Panasonic Arc 5 Comparison Guide: Which One Should You Buy?

The Arc 5 family of electric razors from Panasonic is certainly at the very top when it comes to performance and even value for money.

However, it’s also one of the most confusing lines of shavers out there: countless updates, revisions and model names that make no sense.

Choosing a Panasonic Arc 5 and understanding the differences between the various models is a real challenge for any potential buyer.

Are the new generations actually better than the older ones? Will the latest foils fit an older Arc 5? Why are some Arc 5’s so expensive and do they actually shave better?

These are all fair questions and anyone should be able to find an answer before spending a considerable amount of money on a shaver.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR vs ES-LV67-K.

I’ve been using Panasonic Arc 5 razors for more than 10 years and I’ve also tried to document every release on this website, with an emphasis on the differences that actually matter.

That said, I decided to put everything together into a comprehensive, easy-to-read comparison guide that should provide the answers to the most important Arc 5 related questions.

We’ll check out the differences between the most popular models, including the newest Japan-exclusive releases, see which ones represent the best picks in terms of performance and price, and hopefully help you choose the best Arc 5 for your needs.

Let’s dive right in.

Panasonic Arc 5: 3 generations and multiple revisions

Important: the differences between the Panasonic Arc 5 models in a particular generation/revision are related to accessories, colors, LED displays and so on. The shaving performance is identical.

Important: The last letter in a model’s name only refers to the color of the shaver: -K (black), -S (silver), -A (blue), -T (brown), -R (red). This letter is often left out (for example, ES-LV65-S and ES-LV65 refer to the same shaver).

1. First Arc 5 generation

Popular models: ES-LV61-A, ES-LV81-K

In 2009, Panasonic introduced the Arc 5 as their flagship line of electric shavers.

ES-LV61-A
The Panasonic ES-LV61, the very first Arc 5.

What set them apart from other foil shavers of the time was the highest number of individual cutting elements (five) and the slightly arched profile of the foils — hence the ARC 5 name.

The shavers were also fitted with the fastest motor in the industry, capable of delivering up to 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute).

That simply means the blades oscillate 14 000 times per minute, which translates into a very effective cutting action and short shaving sessions.

It also makes the shaver less likely to pull and snag hairs if you move the shaver too fast over the skin.

Fun fact: Up until 2021, the Panasonic Arc 5 was the foil shaver with the most cutting elements, 5, alongside another shaver from Xiaomi. That all changed with the launch of the Arc 6 (6 blades).

The most popular models of this first-generation Arc 5 were the ES-LV61-A (no cleaning station) and ES-LV81-K (includes an automatic cleaning station).

The first generation ES-LV81-K Arc 5 with the Vortex Hydra Cleaning System
The first generation ES-LV81-K Arc 5 came with an automatic Cleaning System

Other country-specific models (in different colors) were released as well, but the shavers themselves were identical.

These models have been discontinued for years and you can’t buy them anymore unless you stumble upon a stray one on eBay for example.

As a result, the first-generation Arc 5 isn’t really a viable option in 2021. But some users still own and use these razors, so I will still include them in the comparison.

2. Second Arc 5 generation

Popular models: ES-LV65-S (ES-LV65), ES-LV95-S (ES-LV95), ES-LV67-K, ES-LV67-A, ES-LV97-K (ES-LV97), ES-ALV6HR

The first update to the Arc 5 range happened in 2013 when Panasonic released the second generation.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S from the second Arc 5 generation.

With this iteration, the design of the shavers looks more modern and the shaving head is also less bulky.

Panasonic’s excellent linear-drive motor has been refined and made progressively smaller as this image shows:

The evolution of Panasonic's linear drive motor.
The evolution of Panasonic’s linear drive motor. Image credit: panasonic.jp

With the second Arc 5 generation, the output is still 14 000 CPM, but it’s a more compact unit that is placed in the shaving head itself, allowing the engineers to make the head smaller and easier to maneuver.

Apart from this, another important change was actually related to the automatic cleaning station.

The first-generation station was very bulky and would sometimes leak.

Panasonic fixed these issues in this second release and the updated station would basically remain unchanged until present (despite having different part numbers).

The second-generation Panasonic Arc 5 cleaning station
The second-generation Panasonic Arc 5 cleaning station

With a smaller footprint and a modern design, the new Arc 5 station uses concentrated detergent packets that must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.

The older station required plastic cartridges that were usually more expensive.

The most popular shaver models in this second generation are by far the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S (no cleaning station) and the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV95-S (includes a cleaning station).

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S

Panasonic es-lv65-s Arc 5

See the price on Amazon

Tip: As mentioned, you’ll sometimes find these models listed as ES-LV65 and ES-LV95, respectively. The -S in the model name only stands for silver and it’s sometimes left out, so just keep in mind that they are the exact same shavers.

These two shavers, particularly the ES-LV65-S which usually costs less since it doesn’t include a cleaning station, are the best-selling Arc 5 models of all time.

Further reading: You can also check out my in-depth review of the ES-LV65-S/ES-LV95-S.

Other shavers worth mentioning are the ES-LV67 (no cleaning station) and ES-LV97 (includes a cleaning station).

The newer Panasonic ES-LV67-K (black).
The newer Panasonic ES-LV67-K (black).

While chronologically these would be third-generation Arc 5’s, I would rather consider them visually updated second-generation shavers (given their features and performance).

I will get into the actual differences later on.

There is also a new red variation of the ES-LV67, oddly named the ES-ALV6HR. Apart from the color, the two are absolutely identical.

Panasonic es-alv6hr.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR.

The striking red ES-ALV6HR is only available in the USA.

Further reading: You can check out my in-depth review of the ES-LV67-K/ES-LV97-K here.

3. Third Arc 5 generation

The Panasonic Arc 5 2021.

This is where things start to become exponentially more complicated.

While everything is relatively straightforward and simple with the first two generations, the third one is an absolute nightmare to document.

And that’s because this third generation includes 9 different revisions as of 2024.

And more are likely to come, but I will keep this post updated and include any new Arc 5’s in the comparison.

I will briefly go over these seven revisions, but I’ll include the links to the posts where I cover everything in great detail if you’re interested in knowing more about a certain revision.

1. Revision A (2015)

Popular models: ES-LV6A-S (ES-LV6N), ES-LV9A-S (ES-LV9N)

The third generation of the Panasonic Arc 5 family debuted in 2015 with revision A.

It was a major shift in design and materials compared to the previous second-generation Arc 5 models.

Panasonic ES-LV9N-S
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9A (ES-LV9N).

And while the Arc 5 has always been class-leading in that regard, the third-gen Arc 5 is even better: we get a sleek, modern design and some models even have a brushed aluminum body instead of plastic.

But the biggest change brought by the third Arc 5 generation is a new outer foil.

It now features two so-called comfort rollers (the gold bars in the image below) that allow the shaving head to glide easier on the skin and prevent the user from applying excessive pressure (which can cause razor burn).

The old Panasonic Arc 5 foil and blades (left) vs the new ones (right).
The old Panasonic Arc 5 foil and blades (left) vs the new ones (right).

And this update to the foil does work and I will discuss it later on when I’ll compare the performance of the various Arc 5 models.

Interestingly, while the outer foil is new, the two removable inner blades (part number WES9170) are the same ones used by the older shavers in generations 1 and 2.

In fact, those inner blades are the same for all Arc 5 generations and revisions ever released, which has major implications for the different replacement foils compatibility (more details later on).

Nowadays, the razors in this revision A family are getting pretty difficult to find as they were phased out and replaced by the newer iterations.

2. Revision B (2016)

Popular models: ES-LV6B-S, ES-LV9B-S

Only one year later, Panasonic introduced the first update of the original generation 3 Arc 5, the revision B.

es-lv9b
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9B from revision B.

Tip: the revision B shavers use B instead of A for the model names: for example, ES-LV9B vs ES-LV9A. This naming scheme will continue with future revisions, but it won’t always be consistent.

The B revision was an incremental update and the differences between the B shavers and the previous ones are subtle:

  • The B Arc 5’s use a textured material for the thumb rest instead of a smooth one;
  • The front-to-back tilt angle of the head is increased from 17 to 20 degrees;
  • The B revision has a low battery alarm.

Unsurprisingly, these changes don’t really have any noticeable effect on the shaving performance — we still have the same motor and foil/blades.

The B variations are also pretty much extinct at this moment, so unless you can find one on eBay, you probably won’t be able to buy one anymore.

3. Revision C (2017)

Popular models: ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q, ES-LV9CX-S, ES-LV9C, ES-LV7C, ES-LV5C, ES-CV51, ES-CV70

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 revision C/D in-depth guide

This time around, the changes were more significant.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q.
The Panasonic ES-LV9Q, the flagship of the Arc 5 revision C.

Compared to the previous B iteration, the Panasonic Arc 5 revision C comes with a new design, a new outer foil and some new features.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q

ES-LV9Q

See the price on Amazon

The premium models (like the ES-LV9Q and ES-LV9CX) also feature a brushed aluminum body and a new smart lock function (that automatically unlocks the power button when you hold the shaver in your hand).

The compact Panasonic ES-CV51 next to the ES-LV9Q. Both feature a brushed aluminum body.
The compact Panasonic ES-CV51 next to the ES-LV9Q. Both feature a brushed aluminum body.

The shaving head now also features some impressive flexing capabilities, while the outer foil comes with a revised cutting element called Power Quick Lift.

Panasonic ES-CV51 (ES-CV70) shaving elements
1 — Finishing foils, 2 — Reverse tapered foils, 3 — Power Quick Lift Trimmer

This Power Quick Lift trimmer should handle better those longer and flat-lying hairs, something Panasonic razors have always struggled with.

In practice though, the improvement was only marginal compared to the previous Arc 5 foil (revisions A and B).

Panasonic never officially released these C Arc 5’s to the USA (but you can still get them on sites like Amazon).

On the other hand, they were released in Europe and even today these models continue to be some of the most popular Arc 5 models.

And that’s because they usually cost less than the newer Panasonic Arc 5 revisions and are very similar performance-wise.

The ES-LV9Q (cleaning station) and ES-LV6Q (no cleaning station) are the best-selling models in this revision, though currently they are getting difficult to find.

With the C revision, two compact Arc 5 variations were introduced as well: ES-CV70 (dry-only use) and ES-CV51 (wet/dry use).

The compact models are equipped with the same foils/blades and motors, so the performance is top-notch.

Panasonic ES-CV51 held in hand
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51.

A single compromise was made: the flexing mechanism of the head is gone, so these compact Arc 5’s only have a fixed head.

However, I found them to be just as good as the full-fledged Arc 5 models, so these are fantastic options when traveling (although quite pricey).

The metal body and the fit and finish are top-notch.

Further reading: I reviewed the compact ES-CV51 a while back if you want to know more details about its performance.

4. Revision D (2018)

Popular models: ES-LV9DX (ES-CLV9DX), ES-LV9D (ES-CLV9D), ES-LV7D (ES-CLV7D), ES-LV5D (ES-CLV5D)

One year later, Panasonic launched yet another revision.

Panasonic Arc 5 es-lv9dx.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9DX.

The D models were however released only in Japan and a few other Asian countries.

That said, the actual changes were minor.

Precisely, the D models have an improved beard density sensor that is 1.8 times faster compared to the one on the Arc 5 revision C.

Interestingly, all these revision D razors are only suitable for dry only use (washable), so they will work both cordless and corded. A revision usually includes both wet/dry and dry only models, but not this one.

That’s really it, everything else (including motor and foils/blades) remained unchanged.

5. Revision E (2019)

Popular models: ES-LV9EX, ES-LV9E, ES-LV7E, ES-LV5E

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 revision E in-depth guide

Continuing this trend of releasing Arc 5 updates only to the Japanese domestic market, Panasonic introduced the revision E in 2019.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9E.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9E from the 2019 revision E.

The new models look pretty much the same as the C and D Arc 5’s (except for some new colors).

However, there’s also a new outer foil that features a supposedly improved cutting element.

Precisely, the Power Quick Lift of the C and D revisions has been replaced by a Slim comb slit blade (approximate translation from Japanese).

The new ES9179 outer foil.
The new ES9179 outer foil that debuted with the revision E Arc 5. Image credit: panasonic.jp

The improvements are again minor in my opinion when it comes to shaving longer, flat-lying hairs.

There’s also a new (and improved) AI beard density sensor.

I will get back to these sensors later on, but having used lots of Arc 5 models, I never felt that they made any noticeable difference.

So I wouldn’t pay too much emphasis on them when trying to decide between two shavers.

Just like the previous revision D, all these revision E razors are only suitable for dry only use (washable), so they will work cordless and corded.

As usual, Panasonic never released the E Arc 5 in the USA or Europe, so if for some reason you absolutely must have one, your only option would be to import it from Japan.

I will share later on how I purchase my Arc 5’s from Japan.

6. Revision F (2020)

Popular models: ES-LV9FX, ES-LV9F, ES-LV7F, ES-LV5F, ES-LV5T

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 revision F in-depth guide

This is probably the most incremental update to this third generation of Arc 5 shavers.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9FX.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9FX.

So what are the differences compared to the previous Panasonic Arc 5 revision E?

Well, there aren’t any.

The model names now have an F instead of an E, but I personally couldn’t find any real differences: the motors, foil/blades, head flexing mechanism and beard density sensor are all exactly the same.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, these razors were only released in Japan.

7. Revision G (2021) aka Series 900

Popular models: ES-LV9U, ES-LV7U, ES-LV7G, ES-LV5U, ES-LV5G

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 revision G in-depth guide

The Panasonic Arc 5 Series 900.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV5U (revision G).

Initially a Japan-only release, the revision G models come with a rather significant update, but also with a few cost-cutting features.

Precisely, we have a new outer foil that has a new central cutter that again is supposed to capture longer hairs more effectively.

The new outer foil of the 2021 Arc 5.
The new outer foil of the 2021 Arc 5 revision G.

The cutter is called an Under chin trimmer blade (approximate translation from Japanese) and now has a distinctive gold color.

In practice, it is a bit better than the previous ones, but still nowhere near a Braun Series 9 that is really good with longer hairs.

On the other hand, the Series 9 can’t really match the Arc 5 in terms of closeness.

Further reading: for more details on the performance of the Arc 5 revison G, you can check out my full review.

The two comfort rollers are now silver, so you can easily tell this new foil apart from the previous ones.

As for the cost-cutting features, the smart lock function is completely gone on the 2021 Panasonic Arc 5 (revision G).

The LED displays are pretty basic (5 or 3 battery levels) and none of them will show the duration of the shave.

Panasonic Arc 5 LED displays.
The LED display of the ES-LV65 from the second generation (left) vs the 2021 Arc 5. The older display would also show the duration of the shave.

Also, only the range-topping ES-LV9U comes with a leather travel case; the rest of them only include a cheap textile pouch.

The metal construction is gone as well and all the shavers come with the standard plastic body.

UPDATE: The revision G Arc 5 models were officially released outside of Japan in 2022.

These can be now bought in Europe, Australia, etc for a reasonable price and represent a good alternative to the generation 2 Arc 5. They are not however available in the USA or Canada.

Interestingly, Panasonic markets them under a different name. Instead of Arc 5 or Lamdash 5, this line is called Series 900. It is however identical to the Japanese series.

The two models from the revision G that are available globally under the Series 900 name are the ES-LV9U and ES-LV6U. The former includes a cleaning station, while the latter does not.

Both are wet/dry models and will only operate cordlessly.

8. Revision H / Arc 5 PRO (2022)

Popular models: ES-LV9V, ES-LV7V, ES-LV7H, ES-LV5V, ES-LV5H.

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 PRO (revision H) in-depth guide

The 2022 revision H was the first one that also introduced the term Pro in the name.

So the official name in Japan is the Lamdash 5 Pro.

es-lv9v
The ES-LV9V from the 2022 Lamdash 5 Pro/revision H.

While the PRO in this revision might suggest a significant update from the previous Arc 5 revision G, that’s not the case at all.

In fact, it’s pretty much a rebranding of the revision G above.

The Arc 5 PRO 2022 models come with the same outer foil and basically everything about them is the same compared to the previous rev G.

There’s only a single new feature called bubble making mode — a special setting available on the wet/dry models that allows the user to lather soap/lotion when shaving wet.

Arc 5 Pro bubble making mode.
Image credit: panasonic.jp

Its usefulness is questionable, to say the least.

Just like the revision G, the 2022 revision H feels like a step down.

The shavers come with the less capable 5 or 3-stage battery indicators, there’s no metal body option, no smart lock and apart from the ES-LV9V, all the shavers come with a cloth pouch instead of a hard or semi-hard case.

The revision H Arc 5 will likely be limited to the Japanese market.

9. Revision J / Arc 5 PRO (2023)

Popular models: ES-LV9W, ES-LV7W, ES-LV7J, ES-LV5W, ES-LV5J

Further reading: Panasonic Arc 5 Pro (revision J) in-depth guide

The latest Arc 5 iteration currently available is the 2023 Arc 5/Lamdash 5 Pro.

We’ll call it revision J for the same reason as before. If you’re wondering why the letter I was skipped by Panasonic, I honestly don’t know.

es-lv9w-s
The Panasonic Arc 5 Pro ES-LV9W from the 2023 Arc 5 Pro (revision J).

Just like the 2022 iteration, it’s a Japanese-exclusive release and will probably stay that way.

As for any real changes, improvements or new features compared to the previous revision H, there aren’t any.

Actually, there is one — the beard density sensor can now read the density of the beard 233 times a second, while previously could only manage 220.

The new beard density sensor.

That’s really it, everything else has remained unchanged from the revision H, including the foil and blades.

We do have new model names and the colors are now only limited to Silver and Black.

10. The new travel Arc 5 aka the LAMDASH Palm (2023)

Popular models: ES-PV6A (black or white), ES-PV3A-K (black)

Last year Panasonic introduced a new intriguing series of travel Arc 5 models.

Available exclusively in Japan, this new Arc 5 family is called the LAMDASH Palm and it’s a completely new and unusual concept.

The new Lamdash Palm.
The ES-PV6A

It has nothing to do with any previous Arc 5 models.

These new shavers have a unique round body that resembles a large pebble.

The idea was to make a shaver that’s very compact and also very comfortable to hold.

Shaving with the LAMDASH Palm.
Image credit: Panasonic.jp

I am yet to try one, so I cannot say anything about the ergonomics.

But the performance definitely seems to be worthy of an Arc 5.

These shavers come with the latest ES9040 foil and blades and are fitted with the mighty 14 000 CPM linear drive motor.

However, there are two rather significant issues with these LAMDASH palm shavers.

1. Price and availability. These things are expensive and you can only buy one from Japan which further bumps the cost.

2. There’s no pop-up trimmer. Panasonic didn’t (or couldn’t) fit these shavers with their fantastic hair trimmer. And in my opinion, a trimmer is a must-have on a travel shaver.

For these reasons, I think the older ES-CV51 or ES-CV70 are still the ones to get if you want a highly capable travel shaver.

Those cost a lot less, have a great hair trimmer and a premium metal body and are readily available.

And of course, you can upgrade the foil to the latest model.

The LAMDASH Palm does have USB-C which is something all shavers should use — especially travel razors. But it still doesn’t make up for the other shortcomings.

The LAMDASH Palm.
Image credit: Panasonic.jp

The only difference between the ES-PV6A and ES-PV3A is the outer finish, the first one using a more premium stone-like material.

This pretty much sums up all the different Arc 5 models from the moment the series was introduced in 2009 until the present day.

Panasonic Arc 5 model comparison [2024 update]

This next part should only serve as a reference in case you’re struggling to decide between a few Arc 5 variations in a specific generation/revision.

As mentioned earlier, these differences mainly come down to the included accessories, colors, LED displays, wet&dry or dry only use.

Since the foil, blades and motors are the same throughout a generation/revision, the actual shaving performance will be identical.

