Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 really is the battle of the Titans.
These two are arguably among the most powerful, advanced and capable foil electric shavers you can buy today.
But which one is better? More precisely, which one would be a better fit for you?
In this article we’ll address this debate from all angles and go over the most important aspects that should be considered when trying to decide between the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9.
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
- An overview of the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 models
- Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: shaving performance
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Automatic and manual cleaning
- Price and value for money
- Final word
An overview of the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 models
Both Panasonic and Braun are two manufacturers that constantly release new updates to their lineups of electric shavers.
The frequency of these update cycles can vary and the model names are often inconsistent and confusing.
Moreover, it’s not always clear if an update is a major one, impacting the performance of the shaver, or just a minor makeover.
These things only make choosing between a Panasonic Arc 5 and a Braun Series 9 even more difficult.
For this very reason, it’s important to clarify any confusion regarding the different models and generations before getting to the actual differences between the Arc 5 and the Series 9 lines.
Panasonic Arc 5
The Arc 5 represents Panasonic’s high-end line of electric shavers.
Fun fact: in 2021, Panasonic introduced a 6-blade Arc 6 exclusively on the Japanese market.
The Arc term designates the slightly arched profile of the shaving head, while the 5 stands for the number of individual cutting elements.
Here’s a short overview of the 3 Panasonic Arc 5 generations:
1. The first generation Arc 5 shavers (released in 2009).
This includes shavers like the ES-LV61-A or the ES-LV81-K.
You can also differentiate them from the newer Arc 5 razors by the bulkier heads and old cleaning stations that use detergent cartridges instead of detergent sachets (more on this later on).
These first-generation shavers have been discontinued for quite some time, so they don’t really represent a viable option anymore in 2021.
2. The second generation Arc 5 (released in 2013 and updated in 2019).
In this group, we’ll find models like the ES-LV65-S (no cleaning station) and the ES-LV95-S (includes an automatic cleaning station).
With this second generation, the shaving head got smaller and the cleaning stations also received a major update and now use a concentrated detergent that must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.
This is a very economical solution. The stations are also more compact and look a lot more modern.
The design of the shavers is also a departure from the first-generation Arc 5 lines and paved the road for Panasonic’s latest design language (also used for the new Arc 3 LT shavers).
In 2019, two new models were introduced, the ES-LV67 (no cleaning station) and ES-LV97 (includes a cleaning station).
This was mostly a visual update as the shavers featured a new design; however, the foil and blades remained unchanged and so did the cleaning stations.
Here’s a detailed review of these two models.
3. The third generation Arc 5 (launched in September 2015).
This was quite a big update as the new Arc 5 shavers came with a completely new design (some models featuring a metal body) and new outer foils that are better suited for sensitive skin.
From the introduction of the original third-generation Arc 5 (also called revision A), Panasonic has released 6 more revisions.
As such, we currently have the following:
This lineup includes shavers like the ES-LV9A-S (international model, automatic cleaning station), ES-LV6A-S (international model, no cleaning station).
They use the same automatic cleaning stations as the second generation Arc 5 — however, they have different part numbers and the new shavers won’t fit in the older stations.
The models for the American market are named ES-LV9N and ES-LV6N, but they are identical to the international ones.
Currently, these Arc 5 models are being phased out and are gradually replaced by the newer revisions.
In September 2016 Panasonic released a minor update to this third generation Arc 5, called revision B.
You can differentiate them from the previous 2015 international models by the use of the letter B in their names instead of A (for example, ES-LV9B-S, ES-LV6B-S).
The improvements of this revision B consist in the use of a textured material for the thumb rest instead of a smooth finish, an increase in the front-to-back tilt angle of the head (from 17 to 20 degrees) and a low battery alarm. More details here.
I personally don’t consider these changes to affect the actual shaving performance in any significant way.
Just like the previous iteration, these models have been discontinued and can’t be bought anymore.
Revisions C and D
Panasonic also introduced the revisions C and D for this third-generation Arc 5 in 2017.
You can read a comprehensive guide on what this update brings in terms of features here, but it’s basically a new design, a slightly revised outer foil, and some other new features, like smart unlock function (available on specific models) and a more complex flexible head.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q (rev C)
These new shavers (ES-LV9C, ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q, ES-LV9D, etc.) were not officially released in the USA, but they can be bought from Asia, Europe or Australia.
However, you can still get them on sites like Amazon.
The E models (like ES-LV9EX, ES-LV9E, etc.) are only available on the Japanese domestic market.
This is a minor, incremental update and the shavers are extremely similar in terms of design and features with the previous C and D revisions.
For more details, you can check out this guide.
In 2020, the revision F was introduced, also limited to the Japanese domestic market.
The differences from the previous revision E are minor, consisting mainly of a slightly revised design and some new colorways.
The things that really matter — the foil and inner blades and the motor — have remained the same.
For more details, I wrote a comprehensive guide on the revision F.
This is currently the latest Arc 5 iteration and it was introduced in 2021 in Japan.
Unfortunately, it’s not available in the USA or Europe, so the only option is to import the shaver from Japan (that’s what I did).
