Let’s find out. We’ve tested both models, comparing the design, features, performance, sensation, effort and results to help you choose which is best for you. Here’s a quick summary of our results:
The Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 IPL
This slightly reduced specification model is safe for light to dark skin tones and is more affordable. It’s super value because it’s excellent quality, fast, safe and simple for all body areas. We recommend it especially for medium to dark skin tones. Find out why in the full comparison.
The Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL
This is the top-of-the range home IPL from Braun safe for light to dark skin tones. It’s the fastest high-power home IPL we’ve tested, the safest and most simple for all body areas. Lighter skin tones benefit from this high-power IPL.
Keep reading for photos and an in-depth comparison of safe skin tones and hair colours, lamp lifetime, design, operation and features, speed, safety and power, effort and results. Or skip to the summary at the end.
Safe skin tones & hair colours
Both devices are safe for light to dark skin tones and dark hair as shown by the charts below. So, if you’re in the safe skin tone range you can choose from both. However, we recommend the Braun Pro 3 for darker skin tones. Keep reading to learn why!
Quality & long-lasting
These models are exactly the professional, long-lasting and top-notch quality you expect from Braun. And we think amongst the best home IPL devices you can buy.
The packaging is attractive and neat, and clearly shows all the key information. I love the Pro 5 uses very little plastic packaging. Instead, it secures everything inside the tidy storage pouch. It’s a thoughtful, simple and eco-friendly touch.
Both models feel and look expensive. They have the same excellent build quality, strong and durable materials with robust construction. So, rest assured they’re built to last. They come with a 2-year warranty.
And there’s no need to worry about running out of flashes either.
- The Braun Pro 3 IPL flashes cover 900,000 cm2 (300,000 flashes x 3cm2 body flash window)
- The Braun Pro 5 IPL flashes cover 1,200,000 cm2 (400,000 flashes x 3cm2 body flash window)
Based on our standardised calculations they both give enough for 200+ full body sessions. After the start-up phases this equates to 15+ years of whole-body sessions (face, underarms bikini line, full legs). Although the Braun Pro 5 gives more, they both still score 5 stars because you get many more flashes than you’ll need to maintain your smooth.
You also get a UK 100-day money back guarantee with both models. So, if you decide it’s not for you, return it within the guarantee period for a refund. It’s extra reassurance if you change your mind.
Shape & design
The shape and design of both models is near identical with just a few minor differences. The first of which is styling. The Braun Pro 3 IPL is white with lilac trim, whereas the Pro 5 gets the grown-up, more expensive looking white with gold trim.
Both share the same-size, curvy, ergonomic wand-shape. They’re compact and lightweight but not flimsy. The second difference is the Braun Pro 3 IPL is slightly lighter than the Pro 5, presumably because it has less tech inside. The Pro 3 weighs 260g versus 285g for the Pro 5.
They work on mains-power, each with long and flexible power cords. The angled handles keep the cords out of the way as you work. They’re fixed into the handle too, so the weight of the power-pack won’t pull them out mid-zapping. A smaller cable connects to the powerpack and plugs into the mains. So, there’s plenty slack if you work next to an outlet.
Both fit perfectly in hand, are very comfortable to hold, well-balanced and handy to manoeuvre around your body. So, there’s not much to choose between these models here.
No differences to report here.
Both models have a medium-sized, multi-purpose flash window. They give precise easy flashes on most body areas. However, it’s a bit tricky to position on the smaller upper-lip and around the jawline. So, most models also have a smaller precision window. This is easier to position on smaller, bony or awkward areas.
- All Pro models have a body flash window measures 1cm by 3cm (3 cm2)
- Most Pro models have a precision window measures 1.1 cm x 1.65 cm (1.8 cm2)
Safety & skin tone sensor
Rather unsurprisingly, both models are also proven clinically safe and effective. They also have the same safety features.
The skin sensors keep your eyes safe. Unless covered by skin they won’t flash, so stopping accidental flashes into open space potentially into your eyes. And they protect your skin with a built-in UV filter.