First Arc 5 generation comparison table

Arc 5 modelCleaning stationLED display
ES-LV61-A [blue], wet/dry (cordless only)
No5 levels battery indicator, elapsed time
ES-LV81-K [black], wet/dry (cordless only)
The first generation ES-LV81-K Arc 5 with the Vortex Hydra Cleaning System
Yes (Vortex Hydra)5 levels battery indicator, elapsed time

Second Arc 5 generation comparison table

Arc 5 modelCleaning stationLED display
ES-LV65-S [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
No10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time
ES-LV95-S [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
ES-LV95-S
Yes10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time
ES-LV67-K [black], ES-LV67-A [blue], wet/dry (cordless only)
ES-LV67-K
No5 levels battery indicator
ES-LV97-K [black], wet/dry (cordless only)
ES-LV97-K
Yes5 levels battery indicator
ES-ALV6HR [red], wet/dry (cordless only)
alv6hr
No5 levels battery indicator
ES-LV69-S [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
es-lv69-s
No5 levels battery indicator

Third Arc 5 generation rev A comparison table

Arc 5 modelCleaning stationLED display
ES-LV9A-S [silver], ES-LV9N [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
Panasonic ES-LV9N-S
Yes10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time
ES-LV6A-S [silver], ES-LV6N [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
No10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time

Third Arc 5 generation rev B comparison table

Arc 5 modelCleaning stationLED display
ES-LV9B-S [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
ES-LV9A-S
Yes10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time
ES-LV6B-S [silver], wet/dry (cordless only)
es-lv6b
No10 levels battery indicator, elapsed time

Third Arc 5 generation rev C comparison table

ModelCleaning stationLED displayMetal bodyTravel case
Panasonic ES-LV9CX-S (silver) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes10 stage, elapsed timeYesHard travel case
*Panasonic ES-LV9C (black or silver) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes10 stage, elapsed timeNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7C-T (brown) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes3 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7C-A (blue) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes3 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5C-K (black) [washable, cordless & corded]
No5 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5C-R (red) [washable, cordless & corded]
No5 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-CV70-S (silver, compact) [washable, cordless & corded]
Panasonic ES-CV51
No3 stageYesHard travel case
Panasonic ES-LV9Q (silver) [wet/dry, cordless only]
Yes10 stage, elapsed timeYesSoft case
Panasonic ES-LV6Q (black) [wet/dry, cordless only]
No10 stage, elapsed timeNoSoft case
Panasonic ES-CV51 (silver, compact) [wet/dry, cordless only]
Panasonic ES-CV51
No3 stageYesHard travel case

Third Arc 5 generation rev D comparison table

ModelCleaning stationLED displayMetal bodyTravel case
Panasonic ES-LV9DX (ES-CLV9DX) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes10 stage, elapsed timeYesHard travel case
Panasonic ES-LV9D (ES-CLV9D) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes10 stage, elapsed timeNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7D (ES-CLV7D) [washable, cordless & corded]
Yes3 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5D (ES-CLV5D) [washable, cordless & corded]
No5 stageNoSoft pouch

Third Arc 5 generation rev E comparison table

ModelCleaning stationBattery indicatorDetails
Panasonic ES-LV9EX (Silver) [washable]
es-lv9ex
Yes10 levels, elapsed timeMetal body, smart lock, leather case, cordless + corded use
Panasonic ES-LV9E (Silver) [washable]
es-lv9e
Yes10 levels, elapsed timePlastic body, soft faux leather pouch, cordless + corded use
Panasonic ES-LV7E (Brown or Blue) [washable]
es-lv7e
Yes3 levelsPlastic body, soft faux leather pouch, cordless + corded use
Panasonic ES-LV5E (Black or Red) [washable]
es-lv5e
No5 levelsPlastic body, soft faux leather pouch, cordless + corded use

Third Arc 5 generation rev F comparison table

ModelCleaning stationOperationDetails
Panasonic ES-LV9FX [-S silver, washable]
es-lv9fx
YesCordless and corded [dry only]10 level LED, elapsed time, metal body, smart lock, leather case
Panasonic ES-LV9F [-S silver, washable]
es-lv9f
YesCordless and corded [dry only]10 level LED, elapsed time, plastic body, smart lock, soft faux leather pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7F [-T brown, washable]
es-lv7f
YesCordless and corded [dry only]3 level LED, plastic body, soft faux leather pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7T [-A blue, wet/dry]
es-lv7t
YesCordless only [wet&dry]3 level LED, plastic body, soft faux leather pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5F [-R red, -K black, washable]
es-lv5f
NoCordless and corded [dry only]5 level LED, plastic body, soft faux leather pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5T [-A blue, wet/dry]
es-lv5t
NoCordless only [wet&dry]5 level LED, plastic body, soft faux leather pouch

Third Arc 5 generation rev G (Series 900) comparison table

ModelCleaning stationOperationDetails
Panasonic ES-LV9U [S, silver]
es-lv9u
YesWet/dry (cordless only)5 level LED, hard leather case
Panasonic ES-LV7U [A, blue]
es-lv7u
YesWet/dry (cordless only)3 level LED, textile pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7G [T, brown]
es-lv7g
YesDry only (corded & cordless)3 level LED, textile pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5U [A, blue]
NoWet/dry (cordless only)3 level LED, textile pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5G [T, brown]
es-lv5g
NoDry only (corded & cordless)3 level LED, textile pouch

Third Arc 5 generation rev H (Arc 5 PRO) comparison table

ModelOperationCleaning stationDetails
1. ES-LV9V [-S, Silver]
Wet/dry (cordless only)Yes5 stage battery display, hard travel case, bubble making mode
2. ES-LV7V [-A, Blue]

es-lv7v
Wet/dry (cordless only)Yes3 stage battery display, cloth pouch, bubble making mode
3. ES-LV7H [-S, Silver]
es-lv7h
Dry only (cordless & corded)Yes3 stage battery display, cloth pouch
4. ES-LV5V [-A, Blue]
es-lv5v
Wet/dry (cordless only)No3 stage battery display, cloth pouch
5. ES-LV5H [-S, Silver]
es-lv5v
Dry only (cordless & corded)No3 stage battery display, cloth pouch

Third Arc 5 generation rev J (Arc 5 PRO) comparison table

ModelCleaning stationOperationBattery displayAccessories
1. ES-LV9W (-S, Silver)
es-lv9w-s
YesWet/dry, cordless only5 levelsHard travel case, oil, cleaning brush, detergent pack, AC charger
2. ES-LV7W (-K, Black)
ES-LV7W-k
YesWet/dry, cordless only3 levelsCloth pouch, oil, cleaning brush, detergent pack, AC charger
3. ES-LV7J, (-S, Silver)
es-lv7j-s
YesDry only, cordless & corded3 levelsCloth pouch, oil, cleaning brush, AC charger
4. ES-LV5W, (-K, Black)
ES-LV5W-K
NoWet/dry, cordless only3 levelsCloth pouch, oil, cleaning brush, AC charger
5. ES-LV5J, (-S, Silver)
ES-LV5J-S
NoDry only, cordless & corded3 levelsCloth pouch, oil, cleaning brush, AC charger

What are the differences that actually matter?

Panasonic Arc 5 differences.

The tables above can be helpful if you’ve already settled on a particular Arc 5 generation/revision and only have to decide on things like color, the type of travel case, LED display and so on.

As mentioned previously, the shaving performance throughout a generation/revision is identical.

But the most important and difficult part is to figure out which Arc 5 generation/revision makes the most sense for you.

Fortunately, there are only a few things you should factor in, so let’s check them out.

1. Design

When we say design, we tend to only think about the visual part: colors, textures, shapes and so on.

And the three Arc 5 generations can differ dramatically in that regard.

However, design is more than just looks and it will impact the way you use a particular shaver.

In my opinion, there are three important things here in terms of Arc 5 design:

  • The shaving head
  • The LED display
  • The build quality

The shaving head

Being a 5-blade foil shaver, the Panasonic Arc 5 has a large shaving head.

The new outer foil of the 2021 Arc 5.

That can make it a bit awkward to use, particularly for someone just getting started with electric shaving.

And while the surface of the 5 cutting elements is the same for all Arc 5 models, that can’t be said about the shaving head itself.

The very first Arc 5 generation (ES-LV61, ES-LV81) was fitted with an earlier iteration of the 14 000 CPM motor that was larger than the more recent ones.

As such, in order to accommodate it, the engineers had to make the whole shaving head larger.

And that really makes a difference during the actual shave — a first-generation Arc 5 will feel bulkier and more difficult to use when shaving below the nose or the jawline.

Fortunately, with the introduction of the more compact motors of the second generation, the shaving heads were also reduced in size.

Second generation Arc 5 (ES-LV95-S).
Second generation Arc 5 (ES-LV95-S).

All Arc 5 variations from the second generation and up feature this smaller shaving head.

The third Arc 5 generation also introduced some impressive flexing capabilities of the shaving unit (revision C and up).

The flexible shaving head of the latest Arc 5.
The flexible shaving head of the latest Arc 5.

However, I wouldn’t consider that a must-have feature when trying to decide between a second or third-generation Arc 5 for example.

In practice, that highly flexible head doesn’t seem to make a big difference. The range of motion is limited and it’s just not as effective as other shavers that use a simpler system (like the Braun Series 9).

All Arc 5 models come with a locking switch that allows you to lock the head when more precision is needed.

The multi-purpose locking switch on the ES-LV67.
The multi-purpose locking switch on the ES-LV67.

Also, the pop-up hair trimmer is identical for all Panasonic Arc 5 variations and it’s an excellent trimmer — the best in business in my opinion.

The LED display

The LED display is another feature that can vary a lot among the different Arc 5 models.

It may not seem like an important aspect, but some of them show a couple of really nifty information: the battery level in 10% increments and the duration of the shave.

Panasonic Arc 5 LED displays.
The LED display of the ES-LV65 from the second generation (left) vs the Arc 5 revision G (Series 900).

Tip: you can refer to the tables above to see the exact models that come with this feature-rich display that can also show the elapsed time.

In contrast, other Arc 5 models, including the latest revisions G, H and J, only offer a 5 or even a 3-stage LED display — something you would normally find on an entry-level Arc 3 for example.

It’s not a deal-breaker, but when you pay a premium price on an electric razor, you also expect to get all the extra features.

Some of the popular (and widely available) models that come with the more advanced displays are the ES-LV65-S, ES-LV95-S, ES-LV9Q and ES-LV6Q.

The build quality

As for build quality, the Arc 5 series (and Panasonic shavers in general) has always been at the very top.

In fact, I think they currently have the best build quality out of all shaver brands.

That said, some Arc 5’s take it one notch higher.

With the third generation, a few select models come with a metal body. To be more precise, the main panels are made of brushed aluminum instead of plastic.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q.
The Panasonic ES-LV9Q (rev C) with its premium metal body.

These models are usually more expensive and include a cleaning station as well (the exception being the two compact models, ES-CV51 and ES-CV70).

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51, my shaver of choice for traveling.
The compact ES-CV51 also has a metal body.

The rest of the Arc 5 shavers that come with a metal body are the ES-LV9A (ES-LV9B), ES-LV9Q, ES-LV9CX (ES-CLV9CX), ES-LV9DX (ES-CLV9DX), ES-LV9EX and ES-LV9FX.

The ES-LV9Q is usually the easiest to get, particularly in Europe as it’s part of the revision C that was officially released there. It also costs less than other Japan-exclusive models with a metal body.

The Panasonic ES-LV9Q with the cleaning station.

See the price on Amazon

I own both plastic and metal Arc 5’s and while the metal feels oddly nice and cold in the hand, there’s nothing really wrong with the plastic ones either.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR held in hand (plastic body).
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR held in hand (plastic body).

It’s a high-quality plastic that doesn’t tarnish in time nor does it creak when you hold it firmly.

The panel gaps are small and even and I never had any issues with mine.

3. Outer foil

The Arc 5 ES-LV65-S is a very capable electric shaver that can deliver a really close shave.
A second generation Panasonic Arc 5 (ES-LV65-S)

Arguably the most important component that varies across the different Arc5 generations and revisions is the outer foil.

This is a key element because it’s the part that comes in direct contact with the skin and will have the greatest impact on the comfort, closeness and how well the shaver catches facial hair.

The Panasonic Arc 5 has 5 cutting elements: 4 micro-foils and one central cutter.

Arc 5 shaving head structure.
The structure of an Arc 5 foil: A — a central trimmer, B — two reverse tapered foils, C — two finishing foils

That central cutter, along with the two outermost foils has built-in blades, while the blades that oscillate behind the foils that flank the central cutter are removable.

Removable inner blades (left) and integrated blades (right)
The two removable inner blades (left) and the three integrated blades (right)

Therefore, a replacement set for the Arc 5 will include the outer foil and the two removable blades.

You can usually purchase them separately as well (the foil, inner blades and the set will have different part numbers).

WES9032P foil and blade set.
Arc 5 foil and blades set.

Important: the two removable blades have been the exact same ones (part number WES9170) since the introduction of the first generation Arc 5 in 2009 and until the very latest 2023 revision J.

So the only part that can be different with different Arc 5 models is the outer foil.

The first and second-generation Arc 5 shavers come with the same foil/set, while for the third Arc 5 generation we have 4 different foils (depending on the revision).

However, all four of them have a distinct feature compared to the first two generations: the comfort rollers.

First and second generation foil (left) next to third-generation foil (right).
First and second-generation foil (left) vs the third-generation foil (right). You can see the two gold comfort rollers on the newer foil.

These rollers are basically two metal bars that spin freely when you move the shaving head over the skin.

This helps it glide easier and also prevents the user from applying excessive pressure.

Some users find it annoying for precisely that reason; I personally haven’t had any issues with it and the closeness has been just as good.

In fact, that’s the main pro of all the newer (generation three) foils: all of them are slightly more comfortable than the previous one (no rollers).

In terms of closeness, I haven’t noticed any improvements, so it’s still excellent, arguably the best out there.

According to Panasonic, the main improvement of the newer, tweaked foils is in the way they handle longer, flat-lying hairs.

That central trimmer has been constantly refined, particularly in the case of the latest revision G (2021), revision H (2022) and revision J (2023) which share the same foil.

The new outer foil of the 2021 Arc 5.
The new outer foil of the 2021 Arc 5 revision G (aka Series 900).

And while these changes did improve the performance of the third-gen Arc 5 with longer facial hair, it’s not as good as a Braun Series 7 or 9.

It will still require multiple strokes and changes of direction in order to get those difficult hairs.

I find all four different foils of the third Arc 5 generation very similar performance-wise, with a slight advantage in the case of the revision G, H and J foil that does seem to be just a bit better with longer, flat-lying hairs.

So this is how I would sum up the performance of the different Panasonic Arc 5 foils.

Later on, I will also address the foils compatibility and the possibility of upgrading your Arc 5.

3. Wet/Dry vs Dry only use

All Panasonic Arc 5’s are fully waterproof and can be washed with water for easy and effective cleaning.

Rinsing the head with water while the sonic mode is active.

And while most models are specifically marked as suitable for wet/dry use (ie with shaving cream or in the shower), there are some that are only washable (as in you can clean them with water), but can only be used dry.

Shaving wet with the Panasonic Arc 5 is a real treat.
The ES-LV67-K, a wet/dry Arc 5.

The most important consequence is that a wet/dry Arc 5 will only work cordless, while a washable model will also work while charging (corded).

The latter seems to be very important to some users, but unfortunately, those models are usually only sold in Japan.

You can also check out the comparison tables above to see exactly which are the wet/dry (cordless only) and dry only (cordless and corded) models.

The ones that are widely available in the USA and Europe, like the ES-LV65, ES-ALV6HR (USA only), ES-LV67, ES-LV97, ES-LV6Q and ES-LV9Q are wet/dry, so cordless only.

I personally never use electric shavers with the cord plugged in and since the Arc 5 performs amazingly with shaving cream, I am fine with the cordless-only variations.

Besides, the other ones are a lot more expensive to buy from Japan (the shipping and customs fees are high).

4. Cleaning station: yey or nay?

The fourth important aspect you should keep in mind when buying a Panasonic Arc 5 is the cleaning station.

The Panasonic ES-LV9Q with the cleaning station.
The Panasonic ES-LV9Q with the cleaning station.

Should you get a variation that comes with or without one?

Well, it depends as both options have pros and cons.

The single shaver models (ES-LV65, ES-LV67, ES-LV6Q, ES-LV6U etc.) are cheaper and since the Arc 5 is also very easy to clean manually, these are probably the better pick for most users.

Important: You won’t be able to use it with a compatible station purchased later on as the shaver lacks the contact pins on the back.

The charging pins on the back on an Arc 5 model.
The back of the Panasonic ES-LV67-K (left) has blanks instead of metal contact and charging pins.

Now, the Panasonic Arc 5 cleaning station (from the second generation and up) is actually very good.

You can choose to only charge, dry or do a complete cleaning and drying cycle. The detergent-based solution also doesn’t evaporate as fast as other alcohol-based fluids.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV97-K

es-lv97

See the price on Amazon

The solution has lubricating properties as well, so you won’t have to oil the blades yourself.

That said, the Panasonic station is not as practical as the ones from Braun for example.

And that’s mainly because you have to mix the concentrated detergent with water in the station’s tray and then you’re pretty much stuck with it.

Panasonic station tray.

Braun stations on the other hand use resealable cartridges that you can take out and put the cap back on and store in a safe place until further use.

Also, you have a lot more options for inexpensive third-party solutions for Braun stations. With Panasonic, you’re stuck with their detergent packs.

And as mentioned earlier, the Arc5’s that come with a station cost more than the ones that don’t.

If those things aren’t deal-breakers, then by all means you should get one with a cleaning station (like the ES-LV95/ES-LV97, ES-LV9Q or ES-LV9U).

Personally, I always buy Panasonic shavers that don’t include a cleaning station. I just don’t find it necessary and cleaning these shavers manually is a breeze.

5. Price and availability

Last but certainly not least, there’s the price.

In my opinion, value for money should be a decisive factor when deciding which Arc 5 to buy.

And the prices of these razors vary tremendously and don’t always make sense.

For example, you’ll sometimes find there’s a significant price difference between the ES-LV67-K, ES-ALV6HR and ES-LV65-S models.

The ES-LV67-K, ES-ALV6HR and ES-LV65-S.
The ES-LV67-K, ES-ALV6HR and ES-LV65-S.

And since the performance of those is pretty much identical, you should definitely buy the one that costs less — whichever that may be.

The newer, Japan-exclusive Arc 5’s, particularly the top-of-the-line models ending in -X (ES-LV9DX, ES-LV9EX, ES-LV9FX etc.) are usually the most expensive.

They come with cleaning stations, metal bodies, the smart lock feature and a nicer hard leather travel case.

So you’re not really paying more for extra performance — as mentioned, that stays the same throughout a generation/revision.

In terms of bang for the buck, the older, second-generation Arc 5’s (no cleaning station) will generally be the best. They’re also widely available.

Also, some of the third-generation revision C models can be found at reasonable prices and are available in Europe and the USA.

This way you won’t have to spend extra money on shipping and customs fees.

Finally, there’s the revision G or Series 900 which was officially released globally (not in the USA and Canada, unfortunately), so the prices in Europe for example quite reasonable for the ES-LV6U and ES-LV9U models.

The takeaway is that in the case of the Panasonic Arc 5, the price doesn’t always tell the whole story and you shouldn’t necessarily pay more for a newer version.

I will also be sharing the Arc 5 models that I think are worth buying given their performance and price.

Do some Arc 5 models shave better than others?

Simply put, the aforementioned differences also lead to a difference in performance.

So the answer is yes, some Arc 5 models do shave slightly better than others or are better in certain specific areas, but the differences are marginal.

Here’s a short summary:

  • The second generation Arc 5 shaves the same as the first one, but the smaller head and the better, redesigned cleaning station make them a better pick. Also, the first generation has been long discontinued.
  • The third-generation revisions A and B have a nicer design compared to the second one and the comfort of the shave is slightly better thanks to the comfort rollers. The redesigned central trimmer is also slightly better at catching longer hairs, but nothing significant.
  • The revisions C through J come with an updated design and more flexing capabilities of the shaving head (that doesn’t make any difference in practice). The foils are again slightly better with longer hairs compared to the A and B, the latest revision G, H and J foil being the most capable in that regard.

As you can see, when it comes to performance, the difference is made by the outer foil.

However, there’s an important catch, which leads us to the next section.

Replacement foils compatibility. Upgrading your older Arc 5

Panasonic Arc5 foils and blades.

One of the key elements that make a strong case for buying an older and cheaper Arc 5 model is the possibility of upgrading the outer foil later on.

I’m referring mainly to the second-generation shavers like ES-LV65/ES-LV95 and ES-LV67/ES-LV97 as those can still be bought pretty much anywhere in the world.

However, if you still own a first-generation shaver and is still in good shape, this next part still applies.

