The New Panasonic Arc 5 Pro 2023: Is It Worth Buying?

Less than one year after Panasonic introduced the Arc 5 Pro (aka revision H), we have a new update for 2023.

The latest Panasonic Arc 5 Pro (or Lamdash 5 Pro as it’s called in Japan) is comprised of 5 new shaver models which will be available from June 2023 and very likely be limited to the Japanese domestic market.

If the past is any indication, there probably won’t be a global release of this iteration, which means that for the rest of the world, the newest Arc 5 available will continue to be the Series 900 (aka revision G), first released in 2021.

We called last year’s Arc 5 Pro generation the revision H after the name of several models in that series. 

For consistency, we will refer to this 2023 Arc 5 update as revision J (for some reason, the letter I was skipped by Panasonic).

So let’s take a quick look at the main features and see if there are any improvements to the 2023 Arc 5 compared to the previous versions.

Panasonic Arc 5 Pro 2023 features

One thing that all these Arc 5/Lamdash 5 updates seem to have in common is that they were very incremental.

Apart from the revision C which was a significant change from the abruptly discontinued revision B, all of these updates (D through H) have been minor or mainly cosmetic.

And after thoroughly checking the specs and Panasonic’s product page, I quickly came to the conclusion that the 2023 Arc 5 followed the same path.

In fact, there seems to be a single difference compared to last year’s revision H which was also the first one with the word Pro in the name.

Side note: There’s nothing Pro about the 2022 and 2023 Arc 5 series compared to any of the previous non-Pro revisions. The addition of that term is purely marketing.

With that out of the way, let’s quickly go over the main features of the 2023 Arc 5 (Pro).

1. 5-blade shaving system

The 5-blade shaving head of t he Arc 5 Pro 2023.
Image credit: panasonic.jp

The 2023 Panasonic Arc 5 Pro features the trademark head with 5 individual (active) shaving elements.

The only foil shaver with more blades is Panasonic’s very own Arc 6 or Series 900+ as it’s called in Europe.

As for this Arc 5 Pro revision J, the foil and two inner blades are the same ones from the previous revision H and G (Series 900).

As a result, the foil and blades set has the same part number, ES9040.

Panasonic ES9040 foil and blades set.
Panasonic ES9040 foil and blades set.

The shaving unit is the most important part of a shaver (alongside the motor) and will have a major impact on the shaving performance.

But as we saw, everything has remained unchanged for the 2023 models.

2. 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) motor

The 14 000 CPM motor.
Image credit: panasonic.jp

The motor is also the same 14 000 CPM unit used in every range-topping Panasonic razor.

It’s a highly powerful, fast and refined motor, arguably the best in the industry and it’s flawlessly paired with the above-mentioned shaving system.

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

This makes the Arc 5/Lamdash 5 one of the best and most capable foil shavers out there, with the closeness of the shave and the sheer power being the highlights of these shavers.

3. Flexible shaving head

The Lamdash 5 Pro 2023 flexing head.
Image credit: panasonic.jp

We also have the same Close contact 5D head from the previous generations, so nothing new on that front either.

The head is an impressive feat of engineering, but as I said on multiple occasions, it’s not particularly useful in practice.

All that flexing makes the head a bit wobbly and the 5 blades have a limited range of motion and it takes a lot of pressure to move them.

Braun for example uses a much simpler front-to-back tilt for the head and the individual cutters move freely with greater range of motion.

4. New beard density sensor

The new beard density sensor.
Image credit: panasonic.jp

This is the single new addition to the 2023 Panasonic Lamdash 5 Pro/Arc 5 Pro models: an improved beard density sensor that is now capable of reading information about your beard 233 times a second.

The previous one was only managing 220.

While I generally wait to test a shaver before drawing any conclusions, I think it’s safe to assume that this change will have an insignificant effect overall.

A beard density sensor is the new hype technology that all major shaver brands are using nowadays. It supposedly adjusts the power of the motor depending on the beard thickness and density, but it’s merely a gimmick.

This slightly faster sensor is the only real change (feature-wise) of the new Arc 5 Pro 2023 compared to the older generation.

5. Cleaning stations, dry only or wet/dry use

The Arc 5 2023 cleaning station.

As you’ll see in the next section, three of the new Arc 5 Pro (revision J) models come with Panasonic’s automatic cleaning station, while the remaining two do not include a station (and won’t work with one purchased later on).

The station cleans, lubricates, dries and charges the shaver. It uses a detergent-based concentrate that must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.

Also, while all 5 models are waterproof and fitted with a rechargeable battery, only the dry-only models will also work with the cord plugged in.

The cordless-only models are the only ones suitable for wet shaving.

Panasonic Arc 5 Pro 2023 model comparison

Let’s now check out the actual differences between these new models.

Since all of them use the same foil, blades and motors, the shaving performance will be identical.

The differences are in fact related to the included accessories and a couple of not-so-important features.

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

The ES-LV9W is the flagship model and will also cost more than the rest.

It comes with a cleaning station and it’s the only one featuring a 5-level battery indicator and a hard leather travel case.

es-lv9w-s
The Panasonic Arc 5 Pro ES-LV9W.

