Panasonic has been constantly releasing incremental updates to its Arc 5 family of shavers for the past few years.
And in June 2021, they did it again. No fuss, not even an official press release.
And while this time around things still seem to be in line with the previous updates (meaning minor changes that wouldn’t improve the actual performance), this one is also a bit different.
With the previous D, E and F revisions, I couldn’t find a particularly compelling feature that would justify the higher price and the difficulty of sourcing one from Japan.
The new 2021 Arc 5 (Lamdash 5) revision G shavers are still only available on the Japanese domestic market, but what might set these models apart is their new outer foil.
And it really is a new design that could finally address one of the few shortcomings of all Arc 5 models: dealing with longer, flat-lying hairs.
So let’s see what’s the deal with these 2021 Panasonic Arc 5 models, what are the differences between them, and what to do if you already own an older Arc 5 or you’re thinking of getting one of these latest models.
Table of Contents
- Panasonic Arc 5 revision G (2021) overview
- The new foil: finally something to look forward to
- Panasonic Arc 5 revision G (2021) model comparison
- How do they compare to the previous generations?
- Availability and price
- Should you buy the 2021 Arc 5? Are there better alternatives?
- Tips for current Panasonic Arc 5 owners
Panasonic Arc 5 revision G (2021) overview
First of all, I just want to mention that this Revision G moniker is not an official one, but it’s the way I’ve been referring to these updates on this website for years, and it makes sense to continue doing so for clarity’s sake.
We’ll call them that because the 2021 model names end in G (well, some of them do).
As mentioned above, Panasonic didn’t issue a press release as they usually do for newly launched shavers.
They just casually showed up on Panasonic.jp and as of now there are 5 new Arc 5 2021 models (we’ll get to the differences between them later on).
Here’s the official promo clip:
So what changed compared to the previous revision F update?
Well, apart from the new outer foil, nothing significant, so I will only briefly go over the most important features.
1. A 5-blade shaving head
The defining characteristic of the Arc 5 line is obviously still here: a shaving system comprised of 5 individual, slightly arched cutters.
The setup is the same, with the two outermost foils (numbers 1 and 5 in the image above) being the finishing foils that cut the hairs at skin level and are responsible for the excellent closeness we associate with the Arc 5.
Moving inward we have the so-called reverse tapered foils (2 and 4) that should lift and cut shorter hairs that stay flat on the skin or have a tendency to curl towards the skin. The remaining stubble is then cut by the previously mentioned finishing foils.
Finally, there’s the true novelty of this revision: the new middle trimmer (3) that is now called an Under chin trimmer blade (approximate translation from Japanese) and the descriptive name should provide a hint about its capabilities.
The trimmer’s role is to tackle longer, flat-lying hairs (including the ones that grow in different directions). I will get into more details in the next section since this is basically the showpiece of the new Arc 5.
We also have the two comfort rollers, but this time around they’re silver, not gold.
As usual, we have two removable inner blades (corresponding to the reverse tapered foils) and the other 3 are integrated into the foil block itself.
Interestingly, the two removable inner blades are the same one used in all the other previous Arc 5 generations, the WES9170.
This is a very important aspect as you’ll see later on.
All blades feature that trademark 30-degree bevel for very effective and clean cutting.
2. 14 000 CPM motor
We still have Panasonic’s powerful and excellent linear-drive motor that can provide up to 14 000 cycles per minute.
It’s been constantly refined and tweaked throughout the years and it’s so compact that it can be fitted inside the shaving head itself.
And while in theory Xiaomi’s 15 000 CPM motor is faster, after testing it side by side with an Arc 5, I can confidently say that Panasonic is easily on top. Their motors are just on a different level — so powerful, smooth and reliable.
3. Close contact 5D head
The new Arc 5 models come with the same ridiculously flexible head that can move in all imaginable directions.
This should provide constant contact with the skin, even when shaving the neck or jawline.
I was never really a fan as I found the head too wobbly, but other users seem to really like it.
4. Beard density sensor
This technology is becoming ubiquitous with other brands as well, despite that the actual benefits are debatable.
The Arc 5 is fitted with a sensor that should read the beard’s density and adjust the power accordingly (up to 220 times per second).