And both models have a skin tone sensor. They check your skin and won’t flash if your tone is too dark. But they’re even more helpful than that. For safe skin tones, they also auto-adjust the IPL intensity to your best match. They do this before every flash. So, you needn’t stop and faff to guess which level to use. They’re simple, super-safe and straightforward to use.
And now for the first of the two key differences between the models.
Different IPL power intensity ranges
Although both models are safe for light to dark skin (types I to V) they each have a different IPL intensity range.
- The Braun Pro 5 has higher-power IPL over a broader range with 10 intensities ranging from 3 to 6 J/cm2
- The Braun Pro 3 has low to medium power IPL over a small range with 3 intensities ranging from 3 to 4 J/cm2
OK, but what does this mean?
Lighter skin tones can safely use higher IPL intensities. And it’s widely agreed higher IPL intensities give longer-lasting smooth results. This means going longer between top-ups. Therefore, the Braun Pro 5 is a particularly compelling choice if you have light skin tones and may be worth the extra cash to you.
However, you can’t safely use these higher intensities on darker skin tones. That’s because you have more dark pigment in your skin which gets hot under strong IPL. It can cause pain and even burns and scarring. So, darker skin won’t benefit from this high-power IPL in the Braun Pro 5. Instead, the skin tone sensor only selects the safe to use lower and gentler IPL intensity levels for dark skin.
The Braun Pro 3 is a much better match for darker skin tones. That’s because its three gentler IPL intensities are the safest maximums for medium and dark tones (up to type V). So, you needn’t pay more for a high-power IPL device when you can’t use the high intensities anyway.
- Light tones (types I to IV) can use levels 1 to 3 (maximum 4 J/cm2)
- Darker tones (type V) can use the gentler levels 1 and 2 (lowest 3 J/cm2)
So, does this mean the Braun Pro 3 is a bad choice if you’ve light skin tones?
No. you’ll be able to use level 3 and it’ll still give you smooth skin. But once you are smooth, you may need slightly more frequent top-ups than compared to the Pro 5. But by how much more it’s not possible to say. You can read this article to understand the compound effect of home IPL sessions.
Gentle modes give extra control
If you’re concerned the IPL flashes may sting, both models give you added control with gentle modes.
The Pro 5 has an ‘extra gentle’ mode too. This selects the lowest IPL intensity at 3 J/cm2. It’s extra control, especially if you have darker skin. The Braun Pro 3 doesn’t have this extra gentle mode. However, it doesn’t need it because it operates at lower intensities over a much smaller range. The gentle mode does the job here.
Which gives the fastest sessions?
And now for the second key difference between models. The Braun Pro 5 gives faster sessions.
First, let’s look at what Braun say, then how each model performs in our speed tests.
The Braun Pro 5 gets top billing here. Braun say it’s ‘safe, fast & effective”. But, of the poor old Braun Pro 3, they say it’s only “safe & effective”. Come on Braun Pro 3, keep up!
So, we were rather surprised when both the Braun Pro 5 and the Braun Pro 3 ranked amongst our top devices for speedy sessions. Here’s what we found:
The Braun Pro 5 IPL is the fastest of all home IPL devices. You get up to 125 flashes per minute on the lowest intensity level. And that’s ultra-fast with a flash roughly every half second! However, as it heats up the flashes slow a bit, but they still come in under a second. This means a smoother, no-pause glide motion across your skin. Braun say you can flash a full leg in 5 minutes on the lowest intensity. Our tests average 6.5 minutes per full leg.
On the highest intensity level, gliding is less smooth because the flashes come every second or so. We also find the flash rate varies, so it takes a bit of focus. Our tests found a full leg takes under 9 minutes and that’s still the fastest high-power home IPL out there.
The Braun Pro 3 IPL is a close runner-up. You get up to 60 flashes per minute on the lowest intensity level which is roughly a flash every second. The speed is consistent because it doesn’t get as hot. Gliding isn’t totally smooth but it’s still quick. Braun say you can flash a full leg in 9 minutes on the lowest intensity and our tests match that. Flashes are slightly slower on full power and it takes just under 11 minutes per full leg.