As we saw earlier, there are 4 different outer foils available with the various revisions of the third generation.

The differences between these foils are minor and each of them was slightly tweaked and improved compared to the previous one.

So which foil is compatible with which Arc 5?

The answer is actually really simple:

Any Arc 5 foil is compatible with any Arc 5 shaver, regardless of the generation/revision. The two inner blades are the same for all Arc 5 models ever released.

This is hugely beneficial for the end-user.

It means you can buy a reasonably priced second-generation Arc 5 for example and later on, when it’s time to replace the foil/blades, you can upgrade it to the latest set and reap most of the benefits of the newer razors.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65 with the latest revision G/H foils.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65 with the latest revision G/H foils.

Of course, that could mean spending more money on a set or even importing it from Japan.

But it’s really nice to have that possibility.

You won’t find this cross-generation compatibility documented anywhere officially, but I’ve tested many Arc 5 foils and shavers combinations and they work just fine.

Here’s a table with the replacement sets that each Arc 5 generation and revision originally comes with. However, they are backward-compatible. The two inner blades (WES9170) are always the same.

Arc 5 generation/revisionFoil and blades set
First generation WES9032P (ES9032, WES9032Y)
Second generation WES9032P (ES9032, WES9032Y)
Third generation (rev A and B)WES9034P (ES9034)
Third generation (rev C and D)WES9036 (WES9036Y, ES9036)
Third generation (rev E and F)ES9038
Third generation (rev G, H and J)ES9040

Further reading: For all the details regarding the exact foils/blades/sets part numbers and where to buy them from, make sure to check out my Arc 5 replacement foils guide.

Bottom line: which Panasonic Arc 5 should you buy?

Hopefully, by this point, things are beginning to be pretty clear.

In my opinion, the best Panasonic Arc 5 is one that is reasonably priced, easy to get and ticks the boxes for most of the user’s personal needs.

Those are things like the cleaning station, the LED display, the type of travel case and so on.

Obviously, these won’t affect the shaving performance, but some of them are nice to have, especially if you can get a particular feature-rich model at a discounted price.

That said, I think the second generation’s best-sellers, the ES-LV65 and ES-LV95, would be the best pick for most users even in 2024.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65

Panasonic es-lv65-s Arc 5

See the price on Amazon

They usually cost the least, can be upgraded with the latest foils and you can buy them in the USA, Canada, Europe, etc.

The performance is top-notch and as mentioned earlier, their only downside compared to the third-generation Arc 5 is the old foil that isn’t quite as comfortable and a less flexible shaving head (not a big deal in practice).

Alternatively, the newer ES-LV67 and ES-LV97 come with an updated design, but use the exact same foils, and can be a great option if for some reason you can’t buy the ES-LV65/ES-LV95 in your country.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV67-K

See the price on Amazon

Compared to the ES-LV65 and ES-LV95, these two have a more basic LED display that won’t show the elapsed time.

The shaving sensor is also always on, while in the case of the ES-LV65 and ES-LV95 you had the possibility to turn it off.

Again, this is a minor shortcoming that shouldn’t steer you away from them, particularly if the price is lower.

It’s the same in the case of the striking ES-ALV6HR which is basically a red ES-LV67.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-ALV6HR

es-alv6hr

See the price on Amazon

Side note: in Europe, the blue ES-LV67-A variation is sold instead of the black ES-LV67-K and the red ES-ALV6HR. The color is the only difference between them.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67-A

ES-LV67-A

See the price on Amazon

As you can tell, these models do not come with a cleaning station, but you can of course opt for the ES-LV95 or ES-LV97 variations if you need the station.

Again, with Panasonic shavers, this decision should be made from the get-go because a model bought without a station will not work with one.

As for the third generation, considering that the A and B revisions have been discontinued, we’re only left with the C through J revisions to pick from.

However, only the C and G (Series 900) revisions have been released globally, are easy to buy and somewhat reasonably priced.

As a result, I would consider a revision C model or the newer revision G, aka Series 900.

From the C revision, the ES-LV6Q (plastic body, no station) and ES-LV9Q (metal body, cleaning station) are available in Europe and even in the USA.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q

ES-LV9Q

See the price on Amazon

Compared to the ones above from the second generation, the ES-LV6Q and ES-LV9Q come with a nicer design, an updated (and more comfortable) foil and a more flexible shaving head.

The Panasonic ES-LV65-S next to ES-LV9Q-S.
The Panasonic ES-LV65-S next to ES-LV9Q-S.

If they don’t cost a lot more, I think you can get them instead.

Otherwise, the older ones are still fantastic performers and you can always upgrade the foil.

Now, if you don’t mind spending a premium just to have the very latest Arc 5, even though you won’t really be getting much more in terms of performance, you can import one from Japan.

Also, as mentioned previously, the revision G Arc 5 is now available in many countries for a rather reasonable price under the Series 900 name (ES-LV9U, ES-LV6U).

Panasonic Series 900 ES-LV6U

es-lv6u

See the price on Amazon

These are now viable options, especially if we consider the price and that they come with the latest foil.

I would strongly consider the ES-LV6U model (no cleaning station) if you can get a good deal on it.

Or maybe you want an Arc 5 that you can use both cordless and corded.

I’m mainly referring to the D, E, F, G, H and J revisions that were only released in Japan.

The ones ending in -X are particularly impressive with their all-metal build, regardless if it’s a D, E or F revision (the latest G, H and J shavers only come with the standard plastic bodies).

Since most stores won’t ship to Europe or the USA, you can use a proxy service to have it shipped to your location.

I personally use a service called forward2me.com and it works great. Upon signing up, you’ll basically receive a Japan-based address where you can have the shaver shipped and then they’ll ship it to your address for a rather reasonable fee.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with or endorsed by forward2me.com and I do not receive any compensation for recommending them. It’s just a service that I’ve used and found to be very reliable.

You’ll find most of the Japan-exclusive Panasonic Arc 5’s on Amazon.co.jp and on Rakuten.

Bonus tips: getting the most out of your Arc 5

Now that we’ve hopefully covered all the important differences, let’s see how you can put your Arc 5 to good use.

Holding a Panasonic Arc 5 revison G.

Even if some Arc 5 variations offer excellent value for money and represent a great investment, the upfront cost is still significant.

The price of the replacement foils and blades is also quite high, so you’ll want to keep your shaver in top shape for as long as possible while also getting a great shave.

Luckily, there are a few simple, but very effective things you can do in that regard.

These generally apply to any electric shaver, but some are particularly important in the case of the Arc 5 as you’ll see next.

1. Clean and lubricate your Arc 5 regularly

Giving the foils and blades one final rinse.

This will probably make the biggest difference to the quality of the shave and the lifespan of the foil and blades.

Ideally, you’ll want to clean the shaver thoroughly after every use.

You could do that using a brush (usually included in the box) or some compressed air, but the best way to do it is with water and (optionally) some liquid soap.

Side note: if your Arc 5 has a cleaning station and you use it regularly, you don’t have to clean or lubricate your shaver manually.

I personally always clean my Arc 5’s with warm tap water and a bit of liquid soap after every shave.

Cleaning the ES-LV5U in the sonic cleaning mode.
Cleaning the shaver with water and liquid soap.

It literally takes less than a minute and it’s very effective.

Tip: if you shave with cream or gel, you should definitely clean your Arc 5 with water and soap after every use.

The Arc 5 is fitted with a so-called Sonic cleaning mode that you can activate by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds.

Cleaning the ES-LV65-S is very straightforward.
Rinsing the ES-LV65-S with tap water (sonic mode activated).

With the Sonic mode turned on, the blades oscillate at a much higher rate for 20 seconds, dislodging any stubborn dirt and preventing water from splashing when rinsing the shaving head.

Your user manual will have detailed instructions on how to clean your Arc 5 manually or you can check out the cleaning section of my Arc 5 reviews.

Lubrication is equally important.

The Arc 5 is one of the closest shaving razors out there and one of the reasons for it is that the cutters and foils are machined with very tight tolerances.

Precisely, the gap between the outer foil and the blades is extremely small.

The exposed inner blades of a Panasonic Arc5.

In fact, during use, the blades will rub against the foils. And metal on metal at 14 000 cycles per minute with no lubrication is bad.

This is why lubrication is particularly important here.

It will minimize the friction between the blades and foil, reducing the wear and heat.

It also means that most of the power will be used for actually cutting the hairs, with minimal loss in the form of heat.

You’ll get a closer and more comfortable shave and you won’t need to replace the foil and blades for a longer period.

It’s a major benefit for such a simple and trivial task.

Lubricating an Arc 5 is dead easy: a single drop of lubricant on the outside of each of the 5 cutters will suffice.

Lubricating the shaver with the included oil.
Lubricating the shaver with the included oil.

You then turn the shaver on for a few seconds and spread the lubricant evenly with your finger.

Panasonic sometimes includes a small bottle of oil with the Arc 5, but that’s not always the case.

Luckily, you can use clipper oil (it’s basically the same stuff, ie highly refined mineral oil). Clipper oil is cheap and widely available.

Wahl Clipper Oil

Wahl oil

See the price on Amazon

If you only clean your Arc 5 with water, applying the oil once or twice a week will be enough.

If you also use liquid soap, then you should lubricate the blades after every cleaning — just remember that the blades must be dry before applying the lubricant.

Further reading: How to properly lubricate an electric shaver

Alternatively, you can use a spray lubricant for electric shavers.

In my opinion this works even better since it also cleans the blades. Besides, if the water is hard, it will remove any mineral deposits as well.

My favorite is the Remington Shaver Saver. Unfortunately, it was discontinued and you can’t buy it anymore.

The one I’m currently using is the Andis Cool Care Plus. It’s effective, inexpensive and comes in a huge can that lasts forever.

Further reading: Using a Spray Cleaner And Lubricant

2. Make sure the shaver has enough charge before you shave

Charging the Panasonic Arc5 takes approximately 50 minutes.

Even though Panasonic claims the Arc 5 will maintain peak power even when the battery charge drops, that’s not really the case.

I personally can feel a significant performance difference when shaving with 20% battery vs 50% or more.

If you want the best results in terms of closeness, comfort, and speed, charge your shaver.

Side note: charging the shaver more often will not harm modern Li-ion batteries.

3. Use a pre-shave lotion

For most men, the addition of a quality pre-electric shave lotion will be beneficial for getting a closer and smoother shave.

Speick pre electric shave lotion.

Even though the Arc 5 is already an excellent performer, a pre-shave can make it gentler and also improve the closeness, especially during a dry shave or if you have very coarse, flat-lying hair.

Pre-shave lotions are cheap, easy to apply and won’t clog the shaver.

My favorites are the ones from Speick and Tabac and you can read all about them in my pre-shave lotions guide.

4. Use shaving cream

I know this tip won’t be too popular as most of us prefer a quick dry shave, however, you shouldn’t dismiss wet shaving altogether.

Wet shaving with the new Panasonic Arc 5 is excellent.

The Panasonic Arc 5 performs phenomenally with shaving cream or gel.

If you want the absolute closest shave with an electric shaver, this is the way to get it.

There are however a few tweaks you can make in order to get the best results, so make sure to check out my wet shaving tips as well.

5. Shave more often

Although Panasonic made incremental progress with the newer foils, they’re still nowhere near as good as Braun for example when it comes to shaving longer, flat-lying hairs.

The Panasonic Arc 5 (Series 900) next to the Braun Series 9.
The Panasonic Arc 5 (Series 900) next to the Braun Series 9.

Things are even more difficult if they grow in different directions.

To minimize this shortcoming, you should strive to shave more often.

Even if your hairs grow parallel to the skin or have different grains, things are usually a lot easier if the hair is shorter.

6. Don’t press too hard and take your time

Finally, the Arc 5 is a beast of a shaver and it will let you know if you press too hard.

You will get some razor burn even if you don’t have very sensitive skin.

The best approach is to only use light pressure and let the shaver do the work.

Use straight, controlled strokes, always against the grain.

Do not rush through the process and try to enjoy it.

Final word

Out of all the different series of electric shavers out there, the Panasonic Arc 5 is probably the most difficult to document.

The sheer number of models, generations and revisions makes this task really challenging.

With this Arc 5 comparison and buying guide, I tried my best to showcase the differences between the models, but also to reduce the buying decision to only a handful of important factors.

Hopefully, this will make choosing an Arc 5 easier. With all these models available and the appeal of a newer and possibly better shaver, it can easily get overwhelming.

Over to you now — if you have any other questions regarding this topic or you’d like to share your experience of owning and using an Arc 5, make sure to leave a comment below.

Article by

Hey. I’m Ovidiu, the founder and editor of ShaverCheck. I independently buy and test electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 10 years, hopefully helping others choose a suitable shaver.

If you found the information useful, consider subscribing to the ShaverCheck newsletter as well. It’s free and I only send a few emails a year. Unsubscribe at any time.

270 thoughts on “Panasonic Arc 5 Comparison Guide: Which One Should You Buy?”

Leave a comment
  1. Wonderfully comprehensive overview! Thanks, Ovidiu.
    I own a ES-LV65. Is there any way—other than lapse of time (the manufacturer, I believe, recommends one year for foil and two for cutters) to know when to replace these parts? (I plan to replace the foil with the ES9040 that I have already received.)

    Reply
    • Thank you, Marc, you’re way too kind. In my opinion the interval recommended by the manufacturer isn’t necessarily relevant with real-world use. You may need to replace them sooner (or even later) than that. I usually notice a few things with my Panasonic shavers (so not really specific to the Arc 5, but in the case of the Arc 4 and Arc 3 as well):

      • The foils get noticeably warmer during use (and that happens even with proper lubrication)
      • It takes me more time to get a satisfactory shave
      • The closeness isn’t as good, particularly on areas with thicker and denser hairs (below the nose, chin)
      • I start getting some razor burn, most likely because I’m tempted to press harder in order to get a close shave (plus the increasingly hot foils)

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  2. Many thanks for your reviews – all a bit overwhelming!!

    I have a Braun 7 which I am not very happy with – not a close shave and needs at least one repeat during the day. I was thinking of going to a 9 series.

    Now and based on this review, I am wondering about a good Panasonic.

    How will I ever decide?

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you for the comment, much appreciated.

      In my opinion if you want a closer shave, going from a Series 7 to a Series 9 won’t make a huge difference. It might, but mainly because you’d be using a brand new shaver with sharp blades and a new foil (you’ve probably been shaving with the Series 7 for quite some time).

      I think a Panasonic Arc 5 would be a better option.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Extremely helpful guide thanks. But what about the very high cost of replacement foils/blades? Should I choose a different shaver?
    – I value speed of shaving.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      You are very welcome, glad you found it helpful.

      The newest foils and blades are quite pricey and even the older ones (that come with the gen 1 and 2 shavers) aren’t exactly cheap. But considering that you’d be getting at least one year of use (with proper cleaning and lubrication), I think the Arc 5 is still a good investment. If we look at the cost per shave relative to cartridge razors for example, the Arc 5 fares a lot better. If you value speed of shaving, it’s one of the best currently available shavers.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  4. Very informative article Ovidiu. Thanks!

    I’ll be curious to see what Panasonic does with the Arc 5 family as the Arc 6 family evolves. They already took away the flagship model, what would have been the LV9GX. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Arc 5 become just a replacement for the Arc 4 with only the LV65/95 and LV67/97 and the Arc 5 Gen3 models migrate into the Arc 6 family.

    If that happens, hopefully we’ll see an Arc 6 released in the States and in Europe.

    Reply
    • Hi Bill,

      Thank you, I really appreciate it.

      I think that could happen since Panasonic seems to have completely forgotten about the Arc 4. No updates or info whatsoever, which is a shame really because a new Arc 4 would be awesome. At the same time, making it too good and cheaper than the Arc 5 would probably cannibalize the Arc 5 sales. I also hope to see the Arc 6 available outside of Japan, but I’m a bit skeptical at this moment.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Your reviews are the absolute best in the world. What dedication to your work. These professional analyses are outstanding on so many different levels.

    I have a ESL 65 and am impressed that now more than one foil combo can be used.

    Reply
    • Clyde, you are way too kind. Thank you for the comment, glad you found the info useful.

      That is correct, you basically can choose between any of the newer foils for your ES-LV65.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • That’s awesome, Alan, glad you found the info useful. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your ES-LV65.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. So I’ve had a bit of “fun” with my shavers lately. I gave up on my Braun Series 9 due to the faulty head issue. I tried a Panasonic ES-LL41, which I acquired from Amazon for a mere $5 (my wife opened an Amazon CC to get $50 off). Severe razor burn on my neck. Currently trying a Philips S9985/84. Not as close a shave as I remember – I used Philips for thirty years until about ten years ago. Current shaver is still within their 45-day refund guarantee. So I am left with some questions on an Arc 5:

    What is the likelihood that foils and blades will be available into the future, given that the later Arc 5 models have only been issued in Japan?

    How does comfort and razor burn compare between LL-41 and, say, the LV65? I must say that the Philips is very comfortable – it is just not an acceptably close shave for me.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t worry about the Arc 5 foils. For example, the C revision was released pretty much everywhere in the world (minus the USA and Canada), so those foils are also available everywhere and are very similar performance-wise to ones that come on the Japan-exclusive models. Besides, the older ones (that come on the ES-LV65 and ES-LV67) are still everywhere. But most importantly, any Arc 5 foils are compatible with any Arc 5 shavers, so you will definitely be able to get some in the future.

      The ES-LV65 is gentler than an Arc 3, however, if the ES-LL41 gave you severe razor burn, I’m not sure that the Arc 5 would be right either.

      I’m not really surprised about the closeness you got using the Philips 9500 — that’s pretty much standard with the current rotary razors.

      Since you’re still in the return window, have you considered a Braun Series 7? The older generation like the 7865cc, 790cc and so. A Series 7 is similar to the Series 9 performance-wise (closeness, comfort) despite having one less blade, but doesn’t have any issues with the reliability of the cassette.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Insanely comprehensive guide, you’re the best! I just went back to using a foil since I used one in high school. I came here to get some tips and figure out which to buy and your guide is awesome. Anyway, I took your suggestion and bought a ES-LV65, but put a gen 5 outer foil with rollers on it after about 3 days of using the LV65 (shipping took longer on the foil). Maybe because I’m kind of a first timer (again?) and my skin wasn’t used to it, but I thought the LV65 created a ton of friction that was substantially alleviated by the rollers on the gen 5 foil. I honestly thought it was a big difference. Frankly, I thought both foils were great – close shave, easy, convenient and even with the friction they still worked great. But the gen 5 with rollers, I think is even smoother and more comfortable. Just wanted to give you my 2 cents. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hey,

      Thank you so much, glad you found it useful. Definitely less friction with any of the foils that have the rollers. Enjoy your upgraded ES-LV65!

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. Hu Ovidiu,
    Just thanking you for your comprehensive reviews and updates.
    This info is the best available – and you leave no stone unturned.
    Thanks Sir!

    Reply
  9. Thanks, Ovidu, for your most recent, as usual, outstanding review of the Arc 5. Your past guidance prompted me to acquire the Braun series 7, which I have been very pleased with. But your revisit of the Arc 5, especially with your praise of the closeness of its shave, led me to take my Arc 5 out and begin to use it again. It does provide a very close shave. But I have a question: Braun recommends not washing your face before shaving. I wonder if you know the basis for that recommendation? I have continued the practice with the Arc 5. Can you shed some light on this issue?

    Reply
    • Hi Bert,

      Thank you, glad you found the post useful.

      Braun’s recommendation makes sense in the context of a dry shave when you’ll want the skin as dry as possible in order to get the best results. That’s why it’s also recommended not to shower right before shaving; the use of an alcohol-based pre-shave lotion that dries any moisture from the skin can also be beneficial. I also support this approach of having the skin as dry as possible and it’s one of the easiest and most effective tweaks you can do before shaving dry — regardless of the shaver, be it rotary or foil, Panasonic or Braun etc. It’s a whole different story in the case of a wet shave when you’ll want to wash your face with plenty of warm water.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. Hi Ovidiu,

    Shavecheck.com has allowed me to dive into the state of the art of the subject, so, many thanks. Here go my doubts. It seems to me that, unfortunately, there will be no new Arc 4 update in the near future (I am pretty sure it will suffice for me, but current models are “a bit” out of date) and the Arc 6 will continue to be only available in Japan and out of budget. According to your recommendations (editor’s choices), the picks are LV65 and CV51. I know the differences between both models (display, sensor cancellation, plastic/metal body, original foils…, thanks to your excellent reviews), but never had them in my hand nor shaved with any of them. The intended use will be as main shaver for daily dry shaving with pre-shave or wet shaving, depending on the mood and hurry. I guess I have medium hair and relatively sensitive skin. I use Andis Cool Care Plus and Clipper Oil regularly with my current shaver. No need of cleaning station. From your point of view, if both shavers (LV65 and CV51) were sold/available at the same price, which one would be your pick as main/only shaver? How much would be the difference in euros in order to prefer one over the other? The prices of both shavers are getting closer and closer, and just a Panasonic hard travel case (ES-2L13) for LV65 costs 40 € (a third party one, a half – a third).

