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Best IPL and laser hair removal machines to use at home in 2024, tested by experts

Best ipl lead image depicting a white IPL device on a blue cushion

We've tested the best IPL and laser hair removal machines that can remove unwanted hairs for good – these are our top picks

With the best IPL or laser hair removal machine, you can finally ditch your razor and cancel your next waxing appointment. That’s because these nifty at-home devices can painlessly and permanently rid your body and face of unwanted hairs, without a clinic or professional in sight. We know they work – we’ve tested them.

Until now, laser hair removal machines have been reserved for celebrities and models, but now everyone can enjoy a fur-free finish from home. That’s not to say a high-quality IPL or laser hair removal machine won’t set you back a tidy sum – the cheapest IPL we’ve tested which works well costs £265. Still, this is far cheaper than repeat visits to a salon so if you’re tired of dealing with unwelcome hairs, it’s an investment you won’t regret.

Here’s our pick of the best laser hair removal and IPL machines to banish unwanted hairs for good. If you need a little more information before making the investment, read our handy guide on how to choose the best IPL and laser hair removal machine.

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Best IPL and laser hair removal machines: At a glance

Best laser hair removal machineCurrentBody Skin (~£579)Check price at CurrentBody
Best value IPLSmoothSkin Pure Fit (~£265)Check price at CurrentBody
Best all-round IPLPhilips Lumea Prestige (~£490)Check price at John Lewis
Best cordless IPLPhilips Lumea 9000 (~£500)Check price at John Lewis

How we test IPL and laser hair removal machines

At Expert Reviews, we only recommend IPL devices and laser hair removal machines we’ve thoroughly tested. Our testing process involves using the devices as directed for at least 12 weeks – longer if the device instructions state that more time is needed to see results. During this time, we assess pain levels, ease of use, the usefulness of any app compatibility, as well as the obvious effectiveness.

We note down how the results look after every treatment, including how thick hair regrowth is, how long hairs take to grow and the size of any bald spots. We also time how long the “long-term” results last after completing the final treatment. Further to this, we time the flash rate, how long it takes to treat below the knee, as well as a full leg. Any supplied attachments will also be tested for their intended use, and we’ll use the device on all suitable areas of the body once or twice to assess pain levels and the ease of treating those areas.

A graph depicting some test results for our IPL and laser hair removal machine testing.

This data is then aggregated in a huge spreadsheet, where our reviewer can directly compare the performance of different models, allowing us to give you accurate recommendations, backed by thorough testing. For example, the graphs above show the flash rate of three popular models of IPL, as well as the time it took to treat each area of the leg.

The best IPL and laser hair removal machines you can buy in 2024

1. Philips Lumea Prestige: Best all-round IPL hair removal machine

Price when reviewed: £490 | Check price at John Lewis

Philips Lumea Prestige IPL with four attachments on a grey background

  • Great for: Range of attachments and intensities, skin sensor
  • Keep in mind: Corded operation might be restrictive

If you want to splash the cash on one of the best IPL machines you can buy, this Philips Lumea is our pick. In terms of value for money, it gets you all the best features of the more expensive Lumea 9000, for far less money. That includes four attachments, a fast 2.5-second flash rate, which makes treatment far quicker than the Lumea Advanced, and comfortable curved treatment windows that fit around the body’s curves. The only feature you miss out on is the cordless operation, but luckily our reviewer found the cord plenty long enough to make treatments easy. We also found that corded operation was far faster than cordless treatments.

Of course, it also comes with powerful IPL flashes, which prevent hair growth just as effectively as the high-end model. It has the same 450,000 flashes included, which is enough to complete well over twenty years of full-body treatments. Another handy feature is the Sense IQ button, which scans the skin before treatment to recommend the most comfortable intensity setting for your skin tone. We found this really intuitive to use, allowing us to skip the trial and error that is necessary to achieve a comfortable treatment with other IPL devices.

Better still, all Philips Lumea devices come with a 100-day money back guarantee, which means you can return the device if you’re unsatisfied with the treatment.

