Panasonic is alongside Braun and Philips Norelco the third major player on the electric shavers market.
With a rich history behind it, Panasonic gained a solid reputation for manufacturing high-quality foil electric shavers.
However, Panasonic never achieved the same popularity as Braun and Philips (Norelco) on the North American continent; Norelco’s brand equity and the aggressive marketing of P&G — the parent company of Braun — definitely played an important part here.
And that’s really a shame as in my opinion the quality and performance of some Panasonic electric shavers are at least as good as the ones from the competition.
Most of Panasonic’s current offerings can be grouped into 3 categories: the Arc 3, Arc 4 and Arc 5 lines of electric shavers.
UPDATE: Panasonic released a Japan-exclusive Arc 6 line in 2021.
Covering everything from entry-level to high-end shavers, with both older and newer models available that bring significant or minor improvements over the previous iterations, it can get difficult to go through all the fluff and find a shaver that will suit your needs.
In this article, I’ll cover in great detail all the differences between the Arc 3, Arc 4 and Arc 5, see how they compare against each other and if the added features of the more expensive models are worth the extra money.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear picture of all the different models, variations and their performance.
Moreover, you’ll know if a certain model would be suitable for your needs or you’ll be better off spending a little more on a more advanced shaver.
Let’s dive right in and check out the things that really matter in this Panasonic Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5 comparison.
Table of Contents
- An overview of Panasonic’s ARC lines of electric shavers
- Panasonic Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5: shaving performance
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Automatic cleaning stations — should you get one?
- Price and value for money
- Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5: which one should you choose?
- When you shouldn’t buy a Panasonic shaver
An overview of Panasonic’s ARC lines of electric shavers
The Arc term was introduced by Panasonic in 2008 when the first models featuring an arched profile of the shaving head were launched.
This new design gradually replaced the older generation shavers that featured a classic, straight edge foil.
The 3, 4 and 5 designate the number of individual cutting elements that a particular shaver has.
While more doesn’t always imply better, the Panasonic models with more blades usually have better performance, faster motors and nicer features (more on this later on).
Let’s quickly go over each of the three Arc series.
1. Panasonic Arc 3
The Arc 3 is, as the name suggests, Panasonic’s line of electric shavers that have a 3 blade shaving head and represent the company’s entry-level range.
Their direct competitor is Braun’s Series 3 line. You can check out a detailed comparison of the two here.
Since the Arc 3 was first introduced, the lineup has seen quite a few updates, some of them minor, other significant and almost all the various models are still widely available.
Panasonic Arc 3 ES8103S
The differences are poorly documented and the model names don’t make any sense at all.
With that said, here’s what you need to know if you decide to buy an Arc 3.
- The motors fitted to the various models are different. Most of them feature very powerful 13 000 CPM (cycles per minute) units. However, there are a few variations that have 7600, 8500 or 10 000 CPM motors, like the ES-SL41-S, ES-SL83-S or the ES-RT17 respectively. Stay away from those as the performance drop is significant compared to the 13 000 CPM models.
- The updates rolled out by Panasonic between 2008 and 2014 are minor for the most part, consisting of visual makeovers or different materials used. The performance has remained pretty much consistent. As long as you opt for a shaver fitted with a 13 000 CPM motor like the ES8103S or ES-LL41-K/ES-LL21-K you’re all good.
- The first major update to the Arc 3 family occurred with the introduction of the LT Arc 3 shavers in 2016. This represents a rather big step forward in terms of build quality and design, but not that significant performance-wise. However, these new Arc 3 models can be a bit pricey for what is (at least in theory) Panasonic’s budget-oriented line of shavers. More on this in the performance section.
2. Panasonic Arc 4
Positioned right between the Arc 3 and Arc 5 in terms of price and performance, the Arc 4 represents Panasonic’s mid-range family of foil electric shavers.
At the time of their launch back in 2011, the Arc 4 had a premium price tag which was probably one of the reasons why it didn’t take off. For just a few bucks more you could get one of the flagship Arc 5 models.
However, the price has dropped significantly since then and you can currently find some Arc 4 shavers at very reasonable prices.
With 4 individual cutting elements, powerful 13 000 or 14 000 CPM motors and solid performance, the Panasonic Arc 4 shavers are a very compelling option.
There are a few variations in the Arc 4 family, all of them offering similar performance.
For an in-depth comparison of the most popular Arc 4 models, make sure to check out this post I wrote a while back.
My personal pick would be the ES-LA63 or ES-LF51-A as both come with powerful 14 000 CPM motors and can usually be bought at a very reasonable price.
Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63
Unlike the Arc 3, the Arc 4 line hasn’t really seen any updates since it was launched, which makes picking a shaver a lot easier.
The only newer model is the Panasonic ES8243AA that comes with a slightly less powerful 13 000 CPM motor, but it’s still a really good performer and it usually has the lowest price of all Arc 4 versions.
As of 2021, the blue ES-LA63-AA is probably the one to get as the other ones are getting more difficult to find.
3. Panasonic Arc 5
The Arc 5 is the expression of Panasonic’s more is better mantra.
Featuring a whopping 5 individual cutting elements, the Arc 5 is pretty much in a league of its own.
There’s a Xiaomi foil shaver with 5 blades as well, but it can’t match the performance of the Arc 5.
The Panasonic Arc 5 electric razors were first introduced in 2009 and have seen two major updates until the present day.
As a result, there are 3 generations still widely available for purchasing and again, their differences can be pretty difficult to spot and analyze.
Further reading: Here’s my Arc 5 guide if you want all the details between all the Arc 5 variations ever released.
Here’s a short summary.
The first (original) generation Arc 5.
The first shavers were launched in 2009 and were represented by the ES-LV61-A or the ES-LV81-K models.
The two are identical, except for the color scheme and the fact that the second one includes an automatic cleaning station.
The cleaning station is the older Vortex Hydra model that uses detergent cartridges and was later replaced by a new one with the introduction of the second generation Arc 5.
While you can sometimes find these models at excellent prices, they’re usually more expensive than the newer Arc 5 shavers and are getting more difficult to find, so my recommendation would be to skip the first generation altogether.
As of 2021, they’re pretty much extinct.
The second generation Arc 5.
Released in 2013, the second update of the Arc 5 line brought a new modern design, better build quality, and a completely redesigned cleaning station.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
In this second generation, we have shavers like the ES-LV-65-S (no cleaning station) and the ES-LV-95-S (automatic cleaning station).
In 2019, Panasonic gave them a mid-life facelift with the introduction of the Arc 5 ES-LV67-K and ES-LV97-K respectively.
However, the update is mostly visual and apart from a new design, the performance has remained pretty much unchanged. The new shavers even use the exact same foil and blades.
The third generation Arc 5.
The latest iteration of Panasonic’s range-topping shavers was launched in September 2015 and represents a complete departure from the older shavers in terms of design and build quality.
With a premium metal body (on the more expensive models) and a redesigned shaving head that now features two comfort rollers, the latest Arc 5 shavers are some of the best performing foil shavers you can currently buy.
The third generation Arc 5 shavers available on the American market are the ES-LV6N-S (no cleaning station) and ES-LV9N-S (cleaning station), but they are identical to the international models (ES-LV6A-S, ES-LV9A-S respectively).
One year after the launch of these shavers Panasonic rolled out another minor update. The revised models use a B instead of A in their names (for example, ES-LV-9B-S) and address a few aspects of the 2015 A variations:
- They use a textured material for the thumb rest instead of a smooth finish.
- The front-to-back tilt angle of the head is increased from 17 to 20 degrees.
- There’s now a low battery alarm.
I personally wouldn’t worry too much about the improvements of the B revision models as the actual shaving performance won’t be improved in a significant manner. The price should be the only decisive factor in this case.
Update: The revision A and B Arc 5 models have been discontinued, so they don’t really represent a viable option anymore.
In 2017 and 2018 respectively, the revisions C and D of the Arc 5 were launched and some of these are also available on the Asian and European markets.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q (rev C)
This time the differences are a bit more nuanced, but again the actual shaving performance isn’t too different from the previous iteration. More details in this post.
The real novelty of the revision C is a compact Arc 5 model, namely the ES-CV51 (ES-CV70). It’s a high-performance electric shaver that comes in a very compact form factor.
In 2019 Panasonic released another minor update, the revision E. It’s again only an incremental update (slightly revised outer foil and beard density sensor) and these models are currently only available on the Japanese market.
In 2020 we got the revision F, which is again an insignificant update of the previous E revision, as all the things that matter (foils and blades, motor) have remained unchanged.
Finally, the latest Arc 5 is the revision G that comes with a redesigned outer foil. Compared to the previous ones, it deals slightly better with longer, flat-lying hairs. Everything else is pretty much the same.
For more details, you can check out my review of the revision G Arc5.
Now that we’ve cleared up some of the clutter regarding the various models in the Arc 3, Arc 4 and Arc 5 families, let’s see how they stack up against each other in certain key areas and which are the particular models that offer the best performance for the money.
Panasonic Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5: shaving performance
Choosing an Arc 3, Arc 4 or Arc 5 should depend on your particular needs and goals, shaving habits, and budget.
So there’s no definitive answer as the shaver that represents the best option will be different for every user.
Shaving performance is what matters the most to someone looking to buy an electric shaver, so we’ll kick off this comparison with that.
In my opinion, when assessing the shaving performance of an electric shaver there are a few aspects that should be considered:
- The closeness of the shave
- The comfort during (and after) the shave
- How the shaver deals with longer, flat-lying hairs
- How long it takes to complete a shave
Let’s see how the different Panasonic shavers fare in each category.
1. Closeness of the shave
Most users would agree that foil shavers generally offer a closer shave compared to rotary razors.
Furthermore, when it comes to the closeness provided by various foil shavers, it’s also commonly agreed that Panasonic is the best in this regard, even though not by a huge margin.
Having used quite a few Panasonic shavers myself, I can safely say that I find this to be true as well.
When it comes to closeness, Panasonic shavers really deliver. This is one of the main advantages of Panasonic shavers over the competition (if not the most important one).