So, both models give very fast sessions. The Braun Pro 5 is the fastest, but the Pro 3 isn’t tardy either. With both models you can zap your whole body (full legs, bikini line, underarms and face) in 30 minutes or less. So, you’re done before you can get bored or tired.
What do they feel like?
With both models you’ll hear the cooling fan whir and a small pop with each flash. And the flashes are bright. They’re harmless to your eyes but you can wear sunglasses to ease any irritation.
The flashes on the highest intensity feel hotter with the Pro 5. That’s because the intensity is 6 J/cm2 vs 4 J/cm2 with the Braun Pro 3. Therefore, the Pro 5 can sting more, especially on sensitive areas. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but bearable and you can use gentle mode to ease it. In comparison, our testers find the Pro 3 flashes warm without any stinging at all.
Effort vs results
Home IPL devices demand effort and commitment. There’s a start-up routine to get you to smooth, then top-up sessions maintain your results. Your overall effort depends on the number of start-up sessions and how fast each session is. Therefore, we’ve calculated this effort based on our controlled tests, so you can compare and decide which is right for you.
The regimen for both Braun models is identical.
Use the both between 4 to 12 weekly sessions until you have smooth, hairless skin (typically 6+ sessions). The table below compares the overall start-up effort for whole body hair removal with both models:
|Model||# of start-up sessions||Time per whole-body session||Total effort|
|Braun Pro 3|| 6 sessions to
|30 mins|| 3 hours to
|Braun Pro 5|| 6 sessions to
|25 mins|| 2.5 hours to
The Braun Pro 5 comes out top but both models are amongst the lowest effort home IPL machines you can choose.
During your start-up phase you’ll notice hairs grow slower after a few sessions. Hair also feels softer, finer and lighter. Shaving is easier without vicious stubble, rash or ingrown hairs. Eventually bald patches appear and get bigger. You may see these results very quickly, or slower and more gradually over 12 weeks.
Once you’re smooth switch to top-ups. Braun recommend every month or two. However, if you use the lowest intensity levels with either model you may need more regular top-ups to stay smooth. For example, one every 3 or 4 weeks. Overtime and after several top-ups most people find they can go longer in between them.
Braun Pro 3 vs Braun Pro 5 comparison summary
We think both models are excellent choices. The Braun Pro 5 IPL comes out with a higher score, but the Braun Pro 3 isn’t far behind at all.
Choose the Braun Pro 3 IPL because you have a smaller budget, but still demand quality and speed. It’s perfect for both small and large areas, and face too. The gentler IPL intensities best match medium to dark skin. Light skin tones still get results but may need more frequent top-ups than with the Pro 5. The Pro 5 gives faster sessions but the Pro3 is still one of the fastest home IPLs you can buy. Try it, and if you don’t love it return it with an excellent 100-day UK money back guarantee.
Learn even more about the Braun Pro 3 IPL here
Choose the Braun Pro 5 IPL for superb quality and unbeaten speed. We love the no-faff safety and simplicity. It’s also a super all-rounder for both small and large areas. The higher IPL intensities promise longer lasting results on light skin tones. And the lower intensities are safe and the fastest choice for dark tones up to type V. Trial it for 100 days and if you’re not hooked, return it with a UK refund guarantee.
Read the full Braun Pro 5 IPL review (with video) to learn more.
|Braun Pro 3 IPL||Braun Pro 5 IPL|
Models: PL5124, PL5014, PL5137
|Price from £180 to £400||Price from £300 to £610|
| Safe skin tones
|| Safe skin tones
| Effective hair colours
|| Effective hair colours
|More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.||More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.|
|Fast, simple, easy-to-handle mains-power home IPL. Super-safe, it adjusts to your skin tone before every flash. Small window for face and tricky areas.||Mains-powered, ultra-fast, no-faff simplicity, light-weight & nimble. Perfectly balanced safety & power in every flash. Small window for face and tricky areas.|
|Low to medium power IPL for smooth skin in up to 12 weekly sessions. Then switch to top-ups as you need them.||Powerful IPL for long-lasting silky skin after 4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups every month or so.|
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