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 option.
Arc 4 features overview: high-end specs
The Panasonic Arc 4 shavers fill the gap between the entry-level Panasonic 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 has to be 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 hairs 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 posh 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 real world 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 hotcakes. 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 affordable.
Let’s see how things are today.
Panasonic Arc 4 shavers: top performers, underrated and reasonably priced
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Arc 4 shavers have been around for quite some time.
And when that happens, it’s likely that we’ll see some massive price drops.
Luckily, 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 line. 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. That’s fantastic value for money and they really are among the best shavers you can buy today.
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 one of my personal favorites 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 supposedly capture flat-lying hairs more efficiently.
While the efficiency of this motor is debatable (at least in my experience), the performance is great.
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 Panasonic cleaning station: 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-LV95-S or ES-LV9N 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.
In fact, because it has a more compact shaving head compared to the rest of the Arc 4 models, it’s actually easier to use.
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
The ES8243A is usually the most reasonably priced model in the Arc 4 line.
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 most similarly priced shavers from other manufacturers (full review here).
Are there any cons?
No shaver out there is perfect and the Arc 4 is no exception.
Here’s what you should be aware of if you’re thinking of buying one.
- The Arc 4 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.
- They’re not the best with long, flat-lying hairs. Panasonic shavers in general excel at providing really close shaves and work best on short facial hair. If you shave daily or every two days at most, you’ll be perfectly fine. You could get away with more days between shaves if you have a light beard or if the hairs grow back slower. Otherwise, you’ll probably be better of with something like a Braun Series 7 that is much better at catching long and flat hairs.
- The bulky shaving head takes some getting used to. This is particularly the case with models like the ES-LA63-S or ES-LA93-K.
Overall, the downsides are minor and trumped by the benefits they offer: reasonable price, excellent performance for the money, close shaves and great build quality.