We Tested for 12 Weeks and Found the At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices That Truly Work (2024)

We Tested for 12 Weeks and Found the At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices That Truly Work (1)

Removing hair from any part of your body can be a royal pain—in terms of time, money, and well, actual physical pain. For those sick of waxing kits or are keen on a more permanent solution than razors, laser hair removal is by far one of the most popular (and effective) alternatives.

But what is laser hair removal, exactly? According to cosmetic chemist and beauty educator Michelle Wong, laser hair removal works on the premise that dark colors (your hair) absorb light (the laser). The light from the laser then heats the hair follicle to a point where it becomes damaged, resulting in no growth at all, or hair that’s much finer. The results are semi-permanent and only require maintenance once or twice a year after initial treatments.

We spent 3 months testing 12 of the the top-rated at-home laser hair removal devices on the market. We ranked the devices based on the level of hair reduction and any pain or discomfort, the ones of our list are worth the money.

Our Top Picks

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In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • What to Look For

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust Byrdie

What We Like

  • Recommended by dermatologists

  • 5 intensity levels

  • Effective as it gets

What We Don't Like

  • Occasionally pinches skin

Featuring five energy levels designed to cater to different body areas, the Ulike tool is as customized as it gets. All you have to do is choose the mode and allow the sensor to come into contact with your skin. During testing, we loved how easy to use (and hold) the device was. We were pleased to discover that even on areas where hair usually grows back very quickly, the tool had slowed growth almost completely. It's great for sensitive skin—one of our testers has eczema and was perfectly fine—and it's recommended by dermatologists. The compact, portable design is great for treatment on-the-go and stores nicely in a vanity or cabinet without taking up too much space.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • Recommended by the Skin Health Alliance

  • SensoAdapt technology adjusts intensity to skin tone

  • 10 power settings

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

We consider this pick the Rolls Royce of at-home hair removal devices. The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is fast, effective, and delightful to use. Recommended by the Skin Health Alliance and cleared by the FDA, it utilizes a technology called SensoAdapt that adjusts the flash intensity for your skin tone as you’re using it—making it suitable for use on most skin tones. The device also boasts 10 different power settings, allowing you to tailor treatment to your skin tone and pain threshold. Needless to say, it may be pricey (as many of these devices are) and come with a learning curve (it takes a few tries to figure out how to properly align the laser with the skin), but it sure is impressive.

Type: IPL | Flashes: 300,000

What We Like

  • FDA cleared for all skin tones

  • Unlimited flashes

  • Sleek design

What We Don't Like

  • Most users found a reduction in hair, rather than full removal

It can be difficult for those with dark skin tones to find an effective laser. Why? Well, the laser is attracted to dark pigment (aka hair), so sometimes, the laser gets confused and ends up heating your skin (ouch!) instead of actual hair, causing permanent damage. Thankfully, the Elos Me Me Sleek device comes to the rescue with its unlimited treatment options and FDA clearance to work on all skin tones. We’re also partial to the ultra-sleek design, complete with a comfortable hand-held grip makes it a cinch to use on legs, arms, armpits, butt, and the bikini area. Plus, it comes with a luxe charging cradle, too.

Type: IPL and radiofrequency | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • Fully digital display

  • 90-day money back guarantee

  • Wide window for faster treatments

What We Don't Like

  • Comparatively fewer flashes out of the box

The bikini area can be a a great candidate for at-home laser hair removal, since a smaller area allows you to get used to the sensation and time commitment is takes. Chances are you’ve seen this affordable, buzzy device pop up all over social—and with good reason. It uses a multi-spectrum bulb to zap and permanently reduce hair, which makes it less painful than laser devices, making it a great choice for sensitive skin around the bikini area. The extra wide window also makes treating this area easy. The FDA has approved this device, and the brand guarantees permanent results within eight weeks.

Type: IPL | Flashes: 6,000

What We Like

  • Uses IPL and radiofrequency

  • FDA cleared for all skin tones and hair colors

  • Unlimited flashes

What We Don't Like

  • The cord is super short

If you want to treat your arms, legs, or back, you need a device with a larger head, such as this one from ORA. The combination of IPL and radiofrequency used in this is actually patented by the brand—in fact, the technology was originally developed by scientists behind in-clinic machines, so you know you’re in good hands. It’s also one of the few FDA-cleared tools that are intended to work on all skin tones and hair colors.

Type: IPL and radiofrequency | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • Dual safety sensors to check skin suitability before every flash

  • Precise, targeted flashes

  • Unlimited number of flashes

What We Don't Like

  • Not effective on dark skin tones

If you’re looking to target smaller areas, this device is amazing. Something to know about laser hair removal for the face? It can come with some discomfort, or even painful zaps. This device is FDA-cleared and is equipped with safety sensors to check skin suitability automatically before every flash. In other words, the device adjusts to the level you need without doing a thing. Precision tools also makes it ideal for hard-to-reach areas like the upper lip. Although it’s priced higher than some options on the list, we love that this device has unlimited flashes, extending its longevity. Our only gripe is that it isn’t suitable for dark skin tones, so we’d suggest going with another option if you have more melanin in your skin.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • Syncs with a reminder app