Read our full Philips Lumea IPL Prestige review 

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: 4; Intensity options: 5; Flash rate: 2s

2. SmoothSkin Pure Fit: The best value IPL machine

Price when reviewed: £269 | Check price at Current Body

Beat ipl and laser hair removal devices an image of Smoothskin pure fit IPL showing the main body of the device, its precision attachment, a storage cover to protect the treatment window, and a small drawstring bag for storing the attachment

  • Great for: Fast treatments, excellent value
  • Keep in mind: Marginally less comfortable

The SmoothSkin Pure Fit IPL device offers remarkable value for money and is perfect for those who want a device that provides fast, effective treatment. In our tests, it offered the fastest flash rate of any device we’ve tested, with a single leg treatment time of just over nine minutes. Compare that to the next fastest IPL device, the Silk’n Infinity Fast, which treated the same area in almost 18 minutes and the difference is staggering.

Not only is the SmoothSkin Pure Fit perfect for those in a time crunch, it also offers a highly effective IPL treatment. It’s safe to perform weekly treatments and I started seeing a significant reduction in hair growth after just four weeks. The results last too – my legs were still hair-free months after my final treatment, despite skipping out on top ups.

Its controls are simple, too. There are three operation modes to choose from, including “power”, “comfort” and “fast”, as well as a large flash button to control the flashes. The safety sensor continually measures the skin, which ensures that treatments are always set to a safe level. Furthermore, the device comes with a precision attachment to help treat smaller areas like the face, bikini line and underarms.

That being said, the device doesn’t come with an app to help track treatments. Also, if you are particularly sensitive to pain, the SmoothSkin Pure Fit is the most uncomfortable IPL treatment I’ve tested. Where other IPL machines make the skin feel a little warm, this felt more like a hot snapping sensation in particularly sensitive areas. This, however, can be easily fixed by switching to “comfort” mode, which stops any pain completely. You’ll just need to do one or two more weekly treatments to compensate for this.

Read our full SmoothSkin Pure Fit IPL review

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: 1; Intensity options: 3; Flash rate: 0.86s

Check price at Current Body

3. CurrentBody Skin Laser Hair Removal Device: Best laser hair removal machine

Price when reviewed: £579 | Check price at CurrentBody

best ipl and laser hair removal machines currentbody skin on a wooden desk

  • Great for: Fast treatments, permanent results
  • Keep in mind: Expensive, no precision attachments

Unlike the beam of light used in IPL treatments, laser hair removal uses a high-intensity laser. Since the light produced by the 810nm laser diode in the CurrentBody Skin device is more direct and concentrated, it can penetrate deeper into the hair follicle to permanently disable hair growth. Clinical studies such as this one show that the strength of the laser diode provides permanent hair removal for up to a year.

My tests confirm this. After just four weeks of regular treatments, around 80% of the hairs on my legs stopped growing back. The few remaining hairs were far lighter and thinner than before, and I could quickly re-treat these hairs when I noticed them. Better still, the large treatment window and superfast 0.84-second flash rate meant I could treat both full legs in just 14 minutes.

Since the laser diode is more powerful, I was surprised that it’s completely painless, thanks to its in-built ‘Ice Cooling’ technology. While treating my body at the highest intensity setting (of six options), I didn’t experience any pain or discomfort, even in more sensitive areas. It also has a safety sensor that checks if your skin tone is safe for treatment.

The only downsides to this device are its high price tag and lack of precision attachments, which means it may be harder to treat smaller areas of the body. However, if you have difficulty with this, CurrentBody offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee.

Key specs – Type: Laser hair removal; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: None; Intensity options: 6; Flash rate: 0.84s

4. Philips Lumea 9000: Best cordless IPL hair removal machine

Price when reviewed: £500 | Check price at John Lewis

image of Philips Lumea 9000 IPL with four attachments on a grey background

  • Great for: Cordless and corded operation for use anywhere in the home
  • Keep in mind: Short battery life in cordless mode

Cordless operation is a game-changer here, freeing you from having to be next to an electric socket so you can tackle unwanted hairs in privacy. As with other Philips Lumea IPL devices, there’s also an app that helps you devise a treatment schedule and send reminders for your next session, which saves you from having to put it in your diary. Our reviewer found the app simple to use, and the reminders were a godsend in a busy schedule.