And just as before, the sensor is always on and you can’t turn it off like you could in the case of the older ES-LV65/ES-LV95.
5. Wet/dry and dry only use
Even though all revision G models are waterproof for easy cleaning under the tap, only a few models can be used for wet shaving/in the shower.
As a safety precaution, those models will only work cordless, while the dry-only variations can also work while charging.
I will go over all the models and their differences in great detail later on.
6. 5 or 3-level battery indicator
Unfortunately, this is a downgrade (although not a significant one) compared to the previous F revision of 2020.
Precisely, none of the 2021 Arc 5 models has the excellent 10-step battery indicator that would also show the duration of the shave.
Instead, they only come with rather basic 5 or 3 level indicators, which is a bit disappointing.
The new foil: finally something to look forward to
With the previous Arc 5 revisions, the outer foils have remained almost the same and all the subtle changes didn’t really improve the performance.
And by performance, I’m referring mostly to how the Arc 5 copes with longer, flat-lying hairs.
This has always been one of the most significant shortcomings of all Panasonic shavers.
They just aren’t great with that type of hair — definitely not as good as a Braun Series 7 or Series 9.
I would like to believe that Panasonic engineers have finally listened to their user base and with the new revision G, the cutting element responsible for catching long hairs has been redesigned completely.
As a side note, it seems to be the exact same cutter used on the 2021 Arc 6 models, but on the Arc 6, there are two of them for a total of 6 cutting elements.
It now comes in this gold finish — probably the result of Titanium Nitride coating — and to me it’s definitely similar to a cutter found on the Braun Series 9.
And that’s a good thing since the Series 9 is arguably the best foil shaver out there when it comes to capturing longer, flat-lying hairs that also grow in different directions.
So while in terms of closeness I expect the new Arc 5 revision G to be just as good as any of the previous generations, I’m really excited about this new trimmer and its capabilities.
It’s completely different from the older ones and Panasonic even mentions explicitly on their website that it’s more powerful compared to their conventional products. And by conventional, they mean any previously released Arc 5 variations.
So it should now pre-cut those difficult long hairs a lot more efficiently.
I’m quite optimistic about it and I can’t wait to test the new razors, hopefully pretty soon.
The part number of the new foil and blades set is ES9040, while the outer foil itself (if you wish to purchase it separately) is called ES9181.
As noted earlier, the two inner blades are the same ones since the Arc 5 inception, the venerable ES9170.
And yes, the foil will most likely be compatible with all the previous Arc 5 models. Unfortunately I cannot say this with certainty until I actually try it with my Arc 5 razors.
As soon as I manage to source the foil, I will update this post and confirm.
UPDATE September 2021: The new 2021 Arc 5 foil is compatible with the older Arc 5 shavers.
The bad news? The suggested retail price for the set is 10,450 yen which converts to approximately 95 USD.
That is outrageously expensive and I hope it will go down as time passes.
Panasonic Arc 5 revision G (2021) model comparison
Here are the main differences between the 2021 Arc 5 models:
As you might have noticed, 3 of the Arc 5 models in this G revision actually end in U: ES-LV9U, ES-LV7U, ES-LV5U (links to the official Panasonic product pages).
These are also the ones that can be used for wet shaving/in the shower, but will only work cordlessly as a safety precaution.
The two variations ending in G, ES-LV7G and ES-LV5G, are suitable for dry only use and they will work both cordlessly and with the cord plugged in.
However, all 5 models are waterproof and you can clean them manually as well under the tap.
The actual shaving performance is absolutely identical for all the models.
Let’s now talk about some slight downgrades.
The smart locking function, present on a few of the range-topping models from the previous revisions, is now gone.
That function automatically unlocked the power button when you picked the shaver in your hand.
Instead, the revision G Arc 5 shavers are all fitted with a regular electronic travel lock (activated via a long press of the ON/OFF button).
And we don’t even get the soft faux leather pouches anymore. Apart from the ES-LV9U that comes with a hard leather case, the rest of them only include a textile pouch.
I guess we can say that they cheaped out with the accessories. That pouch is usually included with the very basic razors and it’s not particularly useful.
And again, the LED display will only show the remaining battery charge on 5 levels (ES-LV9U) or on 3 (the rest of them).