    Sincerely,
    Jordi

    Reply
    • Hi Jordi,

      Thank you for the comment, glad you found the site useful.

      In the past, the CV51 used to be a lot more expensive, so unless you absolutely needed a compact, but capable shaver, the LV65 was the better pick. If the price is the same, I guess the CV51 would offer more: better build quality, newer outer foil, compact body, premium hard travel case. The motor and battery are the same, so the shaving performance isn’t hindered in any way. Granted, the CV51 only has a fixed shaving head, but to me, that was never a big deal as I often shave with my LV65 with the head locked (it is a bit too jiggly). You also get a more basic display and you lose the ability to turn off the shaving sensor with the CV51.

      If the price is the same, you should get the CV51 if you think you’d benefit from the compact form factor. At least that’s what I would do. Otherwise, you can’t really go wrong with the LV65.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. Hi Ovidiu,

    Thanks to you, I’ve chosen an Arc5. I’m in Taiwan and of the 2 models I was considering, one said “corded and cordless” in your chart. The chart info seemed ambiguous on that particular model. The sales guy reassured me that it could be used with shaving cream, but I recalled you saying that a shaver that works corded is dry only. I prefer to shave in the shower with gel. The one I chose is because of the “5D” head range of motion as opposed to the “3D” ROM. Is using my “corded” model with gel (without the cord of course!) going to be an issue? Thanks very much!

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comment. Can you tell me the exact model of the Arc 5 you’re planning to get?

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thanks Ovidiu,

        In the intervening time between posting my comment and seeing your reply, I went to the Panasonic Hong Kong site and was able to clearly see in Chinese that the model I was sold did not support wet/dry shaving. Now I was in the unenviable position of having to go back to the store and try to have this conversation with the sales staff in Chinese, so having that chart from Panasonic HK was very useful. Fortunately, my wife asked me what the situation was and she got involved (she is native Taiwanese). It took about 10 minutes to get the point across, believe it or not.

        Taiwan only has four ARC5 models – and as you alluded to, they are not the very latest iterations, which seem limited to domestic Japan. The four Taiwan models are with/without cleaning station, and corded/cordless. I returned the first one and got the only one that was available without the cleaning station: ES-LV67. Thanks to your excellent breakdown and very clear observations, I also saw no need for the cleaning station.

        It’s interesting that the Taiwan sales staff didn’t really understand the differentiation between a shaver being waterproof and being designed for a wet shave. They said that when they were trained, they were told that all those shavers could be used “in the shower” and “with shaving cream” but they didn’t make any connection with “washable” and “wet/dry” being any different from one another. I showed them 2 different models right there in the showroom, and the whole issue seemed unimportant to them. On the back of each shaver, it’s noteworthy that there are icons for washable type (a water faucet) and a wet/dry (a bathtub with water and a shower head) type. Pointing that out resulted in indifference. So, my advice when shopping is to know your stuff first and don’t rely on the sales person to be able to tell you the whole story. Employee training is an issue around the world, so its important to remember that your salesperson may have simply been trained improperly.

        In the end, I just told them what I wanted to do and was insistent, but polite of course. The ES-LV67 was cheaper than the original one and it came with a free gift, so I actually made out in the end.

        Thank you very much for all the work you’ve done on this site. I subbed to your newsletter. I’ll be telling my followers about your site on my next live stream as one of my viewers recently asked me some questions about shaving issues. I am an engineer and I’ll say that your reviews are some of the best examples of clear, concise writing that is not just easy to understand, but, virtually impossible to mis-understand. After reading 3 of your articles, I realized how little I actually knew about care and maintenance of my electric razors and you can be sure that I’m going to be taking much better care of my new Arc5, thanks to you!

        Reply
        • You are very welcome — and thank you for your support and appreciation, it truly means a lot. I’m glad the problem was eventually solved. I’ve actually had to deal with similar situations myself where I live (Romania). But as you said, doing some research beforehand is definitely the way to go. The ES-LV67 is an excellent choice especially if you manage to get a great deal on one. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with it, with or without shaving cream.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  12. This is a great comprehensive review.

    I own the Panasonic Arc 4 since before the Arc 5 was released. I have no idea how many years have passed, but still (with a couple of blades changes) is running quite well. Nowadays I’m mostly shaving just part of my face since I like my beard and I do it with a straight razor. But I frequently use my Panasonic Arc 4 for my fades ( I cut my hair by myself) and other parts of my body.

    I really like to have premium clippers and I was co sidereal a new shaver to pair my best clippers, so I ended up reading many of your reviews, including the one related to the Arc 6.

    After analyzing quite a lot, I decided to purchase the Panasonic ES-LV9Q mainly for the upgraded blades and aluminum body. The Arc 6 seems to be a little too much for my needs and a bigger head, IMO is less desirable.

    I agree with you, the Panasonic shavers are easily washable with soap and water (I do it in the shower). I don’t know if I’m gonna give a good usage to the cleaning station, because I don’t plan to buy refills.

    If you have any recommendation to use the cleaning station without purchasing refill, it’s gonna be very welcome.

    Thanks for your review.

    Reply
    • Hi Mauricio,

      Thank you for the comment, much appreciated.

      I also cut my own hair and use a foil shaver to get a skin fade. I’m currently using the Series 9 Pro for that, it gets just as close as the Arc 5 when fading hair, but with less irritation. The back of my head is really sensitive and fading with the Arc 5 leaves me with some redness and irritation. Nothing major, but it’s why I tend to use the S9 more.

      Regarding the cleaning solutions, there’s the one from Shaver Shebang, haven’t personally tried it, but it’s got really good reviews and the costs are lower compared to the Panasonic detergent packs. The JetClean solution (used with Philips cleaning stations) could also work, but again, I haven’t tested it yet.

      I have quite a few Panasonic stations lying around that I’ve never used. I just clean the shaver with tap water and soap, then apply a spray lubricant. I’ve been doing this for years with great results and minimal costs.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  13. I got my shaver, the ES-LV9Q. I have mixed feelings. On one hand it’s a very good looking shaver, it feels more premium that my Arc4, having a littlebiymt of metal composition is good. On the other hand, the travel case doesn’t seems to be leather, it feels cheap and I think it will peel off with the time as it happened with my previous Arc4 case. Another thing that I dislike is all that movement in the head. It’s too much, it also feels fragile. That seems to be an step back compared to the Arc4.

    In terms of closeness, the Arc4 wins hands down here, those rollers in the Arc5 may get a more confortable shave but at the expense of closeness. This was an easy test, first I tried the Arc5 and once I couldn’t get closer, I tried the Arc4 which gave me a closer shave.

    All in all seems to be a good shaver, but I’m afraid it will not be as sturdier as the Arc 4. Only time will tells.

    I already bought the hard case from Japan because.

    If someone has the ES-LV9Q, could you tell me if the case that comes with the shaver peels of or if it’s real leather.

    Reply
    • Hi Mauricio,

      Thank you for the comment.

      I’ve actually noticed the head of the latest Arc 5 (and even Arc 6) as being too wobbly and also mentioned it in the reviews. You can however use the switch to lock it in place if you find it too annoying during use.

      A small percentage of users do feel like the rollers may get in the way of a closer shave — I’m not in that category and can’t relate, but I would try to tilt the shaver a bit towards the leading foil when going over an area that still feels rough. Ultimately, the older WES9173P foil that doesn’t have the rollers will fit the ES-LV9Q as well. It’s a good alternative when it comes the time to replace it.

      I have quite a few generation 3 Arc5s that all have some variation of that highly flexible head and no reliability issues so far.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. Money is not a big issue for me an i’m in the U.S. I really dont need a cleaning station. But I want a wet/ dry shaver. So which model should I buy? Es-Lv67 , es-Ls6Q or what other one do you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Gary,

      In the USA there are basically 3 wet/dry Arc 5 models available (without a cleaning station): ES-LV65, ES-LV67 and ES-LV6Q — the latter was never officially released, but it can be bought nevertheless.

      I don’t think one is intrinsically better than the other ones and since the price is not an issue, choosing one should come down to your own preferences.

      The ES-LV6Q comes with an updated foil which is a bit more comfortable, but other than that, it doesn’t shave closer or better than the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67. And you can in fact upgrade the foil on those as well. Also, the ES-LV67 has a 5-level battery indicator, while the other two have a 10-level indicator and will also display the elapsed time. These are pretty much all the differences that matter.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  15. Hi Ovidiu, huge fan of your articles and I constantly come to check any updates from Braun and Panasonic.

    Been using the Braun Series 7 (740s-7) for a few years now and thinking about an upgrade. I love wet shaving with this device as the lather makes the cassette more gentle on my sensitive skin. However, I do wish I could get a closer shave without damaging my skin, so I’ve been eyeing the Panasonic Arc5 (ES-LV97-K or ES-LV6Q) and the Braun Series 9 Sport (9310cc).

    What are you opinions for someone who has very sensitive skin but wants a closer shave? Is the wet shaving experience on the Arc5 (or, potentially even the new Arc6) better than the wet shaving experience on Braun Series 9 Sport? If cleaning manually is no problem for either because of my experience cleaning my Series 7, what’s the right move here?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate your support.

      The safer choice would be the Series 9 9310cc since you know from previous experience that it works well enough (in my opinion it is very similar to an older generation Series 7 like the 740s in terms of comfort and closeness). I think wet shaving with an Arc 5 will improve the closeness and still be comfortable. The Arc 6 is even better in that regard, but it’s significantly more expensive and still not widely available (should be released globally this month).

      Any Arc 5 works great with shaving cream, so you should just get the one that makes the most sense to you (considering the price, availability, the inclusion of a cleaning station, the LED display and so on).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  16. Awesome, very in depth review. I am brand new a shaving with a cordless shaver and narrowed down to a Panasonic Arc 5 with cleaning station. I want the most current model available in the US. I just don’t know which one to buy. Then, I hear that the Arc 6 is coming out. Not sure when it will be available here in the US. Any thoughts, suggestions would be extermely helpful. Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it. The Arc 6 will be released in the USA this month (there’s no exact date). There will be two variations available, with and without a cleaning station. I’ve actually compared the Arc 6 to Arc 5 in great detail here, I think you can find some useful bits of info there to help you with your decision.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  17. Hi

    Hope you’re well.

    Is there any benefit to paying the extra money in buying the arc 5 with the cleaning kit station? Or can it be cleaned as good manually with the instructions you have provided in your helpful articles (e.g. soap and water)?

    Also, if I were to purchase the arc 5 with the cleaning kit station, can I still clean it manually the same way you advised in your helpful articles?

    Don’t want to pay extra for a cleaning kit station if not needed.

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Liyad,

      As a personal preference, I do not think the Arc 5 station is necessary. In my opinion getting a cheaper model with no cleaning station makes more sense. I never use the Panasonic stations I have as cleaning the shavers manually is very straightforward (you can of course still do it even if you buy a shaver that comes with a cleaning station).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. For some reason, I am not finding my original inquiry and your reply. I asked a followup about how to replace a battery once it goes bad – according to the Panasonic ES-LV65, that iis about 3 years when charging every two weeks. Hope that does not mean the razor is also gone after 3 years! Thanks, Bill

    Reply
  19. How do I know when the blades need to be changed? Reason I ask is, I bought a used one on ebay years ago and still going strong. Still shaves good, it’s just that I have always wondered how some brandnew blades would feel because I doubt the one I got had absolute new blades on it considering I got it for only $70! – Note: I even use this for body shaving several times per week! Of course still not as close a shave as a 5 blade Gillette with good ole shaving cream, but the next thing to it! Best razor on the market imo! Japan manufacturing rules! – Including the made in Japan Fender Aerodyne Jazz bass I have! lol! – Oh and by the way thanks so much for letting us know any of the heads will work for any of the Arc 5’s!

    Reply
    • Hi Cristopher,

      If it’s still going strong and shaves good, I don’t think you need to buy new blades & foils. The first thing I notice with dull blades and worn-out foils is excessive heat — the foils get way too hot early into my shave. Also, it takes a lot of strokes for a close shave and even then the result is not quite as good as in the case of new blades.

      How would new foils and blades shave? Pretty amazing :-) But as I said above, you don’t need to do it right away. I would however lubricate the blades a couple of times a week (using clipper oil or a spray lubricant like the Andis CoolCare Plus or Remington Shaver Saver). Particularly the sprays tend to make a big difference in the case of slightly dull blades that still cut decently.

      By the way, Japanese luthiers really are phenomenal.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  20. Sorry one more question when ya have the time. – I have been using a small an old toothbrush to clean the head and razors with. My question is do the brush bristles dull the blades? Is there any certain direction I should be moving the brush while cleaning? Thanks so much! This article was an awesome and very helpful read!

    Reply
    • Thank you, glad you found it useful.

      Definitely be careful when using a brush to clean the shaver (I personally recommend warm tap water and optionally some liquid soap). You must never brush the blades longitudinally, but rather with the direction of the blades (hope this makes sense). Also, never use any brush directly over the foils as they will get damaged.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  21. Hi Ovidiu – fabulous read and lots of food for though. I purchased an ES-LV9Q 18 months ago in the UK. I’ve been delighted with the build quality and shave. Today after cleaning the head and whilst fumbling to reattach the outer foil case (I have Parkinson’s) a tiny lug on one side, securing the case sheared off! Is it possible to get a replacement outer foil case or do I need to buy a whole new unit? Geographically I live in Malaysia but I can shop globally… Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.

      I’m not exactly sure I understand correctly — the tiny part that came off was from the foil head/frame (the one you detach to clean it) or from the rest of the shaver? Can you snap a picture and email it to me (contact@shavercheck.com)?

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  22. I want to thank you for such a wonderful and fully comprehensive analysis. I have been shaving for about 64 years and have seen the evolution of electric shavers from my dad’s old Remingtons – he had to use to two to get a reasonable shave, to the first generation Norelcos and now the Arc 5. The men in the family have extraordinary difficult beards to shave. In my younger years the 5 o’clock shadow would appear about lunch hour (now a gray shadow). My current shaver of choice is my Arc 5 ES LV65. I find ARC 5 better than the Braun Series 7, ( I currently also have several Norelco rotary shavers as well – a bit easier on the face but not as close a shave). I have replaced the foil and blades on the Arc 5 ES LV65 and because the trimer has broken, I am contemplating replacing it in kind, but was most interested to learn of the cross-compatibility with rev. G&H foil and blades (ES -9040).
    I have not, however, been able to find ES-9040 on line- is it available in the states; is it significantly more expensive and in your opinion is it worth the upgrade?
    Thank you again.

    Reply
    • Hi Jack,

      Many thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to share your experience with electric shavers — I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

      If you can’t easily source the ES9040 set or it costs a lot, you can definitely try the older variations (pre-revision G) that also have the pair of rollers. You can rest assured that you won’t be missing out on much. I find the previous foils (like the ES9036 or even the ES9034) to be extremely similar with regards to closeness and comfort. The ES9040 is a bit more effective on flat hairs, but if you shave often that won’t matter at all. The ES9040 is difficult to get in the USA and Europe because the revisions G and H Arc 5 have not been officially released outside Japan.

      The main benefit of the newer foils (ES9034 and up) compared to the first generation (like the one on your ES-LV65) is the comfort. I find the closeness to be exactly the same, so if your ES-LV65 is reasonably comfortable, I don’t think it’s worth spending a lot more money on the newer foils.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  23. Dear Nicolae,
    Thank you for the thorough analysis and descriptions you have provided for the Arc 5 shaver and its various models.

    I own an old Arc 5 LV81 which is still working and in good condition. One of the outer foils got damaged the other day, and having read your above article, it seems I can replace it with the latest one, i.e. the one with the rollers? If yes, do I have to replace the cutting blades as well?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you, much appreciated.

      That is correct, the new foil models with the rollers will fit. It’s generally a good idea to replace the blades as well because they’re probably blunt and you won’t get the best out of the new foil.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  24. One more comment please, I noticed that it is extremely difficult to get hold of the detergent of Panasonic shaver cleaner, and if available it is something like 25 dollars each (from Japan only).
    Do you have any knowledge of this please?

    Reply
    • Depending on where you live, sourcng the detergent can be really expensive. One workaround would be to try a third-party cleaning product. The only one I know of is from Shaver Shebang. I’ve only used them with Braun cleaning stations, but should work fine with Panasonic as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  25. Dear Nicolae,
    Thank you for your prompt answers on my above questions.
    Another question please, subjective though, between the LV97K and LV9Q which one would you choose?
    I am considering one of them, but I am concerned by the “very” flexible head of the LV9Q reliability over the LV97K. Performance wise you already stated they are identical (more or less). Plus the 3 years only battery life, and cost difference (the LV9Q is 50% more expensive than the LV97K, where I am).
    This battery thing is a bit strange to me, I normally keep all my electric shavers close to 10 years, and their battery has so far worked well.
    Any opinion on this please?

    Reply
  26. brilliant source of information regarding electric shavers, thank you for all your time and effort – BUT – I am struggling to find any information about the panasonic ES-LV6U? i’m based in England and can source one through amazon but simply cannot find any info other than what panasonic have on their own website

    any thoughts or pointers?

    Reply
    • Hi Sebastien,

      Many thanks for the comment, glad you found the site useful.

      The ES-LV6U (and also the ES-LV9U) are actually region-specific Panasonic Arc 5 generation 3 revision G, so everything I said in the post above about the Japanese revision G applies to the ES-LV6U and ES-LV9U as well — these were recently released in Europe, Australia etc. You can also check out my in-depth review for more details.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • thanks for the time taken with the comprehensive reply, i’m looking at buying this particular arc 5 – I recently returned a braun 9 pro (under the braun 100 day guarantee) as I simply could not get on with it, I found the performance underwhelming, particularly when it came to cutting “longer” hairs on my neck despite several passes in different directions, and the battery life was nowhere near as advertised. A shame really, as I liked the braun in all other respects. It seems as i’m getting older (51) my skin is getting more sensitive so it’s a toss-up between the panasonic I asked you about (with the comfort rollers) and the new philips 9000

        I’ll try to report back with my findings

        Reply
        • Hi Sebastien,

          No problem, glad if the info was useful in any way. The S9 Pro is usually pretty good, in fact it’s among the best on longer hairs and the battery life is also solid (better than the Arc 5 in that regard). So it’s a bit surprising, maybe you got a defective unit? The Arc 5 feels more powerful and I would rate it higher for closeness and also when shaving coarse and short beards, but I think the S9/S9 Pro is superior with longer, flat-lying hairs.

          I am usually more restrained at recommending rotary shavers unless I know they work well for someone from previous experience. The new S9000 with the angular heads is also more cumbersome to use in my opinion than the older iteration with the more conventional (rounds) heads.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  27. Hi Ovidiu,
    I have just bought a ES LV6Q and used it for two days. I used it wet with Gillette shaving gel. Is it normal that the razor does not really cut? It is true I have a very difficult beard, but I always had to use the manual blade after to finish my shave…
    Is it because the skin has to become acquainted with being cut from an electric razor and so I should persevere? Or is there something I am failing?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Sandro,

      It is certainly not normal, but I think things will drastically improve. In my opinion the underwhelming results don’t have a lot to do with the skin getting used to the new method of shaving (that part is mainly in the form of irritation, razor burn etc), but more with you getting to know the shaver and how to get the most out of it. Normally you should be getting a smooth shave without much effort.

      It would be difficult for me to say what went wrong and how to improve your shave just from the comment above, but getting the basics right is usually a good place to start. First of all, I’d recommend trying the shaver dry — despite the fact that the Arc 5 and a quality shaving cream is a fantastic duo. But I think it’s easier to shave dry until you tweak your technique and find out what works best.