Like the Philips Lumea Prestige listed above, it comes with a SmartSkin sensor that can automatically detect the correct intensity level for your skin tone. Its four curved attachments – for body, face, bikini and underarms – are simple to swap and use. With no cord to get tangled in, no matter how contorted your position, the ‘ready to flash’ light stretches across the whole machine head, making it easy to see when it’s safe to flash the device. So, if you’re hoping to buy an IPL that offers top-tier cordless convenience and highly effective treatment, then this is our reviewer’s top recommendation.

Read our full Philips Lumea IPL 9000 review

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Both; Attachments: 4; Intensity options: 5; Flash rate: 2s

Check price at John Lewis

5. Silk’n Infinity: Best compact IPL hair removal machine

Price when reviewed: £295 | Check price at LookFantastic

an image of a white Silk'n Infinity IPL on a blue cushion

  • Great for: Travel, with simple operation
  • Keep in mind: Slow flash rate with no precision attachments

If you’re on the hunt for a dinky IPL device you can pack away without taking up much space in a suitcase, then the Silk’n Infinity is a good option. During our testing, the Silk’n Infinity provided a fabulous reduction in hair growth on arm and leg hair after just four treatments and the smooth results lasted for well over a month.

Unlike other hair removal machines, the Silk’n Infinity uses eHPL technology. This combines “galvanic and optical energy” to supposedly penetrate deep into pores for better access to hair follicles, which might explain how the results had such longevity. Silk’n claims that it can be used on darker skin tones too – just be sure to do a test patch first.

Other than its good value price point, what sold us on the Silk’n Infinity was its size. It’s ergonomically designed to fit snugly in the palm of your hand and is perfect for use away from home – it also comes with a hard shell travel case and plug adaptor.

The only downsides to this is that the accompanying treatment tracking app isn’t very useful – you’d be better off keeping a diary instead. It also lacks any attachments to help access and treat smaller areas of the body, such as the bikini line or face. That doesn’t mean treatment is impossible in those areas, but it’s not as easy as with other devices.

Read our full Silk’n Infinity review

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: No; Intensity options: 5; Flash rate: 2.33s

Check price at LookFantastic

6. Silk’n Infinity Fast: The best fast IPL machine for treating large areas

Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Silk’n

image of Silk'n Infinity Fast IPL device on a wooden surface

  • Great for: Treating larger areas
  • Keep in mind: No precision attachments for smaller areas

IPL is time-consuming – both in terms of how long you may have to wait to see results and the time it takes to complete a treatment. This is mostly down to the slow flash rate of most IPL devices. As the name suggests, the Silk’n Infinity Fast offers a noticeably faster flash rate than most, meaning you can complete treatments in a fraction of the time it typically takes.

The Silk’n Infinity fast uses the same eHPL technology as the original Silk’n Infinity device listed above, so it unsurprisingly performed just as well in our tests. The only significant difference is that the flash rate is almost twice as fast when using the same intensity level. Essentially, if you spend a little extra cash, you’ll get the same great results but in far less time.

Aside from colour, the design and feel of the device is also almost identical to the Silk’n Infinity, which means it has the same problems with the lack of attachments for different areas of the body. That being said, it’s still a great, speedy device for a fair price if you’re mainly going to use it to treat large areas of the body, such as the legs.

​​Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: None; Intensity options: 5; Flash rate: 1.13s

7. Philips Lumea Advanced: Best affordable Philips Lumea IPL

Price when reviewed: £350 | Check price at John Lewis

Philips Lumea Advanced IPL with four attachments on a wooden background

  • Great for: Treating smaller areas
  • Keep in mind: Slow flash rate means large areas take a long time

The Lumea Advanced is the entry-level Philips Lumea IPL device, which means you don’t get the whole range of fancy features, but we found that the bare-bones IPL treatment is just as powerful and effective. With a price tag of £150 less than the next model up, the Philips Lumea Advanced is fantastic if you have a limited budget.