The G revision comes with a new outer foil that is supposedly better at catching longer, flat-lying hairs.
Other than that, there aren’t any noteworthy changes.
For more info, you can check out my revision G guide or the review of the Arc 5 ES-LV5U.
That pretty much concludes the overview of the different Arc 5 generations.
In this article, I’ll mainly refer to the latest (third) generation of Arc 5 rev C shavers and to the second generation when putting them against the Series 9.
Further reading: for all the details and model names, you can check out my comprehensive Arc 5 buying guide.
This may seem overwhelming, but considering the price, availability, and performance, we’ll only really be concerned with the generation 2 Arc 5 (with models like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67) and the generation 3 revision C (ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q).
The rest (D through G revisions) are not readily available outside Japan, are usually pricey, and the performance differences are really not worth the trouble of getting them.
Besides, the latest foils are backward compatible, so you can actually upgrade an older Arc 5 (more details on that later on).
Braun Series 9
The Series 9 is Braun’s current flagship shaver.
The older Series 7 was getting a bit long in the tooth and Braun needed a new product to maintain its top position in the foil shavers segment.
And with the Series 9, it achieved precisely that.
At the moment of writing, there are basically four generations of Series 9 shavers:
1. The original Series 9.
The shavers for the American market are the 9095cc (automatic cleaning station, wet/dry use), 9090cc (automatic cleaning station, dry only use), 9093s (no cleaning station, wet/dry use).
First-generation Braun Series 9 9095cc.
While choosing one variation over another comes down to your personal needs, the shaving performance is identical throughout the entire line.
The shavers in this first generation were however discontinued and can’t be bought anymore.
2. The second generation Series 9.
These updated models start with 92 instead of 90: 9290cc, 9291cc, 9293s, 9297cc, etc.
Braun Series 9 9291cc
The update is minor and mainly consists of a Titanium Nitride coated HyperLift & Cut Trimmer:
The older shavers featured a blue HyperLift & Cut element that was prone to breaking according to some user reports. This was supposedly one of the reasons behind the updated Series 9 shavers.
Also, all the new Series 9 are suitable for wet & dry use.
As mentioned previously, you can identify the newer models by the distinct golden color of the trimmer (it used to be blue on the previous models) and the 92XX model names (the older ones use a 90XX template).
As you probably guessed, this doesn’t improve the actual performance in a significant way, but it most likely solves a potential problem with the older shaving head that would sometimes fall apart after just months of use.
The original and updated Series 9 generations are currently available and their price can vary quite a bit, so I highly recommend doing a bit of online research before buying one.
3. The third generation Series 9.
In 2019, Braun released yet another minor update to the Series 9 family of shavers.
Braun Series 9 9390cc
The third-gen models start with 93: 9385cc, 9390cc, 9370cc, 9330s, etc. and were initially only available in Europe and Asia.
Fortunately, they were released in the USA as well in 2020.
As expected, the performance is basically identical to the previous 92xx models.
The only real novelty is a larger battery that can provide up to 60 minutes of cordless operation (as opposed to 50 in the case of the previous) and some minor visual updates (new Graphite color option, white backlighting for the LED display and so on).
Here’s my review of the 9385cc model if you want all the details.
4. The fourth Series 9 generation (aka the Pro Series 9)
Finally, we get to the latest 2021 Series 9 generation, the Pro.
Braun Series 9 Pro 9460cc
This is probably the most notable update since the release of the original models.
The main novelty is the updated shaving head (cassette) that features a revised HyperLift & Cut element that is now called a ProLift trimmer.
It should be even better than before and allow the Series 9 Pro to shave a 7-day beard (according to Braun).
After reviewing the Series 9 Pro 9477cc, I can also add that the shaver is also more powerful and just bites into the hairs harder.
Tip: the new Pro shaving head (94M cassette) is backward compatible, so you can actually upgrade a standard Series 9 with it.
Further reading: I also wrote a comprehensive post outlining the differences between the various Series 9 models.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the most important part: the differences between the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 and how the shavers stack up against each other for the things that matter the most.
Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: shaving performance
Shaving performance is likely the most important aspect to factor in when buying an electric razor.
And since we’re analyzing two of the most advanced shavers on the market, we’re going to divide the shaving performance into 4 distinct parts as there are lots of important aspects to address and both the Arc 5 and Series 9 have their pros and cons.
- The closeness of the shave
- Shaving longer, curly, flat-lying hairs
- Wet & dry use
Please note that shaving is a very personal matter and a lot of these considerations are based on anecdotal findings and they should serve as general guidelines when trying to decide which one would suit you better.
1. The closeness of the shave
As I’ve mentioned several times before, I personally find foil shavers to provide the closest shaves.
And among the different foil shavers ou there, Panasonic is the best in my opinion when it comes strictly to the closeness of the shave.
The Arc 5 is one of Panasonic’s top-of-the-line shavers and it absolutely shines when it comes to performance.
Don’t get me wrong, the Series 9 is an extremely capable razor and most men will be satisfied with the closeness it provides, particularly the Pro Series 9. But the Arc 5 definitely has the edge here.
