Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One is Better?

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Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One is Better?

Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9 really is the battle of the titans.

These two are arguably the most powerful, advanced and capable electric shavers you can buy today.

But which one is better? More precisely, which one would be a better fit for you?

In these article we’ll address all the facets of the matter and go over the most important aspects that should be considered when trying to decide between the Arc 5 or Series 9 electric shavers.

An overview of the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9

Both Panasonic and Braun release updates for their lineups of electric shavers. The frequency of the update cycles varies and the naming schemes are often inconsistent and confusing.

Moreover, it’s not always clear if the update is a major one, impacting the performance, or it’s just a minor makeover.

These things only make choosing between a Panasonic Arc 5 and a Braun Series 9 even more difficult.

For this very reason it’s vital to clarify any confusion before getting to the actual differences between the Arc5 and the Series 9 lines.

Panasonic Arc 5

The Arc5 represents Panasonic’s high-end line of electric shavers. The Arc designates the slightly arched profile of the shaving head, while the 5 stands for the 5 cutting elements. We’re going to group the Arc 5 shavers into 3 categories:

  1. The first generation Arc 5 shavers (released in 2009). These include shavers like the ES-LV61-A or ES-LV-81-K. You can also differentiate them from the newer Arc 5 razors by the bulkier cleaning stations that used the older detergent cartridges instead of sachets. More on this later on.

    First generation Arc5 ES-LV-81-K with the older cleaning station

  2. The second generation Arc 5 (released in 2013). In this group we’ll find the ES-LV-65-S (no cleaning station) and the ES-LV-95-S (automatic cleaning station). The cleaning stations received a major update and use detergent sachets — a very economical solution. The design is also a departure from the older Arc4 and Arc5 lines and paved the road for Panasonic’s latest design language (also used for the new Arc3 LT shavers).

    Second generation Arc5 ES-LV-95-S with the updated design and cleaning station

  3. The third generation Arc 5 (launched in September 2015). This latest lineup includes shavers like the ES-LV-9A-S (international model, automatic cleaning station), ES-LV-6A-S (international model, no cleaning station). They use the same automatic cleaning stations as the second generation above. The shavers for the American market are named ES-LV-9N and ES-LV-6N, but they are identical to the international ones there are also available in the USA. In September 2016 Panasonic released a minor update to this third generation Arc5. You can differentiate them from the previous 2015 international models by the use of the letter B in their names instead of A (ES-LV9B-S, ES-LV-6B-S). The improvements consist in the use of a textured material for the thumb rest instead of a smooth finish, an increase in the front-to-back tilt angle of the head (from 17 to 20 degrees) and a low battery alarm. More details here. I personally don’t consider these changes to affect the actual shaving performance in any significant way.

    Latest generation Arc5 ES-LV9A-S

In this article we’ll mainly refer to the latest (third) generation of Arc5 shavers when putting them against the Series 9. It’s only fair to compare Panasonic’s latest and greatest to the similar shavers from Braun.

However, I’ll still mention the older generation Arc5 in certain situations as they can still represent an excellent choice.

Braun Series 9

The Series 9 is Braun’s current flagship shaver. The older Series 7 was beginning to show its age and Braun needed a new beast to remain at the top. And with the Series 9 it achieved precisely that.

At the moment of writing, there are basically two generation of Series 9 shavers:

  1. The original Series 9. The shavers for the American market are the 9095cc (automatic cleaning station wet/dry use), 9090cc (automatic cleaning station, dry only use), 9093s (no cleaning station, wet/dry use). While choosing one comes down to your personal needs, the shaving performance is identical throughout the entire line.

    Braun Series 9 9090cc (dry only, cleaning station) from the original line.

  2. The updated Series 9. The updated models are now called 9295cc, 9290cc and 9293s. The update is minor and mainly consists in a titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer and a new silver color option. Also, all the new Series 9 are suitable for wet & dry use. You can identify the newer models by the distinct golden color of the trimmer (it used to be blue on the previous models). As you probably guessed, this doesn’t improve the actual performance in any significant way. Both generation are currently available and their price can vary quite a bit, so I highly recommend doing a bit of online research before buying one.

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If you would like to know more details, I wrote a comprehensive post outlining the differences between the original and updated Series 9.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the most important part: the differences between the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 and how the shavers stack up against each other for the things that matter the most.

Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: shaving performance

Shaving performance is likely the most important aspect to factor in when buying an electric razor.