The rest only have a more basic 3-level battery display and a cheap cloth pouch that doesn’t offer much protection.

While not explicitly mentioned, all of them should still come with a plastic protective cap.

We also have the same excellent pop-up trimmer as all the previous Arc 5 generations.

Overall, the included accessories and even some of the features are a bit of a letdown for me.

In fact, that has been the case since the revision G/Series 900 iteration when some cost-saving decisions have been made.

For example, the range-topping model of a revision used to come in the past with a premium aluminum body, a feature-rich display and a smart lock function.

That’s not the case anymore. Just like the 2022 revision H Arc 5 Pro, the 2023 models all have plastic bodies and basic displays.

These displays won’t show the remaining battery charge in percentages or the duration of the shave.

The basic Panasonic 3-level battery indicator.
The basic Panasonic 3-level battery indicator.

There’s also just the standard travel lock, activated by pressing and holding the power button.

The Smart lock available until revision F would automatically unlock the shaver when gripping it.

Also, the cloth pouch looks and feels cheap and the pre-revision G models would come with this faux leather zipper pouch. Not ideal, but definitely better.

The textile pouch of the 2023 Arc5 next to the faux leather pouch.

Only the ES-LV9W comes with a proper, sturdy leather case.

I don’t think these are deal-breakers, but considering the price of the Lamdash 5/Arc 5 Pro, it’s rather disappointing.

The shaving performance won’t be affected and I’m sure they will still provide a stellar shave. But I just don’t see any compelling reason to upgrade from a previous Arc 5 model.

(Better) alternatives

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S next to the Series 900 (aka revision G)..
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S next to the Series 900 (aka revision G).

Since this 2023 Arc 5 Pro generation will only be available from June and most likely only in Japan, there are some other older Arc 5 models you should consider instead.

In fact, I think these are better in several ways. Some are more feature-rich, they cost less and are easy to buy.

The first alternative would be the Panasonic Arc 5 revision G aka Series 900.

The Panasonic Series 900 (Arc 5 revision G).
The Panasonic Series 900 (Arc 5 revision G).

This is the newest Arc 5 widely available and it is pretty much identical to this 2023 release. It even uses the exact foil head.

If you live in Europe you should be able to get one for a fair price.

Unfortunately, it was not (officially) released in the USA, so it’ll be more difficult to buy there or the price will be higher.

North American users will be limited to the older ES-LV65/ES-LV95 or ES-LV67/ES-LV97, the only Arc 5 versions officially released there. These are still fantastic performers which can also be upgraded to the latest foil.

Finally, some of the models in the revision C are still available and are again really good options, especially if you can get a discount on them.

For example, the Panasonic ES-LV9Q is in my opinion the most premium Arc 5 ever made. Metal body, fancy display and smart lock, plus it comes with a cleaning station.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q.

I personally don’t think the station is absolutely necessary, in which case you might consider the ES-LV6Q from the same revision C.

It has a plastic body, but it’s still solid, shaves exactly the same, and costs less.

Conclusion

I honestly don’t think these 2023 Lamdash 5 Pro are worth the trouble (and money) of importing them from Japan.

As we saw, they aren’t really objectively better than the older ones and in some areas are a downgrade (basic displays and accessories).

Moreover, you can always upgrade an older Arc 5, even the ES-LV65, to the latest foil which is the thing that will make the biggest difference.

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

The slightly faster beard density sensor of the latest Arc 5 Pro won’t really matter.

That pretty much concludes my overview of the 2023 Panasonic Arc 5/Lamdash 5 Pro family of electric shavers.

If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments 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.

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19 thoughts on “The New Panasonic Arc 5 Pro 2023: Is It Worth Buying?”

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  1. So, when and how can we buy it? also, why are they still developing the arc5 when there is already arc6? isn’t the 6 blades better?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      As I mentioned in the article, these 2023 models will be available in June, but you will need to order them from Japan (for example from Amazon.co.jp).

      The Arc 5 is actually a very important line of shavers for Panasonic (volume of units sold). One of the reasons for that is the price, the Arc 5 costing significantly less than the Arc 6, especially in the USA. The Arc 6 is only slightly better in my opinion (feels more refined and a bit more comfortable), but that’s about it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  2. I can’t comment on the Arc 5 and 6, but my Arc 4 is a very close and no irritation shave. $112 ordered online in the US.

    It feels like the foil shavers are entering the law of diminishing returns with new models, just like iPhones.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      I totally agree — in fact, I’d say anything more than 4 blades for a foil shaver will only bring diminishing returns. The Arc 5 models, especially the ones with the two rollers are more comfortable than the Arc 4, but in terms of shaving performance (power, closeness) they are similar. The differences are even more subtle when comparing a generation 3 Arc 5 with the 6-blade Arc 6 for example.