      Secondly, try shorter, steady, controlled strokes (alternate the speed of your stroke as well to see what works better in certain areas). Always go against the direction of hair growth and keep the shaving head flat on the skin (adjust the angle relative to the skin when shaving below the jawline for example). Later on you should definitely try shaving with your favorite products.

      As a side note, if you used the Gillette canned gel (the one that morphs into a thick, fluffy lather), I’d say that one is not ideal for shaving wet with an electric razor and can actually make things more difficult. I go into more details about that here if you want to check it out.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  28. This is brilliant, thanks for this.
    I am living in China and spend the last 2 days trying to work out all the differences between the different models after my philips unexpectedly died. Well, not too unexpected as I’ve had 3 of them die on me over the years and all after being left on the charger for too long. Anyway, thanks to your work I settled on the LV 9EX which is about $240 on taobao (china’s ebay) so hopefully I don’t get a lemon.
    Cheers

    Reply
    • Hi Simon,

      Thank you for the comment, glad you found the info useful. I’m afraid I do not have any experience buying from that site. But if it’s anything like eBay, then buying from a reputable vendor with positive user feedback should be fine. Hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5, normally it should be a significant upgrade from an old rotary.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  29. Hi Ovidiu,

    Thanks much (again) for your inciteful reviews and info.
    Question.. What is the difference between the Panasonic ES-CLV9E-S and the ES-LV9EX?? I see the CLV available on Amazon, but it did not see it described in your article above. I am again out to purchase and I am considering the ES-CLV9E-S (Revision E model) in lieu of the newer ES-LV9V-S (Revision G) based on the info you provided. However I do not know what the “C” in the ES-CLV9E-S signifies.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for the comment, much appreciated.

      Usually the models that have a C in front of the LV part of the name are exactly the same with some minor differences like the color of the protective cap (grey vs silver). That’s really it. So in this case, you could very well consider the ES-CLV9E-S and ES-LV9E-S the same shaver. The CLV was not available when I initially posted the comparison, so it’s not mentioned there. But to summarize the differences between the ES-CLV9E-S and the ES-LV9EX (respectively):
      – plastic vs metal body
      – conventional travel lock vs smart lock
      – soft travel pouch vs hard leather case

      I also think it’s a better buy than the revision G which comes with some obvious cost-cutting changes that aren’t reflected in the final price.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  30. Hi Ovidiu,
    I just replaced a broken Braun 9290cc with a Panasonic ES-LV65, chosen mostly based on your exhaustive articles. I’m very happy with it, your analysis seems spot on. Thank you for publishing all this detail! Knowing that I can upgrade later via the cassette is very helpful.

    Reply
  31. Hi, thanks once again for this blog. I dont know what to do and where to find the answers if you hadent started this :)

    I got the shaver ES-LV6Q. The foil is giving a less close shave today compared to 1 year ago. I guess the foil is starting to get bad. Do these foils have shorter lifespan compared to those of Braun?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for the comment.

      I wouldn’t say Panasonic foils & blades have a shorter lifespan, but they are more susceptible to wear if not properly lubricated. The friction between the foils and blades is greater with Panasonic shavers. I would try a spray lubricant for electric shavers before getting a new set for your ES-LV6Q. If you can source it, the Remington Shaver Saver spray works great and you can get the most out of a foil that doesn’t cut as close anymore. The next best thing would be the Andis CoolCare Plus spray.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thanks Ovidiu. I will try it.
        I have looked at the prices for the same replacement foil that was included in my shaver originally, and it is expensive. Im curious to see what the price is for the newer foils, but cant find the names of them, what keyword should I use to find em?

        Reply
  32. Hi Ovidiu,
    Thank you so much for this fantastic work! I guess this is the most comprehensive website worldwide on electric shavers in general, and Panasonic ones in particular. I found this highly valuable when looking for the first electric shaver for my son (for his 16th birthday). I have been using the ES-LV9Q for some years now, and I am very happy with it (much more than with Braun shavers before). Based on your information, I decided to purchase the newer model ES-LV9U which is no longer a Japan-only model, but actually available in Europe, as you also acknowledged in a post above. I got it here in Germany from amazon for 170 Euro only – probably a very good deal. It comes with an all-black automatic cleaning and charging station (which you described for the 2022 generation H update like ES-LV9V). Once one has a fixed place in the bathroom to put it and leave it there, I think these automatic cleaning stations are a very nice add-on that I do not want to miss, and I am confident my son is going to like that, too: it will remind young people of charging stations for computer mice and smartphones they are used to, and let the station do the cleaning is very convenient, too.
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Heimo,

      Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it. That’s a fantastic deal you got for the ES-LV9U and I think Panasonic finally made the right call by making these models available outside of Japan. Happy birthday to your son, I think it’ll be a fantastic gift! :-)

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  33. Hi Ovidiu,

    I am completely impressed by your knowledge on the matter, i am speechless.

    I am a huge fan of Panasonic shavers, already my third one (with stations).

    My last one lv97 is making a vibrating noise when using (always under the shower with foam) a few weeks after I changed the changed the foil and blades. It s like when the blade and cutter are old. Weird. If i put water (under the shower) in the head of the razor then the noise comes back to normal for a few seconds then .. back to this vibration noise.
    Already cleaned with station and even lubricate with panasonic oil but no difference.
    Something worn in the head ?
    Or just bad luck with blades and cutters ? Very expensive here : 60€.
    On amazon.de today there is some opportunity to buy the 97 for 135€ (/$) or the 9q for 185€ (/$).
    What shall i do ?
    Thank you.
    Eric

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      Thank you so much for the kind words, I’m glad you found the site useful.

      Regarding your problem, if the issue started right after replacing the foil and blades, it’s likely to be related. When the head is filled with water, the sound is muffled and the vibrations are reduced because the blades oscillate in some liquid, not freely.

      To exclude a problem with the linkage inside the head, do you happen to have the old foil and blades? If so, try changing them again and see if the vibrating noise is gone. Defective (brand new) parts are rare, but not impossible. Also, make sure the foil is properly inserted into the frame and that the blades are securely mounted on those struts. You probably already did this, but just to make sure that’s not what causes the vibrations.

      Really good deals on both the 97 and the 9Q, but it’s really up to you if you’re willing to spend more on an entire new shaver + station.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  34. Many of the newest ARC 5 and the ARC 6’s are cordless. Without a cord how do I take these shavers on two week plus trips? It doesn’t seem the batteries will last for a shave a day for 14+ days. Is that true? Can these cordless shavers be used when traveling? I can’t imagine dragging along a charger/cleaning station or the amount of space needed to pack a cordless shaver charging station with the limited space in a suitcase. Am I missing something? Can these cordless shavers be used when traveling? I searched the site the best I could and could not find an answer.

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      Cordless means the shaver will not turn on when the cord is connected. All models come with a charger (cord). On a longer trip you would take the charger with you as it takes up little space. You do not have to bring along the cleaning station.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  35. Are there any differences in the battery or operating times for these shavers as they get newer? I have a 10 year old LV-81 (which I love) but I am starting to see the operating time become less and less. Do you have any suggestions for that? Also, are the hard travel cases universal?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Jason,

      The battery capacity has remained the same with every new Arc 5 iteration. So even the latest models only offer 40 to 45 minutes of cordless use, pretty much the same as your LV81. The battery performance does degrade in time though, so a new shaver with a new battery will last longer than a 10 year old shaver. The most economical option for you would be to replace the battery when it can’t really hold a charge anymore. While it’s officially non-replaceable, many users have successfully replaced the battery of their Arc5s. It’s a pretty straightforward operation but I highly recommend watching some video tutorials beforehand (you can find some on Youtube).

      The battery for your model (and for a LOT of other Panasonic models) is the Panasonic WESLV9ZL2508. You should be able to source it easily, it’s quite a popular battery. Also, the waterproofing of your shaver may be compromised once you open it, so definitely keep that in mind if you used to clean the shaver with water. You can use some sealant paste, but I would still be mindful of that.

      As for the hard case, it will fit most of the Arc 5 models, but I cannot say it will 100% fit yours since it’s an old model with a different shape of the head.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  36. Question, is there supposed to be a cover for the charging port on the ES-LV97-K? I do not see one in the instructions or parts list, but wanted to make sure before I started using it and shocking things happen.

    Reply
  37. Thank you for your complete review!
    As to me, I have three 5 arc models: ES-LV65, ES-LV9B and ES-LV9Q.
    I have to say that the second generation piece ES-LV65 shaves me better( cleaner), than the third generation shavers ES-LV9B and ES-LV9Q !
    I guess that extra flexibility of the shavers head for the third generation shavers might be the reason for that.
    It could be, of course, due to individual features of my small face or due to some specifics of my face hairs ( of which I do not know anything).
    But the fact itself is surprising – it looks as if Panasonic while introducing newer features in their shavers for five years was working in vain, not for my benefit anyway. Interesting, is not it?

    Reply
    • Hi Alex,

      Many thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it.

      One could definitely argue that the improvements to the Arc 5 family throughout the years have been rather incremental. The comfort of the newer iterations has been improved and the design and materials also got better. The closeness was already excellent and among the very best, so I personally am not that disappointed with the lack of progress there. I would have hoped for a better cutter for longer/flat hairs, but that never happened. Also, the way the 5 shaving elements flex is still pretty much useless and the highly flexible heads are impressive on the specs sheet, but not so much in practice.

      Regarding the better shave you’re getting with the ES-LV65, I would actually blame the comfort rollers present on your other newer Arc5s. Some users feel like the two bars get in their way and cannot get the shaver to cut quite as close. That could be the case here as well and maybe exacerbated by your facial hair like you’ve said or even technique — it’s really difficult to pinpoint it.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  38. Ovidiu, thank you so much for the great review, he SUPER, it’s the best of all that is on the Internet!!!
    I’ve always used Braun Series 3, 5, 7 seconds, decided to switch to Arc 5.
    But it is possible that the second generation of Arc 5 is not fully described!!!
    There are models ES-LV54, ES-LV 64 red, ES-LV 74, ES-LV76, ES-LV92, etc.)))

    Sincerely.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you so much for the comment.

      That is true, I did however decide not to include them in order to not overly complicate an already hefty guide. Those are Asian-specific models and some have been discontinued for years. But apart from the color and displays, they are the same as the ES-LV65 for all intents and purposes (same foil and blades, cleaning station and same shaving performance). I think I will only mention this in a future update just to keep it simple. Thanks again for the input, much appreciated.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  39. Hi,
    I bought an Arc 5 LV65 largely off of your recommendation. I’ve used a few weeks now, most often wet with shave cream, and clean it after almost every use.
    Today, it was very grabby, was painful to shave and reddened my skin greatly. Mostly on my neck, but also under and on my chin.
    What might have caused that? I haven’t damaged it to my knowledge.
    Could it have gone defective so quickly?
    Thanks for any assistance

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,

      It’s very unlikely to have gone defective (with proper use), though not completely impossible. A faulty shaving head is immediately obvious from the first shave and with Panasonic these are extremely rare (quality control is a lot better compared to Braun cassettes for example). So unless it wasn’t induced (like damaging the foil during cleaning or someone dropping the shaver), I would consider other factors.

      Here are a few things to check:
      – make sure the foil frame is properly inserted
      – check the inner blades to ensure they are inserted securely on the two struts
      – the battery level should be above 20%; the shaver can slow down significantly and cause some pulling when the charge drops below 20%-15%
      – lubricate the blades after every water + soap cleaning (when the shaving head is completely dry)

      Also, have you made any changes to your shaving routine prior to this last shave? Like washing your face right before your shave, using a certain product or shaving a longer beard than usual.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  40. Dear Ovidiu

    I have been using a ES-LV95 shaver for over 10 years. It happens to be your top pick for most people which I find incredible after so many years.

    The battery in my shaver is at the end of its life, and the foils and blades all need replacing. The shaver cannot work from the power cord. The fan in the cleaner has a build up of dust etc and I don’t know whether this can be serviced.

    The decision I am faced with is should I spend $AUD150 to replace the battery and update the foils, or should I upgrade to a new Arc 5 ES-LV9Q-S841 currently on sale for $AUD449?

    Be very grateful for your opinion.

    Adrian

    Reply
    • Hi Adrian,

      Normally I am all in favor of saving money and holding on to your existing shaver if it’s still in good shape. But given its age (10 years is really impressive for current-generation shavers) and the potential problems with the station, battery and other issues that might break due to wear and tear, I think it makes sense to get a new shaver.

      I would have normally suggested another ES-LV95 or ES-LV97 if you can get a great deal on them (should be significantly less than the discounted ES-LV9Q). If not, the ES-LV9Q is a really impressive Arc 5. It’s by far the most premium feeling shaver I’ve ever used (it easily tops the latest Arc 5 iterations and even the Arc 6 in that regard). You will definitely feel the upgrade whichever Arc 5 you end up buying, mainly because of the new and sharp blades and the power sustained by a new battery.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Dear Ovidiu

        Thanks for the great advice and for your generosity with your time.

        In the end I have gone with the ES-LV9Q as your comment on the luxury feel appealed to me (hoping for another 10 years use from the new shaver), as well as the fact I am using credit card points to make the purchase so the purchase doesn’t leave me out of pocket.

        I did locate the ES-97 at another store for $AUD329 but just not at a preferred store.

        Thanks again

        Adrian

        Reply
  41. Ovidiu,

    Do you have an opinion between the Arc5 in which one to buy? I have an arc 3 currently, but I see the 5s are on sale and thinking about getting one. I’m looking at either the eslv67k ($119) and the eslv65s ($104).

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan,

      I personally would get the ES-LV65-K. The reasons are the same as I’ve mentioned in the post above, mainly the more feature-rich and useful display, the ability to turn off the shaving sensor, and in this case also the price. I personally like the travel lock better as well on the ES-LV65, it’s a physical rotating switch that’s really effective and intuitive as opposed to long pressing the power button on the ES-LV67-K with the razor switched on.

      But the shaving performance will essentially be the same, I didn’t notice any differences with the ES-LV67-K despite always shaving in sensor mode. So if for some reason you want that one, maybe you like the way it looks more, it’s a perfectly fine alternative. But objectively, the ES-LV65-S seems like the better pick.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  42. Ovidiu,

    Is lv97 worth the extra $15 over the LV95? I see they’re both on sale at the moment. Just wondering if there are any advantages to justify the additional expense. Thank you.

    Reply
  43. I finally got my hand on the Panasonic ES-LV97 for Christmas.

    I was using the 9000 series Braun with the Series 7 cassette coming 5+ years with a straight razor in between as I don’t justice the cost of Gillette product range or buy into the monthly razor head (Harry) for a low (not so low) price.

    let’s focus on the new beauty in my life.

    I notice from the get-go how smooth my first shave was and how light to hold compared to my Braun.

    My beard had 3 days (2-4mm) of growth, probably the max I would be comfortable with.

    The test comes with the moustache as it grows quicker and thicker, the LV97 destroyed it and left nothing but smoothness behind.

    I would like to say that I’ve been reading reviews from this site for a few years and I would not have chosen this without all of the information you have provided.

    I want to say a huge thank you for all the effort.

    Reply
    • Chris,

      thank you so much for the kind comment, I really appreciate it.

      The ES-LV97 and the Arc 5 line in general are fantastic shavers that will outperform a lot of the more expensive models from the competition. They’re particularly better for shaving dense and coarse hair close to the skin. I’m also blessed with extremely thick and dense hairs in the moustache area and I can only get a perfectly smooth shave (with no trace of that greyish 5 o’clock shadow) with an Arc 5 or Arc 6. I’m glad you enjoy yours and thank you again for taking the time to share your experience.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  44. Phenomenally comprehensive review. I used to be a Braun user but have been a Panasonic shaver user for over 12 years and have been very happy. Just in the last few days I got a new LV-65 to replace an old LV-95. I have always liked the cleaning station and use it weekly as I have a nice shelf and shaver socket in the bathroom for it to sit on.
    I was fully aware that the LV-65 does not come with a new cleaning station but took for granted I could still use it with the OLD cleaning station as the shaver design between the 95 & 65 are identical….but this is not the case as there are no metal contacts on the 65, just rubber nodules! I guess I will have to learn cleaning it manually! I know the newer 67 & 97 have slightly newer designs and cleaning stations so did not go for those models. So now I have a perfectly good cleaning station that I can’t use with my new 65 model. Disappointing.
    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your kind comment, much appreciated. That is true, unfortunately, you won’t be able to use any Panasonic shaver with a station if it didn’t come with one. Unlike Braun, Panasonic replaces the metal contacts with rubber blanks on those models. On the bright side, the ES-LV65 is very easy to clean manually.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  45. Fantastic information in this article!
    After my original 2 blade Panasonic wet dry died, I bought an Arc 4 – and didn’t notice much difference between the new arc 4 and the old 2 blade model, except that the battery lasted longer on the old razor.
    When the Arc 4 needed new foil and blades again this last December, I saw that the difference in price between foil and blades for the Arc 4 and a new Arc 5 LV65 s was only $10. Based on your review, and your info that the blades and foils from all the arc 5 razors were interchangable, I bought the Arc 5. It is the best electric shave I have ever experienced!!
    I do have an esoteric question on the inner blades. Way back with my first 2 blade Panasonic, early web sites recommended that each time the razor was cleaned, the 2 inner blades should be either switched front to back, or rotated 180 degrees to evenly distribute wear. This always sounded a bit extreme, but I wonder if yiu have any experience with that practice?
    Thank you again for a fantasticly researched article.

    John

    Reply
    • John,

      Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it. Looks like the ES-LV65 is a winner and you got it for a great price as well.

      As for interchanging the inner blades, in my opinion no, it’s not worth doing. I could even argue that it might have the opposite effect as it’s the case with rotary blades and guards. Another reader of the website asked the very same question a while back and I go into more detail in this comment if you want to check it out.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • Thank you for the Info. Instead of playing with the blade positions, I ordered the newest 9040 blades for my new lv65 just to see if they make a difference. As you noted, they are somewhat more comfortable than the blades and foil that came with the 65, but I am not really sure that they shave any closer. The LV 65 does a fantastic job (with either the stock or 9040 blades), except around the point of my jaw line near my ear lobes. I actually took my old arc 4 lv51 with the worn blades and shaved in that area after several passes with the lv65, and was surprised that the 51 trimmed it down just a bit more. The lv65/9040 blades made it very smooth – enough to get through a full day, but the 51 just added a little something extra at that spot. But that was the only spot on my face that the 51 offered any advantage, and it was so minor it wouldn’t normally be worth the effort. Even when new, the arc 4 never gave me as close and comfortable a shave as the lv65 on the rest of my face.

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for the follow-up, John. My experience has been really similar, the newer foils do not shave closer than the old ones. There are some benefits in terms of comfort (that aspect is quite obvious in my case) and maybe with how they catch difficult hairs, but that’s a rather small improvement.

        Regarding the LF51, that was a fantastic 4-blade Panasonic. It shaved just as close as the Arc 5 but had a smaller and more manageable head. I still have one, but the foils now get extremely hot, to the point that it can cause some injury to my skin, so I don’t use it anymore. It’s a real shame Panasonic decided to discontinue that model, it was by far the closest shaving mid-range electric razor out there.

        Sincerely,
        Ovidiu

        Reply
  46. Hi,

    What you recommended ?
    Panasonic ES-LV9C or Brauns Series 9 9415S?
    I shaving 1-2 twice a week and I like/need good trymer also.

    The price is the same.

    Reply
    • Hi Marcin,

      For shaving once or twice a week I’d say the Braun would be more effective if your facial hair tends to stay flat on the skin. I personally find the trimmer on the Panasonic a lot better, but both trimmers will work fine for some quick grooming and touchups. I wouldn’t use it to trim an entire beard, especially not the Braun trimmer.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  47. Hi Ovidiu, you’ve done such a great work of research and review, congrats!
    I have a Panny ES-LV65-S811. I changed blades a couple of times and it is still great but the battery is now spoiled and doesn’t last long after recharging. So I’m thinking to buy a new one: would a LV9-FX be an upgrade, also the cleaning station is worth buying? What do you suggest?
    Thanx,
    Giacomo

    Reply
    • Hi Giacomo,

      Thank you so much for the comment.