And since we’re analyzing two of the most advanced shavers on the market, we’re going to divide the shaving performance into 4 distinct parts as there are lots of important bits to cover and both the Arc5 and Series 9 have pros and cons:

  1. Closeness of the shave
  2. Comfort
  3. Dealing with longer, curly, flat lying hair
  4. Wet & dry use

Please note that shaving is a very personal matter and a lot of these considerations are based on anecdotal evidence that should serve you as guidelines when trying to decide which one would suit you better.

1. Closeness of the shave

As I’ve said it several times before, I find foil shavers to provide the closest shaves. And among foil shavers, Panasonic is the king when it comes strictly to the closeness of the shave.

The Arc5 is their top of the line shaver and unsurprisingly it absolutely shines when it comes to performance.

Don’t get me wrong, the Series 9 is an extremely capable razor and the majority will be more than satisfied with the closeness it provides. But the Arc5 has the edge.

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV9A-S

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So how does Panasonic manage to offer a closeness that’s comparable to a razor blade? There’s a combination of several factors that work together seamlessly.

Starting with the shaving head, the curvature (arch) of the foils allows optimal contact with the skin. Then we have Panasonic’s extremely sharp blades that have a very aggressive 30 degrees bevel and cut the hairs clean and efficiently.

Finally, there’s the very powerful 14 000 CPM motor and, as far as I know, it’s the fastest unit fitted to any shaver. In fact, Panasonic uses an almost as fast motor on even their lower end shavers, the Arc 3.

The result? The Arc5 is arguably the closest shaving electric shaver you can buy today. And this statement is also true in the case of older generation Arc5, like the ES-LV61-A or ES-LV-95-S, which are still fantastic performers when it comes to closeness, but can now be bought at great discounts.

Panasonic ES-LV61-A


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2. Comfort

While Panasonic is slightly better when it comes to closeness, Braun has set the benchmark in the comfort department with the Series 7. And with the Series 9, it has taken things one notch higher.

With a redesigned shaving head, a more powerful motor and an additional cutting element, the Series 9 is Braun’s best shaver to date. And it is supremely comfortable and gentle to the skin.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

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The micro-pulsations, while they don’t make a huge difference in the end result, really transform the shaving experience with the Series 9 which feels like a gentle massage.

Shaving with the Series 9 feels effortless and is a real treat. The foils remain cool during use and you’ll really have to struggle to make the Series 9 cause any noticeable discomfort.

However, with the Arc5 there’s a small trade-off in comfort for that extreme closeness and the Arc5 is not as forgiving as the Series 9. Applying more pressure and going repeatedly over a sensitive area can cause rashes and irritation. The foils also tend to generate some heat during use, which is not ideal for sensitive skin.

The newest Arc 5 shavers (third generation) use comfort rollers to prevent excessive pressure and allow the shaving head to glide smoothly over the skin. This improves the comfort compared to the previous generations, but the Series 9 is still slightly on top.

The Braun Series 9 would definitely be the better choice for someone with sensitive, blemish prone skin.

3. Dealing with longer, curly, flat lying hair

This is the Achilles’ heel of most electric shavers and the majority of them falls short. This is particularly the case with lower end shavers that only perform decent when used for shaving short stubble.

The more advanced electric razors usually fair better in this regard and have specially designed cutting elements to tackle longer, flat lying hairs. This is also the reason why an advanced razor is recommended if you’re not planning on shaving daily.

The Arc5 uses a trimmer called a Quick Comb Blade that catches longer hairs and cuts them to a more manageable size for the other cutting elements. This trimmer it flanked by two Lift-Tech Foils that supposedly lift and cut flat lying hairs.

The Braun Series 9 uses a Hyper Lift & Cut trimmer (colored blue in the picture below) that was originally found on the Series 7 (and worked quite decently) to tackle the hairs that lie flat on the skin. The novelty of the Series 9 is the Direct & Cut trimmer that captures longer hairs that grow in different directions.

The two specially designed trimmers of the Series 9 work very good with longer, curly hairs that lie flat on the skin

Braun’s implementations of these specially designed trimmers seems to be superior. They work synergistically and allow the Series 9 to perform better than pretty much any other foil shaver when it comes to cutting longer, flat lying hairs that tend to curl and grow in different directions.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

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So if you plan on shaving every 2 to 3 days and have flat lying hairs that grow in multiple directions, the Series 9 is the more sensible choice. The Arc5 requires more passes to get all the tricky hairs and this can also irritate the skin.

The Panasonic Arc5 and Braun Series 9 are equally impressive with shorter hair and will mow through even the coarsest beards with ease.

