Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPLs

What's the difference between the Braun Pro 5 IPL vs Braun Pro 3 IPL? I've tested them both so come learn all in this comparison review...
Hello! I'm Laura and I test at-home beauty devices to bring you fair and honest in-depth reviews at Wearebodybeautiful.com

What’s the difference?

In this review I contrast the latest devices from Braun; the Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 at-home IPLs. The shapes are the same and both are excellent devices for zapping face, small bits and large areas. They are super-safe, very easy and fast to use. But the Pro 5 is a fancy gold, has more advanced features and is more expensive than the Pro 3. So, is the enhanced spec of the Braun Pro 5 worth the extra cost? Let's find out...

The devices...

Here's a very quick comparison of the key info about the Braun Pro 5 IPL and Braun Pro 3 IPL. There's more information on what they're like to use and loads of helpful photos down below too. Skip to the end if you just want a quick comparison of the features and performance data from my tests.
Braun Pro 5 IPL
"A powerful, fast & no-faff, premium at-home IPL hair removal device for light to dark skin tones."
Braun Pro 3 IPL
"An affordable, fast & no-faff, medium power at-home IPL which perfectly matches medium to dark skin"

4.7

💰💰💰

✔️ Face
✔️ Small bits
✔️ Legs
✔️ Large areas

UK
100-day
money back guarantee

4.5

💰💰
✔️ Face
✔️ Small bits
✔️ Legs
✔️ Large areas
UK
100-day
money back guarantee

What’s the same?

  • 2-year warranty
  • Super-simple to use
  • Quality materials & build
  • Strong & long power cords
  • Same safe skin tone & hair colour ranges
  • Both give loads of IPL flashes for 15+ years of monthly use
  • Smart packaging
  • Gentle modes for dark skin
  • They won’t flash if your skin is too dark
  • They autoadjust each IPL flash to match your skin tone
  • UK money back guarantees
  • Clinically proven, CE certified & FDA-cleared

What’s different?

  • Pro 3 is more affordable
  • Pro 5 gives slightly faster sessions
  • Pro 5 has 10 intensity increments vs 3 with the Pro 3
  • Pro 5 is more powerful (for longer-lasting results on light to medium skin tones)
  • Pro 3’s low to medium IPL power matches darker skin tones

The Braun Pro IPL models use intense pulsed light energy (IPL) to damage and disable your hair follicles, slowing and then stopping hair regrowth. Periodic top-up treatments keep your skin smooth. Learn more about how home IPL works here.

Keep reading for photos and an in-depth comparison of lamp lifetime, design, operation and features, speed, safety and power, effort and results. Or skip to the summary at the end.

In this Braun Pro 3 IPL vs 5 review:

Quality & long-lasting

These models are exactly the professional, long-lasting and top-notch quality you expect from Braun. And I think amongst the best home IPL devices you can buy.

Neat packaging but less plastic with the Braun Pro 5 IPL

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.

The Braun Pro 5 (right) storage pouch is better than the simple storage bag with the Pro 3.

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.

Based on my 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.

Left; Pro 3 white & lilac, right; Pro 5 gets the bling in white & gold

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.

Identical compact curvy ergonomic shape.
The same simple controls with a large flash button & gentle mode button
Cooling vents on the underside of each

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.

Thick, supple no-tangle cord to the power-pack gives and ample 2-metres of slack.
Fixed, secure & durable cords won’t fall out

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.

Flash windows

Both models have a medium-sized, multi-purpose flash window measuring 1cm by 3cm (3 cm2). 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 measuring 1.1 cm x 1.65 cm (1.8 cm2). This is easier to position on smaller, bony or awkward areas.

And if that wasn’t enough (which i think it was), the latest Pro 5 IPL models has even more heads. You get an additional precision head (they’re both the same so I’m not sure why) and a new wide head. This is slightly larger than the standard, medium-sized head. So, it means you can cover large areas like your torso or tops of legs even faster. However, I think the Pro 5 and Pro 3 do an excellent job without these additions.

Maybe Braun felt left out and wanted as many heads as the Philips Lumea Prestige. Who knows.

Medium-size flash window best for legs, arms, bikini line, underarms.
Right; small, tapered precision flash window best for upper-lip, jawline, fingers, toes & other tricky bits.

Safety & power

Rather unsurprisingly, both models are also proven clinically safe and effective. They also have the same safety features. Here’s a quick comparison of the power & safety creds for the Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPLs:

Power & Safety comparison

Pro 3 IPL

Pro 5 IPL

3 to 4 J/cm2

3 to 6 J/cm2

3 energy increments

10 energy increments

Skin tone sensor

Skin tone sensor

Won’t flash if your skin’s too dark

Checks & matches intensity to your skin tone before every flash

Won’t flash if your skin’s too dark

Checks & matches intensity to your skin tone before every flash

Skin contact sensor 
(prevents accidental flashes)

Skin contact sensor 
(prevents accidental flashes)

UV filter

UV filter

Clinically proven
CE certified
FDA-cleared

Clinically proven
CE certified
FDA-cleared

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.

The blue skin sensor lights must have skin contact before they’ll flash
Sensor lights check your skin tone before every flash. Red light means nope!