It comes with three attachments specifically designed for the body, face and bikini area, five intensity settings and 250,000 flashes. That’s almost half the amount included in the higher-end models but is still enough to treat 544 full legs, which is over 20 years’ worth of treatments. As there are no complicated bells and whistles included, the Philips Lumea Advanced is incredibly easy to operate and features a comfortable, lightweight gun-shaped design to make treatments as easy as possible.

The main caveat of this IPL machine is its slower flash rate – it only flashes once every 3.5 seconds, leading to a slower treatment time overall. For reference, that means a full leg treatment took our reviewer 27 minutes, compared to 18 minutes using the Lumea Prestige. However, if you’ve got the patience and are willing to invest the time into your treatments, the Philips Lumea Advanced produces the same great hair reduction.

Read our full Philips Lumea IPL Advanced review

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: 3; Intensity options: 5; Flash rate: 3.5s

How to choose the best IPL or laser hair removal machine for you

How do IPL and laser hair removal machines work?

IPL and laser hair removal machines use high-intensity light or lasers to damage hair follicles, preventing regrowth. The hair follicle absorbs the light energy, which deforms it and prevents it from producing new growth. By damaging the follicle, the hair growth cycle is disrupted, leading to permanent hair reduction over time.

What is the difference between IPL and laser hair removal?

While IPL and laser hair removal work using the same principle, the treatments vary slightly in terms of their long-term effects.

  • IPL, or intense pulsed light, uses a high-intensity, broad-spectrum flash of light. This flash is less intense than the flashes produced by laser hair removal machines but is more widely available to buy in an at-home device at a more affordable price. This kind of treatment requires top-up treatments to maintain results, typically every six to eight weeks.
  • Laser hair removal uses a high-intensity laser diode to damage the hair follicle. Thanks to the higher concentration of direct light, laser hair removal can penetrate deeper into the hair follicle. It leads to more permanent results, with top-up treatments only necessary every six to twelve months. Until recently, this type of treatment has been exclusively available in salons. Now, limited devices offer the treatment at home, however these are more expensive than IPL devices.

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Will at-home IPL and laser hair removal work on me?

Both treatments work best on people with fair skin and dark hair. This is because dark colours are more energy absorbent than light colours – hello, GCSE science. So, darker hair colours absorb more light energy from the flashes, resulting in more damage. This means those with blonde or grey body hair may struggle to get good results from IPL and laser hair removal.

For the same reason, IPL and laser hair removal can be unsafe for people with very dark skin, thanks to the higher concentration of melanin. The high-intensity light flashes can cause irritation, hyperpigmentation and burns since the light gets absorbed by the melanin in the hair and the skin.

Thankfully, most devices have built-in safety sensors that won’t let the machine flash if your skin is too dark. Manufacturers also have colour charts to check if your hair colour and skin tone are suitable and, most importantly, safe. If not, other methods of long-term hair removal, like epilating, are available.

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Is IPL and laser hair removal painful?

In my experience, not really, and I’m a proper wuss. With that said, at a higher intensity level, you may experience a slight tingling or, at the absolute worst, a hot snapping sensation, similar to the feeling of a rubber band snapping against the skin. It’s far more comfortable than waxing and epilating.

Remember, if you find the treatment painful, you can always lower the intensity to a more comfortable level. I have only needed to do this while testing one laser hair removal machine on more sensitive areas, like my bikini line or armpits. Usually, the highest intensity setting is comfortable for me.

How do I prepare for treatment?

I would recommend avoiding waxing and epilating before treatment, as the hair follicle needs to be in the skin for the treatment to work. For best results, use IPLs and laser hair removal machines just after shaving on clean skin before applying moisturiser, as this gives the light flashes the most direct access to the follicle.

Never use IPLs and laser hair removal machines on unshaved skin, as the hairs can burn onto the treatment windows, making it less safe and effective.

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