4. Wet & dry use

Wet shaving with an electric razor can improve the closeness and particularly the comfort. This can be a great option for men with very sensitive skin.

All Panasonic Arc5 shavers are suitable for wet & dry use, while the Series 9 offers both wet & dry (9095cc, 9093s) and dry only shavers (9090cc). The latest iteration of the Series 9 are all suitable for sensitive skin (9290cc, 9295cc, 9293s).

But there’s a catch.

Usually, wet & dry means that you can use the shaver with a shaving cream. With the Panasonic Arc5, there are no restrictions to that. You can use it with shaving creams or gels, in the shower, then toss it into the cleaning station and you’re all set.

Panasonic ES-LV95-S

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However, that’s not the case with the Series 9. Braun oddly decided to make the wet & dry models that come with a cleaning station, only suitable for shaving in the shower, and NOT to be used with a shaving cream as it can damage and clog the cleaning station.

So if you want to use a Series 9 with shaving cream you’ll be stuck with choosing a variation that doesn’t include a cleaning station, like the 9093s/9293s. The other option is to clean all the foam  manually and fully dry your shaver before tossing it into the base. And that’s a bit of hassle with the Series 9 and takes away all the good parts about having an automatic cleaning station.

For these reasons, and also due to the fact that the Panasonic Arc5 performs better when used with a shaving cream, my advice is this:

  • Choose the Series 9 if you’re only going to be use it for dry shaving. I would personally choose a variation that includes a cleaning station, like the 9090cc or 9290cc.
  • Choose the Panasonic Arc5 if you’re going to use it with a shaving cream. There are no restrictions to it, you can use the cleaning station or clean it manually with ease; moreover, the comfort of the shave will be improved.

Build quality and ergonomics

A pioneer in industrial design, Braun was often praised for the simple, but ingenious design solutions used in their manufacturing process. The high quality materials and flawless finishing were also a highlight of their products.

And this was the norm for many years. However, things have changed with the introduction of the two lines of shavers discussed here.

So how does the Panasonic Arc5 fair against the Series 9 when it comes to build quality?

Quite good, actually.

Braun’s flagship is made entirely out of plastic, with either a chrome finish or a high gloss black. As it was expected, this treatment will not stand the test of time very well, at least aesthetically.

The chrome or glossy black finish is a fingerprint magnet and will begin to tarnish in time. The use of plastic also makes the razor feel less premium.

Panasonic have upped their game with the latest iteration of the Arc5 line which now features an all metal body. This is a clear departure from the older generation, which featured plastic and a more in your face design.

The metal body of the new Arc5 has brushed/matte finish that looks and feels outstanding and the whole design just oozes quality. The intricate and massive shaving head, with its distinct golden comfort rollers, is something to behold.

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV9A-S

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So the tides have changed and the new Panasonic Arc5 takes the lead in the aesthetics and build quality department.

As far as ergonomics go, both the Arc 5 and the Series 9 score very good. The Series 9 is lighter and has a slimmer shaving head as it “only” has 4 cutting elements and this makes it more nimble.

The Panasonic Arc5 has a massive shaving head and may seem awkward at first, but you quickly get used to its proportions. Also, the Arc5 has probably the most adaptable shaving head of any foil razor, as it can also be depressed. This is useful when shaving difficult areas that are problematic for foil shavers, like beneath the jawline.

None of the two however is ideal for finesse work (shaving around a goatee or around the sideburns) due to the large shaving heads. Both feature a head locking mechanism that comes in handy in these situations.

The long hair trimmers found on the Panasonic Arc5 and the Braun Series 9 are different in the way they are designed, but both are suitable for light grooming and touch-ups.

The Arc5 uses the same design as all Panasonic shavers, with the trimmer placed behind and perpendicular to the shaving head. The Series 9 has a trimmer that slides forward, but doesn’t extend beyond the shaving head.

The Arc5 popup trimmer is obscured by the shaving head

In both cases the trimmer is obscured by the massive heads, but you can sort of get around this problem by removing the shaving heads and blades before using the trimmer.

Automatic and manual cleaning

When deciding whether the Panasonic Arc5 or the Braun Series 9 would be a better fit for you, the automatic cleaning stations deserve a separate topic. And that’s because there are quite a few things to be considered here.

Traditionally, Braun’s cleaning stations were superior when compared to those of the competition. They use alcohol, do an excellent job at cleaning and sanitizing the shaver, they are quiet, fast, efficient and the cleaning fluid also lubricates the blades.

So if we were to compare the first generation Arc5 shavers and the Series 9, I would simply tell you to skip the station for the Panasonics and go for it if you were to choose the Braun.