And this is consistent throughout all the Arc models, even with the budget-friendly Arc 3 shavers.
I will only be referring to the Arc 3 models that are fitted with the 13 000 CPM motors as they outperform the ones with the less powerful units by a large margin.
Panasonic uses throughout their entire lineup their so-called 30 degrees nanoblades. These are the blades that oscillate behind the thin perforated foils and do the actual cutting.
As you can see, there are only two removable inner blades, the rest of them being integrated into the foil assembly itself. This setup is common throughout all the Arc models (except for the Arc 6).
What differentiates Panasonic’s nanoblades from the competition is the aggressive 30 degrees bevel that ensures a very efficient and clean cutting action.
A combination of high-quality sharp blades, arched thin foils that ensure optimal contact with the skin, and powerful motors allows Panasonic Arc models to shave closer than pretty much any other electric shavers currently on the market.
The Arc 3 with its 3 cutting elements is arguably the closest shaving affordable electric razor.
The ES8103S Arc 3 for example is reasonably priced and one of the best-selling Panasonic shavers of all time.
Panasonic Arc 3 ES8103S
Compared to similarly priced models from the competition, like the Braun Series 3 or Norelco Series 3000/5000, the Arc 3 is clearly better when it comes to closeness.
The latest LT Arc 3 models feature a nicer design and can even come with the updated cleaning station (like the ES-LT7N-S).
In terms of closeness, I haven’t found them to be better than the older models like the ES8103S or ES-LL41-K.
The price of the LT Arc 3 models has dropped significantly since their launch; however, I can only recommend them over the older ones due to the nicer design.
The quality of the shave is pretty much the same. Moreover, the foil frame of these new Arc 3 models is noticeably larger compared to the old ones, which makes using them a bit more cumbersome.
Another Arc 3 you should really consider is the so-called hybrid ES-LL41-K or ES-LL21-K (that’s the model available in Europe).
Panasonic Arc 3 ES-LL41-K
They shave exactly like the best-selling ES8103S, but come with two adjustable click-on combs for maintaining and trimming beards.
Moreover, the design is more modern and they feature a travel lock as well.
The more advanced Arc 4 and Arc 5 with their 14 000 CPM motors and more shaving elements are even better than the Arc 3 for closeness, but not by a huge margin.
This difference will be more obvious if you have a very coarse beard.
The Arc 4 has an additional shaving element compared to the Arc 3 models — a finishing foil — that cuts hairs very close to the skin.
The Arc 5 takes this to the extreme with an extra foil for a total of 5 active cutting elements.
Overkill? Maybe, but the advantage of a massive shaving head is that it takes less time to complete a shave, even though the end result won’t be that much different.
As it was expected, when it comes to closeness, you will see slight improvements as you go from the Arc 3 towards the more advanced Arc 5 models.
In the case of very coarse, dense facial hair, the improvements will be more obvious.
The Arc 3 is perfectly suitable for shaving daily and an excellent budget-friendly option. If you have light to medium, even coarser hair, the Arc 3 would be a very good option.
For coarser beards and even for shaving every other day, the Arc 4 is a better option and you will appreciate the extra cutting power.
The Arc 4 offers this while still being reasonably priced and for these reasons, I actually think the Arc 4 would be the best option for most men that are mainly concerned with getting a very close shave.
Again, that is if you can get one in your country and for a reasonable price.
The ES-LF51-A used to be my personal favorite; it has a 14 000 CPM motor and a slimmer shaving head compared to other Arc 4 models, making it easier to maneuver around tight spaces.
However, being the oldest Arc 4 model, it’s getting very difficult to find as of 2021.
Finally, the 5 blade Arc 5 is the ultimate shaving machine if closeness is all you want. While it will offer diminishing returns compared to an Arc 4, it is a superior shaver.
So which Arc 5 should you choose?
I would suggest going for a second generation Arc 5 like the ES-LV65-S that I reviewed in great detail here.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
They don’t cost a whole lot more than an Arc 4 and are a definite improvement over the original models. They also have a superior automatic cleaning station (the ES-LV95-S variation).
The ES-LV67-K (ES-LV67-A) is a perfectly fine alternative if you can get it for less money:
The latest (third generation) Arc 5 like the ES-LV9Q (cleaning station) or ES-LV6Q (no station) are particularly compelling for users based in Europe.
While in my experience the closeness of the shave is the same as in the case of older gen Arc 5, they do have a nicer design and the new foils are slightly more comfortable.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV6Q
If you don’t mind paying more, they are some of the best-performing electric shavers you can currently buy.
However, the price is too high in my opinion and the improvements over the second generation are mostly in the build quality and comfort departments.
So if closeness is your priority, you can safely opt for a second-generation Arc 5 like the ES-LV65-S.
2. Comfort during (and after) the shave
Closeness aside, how comfortable and forgiving a particular shaver is should also come high on your priorities list.
For the most part, Panasonic shavers are adequately comfortable and can even be an option for men with sensitive skin with some minor adjustments.
However, there is a trade-off for that extreme closeness; they can be a bit aggressive if you press harder and the foils can get hot after prolonged use.
There are various workarounds that can make Panasonic shavers more comfortable.
Since almost all of them are suitable for wet & dry use, you can try shaving with cream, soap or gel.
I personally find this to be an excellent compromise as I am able to get a very close shave with no irritation or razor burn.
If the thought of using shaving cream is off-putting, you can try using a pre-shave lotion or gel that should improve the dry shave performance and comfort.
The shaving head of Panasonic shavers can get quite hot and cause discomfort. I’ve experienced this with several Arc 3 and Arc 4 models.
One way to reduce the heat would be to always lubricate the cutting parts before your shave. This should be done with any electric shaver actually.
Using an automatic cleaning station takes care of this, but if your Panasonic doesn’t include one, then you should lubricate the blades regularly.
So how do the Arc 3, 4 and 5 fare with regards to comfort? Which one is better?
I would say that they are all pretty similar, with an advantage for the Arc 5, especially the newer models that feature comfort rollers.
While it may seem like a gimmick, they reduce the friction and prevent you from pressing the shaver too hard into the skin which can cause razor burn.
If you don’t have very sensitive skin, you should be fine with either of the Arc 3, 4 or 5 provided that they meet your other requirements (closeness, features, and price).
A quality shaving cream or pre-shave lotion can also help.
If however you have blemish-prone skin and constantly get razor burn then you might want to consider a Braun shaver as they are a better option in this case. A Series 7 or Series 9 would be very good choices.
3. Dealing with longer, flat-lying hairs
When choosing an electric shaver you must also consider your shaving habits. Precisely, how often you shave.
If you always shave daily, then you can get away with a more basic shaver, like the Arc 3. As I said previously, it is a perfectly suitable shaver for everyday use.
Longer, flat-lying hairs are something most shavers struggle with. And this seems to be worse with foil shavers.
Usually, the more advanced shavers that have specially designed elements to capture and cut longer, flat-lying hairs, fare a lot better.
If you shave every other day or every two days then you should consider an Arc 4 or 5.
Getting a smooth shave when you have longer, flat-lying hairs that grow in different directions will be more difficult and time-consuming.
The extra cutting elements of the Arc 4 and Arc 5 will improve your results and the overall shaving experience, but only up to a point. Panasonic shavers are not the best for longer, wiry hairs.
If you will constantly be in this situation you may want to consider other options like the Braun Series 9 which is in my opinion the best performing foil shaver when dealing with longer hairs.
To sum it up, The Arc 3 is suitable for shaving daily or every other day at most (maybe more if you have a slow beard growth).
For anything more than that, I suggest going for an Arc 4 or Arc 5.
The latest Arc 5 revision G is the most capable at this with its redesigned trimming blade.
However, it’s still behind Braun’s top-of-the-line shavers for capturing longer, flat-lying hairs and it’s only available in Japan.
4. How fast it shaves
Cutting power and sharp blades are what it takes to complete a shave with ease. And Panasonic shavers definitely have them.
The massive shaving heads of the Arc 5 are able to cover large areas fast, while the sharp blades mow through a coarse beard with little effort (provided that the hair length is reasonable).
Moreover, the shaving heads of the latest Arc 5 can even be depressed, supposedly helping to maintain constant contact with the skin even if you have very prominent facial features.
I would go as far as saying that the Panasonic Arc 5 will be able to complete a shave faster than any other electric shaver (if your facial hair is not very long).
The Arc 4 is no slouch either and it will also be faster than other similarly priced razors from the competition, like the Braun Series 5 and 7. Again, assuming your beard is reasonably short.
With only 3 cutting elements, the Arc 3 obviously falls behind the more expensive Arc 4 and 5, but its performance is more than adequate for the price.
There’s no surprise here, if you want the fastest shave the Panasonic Arc 5 is the right choice.
Again, I would recommend a second-generation model, like the ES-LV65-S or ES-LV95-S that comes with an automatic cleaning station since their price has dropped significantly.
Build quality and ergonomics
Braun always had the spotlight for build quality and industrial design innovation, especially when considering the shavers from the Dieter Rams era.
But Panasonic is right up there in my opinion; in fact, the durability and build quality of their shavers, particularly the more recent ones, are top-notch.
My old Panasonic ES7036, the straight foil grandfather of the Arc 3 shavers still runs like a champ after years of use and abuse. While the battery can’t hold a decent charge anymore, the razor works flawlessly.
In my opinion, durability is one of the strongest assets of a Panasonic shaver, regardless if it’s an Arc 3, 4 or 5.
The materials used are of high quality and everything looks and feels extremely solid.
For an entry-level shaver, the build quality of the Arc 3 shavers is excellent. In my opinion it’s even better compared to Braun’s Series 3, their direct competitor in this segment.
As for the latest LT models, they are in a different league; some even feature a metal body and they resemble a whole lot more the newest Arc 5 than previous Arc 3 shavers.
The Arc 4 shavers can look a bit dated today as Panasonic never released any updates to this line.
Despite this, the quality is still there and they feel extremely sturdy. My own ES-LF51-A has minimal signs of tarnishing after years of use:
The Arc 5 shavers have seen improvements in the build quality with every new update.