So how does Panasonic manage to offer a close shave that’s comparable to what you’ll get from a razor blade? Well, there’s a combination of several things that work together seamlessly.
Starting with the shaving head, the curvature (arch) of the foils allows optimal contact with the skin.
Then we have Panasonic’s extremely sharp blades that have a very aggressive 30 degrees bevel and cut the hairs clean and efficiently.
Finally, there’s the very powerful 14 000 CPM motor and, as far as I know, it’s the fastest unit fitted to any shaver.
In fact, Panasonic uses an almost as fast motor even on their lower end shavers, the Arc 3.
The result? The Arc 5 is arguably the closest shaving electric shaver you can buy today.
And this is also true in the case of older generation Arc 5, like the ES-LV65-S or ES-LV67-K, which are still fantastic performers when it comes to closeness, but can now be bought at a great price.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
The ES-LV65-S is particularly appealing as it offers fantastic value for money; performance-wise, it’s among the best shavers you can currently buy.
You can also check out my full review where I cover every aspect in great detail.
All Arc 5 models from the second generation and up are really similar when it comes to closeness, so you should get one according to your budget and availability in your country.
But the ES-LV65-S is usually the best pick, with the newer ES-LV67 being a great alternative if you can get it for less money.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67-K
Tip: the last letter in the Arc 5 model name only stands for the color and it’s sometimes left out: -S (silver), -K (black), -A (blue) etc. So for example, ES-LV65 and ES-LV65-S refer to the exact same shaver.
While Panasonic is better when it comes strictly to closeness, Braun has set the benchmark in the comfort department with the Series 7.
And with the Series 9, it has taken things one notch higher.
With a redesigned shaving head, a more powerful motor, and an additional cutting element, the Braun Series 9 is a highly capable shaver. And it is supremely comfortable and gentle to the skin.
Braun Series 9 9390cc
Shaving with the Series 9 feels effortless and it is a truly enjoyable experience.
Fun fact: the regular Series 9 is in my experience even more comfortable than the Pro. The Pro isn’t quite as gentle and forgiving, but still excellent.
The foils remain cool during use and you’ll really have to struggle to make the Series 9 cause any noticeable discomfort.
However, with the Arc 5 there’s a small trade-off in comfort for that extreme closeness and the Arc 5 is not as forgiving as the Series 9.
Applying more pressure and going repeatedly over a sensitive area can cause irritation. The foils also tend to generate some heat during use, which is not ideal for sensitive skin.
The newest Arc 5 shavers (third-generation like the ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q) use comfort rollers to prevent excessive pressure and allow the shaving head to glide smoothly over the skin.
This definitely improves the comfort compared to the previous generations, but the Series 9 is still on top.
To sum it up, the Braun Series 9 would be the better choice for someone with very sensitive, irritation-prone skin.
3. Shaving longer, curly, flat-lying hairs
This is the Achilles’ heel of most electric shavers and the majority of them fall short in these situations.
It is particularly the case with lower-end foil shavers that only perform decently when used for shaving short stubble.
The more advanced electric razors usually fare better in this regard and have specially designed cutting elements to tackle longer, flat-lying hairs.
This is also the reason why an advanced razor is recommended if you’re not planning on shaving daily.
The Arc 5 uses a special trimmer called a Quick Comb Blade that catches longer hairs and cuts them to a more manageable size so they can be captured by the foils.
This trimmer is flanked by two Lift-Tech Foils that supposedly lift and cut flat-lying hairs.
The Braun Series 9 uses a HyperLift & Cut or a ProLift trimmer (the golden cutter in the picture below) that was originally found on the Series 7 (and worked quite well) to tackle the hairs that lie flat on the skin.
The novelty of the Series 9 is the Direct & Cut trimmer that captures longer hairs that grow in different directions.
Braun’s implementation of these specially designed trimmers seems to be superior.
They work in a synergistic manner and allow the Series 9 to perform better than pretty much any other foil shaver when it comes to cutting longer, flat-lying hairs that tend to curl or grow in different directions.
So if you plan on shaving every 3 days or more and have flat-lying hairs that grow in multiple directions, the Series 9 or Series 9 Pro would be the more sensible choice.
The Arc 5 requires more strokes to get all the tricky hairs and this can also irritate the skin.
Even the latest revision G Arc 5 is only slightly better than the older models when it comes to shaving a longer beard.
With shorter hairs, the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 are equally impressive and will mow through even the coarsest beards with ease.
4. Wet & dry use
Wet shaving with an electric razor can improve the closeness and particularly the comfort of the shave. This can be a great option for men with very sensitive skin.
All Panasonic Arc 5 shavers are suitable for wet & dry use (with the exception of a few new models marked as washable), while the first-generation Series 9 offers both wet & dry (9095cc, 9093s) and dry only shavers (9090cc).
The latest iterations of the Series 9 and Pro are all suitable for wet/dry use (9290cc, 9291cc, 9293s, 9390cc, etc.).
This may vary from one user to another, but I find Panasonic shavers to work better with shaving cream compared to Braun.