  • Five power settings

  • Can be adjusted to cater to sensitive skin

What We Don't Like

  • The hair removal is slow

Bad at sticking to a routine? This device comes with a handy app to remind you of your next appointment—because, after all, when it comes to at-home laser hair removal, consistency is key. The five power settings mean you can tailor the intensity to your preference (a nice feature for sensitive skin types or those with a low pain threshold), and even on the highest setting, we only experienced heat and a slight zap, nothing too painful. The price of this device is equivalent to about one session with a professional, so although it costs a pretty penny upfront, rest assured that you’re effectively saving yourself money in the long run.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • UV filter

  • Skin Sensing technology that reads skin tone and adjusts energy levels

  • Safe for eyes

What We Don't Like

  • There's a learning curve with this device

As the name suggests, the SmoothSkin Pure Mini is the portable laser of our dreams. Not only is it tiny enough to stow in your bag on a vacation (consistency is key, you know?), but it’s also extremely easy to use…once you get the hang of it. Despite a learning curve when we first got our hands on it—we weren’t sure how to hold or angle the device, plus we were kind of nervous the first time—we’re pros at this point. Tip: You have to make sure the laser head is fully on the surface of the skin or it won’t work, which is a great safety feature, but added to the confusion at first. Best of all, it’s lightweight, quick to power up, and doesn’t leave irritation marks in its wake.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited

What We Like

  • Simple design

  • User-friendly functions

  • FDA-cleared

What We Don't Like

  • No speed settings or timer

If you’re just starting your at-home laser hair removal journey, you’ll want to check out this beginner-friendly option from RoseSkinCo. It’s cute, compact, and not at all intimidating, which is ideal if you’ve never applied a laser to your skin before. The handheld device targets unwanted hairs at the root, leading the way to smoother skin on your ‘pits, legs, face, and bikini area starting after a couple of weeks (though the brand says three to four). No matter which of the 6 intensity levels you choose, a full-body treatment should take no more than 30 minutes.

Type: IPL | Flashes: 90,000

What to Look for in an At-Home Laser Hair Removal Device

  • Laser vs. IPL: According to dermatologist Rachel Ward, MD, there are two types of at-home hair removal methods: true laser and IPL. Both use light to heat the hair follicle; the only palpable difference is the light they actually use (laser uses one wavelength, whereas IPL uses multiple). All of the options on this list are equipped with IPL.
  • Skin Tone and Hair Color: Because the laser is attracted to dark pigment, it’s tricky territory for dark skin tones due to the possibility of the laser getting confused and heating the actual skin instead of the hair (and causing permanent damage). Likewise, those with fair body hair should also consider their options because at-home devices might not be intelligent enough to pick up the hair follicle (remember, they’re attracted to dark pigment). If you're really in doubt, hedge your bets and speak to a professional from the get-go. In-office treatments, like YAG Lasers, may be a better option for dark skin.
  • Size: Consider each device's design and intended use before adding it to your cart. If you're looking for a device to use across a large area of the body (like the legs, for example), a large option is best.


  • Are at-home laser removal devices safe?

    Ward explains that if you use your device correctly, it’s generally safe but still advises to never run the light over pigmented areas (like moles), tattoos, or around the eyes and genitals.

  • How do you use at-home laser removal devices?

    This will depend on your device of choice, but most are to be used on shaved skin (free of all skincare) once a week. You should run your device over the entire treatment area before repeating the process several times (check your instructions for specifics).

  • How do the results of at-home laser hair removal devices compare to in-office treatments?

    Ward explains that the main differences are that in-clinic machines are more powerful and often bigger, so they can cover a treatment area faster and do a better job at eradicating hair. In-office treatments are generally more advanced, too, which is why those with light hair or a deep skin tone are often better off seeing a professional (given it’s within means).

  • Can at-home laser hair removal devices be used on hormonal-based hair growth?

    Yes! IPL devices are effective on hormonal-based hair growth. People who have hair growth from PCOS, for example, are cleared to use at-home IPL devices.

  • Can you use an at-home laser hair removal device on a tattoo?

    No. The frequencies used by an at-home IPL device might cause a skin reaction on the skin that is covered by a tattoo. It's best to use your device around areas with tattoos.

  • Can you use an at-home laser device on dark skin?

    If you have dark skin, you’ll need to seek out a suitable device, otherwise, you can risk burning your skin or bringing on hyperpigmentation (this is due to the fact the laser light is not only attracted to the dark hair follicle but the melanin in your skin).

Why Trust Byrdie

Over the years,Emily Algarhas experienced and spoken to dozens of experts in the permanent hair-removal treatment space, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. For this feature, she has borrowed the expertise of two professionals (a dermatologist and a beauty educator) to break down the how's and what’s of at-home laser hair removal.

Caitlyn Martyn is a staff commerce writer at Byrdie, where she covers all things beauty and style. An avid product tester, Caitlyn likes to try the latest and greatest in makeup, skincare, and fashion to let readers know what’s worth it and what’s not.

According to ourDiversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any at-home laser hair removal devices from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

We Tested for 12 Weeks and Found the At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices That Truly Work (2024)


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