The first generation was very similar to the Arc 4 in terms of build quality and design — not a bad thing to start with at all.
The second generation Arc 5 was more adventurous with the design, while the materials looked and felt more premium.
For the third update of the Arc 5, Panasonic upped their game considerably and went for metal on several models instead of plastic for the shaver’s body.
The result is impressive, these models being the new benchmark in terms of design and build quality.
Braun should really take some notes about how a high-end shaver should look and feel. For the price you’re paying, plastic with a high gloss chrome finish simply won’t cut it.
Let’s now see how the Arc models fare in the ergonomics department.
Unsurprisingly, the Arc 3 feels the most nimble out of all due to the compact size of the shaving head.
This makes them perfectly suitable for beginners.
With one or two additional blades on the Arc 4 and 5 respectively, the shaving heads are large and harder to maneuver when shaving tricky areas, like below the nose or around your sideburns.
One thing worth noting is that the shaving head of the latest generation Arc 3 LT models is noticeably larger compared to the older ones.
And this is without adding other cutting elements — it’s still a 3 blade shaver. Here it is compared to a 4 blade ES-LA63 Arc 4:
As mentioned previously, it’s one of the main reasons I still recommend older Arc 3 models like the ES8103S or ES-LL41-K over the LT (like ES-LT67).
The implementation of the pop-up trimmer is consistent throughout all the Arc shavers. The cutter is located on the back and sits perpendicularly to the shaver when deployed.
On older models, the trimmer is positioned lower on the shaving head. And that is unfortunate as you can’t really see what you’re doing and the bulky head gets in the way.
One way to get around this problem is to remove the foils and the blades before using the trimmer.
Things are better with the second and third-generation Arc 5 models. Despite the 5 blades, the shaving head is not that tall and the trimmer is positioned pretty close towards the top.
Moreover, if you remove the foil frame and the two inner blades you end up with the perfect setup:
While you can’t use the trimmer for anything else besides touch-ups and light grooming, it works really well.
The trimmers on Panasonic shavers are very sharp and cut hairs efficiently. For trimming your entire beard you should definitely use a regular hair trimmer.
To sum it up: the Panasonic Arc 3, Arc 4 and Arc 5 shavers have excellent build quality, especially when considering the price category for each one.
The latest Arc 3 and Arc 5 models are a definite improvement in the selection of materials, but they also come at a higher price.
Automatic cleaning stations — should you get one?
If you want a completely fuss-free shaving experience, an automatic cleaning station can help you achieve that.
The Panasonic Arc 3, Arc 4 and Arc 5 shavers offer variations that include a cleaning base.
These stations will clean, dry, lubricate and charge your shaver automatically.
Panasonic currently offers two generations of automatic cleaning stations:
1. The older Vortex Hydra Systems.
These stations are available with the first generation Arc 3 shavers like the ES-LT71-S, the first generation Arc 5 shavers (ES-LV81-K) and the Arc 4 shavers (ES-LA93-K).
They use the older WES035P detergent cartridges.
The older cleaning stations are quite large and take up a lot of space on your countertop. Moreover, they are a bit noisy and can sometimes leak.
The design is also starting to show its age.
However, these models aren’t really available nowadays, which should make choosing one easier.
2. The newer premium cleaning stations.
These updated models are available with the latest generation Arc 3 LT models (ES-LT7N-S), second-generation Arc 5 (ES-LV95-S) and third-generation Arc 5 (ES-LV9Q, ES-LV9E etc).
They use concentrated detergent packets instead of cartridges that must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV95-S
These updated models are more compact, quieter and the leaking problem was addressed entirely.
Panasonic stations use detergent for cleaning the shaver, unlike Braun which uses an alcohol-based solution.
The use of detergent is very economical and the costs associated with using the stations are reasonable.
Unlike alcohol, a detergent-based solution won’t evaporate as quickly and Panasonic’s cleaning solutions last longer before needing to be replaced.
The cleaning cycles are relatively short (10 minutes), while the drying cycles take just over one hour.
The result is a perfectly clean, dry, lubricated and fully charged razor, ready for the next shave.
You can also just dry the shaver without going through a complete cleaning cycle, which is something you cannot do with Braun or Philips stations.
So far everything points in favor of getting a cleaning station as well.
And if you don’t mind paying more for one then you should by all means get it.
However, as I said in my comparison of the best cleaning stations, you don’t really need one with a Panasonic shaver.
Foil shavers are generally easy to clean manually and Panasonic models are the best in this regard as the blades and foils can be taken apart.
Thoroughly cleaning your Panasonic shaver manually is a breeze and it literally takes less than a minute.
A bit of liquid soap and a thorough rinse with warm tap water is all it takes. Moreover, Panasonic includes a so-called sonic cleaning mode with all the Arc shavers, even the entry-level Arc 3.
When activated by a long press of the ON/OFF button, the blades will oscillate extremely fast for around 20 seconds, dislodging any stubborn debris.
So my take on Panasonic cleaning stations is this:
- For the Arc 3, you should probably skip it completely. The models that come with one cost significantly more than the ones that don’t and they’re dead easy to clean manually. Not to mention that the Arc 3 is an entry-level line and paying a premium price doesn’t really make sense.
- For the Arc 4, you should skip it completely. The older Vortex Hydra system is the only one available with the ES-LA93-K and as we saw it has some downsides. Moreover, the Arc 4 shavers that don’t include it, like the ES-LA63 or ES8243AA usually cost less.
- For the first generation Arc 5 models, you should probably skip it. The reasons are the same as in the case of the Arc 4 above. For the second and third generations Arc 5 (ES-LV95-S, ES-LV9Q) that have the updated station, you can get it if it fits within your budget.
Finally, if you can find a great deal for any Arc shaver and the price difference compared to the corresponding model that doesn’t include the station is minimal, then you should probably go for it.
Price and value for money
Some may disagree, but I consider this to be just as important as the performance when it comes to buying an electric shaver. Getting the same performance for less money just seems very appealing to me.
There are three things we’re interested in:
1. The price of the shaver itself
The first-generation Arc 3 shavers like the ES8103S are generally the least expensive of them all.
The ES-LL41-K and ES-LL21-K are also very reasonably priced.
However, some Arc 4 models like the ES8243AA or the ES-LA63 can be found for just a few bucks more.
For this, you get an extra blade, more power (on some models) and a more advanced shaving head.
Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63
The same can be said about the second generation Arc 5 (ES-LV65, ES-LV67) which are in my opinion just Arc 4 shavers with an extra blade.
The performance is similar, with a slight edge for the Arc 5 as the larger shaving head means faster shaving times and they’re also a bit more comfortable.
The original Arc 5 models like the ES-LV61-A can sometimes be found at excellent discounts and when that’s the case they can still be a perfectly good option despite their age.
Like I said in the previous section, I would personally skip the cleaning station (included with the ES-LV81-K).
However, the ES-LV65-S and ES-LV95-S from the second generation Arc 5 are a better choice if we consider their price, performance and build quality.
They’re a clear improvement over the first generation for usually a lower price and they’re widely available.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
As mentioned above, the ES-LV67 is basically the same shaver, but with a more modern design.
If you can get it for a similar price (or even less), it’s a perfectly viable alternative as well.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67
The latest generation Arc 5 shavers like the ES-LV9Q are more expensive and in my opinion getting one of the models above makes a lot more sense.
The performance is similar even though you won’t be getting that metal body or the newer foils with the comfort rollers. These foils are however backward compatible with the older Arc 5 models.
2. The price of replacement foils and blades
Apart from the initial investment, you will need to replace the foils and blades of your Panasonic shaver.
How often largely depends on your shaving habits, the coarseness of your beard, and how well you take care of your razor.
Usually the more complex a shaving head, the pricier the replacement parts will be.
And this is pretty much the case with the Arc 3, 4 and 5.
The replacement foils and blades combos for the first generation Arc 3 like the ES8103S, ES-LL41-K, etc. are pretty reasonably priced (part number is WES9013PC).
The set used by the newer LT models like the ES-LT67 is different and more expensive (WES9015P).
Moving on to the Arc 4 shavers we also see a bump in the price of the foils and blades (WES9025PC) that can cost almost twice as much than the ones for the original Arc 3.
The first and second generation Arc 5 models use the same foils and blades (WES9032P), thus the similar shaving performance.
Regarding the price, it is higher than the ones for the Arc 4 line, but not by a whole lot.
The third generation Arc 5 uses different sets (WES9034P, WES9036, ES9038, ES9040) and they are usually expensive.
You can easily see that as we move from the original Arc 3 toward the latest Arc 5, the price of the replacement parts goes up as well.
The Arc 3 and Arc 4 currently have the lowest costs of ownership.
From this analysis, I wanted to emphasize the importance of researching the price of the replacement parts as they can increase your running costs significantly.
The initial purchase price is just one side of the problem.
The prices of newly released models from the Arc 3 and 5 lines will eventually drop; the same goes for the replacement parts.
3. The price of detergent cartridges/sachets (optional)
Finally, we have the detergent cartridges or sachets needed for the automatic cleaning stations.
As mentioned previously, the older Vortex Hydra stations use cartridges containing a detergent-based solution, while the newer stations use concentrated detergent gel that comes in small packets and must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.
The price of the detergent, particularly for the cartridges, is actually reasonable when compared to the offerings of other manufacturers like Braun.
Panasonic WES4L03 detergent
Depending on how often you’ll be using the station, you can get away with replacing the detergent every two to three months.
Using the station once or twice a week for example would be a very good compromise that’ll minimize your costs.
This results in a low cost of ownership if you decide to opt for a model that comes with a cleaning station.
All the stations use the same cartridges or detergent packs, so there’s no difference in the costs regardless if you have a Panasonic Arc 3, Arc 4 or Arc 5.
The automatic cleaning station is excellent, but as I already said, it is not really necessary and it’s up to you to decide if you should get it or not.
Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5: which one should you choose?
The whole purpose of this comparison was to make it easier for you to choose a Panasonic shaver that would suit you the best.