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…

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.

High IPL power from the Braun Pro 5 matches light skin tones

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)
Braun Pro 3’s gentler IPL are the safe maximums for medium to dark skin

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.

Press the feather button to shift the IPL intensity down for more comfortable flashes.

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. Here’s a comparison of the speed of sessions for the Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPLs:

Speed of sessions comparison

Pro 3 IPL

Pro 5 IPL

Face, small bits, legs & large areas

Face, small bits, legs & large areas

Flashes slow slightly

Flash rate varies depending on skin contact

Flashes slow slightly

Flash rate varies depending on skin contact

11 mins per full leg (high)

30 mins for whole-body

9 mins per full leg (high)

27 mins for whole-body

First, let’s look at what Braun say, then how each model performs in my speed tests.

Pssst. The Braun Pro 3 IPL is fast too!

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, I was rather surprised when both the Braun Pro 5 and the Braun Pro 3 ranked amongst my top devices for speedy sessions. Here’s what I found:

6.5 to 9 mins to zap a full leg with the Braun Pro 5 IPL

The Braun Pro 5 IPL is one of the fastest home IPL devices (beaten by only one). You get up to 125 flashes per minute on the lowest intensity level (or extra gentle mode). And that’s very 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. My 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. I also find the flash rate varies, so it takes a bit of focus. My tests found a full leg takes around 9 minutes and that’s still one of the fastest high-power home IPLs out there.

How to hold the Braun Pro 3 IPL for legs
9 to 11 mins to flash a full leg with the Braun Pro 3 IPL

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 my 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 gentler Braun Pro 3 just feels warm and doesn’t sting at all.

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, I find the Pro 3 flashes warm without any stinging at all.  

Treatment schedule vs results

The treatment regimen for both Braun models is identical.

Use them both for between 4 to 12 weekly sessions until you have smooth, hairless skin (typically 6+ sessions).

Because the Pro 5 IPL has slightly quicker session times, you’ll spend less time overall than with the Pro 3 IPL. With the Pro 5 too, if you have fair skin and can use the higher IPL levels, you’ll also need top-up sessions less frequently. That’s because the Pro 5 has more hair zapping power on the highest levels than those with the Pro 3.

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 with both devices. 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.

Related: learn why top-ups are crucial & more about long term results

Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPL comparison summary

Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPLs: get the full tried-and-tested comparison detail at wearebodybeautiful
Both Braun models are top choices, perfect for small and large areas, face and full body sessions.

Both these Braun models are excellent choices because they’re very easy to use. The Braun Pro 5 IPL gives quicker sessions, and if you have fair skin and can use the higher intensity levels, it’ll give slightly longer lasting results too. But the Braun Pro 3 is more affordable and still one of the quickest home IPLs you can buy. The low to medium IPL range suits darker skin tones, but it still works on fair skin with a few more sessions.

Here’s a quick summary table of the spec, test and performance data above and then a round-up of the pros and cons of the Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 vs 5 IPLs to help you decide:

Everything comparison

Braun

Pro 3 IPL

I recommend the Braun Pro 3 IPL for any body area, especially if you have a medium to dark skin tones.

Braun

Pro 5 IPL

The Braun Pro 5 is a popular choice because it’s quality, straightforward, fast and very easy to flash.

Face, small bits, legs & large areas

Face & small bits
(not large areas)

💰💰

💰💰💰💰

Clinically proven

CE certified

FDA-cleared

Clinically proven

CE certified

FDA-cleared

2-year warranty

2-year warranty

UK
100-day
money back guarantee

UK
100-day
money back guarantee

Mains-power

Mains-power

Additional precisionflash windows with some models

Additional precision & wide flash windows with latest models

260g

285g

300,000 flashes

15+ years of monthly use

400,000 flashes

15+ years of monthly use

3 to 4 J/cm2

3 energy increments

3 to 6 J/cm2

10 energy increments

Skin tone sensor

Skin tone sensor

Won’t flash if your skin’s too dark

Matches every flash to your skin tone

Won’t flash if your skin’s too dark

Matches every flash to your skin tone

Feels warm.

Feels warm to hot.

Gentle mode

Gentle & extra gentle mode

11 mins per full leg (high)

9 mins per full leg (low)

30 mins for whole-body

9 mins per full leg (high)

6.5 mins per full leg (extra gentle)

27 mins for whole-body

4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups 4 to 8 weeks.

4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups 4 to 8 weeks.

Less frequent top-ups needed on the higher IPL levels.

Excellent quality

Simple

Less power

Fast

Easy & comfy

Affordable

Excellent quality

Simple

More powerful

Fastest

Easy & comfy

 

More frequent top-ups on fair skin tones  vs Pro 5 (but it still works!)

Latest models are very expensive

Flash speed varies when gliding on legs

View Braun Pro 3 & Pro 5 IPL deals

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Laura Gladman
I'm a bit obsessed with at-home beauty devices. It's a habit I've had for around 8 years now. I love the science, testing and reviewing them, and sharing my experience and feedback on my site Wearebodybeautiful.com. I'm also a crazy dog lady, and I don't care.

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