      One advantage of the Arc 5 over the Arc 4 is in my opinion the cross-model foil compatibility. Any Arc 5 foil will fit perfectly any Arc 5 model, whereas with the Arc 4, there are often different, model-specific parts (some of them pricey and difficult to find).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Ovidiu,

    Thank you for another excellent piece. My Arc 5/ES-LV65 will be 5 years old in November. I’ve replaced the foil & blades several times, recently with the ES9040 version. How often is it necessary to replace the shaver itself? Do they still perform “as new” or does the performance decline after some time?

    Best regards,

    Jack

    Reply
    • Hi Jack,

      That’s an excellent question. I usually recommend buying a new shaver when the old one is not in good working condition anymore. Most of the time this comes down to battery life as that’s usually the component that degrades faster compared to the rest.

      But that’s not always the case. If yours still holds a decent charge, the shaver is still structurally fine (no suspect rattling or excessive vibrations during use, no loose parts or cracked plastic bits), then you can still consider getting a new set of foil&blades instead of buying a new shaver.

      The performance can decline over time, but there are some specific reasons. One of them is again the battery — if it can’t provide enough energy, the motor will run slower and the shaving performance will take a hit. Some wear on the moving/oscillating internal parts can also occur, but that type of wear will be quite obvious (significant changes to the noise and performance).

      That’s just my take on this, but I’m maybe a bit too conservative and I like the idea of getting the most out of an old trusty shaver. Nothing wrong with treating yourself to a new shaver especially if you can get a great deal on one.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  4. Hi Ovidiu,
    I have an ES-LV67 and the manual says the battery last for about 3 years and can then be replaced at an authorized service center. Have you ever done that?
    BR/Eric

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      3 years is the stated lifespan of Li-ion batteries in this type of electronics but they can often last longer than that. Many users (myself included) have been using the same Arc 5 shavers for years (all of them use the same batteries). I’ve only replaced the battery in an older Arc 4 a long time ago (did it at home), but if you can have it done in an authorized service center and for a reasonable fee, that’s definitely better.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Hi, Ovidiu

    There’s a lot of talk about replacing the foils and blades. But what are the options for replacing the actual plastic housing on the ES-LV65, that clips on over the foil and blades? On mine the silver chroming is flaking off and it looks aesthetically tatty. Is there a place that can sell replacement housings, either in silver or any other colour?

    Great website!

    Thanks,

    Peter

    Reply
    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      Yes, you can also replace the foil frame on the ES-LV65. The part number for it is WESELV8S0047 and if you do a Google search you will be presented with quite a few options to buy it, including Encompass, Amazon, eBay, shavers.co.uk etc.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. Hi, Ovidiu,

    I just bought a Pro5 ES-LV5J-S in Tokyo, and realised there is no manual in English. I also cannot find one online. Could you please point me to a site where it is? Many thanks!

    Gabriel

    Reply
    • Hi Gabriel,

      I don’t think there is an English manual since this model is limited to the Japanese market. However, my suggestion would be to download the user manual of the Panasonic ES-LV6U-K from the slightly older revision G (aka Series 900) — everything about is pretty much the same except for the fact that it only works cordless unlike your LV5J which also operates from the mains.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. A little off topic, but the following thought occurred to me: I use a Sonicare with various toothbrush attachments based on different needs (ie, one that’s the best for whitening, one that’s the best for gum care, one that’s best overall etc). It seems to me that the electric shaver companies could do something similar. For example, Panasonics seem known for their close shaves, but can’t handle a 7-day beard like a top Braun. So the solution would be a different foil optimized for longer beard lengths but which doesn’t shave as close. Braun could do the same thing, but in reverse.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      That’s a very intriguing idea. It would however mean admitting their weakness and the fact that they failed to correct it over the years. But most importantly, these new modular shavers would come with a significant bump in price and a flagship shaver can be very expensive as is. The users would also need to buy two replacement heads, so a higher cost of ownership as well. I think Braun and Panasonic will just try to capitalize on their strengths. But I agree that your solution would solve the inherent shortcomings without the need to compromise.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. Hi Ovidiu,

    I’ll be travelling to Japan soon and looking to replace my aging Braun series 3.

    Are any of these models worth considering over those available in Europe?
    I suppose another note is availability and cost of replacement parts over here compared to Japan.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance

    Sam

    Reply
    • Hi Sam,

      I think it’s worth getting a Japanese Arc 5 over the globally available ones if for example you need one that would operate both cordless and corded. In Japan you’ll find such Arc 5 models, while the ones in Europe and in most other regions will only work cordless. Or maybe you want one in a colorway that’s not available in Europe (like brown). Other than that I don’t find any really compelling reasons.

      But if you want the very latest models, despite not being significantly different or better (for example, the latest Japanese Arc 5 in this post uses the same foil and blades as the Series 900/Arc 5 rev G in Europe), you can of course buy one.

      All the Arc 5 replacement parts (newer or older) are compatible with all Arc 5 shaver models (Japanese or European). So it doesn’t really matter where you’re buying them from as long as the price is reasonable.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, the Arc 5 works great as a head shaver as well. The hair will however need to be short (around 1 to 1.5mm) for a very effective and fast shave. You would need to pre-trim it with clippers if you haven’t shaved your head in a while.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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