Precisely, the comfort is improved to a higher degree and the shaver also deals better with flat-lying hairs.
With the Series 9, the dry shaving performance is already really good in this regard, so for most users, I don’t think it’s worth the extra prep work and cleaning.
And I say cleaning because both Panasonic and Braun recommend cleaning the shavers manually of any foam before using a cleaning station.
So if you want to use a Series 9 cc or an Arc 5 with shaving cream, you’ll have to clean all the lather manually and dry your shaver before using the cleaning base.
And that takes away some of the benefits of having an automatic cleaning station.
Braun even put a sticker on the Series 9 cleaning station that clearly depicts this:
For these reasons, and also due to the fact that the Panasonic Arc 5 performs better when used with shaving cream, my advice is this:
- Choose the Series 9 if you’re mainly going to use it for dry shaving. I would personally choose a variation that includes a cleaning station, like the 9390cc or 9370cc.
- Choose the Panasonic Arc 5 if you’re also going to shave with cream or gel. The comfort of the shave will be improved and the Arc 5 is also easier to clean manually, so you might as well buy a cheaper model that doesn’t come with a station.
Build quality and ergonomics
A pioneer in industrial design, Braun was often praised for the simple, but ingenious design solutions used in their manufacturing process.
The high-quality materials and flawless finishing were also a highlight of their products.
And this was the norm for many years. However, things have changed with the introduction of the two lines of shavers discussed here.
So how does the Panasonic Arc 5 fare against the Series 9 when it comes to build quality?
Very good, actually.
Braun’s flagship is made entirely out of plastic, with either a matte or a chrome/glossy finish.
The Silver color of some models (like the 9290cc, 9370cc or 9390cc) uses a matte, frosted finish and it’s better when compared to the glossy ones.
The chrome or glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet and will likely begin to tarnish in time. The use of plastic also makes the razor feel less premium.
Panasonic has upped their game with the latest iteration of the Arc 5 line which now features an all-metal body (selected models like the ES-LV9N, ES-LV9Q, ES-CV51, etc.).
This is a clear departure from the older generation, which had a plastic body and a more in-your-face design.
The metal body of the new Arc 5 has a brushed/matte finish that looks and feels outstanding and the whole design just oozes quality.
Even the Arc 5 models that are made entirely out of plastic feel solid and premium, especially when compared side by side with the Series 9.
The intricate and massive shaving head, with its distinct golden comfort rollers, is an impressive feat of engineering.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9Q (revision C)
So the tides have turned and the new Panasonic Arc 5 takes the lead in the aesthetics and build quality department.
The second generation Arc 5 is made out of plastic, but to me it still feels sturdier compared to the Series 9.
As far as ergonomics go, both the Arc 5 and the Series 9 score quite well.
The Series 9 has a slimmer shaving head as it “only” has 4 cutting elements and this makes it somewhat more nimble.
The Panasonic Arc 5 has a massive shaving head and may seem awkward at first, but you will get used to its proportions.
It feels well balanced in the hand and the textured rubber material on the sides and back ensure a very secure grip.
Also, the latest Arc 5 (generation 3) has probably the most adaptable shaving head of any foil razor.
This can be useful when shaving difficult areas that are problematic for foil shavers, like right beneath the jawline.
However, in my experience the Series 9 with its simple shaving head and the greater range of motion of the 4 foils was actually better at maintaining contact with the skin.
None of the two however is ideal for finesse work (shaving around a goatee or the sideburns) due to the large shaving heads. Both feature a head locking mechanism that comes in handy in these situations.
The long hair trimmers found on the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 are different in the way they are designed, but both are suitable for light grooming and touch-ups.
The Arc 5 uses the same design as all Panasonic shavers, with the trimmer placed behind and perpendicular to the shaving head.
The Series 9 has a trimmer that slides forward but doesn’t extend beyond the shaving head.
In both cases the trimmer is slightly obscured by the massive heads, but you can sort of get around this problem by removing the foils and blades before using the trimmer.
I personally find the trimmer on the Arc 5 a lot better; it just seems to be sharper and to cut the hairs clean with fewer strokes.
Automatic and manual cleaning
When deciding whether the Panasonic Arc 5 or the Braun Series 9 would be a better fit for you, the automatic cleaning stations deserve a separate topic.
And that’s because there are quite a few things to consider here.
Traditionally, Braun’s cleaning stations were superior when compared to those of the competition. They use alcohol, do an excellent job of cleaning and sanitizing the shaver, they are quiet, fast and efficient.
But most importantly, they’re practical and somewhat necessary.
So if we were to compare the first generation Arc 5 shavers and the Series 9, I would simply tell you to skip the station for the Panasonic shavers and go for it if you were to choose a Braun.
With the second generation Arc 5, Panasonic also updated the cleaning stations.
They now use concentrated detergent gel instead of cleaning cartridges and it must be mixed with water in the station’s tray.
The cleaning bases are also more compact in size compared to the previous ones.
Panasonic ES-LV95-S Arc 5
The switch to the detergent sachets is also economical. They are cheap to buy and also last longer than Braun’s cleaning cartridges.