Everyone’s needs are different and what may be the right shaver for someone won’t necessarily fit your requirements.
Things like price, cost of ownership, performance, the coarseness of your beard and so on can tip the scales in favor of a different shaver.
By this point you should hopefully have a preference for one of the three Panasonic Arc series.
Here is a quick actionable summary of our Panasonic Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5 comparison.
Buy the Panasonic Arc 3 if
- You have a limited budget and want the best bang for your buck. The first generation Arc 3 shavers (for example, the ES8103S or ES-LL41-K) are probably the best option.
- You shave daily or every other day. Less advanced electric shavers work best when used on short hair. If you have a light to medium beard you can get away with shaving less often. For coarse facial hair, the Arc 3 is still suitable if you shave daily.
- You are a beginner and this is your first electric shaver. The Arc 3 is the most simple and easy to use due to the compact shaving head, so at least in theory, you should get used to it pretty quickly.
- You want the closest shaving entry-level electric shaver. And with the Arc 3, Panasonic is arguably the best in this category. Its main competitor, the Series 3 from Braun, falls a bit behind in terms of closeness.
Buy the Panasonic Arc 4 if
- You’re mostly interested in getting a very close shave without paying the premium price of (some) Arc 5 models.
- You have coarse facial hair.
- You shave daily or every other day. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you can get perfectly good results when shaving every two days or more.
- You want very fast shaving sessions. The 4 cutting elements + a powerful 14 000 CPM motor found on most models (the ES8243AA uses a 13 000 CPM unit) will ensure a very fast and efficient shave. The ES-LA63-AA/ES8243AA would be my personal picks.
- You have somewhat sensitive skin. I find Arc 4 shavers to be a bit gentler to the skin compared to the Arc 3. Shaving cream, pre-shave lotion and lubricating the cutting parts on a regular basis will also improve the comfort and can make them suitable for irritation prone skin. If you have very sensitive skin then you’ll probably be better off with a Braun Series 5 or Series 7.
Buy the Panasonic Arc 5 if
- You want what is likely the closest shaving electric razor you can currently buy. I’m referring particularly to the second and third generation Arc 5 shavers.
- You have very coarse facial hair and want the fastest possible shave. The massive shaving head + the powerful motor will give you precisely that.
- You don’t mind paying more for the shaver and replacement parts to get slightly better performance compared to the Arc 4 models.
- You want an automatic cleaning station with your Panasonic shaver. The station included with the second and third generation Arc 5 is better than the previous one that’s available with the Arc 4 ES-LA93-K. My personal pick would be the ES-LV95-S/ES-LV97-K as it offers the best value for money.
- You have somewhat sensitive skin. The second and particularly the third generation Arc 5 shavers represent an improvement over the previous versions in terms of comfort. However, the third generation Arc 5 shavers are still pretty expensive. If you have very sensitive skin, the Braun Series 9 will probably be a better option.
When you shouldn’t buy a Panasonic shaver
I’ve said on many occasions that I consider Panasonic shavers to be some of the best you can currently buy.
And as we’ve seen in this post, there are a lot of situations where they would make perfectly good choices.
However, here are a few cases where other shavers would probably be better.
- You have very sensitive skin. While Panasonic razors can be adequately comfortable, especially if you implement the recommendations above, Braun shavers are superior out of the box when it comes to comfort. Depending on your budget and how often you shave, a Braun Series 3, 5, 7, 8 or 9 can be a better option. You can find detailed guide on all of them on this website.
- You have wiry, flat-lying hairs that grow in different directions. This is particularly troublesome if you don’t shave often and most foil shavers will struggle to catch all the hairs efficiently. If this sounds like you, then a Braun Series 9 or even a rotary shaver should be considered.
This pretty much wraps up my overview of Panasonic’s Arc 3 through 5 shavers. I will update this guide as new models are being released to keep it relevant.
If you have any other questions, make sure to post them in the comments below.
117 thoughts on “Panasonic Arc 3 vs Arc 4 vs Arc 5: Which One Should You Buy?”Leave a comment
Thanks so much for this very thorough article! I was leaning toward an Arc 5, but now I think I’ll try to find a good deal on an Arc 4.
FYI, I’m in Canada, and Panasonic seems to be seriously gouging us. The ES-LV65-S retails at $199 USD, which is $242 CAD as of this writing. Believe it or not, the damn thing lists for $419 up here! A 73% markup! Will probably end up buying from the US like I do with lots of other things.
Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’m glad to know you found the article useful. $419 is simply outrageous for an ES-LV65-S. I live in Europe and it’s the same situation here. Just to give you an example, I’ve seen a Braun Series 9 9290cc listed for $570. As a result I buy most of my review units from the US as well. Even with the shipping and customs fees the final price is still significantly lower than what I would pay if I were to buy them from here.
I hope you’ll enjoy your new shaver, the Arc 4 from Panasonic is an excellent line of shavers and in my opinion a very underrated one. I own quite a few shavers but the Arc 4 is actually the one I use the most.
I have both the Arc 3 and Arc 4, along with what you might call a medium density beard and shave daily. Both were bought on Amazon in January of 2018 with one used in an upstairs bathroom and one downstairs. Frankly, I find the Arc 4 to not only be noticeably faster, but far more comfortable with less irritation. Fwiw, the additional amount paid was well worth it and will eventually replace the Arc 3 with at least a 4 bladed model. Btw, thx for the reviews, I’ve found them very helpful.
Thank you for your comment. All Arc 4 models are great performers which is something that can’t really be said about the Arc 3 — the ones with the more powerful motors will be significantly better than the rest. You didn’t mention the model of your Arc 3 shaver, so this could be one of the reasons behind the unsatisfactory results.
I know you prefer the ES-LA63-S over the ES-LF51-A but I think I would prefer the ES-LF51-A due to its more compact size, particularly the shaving head. If both the Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K and the Arc 4 ES-LF51-A were the same price, which would be the better razor? I have a light to medium beard and shave daily.
By the way, I haven’t found anyone else on the web who comes close to your reviews and articles. Outstanding, thanks.
Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it.
I usually recommend the ES-LA63-S over the ES-LF51-A because it offers better value for money. Well, most of the time it does. But I fully agree that its head is unnecessary large — side by side with the ES-LF51-A the actual area of the foils is pretty much the same, but the whole shaving head of the ES-LA63-S is very bulbous.
Regarding the ES-LT3N-K vs ES-LF51-A, that’s really a tough one. Both would be suitable for your beard type and shaving frequency. I am actually waiting for an ES-LT3N-K to arrive (hopefully next week) and I’ll be able to give you a real feedback. I do suspect its performance to be very similar to the ES-LF51-A (they use the same inner blades and the motors are again similar) or even slightly better, particularly the comfort during a dry shave. As soon as I get it I will reply to this comment and share some first impressions. I live in Europe and ordering anything from the USA takes a long time to get here, so I’m really sorry that I won’t be able to do it sooner.
Thanks for the detailed article.
I’m looking to move to electric shaver and based on your various articles have narrowed down to Panasonic Arc4. Needed your suggestion on picking the right model for me : ESLA63-S ($100), ES-8243A ($114) (For comparison Arc5 ES-LV65-S is $129, but I guess the replacement foils will be very costly)
I shave once in 2/3 days and have sensitive skin. About a couple of years back, in my attempt to switch to electric shaver, I tried Philips Norelco (rotary shaver – cant recall the model) for about a month – It was causing irritation and razor bumps so I stopped using it.
Now again I want to give a try to electric shavers – hoping foil shavers will do the trick! Since, I’m still in the switching phase I don’t want to go for a very high end model.
I note your preference for Arc4 ESLA63-S but based on the articles it looks like the size of the head is quite big. Does the size make it difficult to shave in tricky areas (under the nose, closer to the lips)? Do the benefits of ESLA63-S over ES-8243A outweigh the issue with head size? As a reference – Even with 4 blades is it bigger than Arc5 ES-LV65-S model?
Whats your suggestion based on my situation? I’m happy to look at other models. Thanks for your help.
Thank you for your comment.
I tend to recommend the ES-LA63-S over other Arc 4 models because of its price; it usually costs a lot less than other models with similar performance.
The size of the head is its only serious drawback; the problem is that the head partially obscures the area that you’re shaving since it ‘s taller and wider than the 4 cutting elements. For me this is more noticeable when shaving under the nose or right below the jawline. I got used to it, but I can see this being a problem for someone using a foil shaver for the first time. Overall it feels similar in its proportions to the ES-LV65-S that has 5 blades.
For this reason I would actually be inclined to recommend you the ES-8243A or the ES-LF51-A if you can find a good deal on them. The ES-LF51-A feels a lot nimbler than the ES-LA63-S despite having the same number of blades. It is a really good shaver and that one would actually be my default recommendation for an Arc 4 (if it would cost less than the ES-LA63-S).
Whichever you end up buying, I would also get a spray lubricant & cleaner like the Remington Shaver Saver. That one works wonders with Panasonic shavers since they’re a bit more aggressive than Braun shavers and need proper lubrication to stay cool and comfortable. It will also prolong the lifespan of the blades.
Hope this helps.
Which one do you recommend between ES-LT41K Arc3 ($72) vs ES-8243A Arc4 ($104)? I notice that both are 13000 cpm.
1) Is the size of the ES-LT41K head smaller than Arc4? – easier to shave under the nose?
2) And is there noticeable difference between shaving closeness due to the additional blade in Arc4?
Any other relevant difference between the two?
I came across another Arc3 model (13000 cpm) – ES-RT51S? Not sure why is it priced much lower than others ($43).
Thanks for your help
You are very welcome, TJ.
Regarding your question, the answer is yes, the ES-LT41-K has a smaller head and it’s easier to shave under the nose. However, the ES8243A is quite manageable for a 4 blade shaver, definitely better than the ES-LA63-S for example.
I find the size less of an issue with this one because the head is actually as wide and as tall as the surface of the foils. I hope this makes sense.
