Has the Prestige met its match? There’s not much difference in price, but they’re very different to use.
The Lumea Prestige
This is Philips top-of-the-range model safe for light to dark skin tones. It’s my favourite home IPL because it’s superb quality, fast and easy, and the most precise and comfy device I’ve tested.
The Braun Pro 5 IPL
This premium home IPL from Braun is safe for light to dark skin tones also. I highly recommend it because it’s excellent quality, one of the fastest and most straight-forward, for no-faff sessions.
Keep reading for photos and an in-depth comparison of IPL lamp lifetime, design, operation and features, speed, safety and power, effort and results. Or skip to the summary at the end.
Let’s dig deeper with the full comparison.
Quality & lamp lifetime
Both devices have neat, attactive packaging with clear, concise information and comprehensive user manuals. Philips are just a tad more comprehensive around tanning and shaving vs waxing.
And both have a storage pouch. I prefer the Braun’s because it stores everything, including the powerpack and cable. This means less protective plastic in the packaging ♻. You also get a Venus razor with the Braun Pro 5. That’s a nice extra to ensure you get a super-smooth shave.
TIP: Don’t throw away the boxes! Store the devices in them and in a draw to protect them from any knocks and bumps
The materials and build-quality of both are excellent – the best you can buy. They feel solid, robust and expensive. Even the 2 metre-long power cables with each are excellent quality. They’re thick and supple and won’t tangle or twist. And the handle shape of each device keeps the cord out of the way. So, you don’t get tied up in knots.
The power cable on the Braun Pro 5 is fixed into the device so the weight of the power pack won’t pull it out as you work (the previous models problem).
The Prestige has a different cable design, so the power pack isn’t an issue. It’s a snug, secure fit which easily detaches too. And that’s because you can also use the Prestige cordless. More on that later.
The lamp lifetime is superb for both devices. Here’s how they compare:
- Prestige flashes cover 1,025,000 cm² (250,000 flashes x 4.1cm2 body flash window).
- Braun Pro 5 flashes cover 1,200,000 cm2 (400,000 flashes x 3 cm2 body flash window)
Based on our standardised calculations this is enough for 200+ full body sessions from both devices. After the start-up phases this equates to 15+ years of full body sessions (face, underarms bikini line, full legs). Although Braun gives slightly more, they both score top marks because you get way more than you’ll need to get and maintain your smooth.
Shape & design
The shapes are very different, and therefore, so is how you manoeuvre and grip each device.
The Prestige’s gun-shape is intuitive. It feels relaxed with a secure grip on the long, tapered handle, which also gives excellent leverage. The trigger is easy to find because there’s a braille-like flower on it. Press it comfortably with your index or middle finger, or thumb if you rotate your grip. The controls and the flash window are easy to see.
But it’s much heavier than other devices at 560g. That’s because of the rechargeable lithium battery inside. However, the gun-shape is perfectly balanced and secure to grip. I find there’s no strain as you rotate and pivot your wrist. It’s comfortable and easy to work around your body.
In contrast, the Braun Pro 5 IPL is compact and light-weight. But not flimsy. The sleek wand-shape is well-balanced and fits perfectly in your hand. At just 285g there’s no risk of strain or tiredness. It’s easy to manoeuvre around your body. The flash button is large and easy to press. There are varied grips suited to different body areas. But it’s very comfortable to handle.
Both are superb – the best available. But for me, the gun-shape of the Prestige is slightly more comfortable and easier to use.
Corded vs cordless
The Braun Pro 5 works on mains-power only. This means you get non-stop operation and can finish your zapping in one session without need to recharge any battery. Get yourself set up comfortably with privacy, a mirror and an extension cable. Off you go.
The Prestige works on mains-power. But it gives you extra flexibility using it cordless too.
Just remove the cord for smaller and/or hard to reach places. So, you can nip into the bathroom, lock the door and zap that ladytache. Or flash your bits. Literally.
However, you get only 30 mins of power from each battery charge. Therefore, it’s best suited for small areas only.
Similar power intensity range
The Lumea Prestige has a power intensity range of 2.5 to 6.5 J/cm².
The Braun Pro 5 IPL has a power intensity range of 3 to 6 J/cm².
They’re the highest-powered home IPL devices available. So, they’re super choices if you have light skin and can use the highest levels. That’s because the higher levels give the fastest, longest-lasting results (but you’ll still need to do top-up sessions).
The Prestige has 5 intensity levels in that range. But the Braun Pro 5 has 10. This means it has more increments for a more precise match to different skin tones. And selecting the right one is easy too, because of the advanced skin tone sensor.
Both have advanced skin tone sensors
To recap, both the Braun Pro and Prestige are safe for light to dark skin, but not the darkest. And their skin tone sensors protect darker skin.
Like other skin tone sensors, they check your skin tone and won’t flash if it’s too dark. But they also do more to keep you safe, albeit in slightly different ways.
The Prestige recommends the best of the 5 intensity levels for your skin. Place on your skin and press the 🔎 button. The skin tone sensor checks and highlights your best skin tone intensity. This takes the stress out of choosingyour intensity. And on more sensitive areas you can still manually lower it a notch too.
The Braun Pro 5 auto-selects the best of the 10 intensity levels before every flash. It’s the perfect balance of power and safety in every flash, straightforward and simple. And a neat feature if you have different tones across body areas. All you need do is position and zap.
If it feels too intense you can select one of the gentle modes. Gentle mode shifts it down a few intensity levels, and extra gentle drops it to the lowest level (1).
I think the Braun Pro 5 is best if you have varied skin tones across your body areas. Because there’s no need to faff about with checks and levels. It does it all for you.