But things are different now.

With the second generation Arc 5, Panasonic also updated the cleaning stations. They now use sachets of detergent instead of cartridges that must be dissolved in water beforehand. The cleaning bases are also more compact in size compared to the previous ones.

Panasonic ES-LV95-S

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The switch to the detergent sachets is also economical. They are very cheap to buy and also last longer than Braun’s cleaning cartridges. This means that the cost associated with the cleaning stations will be lower in the case of the newer Arc5 shavers (second and third generations).

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV9A-S

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For these reasons I can safely state that the automatic cleaning stations that come with the newer Arc5 shavers are at least as good as Braun’s.

My recommendation would be to go for a model that includes one if you’re buying a second or third generation Arc5 and skip it if you’re going for a razor from the first generation. Or you can skip it regardless and save some money as Panasonics are dead easy to clean manually. For these reasons the first generation ES-LV-61-A below is a very good budget-friendly option.

Panasonic ES-LV61-A


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Regarding the Series 9, definitely go for a model that comes with the Clean & Renew station. Braun shavers are notoriously difficult to clean manually due to the fact that the blades and foils are integrated into one piece, called a cassette.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

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On the other hand, Panasonic shavers are dead easy to clean, so if you decide to skip the station and save some money it won’t be such a big deal.

The blades and foils of the Arc5 can be separately removed, making it easier to clean all the hair clippings and dirt from the shaving head. Panasonic also has a special cleaning mode, called sonic mode, activated by turning then shaver on, then pressing and holding the ON/OFF switch for 2 seconds.

This makes the blades to vibrate really fast, dislodging any debris and dirt.

To sum it up:

  • If the Series 9 is a better fit for you, go for one that includes a cleaning station
  • If the Panasonic Arc5 is your pick, skip the cleaning station for the first generation; for the second and third it’s up to you to decide if the added convenience of automatic cleaning is worth the extra money.

Price and value for money

When assessing the costs of the Panasonic Arc5 vs the Braun Series 9, we must consider three components:

  • Purchase price
  • Replacement parts
  • Cleaning cartridges/detergent

Also, please note that the availability and price of these parts can vary tremendously and I’ll do my best to keep this post updated and relevant.

Newly launched products are usually expensive and that was (and still is to some extent) the case with the Braun Series 9 and the Panasonic Arc5.

So here’s an overview of the situation at the moment of writing.

Braun Series 9

Due to the recent (and minor) update mentioned at the beginning of this article, (the titanium coated trimmer), previous Series 9 shavers like the 9095cc, 9090cc or 99093s can sometimes be found at great prices, especially the dry only models (9090cc). But that not always the case, so definitely check the other options as well.

Braun Series 9 9090cc

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The replacement shaving heads for the Series 9 are still pretty expensive and they were also difficult to find in the beginning and still are to some extent; the steep price will likely go down as time passes.

Regarding the price of the cleaning cartridges, your costs should be around $2 – 3 per month. This depends on the price of the cartridges (which can vary) and how often you shave. Also, buying them in bulk (a pack of 4 for example) will usually mean a lower price per cartridge.

Braun Clean and Renew Cartridges

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Please do keep in mind that being alcohol based, they tend to evaporate faster and will need to be replaced more often. To avoid this, make sure to remove the cartridge from the base and put the cap back if you’re not using the cleaning station daily.

To sum it up: apart from the replacement cassettes that are still pricey, the Series 9 is looking decent in terms of overall costs, at least for a high-end electric shaver.

Panasonic Arc5

As said previously, there are three generations of Arc5 shavers and all of them are still available.

Unsurprisingly, the older ones can be found at a great price, especially the models that don’t come with a cleaning station.

And since they can be easily cleaned manually, the older models represent a fantastic option for someone on a tighter budget.

The Panasonic ES-LV61-A Arc5 below would be my personal pick in this case. Or any other shavers from the first two generations if you can find them at a nice discount.

Panasonic ES-LV61-A


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Regarding the latest models, the price is pretty high at the moment, even higher than the price of a Series 9. But if this is not an issue, it really is a fantastic performer and definitely Panasonic’s best shaver yet.

One of the most significant improvements of the second and third generations Arc5 was the cleaning station. The detergent sachets are cheap and the monthly cost is even lower compared to Braun’s solution (about half at the moment of writing).

Panasonic WES4L03 detergent packs (3 count)

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Also, since they don’t use alcohol, you won’t have to worry about any evaporation issues.