So in terms of bells, whistles, and accessories, the new Panasonic Arc 5 2021 G models aren’t as impressive as the previous ones.
Not a deal-breaker in my opinion, especially if they’ll cost less and that redesigned foil will perform better.
How do they compare to the previous generations?
That would be really difficult to say without actually testing the revision G Arc 5 and I hope I’ll be able to share a detailed review in the near future.
UPDATE September 2021: here’s the review of the revision G.
But until then, considering what has actually changed compared to the older models, the only real improvement should be in the way the shaver copes with longer, flat-lying hairs.
That was always the Achilles’ heel of Panasonic and the new foil looks promising.
But other than that, no, I don’t think the 2021 Arc 5 will be significantly better in other aspects.
Availability and price
Unfortunately, as was the case with the previous revisions, Panasonic will probably release these razors only in Japan.
The USA market was skipped completely in recent years, at least when it comes to new Arc 5 models. For example, Panasonic didn’t even launch the C revision in the USA, while in Europe they did and those models are still quite popular to this day.
So getting one of the 2021 Arc 5 razors will be quite challenging for someone living outside of Japan. You will likely need to use a forwarding service and also pay import and shipping fees and those can really add up.
All Panasonic Arc 5 rev G models are already available for purchase on Amazon.jp and from what I can tell, they are more reasonably priced than the F revision.
The two variations that don’t come with the cleaning system, namely the ES-LV5U and ES-LV5G, are also the cheapest.
And considering how easy it is to manually clean a Panasonic shaver, I think those two represent the pick of the range.
I don’t know if we’ll see a global release of this Arc 5 series. In fact, I think that’s more likely to happen with the Arc 6 models, especially if Braun will come up with a new Series 10.
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 compelling option. They are not however available in the USA or Canada.
Interestingly, Panasonic markets them under a different name. Instead of Arc 5 or Lamdash, this line is called Series 900. It is however identical to the Japanese series.
The two models (wet/dry, cordless only) from the revision G that are available globally under the Series 900 name are the ES-LV9U (cleaning station) and ES-LV6U (no cleaning station).
Should you buy the 2021 Arc 5? Are there better alternatives?
If you have the possibility and the budget, I’m quite confident that you’ll be really happy with a Panasonic Arc 5 revision G.
Performance-wise, all Arc 5 generations have been at the very top, particularly when it comes to the closeness of the shave and getting that really smooth finish under the chin.
Granted, they’re not really the best for longer facial hair and not quite as gentle as a range-topping Braun, but nevertheless fantastic performers.
And this latest revision seems to be the only one capable of addressing the former issue.
Personally, I feel like the purchase price should be decisive when choosing an electric razor.
And considering the fantastic performance for the money offered by the older Arc 5 models, I think most users should consider those as well if getting a 2021 Arc 5 turns out to be too complicated or expensive.
I’m talking about the second-generation Arc 5 razors like the Panasonic ES-LV65/ES-LV95 or the Panasonic ES-LV67/ES-LV97 — whichever you can find cheaper.
While they do come with the older outer foils (no comfort rollers) and they lack the complex flexing system of the head, they still shave amazingly.
Besides, you can always upgrade to those newer foils (I wrote a comprehensive guide on the compatibility of Arc 5 foils and blades here).
Finally, if you live in Europe, you can buy some of the generation 3 revision C shavers (ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q) for a really good price as well.
Tips for current Panasonic Arc 5 owners
If you already own an Arc 5 and it’s still in good shape (which most of the time means that it can hold a decent charge), I think you should just upgrade to some of the newer foils (whichever you can find at a fair price).
Even though the newest Panasonic Arc 5 rev G comes with some nice features, when it comes to shaving, things won’t be dramatically better. Again, except maybe for how it performs on a 3-day beard.
We still have the 14 000 CPM motor, the same inner blades, the same setup of the shaving unit.
I would simply buy the revision G foil when the price drops and more vendors will be selling and ship it overseas.
And even if you want to buy a brand new Arc 5 shaver (for whichever reason), don’t overlook the models I mentioned in the previous section. Those are still highly capable machines that you can often find at a bargain price.
