Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL vs Philips Lumea Advanced: which is best?

Both the Braun 5 iPL and the Lumea Advanced are super choices, and it’s hard to decide between them! Prices are similar, both will last for ages and give long-lasting smooth results. But each has a distinctive shape and different performance specification. So, which should you choose?

This depends on which body areas you want to treat. Here’s our recommendation:

Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL

Buy the Braun Silk expert IPL 5001 here

This is an earlier version of the Braun silk Expert range, now updated and improved in the Braun silk expert Pro 5 IPL. However, it’s still a fine choice because it’s safe for light to dark skin tones and in our tests proved fast and faff-free. We recommend it for small and large areas, or full-body hair removal.

Philips Lumea Advanced

Philips Lumea Advanced tried and tested review

This is Philip’s mid-range home IPL safe for light to medium skin tones. It’s corded, compact, light-weight and we love the gun-shape. Our tests conclude the design and performance are best suited to smaller body areas (bikini line, forearms, underarms and face).

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 5 vs Advanced summary & deals

SKIN TONES & HAIR COLOURS

Braun 5 IPL

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's safe for tones I to V, but not VI (the darkest).
Safe for light to dark skin tones
(Fitzpatrick types I to V)

Lumea Advanced

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's safe for tones I to IV, but not V and VI (the darkest tones).
Safe for light to medium skin
(Fitzpatrick types I to IV)

Iif you have light to light medium skin (Fitzpatrick types I to IV) you can choose either. But if it’s medium to dark (up to type V) choose the Braun 5 , or another device safe for darker skin tones. Both have a skin tone sensor which protects skin that’s too dark.

They both are effective on dark blonde to black hair and won’t work on red, blonde and grey/white hair.

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

Lamp lifetime

Both the Braun 5 and Advanced give excellent value from their IPL lamps. Here’s how they compare:

  • Braun 5: gives a total treatment area of 900,000 cm² (300,000 flashes x 3 cm2 body flash window)
  • Advanced: gives a total treatment area of 1,000,000 cm² (250,000 flashes x 4 cm2 body flash window)

Based on our standardised calculations, this is enough for 200+ whole-body sessions (face, underarms bikini line, full legs). This works out at 15+ years of monthly full body treatments after tgive many more flashes than you’ll need to stay consistently smooth.

Shape & design

Both devices are mains-powered with a long power cable. The cords are robust and don’t tangle. And they stay out of the way most of the time. However, the design of the Braun cable means the weight of the power pack annoyingly pulls out the cord if you stretch it long enough.

The silk Expert 5 IPL and Lumea Prestige BRI956 held in different grips according to their design.
The Advanced’s gun-shape is slightly more comfortable and intuitive to hold than the Braun 5.

The Braun IPL, although ergonomic, isn’t as intuitive or as comfortable as the Lumea Advanced’s gun-shape. However, sessions are faster with the Braun 5. So, overall the Braun is more comfortable than the Advanced because it’s less tedious and tiring (especially for whole-body sessions).

close up photo of the 3 cm2 Braun silk expert flash window next to the 4 cm2 Lumea Advanced Flash window
Braun 5 (left) medium size flash window 1cm by 3. Advanced (right) large flash window 1.5 cm by 3.5 cm.

The Braun IPL also has one medium-size 3 cm² treatment window. It’s the optimum size for both large areas and tricky surfaces like your upper lip. However, the Advanced has a larger body flash window and additional precision and facial attachments. I don’t find they make much difference on underarms or bikini line, but they do make it easier to get a flash on your upper-lip, jawline and ankles.

The Advanced has multiple flash windows. It’s easier to flash your upper-lip, jawline and ankles with the small facial attachment.

Like most other home IPL devices, the Advanced has 5 intensity levels suitable for light to medium skin tones (Fitzpatrick types I to IV). But the Braun IPL 5 is safe for a broader range of tones. And it has 10 intensity levels suitable for  light to dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick types I to V). Therefore, with the Braun’s 10 intensity levels you get a more precise IPL for your skin tone for your best results.