The ES-LV95-A (second generation) comes with the same cleaning station as the latest generation Arc5, but the shaver and particularly the replacements cost less. It is an excellent budget Arc5 if you also want the convenience of a cleaning station.

Panasonic ES-LV95-S

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The Panasonic replacement foils and blades used to be pretty expensive compared to the ones for similar Braun shavers. Regarding the latest Arc 5 and the Series 9, it still appears to be the case, even though the difference is not huge.

In its defense, the Arc5 is newer, so the price will definitely go down in the future. Again, this is where the older Arc5 can be a great option as the foils and blades are priced significantly lower.

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV9A-S

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Takeaway: The Panasonic Arc5 can also offer excellent value for money, especially in the case of the older models. The low price of the detergent will reduce the running costs — in the case of second and third generation Arc5. Regarding the latest models, the replacements are still expensive and difficult to find (you can order them directly from Panasonic).

Overall, I would say that the Panasonic Arc5 and Braun Series 9 are pretty similar in terms of overall costs.

Final word

This concludes our Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9 battle. By this time you should hopefully have a slight inclination towards the shaver that looks like a better fit for you.

The Panasonic Arc5 and Braun Series 9 are fantastic performers, but depending on your particular situation, choosing one over the other can make more sense. Also, there are currently 3 Arc5 generations and the first two can still be great budget-friendly alternatives.

Regarding the original and updated Series 9, just buy the one you can find a t a more reasonable price as the performance will be the same.

Finally, since these are probably the best foil shavers on the market, it’s hard to think that you won’t be perfectly satisfied with either of the two.

21 thoughts on “Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One is Better?

  1. Jack

    Thanks for the very detailed comparision.
    It’s not true that “The Braun update is minor and only consist in a titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer.” If you take a look at the international Braun web site it’s shown that the update Serie 92xx has:
    Protective SkinGuard
    2x Opti-Foil™
    over Serie 9 90xx models.
    Have you tried these update models or your review is based on old 90xx models?
    Actually i’ve Panasonic and it’s true it gives a very closeness shaver but just wonder if the update Serie 92xx gives also some improvements on closeness side …

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Jack. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the 92xx models in Europe, so the answer is yes, this comparison is based on the original Series 9 shavers. However, I still maintain my position that the updated models don’t bring any significant performance enhancements. And this is solely based on an objective analysis of the newer shavers.

      Regarding your observation, “2x Opti-Foil™” refers to the two outermost foils that are present on the 90xx models as well. Also, the Protective SkinGuard is just the straight metal bar that sits right next to the Direct & Cut trimmer. Again, this is present on the older shavers too, even though it hasn’t been marketed in this manner.

      Shaving performance and how well a particular razor performs are very personal matters; as I said in the article, in my experience the Arc5 shaves closer than the Series 9, particularly the newer revisions (second and third generations). This however may not be the case for everyone.

      Hope this helps.



      1. Jack

        Hi Ovidiu,
        thanks for the reply.
        In effect i’ve double checked at the Braun website and yes, you’re right, the 2x Opti-Foil is available also on older 90xx model.
        The Protective SkinGuard, instead, is only available on the newer model 92xx.
        Probably this 5 parts head of 92xx (over 4 part of 90xx) could optimize the cut of hair specially on the neck …

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          You are very welcome. As I said in the previous comment, the Protective SkinGuard is just the metal slat that sits just above the Direct & Cut trimmer. This is also present on the 90xx variations, even though it is not explicitly documented on Braun’s website. Here two closeup images of the 90s and 92s replacement cassettes used by the 90xx and 92xx respectively. As you can see, they are identical (apart from the titanium coating of the HyperLift & Cut trimmer). Both heads have 4 (active) parts or 5 if you also take into account the Protective SkinGuard.

  2. Todorov

    Hello all,

    Before I finally pulled the trigger on Braun 9290 cc, I’ve researched the subject quite a bit.

    The main difference between the old 90xx and the new 92xx is indeed the shaving head. The old head (90s/90b) had the blue middle trimmer, while the new is marked as 92s/92b, and is the one with the yellow-gold trimmer, as shown above.
    First, it is not clear to me how it could be titanium coated, since titanium is gray, not yellow. Whatever the coating, it appears that the change was necessitated by numerous problems with the 90-heads. Many people complained that the head disintegrated and even flew apart during use, and the problem was exactly in this blue middle trimmer. So, the folks at P&G without admitting the construction problem, quietly replaced the head and reissued the whole package as 92xx series.
    There was a period of about 6 months when the heads for Series 9 shavers were impossible to find. Now they are slowly coming back to the market, and all the new ones are only 92s/92b, i.e. the redesigned heads with the yellow trimmer. The old ones are apparently discontinued, and perhaps even withdrawn from the market. Apart from this, the new 92-head is identical to the old 90 one and will fit any Series 9 shaver. I wouldn’t expect it to perform any better than the old one, apart from (hopefully resolved) reliability issues.