Each device has a big body flash window for large areas like legs and torso.
- The Prestige is bigger at 3.5 cm x 1.5 cm, so a total area of 4.1 cm2
- The Braun Pro 5 is 3 cm x 1cm so a total area of 3 cm2
Both work but I love the Prestige’s because there also slightly curved to match the contours of legs, torso, back, forearms etc. It makes getting good skin contact, and so a flash, very easy. It even helps on knobbly knees!
Both also have a smaller, flat attachment for tricky areas like the upper lip. And both do the job well.
- The Prestige’s is 0.8 cm x 2.5 cm so a total area of 2 cm2
- The Braun’s is 1.1 cm x 1.65 cm, so a total area of 1.65 cm2
Some of the Prestige models also have a third precision attachment. It’s medium sized (total 3 cm2) and curved-out to fit where the leg and bikini line join and in the curves of armpits. You don’t need this to get the job done, but I love the attention to detail from Philips here.
Both devices have the standard stamp mode (position, press, release) for a single flash. And both have glide mode for continuous flashes (position, press and hold, glide).
With the Prestige, it’s a smooth, controlled, quick glide motion where you need to pause slightly for each flash. The flashes come every 2 seconds.
However, with the Braun Pro 5 it’s a slightly faster and smoother gliding motion over your skin. That’s thanks to a quicker flash repetition rate between 0.6 and 1.2 seconds.
However, the speed of the flashes can vary a bit. That’s because the zaps come faster on the lower levels and the sensor may select a different intensity before flashes. This is determined by skin colour, and also how close the sensor is to your skin. So, you need to keep good contact to keep the flashes consistent. Otherwise, you can glide too far or not far enough in between flashes. It takes a tiny bit of practise.
So, how fast are they?
Which gives the fastest treatments?
Both are fast and super choices for treating large areas or your full body, but the Braun Pro 5 IPL is fastest. On the highest intensity levels, I can do a thorough full leg in around 9 mins, and my full body in just under 30 mins.
With the Lumea Prestige, on the highest intensity level, I can do a thorough full leg in around 10 mins, and my full body in under 40 mins.
There’s not much in it. You can easily finish a full body session before getting tired or bored.
The shape and design of both devices matches their speed and maneouvrability. The Braun Pro 5 is small, light-weight and handy so you can keep-up with the fast flashes. The Prestige combines precision with slightly slower flashes matching the weight and bigger gun-shape design. You need concentration with both to ensure full coverage with no gaps and missed hairy bits!
The Prestige and Braun Pro 5 IPL are amongst the fastest home IPL devices you can choose. But if speed is most important to you, the Braun Pro 5 is the clear winner.
Effort & results
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.
So, what’s the regimen for each?
Use the Prestige for 4 or 5 sessions, 1 every 2 weeks (taking up to 8 weeks) to get smooth skin. A whole-body session takes around 40 minutes.
Use the Braun Pro 5 between 4 to 12 weekly sessions until you have smooth, hairless skin (typically 6 sessions). A whole-body session takes around 30 minutes.
The overall start-up effort is compared in the table below:
|Device||No. of sessions (start-up)||Time per whole-body session||Total effort during start-up|
|Prestige||5 sessions over 8 weeks||40 minutes||3 hours 20 mins|
|Braun Pro 5|| 6 session over 5 weeks for significant results
Up to 12 sessions over 11 weeks
|30 minutes|| 3 hours
Up to 6 hours
Both the Prestige and Braun Pro 5 IPL devices are amongst the lowest effort devices to get and maintain smooth, hair-free skin. With a bit of organisation, both are easy to commit to for silky smooth skin results.
After the start-up, with both devices you’ll need touch-ups sessions every 1 to 2 months. Start monthly, then after several top-ups, you’ll likely need them even less frequently.
SO, WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT?
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. You may find you need these even less frequently over time and after you’ve done a year or so of top-up sessions.
Related: learn how crucial top-ups are
Models & prices
Various models of both devices are available with different prices. The specifications are identical, but some models have more/less flash windows. You can learn the specifics here.
Prestige vs Braun Pro 5 IPL comparison summary
It’s a tough one! How to decide?!
Choose the Lumea Prestige because it’s a superb all-rounder, perfect for large and small body areas. I love the comfy gun-shape and cordless option. It’s super for fast, easy and accurate whole-body sessions. And the Philips 100-day money back guarantee is excellent too.
Read the full Lumea Prestige review (with video) for even more detail and photos.
Choose the Braun Pro 5 IPL for superb quality and unbeaten speed. If you need something ultra-fast to fit into your day and stick with, it’s a clear winner. It’s also a super all-rounder for both small and large areas. I love it for the fastest, safest and most straightforward sessions, also with an excellent 100-day money back guarantee.
Read the full Braun Pro 5 IPL review (with video) to learn more.
|Philips Lumea Prestige||Braun Pro 5 IPL|
|Models & our score||
Models: PL5124, PL5014, PL5137
|Price range||Price from £300 to £500||Price from £300 to £610|
|Safe skin tones|
|Effective hair colours|
|Lamp lifetime||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.|
|Ease of use||The most intuitive & comfortable, fast & precise, corded & cordless, advanced sensor. Love the curved flash windows.||Ultra-fast, no-faff simplicity, light-weight & nimble. Perfectly balanced safety & power in every flash.|
|Results||Powerful IPL for longer-lasting smooth after 4 to 5 sessions (1 every 2 weeks) plus top-ups every month or so.||Powerful IPL for long-lasting silky smooth skin after 4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups every month or so.|
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