I didn’t find it to shave closer than the Arc 3, but it takes me less time to complete a shave and it is slightly more comfortable. If you have the budget for an Arc 4 I would also recommend you to check out the ES-LF51-A, it can usually be bought for a similar price.
The ES-RT51-S is an older model that precedes the Arc 3 line (it doesn’t have an arched foil block) and it is fitted with a less powerful motor (10 000 CPM). In my opinion the ES-LT41-K is superior.
Hope this helps.
I have tried a Panasonic arc 3 Rt47 and enjoyed the close shave and aggressive and nimble feel of the shaver, but found it to be a little under-powered compared to an arc 5. What I didn’t care for as much was the large shaving head of the arc 5. So I am considering a newer arc 3 with at least the 13,000rpm motor, or an arc 4 (preferably one with a smaller shaving head size). But I know that you like the 63 series arc 4 a lot, with it’s multi-flex head and dual motor (is the shaving head as large as an arc 5?) So I’m seeking your recommendations about which might be a best fit for me, not wanting to discount features the 63 series has if you feel they are important. I’m not sure how coarse my beard is… call it medium coarse (?), and I shave most days, very occasionally I’ll skip a day. I like the idea of cost-efficiency, and would prefer a shaver that’s not too expensive to maintain, all else being equal. Incidentally… Great job, really enjoy your insights.
Thank you for your comment. I actually recommend the ES-LA63-S over other Arc 4 models mainly because of its price. Yes, it does have the more advanced flexing head and a second motor, but this shouldn’t prevent you from choosing other models that would be more suitable in your case. And the thing is that its shaving head is quite large and for someone who prefers a more nimble shaver this could be a problem. It actually feels pretty similar to An Arc 5 in terms of proportions. The ES-LF51-A is in my opinion just as good performance-wise, but its head is significantly smaller and more maneuverable — I own both and the difference is noticeable. So the ES-LF51-A is worth considering in my opinion if you decide to buy an Arc 4.
You will definitely notice a difference going from 10 000 CPM to 13 000 or 14 000 CPM, so even if you get an Arc 3 (ES8103S, ES-LT41-K) you’ll still be getting a substantial update. If you’re looking for the more cost-effective option, the Arc 3 is the way to go, especially since you’ve been quite happy with your older ES-RT47 (minus the speed). I would recommend against getting the very latest Arc 3 — I’m currently testing the ES-LT3N-K and its head is unnecessarily large (not that obvious from the official images), it costs more and doesn’t shave a lot better than the previous models. So stick to an older 13 000 CPM Arc 3 like the ones mentioned previously.
Hope this helps.
Here is the complete review of the Panasonic ES-LT3N-K. Hope it’s not too late, but it took a bit more than I anticipated.
It looks like you’ve just answered my question from ~6 posts back:
“…If both the Arc 3 ES-LT3N-K and the Arc 4 ES-LF51-A were the same price, which would be the better razor?…”
“…I’m currently testing the ES-LT3N-K and its head is unnecessarily large (not that obvious from the official images), it costs more and doesn’t shave a lot better than the previous models…”
Hi Ovidiu… great job with this website. Thanks.
Last month, I believed that Arc5 (second generation) was my perfect choice. However, the price it is expensive for me (146 U$).
This month, I began to consider other options. In that research, there are 2 models in race:
1. ES8243A. U$. 103.
2. ES-LF51-A. U$. 96.
Honestly, I do not understand the differences between them. Which one do you recommend me?
Thanks in advance for it.
Thank you for your comment.
Strictly between the two, I would go for the ES-LF51-A. It’s slightly more powerful (14 000 vs 13 000 CPM) and it costs less. Other than that they are pretty similar with regards to performance and cost of ownership.
Do you know if the new Arc5 WES9034P foil (with the gold-color rollers/strips) and the old WES9032P foil are interchangeable? I’ve noticed the blades are the same part # WES9170P.
I’ve the old Arc5 ES-LV65-S and wonder if I can put in the WES9034P foil for an upgrade!
That is correct, the inner blades of the new Arc 5 are the exact same ones used in the previous generations. While I haven’t tried it myself, the new WES9034P foil should fit the ES-LV65-S. Panasonic won’t list it as a compatible model for obvious reasons. You should however take extra care whenever trying any parts that are not (officially) compatible with your shaver.
Hope this helps.
Amazon has the Panasonic ES-LA63-S, and they have the ES-LA93-K (on sale). These appear to be the same razor, but the LA-93-K has a cleaning/charging station (and is less expensive). Are they the same?
Yes, the two shavers are identical except for the color. In this case the ES-LA93-K is definitely the one to buy as it comes with the automatic cleaning station.
Do you think any of these models would be better than the others for shaving women’s legs, or would a different brand/model work better? Women’s electric shavers aren’t dual voltage, which I need for travel. Thanks!
While I cannot speak from experience (for obvious reasons), a basic electric shaver like the Panasonic Arc 3 or Braun Series 3 should work. The hair on the legs is much thinner than a man’s facial hair, so there’s no need for an advanced/powerful shaver. However, do keep in mind that electric shavres work best on short hair, so only consider one if you’ll be using it more often.
Thanks for the great thorough article! Just what I was looking for to weed through the different models and options. I have a ten year old Arc-3 ES8109. Still works great but does not hold a charge.
I am thinking of upgrading to a new Arc-3 or -4. Do you know if the newer models will fit into the older Charging/Cleaning station I have? Mostly concerned with charging.
Thank you for your comment. The newer models will not work with your existing station. I also cannot recommend the new Arc 3 as I wasn’t satisfied with the shaving performance and it’s still quite pricey. In my opinion the Arc 4 ES-LA93-K is worth checking out if you want a shaver that also comes with a cleaning station; it’s a great shaver and it can now be found at an excellent price.
Hope this helps.
Thanks so much!
Would you recommend ES-RT47-S over ES-RT17K ARC3?
Yes, the battery life of the ES-RT17K is quite poor and when the charge drops below 30% or so you’ll also experience a drop in performance. The ES-RT47-S has a much bigger battery with more than twice the capacity. I think this an important aspect since these shavers can only be operated cordless. Otherwise they’re very similar and even use the exact same foils and blades.
Thanks a lot!
Nice review. I noticed on a recent top list the Remington F5-5800 Foil Shaver is also mentioned. So between that and the Panasonics ES-LA63-S & the ES-LA93-K – which is the loudest? I have a Braun 9 with a cleaning system and both the Braun & its cleaning system are quite loud. So my next shaver may just be just the shaver. Thx much.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. If you’re looking for a quiet foil shaver, unfortunately you’ll have a tough time finding one. The Panasonic ES-LA63/ES-LA93-K are actually a bit louder compared to the Series 9, at least to my ears. They are fitted with a very powerful motor and during use they produce a high pitched whine (that gets louder when cutting the hairs). The Braun Series 9 is buzzier and the sound has a lower frequency which to me sounds just a bit quieter. So in this regard the Panasonic won’t be an improvement. The same goes for the Remington F5-5800 (and in terms of performance, it is clearly inferior to the ES-LA63-S and the Series 9).
Rotary shavers are a lot quieter but do come with their own specific limitations (more details here). If a quiet operation is very important, you may consider getting one if you think it’s a worthy trade-off.
After reading your articles which electric shaver I should go for and have narrowed it down to two (was considering braun 9290 and the newest 7 series as well). Thank you very much for this.
I prefer to wet shave when I can. Currently using a DE but jump on an old Norelco when I am in a rush or feeling a bit lazy that day. I don’t prefer using my Norelco as it achieves a far inferior shave to my DE. Hopefully foils are actually better and achieve close to the same results as DE razors.
Would it be better to have the cleaning station with the ES-LV95-S ARC5 currently $149.99 or skip it and go with the Arc4 ES-LA63-S at a much lower price $86? TYIA.
It should come down to your budget. The ES-LA63-S costs a lot less, but in terms of shaving performance, it’s actually pretty close to the Arc 5. The ES-LV95-S is a bit more comfortable and shaves a bit closer, but that’s about it. My pick would be the ES-LV65-S if you can find a great deal on it (it’s basically the ES-LV95-S minus the cleaning station — you don’t really need it). Otherwise I think you can confidently go with the ES-LA63-S.
Which is the better buy? ES-LA63-S ($90) or ES-LV95-S ARC5 (149.99). Is the arc5 that much better for the extra cost and the convenience of the cleaning and charging station?
Strictly between those two models and considering the prices you’ve mentioned, I would go for the ES-LA63-S. I don’t consider Panasonic stations to be necessary. The Arc 5 is a bit more comfortable and shaves a bit closer, but that’s pretty much it. The differences aren’t huge by any means. Sometimes you can find the ES-LV65-S (basically an ES-LV95-S minus the cleaning base) for a similar price to the ES-LA63-S — that one would be the best pick in my opinion. But strictly between the shavers in your comment, I think the ES-LA63-S would still offer excellent performance and for less money.
Your BEST advice in the article is to check the prices on “blade replacements”, before deciding on which model to buy. I bought the third generation Arc 5 (ES-LV9N), it was $300 with the cleaning station, there was another version that was the same razor, only without the cleaning station, but I could not find it anywhere, and this was about only a year or so after these ARC-5 razors came out. I didn’t want or need a cleaning station as I only wet shave in the shower, and could have saved $50. I’ve been happy with the performance of this razor, and simply use the station as a charger stand.
Now the bad part, blades should be replaced every 12-18 months, depending on use of course. You can tell when you have to push a bit harder and see a bit more “pink” rash in those areas on your face, and more occasional hair “pulling”. My 1.5 year old blades are in this state, so I began looking online for a replacement “set”. This is the model set: “Replacement Men’s 5-Blade Shaver Foil and Blade Set – WES9034P”, these are the ones with the 2 “gold” comfort bars on top.
Google returns a small amount of online store links, and few if any actually have them, those pages simply say “out of stock”, or “discontinued”. So it’s almost Impossible to price shop and find any discounts, almost as if Panasonic wants to be the only ones that sell these replacements? They are listed on the official Panasonic sites, usually listed as “out of stock”. Their list price: $120.00 US. As you also wrote, as much or more then some of the earlier razors themselves! Wish I had researched this aspect beforehand. I can justify the high original cost, as it’s a good, close shaver, but the unavailability and crazy high cost of replacement blades, make one feel like I’m just “renting” this shaver. Live and learn, and BTW, very well written article!