For more info regarding the various generations and revisions, you can also check out my Arc 5 comparison guide.
I hope this article managed to answer some of the questions surrounding the new 2021 Panasonic Arc 5 and in case I missed anything, please comment below and I’ll do my best to help.
Images credit: Panasonic.jp
29 thoughts on “New Panasonic Arc 5/Lamdash 5 Revision G (2021): All You Need To Know”Leave a comment
Thanks again for all your reviews. I’m waiting for the next Braun generation. I’ll stick with my Braun 9 for now.
You are very welcome, Bob. Really excited about a presumably new Braun flagship shaver as well.
I love my Braun Series 9 9385.
Love that I found your blog. Looking to buy an electric for the first time in about 25 years. Debating between Panasonic and Braun. I am retired and don’t feel the need to shave every day. Sometimes go 3-4 days and get really grungy. Which of these products would be best for me?
In this case I think a Braun shaver would make more sense. Depending on your budget, you could opt for a Series 5, the previous generation Series 7 or the Series 9. I linked to the articles where you can read more about each series and the differences between the models.
Thanks sir for sharing in your normal detailed manner. You are the best!! Thanks again.
Many thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the post useful.
Thank you for the information.
Looking forward to your update as to whether the foils are compatible with the older models.
My pleasure, Avi — will definitely post an update as soon as I try one out.
Another great, detailed review! But what good is it when Panasonic won’t sell us this shaver(USA)?
Thank you, Zachary, much appreciated. I know and it’s a bit frustrating how Panasonic still overlooks the American and European markets. While in the past when their popularity was low this decision made sense, it just doesn’t anymore.
Thanks for the great review. Hope there be a review comparing the new Arc6 and this Arc5 G series.
You are very welcome, glad you found it useful. Absolutely, there will be a comparison between the two.
Thanks for the info! I’m based in Japan and I don’t speak Japanese at all, so I really appreciate this post. I’m still looking for a new electric razor, and this new version is among my choices. I can’t decide between this or the Braun Series 9. Is the Braun Series 9 really that hard to clean manually? Is there a big difference between the shave closeness of the Series 9 and previous gen Arc 5 models?
Just letting you know: the new ES9040 foil and blades set doesn’t seem to be compatible with older models. The back of the ES9040’s packaging has a list of compatible models (and they all belong to this Revision G generation): CLV5G, CLV5U, CLV7G, CLV7U, CLV9U, LV5G, LV5U, LV7U, LV9U. I hope this helps!
Many thanks for the comment and info. Regarding the compatibility of the different foils, Panasonic never explicitly mentions other (older) shaver models even though they are compatible; they will only list the ones that originally come with those parts (and from a marketing/financial perspective, that makes sense). I will be getting my 2021 Arc 5 soon, it’s currently on its way from Japan via a forwarding service and I will update the post once I try the new foil on my older Arc5s.
As for the Series 9, it’s definitely possible to clean it manually and if you’re thorough and perform it regularly after every use, it shouldn’t be a problem. As for the closeness, if you have very thick, dense facial hair, the Arc 5 will be (noticeably) better. At least in my case it is, I have that type of hair on various areas of my face and whenever I use a Series 9 I wish it would be able to cut the hair just a bit closer.
Thank you for the detailed review.
As you are getting the 2021 Arc 5 from Japan, is it true that the shaver oil cannot be shipped overseas (in your situation)?
I purchased the ES-LV9U from zenmarket.jp and they said they could not ship the trimmer oil & cleaning solution sachet as they are prohibited for international shipping, so both of those items will be getting disposed of, unfortunately… 🙁
I am also not quite sure about how to charge the shaver as I am living in the UK, so I’m not sure if the Japanese version of the product will come with a charger that can suit the UK plug sockets. If you have any advice for me (this is my first time ordering something from Japan, hehe) it will be appreciated!
Thank you once again.
My 2021 Arc 5 should arrive tomorrow according to DHL’s tracking service. I ordered the ES-LV5U, so there’s no cleaning station or detergent in the box. However, in the past I did order from overseas various Arc 5 models and never had any issues; both the oil and the concentrated detergent were there. And the quantities are below that 100ml limit, so it is a bit odd that they couldn’t send you everything.
