL Hair Removal System is still a solid choice for your first IPL device.
It comes from a reputable brand, and can be relied on for safety. And it has a long-lasting 300,000 flash capacity. If you’re looking to invest a little more, something like the Philips Lumea Prestige can help you get the job done a bit more quickly and comfortably.
But if you’re simply looking for a solid device to get you started with laser hair removal, the SmoothSkin is a fantastic choice. For more details, read our full review of the Smoothskin Gold 300 laser hair removal device.
This is an entry-level device, with features that are appropriate for it’s price tag. If you’re looking to get started with a basic laser hair removal device at home, the CosBeauty IPL Device is a solid option.
However, if you’re willing to invest a little bit more, there are other devices that offer more convenience and quicker results. For more details, see our full review of the CosBeauty laser hair removal device.
If it’s an affordable device you’re looking for, then the Silk’n Flash & Go may be for you. While it doesn’t offer as many comfort and convenience features as other brands, it’s a reliable device that’s been in the market for quite some time. The Flash & Go can be used anywhere on the body including your face and bikini line.
The flash is quite strong, and it’s recommended that you wear protective goggles to use this device.
The main drawback of the Silk’N Flash and Go device is the small coverage area compare to similar devices – meaning it takes longer to treat large areas, such as legs.
For more details, check out the full review of the Silk’n Flash & Go laser hair removal device.
Best Laser Hair Removal Device for Dark Skin
While there are home devices out there that are usable on darker skin types, like the FDA approved mē Smooth device (we’ll be doing an in depth review soon!), it’s difficult not to recommend seeing a professional.
This is because its much more of an art to getting the job done safely and effectively when working with dark skin types. Check out this more detailed article on laser hair removal for dark skin for more information.
A professional needs to have intimate knowledge of laser hair removal for dark skin so they can determine:
- What type of laser would be most suitable
- The wavelength/color of the light used
- Pulse duration (the thicker the hairs, the longer the pulse duration)
- Many other factors that will help you get safe and effective treatment
- There are home laser devices that will work for darker skin but its not as straightforward a task as it is for lighter skin.
If you’re still looking for an alternative to get rid of hair and aren’t excited about throwing money at a professional treatment, maybe check out our guide Best Epilator for Dark Skin.
Best Laser Hair Removal Device for Blonde Hair
Honestly, if your hair is extremely light, you may just not be a good candidate for laser hair removal. These IPL devices work because the light is absorbed by the melanin in hair, which is darker than the skin around it. If you have very light blonde, grey, or red hair – the technology isn’t going to work very well. And you should consider other long-lasting hair removal methods, like epilation.
If your hair is a dark natural blonde, you may still have some luck. The best machines for dark blonde hair is the Philips Lumea Prestige, which claims to work on hair somewhat lighter than other devices.
Best Laser Hair Removal Device for Face
The best IPL device for use on the face is definitely the Philips Lumea Prestige. This is the only device that comes with a special curved attachment that is specialized for use on the tricky facial area.
It’s important to consult the manufacturer instructions before using any kind of home laser device on your face. Not all machines are approved for facial use, and some require the use of protective glasses due to the strength of the flashes.
Best Laser Hair Removal Device for Bikini Area
The Philips Lumea Prestige is my favorite IPL device for use on the bikini line as well. Again, that’s because this is the only machine that comes with specialized attachments of specific areas of the body – including the bikini area. I know if I’m going to bring a laser in touch with my most sensitive areas, I want it to be as easy as possible to avoid mistakes! So this is my choice for the best brazilian!
And if the idea of a laser down there is just too much for you, check out the best epilators for a brazilian instead.
So which home laser hair removal device is the best choice for me?
It really depends on your own personal preferences, specific treatment areas, and budget.
For an entry level machine, suitable for use on large areas like the legs, I prefer the Braun Silk Expert IPL. It’s a reliable machine with long-lasting flash capacity.
If you’re willing to invest more to get all the bells and whistles, the Philips Lumea Prestige is definitely the best machine available! With it’s top-notch skin tone sensor, and specialized attachments for tricky areas, it’s worth the price tag!