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. You are right, some of the replacement foils and blades are sold at an outrageous price. In this situation, if you cannot find the exact part (WES9034P) at a reasonable price, one solution would be to get the foils and blades used by the previous generation Arc 5 (the part number is WES9032). They usually cost less than half the price of the newer set and will fit your ES-LV9N perfectly. Performance-wise, they shave just as close, but aren’t quite as comfortable. Anyway, it’s nothing too serious.
Lastly, you could try to revive your current foils and blades with a spray cleaner. I use the Remington Shaver Saver on my older Panasonic shavers that don’t cut like they used to and also cause me that nasty pink rash you mentioned; the results are pretty impressive. I cannot guarantee that it will be the same in your case (you will need to replace the blades eventually), but maybe it’s worth giving it a shot.
Hope this helps.
Great article. I am considering the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 all based upon the articles you have written about it. Also you state it is your personal favorite. I currently own a very old Braun Series 7 ( replacement foil is part 7000 ). At one point it had a cleaning station but that busted a while ago. I still use the razor. I have replaced the foil and cutters afew times now. One thing I like about my old Braun is that I can shave with it while it is plugged in to charge ( my batteries do not hold a good charge any longer ). So being able to use the Braun as a corded razor works for me.
I have a question about the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4, if needed can I use it as a corded razor ( not is a wet situation )? To me this is a good feature to have on a razor being able to use corded.
In your opinion should I concede to a new razor ( my Braun is many, many, many years old but still running ) OR continue to purchase replacement heads and foils every 2 or so years for the Braun I have.
There are a few things about the ES-LA63-S you should keep in mind if you decide to make the switch.
First of all, you cannot use it corded. It will only work cordless (as all current wet/dry shavers).
Secondly, its shaving head is noticeably larger than the one of your Series 7000, so it will take some getting used to.
I haven’t got the chance to use the original Series 7, but the ES-LA63-S should be noticeably faster and it should provide a closer shave. But these are very subjective considerations and the context is also important. For example, if you are satisfied with the shaving performance of your current shaver and you can get away with buying new parts every two years (that’s excellent btw), I don’t really see the need to upgrade, at least not for now.
The best shaver is the right shaver. 🙂
Hope this helps.
Hello from France,
(I translate by google, so apologize if any translation errors are present.^^)
Congratulations for this great information site on razors. I have been following you for a few years. It’s a pleasure to see reviews and tests, and comments from readers.
I hesitated for a long time before upgrading to Arc 5 Panasonic. I had a Panasonic Arc4 LA-93 that gave me satisfaction for years. But the Lv9q is the best razor I’ve had. It supplants the LA-93 at the level of its softness. And it’s not a placebo effect. The grip is exceptional. Shave softer, much softer! Faster too. Even with a beard of 3 to 5 days, the razor is powerful and does not tear the hair. Arc4 too, except at 5 days when some hairs are torn off. But it depends on our beards, more or less thick.
This is exceptional 5D head! The razor follows the contours of the face as I have never seen. The comfort of shaving is really improved.
The neck is a little less problematic than Arc4, but you have to come back anyway for some recalcitrant hairs. This remains the limit of the Arc series, but with Arc4 I had to use the mower much more than Arc5 for the neck.
Now, for the quality of shaving, I had nothing wrong with Arc 4. But it takes more time, and slightly less soft (it’s still very good, but we feel the difference of generation).
I do not regret my upgrade. It’s a pleasure to shave with Arc5. If you have the budget, go for Lv9Q! But, as already said here, the La-63 and 93 are still there and very good. Just a little less soft, less fast, less comfortable (for 5 minutes a day, it does not matter).
The lV9Q has only one BIG defect: Its price! (And that of his knives and head)
Thank you for your kind comment and for being a reader of this website for such a long time. I really appreciate it!
Your feedback on the new Arc 5 is excellent and I’m sure it’ll be helpful to any potential buyers, so thank you again for taking the time to share your experience with the community.
I’m buying a razor for my teenage son who suffers from acne. What model do you think would be most suitable? (budget price please, unless performance for acne is significantly better)
Thank you in advance for your help!
If your son suffers from acne I would actually suggest you to consider a Braun shaver instead. They are gentler, more forgiving and better suited for sensitive skin. Depending on your budget, you can opt for a Series 3 or a Series 5. I would suggest the Series 5 as it’s a better shaver overall, but if it’s out of your budget then the Series 3 is probably the best for this in the entry-level category. The Series 3 ProSkin 3010s and 3040s are usually priced the lowest.
Hope this helps.
I’ve enjoyed your informed commentary but now find myself in a quandary. Several years ago I bought what was touted as the best shaver out there, the Panasonic, and at the time the current model was the ES-LA63. It’s served me well but with the battery showing signs of petering out and the cost of new foil and blades I’m wondering whether it’s replacement time.
I was accustomed to a Norelco and flirted with wet shaving with my Panasonic but decided to stay dry. Now I find that by oiling my blades weekly and using a good pre-shave, shaving is more comfortable but getting the gunk out of the blades is tedious. Now for the first time I can see where a cleaning unit with a shaver could be advantageous. Any thoughts? BTW, I have a pretty coarse beard and am in a position where I don’t have to shave every morning … Thanks.
Thank you for your comment. First of all, the issue of the pricey replacement foils & blades will continue if you decide to buy a new Panasonic shaver and the more complex they are, the higher the price. For example, an Arc 4 set is more expensive than an Arc 3 set and the Arc 5 with its 5 blades costs the most. And out of all shaver brands, Panasonic tends to have the most expensive parts, even though not by a lot.
Since your shaver’s battery is starting to show signs of degradation, it makes sense to buy a new shaver instead of simply replacing the foils and blades. A cleaning station is an option as well, even though I wouldn’t consider them a must with Panasonic shavers. Cleaning the blades regularly with a bit of liquid soap and water should prevent gunk buildups. Also, a spray cleaner & lubricant works really well. If however you are decided to get a cleaning unit, the ES-LV95-S Arc 5 is probably the best option with regards to costs and performance. I would personally go for the cheaper ES-LV65-S and clean it and lubricate it myself.
I think you should stick to Panasonic shavers especially since you were satisfied with the performance; unless you’ve tried a rotary before and know for a fact that you’ll get along with one, I wouldn’t recommend you to switch to a Norelco. In most cases an Arc 4 or Arc 5 will shave closer and with greater comfort.
Hope this helps.
Great article with thorough comparisons! Which Panasonic ES would you recommend as a startup for an 18 years young teenager boy (out of the acne phase)? I’ve read your articles about Arc 4 and Arc 5 and seeking your input as to which one is the best as a starter ES. Looking for ease of use for him, near updated technology of ES, 3″nanoblades, 14000 circles/min, ease of use, easy to maintain, wet/dry operations and a quite motor. After reading the articles the top choices we have are Arc 4 series LA63s and LF51a, Arc 5 series LV65s. Last option would be Braun shavers (Have seen series 7 and series 9 at local Costco).
Thanks for your input.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. I would go with the ES-LF51-A, I think it would be a great choice for a teenager (excellent performance, easy to use due to the smaller head compared to an Arc 5 or other Arc 4 models, usually cheaper and easy to clean). As for noise level, they’re all pretty similar to my ear. A Series 7 would however be a better option for sensitive skin, including acne-like skin conditions. It is gentler to the skin compared to the Panny and more forgiving, especially when used dry.
Great article! Thank you very much.
Does the replacement blades for arc 5 ES9032(japan ver.) interchangeble with WES9032?
You are very welcome, AC. Yes, they are the same (ES9032, WES9032, WES90302P, WES9032Y, etc.).
I was wondering; what is the current latest model/update/iteration of the arc 5?
That would be the Arc 5 generation 3 revision D (released in July 2018). So far it’s only a Japanese domestic market release, but you can find them online as well (you should look for model names like ES-LV9DX, ES-LV9D, ES-LV7D, ES-LV5D, etc.).
Amazing review. I had a question about the ES-LL41-K. I just purchased from Amazon but I noticed the product details didn’t offer replacement blades. Checked Panasonic and none there either. Also, they don’t even have a distributor listed for that model. Do you know if it’s been discontinued?
Thank you for your comment. The replacement parts are still being manufactured and they’re readily available. The part number for the foil and blades set is WES9013PC. You can find it online as well on sites like Amazon.
There are WES9013PC and WES9013. Which one should we buy?
They are the same part, so you can confidently buy either one.
Thanks for the great article. Very useful in trying to decide which model to go with out of the wide array of choices.
One question came up in the course of my research: what is the difference between the ES-LV65 and ES-LV67? Is the 67 just the latest version of the 65? Any real difference between the two?
Thank you for your comment. The ES-LV67 is a newly released shaver and it’s basically a third-generation Arc 5 (like the ES-LV9N) that comes with the older outer foil (used on the ES-LV65). Performance-wise, it shouldn’t be much different than the ES-LV65. I can’t say anything with certainty now as I haven’t yet tested the ES-LV67, but I will be ordering it as soon as it is available (September 20).
Thank you so very much for the prodigious time, effort and attention to detail that went into this review!
My old Panasonic ESSL41A recently kicked the bucket and I was looking for a replacement. The old one was a budget choice yet it worked so well I decided to stick with Panasonic, but even so there was still so much to choose from! Since I’m the type to thoroughly research any significant purchase I figured I’d be in for a long slog through a bunch of websites and reviews but then I found this one and wow! Everything I could possibly want to know in one spot, thoughtfully considered and discussed.
This review really, REALLY helped me narrow down the choices, and I’ve decided to go with the ES-LF51-A based on your glowing review of it as well as my own personal needs (which you did very well to address, as well as any other personal considerations others might have, in your detailed review).