This means that the cost associated with the cleaning stations can be lower in the case of the Arc 5 shavers when using the OEM cleaning solutions.
With Panasonic you also have the option to just dry the shaver; however, you can’t do that with Braun’s cleaning stations as you’ll always have to perform a complete cleaning cycle.
For these reasons I can safely state that the automatic cleaning stations that come with the newer Arc 5 shavers (second and third generations) are at least as good as Braun’s.
If you really want a cleaning station with your Arc 5, my recommendation would be to consider a model that includes one if you’re buying a second or third generation Arc 5 and skip it if you’re going for a razor from the first generation.
Those stations were very bulky and would sometimes leak and these two problems were addressed with the second and third generation Arc 5.
Or you can skip it regardless and save some money as Panasonic razors are dead easy to clean manually.
This would actually be my personal choice.
Regarding the Series 9, definitely consider a model that comes with the Clean & Renew station, like the 9370cc, 9385cc, 9390cc, etc.
Braun shavers are more difficult to clean manually due to the fact that the blades and foils are integrated into one piece, called a cassette.
In time, hairs and dirt can remain lodged inside.
This is when the station can be very useful. You don’t have to use it after every shave; in fact, I recommend you not to.
Only perform an automatic cleaning once a week or so and in the meantime remove the cartridge from the station, put the plastic cap back on to avoid the evaporation of the cleaning fluid and store them safely in a cabinet.
This is where Braun cleaning stations are a lot more practical compared to Panasonic.
You also have a lot more options for cheap third-party cleaning solutions (more details in the next section).
On the other hand, Panasonic shavers are dead easy to clean, so if you decide to skip the station and save some money it won’t be such a big deal.
The blades and foils of the Arc 5 can be separated, making it easier to clean all the hair clippings and dirt from the shaving head.
Panasonic also has a special cleaning mode, called sonic mode, activated by turning the shaver on, then pressing and holding the ON/OFF switch for 2 seconds.
This makes the blades vibrate really fast, dislodging any debris and dirt. It also prevents water splashes.
Important: third and fourth generation Braun Series 9 solo models (like the 9330s or 9419s) will work with a compatible station purchased later on (type 5430). A Panasonic Arc 5 bought without a station (like the ES-LV65-S) will not work with one.
To sum it up:
- If the Series 9/Series 9 Pro is a better fit for you, go for one that includes a cleaning station — it’s a necessary evil.
- If the Panasonic Arc 5 is your pick, skip the cleaning station for the first generation; for the second and third it’s up to you to decide if the added convenience of automatic cleaning is worth the extra money. Again, they are not really necessary.
Price and value for money
When assessing the costs of the Panasonic Arc 5 vs the Braun Series 9, we must consider three components:
- Purchase price
- Replacement foils & blades
- Cleaning cartridges/detergent (optional)
Also, please note that the availability and price of these parts can vary tremendously and I’ll do my best to keep this post updated and relevant.
Newly launched products are usually expensive and that was (and still is to some extent) the case with the Braun Series 9 and the latest Panasonic Arc 5 models.
So here’s an overview of the situation at the moment of writing.
Braun Series 9
The first and second-generation Braun Series 9 have been discontinued and can’t really be bought anymore in most countries.
Therefore, the third generation (93xx) is currently the Series 9 to get in most cases.
My picks would be the cheapest cc models you can find.
Those are usually the 9390cc/9385cc, but also the 9370cc (particularly for US-based users).
Braun Series 9 9390cc
If you’re absolutely certain you won’t be needing the cleaning station, you can get a solo Series 9 like the 9330s.
It’s usually cheaper and the shaving performance will be identical. In fact, the differences between all the models in a generation only come down to color, accessories, cleaning station and so on.
As for the Series 9 Pro, you will need to up your budget, especially for the models that include the cleaning station and the new power case (like the 9477cc).
I would personally buy the Pro over the regular one if I could get a nice discount for it.
The replacement shaving heads for the Series 9 are now pretty reasonably priced as well; they were difficult to find at first, but are now widely available.
Braun Series 9 92s/92b/92M shaving head
The 94M of the Pro model is also beginning to show up on various stores, but it is usually more expensive.
As mentioned earlier, you will be able to use it on the older Series 9 shavers.
Regarding the price of the cleaning solution, your costs should be around $2 to $3 per month. This depends on the price of the cartridges (which can vary) and how often you use the station.
Also, buying them in bulk (a pack of 4 for example) will usually mean a lower price per cartridge.
Braun Clean and Renew Cartridges
Due to Braun’s popularity, especially in the USA, there are a lot of cheaper cleaning solutions.
Some of them must be mixed with rubbing alcohol, while others come ready-made. You can check out this article for more details.
Please do keep in mind that being alcohol-based, the fluid tends to evaporate fast and the cartridges will need to be replaced more often.
To avoid this, make sure to remove the cartridge from the base and put the cap back if you’re not using the cleaning station daily.
For more details on how to make a Braun cleaning cartridge last longer, check out this guide.
