Panasonic Arc 4 Comparison: Which One Should You Buy?

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Panasonic Arc 4 Comparison: Which One Should You Buy?

Even though it was launched all the way back in 2011, the Arc 4 line of electric shavers from Panasonic still packs some serious punch.

In fact, I think the Arc 4 line represents a better option today than it did in its prime days.

And in this guide, I’ll go over the key advantages of the models in this series and see what exactly makes them a great option.

We’ll also compare them against each other and point out the specific pros and cons.

Let’s dive right in.

Panasonic Arc 4 features overview

The Panasonic Arc 4 shavers fill the gap between the entry-level Panasonic Arc 3 and the high-end Arc 5 models.

Here are the most important features of the Arc 4 family, present throughout the entire range.

There are also some specific differences that I’ll address in the next section.

1. 4 blade cutting system

The Panasonic Arc 4 shaving head with its 4 blade cutting system.

As the name implies, the shavers have 4 individual cutting elements that exhibit Panasonic’s trademark arched profile.

So that’s one blade less than the range-topping Arc 5, but 4 cutters are still plenty for anyone’s needs.

This particular design solution — the arched shaving head — is specific to Panasonic shavers and ensures optimal contact with the skin, especially when shaving the area below the chin.

Arc 4 shavers with the arched shape of the foils.

Arc 4 shavers with the arched shape of the foils.

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.

All the Panasonic Arc 4 models feature two removable inner blades, while the other two are integrated into the foil block.

The two inner blades of the Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S.

The two inner blades of the Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S.

2. Powerful motors

The Panasonic Arc 4 shavers are fitted with powerful motors.

One of the reasons I’ve always liked Panasonic shavers was 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 CPM (Cycles Per Minute) linear drive motors that are also used on the premium Arc 5 shavers.

And this really shows during use: an Arc 4 feels and sounds fast and will cut even the coarsest hairs with ease.

There is one exception to this rule though and one of the more popular Arc 4 models, the ES8243AA, actually comes with a slightly less powerful motor (13 000 CPM).

However, that’s still quite impressive. A Braun Series 7 for example uses a 10 000 oscillations motor.

3. Solid construction, wet & dry use

Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S design.

Even though the Arc 4 shavers are made of plastic, the quality is top-notch.

While some of them don’t look as posh as other newer shavers, I know from personal experience that they can take a serious beating and will last for years if you show them some love.

Also, all the shavers are fully waterproof and can be used in the shower or with shaving cream without any restrictions.

4. Easy to clean manually

Rinsing the shaver with tap water.

Rinsing the shaver with tap water in the sonic cleaning mode.

While there is the option of an Arc 4 model that includes a cleaning station, you really don’t need it as they’re extremely easy to clean manually.

In fact, thoroughly cleaning an Arc 4 with water and liquid soap literally takes less than one minute.

Panasonic fitted all of them with a so-called Sonic cleaning mode that will make the blades vibrate extremely fast and dislodge any stubborn dirt while also preventing water splashes.

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 excellent.

Panasonic Arc 4 Model Comparison

The features listed above are common to all the models in the Arc 4 line.

Let’s now check out the ones that are not.

Here is a table showcasing the most popular Panasonic Arc 4 models and the differences between them.

ModelDistinct featuresMotor (CPM)Price
ES8243AA (ES8243A)
10 level battery display, elapsed time, slim head13 000See on Amazon
ES-LA63-S
10 level battery display, elapsed time, travel lock,
second vibrating motor, bulkier head
14 000See on Amazon
ES-LF51-A
5 level battery display, travel lock, slim head14 000See on Amazon
ES-LA93-K
10 level battery display, elapsed time, travel lock,
second vibrating motor, bulkier head, cleaning station,
14 000See on Amazon

Images credit: Panasonic

In my opinion the most important differences are related to the motors and the size of the shaving head.

The first one is pretty clear, while the latter is less obvious.

While all the Panasonic are 4 models have 4 cutters, some models have a narrower, more compact head which makes them easier to use, especially for beginners.

Top performers, underrated and reasonably priced

Panasonic Arc 4 shavers.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Arc 4 shavers have been around for quite some time.

And when that’s the case, it’s likely that we’ll see some massive price drops.

Luckily, that’s precisely what happened with Arc 4 family. And we are the ones that benefit the most from this situation.