Thanks again for such a helpful review! You clearly have an eye for quality, both in the products you review as well as your reviews themselves.
Many thanks for the kind words, glad you found the review helpful in choosing a new shaver.
I think you made the right call by sticking to Panasonic and since you were satisfied with the performance of the ES-SL41, you should be really happy with the ES-LF51-A, a shaver which is superior in all regards.
I am updating from a neat little ES8807 which has been great for travel. I shave daily and do not have a beard. Model numbers in Europe seem to be quite different from the US ones quoted in your excellent reviews. I am looking at the ES LL 41 which shows 3 blades, 13,000 linear motor plus trimming attachments and comes in around €100. Also still available are the ES LT 4N and the ES LT 6N models with 3 blades and 13,000 motor (not linear on the 4N?) around €130. I would appreciate your opinion on their relative merits; thanks in advance and congratulations on a great site.
Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.
All the three shavers you mentioned, namely the ES-LL41, ES-LT4N, and ES-LT6N are fitted with the same 13 000 CPM linear motor, the same inner blades and only the shape of the outer foil frame varies between the first and the latter two. As a result, the shaving performance will be the same. I would personally choose the ES-LL41 due to the lower price. Also, while I haven’t used one myself, the head seems to be a bit narrower compared to the other two. I’ve used the ES-LT3N-K which is the USA model, but identical to the ES-LT4N and ES-LT6N and found the head to be unnecessarily wide.
The comb attachments may be of little to no use, but they’re there.
Hope this helps.
I am from South Africa, thank you for your great reviews. Panasonic as a brand is big in South Africa, but unfortunately not when it comes to their electric shavers. At the moment the only one I can buy here is the ES-ST25K. Is that a shaver you can recommend? You said to stay away from the ES-ST25 but is there a difference between that and the ES-ST25K? Any recommendations will be much appreciated.
NB – I have been shaving with a phillips rotary for the last 10 years or so (Phillips AT790)
You are very welcome, glad you found the reviews useful.
That was I’m afraid an error in my text, I was referring to a whole different model (ES-RT17). I am sorry for the confusion. The ES-ST25 uses a 13000 CPM motor, so it’s a proper (fast) Arc 3. The K in the name simply refers to the color of the shaver (Panasonic uses K for the black models and S for the Silver ones).
Many users do notice an improvement in the results when switching from a basic rotary to a fast foil shaver. If you usually shave often and your facial hair isn’t super coarse and dense, the ES-ST25 should be an upgrade from your current shaver.
Hope this helps.
Your recommendation helps a lot, thank you. Yes, I must admit there was a bit of confusion as other sites indicated that the ES-ST25 uses a 13000 motor. But no problem, at least now I know what to do and I have made my decision. I wish more Panasonic models was available in South Africa, but it is what it is. I would have loved to get my hands on a Panasonic ES-LV65-S, but unfortunately I cannot find it here. Thank you once again for your feedback
No problem, Charles. Glad I could be of help. It’s really unfortunate as the ES-LV65 is a great shaver, especially with the current price drops. Maybe importing from overseas would be a solution.
Is there some sort of chart that allows me to find equivalent part numbers for the same shaver? For example, I am interested in purchasing a ES-LF51-A, but, I am in USA, and many of these are in Canada. Is there a more popular part number for this particular shaver, so that I can find one more easily? Color is not important, only the mechanical specifications.
The ES-LF51-A is officially available in the USA, but for the last month or so it’s gotten really difficult to find. And if you do manage to find one, the price is likely (a lot) higher than it used to be. There’s an ES-LF51-S variation as well (silver), but that one was never released in the USA. The best alternative would be the ES-LA63-S (extremely close specs-wise and essentially identical performance) or the ES8243A. The latter has a slightly less powerful motor, but it’s still a great performer.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge on this subject.
Unfortunately, the Arc5 is the same price as the Arc4 ES-LA63-S so, I will take your suggestion in your article, and just get a ES-LV65-S Arc5.
I try to purchase “open box” when I can, from certified dealers, and have never been disappointed yet, and save money in the process.
No problem, Don. Glad I could help. I think getting the ES-LV65 would be the best option in this case.
Hi all! Thanks a lot to the author of this article! so thoroughly and subtly study all the questions of Panasonic razors … I made my choice, this is LV65, but there are a couple of questions. Knives and nets for this razor, what compatibility? What is the optimal price / quality ratio? Thanks again!)
Thank you for your comment. The LV65 uses the WES9032P set (also sold as WES9032Y or ES9032). However, the newer foils used by the third generation Arc 5 shavers are compatible as well. I wrote a detailed guide on this topic if you want to check it out. Usually the older sets are priced lower, but you should nevertheless do a bit of research beforehand as the prices tend to vary a lot.
Do you have a recommendation for a Panasonic foil shaver to use to shave my head and also trim facial hair ( not shaved fully ). Would the hybrid be suitable es-ll41? Or do other models have a trimmer attachment available.
The options are very limited with Panasonic I’m afraid. The ES-LL41 is the only one to my knowledge that comes with this type of attachments. It should work decently on your head provided that the hair is short. Braun has a lot more models that come with various attachments, including the 2020 Series 7, 6 or 5 and even some Series 3 models like the 3010BT.
Any foil shaver can be used as a head shaver, just keep in mind that you’ll likely have to use it more often as they’re not great with longer hair.
ES-LL41-K has many critical reviews on Amazon. What do you think?https://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Adjustable-Attachments-Precision-Technology/dp/B07QXHZ4YF/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8&th=1
Those are the cumulated reviews for the ES8103S, ES-LT41-K and ES-LL41-K. The latter is a newer model that comes with a couple of comb attachments for maintaining a beard. I haven’t used it yet, but shouldn’t be much different performance-wise than the other Arc 3 models fitted with the 13 000 CPM motor.
Thank you so much for the great comments you have given and the time you have put in.
This is basically for my use to use for deciding on making a decision.
When you have time can you email me and give the differences of each of the arc 4 razors, the plus and minuses on them, and your thoughts about the models? Any help you can give would be very helpful.
p.s. I do wish they made a dry razor, that has the option of using a cord. Then when the battery goes out, I have the cord to use and not buying another razor.
Thank you for your comment, Russ. I actually wrote an article precisely about the Arc 4 differences, you can check it out here. Panasonic only makes cordless shavers, I’m afraid.
ok. thank you so much, that will help out tremendously. I will check it out and make a decision.
Just a few more comments. The following prices are U.S. dollars. Looking on line, the ES-LA63-S on the Panasonic site is priced at $199.99, then looking on the Amazon site it is $118.83. That seems okay, but looking at the ES-LF51-A, the Amazon price is $299.98, while the Panasonic site is $109.99. The ES-LA93-K is relatively close.
Now there was another odd thing on the Amazon site. I found another ARC4 called ES-RF31-3. This must be an older no longer production made unit? It is a 13,000 cpm motor, with ultra thin foil. This runs for $211.59. Have you heard or seen that model?
Now another personal comment of mine is that they could make a razor without the side trimmer, Then maybe they could add some other quality to the razor to add more enhanced features. I have a separate side trimmer that I prefer over the ones that are added to the razors. It is a lot easier for trimming and less bulkier to use and easier to see what I am trimming in the mirror.
Also, not given at the Amazon site, what are the cutter and combo cutter and foil numbers for the ES-L:F51-A?
Thank you for all your help.
With electric shavers you’ll often see some price oddities like the ones you’ve mentioned. Discounts, availability, better deals from suppliers — these all can affect the price. The ES-LF51-A used to be one of the least expensive Arc 4 models, but its price has spiked for some reason, probably because it’s getting really difficult to find. The ES-RF31 is indeed a less popular Arc 4 that is a good performer, however I don’t think it’s worth getting at that price. The ES-LA63-S and ES8243AA are currently the best picks.
Regarding the hair trimmers, most users don’t have a separate one, so I think we’ll continue to see them on basic to high-end models as well. I personally find popup trimmers quite useful and the ones on the newer Panasonic models that sit close to the foils are actually really good and practical as well.
Thank you for responding and all the effort and thoughts going into describing the razors and their differences and the pros and cons. This was very informative. Appreciate it very much.
How do the cleaning stations know (I guess this is not Panasonic specific) when the solution needs changing? Is it simply a matter of natural evaporation and it’s simply a fluid level detector?
Or is it actually a bit ‘smarter’ and bases it on resistance etc?
At least the stations from Braun actually analyze the electrical conductivity of the solution as well. The level of the fluid is however the main trigger.
Great article. Need help in choosing my first electric razor.
Cost of Arc 5 LV67 and Arc 4 ES LA63-S ( with dual motor) is same at $122. Which one to buy?
I also liked ES LL 41- K but have not found any review.
Thank you for your comment.
Between the Arc 5 ES-LV67 and the Arc 4 ES-LA63-S, I would go with the former, especially since they cost the same. I actually own both and the Arc 5 shaves a bit closer, faster and it’s a bit more comfortable as well. That second motor of the ES-LA63-S doesn’t seem to make a difference whatsoever.
The ES-LL41-K is a good budget shaver, but you can’t really compare an Arc 3 to an Arc 5.
I signed up just so I could comment: Simple, comprehensive article. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your comment and support, Mike, glad you found it useful.
is it possible to use newer shaver ES-LV67 in older cleaning station older Vortex Hydra Systems ??
As I would like to buy LV67 whilst I owned an old LT70 /w cleaning station.
I’m afraid the answer is no — the ES-LV67 will not work with any cleaning station, not even the new ones. As I mentioned in the review of the ES-LV67, it lacks the 3 contacts on the back that connects it to the station. So only the shavers that come with a station will work with one (for example, the ES-LV97).
Thanks for the quick reply.
Let me test it once I receive my LV67.
Firstly, does it physically fit in the station and secondly will clean/dry works but charging will definitely not possible.
I came across Panasonic detergent for charge/clean on Amazon model ES4L a 6 pack. Is this the same as the WES4L?
I wonder what the W stands for.
Also in the manual for my new ES-LV97 it says to disconnect the clean/charge from the wall socket as soon as the process has completed. It is not something I did with the several Braun models I have owned in the past.