    There are some other minor changes. The body of the 92xx series shavers is matte gray, which looks much better IMO, and doesn’t collect fingerprints like the old ones. Also, all the models are wet/dry now and the manual states that they can be used with foam/cream, but should be manually cleaned and dried afterwards. You can use it with a cream, wash it under running water, let it air dry, and if desired, perform an auto cleaning cycle afterwards. I believe you can do exactly the same with the 90xx-series as well.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for the detailed and informative comment.

      To be honest, I wasn’t aware of any problems with the older shaving heads of the Series 9. But it makes sense with the sudden refresh of the line and the shortage of the 90s/90b cassettes.

      The Titanium coating is probably Titanium nitride which has in fact a metallic gold color. It’s being used for edge retention and its anti-corrosive properties. And because it simply looks nice I guess.

      Regarding the wet/dry use of the 92xx models, your observation is correct; the limitations are basically the same as in the case of the older 90xx shavers. The problem wasn’t with the shaver itself, but with the cleaning stations as the foam would eventually clog them. The only workaround would be to perform a manual cleaning beforehand and only use the cleaning station once the shaver is completely dry.

      1. Chris

        If I may clear this up the was a problem with production of the 90B heads as the company producing them went out of business so the lack of stock was during the time nobody could source blades. They found a new supplier and these are the current 92B blades that are backwards compatible with the 90B blades and can be used on the 90xx series.

        I learnt this when sourcing blades for my 9040s by asking their support helpline.

        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Chris,

          thank you for sharing the info, I wasn’t aware of this.

  3. Neko

    I have a serie 9 9095cc
    Can I buy and use on it the replacement titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer from the new 92XX generation?

    Kind regards.

    PS : good and helpfull article

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you found the information useful. Regarding your question, the answer is definitely yes – the new 92s/92b replacement cassettes are backward compatible and they can be safely used on the Series 9 90xx generation.

  4. Will

    This was a good review. I enjoyed how thorough it was.

    I used to own a Panasonic ES-8077-S. I bought it circa September, 2004. It finally bit the dust about a year ago. It had the 14,000 RPM linear motor, “vortex” hydra clean, wet/dry operation, and very similar inner cutting blades to Panasonic’s current renditions; however, it wasn’t curved “ARCed” andvit only had the 2 inner blades, not 5.

    I wish someone knew how much better the ARC 5 models performed over my ES-8077. It was a tremendous shaver, only cost ~$100 new, and I have a suspicion that the ARC 3,4,5, etc., is nothing but a marketing gimmick and a way to inflate the price 200+%. Alas, it’s such an old model it doesn’t even get mentioned in reviews anymore. How much better could the newer Panasonics be? The 8077 got me neatly as close as a blade.. before the proliferation of all of the extra blades and gimmicks–err features.

    My Costco has the Braun Series 7 on sale for $99.99. I may give it a try. I do wish the high-end Panasonics were more reasonably priced.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Will. I actually used a Panasonic similar to your ES-8077-S a long time ago, it was called ES-RT31. And apart from the fact that the battery can’t hold a decent charge anymore, it still works like a champ. Regarding the curved profile of the shaving head fitted on the Arc models, I do believe there is a minor benefit apart from the marketing appeal of the term. I’ve noticed that it helps with maintaining perfect contact with the skin and cuts closer when compared to a Braun shaver that has a straight edge. The surface that comes in contact with the skin is actually smaller in the case of an arched foil, but it helps with getting a perfectly smooth shave more easily. At least that was my experience with them.

      Regarding the number of foils, it will help you shave faster and you will appreciate the extra cutting surface if you have very coarse facial hair. And the extra performance doesn’t necessarily come from the extra blades, but usually the top of the line models that have 5 blades are also fitted with the most powerful motors, big batteries and so on. The ones that have additional specially designed trimmers among the 4 or 5 blades are also better at shaving longer hairs, but if you shave daily the difference is minor.

      In my experience with Panasonic shavers I’ve noticed that the single most important factor that really makes a difference is the motor. The ones with the 13 000 or 14 000 CPM motors are miles ahead in terms of performance when compared to the ones that have 10 000 CPM motors or less. And the ones with 3 blades (Arc 3) are excellent shavers, especially when used daily.