Panasonic will sooner or later update or discontinue 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’ll still be able to 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.

How come the Arc 4 didn’t immediately become a success?

The Arc 4 shavers had all the premises to sell like hotcakes. But they didn’t, at least not back in the day.

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 rather premium. So why not just buy the Arc 5 since the price was just slightly higher?

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.

Which Panasonic Arc 4 model 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.

Here’s a short overview of the most popular Arc 4 shavers (in no particular order).

1. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S

Panasonic ES-LA63-S

See the price on Amazon

This is one of my personal favorites and a shaver that I recommend quite often.

It offers excellent performance, being able to provide very 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.

Precisely, it’s the only Arc 4 that has a shaving head that can swivel up and down (in addition from side to side).

The second motor makes the foils vibrate and supposedly helps capture flat-lying hairs.

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.

It has a very useful 10 stage battery level indicator and also shows the elapsed time.

You should be aware that out of all the models, this one has the bulkiest head. While the cutting elements have the same size, the plastic frame surrounding them is more bulbous.

The shaving head of the Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S.

It may not appear so from the photos, but during use, you can feel the difference between it and the ES-LF51-A for example.

For more details make sure to read my review as well.

2. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA93-K

ES-LA93-K

See the price on Amazon

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 this one 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 noticeable improvement over the older ones.

You can check out the full review of the ES-LA93-K here.

3. Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LF51-A

Panasonic ES-LF51-A Arc4

See the price on Amazon

This is another excellent Arc 4 that’s also more budget-friendly if you can still manage to find it.

It doesn’t have the complex pivoting capabilities of the shaving head as the models above, nor does it have a second motor or 10 level battery display, 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.

I actually find it to provide the closest shave compared to the other Arc 4 shavers that I own.

You can read my detailed review of the ES-LF51-A here.

Panasonic ES-LA63-S vs ES-LF51-A

Panasonic Arc 4 ES-LA63-S vs ES-LF51-A.

This is one of the most common questions I get regarding the various Arc 4 models.

And there’s no right or wrong answer here as both are excellent performers.

However, there are some differences.

I actually prefer the ES-LF51-A over the ES-LA63-S because it has a smaller shaving head and I just seem to get a slightly closer shave.

The difference isn’t huge by any means, but I personally notice it.

On the other hand, the ES-LA63-S has a better LCD display, but I don’t know how many will actually care about that.

4. Panasonic Arc 4 ES8243AA (ES8243AA)

ES8243AA

See the price on Amazon

The ES8243AA is usually the most reasonably priced model in the Arc 4 line.

Important: The Panasonic ES8243AA and ES8243A are absolutely identical except for the color of the LCD backlight: blue for the former and orange for the latter. There are no differences other than that.

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.

It also doesn’t have a travel lock like the rest of the Arc 4 variations, but it does come with an excellent display, similar to the ones found on the ES-LA63-S and ES-LA93-K.

The head is slimmer in profile compared to those, so it will be easier to use.

Performance-wise, it does feel slightly slower than the ones with the more powerful motors, so I would suggest you to consider it if you have moderate to coarse facial hair.

As usual, I tested the ES8243AA thoroughly and you can read my complete review here.

Panasonic ES-LA63-S vs ES8243A (ES8243AA)

Panasonic ES-LA63-S vs ES8243A (ES8243AA).

As mentioned previously, the ES8243AA (and ES8243A) comes with a slight downgrade in terms of power.

As a result, when comparing the ES-LA63-S to the ES8243A, the former has an advantage.

If feels faster and more powerful and shaving a coarse beard will take less effort.

Also, the ES-LA63-S has a travel lock, while the ES8243AA/ES8243A doesn’t.

But the ES8243A is fitted with a more compact head, which makes it easier to use, especially below the nose.

It’s also cheaper than the ES-LA63-S.

Again, no definitive answer here and you should simply pick the one that makes more sense in your case, taking into account things like your budget, the coarseness of the hair and how experienced you are using an electric shaver.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

22 comments on “Panasonic Arc 4 Comparison: Which One Should You Buy?

Leave a comment
  1. Will

    It would appear that the LA63/LA93 is the only shaver in Panasonic’s entire lineup including even the vaunted ARC 5 models that has the “dual motor” in the head.. Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      That is correct, the second motor is specific to the ES-LA63 and ES-LA93 models.