Finally and most importantly I want to thank you for the amazing benefit you and your site provide to us. The magnitude of the information is incredible.
Thank you for the kind words. It is indeed the same detergent. The W is sometimes left out (not only in the case of the detergent, but for some Panasonic replacement foils and blades as well). Regarding the recommendation to disconnect the charger from the socket, I already replied to your comment here.
I bought an Arc 3 few years ago upon chancing your great comparison review here. It has served me quite well, comparing to the other electric shavers I’ve used in the past from other notable brands. Though it gives a closer shave but I do find the Arc 3 taking quite a long time to get to the level of closeness I prefer. It also heats up really quickly! The shave is not as smooth as I imagine as time goes by. So I’m considering to upgrade either to an Arc 4 or 5. Now I’m not sure if Arc 4 is much of a difference to Arc 3. And if I take on Arc 5 is it too much of an overkill (bigger head and pricey). I shave daily and I have a quite coarse hair. Which would you recommend for upgrade in your opinion? Thanks!
Many thanks for your comment, glad you found the site useful.
I would suggest going for the Arc 5 in this case — the size of the head is quite similar to the ES-LA63 for example, but I find it smoother and with the Arc 5 it takes me less time to get a close shave. The foils also don’t seem to get as hot as the ones on the various Arc 4 models as time passes — I definitely recommend lubricating them, ideally with a spray lubricant like the Remington Shaver Saver. Panasonic foils and blades tend to get progressively hotter as you use them, so lubrication is important in order to keep that in check. Depending on where you live (the USA or Europe), the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67 respectively can be often be found at a great price. In your case I think it’s worth getting either of those over the Arc 4/Arc 3.
Thank you for this wonderful website.
I have previously owned two braun series3 and one series5. I have had technical problems with one of the series3 and with the series5. Its been a pain in the ass, so I have decided to give japanese-built Panasonic a try for my next buy.
What is your opinion about these three diffirent shavers: ES-SL33, ES-rt37 and ES-rw33-h503?
Which one would you choose? They are pretty cheap here in Sweden right now, so they are my alternatives.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated. Strictly between those 3 models, I would go with the ES-RT37, it is by far the better shaver.
Thank you for your reply. I very much appreciate it.
I bought the RT37 and found it to be good and very gentle and comfortable (more comfortable than my previous Brauns), but unfortunately it does not shave close enough and it leaves my neck pretty much unshaved.
Im thinking of upgrading.
These all cost around 190euros;
Which one would you choose? Do they all have the same level of comfortable shave?
No problem, glad I could be of help. Have you also tried using a pre-shave lotion? It can often improve the closeness quite a bit. Also, make sure you’re always going against the grain, especially when shaving areas with hairs that grow in different directions (the neck is usually such an area).
Regarding the shavers you’ve mentioned, the ES-LV67 and ES-LV95 will shave exactly the same, they even use the exact foils and blades.
The ES-CV51 is a compact model with a fixed shaving head that comes with an updated outer foil. It has two rollers and it is a bit more comfortable than the other two, but the closeness is pretty much the same. If you found the RT37 to be very gentle, all three Arc 5 you’ve mentioned will be at least as good. Also, you can actually upgrade the outer foil to the newer ones like the one that comes with the ES-CV51 (more details here).
If they all cost the same, my pick would be the ES-LV95.
My ESLA63’s battery is starting to go south also it’s time for a new foil & blades (which are pretty pricey on this model) that I bought in 2015 and probably the best shaver I’ve ever bought, so I think it’s time for a new one.
So I was considering the ES-LV65-s.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
If you enjoyed shaving with the ES-LA63, you will love the ES-LV65. Considering the price of the replacement parts and the battery issue you’re having, it’s better to just buy a new shaver.
I don’t think there’s ever been a more informative guide on any subject — incredible! I’m printing this, framing it, and displaying it on my wall.
My question is, would it be okay to purchase just the inner blades (~$25) for replacements and leave the outer foils? I’ve seen some people suggesting this to save money. I would be looking to buy an Arc5 but not sure I would pull the trigger with how expensive the blade & foil sets (~$66) are.
Thank you for your comment, Nick, that’s very kind of you.
Regarding your question, the outer foil is actually the one that gets worn out faster, so if you’re on a tighter budget, I would keep the inner blades and get a new foil.
I understand your concern regarding the Arc 5, Panasonic replacement parts have always been pricey. And the more complex they are, the more they cost.
Thanks, I went ahead and splurged on the LV95 and I’m glad I did. It’s so gentle it feels like kisses from an angel. Everything else feels like a chainsaw by comparison!
Awesome, glad you’re happy with it.
I have an old ES8243A, bought in 2012. Is it worthwhile to buy replacement foil and blades ($55) or go for a new ES-LA63AA ($90). Battery on my old model seems ok, but it is approaching 10 years old.
Unless you can find a better deal for a genuine Panasonic foil + blades set, you’re probably better off buying the new shaver. By the way, impressive reliability from the ES8243A, the Arc 4 was truly an underrated line of shavers. It’s shame Panasonic never updated the Arc 4.
You still have the most comprehensive site on this topic imaginable – truly astonishing.
I ended up buying a new blade and foil for my old ES8243 because I liked the smaller head. It made the shaver feel almost new.
However, my ancient ES8243A finally died after 11 years. Battery was still solid but one of the blades stopped moving – I dissembled but interior mechanisms were worn and brittle. Still though, 11 years as my primary shaver which was used ~2-3 times per week – pretty amazing.
I am looking at ES-LV65-S as a replacement as I like the display over the ES-LV67-S.
I do have a question on the head size – how much bigger is the head on the ES-LV65-S vs the old ES8243A. I cant really find dimensions, but I do recall one of your articles saying the Arc 5 had a slightly less bulky head in 2nd gen onwards, but I’m not sure how it compares with the ancient Arc 4 I know (from 2012).
Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
11 years is very impressive, it definitely served you well.
The Arc 5 head is clearly larger — here‘s a side-by-side shot I took. That’s the ES-LV67, but the head is the same size as the one on the ES-LV65. The width of the foil elements is the same, but the total height of the Arc 5 head is larger because of that extra (fifth) blade. It’ll probably feel a bit awkward the first time you use it, especially after shaving with the Arc 4 for 11 years, but you’ll definitely get used to it. I think you’ll also appreciate the extra power and refinement of the ES-LV65.
Just ordered the ES-LV65 for $100 + tax from Best Buy in US. The ES-LV95 is also on sale – going for $150. (Pricing on 3/5/2023).
I figure I might like Braun Series 9 with a more compact head; but I do like the high rpm motor from Panasonic and I cant get close to a Series 9 unit for $100. In fact, this is a couple dollars cheaper then I paid for my ES8243A many years ago.
Thanks again for your comments and excellent reviews.
Awesome, glad I could be of help. That’s a really good deal and I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5.
I bought the ARC 5 a couple years ago (also have the Braun 9 and Norelco Prestige 9000), the ARC 5 definately shaves closer , BUT, yesterday I happened to notice my old razor in the back of a drawer, a Panasonic ARC 3, ES8103S. I thought, hey lets try this old thing out. I actually was amazed, it shaved closer (a lot even) than my ARC 5. I think it’s because the ARC 5 has a head the size of a brick, it ‘bridges’ over any dents or lower parts on the face and neck, but the ARC 3 fit in so well. Today I shaved with my ARC 5, I could feel stubble by my throat and really under the jaw line. I grabbed the ARC 3 and instantly hear that rattling sound of it cutting hairs the ARC 5 was missing, in a few minutes my face and neck were about the same as if I used a regular razor. I’ll probably buy another ARC 3 while I still can and retire the ARC 5 as it’s quite a bit inferior on my face anyway.
Thank you for the comment.
The Arc 3 is an excellent razor in the entry-level segment and outperforms the competition (Braun Series 3, Norelco Series 5000 etc) in terms of closeness. However, in this case, I am pretty certain that the reason why your ES8103S shaved closer than your Arc 5 is that the blades and foil on your Arc 5 are more worn out compared to the ones on the Arc 3. When comparing two brand new Arc 3 and Arc 5 shavers, the latter will shave closer despite the larger head. The Arc 3 is indeed easier to maneuver below the nose for example. But if you like it better, then by all means get the Arc 3, it’s also cheaper and the replacement blades+foil are cheaper.
Fantastically thorough guide, very appreciated!
Thank you so much, Sam, glad you found it useful.
Hello Mr. ovidiu
Thank you for your review
I had a question. I am hesitating between the Panasonic Arc3 (ST25) and Arc5 (LV65) models. The price of model LV65 in our country is exactly twice that of model ST25. But for me the following are more important:
1- Closer shaving.
2- Smoother engine and no overheating of the foils
3- I shave every other day or two days
4- It is very important for me to correct the neck area better
In addition, there are two LV65 and LV67 models available. Both at the same price. What is your suggestion between the two? It seems that model LV67 does not show the elapsed time. Does it matter? Or the sensor is always active. is there any problem? But this model is newer and looks better. Thank you for your advice.
The Arc 3 ST25 is a good shaver at that price point, but the Arc 5 is superior. Unless you have light facial hair, the difference will be noticeable in practice. The Arc 5 is faster, more powerful and a bit more comfortable. You will likely get a closer shave as well.
As for the LV65 vs LV67, I personally prefer the former for the reasons you mentioned, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the LV67. It will shave exactly the same and if you like the look of it more, go for it.
I stumbled upon this site while looking for shaver reviews. It’s amazing that after 10 years you’re still updating this site regularly AND responding to comments even on older posts, cudos on that!
As an Asian with not much facial hair to deal with, your site has definitely helped me make an informed choice about which razor to get. I was wholly unaware of the differences between foil and rotary shavers. In any case, I’m going to pick up an Arc 3 based on your extensive reviews! Thanks
Thank you so much for the comment, Alvin. I simply enjoy it and my interest in this topic has actually grown throughout the years.
Hope you’ll like shaving with your new Arc 3.