      If you were satisfied with the ES-8077-S, I’m quite sure that an Arc3 or an Arc4 Panasonic will be at least as good. Speaking of the Arc 4, I would definitely consider one, they can now be found for less than $100. But then again, a Series 7 that costs the same is another excellent option. I found Braun shavers to be better in terms of comfort, but they don’t manage to cut as close as the Panasonics. But these differences can be marginal depending on your particular case.

      Hope this helps.


      1. Will

        Thank you. That is very helpful!

        I’ll look into the ARC 4 a bit further.

        I haven’t seen any ARC 4 for under $100. (I also haven’t yet looked too hard for that model specifically..) My understanding is that the ARC 4 has never been updated; Panasonic, instead of updating the 4, went straight to the 5. With the current updates to the 5 late last year (ES-LV-6/9) they went back and updated the 3 as well. But, the 4 has only been done once: it’s current offering is the same as when it was introduced. I could be wrong about that, though. I’ve been reading/researching a lot in advance of this purchase as my former shaver lasted 12 years… it all kinda runs together after a while.

        My research and experience leads me to agree with you re: stronger motor being more important than # of blades when talking about closeness and not just in Panasonic models. My backup shaver was a Remington MS-280. It had only two foils and could only be used dry. It had a very strong motor and was EXTREMELY loud. Yet, it shaved nearly as close as the Panasonic as a dry shaver only. (I managed to get a very close and comfortable shave with the wet shaving feature of the Panasonic; thus, wet/dry is important to me. My Remington will no longer hold a charge. That’s my impetus for being in the market now even though my Panasonic died a year ago. There is a bit of a cult following with this Remington MS-280. They were sold for ~$25-$40 at every drug store in the 2000s and they shave GREAT. Then, Spectrum brands bought Remington and moved production to China. As there is a dedicated following even 10 years later, replacement parts can be had. I could open up the sealed battery compartment and replace with new batteries for only $12. I also need new foils and cutters, which can be procured for $15.

        In the same vein of more blades doesn’t equal more closeness, I would add that there is a Wahl model (“the brick”) that only has one blade and a single foil and a very powerful motor and the reviews are that it shaves extremely close as well. There is also a one bladed Hitachi in the Japanese market that has a powerful motor and allegedly gives a VERY close shave notwithstanding the fact it doesn’t have any bells and whistles built into the shaver head. If I lived in Japan, I’d surely buy the Hitachi. The aforementioned Wahl appears to have massive reliability issues with the durability of the foil otherwise I’d give the Wahl brick a try.

        (I hadn’t considered that a bigger cutting head and more blades could lead to better comfortability and a faster shave even if that leaves the shave no more close..)

        So, with that long digression out of the way, I think I’m down to three choices:

        (1.) Refurbish my 17 year old Remington MS-280 for less than $30.

        (2.) Buy Braun Series 7 from Costco for $100, can use wet/dry, comes with Costco’s vaunted return policy (they’ll take anything back) and further comes backed up by 60 day money back guarantee from Braun as well as a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects. (The Series 9 looks nice, but it’s out of my price range.) Despite their stories history, I’ve never used a Braun. Perhaps, I’d like it.

        (3.) Buy Panasonic, which is most similar to the 8077 shaver I used to cherish. Except I can’t afford the sticker price, so I would need to bite the bullet and take the risk in the aftermarket. I’ll look into the ARC 4 and 3. I’ve got nothing against a 5, but I don’t think I’ll find one that’s affordable. If price were no object, I’d buy the newest ARC 5. The brushed metal body is intriguing, but it’s over $400 in the U.S. right now! Is it 4X better than the Series 7? I doubt it.

        As you can see, you’ve helped inform me!



        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          You are very welcome, Will.

          You’re completely on point with the Arc 4: the line was never updated since its introduction in 2011, but they are still a very compelling option in my opinion. They shave extremely well and you can find them at great discounts. The ES8243A for example gravitates at around $80; other models, like the ES-LF51-A or ES-LA63-S can sometimes be found for less than $100 on sites like And I totally agree, the new LV Arc5s are obscenely expensive, at least for now.

          I’ve never used a WAHL shaver – they are nowhere to be found in Europe where I’m based. But I would love to give one a try.

          I remember owning a Remington MS2-390 – extremely similar to the MS-280. I used it until the blades have eaten through the foils and I can clearly remember that it felt like holding a jackhammer in my hand during use, the vibrations and noise were that powerful. It shaved very close, but it would also leave me with nasty rashes from time to time. I never replaced the blades and foils, but I still have it in my box of retired shavers. I might buy the replacements and use the shaver for old times’ sake.

          Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to share your experience.

          All the best,

  5. Luis O

    Hi I like to know if it is true that the battery in the Panasonic ELSV65s last ony 3 years, and if that’s the case then it is a shaver that will last 3 years only. Now the question is,,,
    is it worthy to buy an electric shaver that last only 3 years, as the buyers can not replace the batteries.!
    Thank you so much, I enjoy very much all
    the great information that you provide to all of us.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Luis,

      thank you for the kind words. Regarding your question, the life of the battery depends on how you use the shaver. A Li-ion battery has limited number of charging cycles, so how often it’s being charged and discharged will affect the life of the battery. It may last more or less than 3 years and that’s actually the case with all electric shavers. I have a few Panasonic Arc 3 and 4 shavers that I bought more than 5 years ago and their batteries still hold a decent charge. I would personally be satisfied if a particular shaver would last at least 3 years of constant use. And most probably will, including the Arc 5.

      Hope this helps.


  6. Alex

    Hello, I have very sensitive skin, and very coarse beard. I can’t decide between the Braun 9095 and the Panasonic Arc 5. What would be the less iritation shave between a dry shave with the Braun (if I buy Braun, I’d dry shave because I don’t want to clean the foam/gel manually), and a wet shave with the Panasonic that I can clean in the cleaning station?


    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Alex,

      it’s almost impossible to give you a straight answer. What makes either of the two the right choice is something that only you can decide. It’s very difficult for me to figure out if a dry shave with the Series 9 would be better compared to a wet shave with the Arc 5 in your case. Have you tried shaving wet with an electric shaver before? If so, was it significantly better compared to a dry shave? Preferably with the same or similar shaver.

      I am pretty much in the same situation as you, I have a coarse beard and very sensitive skin. For me, shaving wet always yields much better results. It’s very comfortable and makes the shaver more forgiving, allowing me to even press a bit harder and to get a closer shave. For this reason I use Panasonic shavers most of the time, they’re better suited than Braun for wet shaving in my opinion. My preference towards wet shaving largely has to due with the specifics of my skin and facial hair that tends to grow parallel to the skin before poking out. I don’t know if that makes sense. A good shaving cream acts as primer that softens the hairs and makes them stand straight and also minimizes any irritation to my skin. But again, this is just my particular case, I couldn’t tell if it would be the same for you.

      The Series 9 would probably be the best choice for a dry shave if you have thick facial hair and sensitive skin. For me, adding a shaving cream makes everything that much better, regardless of the shaver I’m using. But because they’re very easy to clean and comfortable when used with shaving cream I use Panasonics. Considering these aspects, particularly a previous experience of shaving wet or dry, you should have a preference towards the Series 9 or the Arc 5. My advice would be to buy one and to try it; real life use can differ quite a bit from our expectations. If you are not satisfied with the results you can return it and then try the other one and hopefully settle for a shaver that works best for you.


  7. Mare Stefan

    Hello Ovidiu,
    I’m Stefan from Romania.
    Now they own a Braun 720 razor (purchased 8 years ago) with the shaft changed 2 months ago. In the last year Braun 720 did not laugh very well and began to irritate me.
    I’m thinking of changing it with a Braun 9290CC or PANASONIC ES-LV9N-S803.
    The device has only been used on land, as far as I know this type of appliance is not recommended wet mode. The shaving period is 1-2 days and I have a sensitive skin.
    Which shaving method would be ok and what version would be ok of the 2?
    Thanks and I look forward to the answer.
    P.S .: Excuse for translation but I used google translate.

    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Stefan,

      in this situation – shaving daily and dealing with sensitive skin issues – I think the Series 9 would probably be a better pick. The 9290cc is suitable for wet/dry operation, so you can try using it with shaving cream to see if it makes any difference compared to shaving dry. This seems to vary quite a lot from person and the only real way of finding out is to actually use it both ways.

      The Series 7 is a very good option for sensitive skin, but if yours still fails to provide a decent shave after replacing the cassette it’s probably time to buy a new one. I would be very satisfied with a shaver that lasted 8 years of (almost) daily use. And since the price of the Series 9 has dropped lately you might as well buy one. The new LV9N from Panasonic is a step up from the previous Arc5 in terms of comfort, but I still think the Series 9 is slightly better in this regard.

      Hope this helps. If you have any other questions you can contact me by email in Romanian if that works better for you. 🙂



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