      It would be an upgrade in a few ways — better build quality, quieter, decent battery, more comfortable and enjoyable to use. Most of these upgrades are actually the result of the shaver being brand new, not necessarily better performance-wise. All Arc 5 models are very similar in the way they perform. For me the station is not necessary, I always clean my Arc5s manually. But it’s a very nice station nevertheless, objectively better than Braun and Philips stations. If you can get a great deal on the LV9-FX, it’s a really impressive shaver.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  48. Hello, and thank you for all the detail which greatly helped me select the razor last year.

    Can you help me find the best replacement foil and blades for my Panasonic ES-LV9FX-S

    I think the replacement is the ES9038 unless I have this wrong or if there is a better one. Price is not an issue.

    As always thank you,

    Sincerely, Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      Thank you so much for the comment, glad the info was helpful.

      The best Arc 5 foil + blades combo is currently the ES9040 that comes standard on the revisions G and H. It will fit your shaver perfectly. It’s not exactly cheap and the older ones are pretty close performance-wise, but objectively, this is the current best set.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Sorry to bother you, but this eBay seller from Japan wrote me this back:

        New message from: shop_tokyo123 (1,137)

        Hello.
        Thank you for your inquiry.
        Unfortunately, it is not adapted to ES-LV9FX-S.
        Yoko

        Sounds like they don’t know the product they are selling. Would you agree you have it right and they have it wrong?

        Reply
        • Hi Tom,

          I would agree. Officially, Panasonic only list as compatible the foils/blades that originally came with a specific model. But others will also fit, I’ve tried this myself and many readers of this website. Just make sure that you’re asking for the ES9040 foil and blades set, not the foil frame for example which can be different. Maybe the vendor misunderstood your inquiry and thought of the foil frame or maybe he just doesn’t know that the latest foils are backward-compatible. But the foil and blades will fit your shaver just fine, I’ve even tried them on my ES-LV65 which as a much older Arc 5 and they fit perfectly.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • Appreciate the insight. When you say frame, do you mean I need to have only the blades and that black insert with the foil and not the crome frame.
            I think what I’m trying to say is I want to keep my frame and buy the black piece with the foil that clips into my existing silver frame or do I want a totally new frame head as well?

            Sorry my my confusion as I am not the sharpest tool in the shed haha!

            Sincerely,

            Tom

          • That is absolutely correct, Tom. You would keep the existing chrome frame and only buy the foils (by foils I mean the black piece with the foil that clips into the silver frame).

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  49. As always, thank you so much, Ovidiu for all your wisdom and time helping all of us.

    PS, do you think there comes a time when a new razor say for $275 is better than paying the $87 for blades lol.

    Sincerely,

    Tom

    Reply
    • My pleasure Tom, glad I could be of help.

      That time can definitely come. I’m a bit more conservative at recommending users new/pricy shavers if there are more economical workarounds. That said, it makes sense to get a new razor if there are some other issues with your current one and simply buying a new head just won’t be enough. Maybe the trimmer broke, the battery is on its last leg or there’s serious rattling/vibrations from the inside and so on. Or maybe you’re just not happy with it overall and a new shaving head won’t fix the core issue. If it’s any of that, you could consider buying that new shaver.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  50. Thanks again
    Would you know off hand about how long the ES-LV9FX-S battery’s life expectancy is with daily use?

    Sincerely,

    Tom

    Reply
    • No problem, Tom. Since this is a newer and not easy-to-get Arc 5, I don’t have much info on that. But Panasonic tends to use the same batteries throughout the different Arc 5 generations, so normally you should expect more than 3 years. There are users who even got close to 10 years with the older models, but that’s of course not the norm. There are also some unfortunate cases when a battery lasts less than the claimed 3 years, but that’s not specific to Panasonic or electric shavers for that matter.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  51. Excellent review! I am trying to decide what generation/model to buy and I am stuck on one point. Of the most recent Arc5 models, which ones have a US Warranty? I have read that if the non-US models are purchased in the US that Panasonic will not honor the warranty, so that impacts the price/value analysis for me.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comment, I appreciate it.

      I think only the Arc 5 models that were officially released in the USA have a so-called US warranty. So the newest ones would be the ES-LV67 and ES-LV97 which aren’t really new anymore. There are some revision C models available in the USA and even newer E or F, but those are sold by third-party importers and I’m not sure the US warranty will cover them. You can try and ask Panasonic customer support in the USA, but personally, I’m a bit skeptical about the warranty.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  52. Thank you so much Ovidiu for such a comprehensive and informative article! I had been wet shaving with a double edged razor for years, but I want to start shaving daily and the irritation even with the best gear is just too much. So I’ve bought a ES-LV6Q which was actually a little bit cheaper than the best priced ES-LV67 (the ES-LV6Q was originally cheaper but then Amazon jacked up the price before I could buy it).

    I’m really looking forward to trying it as a wet shaver and being able to have a smooth, comfortable face every day!

    Reply
    • Hey Cody,

      Thanks so much, glad you found the post useful. Price is in my opinion one of the decisive factors when buying an Arc 5 and I think you made the right choice by getting the cheaper one. Hope you’ll enjoy shaving with it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  53. Hello,

    What an impressive review. I actually read the whole thing. I looooove the Arc5, and with the advice in your article, it’s time for a foil upgrade. Reading this article reassured me that the Arc 5 is excellent and that I will not be switching brands. Please keep creating amazing articles like this. To say the least, your work is impressive and thorough! I’m also going to subscribe to your newsletters.

    Appreciate ya,
    Dave

    Reply
  54. Hi

    Thanks for all your great reviews and comparisons.

    My old Panasonic shaver just won’t hold a charge any more. I am trying to decide between the ES-LV95 and the ES-LV97. One thing I think I have found is that the LV95 comes with a cleaning station model no RC9-15 but the LV97 (and later models) come with an RC9-22. Do you know whether that is right and whether there is any difference between the cleaning station models?

    Thanks again

    Norman

    Reply
    • Hi Norman,

      Thank you for your comment.

      That is correct, the shavers do come with different stations, ie the part numbers are different. But from a functional point of view, the stations are the same. The one included with the ES-LV97 is slightly revised in the sense that the opening is larger to accommodate the different shape of the ES-LV97 head and handle. If you place the ES-LV97 shaver in the RC9-15, the contact pins on the back of the handle won’t be able to touch the three contact plates on the station because there’s not enough room in the cleaning bay for the shaver to tilt back as much as needed.

      But I don’t think there are any other differences between the two stations.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • Hi,

      Both of them are in the revision G, aka SERIES 900 (released in 2021), so the second to last. The only newer model is the revision H, but is basically identical to the G. So you can safely buy on of the models you linked.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  55. Hi Ovidiu,
    Thank you for your continued support! I was wondering: how big of a deal is it that ES-LV67-K ($102 right now) cannot turn off the beard sensor compared to ES-LV65-S ($154 right now). The difference in price would allow me to buy an extra ES-9036 blade set (with gold comfort rollers). Does the always-on sensor reduce shaving effectiveness/speed or produce annoying variations in pitch/sound? I do care about a very quick shave. I am okay with the less informative display on ES-LV67-K and actually prefer the design. But I don’t want to buy an inferior shaver if the sensor (or less 3D head movements?) present issues such as slowness, noise, etc. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Nathan,

      I think in this case you can (and should) get the ES-LV67. The sensor thing is just a minor advantage of the ES-LV65 that allows the user more granular control. But I would only factor that in if for example the price of the shavers is the same. In this case the ES-LV67 is definitely a better deal. The shaving performance is overall identical with or without the sensor (it almost always runs at full power on the ES-LV67 as well). Add to that the fact that you prefer the ES-LV67 design and the choice is clear.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thank you! I did not move fast enough. The price is now the same . Apparently it was a deal only for a few hours…
        But many thanks for your great advice!

        Reply
        • So sorry I didn’t manage to reply faster. If you can still use your old shaver for a while, maybe wait a bit more as there are often great deals, possibly during Easter as well.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • Not at all. That’s 100% on me! Thank you for your kind reply. At this point, I could also just get an ARC 3 ES-LT67-A for $86! I wonder how much faster a shave ARC 5 would give in comparison given that I shave daily most of the time…

          • An Arc 5 will be better if your beard is also coarse and dense. It’ll simply feel like a more refined, faster and more powerful shaver with plenty of headroom.

            The Arc 3 will get the job done as well, it just won’t be that enjoyable. I personally preferred the discontinued Arc 3 ES8103S over the ES-LT67-A because it was cheaper, more compact and had a smaller foil frame, making it a lot more nimble. Since that one can’t be bought anymore, the Arc 3 ES-LL41-K or ES-LL21-K would be my picks for roughly the same reasons, although the prices have gone up as well and now cost about the same as the ES-LT67-A.

            If you can wait a bit more maybe you can get a great deal on an Arc 5.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  56. Ovidiu,

    Just an update on the ES9040 foil & blade set. Two years ago I had to purchase from Japan at a cost of $91.45. I was able to find it today on eBay for $66.98 in the US.

    Thank you for all of your hard work and advice!

    Jack

    Reply
  57. I have just got an arc5 today LV6q, and when I picked it up from the store the guy said excellent choice. I have always been a Phillips man but got this from this review, all I can say is wow what a shaver, leaves the Phillips for dead.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the feedback, Nigel, glad you’re enjoying your Arc 5. Your experience is actually similar to other users who never used anything except Philips rotary shavers. And except for the (few) cases when a rotary works better, the switch to a powerful and capable foil shaver like the Arc 5 is usually spectacular. Enjoy shaving with your LV6Q.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  58. Thank you Ovidiu for interesting reviews,
    I really love any of your single lines of comments.
    I am deciding between Panasonic ES-LV65, ES-LV97 and Braun series 9 9350s for everyday shaving. Any recommendation?

    Sincerely youres,

    Reply
    • Hi Alavi,

      Thank you so much for the kind comment.

      For everyday shaving all of them will be very suitable. However, the shavers are a bit different in several ways, so I will try to convey that so you can pick the one that seems to suit your needs the best.

      The ES-LV65 and ES-LV97 will shave exactly the same. The differences are related to exterior design and to the fact that the ES-LV97 also includes a cleaning station. I personally don’t use a station with my Panasonic shavers, but if you think it would be nice to have (and the price is similar), the ES-LV97 would make more sense. But if you don’t plan on using it and you can get the ES-LV65 for less, get that one instead.

      The two Panasonic shavers are really powerful and shave very close and are ideal for daily use (not great if your beard is longer as they require more work to get all the hairs).

      The Series 9 9350s is in my experience gentler, something to consider if you have sensitive skin. It doesn’t shave quite as close though. Also, the Series 9 is a lot more effective with longer facial hair if you were to shave less often, but it’s not the case from what I understand.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  59. Hi.
    Having read your very informative reviews, I have opted for the Panasonic ES-LV67 razor. This item offered on Amazon bears the suffix A803.
    I understand A denotes the colour, but would you be kind enough to shed some light on the significance (or not) of these numbers.
    Thank you
    Ken Logan

    Reply
    • Hi Ken,

      As far as I know, the 803 designates the European model names. Generally, the number that appears after the letter that stands for the color is related to the country/region. The USA didn’t get the -A (blue) ES-LV67 officially, only the -K (black) variation. No differences between them whatsoever (except for the color of course).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  60. Hi Ovidiu,

    Thank you so much for your detailed reviews and painstaking work! I’ve just spent the last 2 hours reading up on various models, and have trawled through every post of yours covering the Arc 5. I am now using my 2nd LV65-S model, and have been using this since 2019. I am now on the hunt for another one as it doesn’t seem to shave as well, despite changing blades and foils multiple times. Some of the silver parts have also started flaking.

    I will be importing from Amazon Japan and have these 2 options due to the price:
    1. ES-LV9FX-S
    2. ES-LV9V-S
    Which would you recommend taking? I also have the option of the LV67 and LV6Q but have left them out given their age.

    I know that the LV9V is newer by 2 years (revision H, in 2022), but the fact that it has no smart lock and no metal body is making me wonder. The LV9FX full metal body, 10 level LED, and smart lock seems to be the way to go, but I am wondering if it makes sense buying a 2020 model today. Some part of me is making me think that the batteries, and even the fact that it was manufactured years earlier must make it inferior. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks again for your great work!

    Sincerely,
    John

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it.

      For roughly the same money, you are getting more with the LV9FX (you’ve pretty much listed everything). With the last two revisions, Panasonic really started to cut down on costs, hence the less impressive (feature-wise) shavers. They still shave just as good. I don’t think that being two years older is a deal breaker. They batteries are the same and the manufacturing date is very likely more recent (not 2020). The only real advantage of the LV9V is the newer foil, supposedly better with difficult hairs, but having used both, they feel exactly the same.

      I personally would get the LV9FX as I feel that Panasonic just tried to optimize production costs with the subsequent revisions by removing features and accessories. In fact, I would even get an LV9Q (revision C) over the LV9V if the price was the same.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  61. Hi Ovidiu,

    I’m kind of in the same boat as John. I switched from a Braun (wasn’t as reliable or close) to Panasonic 25 years ago. Since then I’ve been using the same ES8234 every single day; original battery with a few new blades and foils. I’ve clearly got my monies worth. Since I buy for performance and durability . . .

    If I were to buy the LV9FX (as you had suggested to John), and hoping I last another 25 years, this could be the last shaver I’ll ever buy. So why buy something designed and manufactured in the past.

    Something I didn’t see you discuss has to do with Volt, Hz, and Plug. If I, like John buy one out of Japan, will I need an adapter to work with the 110/60Hz, domestic plug that we have in the USA? What kind of an adapter would I be looking for?

    Personally, that would be annoying. What might be my next best option? Price is not really an issue given how long I’ll get to use it.

    Thank you very much for being and sharing your expertise!! You must have quite the plethora of brands and models. I can’t even imagine.

    Thank you again, Don

    Reply
    • Hi Don,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      25 years is really impressive, it definitely served you well. However, using a shaver for that long without any issues (battery or other internals) is rather an exception and not the norm. I’m only telling you this because the chances of that repeating with any other shaver are rather slim.

      The chargers shipped with the Japan models can take various voltages and frequencies, so you do not have to do anything except using a simple and very basic plug adapter which has nothing to do with voltage or frequency. It just allows you to plug your charger in the specific wall socket which can be different in different countries.

      The LV9FX comes with a cleaning station, if you don’t need it then I think you should maybe consider a different model. Also, the LV9FX is a range-topping model in the sense that it has some extra features like a smart lock function or aluminum body. The internals, battery, motor etc. are the same, so it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll last longer than another model with a classic travel lock and no cleaning station.

      If your main criteria is durability, newer and older models are just as good in my experience.

      I would actually recommend another 4-blade Panasonic, the ES-LF51-A or the ES-LA63AA. Yes, these are older models, but shave great and mine still work flawlessly after many years. If you want an Arc 5, again I would rather get an ES-LV65 because it shaves great, it’s reasonably priced and I don’t think it’s less durable than the latest revisions.

      But if you want the newest iteration, that would be the revision J Arc 5, currently only available from Japan. In the post above you can find the specific model names depending on your needs: with or without a cleaning station, cordless only or cordless & corded etc.

      Hope this helps.

      PS: I really do have a LOT of shavers, it’s kind of getting out of control. But I also don’t want to part ways with any. :-)

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  62. Thank You Ovidiu,

    I will do a bit of reconsidering. I do want the cleaner. I just ordered the Jack Black Balm you raved about and will give it a try.

    My wife knows a couple whose husband is a product director for Microsoft and had collected every unusual type keyboard ever imagined and did an art or museum exhibit with them. Have you thought about something like that? I think people would be quite amazed to see all the different manufacturers and models!

    Thanks again,
    Don

    If you don’t have an ES8234, I can bequeath mine to you once I have a replacement. It’s still in great shape and looks real clean.

    Reply
    • You are very welcome, Don.

      That is a really interesting idea, when I’ll retire and I’ll have lots of time on my hands and lots of shavers — even more than I do know — I might give it a go.

      Getting back to present time, if you want an Arc 5 with a cleaner, the default option would be the venerable ES-LV95-S. I own that one as well and it’s a solid, reliable and great performing shaver. It’s identical to the ES-LV65-S I mentioned in the previous comment but it comes with a station.

      A newer option would be the ES-LV9Q, that one is quite easy to find in the USA despite not being officially released there. It has a metal body and a more comfortable foil compared to the ES-LV95, but you can upgrade that one as well to use a newer, more comfortable foil.

      The latest Arc 5 is the Japanese revision J and there are variations that also come with a cleaning station. But the price will be significantly higher since you’ll need to import it from Japan.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  63. Thanks again for the useful information!

    I’m surprised how well the blades & foils of my ES-LV65S have held up, but it’s finally time to replace them. I’m wondering whether the newer ones with the rollers are worth the price difference. Since I lubricate the shaver head with a drop of mineral oil, and use LectricShave, I find the plastic bars between the foils on the old version glide over my skin just fine, and I wonder whether the rollers would really make a difference. I also wonder what other improvement the newer foils might have. You mentioned a slight improvement in how it handles flat lying hairs, presumably from a re-designed cutter bar. Is that the only other difference?

    On another topic, do you have information about a realistic expectation of battery life? The manual says I can expect three years …but it also says I should be able to shave in three minutes & to get two weeks of shaves from a charge. I have yet to finish a shave in anything like three minutes, or to shave for even one week on one charge. So I wonder whether my battery is about to quit any day now, leaving me with an expensive paperweight. Any info would ve appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Barry,

      You are very welcome, glad you liked the article.

      In my opinion if you found the old foil adequately comfortable, there’s really no point in spending more just to get one of the new ones. I think it’s worth it if you can easily get the set for roughly the same money, otherwise you can just get the original one.

      As for the battery, with normal use and decent maintenance (like not leaving the shaver in direct sunlight), the battery generally lasts long past the 3 year threshold. In fact, some users still have the ES-LV81 which is the predecessor of the ES-LV65/ES-LV95 with the original battery (both use the same battery model). And while lasting for that long isn’t the norm, neither is 3 years (unless you’re very unlucky). The battery can be swapped of course but the shaver may not be completely waterproof after that.

      I also have to charge mine at least once a week and it’s the same with all Panasonic Arc 5 models, even the new ones, as those use the exact same battery. Panasonic likes to stick with it for some reason, there have been zero updates in that regard.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  64. Hi Ovidiu
    Can you use a washable shaver in the shower or with shaving cream?
    I prefer doing wet shaves but the travel razor you recommend, cv51, doesn’t seem to be available anymore online
    There is the cv70 which I am fine with getting as long as I can use it wet. Is it just a recommendation to use it as dry only or have you tried using them wet and it was fine.
    Thank you again for all the work you do compiling all this information!

    Reply
    • I should’ve mentioned this too but because I like to shave only in the shower with shaving cream, the razor will never be plugged in when I use it

      Reply
      • Hi Alex,

        Both variations are waterproof so there aren’t any differences in that regard. Because the CV70 also works with the cord, it is sold as a dry-only shaver. I cannot recommend using a dry-only shaver in a different manner than what the manufacturer recommends, but there are numerous users who shave wet with the CV70 (without the cord of course).

        Sincerely,
        Ovidiu

        Reply
  65. Thanks for the hard work! Does this model have a switchable stubble sensor? I choose between lv 67 and Panasonic ES-LV6Q. I like the more informative look, design, and the new grid. For me, the price for the first model is $150 and for the second $200. Is it worth paying $50 more?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for the comment, much appreciated.

      The ES-LV67 and ES-LV6Q both have an always on sensor, you cannot switch it off. But it’s really not an issue as it seems to run at full speed for the majority of time.

      The ES-LV6Q has a newer foil which is slightly more comfortable and a more feature-rich display that shows the battery level in 10% increments and also the duration of your shave. So you’re essentially paying more for that. The foil on the ES-LV67 can be upgraded to the newer models as well.

      It’s really up to you to decide whether the price difference is worth it — the shaving performance will be more or less the same.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thank you very much for your answer. Are these shavers the same in the kit? Do they both have oil, brush, soft faux leather case?

        Reply
        • You are very welcome. Yes, the kit should normally be the same (both come with the soft faux leather case). The only unknown is currently the oil. When I bought my ES-LV67 from the USA it came with the lubricant, but from what I understand Panasonic stopped including it for most models, at least in the USA.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
    • That has never happened to me with any Panasonic shaver and I’ve been using them for 20 years. It can of course happen, but I’d say it’s a rare occurrence.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  66. Hello Ovidiu
    Thanks for the complete review! Really Amazing! I am from Brazil and I can only find LV-65 or LV-67 versions in here.
    I am worrying about LV-65 version that might come with old batteries as it was released in 2013. Do you know if these LV-65 versions found are still on mass production by Panasonic? If so, I can at least judge that it still comes with a new batteries….

