The best hot lather machine

Sian Babish

If you shave in the morning before you go to work, consider choosing a quick-heating hot lather machine, so you don’t waste precious time waiting for it to warm.

Did you know that having open pores improves the quality of your shave? Warm water isn't always enough to do the trick, which is why hot lather machines are essential for the frequent shaver.

Shaving is as much personal grooming as it is personal style. Hot lather machines turn what can be tedious into a graceful act of self-care. Once the shave gel, cream, or lotion reaches an optimal temperature in the machine, simply slather it on and begin shaving. Because your pores open due to the heat of the lotion, you'll accomplish a closer shave with less razor burn.

If you're ready to treat yourself with a barbershop-quality hot lather machine, take a look at our definitive buying guide. We're including our top pick, the Wahl Professional Hot Lather Machine, which has a modern design and comes with a bottle of Wahl's own lather liquid.

Considerations when choosing hot lather machines

Lather capacity

Hot lather machines can hold between eight and 20 ounces of shaving cream. If you shave often and use cream generously, it's a good idea to opt for a larger capacity unit to reduce the amount of refill times. To compare lather capacities, those labeled "personal" tend to be smaller, whereas professional units have the largest.

Heating time

The average hot lather machine takes about 30 minutes to heat, so if you have an early-morning rush, you'll need to work it into your schedule. There are some models that heat in less than five minutes. At the opposite end of the spectrum, others take as much as one hour to reach optimal temperature.

Temperature adjustments

This is a feature worth exploring, especially if you're particular about reaching the perfect temperature for each shave. Another reason it's worth considering is because shaving cream, gel, and lotion all warm at different speeds. If you have the luxury of adjusting the feed, you'll be able to pinpoint how long it takes to warm each one.


Hot lather machines generally fall into two categories: personal and professional models. Personal models can be any size; though, their performance and temperature consistency can vary dramatically. Professional models are those designed for all-day use in barbershops. As you can expect, they excel in both of the aforementioned areas. With that said, all hot lather machines, like any other electronic devices, have design flaws, so it's not unusual to experience quirks in your model.


Shaving accessories

Some hot lather machines come with their own shaving accessories, including a shave brush and lather bowl. Certain models have these features built into their overall design, while others simply include them individually. If you're new to using both, you'll pour the hot lather into the bowl, and then use the brush to evenly distribute it around your face.

Automatic shutoff

Hot lather machines with an automatic shutoff feature are essential to the busy person who can be forgetful in the middle of the morning rush. After a period of inactivity, the device turns off, preventing any fire hazard. It's not a standard feature, so you'll pay a bit more for these machines.


Depending on the design of the hot lather machine, it could come with more than one nozzle. In these models, they indicate which nozzles work best for cream, gel, or lotion.


You can find a wallet-friendly hot lather machine for less than $50, which offers modest heat and holds most eight-ounce cans. Mid-range machines cost as much as $100, and they tend to heat more consistently. Professional-quality machines have the longest life spans, so they can cost as much as $250.


Q. Can women use hot lather machines, too?

A. Of course. Women who suffer from ingrown hairs and razor burn can benefit from using them. The shaving cream allows for a closer shave with fewer nicks or bumps for super smooth legs and underarms.

Q. What skincare routine should I have before using my hot lather machine?

A. You should wash your face with soap and water before shaving to rid it of any dead skin cells and surface dirt. Some people recommend using exfoliating products before shaving because it helps to tease out ingrown hairs.

Hot lather machines we recommend

Best of the best: Wahl's Professional Hot Lather Machine

Our take: Attractive professional-quality machine. Despite occasional functional issues, as are present in models by other brands, it's overall the top choice.

What we like: Easy to fill, and comes with an additional pump as well as a sample of Wahl's own hot lather liquid.

What we dislike: Some reports of clogging after frequent use. Warmth isn't as consistent as you'd expect given the price.

Best bang for your buck: Conair's Gel and Lather Heating System

Our take: Affordable choice and a sleek design. Can be quirky when dispensing lather, but overall, it's a killer value for the device.

What we like: Heats in less than two minutes, and it's compatible with regular shave gels.

What we dislike: Not all cans fit inside barrel, and some consumers felt lather wasn't all that warm.

Choice 3: Burmax's Lather Time Professional Hot Lather Machine

Our take: Large-capacity machine used by barbers; though, there are some issues with buttons and dispensing.

What we like: Ready to go out of the box with non-slip base and bottle of hot lather liquid. Makes lather smooth and creamy.

What we dislike: Take as long as one hour to warm, and leaking units aren't unusual.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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