The good: very close and irritation free shaves, powerful motor, fast shaving times, relatively quiet (for a foil shaver), wet and dry use, great for shaving the head, quality inner blades, solid build quality
The bad: bulky shaving head, replacement parts are pricey, no cleaning station
Table of Contents
The ES8243A Arc IV is one of Panasonic’s top sellers, offering a blend of performance and comfort, a powerful motor and rock solid build quality. Read our in-depth Panasonic ES8243A review to find out if it’s the right shaver for you.
The Panasonic ES8243A Arc IV can be looked at as an upgrade to the already excellent ES8103S. The shaver was beefed-up by adding a forth blade to the shaving head.
Here are the key features:
13000 RPM motor
This razor features the same excellent high speed linear motor. Even though Panasonic managed to bump the speed to 14000 in some of its other more expensive shavers, 13000 is more than enough, especially when considering that other manufacturers don’t come close to those numbers.
Having a powerful motor has a potential downside, meaning that this is not the most quiet foil shaver out there.
30 degrees hypoallergenic nanotech blades
Behind the obvious marketing naming scheme, these blades that have been around for a while in Panasonic’s shavers are among the best. The sharp 30 degree angle ensures a very efficient cutting of the hairs, with no pulling or tugging.
The shaving head, as the name Arc IV suggest, is made out of 4 cutting elements. The outer two are the typical cutters that oscillate behind a foil screen and are responsible for the bulk of the shaving action. These two are also the blades that will need to be replaced periodically.
The ones in the middle are integrated in the foil and work together with the outer ones to shave more efficiently. One of them features a special design, with long slits that will trim down the longer hairs that are difficult to cut for the others.
Flexible pivoting head
The shaving head can move back and forth and also from left to right, supposedly ensuring permanent contact with the skin and making it easier to follow the contours of your face. The foils are also slightly curved for the same reason.
Although it may have some benefits, you can lock it in place by a switch located on the side of the razor.
Other features that will be covered later are:
- Popup trimmer
- 10 stage LCD display
- Wet & dry use
- 100% waterproof
- 5 minute Quick charge option
Build quality and ergonomics
Compared to other shavers, the ES8243A is very light weight. It is also very comfortable to operate and the rubbery materials ensure a very secure grip.
As far as aesthetics go, I can only be biased as I was always a fan of the futuristic, hammerhead-like design of Panasonic razors. This is no exception and it looks excellent in my opinion, although not as classy as top of the line Braun or Norelco shavers.
Build quality is also excellent as everything feels solid and robust.
Battery life and charging
The razor can be fully charged in about one hour and has enough power for 45 minutes of use. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the normal autonomy you would expect from a quality shaver.
It’s important to mention that the razor shouldn’t be left plugged in for more than one hour, as doing so repeatedly will affect the battery’s performance in time.
As it’s the case with all the electric shavers that can be used for wet shaving, you can’t use the ES8243A while charging. This is a safety measure and we won’t consider it to be a negative aspect anymore, especially since there is a 5 minutes quick charge option.
The LCD display shows the remaining battery in percentages in increments of 10% and also the duration of the shave in minutes and seconds.
The automatic voltage conversion adapts to any voltage between 100-240v, so you can also use it when traveling abroad.
Cleaning and maintenance
As you probably know, the shaver doesn’t come with a cleaning station. Given the fact that the ES8243A is fully waterproof and dead easy to clean, you won’t really feel the need of an automated cleaning system.
Cleaning requires nothing but some liquid hand soap and tap water. To ensure a proper cleaning, the razor features Panasonic’s Turbo cleaning mode that should be used when the faucet symbol appears on the LCD display.
To activate the Turbo mode (which ups the speed from 13000 to 1700 rpm) you press the ON/OFF switch for more than 2 seconds. It will automatically stop after 20 seconds.
The ES8243A is advertised by Panasonic as a one pass shaver. Although in practice you’ll find that there simply isn’t such a thing, this razor will indeed deliver an excellent shaving experience.
The massive, 4 cutter shaving head can cover large areas very quickly. This, coupled with a powerful motor and sharp blades make the Panasonic ES8243A one of the most capable electric shavers in this price range.
The closeness of the shave will satisfy almost everyone, being almost on par with the ones you get from much more expensive shavers.
The most impressive thing about it is just how comfortable and effortless the shaving experience is. Men with coarse facial hair and very sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and razor burn will particularly benefit from using it.
Using a pre-electric shaving lotion will further improve the comfort and the performance of the shaver; it will also help straighten the hairs that stay flat on your skin. I highly recommend it, especially for sensitive skin. You can read more tips on dry shaving here.
The Panasonic ES8243A can also be used for wet shaving, where it simply shines. It doesn’t get clogged with shaving cream like others and you can easily rinse with with water if you need to.
Finally, there’s the popup trimmer; while it does perform well and works excellent for basic grooming, it has the same problem as most Panasonic shavers. The placement, together with the fact that the shaving head is so big means that you simply can’t see what you’re doing and can end up with very short sideburns.
One thing that seems to work is to have the shaving head and the inner blades removed before using the trimmer.
Of course, one downside of having a large shaving head is that it can be somewhat unpractical for detail work, like shaving the base of your sideburns, upper lip area or around a goatee.
This is a thing to keep in mind for some men, but I think the benefits you get from a large shaving head far outweigh this shortcoming.
As for other negative aspects of the shaving performance, there is the always tricky neck area, that requires multiple passes to get a close shave, especially if you have hairs that lay flat on your skin and grow in different patterns. This is however a problem with almost all electric shavers and can’t really blame a particular one.
Apart from the shaver, in the box you’ll find the following items:
- Power cord
- Travel case
- Plastic protective cap
- User manual
Replacement parts availability
Changing the blades and foil of your shaver must be done once a year. Unfortunately, the replacement parts for this shaver are a bit more pricey than what you would expect.
You can buy them in two flavors:
I recommend changing both the foil and inner blades as you won’t get the best out of your shaver by using a worn part together with a new one.
Wrapup—Who should buy it?
This shaver has to be one of the top picks for men with sensitive skin. If you suffer from post shave irritation, razor burn and have a history of “bad shave days”, you should definitely check it out.
Given the fact that it is a solid, all around great performer for both dry and wet shaving, you can’t really go wrong with this one.
No matter if you shave daily or every 2 to three days, you will probably be very pleased with the shaving performance of the ES8243A.
This is definitely one of the best electric shavers you can buy in this price range. One of the (few) complains about it is that you can’t have it with a cleaning and charging station.
If you really must use one, the Panasonic ES-LT71-S costs just about the same and comes with a Vortex Cleaning Station. It has the same powerful 13000 rpm motor, but only comes with a three blade shaving system, so that is a thing to keep in mind. It won’t be as fast and efficient as the ES8243A, but it’s definitely a solid option.
Braun Series 3 380s-4 is one of our favorites affordable shavers and it’s another great alternative. Similar to the ES8243A in terms of performance and features, it’s also very good for sensitive skin, it costs less, it’s quieter and the replacement parts are inexpensive. It is not as powerful and fast as the Panasonic though. You can read our detailed review here.