Even though it was launched in 2011, the Arc 4 line of electric shavers from Panasonic still packs some serious punch.
In fact, I think the Arc 4 represents a better option for us — the end users — today than it has in its prime days.
In this article we’ll go over the key advantages of the shavers in this series and see what exactly makes them a great pick.
Arc 4 features overview: high-end specs
The Panasonic Arc 4 shavers fill the gap between the entry level Arc 3 and the high-end Arc 5 shavers.
Here are the most important features of the Arc 4 family.
4 blade cutting system
As the name implies, the shavers have 4 cutting elements that exhibit Panasonic’s trademark arched profile. That’s one blade less than the range topping Arc 5, but 4 cutters are still easily enough for anyone’s needs.
This particular design solution — the arched shaving head — is specific to Panasonic shavers and ensures optimal contact with the skin.
This, along with the powerful motors and very sharp blades will reward you with what is likely the closest shave you’ll get from an electric shaver at this price point.
14 000 CPM motors
One of the reasons I always liked Panasonic shavers is their sheer cutting power. And for the Arc 4 line they didn’t skimp on power and fitted the shavers with the most powerful units they have, the 14 000 Cycles Per Minute linear motors that are also used on the premium Arc 5 shavers.
And this really shows when using one: an Arc 4 feels and sounds fast and will cut even the thickest stubble with ease.
Solid construction, wet & dry use
Even though they are made of plastic, the quality is top notch. While some of them don’t look as premium as other shavers, I know from personal experience that they can take a serious beating and will last for years if you show them some love.
So as far as specs go, the Arc 4 were (and still are) very capable electric shavers. And those aren’t just numbers on a paper, the performance really is outstanding.
How come the Arc 4 didn’t become a massive hit?
The Arc 4 shavers had all the premises to sell like hot cakes. But they didn’t. Here are my thoughts on why I think this happened.
The Arc 4 was positioned as a mid-range shaver, but the price tag was premium. So why not just buy the Arc 5 since the price was almost the same? Also, the Arc 3 was priced significantly lower and still offered decent performance, making it a great budget option.
So the problem was the target audience — nobody wanted to buy them as there were other options that better catered to the buyer’s needs: Arc 5 for premium, Arc 3 for budget.
Let’s see how things are today.
Panasonic Arc 4 shavers: top performers, underrated and reasonably priced
As I said in the beginning of this article, the Arc 4 shavers have been around for quite some time.
When this happens it’s likely to see some massive price drops.
And that’s precisely the case with Arc 4 family. And we are the ones that benefit the most from this situation.
Panasonic will sooner or later update the Arc 4 shavers. But until then (and likely long after that, as it’s the case with the new Arc 3 and Arc 5 shavers) we can still get the old ones at bargain prices.
To get an idea of the prices we’re talking about, you can now find an Arc 4 costing just slightly more than an Arc 3 from the older generation. That’s fantastic value for money.
Which Arc 4 shaver should you buy?
The short answer is any of them. They’re all almost identical in terms of actual shaving performance, so just buy the cheapest one you can find. Or the one that appeals more to you in terms of design.
Here’s a short overview of the most popular Arc 4 shavers.
Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4
This is my personal favorite and a shaver that I recommend quite often.
It offers excellent performance, being able to provide incredibly close shaves while also remaining adequately comfortable. Its main advantages over other Arc 4 shavers are the multi-flex pivoting functions of the head and the addition of a second motor inside the actual shaving head.
This second motor makes the foils vibrate and capture flat lying hairs more efficiently.
The Panasonic ES-LA63-S is a complete and compelling package with top specs that I highly recommend to pretty much anyone. For more details make sure to read my review as well.
Panasonic ES-LA93-K Arc 4
The ES-LA93-K is identical to the ES-LA63-S presented above. It comes in a glossy black color scheme and includes an automatic cleaning and charging station.
Personally, I would skip it and just buy the cheaper ES-LA63-S.
The problem is that the ES-LA93-K comes with the older generation of Panasonic cleaning stations: they’re massive, look a bit dated and aren’t really necessary since the shaver is dead easy to clean manually.
If you really want a top performing Panasonic that includes a cleaning station, I suggest taking a look at a second or third generation Arc 5 (like the ES-LV-95-S or ES-LV9A-S respectively). The updated cleaning stations are a massive improvement over the older ones.
You can check out the full review of the ES-LA93-K here.
Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc 4
This is another excellent shaver that’s also more budget friendly. It doesn’t have the complex pivoting capabilities of the shaving head as the models above, nor does it have a second motor, but it’s still able to provide very close and comfortable shaves.
It features the same powerful 14 000 CPM motor and the 30 degrees nanoblades.
You can read my detailed review of the ES-LF51-A here.
Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4
Probably the best selling model of the Arc 4 family, the ES8243A is usually the most reasonably priced as well.
In order to keep the price low, the shaver was fitted with a slightly less powerful 13 000 cpm motor, but that’s still plenty of cutting power. As a result, the ES8243A performs better than similarly priced shavers from other manufacturers (full review here).
Are there any cons?
No product is perfect and the Arc 4 is no exception.
Here’s what you should be aware of if you’re thinking of buying an Arc 4 shaver.
- The Arc4 is beginning to show its age. This is mainly related to the design of the shavers and the fact that they still use the aging first generation cleaning stations. Panasonic recently updated the Arc 3 and Arc 5 lines and it’s about time to do the same with the Arc 4.
- They are not the most comfortable shavers out there. Panasonic’s close shaves come with a small trade-off in comfort. Pressing hard can sometimes result in razor burn. Therefore, if you have very sensitive skin, you should probably opt for something like the Braun Series 7 or 5.
- The bulky shaving head takes some getting used to.
Overall, the downsides are minor and trumped by the benefits: reasonable price, excellent performance for the money, close shaves and great build quality.