To sum it up: apart from the OEM replacement cassettes that are still pricey, the Series 9 is looking decent in terms of overall costs, at least for a high-end electric shaver.
Panasonic Arc 5
As mentioned previously, there are three generations of Arc 5 shavers and all of them are still available.
Unsurprisingly, the older ones can be found at a great price, especially the models in the second generation that don’t come with a cleaning station.
And since they can be easily cleaned manually, they represent a fantastic option for someone on a tighter budget.
The Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5 below would be my personal pick in this case.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
The ES-LV67 would also be a good alternative if the ES-LV65-S is not available (or it costs more).
And at least in the UK/Europe, that seems to be the case more often and the blue ES-LV67-A is usually very reasonably priced.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV67-A
Regarding the latest Arc 5 models, the price is pretty high at the moment, higher than the price of a Series 9. But if this is not an issue, they really are fantastic performers and definitely Panasonic’s best shavers yet.
The ES-LV9Q or, better yet, the ES-LV6Q (no cleaning station) would be my picks.
One of the most significant improvements of the second and third generations Arc 5 was the cleaning station.
The detergent sachets are cheap and the monthly cost is even lower compared to Braun’s OEM solution.
Panasonic WES4L03 detergent (3 count)
Also, since they don’t use alcohol, you won’t have to worry about any evaporation issues.
The ES-LV95-S (second generation) comes with the same cleaning station as the latest generation Arc 5, but the shaver and particularly the replacement foils and blades cost less.
It is an excellent budget Arc 5 if you also want the convenience of a cleaning station.
Panasonic ES-LV95-S Arc 5
The Panasonic replacement foils and blades used to be pretty expensive compared to the ones for similar Braun shavers.
For the second generation Arc 5, they are not however significantly more expensive than the cassette used by the Series 9.
WES9032(P) Foil and blades set
Regarding the latest Arc 5, the foil & blades sets are more expensive and more difficult to get.
In its defense, the third gen Arc 5 is newer, so the price will probably go down in the future. Again, this is where the older Arc 5 can be a great option as the foils and blades are priced a bit lower.
Takeaway: The Panasonic Arc 5 can also offer excellent value for money, especially in the case of the older models.
The low price of the detergent will reduce the cost of ownership — in the case of second and third generation Arc 5.
Regarding the latest models, the foils & blades sets are still expensive and sometimes difficult to find (you can order them directly from Panasonic as well).
In conclusion, I would say that the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 are pretty similar in terms of overall costs.
This concludes our Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 comparison. By now you should hopefully have a slight bias towards the shaver that looks like a better fit for you.
The Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 are fantastic performers, but depending on your particular needs, choosing one over the other can make more sense.
Also, there are currently 3 Arc 5 generations and particularly the second one can still be a great budget-friendly alternative.
Regarding the original and updated Series 9, just buy the one you can find at a more reasonable price as the performance will be the same and the new shaving heads are backward compatible.
Finally, since these are probably the best foil shavers on the market, it’s hard to think that you won’t be happy with either of the two.
234 thoughts on “Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One Is Better?”Leave a comment
muito bom, obrigado
Thanks for the very detailed comparision.
It’s not true that “The Braun update is minor and only consist in a titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer.” If you take a look at the international Braun web site it’s shown that the update Serie 92xx has:
over Serie 9 90xx models.
Have you tried these update models or your review is based on old 90xx models?
Actually i’ve Panasonic and it’s true it gives a very closeness shaver but just wonder if the update Serie 92xx gives also some improvements on closeness side …
Thank you for your comment, Jack. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the 92xx models in Europe, so the answer is yes, this comparison is based on the original Series 9 shavers. However, I still maintain my position that the updated models don’t bring any significant performance enhancements. And this is solely based on an objective analysis of the newer shavers.
Regarding your observation, “2x Opti-Foil™” refers to the two outermost foils that are present on the 90xx models as well. Also, the Protective SkinGuard is just the straight metal bar that sits right next to the Direct & Cut trimmer. Again, this is present on the older shavers too, even though it hasn’t been marketed in this manner.
Shaving performance and how well a particular razor performs are very personal matters; as I said in the article, in my experience the Arc5 shaves closer than the Series 9, particularly the newer revisions (second and third generations). This however may not be the case for everyone.
Hope this helps.
thanks for the reply.
In effect i’ve double checked at the Braun website and yes, you’re right, the 2x Opti-Foil is available also on older 90xx model.
The Protective SkinGuard, instead, is only available on the newer model 92xx.
Probably this 5 parts head of 92xx (over 4 part of 90xx) could optimize the cut of hair specially on the neck …
You are very welcome. As I said in the previous comment, the Protective SkinGuard is just the metal slat that sits just above the Direct & Cut trimmer. This is also present on the 90xx variations, even though it is not explicitly documented on Braun’s website. Here two closeup images of the 90s and 92s replacement cassettes used by the 90xx and 92xx respectively. As you can see, they are identical (apart from the titanium coating of the HyperLift & Cut trimmer). Both heads have 4 (active) parts or 5 if you also take into account the Protective SkinGuard.
Before I finally pulled the trigger on Braun 9290 cc, I’ve researched the subject quite a bit.