3 photos of the Venus Silk expert 5 IPL showing the flash window and skin tone sensor windows, flash button and gentle mode 'feather' button, and the IPL energy intensity level indicator lights
The precise Braun 5 auto-matches from 10 intensity levels, and has a gentle mode if it stings.

Safety

The Braun 5 and the Advanced are clinically tested safe for home use and area CE certificatied. The Braun 5 is also FDA-cleared. They have in-built UV filters and skin contact sensors to stop accidental flashes near your eyes. And both have a skin tone sensor that stop the flashes if your skin tone is too dark.

Close up photo of the large body attachment with small skin tone sensor window, the ready light illuminate red then white,and the 5 intensity indicator lights all lit up to 5.
Both keep dark skin safe and won’t flash if your skin is too dark.
Braun’s gentle mode for areas that sting

However, the  Braun 5 IPL has a more advanced skin tone sensor. It checks your skin and then auto-selects the best of the 10 intensity levels for your tone. And it does it before every flash. So, it removes the guesswork and is less faff if your skin tone varies by body area. It makes for straight-forward, foolproof treatments. There’s also a gentle mode which lowers the intensity, just in case it stings.

Which is fastest?

The biggest difference between the Braun and the Advanced is the speed of treatments. The Braun 5 IPL gives much faster sessions.

You can finish a full leg from around 14+ mins with the Lumea Advanced. This is ok, but the Braun IPL has it beaten. It has a much quicker flash repetition rate. Braun say you can finish a full leg in around 8:30 mins. In my experience it’s more like 12 mins (because I’m very thorough). That’s still one of the quickest high power IPL out there.

Related: the updated Braun Pro 5 IPL is ultrafast!

This may be enough to sway you from the Lumea Advanced especially if you are treating your full body. But for smaller body areas the Advanced takes just minutes. So, it’s a fine choice for face, bikini line, underarms and forearms.

Which has the best customer support?

Here, they’re neck-and-neck! Both Braun and Philips are trusted, house-hold brands with a super reputation and excellent customer support. Responses are prompt and thorough and with online chat support too.

You can also download a helpful treatment App for both. These alllow you to schedule your sessions and find helpful information. And with both you get a reassuring 100-day money back guarantee. That’s plenty time to try it to get hair-free results.

More about Philips money back gaurantee and Braun money back guarantee from CurrentBody.com

Effort vs results

Top down view of the Braun Silk Expert 5 and the Lumea Prestige BRI956
The Braun 5 IPL is much less effort overall for whole-body smoothness. The Advanced effort better suits small body areas.

Home IPL devices demand effort and commitment. There’s a start-up routine to get you to smooth, and 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.

Braun say you need up to 12 weekly sessions to get to smooth and hairless skin. You may get there before 12 sessions and most people see significant results after 6 sessions. A whole-body session takes around 50 minutes.

Philips say you’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments (taking 8 weeks) to see significant hair reduction results. A whole-body session takes over an hour with the Advanced.

The overall start-up effort for both devices is compared in the table below:

Device No. of sessions (start-up) Time per session Total effort during start-up
Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL 6 over 5 weeks Up to 12 over 11 weeks 55 minutes 5 hours 30 minutes Up to
Advanced 5 sessions over 8 weeks 1+ hour 5+ hours

So, assuming you need around 5 sessions with each device, the Braun 5 requires much less time and effort overall for whole-body sessions. The Advanced is boring and tedious for whole-body sessions, but much much more manageable for face and smaller areas.

After the start-up, with both you’ll need touch-ups sessions every 4 to 8 weeks. Start monthly, then after several top-ups, you’ll likely need them even less frequently.

SO, WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT?

The early results you see from both devices are the same. As you progress through the first sessions, your hair growth slows. Hair becomes finer and lighter and it’s much easier to shave. You’ll need to shave less frequently. Bald patches start to appear until all your skin is silky smooth.

