Tried & tested Braun Pro 3 vs Braun Pro 5 IPL review; which is best and what's the difference?

Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 IPL vs Pro 5 IPL: what’s the difference?

The Braun Pro 3 IPL has fewer features compared to the Braun Pro 5 IPL. Consequently, it’s cheaper so appeals to smaller budgets. The key differences are styling, the Braun Pro 3 has a lower IPL intensity range and it gives slightly slower sessions. The top of the range Pro 5 is usually at least £100/$100 more expensive than the Pro 3. So, is the enhanced spec of the Braun Pro 5 worth the extra cost?

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

Braun Pro 3 IPL best for dark skin up to Fitzpatrick type V

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

Braun Pro 5 IPL best fast, no-faff & super-safe home 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.

Braun Pro 3 & Pro 5 summary & deals

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!

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's safe for tones I to V, but not VI (the darkest).
Safe to use on light to medium dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to V). Not safe for the darkest skin (type VI) or on dark freckles and moles.
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown and dark blonde body hair colours. Doesn't work on light blonde, red, white or gray body hair colours.
Works on black to dark blonde hair

Related: Best IPL devices for dark & black skin and IPL machines for fair hair

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.

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.

Both models give many more flashes than you’ll ever need for decades of smooth.
  • 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.

View Braun Pro IPL deals

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

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)
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.

View Braun Pro IPL deals

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.

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.

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.

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.

View Braun Pro IPL deals

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.

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, 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:

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

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.

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

View Braun Pro IPL deals

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
12 sessions
30 mins 3 hours to
6 hours
Braun Pro 5 6 sessions to
12 sessions
25 mins 2.5 hours to
5 hours

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.

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

Braun Pro 3 vs Braun Pro 5 comparison summary

Both Braun models are top choices, perfect for small and large areas, face and full body sessions.

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.

Braun silk Expert Pro 3 home IPL review

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: PL3132
4.5 out of 5

Models: PL5124, PL5014, PL5137
4.8 out of 5
Price from £180 to £400 Price from £300 to £610
  • Face, small & large areas
  • Whole-body
  • Face, small & large areas
  • Whole-body
Safe skin tones
safe for light to dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick type I to V), but not the very darkest
Safe skin tones
safe for light to dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick type I to V), but not the very darkest
Effective hair colours
Works on dark hair, but not light hair that's lightblonde, red, grey or white
Effective hair colours
Works on dark hair, but not light hair that's lightblonde, red, grey or white
Lamp lifetime 5.0
More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.
Lamp lifetime 5.0
More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.
Ease of use 4.5
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.
Ease of use 4.7
Mains-powered, ultra-fast, no-faff simplicity, light-weight & nimble. Perfectly balanced safety & power in every flash. Small window for face and tricky areas.
Results 4.0
Low to medium power IPL for smooth skin in up to 12 weekly sessions. Then switch to top-ups as you need them.
Results 5.0
Powerful IPL for long-lasting silky skin after 4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups every month or so.
  • Under £200
  • Gentler IPL intensity perfect for medium to dark skin tones
  • Straightforward, fast, plug-&-go operation
  • No-faff safety sensor adjusts to your skin tone
  • Compact, lightweight, robust & long-lasting flashes
  • Perfect for varied skin tones around your body
  • Clinically proven, CE certification & FDA-cleared
  • UK 100-day money back guarantee from Braun
  • Higher IPL intensities safe for light skin tones give longest lasting results
  • Foolproof, super-safe plug-&-go operation with ultra-fast flashes
  • No-faff safety sensor adjusts to your skin tone
  • Compact, lightweight, robust & long-lasting flashes
  • Perfect for varied skin tones around your body
  • Clinically proven, CE certification & FDA-cleared
  • UK 100-day money back guarantee from Braun
  • Light skin tones may benefit from a higher power IPL such as the Braun Pro 5
  • Expensive at full RRP
  • Variable flash rate requires a bit of focus
  • Expensive at full RRP

View Braun Pro 3 & 5 IPL deals

Found this review helpful? Please support future reviews and shop via these links.  I earn a small commission if you shop via these links, but your price stays the same.

Worldwide shipping from Amazon and CurrentBody.com

Braun Pro 3 IPL best for dark skin up to Fitzpatrick type V

View Braun Pro 3 deals £180 to £400
🇬🇧 Amazon UK
🇦🇺 Shavershop
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Braun Pro 5 IPL best fast, no-faff & super-safe home IPL

View Braun Pro 5 IPL deals £275 to £599:
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