The main difference between the old 90xx and the new 92xx is indeed the shaving head. The old head (90s/90b) had the blue middle trimmer, while the new is marked as 92s/92b, and is the one with the yellow-gold trimmer, as shown above.
First, it is not clear to me how it could be titanium coated, since titanium is gray, not yellow. Whatever the coating, it appears that the change was necessitated by numerous problems with the 90-heads. Many people complained that the head disintegrated and even flew apart during use, and the problem was exactly in this blue middle trimmer. So, the folks at P&G without admitting the construction problem, quietly replaced the head and reissued the whole package as 92xx series.
There was a period of about 6 months when the heads for Series 9 shavers were impossible to find. Now they are slowly coming back to the market, and all the new ones are only 92s/92b, i.e. the redesigned heads with the yellow trimmer. The old ones are apparently discontinued, and perhaps even withdrawn from the market. Apart from this, the new 92-head is identical to the old 90 one and will fit any Series 9 shaver. I wouldn’t expect it to perform any better than the old one, apart from (hopefully resolved) reliability issues.
There are some other minor changes. The body of the 92xx series shavers is matte gray, which looks much better IMO, and doesn’t collect fingerprints like the old ones. Also, all the models are wet/dry now and the manual states that they can be used with foam/cream, but should be manually cleaned and dried afterwards. You can use it with a cream, wash it under running water, let it air dry, and if desired, perform an auto cleaning cycle afterwards. I believe you can do exactly the same with the 90xx-series as well.
Thank you for the detailed and informative comment.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware of any problems with the older shaving heads of the Series 9. But it makes sense with the sudden refresh of the line and the shortage of the 90s/90b cassettes.
The Titanium coating is probably Titanium nitride which has in fact a metallic gold color. It’s being used for edge retention and its anti-corrosive properties. And because it simply looks nice I guess.
Regarding the wet/dry use of the 92xx models, your observation is correct; the limitations are basically the same as in the case of the older 90xx shavers. The problem wasn’t with the shaver itself, but with the cleaning stations as the foam would eventually clog them. The only workaround would be to perform a manual cleaning beforehand and only use the cleaning station once the shaver is completely dry.
If I may clear this up the was a problem with production of the 90B heads as the company producing them went out of business so the lack of stock was during the time nobody could source blades. They found a new supplier and these are the current 92B blades that are backwards compatible with the 90B blades and can be used on the 90xx series.
I learnt this when sourcing blades for my 9040s by asking their support helpline.
thank you for sharing the info, I wasn’t aware of this.
I have a serie 9 9095cc
Can I buy and use on it the replacement titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer from the new 92XX generation?
PS : good and helpfull article
Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you found the information useful. Regarding your question, the answer is definitely yes – the new 92s/92b replacement cassettes are backward compatible and they can be safely used on the Series 9 90xx generation.
Do you know how close to the skin both razors get?
That would be impossible to tell; theoretically, there’s the physical barrier between the blades and the skin — the foil and how tight are the tolerances between them. In real-world usage, it will also depend on the particularities of the skin and hair, shaving method (dry or wet), the user’s technique and how much pressure can he apply before feeling discomfort. In my experience, the Panasonic Arc 5 is better in this regard.
This was a good review. I enjoyed how thorough it was.
I used to own a Panasonic ES-8077-S. I bought it circa September, 2004. It finally bit the dust about a year ago. It had the 14,000 RPM linear motor, “vortex” hydra clean, wet/dry operation, and very similar inner cutting blades to Panasonic’s current renditions; however, it wasn’t curved “ARCed” andvit only had the 2 inner blades, not 5.
I wish someone knew how much better the ARC 5 models performed over my ES-8077. It was a tremendous shaver, only cost ~$100 new, and I have a suspicion that the ARC 3,4,5, etc., is nothing but a marketing gimmick and a way to inflate the price 200+%. Alas, it’s such an old model it doesn’t even get mentioned in reviews anymore. How much better could the newer Panasonics be? The 8077 got me neatly as close as a blade.. before the proliferation of all of the extra blades and gimmicks–err features.
My Costco has the Braun Series 7 on sale for $99.99. I may give it a try. I do wish the high-end Panasonics were more reasonably priced.
Thank you for your comment, Will. I actually used a Panasonic similar to your ES-8077-S a long time ago, it was called ES-RT31. And apart from the fact that the battery can’t hold a decent charge anymore, it still works like a champ. Regarding the curved profile of the shaving head fitted on the Arc models, I do believe there is a minor benefit apart from the marketing appeal of the term. I’ve noticed that it helps with maintaining perfect contact with the skin and cuts closer when compared to a Braun shaver that has a straight edge. The surface that comes in contact with the skin is actually smaller in the case of an arched foil, but it helps with getting a perfectly smooth shave more easily. At least that was my experience with them.
Regarding the number of foils, it will help you shave faster and you will appreciate the extra cutting surface if you have very coarse facial hair. And the extra performance doesn’t necessarily come from the extra blades, but usually the top of the line models that have 5 blades are also fitted with the most powerful motors, big batteries and so on. The ones that have additional specially designed trimmers among the 4 or 5 blades are also better at shaving longer hairs, but if you shave daily the difference is minor.