Shaving rash fades and ingrown hairs dissappear too.

Both devices give you permanent hair reduction. But you must keep up with the top-up sessions or the hair grows back. And remember, the Braun is slightly stronger IPL. This means, if you can use the higher intensity levels, your results last longer inbetween top-up sessions. So, you’ll need fewer top-ups overall than with the Advanced.

Related: learn how crucial top-ups are 

Lumea Advanced vs Braun 5 IPL comparison summary

2 photo comparisons of the Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL and Lumea Advanced.
Which should you choose?

Here’s our recommendation based on our testing and user trials:

Choose the Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL for excellent quality, super-safe, foolproof sessions. It’s fast, so a solid choice for small and large areas, or whole-body hair removal. However, check how it compares to the updated Pro 5 IPL model first, because there’s often not much difference in price.

Read the full Braun 5 IPL review here, or check deals below.

Choose the Lumea Advanced for treating smaller areas like your bikini line, underarms, tummy, forearms and face. That’s because it’s light-weight, with an intuitive gun-shaped design and specialist flash windows. Sessions are too slow for large areas and whole-body treatments.

Read the full Lumea Advanced review here, or check deals below.

The table below shows the comparison specification of the Lumea Advanced and Braun IPL.

Braun Silk Expert IPL Philips Lumea Advanced
Models & our score:
Models: IPL 5001, BD5008/9
4.5 out of 5

Models: BRI921/2/3, SC1997/9
4.2 out of 5
Price range £250 to £300 £200 to £300
Suited to
  • Face, small & large areas
  • Whole-body
  • Face & small areas
Safe skin tones 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. Safe to use on light to medium skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to IV). Not safe for dark & black skin (types V & VI) or on dark freckles and moles.
Effective hair colours 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, dark brown, mid-brown and dark blonde body hair colours. Doesn't work on light blonde, red, white or gray body hair colours.
Lamp lifetime
5.0
More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.
5.0
More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.
Ease of use
4.3
Robust mains-power device, simple & straightforward with auto-balanced safety & power in every flash. One multi-use flash window & fast sessions.
3.5
Quality, mains-power intuitive gun-shape, precise & comfortable, plus specialist flash windows. Average speed sessions.
Effort & Results
4.7
Silky skin after 4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups every month or so to stay smooth. Low effort device.
4.5
Lovely & smooth after 4 to 5 sessions (1 every 2 weeks) plus top-ups every month or so to stay smooth. Medium effort device, not suited to large areas.
PROS
  • Robust, comfortable, ergonomic gun-shape
  • Curve-hugging easy-flash windows
  • Corded & cordless convenience in one
  • Advanced skin tone sensor suggests best intensity
  • Fast, powerful & safe
  • Loved for fast & precise sessions
  • Clinically proven, CE certification
  • 100-day money back guarantee
  • Eye-catching, retro-styled, light-weight & comfortable gun-shape
  • Flash windows for different body areas
  • Won't flash on too-dark skin
  • Clinically-proven & CE certified
  • 100-day money back guarantee
CONS
  • Expensive at full RRP
  • No small facial attachment
  • No cleaning cloth or protective pouch
  • Slow to cover large areas like legs & torso
  • Power cord sometimes gets in the way
  • You must choose your intensity level
  • Not yet FDA-cleared in the US
Read our Braun 5 IPL review Read our Lumea Advanced review

View Braun 5 & Lumea Advanced deals

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

Buy the Braun Silk expert IPL 5001 here

Braun Silk Expert 5 IPL deals
🇬🇧 CurrentBody UK, Amazon.co.uk
🇦🇺 CurrentBody AU
🇺🇸 CurrentBody US, Amazon.com

Philips Lumea Advanced tried and tested review

Philips Lumea Advanced BRI923/2/1 deals
🇬🇧 Amazon.co.uk, CurrentBody UK
🇦🇺 Shavershop, CurrentBody AU
🇺🇸 CurrentBody US

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