      Reply
      1. Will

        That’s interesting. By all accounts, this feature worked. The product reviews are outstanding for the LA-63!

        Oddly, this feature was used only once and never again?

        Maybe it was prohibitively expensive to manufacture?… prone to breaking? … Or, maybe the mechanisms on the ARC 5 models that are meant to capture longer hairs just work better/similarly?

        It just seems odd to me that such a good feature only made it to one model. Then again, this LA-63/93 shaver was never a best seller, I don’t think. Maybe that’s why:
        Maybe customers didn’t recognize this sophisticated, no doubt expensive second motor as a major selling point in the same way that they view a 5th blade as a dispositive criterion? (If that’s the case, the LA-63/93 today could potentially be one of the most perennially underrated shavers on the market!).

        Because.. If you ask me, intuitively, I’d have to say that going from one motor to two would be more impactful than going from 4 blades to 5!

        Those are my musings.

        I think I’ve made my purchase decision. You helped me a lot. I’ve read many posts on this site replete with your trenchant analysis.

        Further, since you and I both have a predilection for Panasonic shavers with a good creamy lather, your opinions are more helpful than most others’.

        -Will

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          I’m very glad to know that it was helpful to you, Will.

          And yes, the Arc4 shavers are underrated and they can be bought for a very reasonable price. That wasn’t always the case, particularly with the LA63/LA93, arguably the best Arc4 variations. They used to be really expensive and the production costs were probably high as well like you mentioned. The second motor definitely contributes to that.

          I think you’ll be very satisfied with your purchase. Panasonic shavers work particularly well with shaving cream. For me this combo is a winner. And I can’t say the same in the case of Braun shavers for example, where the difference between wet and dry use is not that noticeable.

          Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

          Best,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  2. Alex

    Ovidiu, Thank you for the wonderful article!
    Do you have any idea why panasonic blades are called nano?
    Is it just because they are sharp or they add any nano particles into the steel?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Alex. I am pretty sure that Nano is used here only as a marketing term. They are made of hypoallergenic stainless steel. However, the blades are of very high quality. They are extremely sharp and cut the the hairs very clean and close to the skin; I personally find Panasonics to give the closest shave of all foil shavers.

      Reply
  3. Shawn Lee

    Hey Ovidiu, contemplating between the arc4 and 5.
    Black friday is coming and both are roughly in the same price range.
    My main concern is the amount of blades. Would i have issues with the arc5 shaving my upper lip/moustache area since it’s such a large head.
    Shave wise, there really isnt much difference right? But if prices are the same, which would you recommend me to buy?

    Reply
    1. Shawn Lee

      Hey Ovidiu, contemplating between the arc4 and 5.
      Black friday is coming and both are roughly in the same price range.
      My main concern is the amount of blades. Would i have issues with the arc5 shaving my upper lip/moustache area since it’s such a large head.
      Shave wise, there really isnt much difference right? But if prices are the same, which would you recommend me to buy?
      Oh yeah, i shave daily with my braun 790cc now, shave around 8am, 5pm time some stubble starts to show, hence i’m thinking of switching to panasonic. just a very slight growth which looks unruly if not shaven daily.

      Reply
      1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

        Hi Shawn,

        Thank you for comment. I’ll try my best to give give you an answer that’ll help you with your decision. I currently have two Arc 4 shavers (an ES-LA63-S and an ES-LF51-A) that I tend to use quite a lot. Also relevant to our discussion is the Panasonic ES-LV65-S (reviewed here) that is the most likely out of all Arc 5 variations to have a similar price to the Arc 4s mentioned previously.

        First of all I think you’ll be very pleased with the closeness regardless of which one you end up buying, particularly if you’re coming from a Series 7. The Panasonics are simply better when it comes to closeness, so I’m sure you will see a significant improvement there.

        The addition of a fifth blade will offer diminishing returns compared to a razor like the Arc 4 that has a similar setup, but with 4 blades; so you are right, there isn’t much difference. The closeness will be very similar between the two. With the Arc 5 you may be able to finish your shave faster, but again, the difference will be marginal. I will say however that the ES-LV65-S is more refined: it is quieter, a bit smoother and the blades do not get hot, which helps with the comfort. My ES-LF51-A does get quite hot and it causes some noticeable discomfort, but the ES-LA63-S only gets slightly warm.