    Reply
    • Hi Thiago,

      From what I know the LV65 is still being actively manufactured. It’s one of the best-selling Panasonic models despite being released a long time ago. So in my opinion the battery is a non-issue. Also, the LV67 and even the newer gen 3 models use the exact same battery model.

      So I wouldn’t let this prevent me from getting the LV65 for example if it costs less than the LV67 or you like it more. I still think the decisive factor should be the price or just personal preference if both cost the same.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  67. Hello Ovidiu,

    I have no words to thank you enough for your amazing work, testing all these different Arc 5 units and writing so many useful details that none of us would had access to otherwise! I have been reading your reviews thoroughly for weeks, as I am just before I purchase my first ever Panasonic Arc 5 shaver.

    I live in Europe (Athens, Greece) and here we have the ES-LV9U widely available at stores everywhere, priced at 369 EUR. I also found in a couple of stores the ES-LV9Q which I am very attracted to because of the premium full metal body and the nicer, more informative LED display. I think it is by far more superior to the LV9U in those aspects. I would like to have the station, yes, I think it is a nice addition. So both of them provide it.

    Which one would you choose? I really love this metal body feature and luxury feeling you described earlier for the LV9Q but they sell it at 369 EUR too, although it is an older revision! Would you get the newer LV9U which comes with a plastic body and an inferior LED display but a newer foil? OR should I get the LV9Q and later upgrade the foil with the one the LV9U provides from the start?

    The LV9U is priced 293 EUR plus shipping and the LV9Q is not offered anymore, they say discontinued model (!).

    So, which one would you choose and why? In terms of performance they are the same, except that the newer foil (that I can get later) copes better with longer hair, right?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!
    Best Regards,

    P.S. Do they provide a worldwide warranty? If I get it from German amazon, do you think it will be eligible for repairs here if anything happens?

    Tassos

    Reply
    • Hello Tassos,

      Thanks so much for the comment, I really appreciate it.

      If the price is the same, I would actually get the ES-LV9Q for the exact same reasons you mentioned. It just looks and feels like a premium Arc 5, while the performance will be pretty much identical to the ES-LV9U.

      That one does come with a revised foil, but the differences are marginal and you can even upgrade the foil when it’s time to replace it.

      I own both (a similar Japanese model instead of the ES-LV9U) and for the same money the ES-LV9U is just more substantial.

      As for the warranty, as long as you have the purchase document it should be fine, but there might be differences depending on the country. So it would be best if you could buy it locally.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply Ovidiu!

        So yes, I will go for the LV9Q, my feeling too (from your valuable input in the review) is that it is the most correct option when premium features are what one is after. The only bad thing is that they sell it at the same price as the LV9U, which is kind of absurd (369 EUR!), usually the newer models cost more, and the older ones less. But anyway, I think it is worth it anyway.

        You have been very helpful, I am really grateful.

        Thanks for everything!

        Reply
        • You are very welcome. The price is indeed high — in the USA for example it costs a lot less and it wasn’t even officially released there. But at the time of the launch, the ES-LV9Q was more expensive than other similar models in the same revision because of those premium features (metal body, smart lock, feature-rich display).

          Ideally you’d want to wait and get it at a discount, but if you need it right away you will have to pay the full price.

          I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
    • Hi Grant,

      I’ve only used it with a DE razor (and shaving cream) back in the day, so I can’t say how it’ll go. Just make sure to use warm water with it so the product won’t clump up. I recall the Proraso pre-shave cream as having a wax-like texture and that can work against you if it’s dry. If you decide to give it a try let me know how it went if you have the time.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  68. Hello,

    I need to replace the blade and foil (External grille) for my old LV9Q.
    Do you have any recommandation / reference for remplacement kit (and ideally an improvement) fot the existing one ? I live in EU.

    Best Regards,
    Christophe

    Reply
    • Hi Christophe,

      The newer and tweaked sets would be the ES9038 and ES9040, both compatible with your shaver. The latter is the one that comes with the latest Arc 5 models (aka the Series 900) and you should be able to buy it in Europe. It’s probably the most comfortable Arc 5 foil and blades set, even though not by a lot compared to the previous model.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  69. I just bought a Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65. The user manual states that the battery life is 3 years and is not intended to be replaced by consumers. I don’t want to have to ship it to a service center after 3 years. Have you had any experience in changing the battery by yourself?

    Reply
    • Hi Charles,

      I didn’t have to change the battery in any Arc 5 I’ve owned so far (all of them use the exact battery). Most should last way past the three years. There are many users who have successfully replaced the battery, you can find several tutorials on YouTube.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  70. Hi Ovidiu.

    What do you think about the ES-LV69-S803? Is it the same model as an ES-LV67 with only the colour changing (silver)? Or are there more differences between these two?

    Last time I sent you a message, I said that I had decided on buying the ES-LL21-K503 at 84 euros. However, I found another deal on ES-LV69 at 118 euros which is 34 euros more.

    Please keep that I generally intend to shave almost every day, or every other day at most and I have not so much of a coarse beard, rather normal.
    What would you recommend? Is it worth to give those extra 34 euros and go for the upgrade (provided it’s the same performance as an ES-LV67) or would it be overkill for my situation. I would love to hear your opinion on this one. Thank you very much in advance!

    Best regards,
    Thanasis

    Reply
    • Hi Thanasis,

      It’s precisely a silver ES-LV67. Even though the ES-LL21-K should suffice for your needs, I think it’s worth paying the difference for the ES-LV69. The Arc 5 is in a different league and a great deal at that price.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  71. Hi Ovidiu,

    First of all I would like to thank you for such amazing work – reading your reviews is always very fascinating and interesting!
    I have pretty straight forward question – I am choosing between Lv67 (150 eur) and LV 6Q (210 eur) and my main question whether 6Q model worth spending extra money. I shave twice a week more or less.

    Thanks for your feedback :)
    Arnonas

    Reply
    • Hi Arnonas,

      Thank you so much for the feedback, really glad you found the site useful.

      Considering the price, I would go with the LV67. The LV6Q is a newer iteration, so it usually costs more. It also has a more feature-rich display that will show the battery level in 10 stages and also the elapsed time (the ES-LV67 display won’t do that). But in terms of features that impact performance, it really is the same (motor, battery, trimmer and so on). The only real difference is the outer foil — the LV6Q comes with an updated foil with two rollers and it is a bit more comfortable. But any of the newer foils are compatible with the LV67 as well, so when it’s time to replace it you can upgrade to any of the newer ones (more details here).

      At these prices I would say that the LV67 is the better deal, but if you feel like it’s worth spending the difference for the above mentioned extras, the LV6Q is a really good shaver as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Hi Ovidiu,

        I have purchased LV67 model and after first use I am really impressed. Before I was using Braun 9 pro, however I find LV67 shaver having these main advantages:
        1. the trimmer of LV 67 is way better.
        2. LV67 produces much less noise while working.
        3. I need less time to shave with LV67 and it gives closer shave.

        thanks again for your great reviews!
        Arnonas

        Reply
        • Hi Arnonas,

          Thanks so much for the follow-up — that is awesome, really glad you enjoy your new Arc 5.

          I agree 100%, the trimmer on the LV67 is just orders of magnitude better, there’s really no comparison.

          Regarding the noise, that is very interesting as I have seen the complete opposite as well from other users. I guess it comes down to our subjective perception of the noise. It is different though, the 9 Pro is a lot rattlier. Personally, I’m just not bothered at all by any noise after so many years of constantly using electric razors, so I try to be as mindful as possible when I talk about the noise of various shavers.

          It definitely gives a closer shave than any current Braun, at least that should be the case for most users. As for the time it takes to shave, in my case it depends on the length of the stubble. If it’s short, I think the Arc 5 has a slight advantage, but if I shave after 3 days, the 9 Pro is just more effective with the annoying hairs I have on my neck, especially when I shave dry.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  72. Hi Ovidiu,

    Thank you so much for your detailed reviews and guides. After reading a bunch of your articles I’ve decided I want to go with the ES-LV9Q. I’m currently using a Series 7 that I bought in 2013 so it’s time for an upgrade. My question is – I’ve seen you say many times that Braun is better at shaving longer, flat-lying hairs if you go 3+ days without shaving. The main reason I’m switching to the ES-LV9Q is for the closeness of the shave, but I normally only shave twice a week. When you say Braun is better at shaving longer hairs, do you mean that the Arc 5 will need more strokes to get the close shave? Or, do you mean that a Braun will give you an actual closer shave with longer hair? Basically, I don’t mind if the shave might take a little longer with the Arc 5 as long as I’m still getting the closeness of the shave.

    I guess another way I can ask the question is – does the closeness of the Arc 5 lessen when shaving longer, flat-lying hairs or does it just take longer to get the same closeness of shave?

    Best,
    John

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      Thank you so much for the feedback. That is an excellent question.

      With the Arc 5 you would need more strokes for a clean shave. But when it does capture the hair it will cut it closer to the skin compared to a Braun shaver. So the Arc 5 would be a suitable shaver for what you need.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
        • One other quick question. I live in the USA and I’m having trouble finding the ES-LV9Q for a USA resident. The only ones I could find are either refurbished or have a European plug. Do you have any suggestions?

          Thanks,
          John

          Reply
          • The ES-LV9Q was not officially released in the USA, so you will only find imported shavers (from Europe or Japan). But that’s not really a problem, the charger has a universal voltage adapter and you’ll only need a basic and inexpensive plug adapter to use it.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  73. The ES-ALV6HR is on sale for $121. Are you familiar with this model? I’m wondering why it is so much cheaper than other ARC5 models.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  74. I have been using a Panasonic model #ES8019 AC/RC washable for many years. I do not remember when I bought it. It may need a new head. Are original equipment heads still available? Do you think that I may be a candidate to buy a new Panasonic shaver? If so which model would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi Morry,

      You shaver is an old 3-blade Panasonic with straight foils. The replacement foil and blades can still be bought (blades: WES9070P, foil: WES9077P) but unless you really like it and it’s still in good shape, it may not be worth it. The price for both the foil and the blades will be pretty high.

      You could get a new Panasonic Arc 3 like the ES-LT67 for almost the same money or maybe you can get a great deal on an Arc 5 like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67. If you were happy with your ES8019, then the Arc 3 should easily be good enough. The Arc 5 is better but also costs more, so it comes down to your budget.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  75. Do all of the Panasonic arc 5’s use the same 3.7 v battery with the same 680 (guessing) milliamp hours? I have a second generation, blue, plastic case, no cleaning station, Cannot be used while plugged in. I don’t have the model in front of me. Sorry. I believe I got it in 2020 or 2021. So all in all I was wondering if I could get a little more shaving time with a higher Milliamp battery and replace it myself as I have with some other razors. I’m not sure without opening , if this model contains a battery with pins on each end little fold over tabs. Any help appreciated until I get to look at the model and your opinion. on the current Thank you very much for such a lengthy detailed and wonderful review due to the of perhaps too many nuances due to the slight changes made over the years

    Reply
    • Hi Peter,

      All Panasonic Arc 5 models use the same WESLV9ZL2508 battery (680mAh), including your shaver which is probably the ES-LV67-A. I haven’t tried replacing it with a higher mAh model, so I can’t say anything about that. The battery has a pin on each end (the polarity still matters when you install it) and you just pull it out of its place, very easy to replace. Also, after a new battery is installed, the shaver just won’t turn on until you charge it (even if the battery has charge in it).

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  76. Ovidiu,

    Firstly, I would like to say: the work you do is incredible, the time you spend to document all these changes and experiences with all these revisions (especially with some being as basic as the reading of the beard density being increased by 13 times per second) is admirable. Your writing is detailed, free from error, and fun to read.

    I’m in the market of purchasing a high-end Arc 5 or Braun series 9. Looking over this and other detailed guides by you, I’m leaning in 3 different ways:

    1. ARC 5 LV9W – 284USD
    2. ARC 5 LV9Q – 326 USD
    3. Braun S9Pro – 259 USD

    Reasoning:
    General: You clearly state that the Panasonic series are superior to the Braun when trying to get a closer shave, while Braun is better for longer hairs/beards. While I usually shave about once-twice a week, which would likely make the Braun better for that use, I really would like to have as close of a shave as possible as I’m moving from double-edged razors to foil shavers. You also seem to be a bigger fan of the Panasonic cleaning station, except for the cleaning solution, which you seem to be happier with Braun’s resealable kit. However, for me, the idea of remembering to remove the kit, so that the Braun solution doesn’t evaporate, an hour after shaving, seems unappealing as I probably will just forget. You also mentioned in a different guide that the Panasonic station leaves the shaver more dry than when using the Braun station. For those reasons, I also lean toward Panasonic. Just a quick two questions regarding the Panasonic cleaning solution: does using it mean that I can avoid having to manually lubricate the foil, even if I wash the foil with soap? Is there any downside to using the whole Panasonic cleaning solution and having it sit for a month or two, can I use half the packet instead?

    1 vs 2. While I know you push users to take the nicer LV9Q due to its better display and metal build, the price difference between the 9W and 9Q is not insignificant; also this is given the fact that if I’d like to upgrade the 9Q foils to the newer and improved revision G/H foils used on the 9W this would be an additional 90 USD. However, the idea of having to pay a premium for a high-end shaver and then only having to renew the foils instead of settling for a newer but lower build quality shaver does seem appealing.

    3. I’ve left the Braun Series 9 Pro on here since the price is a lot more appealing with the Black Friday sales, and it seems to be better and cutting longer hair, but just not as closely as the Panasonic Arc 5. I’m not sure if the 9Q ever goes on sale since it’s an older model, but if it ever dips under 280 I would definitely just buy that and not waste your time with this post.

    As a side note, do you have any guide(s) or article(s) on facial trimmers for those that want to maintain a beard rather than a clean shave with a electric foil razor?

    Reply
    • Hi Larry,

      Thank you so much for the feedback, I truly appreciate it and I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      You’ve obviously did quite a bit of researching and you presented the pros and cons of your final 3 choices in a very logical manner.

      All things considered, I think you should actually go for the Arc 5. It should still be fine if you shave twice a week. There could only be one issue if you have lots of flat-lying hairs. For example, all the hairs on my neck stay flat on the skin and if I were to shave twice a week I would pick a Series 9/Series 9 pro as those are some very stubborn hairs and the Braun just catches them in a few swings. But if you don’t have that problem, I think you can buy the Arc 5.

      The way you’ll be using the cleaning station also makes it a more suitable option than the Series 9 Pro. If you’ll clean the shaver regularly with the station (like after every shave) there won’t be a need to lubricate it manually.

      The quirk with removing the solution recipient is just related to my personal preference, so you can of course leave it inside the station at all time (it’s perfectly fine, that’s how it is actually intended to be used). I didn’t quite understand the last question: do you plan to mix only half the detergent pack with water or only fill half the tray with the solution (obtained using the entire detergent pack)?

      In the first case, the solution might be too diluted and less effective at cleaning and lubricating the blades and the station might even signal an empty tray. The latter can also happen if you only fill up half the tray.

      As for which Arc 5 to buy, objectively, the LV9W is the better deal. I usually recommend the LV9Q because it’s easier to source and oftentimes it costs less than the newer Japan exclusive releases. Especially in Europe the LV9Q is very popular and the price is also reasonable. The metal body, display and smart lock are nice bonus features. But in this case, buying the LV9W makes more sense. It doesn’t have the metal body, but plastic is perfectly fine, I have many plastic Arc5s and they are really solid shavers.

      Since the LV9Q was not officially released in the USA, the chances of getting a discount similar to the S9 Pro are really small.

      I do not have a guide on face trimmers since I always prefer a clean shave, so my experience with face trimmers is limited. But the Philips Multigroom 7000 for example is a really impressive all purpose trimmer, with a fantastic battery life, premium metal build, loads of accessories and an unbeatable price for such a capable device (the MG7910/49 variation).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Hey Ovidiu,

        I ended up going against my wallet’s health and getting the LV9Q, couldn’t be happier with the decision, a beautiful appliance with practical and handy features and a nice build quality. I didn’t think a foil shaver could shave as close as a 5-blade razor, but a couple of passes with the Arc 5 showed that you were right once again. Thanks for all your help, posting these articles, and your quick and detailed replies.

        As a (hopefully) final (2-part) question:

        1. Do you have any experience with Panasonic’s warranty program? I’m not sure if holding onto the warranty card and trying to dig it up later is worth it/necessary.

        2. I read your “How To Take Care Of Your Electric Razor” guide, to prolong your battery life you recommended keeping charge between 30-80%. Is that necessary for more advanced shavers like the LV9Q, I’d prefer to just keep it in the charging stand whenever I’m done/not using it.

        Reply
        • Hi,

          Thanks so much for the comment — glad you’re enjoying the LV9Q.

          Regarding the questions:

          1. I’ve been lucky enough not to deal with Panasonic’s service centers. But with a shaver with a premium price like yours I think it would be best to keep the warranty card somewhere safe.

          2. That’s a general guideline for any appliance fitted with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, including the LV9Q. But that’s just going the extra mile to get the absolute maximum out of it and I personally don’t bother doing it unless I happen to spot the shaver at 80-90% while charging. So you can just leave it in the stand and don’t worry about it.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • Hey Ovidiu,

            Been using the LV9Q for a few weeks now with great results. The only thing I occasionally struggle with is shaving the flat lying hairs on my neck. I’ll go through it with a couple passes in different directions, but some hairs, no matter how hard I try, just never seem to get cut. In this scenario, I usually just use a 5-blade razor, which is ok for the most part, but even then some of the neck hairs are just hard to catch with a straight edge as well. Do you have any recommendations, or is this just how it is with electric shavers?

          • Hi Larry,

            Some of the really stubborn hairs are a pain to get with any shaver. But the Arc 5 with the larger head and its intrinsic weakness with longer/flat-lying hairs can make things even worse.

            I have a couple of patches around and above the Adam’s apple with hairs that also stay completely flat and unless they’re very short, I have to put in some extra work to get a clean shave. Since the area isn’t very large, I use the hair trimmer to pre-cut them and then shave any remaining stubble. This seems to work very well for me with the excellent trimmer of the Arc 5. But it does have its limitations if the area in question is larger.

            Apart from that, just the usual tips — try shaving while the stubble is still short and maybe try a pre-shave lotion, stretch the skin and always account for the hair grain. I’m afraid it’s all we have to deal with this problem. Other foil shavers are more effective than the Arc 5 (for example any variation of the Braun Series 9), but the shave isn’t quite as close.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  77. What about Panasonic ES-LV9Q versus Braun Series 9 PRO+ 9575cc? Not sure which I should get, but the Braun is currently around 100 dollars cheaper due to black friday

    Reply
    • Hi Alexander,

      Normally the ES-LV9Q costs less than any Series 9 PRO+. At that difference in price I don’t think you should get the ES-LV9Q. Alternatively, if you think a Panasonic would be a better choice for you than the Braun, check out the ES-LV9U or the ES-LV6U (no cleaning stations). These are newer than the ES-LV9Q but do not have a metal body. But they’re still really solid and in some countries the price is really competitive.

      The ES-LV9Q or the other similar Arc 5 I mentioned will provide a closer shave for most users compared to the S9 PRO+. They will however work best on short stubble, so if you shave more often (daily to every 2-3 days at most) I think the Panasonic would be a better match. The Series 9 PRO+ is identical to the previous Pro and it’s very effective even when the hairs are longer or stay flat on the skin. But the closeness is not quite as good. The hair trimmer on the Arc 5 shavers is also superior.

      Depending on your priorities and shaving habits one these shavers should make more sense.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  78. Hi I have the ES-LF71 (with cleaning station that I don’t use!)

    This looks very like the Mk 1 of these shavers…is it part of the ARC range…or would I get a better shaver by going for one of these ARC shavers?

    Also what on earth are those rollers for??

    Reply
    • Hi Ron,

      Your shaver is a 4-blade Arc 4. I own that model without the cleaning station (called ES-LF51) and I find that it shaves as close as an Arc 5, but it is not as comfortable or refined. So the benefits of switching to an Arc 5 would be along those lines.

      The Arc 5 rollers make the head glide easier on the skin during a dry shave and prevent excessive pressure. Seemed like a gimmick at first, but they actually work.