As a side note, I got mine on Amazon.co.jp and used forward2me.com to have the shaver shipped to me in Europe. I don’t have any previous experience with zenmarket.
Thank you very much for the reply.
Yep, it is a shame as I will need to order the oil and cleaning solution separately now! Just a small inconvenience but I just hope that the main product does not come damaged; I have never used these proxy services before, hehe!
Hope you have a good time testing the ES-LV5U.
You are very welcome, Ali. I just got mine a few minutes ago, the package was unopened and the bottle of lubricant was there. I’m sorry your purchasing experience wasn’t the best.
I also tried the new foil on my older Arc 5 shavers and it fits perfectly. I’ll be testing it for a few weeks, then publish a review and I think also a separate Arc 5 buying guide because it’s really getting out of hand with all these models.
Hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5 as well!
Phenomenal review! After about 9 years of using my generation 1 Arc 5, it’s time to get a new one.
After reading a lot of your reviews, I am thinking about buying second gen model. Which is newest second generation model? Do any of the second generation models have a metal body? Which gen 2 model is your favorite?
If I do decide to get a gen 3 model in order to try out the new comfort bar, which ones are available for the U.S. markets?
Thanks for the help.
Many thanks for your comment, glad you found the info useful.
My favorite second gen Arc 5 is the ES-LV65. It’s usually sold at a reasonable price, works really well and it’s compatible with all of the newer foils. It’s basically the only one in the second gen alongside the ES-LV95 — identical shaver, but comes with a cleaning station.
Another option would be the ES-LV67 which is pretty much the same as the ES-LV65, but comes with a redesigned body. If the price is the same, I would still pick the ES-LV65. You can check out my review of it here. None of them have a metal body.
Also, none of the generation 3 models are available in the USA, you would need to import one from Europe or Japan.
Hi Ovidiu, so many great reviews, appreciate all your work.
What I’m hearing you say is ‘if I’m completely happy with my ES-LV61 there’s really nothing in any of the newer ARC models that would drive an upgrade’? That’s my scenario. I also have a Braun 9370. I like it a lot, and I do switch off between them occasionally but the ES-LV61 delivers a closer shave more quickly with no (literally NO) sacrifice of comfort to the Braun (and that’s what it’s all about, for me) The ES-LV61 is as close to a blade razor as I can imagine.
I may try the 9036 blade set at some point but it’s focus seems to be increased comfort and this is as comfortable as shaving can get (for me)
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
That’s pretty much it, really — the improvements have been incremental and mostly related to the outer foils. And the new ones are actually compatible with your ES-LV61. As long as the battery still holds a decent charge and everything else works as it should, I think you should keep using it. Maybe give some of the newer foils a try if you can get one at a reasonable price, but as you’ve mentioned, the most noticeable improvements are related to comfort.
I used the Panasonic ES9040 cartridge on the Panasonic ES-LV65 and I get a nice close shave. The ES9040 isn’t harsh on the face.
Definitely, it is gentler than the foil that comes on the ES-LV65. Glad you enjoyed the upgrade.
You are doing a great job with these detailed reviews.
Can I ask you a recommendation? I always used manual blades so far and would like to try electric because, given my sensitive skin and my extremely fast growth of beard, it’s not good when I shave every day (red skin, bleeding, and so on). Closeness is important to me and I understand here Panasonic wins. I could buy LV9Q or LV9U but the second one costs more… in terms of comfort and closeness (considering I shave every day and I don’t care about shaving long hair) do you see any differences between the two?
Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it. I think you can confidently buy the LV9Q — the differences in the quality of the shave will be minimal and it’s not worth spending more money on a newer model that only brings incremental improvements. You will also be able to use any of the newer Arc 5 foils on your LV9Q when it’s time to replace it.
Brilliant insight as always, really enjoy reading your reviews. It’s great to see continued innovation from Panasonic on the inner foil, which has always been the slight problem area of the razor. However the second gen Arc 5 razors can be purchased for such a great price, I still think they represent the bets value. My es-lv 95 is going strong four years later, only has to swap out the battery which was a simple task.
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. Absolutely — the second gen is currently unbeatable in terms of value. And the backward compatibility of the new foils is a great perk.