        Regarding the size of the shaving head, both the Arc 4 and Arc 5 are significantly larger compared to a three blade Series 7, but you will definitely get used to it. When shaving my moustache area only the first 2 or 3 foils actually touch the skin and do any shaving, so it doesn’t really matter if the total number is 4 or 5, the extra ones won’t get in the way. Just make sure to lock the head into the fixed position, it really helps and the mechanism works great on Panasonic shavers.

        In conclusion, if the prices are the same, I would go for the ES-LV65-S for the reasons outlined above. Again, it’s not vastly better, just slightly, but since it costs the same I would buy that one. However, I think the price difference will be at least $50 and in this case I would go for the ES-LA63-S. There are other Arc 4 models, but I would stick to the ES-LA63-S one for the reasons I presented in the article.

        Hope this helps.

        Sincerely,
        Ovidiu

        Reply
  4. Bruce Glazer

    Hi, Ovidiu,

    I am about to buy the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc4 shaver. One question, please: Why is the Panasonic WES9025PC Men’s Electric Razor Replacement Inner Blade & Outer Foil Set ($38.21) much more expensive than other Panasonic replacement blades? Is it because of the extra foil?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Bruce,

      Usually the more complex a shaving system is, the pricier the replacement foils and blades are. Adding a fourth cutter does increase the price of the Arc 4 foils & blades quite a bit compared to let’s say an Arc 3. Likewise, the parts used by the Arc 5 models cost even more. However, manufacturers also take advantage of this to justify the sometimes outrageous price of these parts. I cannot tell with absolute certainty, but I suspect that the profit margins for the replacement foils & blades are quite large. And users will likely buy them despite the high price because they have to and there aren’t any viable aftermarket alternatives.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Seth mootchnik

    Great article. Why does the ES8243A Arc 4 not get the same ‘love’ then the other 2? How is the sound/noise between a 13000 and a 14000 cpm? Thx!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Seth,

      The ES8243A is still a great shaver, but the other Arc 4 models are a bit better. First of all, the 14 000 CPM motors feel faster and torquier (in terms of noise, they are very similar). The ES-LF51-A also has a slightly more compact shaving head than the ES8243A even though it also uses a 4 blade system. This isn’t very so obvious from the photos or even from a side by side comparison, but during a shave it feels more nimble and maneuverable.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Most likely yes, provided that the blades aren’t completely dull or the foils warped. I use Remington Shaver Saver or Braun spray cleaner, both work really well. The Braun spray takes quite a bit longer to dry, so make sure to apply it at least 30 minutes before shaving (the shaving head must be completely dry).

      Reply
      1. Nicolae

        Hi Ovidiu,

        I own an ES-LA93 which I have purchased back in 2011. It’s a great shaver, but unfortunately the battery started to run out of power. I have replaced two times the blades and foil and used to work perfectly. I think now is time for a replacement, but in Europe there is no more available other than at a price that exceeds EURO 250. I can turn to Arc 5, but I love so mach that shaver which served me so many years. Under such circumstances, can you please indicate me a replacement for the ES-LA93/63 having the same features and performance value?

        Thank you,
        Nicolae

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Nicolae,

          I can relate to this as I was in a similar situation in the past. The Arc 4 models are unfortunately difficult to get from Europe, so I actually ended up ordering my ES-LA63 from the USA. Even with the shipping and import fees, the price was significantly less. I also managed to get it at a great discount. So that’s what I would recommend you to do as well.

          Hope this helps.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  6. Pavesh

    Hi Ovidiu,

    I am torn between getting Panasonic ES-RF31 or Braun 5195cc. THis is my first electric shaver. I found Panasonic ES-LL21 was leaving my face sore and was pulling hair every so often. My beard grow fast and hair is on the hard side.

    Thank and Regards, Pavesh

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Pavesh,

      The ES-RF31 is actually quite similar to your shaver, the main difference being that it has an extra cutting element. If you found the ES-LL21 to be very aggressive, I don’t think the results will be significantly better with the ES-RF31. I find the Series 5 to be a gentler shaver, especially when used dry, so the 5195cc should be a better option. The Series 5 is in my opinion the entry-point to Braun’s high-quality shavers (the Series 7 and 9). Although not quite as comfortable as a Series 7, it’s pretty close and I think it will be good enough.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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