      You can get an older Arc 5 model like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67/ALV6HR (all three shave the same) as those cost a lot less than the newer ones with the rollers. They’re not quite as comfortable, but will be 100% fine. And you can upgrade to the newer foil later on as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  79. I am struggling to decide between either buying the lv67a for 136 euro or the lv9u for 220. You seem to say that I would probably be better off buying the lv67a or am I wrong? I would like the most comfortable one to but idk if the increase is big enough to justify the price.

    Reply
    • Hi Lin,

      The LV9U with the new outer foil is more comfortable. The LV67 can however be upgraded to that same foil when it’s time to replace it. The price difference between the LV67 and LV9U is quite steep, but that’s also because the LV9U comes with a cleaning station. Maybe you can get the LV6U which is basically an LV9U without the station, normally it should cost significantly less. That one seems ideal for what you need.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Oops I didnt see your comment and already placed a second one, sorry for that I thought my comment did not get through moderation, please delete that one if possible. The problem with the LV6U is that it is even more expensive than the lv9u in my country, dont ask me why but I think it is due to availability. But looking at your message it seems the LV67 seems the best pick then right?

        Reply
        • No worries.

          Regarding the price difference, that can happen sometimes and a lesser model ends up costing more than a higher specced one. It’s usually related to availability, suppliers, economies of scale and so on.

          What about the ES-LV6Q or any of the revisions C through G? Any of these would be a bit more comfortable than the ES-LV67.

          That said, if the only other option is the ES-LV9U, the ES-LV67 would be the better buy (because of t he price). The comfort should be fine for most users and you can upgrade the foil later on.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  80. Here is 3-month update of Panasonic LV6Q user. Shaver is still great, foils are sharp and intact. I’m slowly mastering technique day by day. I shave daily every morning, 95% wet shave which seems to be much much closer in comparison with dry shave. Overall I’m happy with this shaver, but the only downside is battery life, it is nowhere near 50 minutes as advertised. I fully charge it, have 3 shaves of around 8 minutes each including sonic vibration cleaning with soap and next morning battery would be down to 10% and beeping. I clean shaver after every use and lubricate it before use.

    Reply
    • Hi Dejan,

      Many thanks for the follow-up. The battery life across the entire Panasonic line-up is underwhelming. Even the newest Arc 5 model uses the same battery as the first generation and it is behind Braun and Philips in that regard. So it’s not specific to the LV6Q, but it’s the same across the Arc 5 range.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  81. I bought a ES-LV65 (I think revision E) in Oct 2020. Is the newest lv65 body and motor any quieter? Mine seems to be vibrating more in the noise ‘department’

    Reply
    • Hi Seth,

      The ES-LV65 is a generation 2 model. Only the third generation has multiple revisions.

      That said, I didn’t find the newest Arc 5 models to be any quieter. If they are, the differences are minor and I just can’t notice them. This is of course true when comparing two new shavers. After a few years of use, the noise can get a bit louder, but most of the time when changing the foil and blades it gets sorted out. That’s usually the main culprit for the increase in noise as the cutters wear out. The motor and other moving bits can get louder too but usually after a longer time.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  82. Thank you so much for this guide! I have an ES-LV65 now for years. I have upgraded and used a few variations of foils, and like you stated, not sure which is best. As my shaver is about 4 or 5 years old now, it’s looking pretty worn, and making weird noises. After exhaustive searching, I found an ES-LV95 with cleaning station new for 160 shipped, mislabeled as a 65, with great photos. I also found a like new looking ES-LV9FX labeled as used, sold by a eBay seller selling all sorts of random stuff. This might be new or like new as photos of case, shaver and cleaning station show zero signs of wear or use! Bought it for 137usd shipped!! With original box that also appears new or like new. Even if it needs a new blade set, this is an incredible deal! I wanted a Japanese metal body arc5 with the nice led display, and cleaning station to try that out for a low price. They are very hard to find here in the USA but fingers crossed this works out!!

    Reply
    • Hi Trav,

      Thanks so much for the comment. That is indeed a great deal on a really difficult to find Japanese model. If everything is in line with the photos, it’s a win. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  83. Ovidiu,

    Great guide!

    How do you clean the pop-up hair trimmer, as the automatic cleaning station does not touch it? Do you use water to clean it after every shave, or just brush it off, and do you apply lubricant/mineral oil to lubricate those blades every so often too, or no?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks so much for the feedback.

      I just run the extended trimmer under warm water every once in a while. Brushing it is an option as well, but it’s just easier that way since I’m already in front of the sink. Ideally you would do it after every shave, but I often forget about it. But if you only use it to shape and trim your sideburns or to cut a few odd stray hairs, it won’t clog nearly as much with clipped hair like the foil head for example.

      A drop of lubricating oil a few times a month should suffice and it would be best to do it when the blades are dry, so not right after rinsing it with water.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  84. Ovidiu,
    I’ve read and appreciated your shaver reviews for some time Thank you.

    I’ve been shaving my head and face with Panasonic Wet/Drys for decades, currently I’m on my third Panasonic Arc 4. Needless to say, I’m quite satisfied with the Panasonic Wet/Drys. I am retired now so I’m shaving fewer times a week, less daily shaves and more 2-3 day growth shaves.

    I constantly vasilate between a mustache, goatee and beard, all of varying lengths but usually wear a goatee. I’ve come to the conclusion that shaving my head and face roughly doubles the demand put on my razor compared to face shavers. I have been replacing foils and blades once a year and by the end of the year, shave time and performance are definitely compromised. I believe the price of replacement blades is a scam compared to buying a full razor but a scam I’ve been willing to engage. There have been times that the incremental cost increase for a shaver over replacement blades has been so slight it would have been silly not to buy a new shaver.

    I am now in need of replacement blades for an Arc 4 that is showing some wear. It is obvious Panasonic is abandoning the Arc 4 line and I’m considering moving to either the Arc 3 series or the Arc 5 series which is why I’m writing. Based on what I’ve outlined, do you have a recommendation? I can “afford” either one but also, “money matters”. I’ve never shaved with Braun and have no interest in their higher end products but I have been studying about the Proskin 3 series, primarily due to its value.
    I am also looking hard at the Arc 3 ES-LL41-K with it’s included trimmers and price point.

    I appreciate your work.

    Craig Smith

    Reply
    • Hi Craig,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      That is true unfortunately, the price of certain replacement foils and blades is outrageously high. You are right regarding the Arc 4 line, Panasonic isn’t showing any interest in it and will probably never get an update.

      I think an Arc 5 makes the most sense as a face+head shaver. I think an Arc 3 will just make this way too tedious and so would a Series 3 ProSkin, even though the latter is among the best in terms of costs of ownership.

      Some Arc 5 variations, like the ES-LV65, ES-LV67 or ES-ALV6HR can sometimes cost just marginally more than an Arc 3, so I think it’s worth keeping an eye on the prices and just buy any of those when you find a great deal.

      I think you will thoroughly enjoy shaving with an Arc 5, it’ll feel very familiar since you come from an Arc 4, but faster, more refined and will shave closer as well. And you have loads of options for compatible replacement foil&blades.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  85. I used a Remington for yrs with no issues until Amazon stopped carrying replacement foils/blades .
    Purchased a Braun series 8 8577 with clean station? Really like th he. Lean station
    I used a razor every morning and have used an electric shaver late afternoon dry. I never received razor burn/rash until I used the Braun . Using electric shave lotion helps but still burns a little. I know you are supposed to use a electric shaver daily for 2 weeks for face to get used to shaver but never thought I would get a close shave compared to razor
    Started looking at Panasonic arc 5 LV97 with cleaner like ghe reviews but didn’t like the Panasonic cleaner in comparison to the Braun cleaner mainly the Braun has a cartridge cleaning solution/ the Panasonic cleaner you get a packet
    Any thoughts Braun 8577 versus Arc 5 LV97?

    Reply
    • Hi Ed,

      If I understand dis correctly, you use a manual razor in the morning and you then shave dry with an electric shaver? If so, that is a rather unusual routine. After using the same shaver for years you may get irritation or razor burn when switching to a different model but there’s a good chance it will go away. The Series 8 is a pretty gentle shaver but you may want to adjust the pressure and see if that makes a difference.

      The Panasonic station doesn’t have a cartridge, so you simply mix the detergent pack with water in a small tub. It’s one of the reasons I don’t find it as practical since I sometimes want to store the station in a cabinet and free up my counter. But if you’ll be using the station daily, it’s not really an issue and the Arc 5 station itself is very capable.

      The ES-LV97 shaves very close and it’s adequately comfortable for most users. The Series 8 is still gentler during a dry shave though, so I would give it a few more tries before buying a different one.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  86. Ovidiu, I genuinely appreciate your shaver reviews. After reading the Arc5 reviews, I opted for the ES-CV70 to shave my face and head. I was floored by the closeness of the dry shave on my head. My next step is to use shaving gel/liquid soap with the shaver. (The liquid soap used works better than most shaving gels). The ES CV70 puts my 2 “head-shavers” to shame, and they will be relegated to stand-by/backup duty. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it. The compact Arc 5 does shave incredibly close when used on the head. A quality shaving cream/gel should make it even better and more comfortable.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  87. Thank you for this great overview.

    I saw on amazon.co.jp ghat there is Lamdash Palm ES-PV6A, which is ex0ensive as you say, but ghere is also a ES-PV3A, which is significantly cheaper and seems nearly identical?
    I cant find much info on it, on panasonicsl’s japanese site the only difference i could make out was that the cheaper PV3A has a matt standard black color whereas fhe PV6A is black or white but with some kinda effect. Also the PV3A is lighter. But other than that i couldnt make out any differences.

    Maybe someone knows more?

    https://ec-plus.panasonic.jp/store/ap/storeaez/a2A/ProductDetail?HB=ES-PV3A-K

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      As far as I know, the finish of the body is the only difference. The ES-PV6A gas the composite stone-like matte finish (called Nagori), while the ES-PV3A has a more basic finish.

      Performance, blades, foils, motors are all the same.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  88. This is a great article. Could you put an UPDATE or something similar section at the top of the article that notes which model is the most recent per region, as that detail gets buried.

    Reply
    • Hi Harry,

      Thank you so much for the comment and suggestion. That was my plan as well, but turned out to be quite tricky. There are models officially released in a region/country and there are some which are not, but can still be bought (usually sold directly from Japan). So it would need to account for that as well. I’ll try to add it with the next update, keeping it fairly simple and easy to find without going through the entire post.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  89. Hi Ovidiu. I have never used an electric razor. Growth around the face is neither dense nor thick but I have thicker growth on the upper lip which I like to shave close every day. It tends to get very irritated with a wet cartridge shave. Would switching to something like an Arc5 get as close and help with the irritation?

    Reply
    • Hi Colin,

      The Arc 5 is one of the best razors for a close shave on the upper lip area. I also have very thick stubble right below the nose and on the chin and the Arc 5 manages to give me a clean shave with no 5 o’clock shadow. That said, I usually shave wet with the Arc 5 for the extra comfort and closeness. It can be a bit too aggressive when used dry, especially if your skin is prone to irritation.

      If you’re not against using shaving cream (here is my guide on that) I think it can be a really good option to get precisely what you want.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  90. Thanks Ovidiu, honestly glad I read through all this. I was going to buy a new shaver because my foil is starting to cut me on my LV-52 from 3 years ago. But now I’ve seen I can buy the newer ES9040 foil/blade on amazon and effectively have the newer shaving experience, saving money and avoiding landfill.

    Cheers mate!

    Reply
  91. Ovidiu… I’m coming out of a rotary head Phillips… & leaning into an Arc5…your article is both timely & pragmatically non-biased as well as highly informed and comprehensive. Kudos for your dedication to detail. Bravo!

    Reply
  92. Ovidiu,

    Many thanks for your thoughtful and complete reviews!

    As a former Braun user, (gave up because replacement blades were duller than the old ones I had), to an early Norelco 9000, (which I used for over 10 years, without issue, but the replacement part I need, is not sold), to a 2024 Norelco (which is terrible at shaving and is a cleaning nightmare), I was really not sure what I was going to get.

    Then, I found your site, and after reading, have selected a ES-ALV6HR (yep, I did use your site’s link, hope it helps), to try and see how it goes.

    Reply
  93. Excellent review.

    Many thanks.

    I have a question about ES-LV65-S or ES-LV67-K. What’s the difference between the 65 and 67 versions? Both are related to the second generation. And, as I understand it, the 67 model is little newer. Am I right?

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the comment, Parvin.

      You are correct — both are labeled as a second generation because both come with the older-style foils (without the comfort rollers). The ES-LV67 is however a newer iteration — new design, but in terms of shaving performance I find it exactly the same as the ES-LV65.

      I personally prefer the ES-LV65 as it has a more useful LED display and I can use it with the shaving sensor deactivated, meaning full power at all time. In practice, these don’t make a huge difference, but slightly tip the scales (at least for me) in favor of the LV65. The price should however be the decisive factor — if I could get the LV67 for less, I would definitely buy that one instead.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  94. thank a lot for response.

    unfortunately, I didn’t find the third generation arc5 (amazon, panasonic official site, wallmart, ebay, etc.). I just interested the price difference between 2nd and 3rd generations.

    Reply
    • You are very welcome.

      Panasonic didn’t officially release the third generation Arc 5 in the USA. You may find one on eBay Amazon (for example the ES-LV6U, that one is usually available). The price difference vs a second generation like the LV65/LV67 or ES-ALV6HR (which is basically a red LV67) can be quite significant so you might as well get the second generation. The main difference is that outer foil that makes a third gen Arc 5 more comfortable (the closeness is however identical).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  95. Hi Ovidiu,

    I haven’t seen this addressed before (although I have spent HOURS reading your reviews over the years. I find them fascinating and definitively informative.

    One question I have seen asked/answered is: wet shaving with a cream – does the lubrication in the cream mean that you don’t need to manually lubricate with the light machine oil?

    Reply
      • Hi Jerry,

        Many thanks for the comment, I’m glad you found the info useful.

        That is an excellent question. In short, you will still need to use a proper lubricant (light mineral/clipper oil, spray lubricant for shavers).

        The foils can get really hot even during a wet shave if there’s not enough lubrication. Also, the lubrication provided by the shaving cream is more about the foils gliding easy over the skin, but we’re interested in reducing the friction between the oscillating blades and the foils. And for that very specific application, you will need a product that is very effective (shaving cream just isn’t).

        Also, if you’re using shaving cream, it would be best to clean your shaver with water and a bit of liquid soap. And soap does remove any traces of lubricant, so it’s probably even more important to oil the shaver if you’re wet shaving.

        Sincerely,
        Ovidiu

        Reply
  96. Ovidiu,

    Many thanks for your thoughtful and complete reviews, I wanted to get it for my husband he has been using manual razor till now was thinking about getting him Arc5 lv95 is it a good choice? What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hi Zee,

      Thank you for the comment.

      The LV95 is one of the older Arc 5 models (just like the LV65) but still an excellent one, especially if you can get a great deal on it. It comes with an automatic cleaning station and the shaver can even be upgraded with the latest Arc 5 foils, they will fit perfectly. Alternatively, I would also check out the ES-LV97 — it shaves the same and comes with the same cleaning station, so I would just buy the one that costs less.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
          • Whichever you can get for a better price as the performance will be the same. If the price is similar, I would get the LV95 as it has a more feature-rich display and a more intuitive travel lock. But again, in terms of shaving performance, they are the same, so the price should be the decisive factor.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  97. Hey there!

    I stumbled upon your website via reddit. I’ve made my decision to go with the ARC5. I’m from the US and will be going to Japan next week. Am I better off waiting and going to Japan to buy the imported/3rd generation model? Or should I purchase one here? I would like to get the one with the newest foil. If so, what model would I look for when I’m there? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Ray,

      Thank you for the comment.

      It’s first a matter of budget — the latest Arc 5 models, even the ones sold in Japan, cost significantly more than the older models that are readily available in the USA (ES-LV65-S, ES-ALV6HR, ES-LV67-K — all of these shave the same). If you do decide to buy a new generation Arc 5 from Japan, I would simply get most affordable one that comes with the latest foil. You can find them in my comparison table here — all of them shave the same, so it’s only a matter of color, cleaning station and cordless-only vs corded&cordless use.

      I’ve mentioned in several of my articles that the main difference between the old Arc 5 generations (like the ones available in the USA) and the newer ones is the comfort. The older ones are more aggressive (during a dry shave), but if your skin isn’t particularly sensitive you should be just fine. The closeness is the same in my experience (excellent).

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Hi there.

        That was helpful. Would you say the build quality is the same as the US in terms of build? Are all the ARC5s made in Japan as well? Also, what would I do about warranty issues if I bought from Japan and live in the US?

        Reply
        • Hi Ray,

          All Arc5s are made in Japan and I’ve bought many from the USA, Japan and Europe. I haven’t noticed any build quality differences. Normally Panasonic offers an international warranty and as long as you got the proof of purchase and the shaver was bought from an authorized retailer, you should be covered by the warranty. But I would strongly suggest to contact Panasonic USA support and ask them explicitly about it, there may be something I’m not aware of in the case of the Japanese domestic models.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  98. Hi Ovidiu.

    I have sensitive skin but I want close shave, my shaving technique is not very good because sometimes I cut myself while trying to shave mustache so i don’t want to use cartridge razors anymore. Which electric shaver is better to choose between Philips oneblade, Braun Series 7 and Panasonic Arc 5 for close shave and sensitive skin?

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      If you want a close shave the Philips OneBlade is out from the start. While it is very gentle, it is not a shaver — it’s a trimmer specifically designed to leave very short stubble. So it’s not an option if you want a clean and close shave.

      I also wouldn’t really consider the Series 7 — the Series 8 (any model) is a better shaver in every way. The Arc 5 will shave a bit closer than the Series 8, but some models are more aggressive than others. I mentioned that in this post, so if you have sensitive skin, the only Arc 5 I would consider would be the ES-LV6U that comes with a tweaked foil that is gentler than the older generations.

      Also, since this will be your first shaver, it will take some time until you get used to it. Until then your results will probably not be the best. Also keep in mind that electric shavers work best on short facial hair, so I would try shaving at least a couple of times a week (depending on how fast your beard grows).

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • Hi Joe,

      That one is an old (generation 1) Arc 5 model, but if you managed to get one for that price, I’d say you got a great deal for an excellent shaver. The performance is similar to the newer (generation 2) models and you can upgrade to a newer foil as well when it’s time to replace it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  99. Hi Ovidiu,
    Thanks for the truly awesome article and replies. I am planning to buy my first electric razor, and looking to buy an Arc 5. I wondered which one you would suggest as of June 2024?
    Thanks in advance
    Paul

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      The Arc 5 model that you can get for less money is the one to buy. In the USA, you have three options: ES-LV65-S, ES-LV67-K/ES-ALV6HR. All of them shave the same.

      In Europe, the ES-LV67-A is usually the one to get thanks to its price. However, you may be able to get a good deal on the newer ES-LV6U. This one has the updated foil and it is gentler than the ES-LV67-A. Other than that, the performance is very similar. You will also be able to update the foil of the ES-LV67-A later on.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  100. Hey Ovidiu,

    Just wanted to give you an update. I ended up getting the ARC5 in Japan (the one with the gold foil in the middle). Your chart was helpful in avoiding the unnecessary and premium options. I ended up with the basic one (no cleaner), and got it for $137USD. It was very helpful that the Yen is weak right now.

    Reply
  101. Thank you very much for such a comprehensive guide. I am new to Panasonic razors. I’ve been using Philips/ Norelco since I started shaving forty-seven years ago. I bought a Philips/Norelco SP9820 a year and a half ago, thinking my investment would bring years of shaving. Now I discover Philips has discontinued production of replacement blades/heads for this unit, and even those advertised as “Genuine” replacements are garbage not really made by Philips. I really hope Panasonic is financially more stable than Philips seems to be: I plan on buying a ES-LV65 soon, and hope replacement foils and blades will be made by Panasonic for some time to come. Thanks again. You obviously put a lot of work into informing us.

    Reply
    • Hi Dean,

      Thanks so much for the kind comment.

      Just as a side note, Philips did discontinue the SH98 heads that originally came with the SP9820, however the newer SH91 heads that equip the latest Prestige models are 100% compatible with your shaver and perform at least as good as the discontinued heads. So if you were happy with the shaver so far, buying the SH91 heads would be a perfectly viable option (unless you want to try the Panasonic as well).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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