In my experience with Panasonic shavers I’ve noticed that the single most important factor that really makes a difference is the motor. The ones with the 13 000 or 14 000 CPM motors are miles ahead in terms of performance when compared to the ones that have 10 000 CPM motors or less. And the ones with 3 blades (Arc 3) are excellent shavers, especially when used daily.
If you were satisfied with the ES-8077-S, I’m quite sure that an Arc3 or an Arc4 Panasonic will be at least as good. Speaking of the Arc 4, I would definitely consider one, they can now be found for less than $100. But then again, a Series 7 that costs the same is another excellent option. I found Braun shavers to be better in terms of comfort, but they don’t manage to cut as close as the Panasonics. But these differences can be marginal depending on your particular case.
Hope this helps.
Thank you. That is very helpful!
I’ll look into the ARC 4 a bit further.
I haven’t seen any ARC 4 for under $100. (I also haven’t yet looked too hard for that model specifically..) My understanding is that the ARC 4 has never been updated; Panasonic, instead of updating the 4, went straight to the 5. With the current updates to the 5 late last year (ES-LV-6/9) they went back and updated the 3 as well. But, the 4 has only been done once: it’s current offering is the same as when it was introduced. I could be wrong about that, though. I’ve been reading/researching a lot in advance of this purchase as my former shaver lasted 12 years… it all kinda runs together after a while.
My research and experience leads me to agree with you re: stronger motor being more important than # of blades when talking about closeness and not just in Panasonic models. My backup shaver was a Remington MS-280. It had only two foils and could only be used dry. It had a very strong motor and was EXTREMELY loud. Yet, it shaved nearly as close as the Panasonic as a dry shaver only. (I managed to get a very close and comfortable shave with the wet shaving feature of the Panasonic; thus, wet/dry is important to me. My Remington will no longer hold a charge. That’s my impetus for being in the market now even though my Panasonic died a year ago. There is a bit of a cult following with this Remington MS-280. They were sold for ~$25-$40 at every drug store in the 2000s and they shave GREAT. Then, Spectrum brands bought Remington and moved production to China. As there is a dedicated following even 10 years later, replacement parts can be had. I could open up the sealed battery compartment and replace with new batteries for only $12. I also need new foils and cutters, which can be procured for $15.
In the same vein of more blades doesn’t equal more closeness, I would add that there is a Wahl model (“the brick”) that only has one blade and a single foil and a very powerful motor and the reviews are that it shaves extremely close as well. There is also a one bladed Hitachi in the Japanese market that has a powerful motor and allegedly gives a VERY close shave notwithstanding the fact it doesn’t have any bells and whistles built into the shaver head. If I lived in Japan, I’d surely buy the Hitachi. The aforementioned Wahl appears to have massive reliability issues with the durability of the foil otherwise I’d give the Wahl brick a try.
(I hadn’t considered that a bigger cutting head and more blades could lead to better comfortability and a faster shave even if that leaves the shave no more close..)
So, with that long digression out of the way, I think I’m down to three choices:
(1.) Refurbish my 17 year old Remington MS-280 for less than $30.
(2.) Buy Braun Series 7 from Costco for $100, can use wet/dry, comes with Costco’s vaunted return policy (they’ll take anything back) and further comes backed up by 60 day money back guarantee from Braun as well as a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects. (The Series 9 looks nice, but it’s out of my price range.) Despite their stories history, I’ve never used a Braun. Perhaps, I’d like it.
(3.) Buy Panasonic, which is most similar to the 8077 shaver I used to cherish. Except I can’t afford the sticker price, so I would need to bite the bullet and take the risk in the aftermarket. I’ll look into the ARC 4 and 3. I’ve got nothing against a 5, but I don’t think I’ll find one that’s affordable. If price were no object, I’d buy the newest ARC 5. The brushed metal body is intriguing, but it’s over $400 in the U.S. right now! Is it 4X better than the Series 7? I doubt it.
As you can see, you’ve helped inform me!
You are very welcome, Will.
You’re completely on point with the Arc 4: the line was never updated since its introduction in 2011, but they are still a very compelling option in my opinion. They shave extremely well and you can find them at great discounts. The ES8243A for example gravitates at around $80; other models, like the ES-LF51-A or ES-LA63-S can sometimes be found for less than $100. And I totally agree, the new LV Arc5s are expensive, at least for now.
I’ve never used a WAHL shaver – they are nowhere to be found in Europe where I’m based. But I would love to give one a try.
I remember owning a Remington MS2-390 – extremely similar to the MS-280. I used it until the blades have eaten through the foils and I can clearly remember that it felt like holding a jackhammer in my hand during use, the vibrations and noise were that powerful. It shaved very close, but it would also leave me with nasty rashes from time to time. I never replaced the blades and foils, but I still have it in my box of retired shavers. I might buy the replacements and use the shaver for old times’ sake.
Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to share your experience.
All the best,
Hi I like to know if it is true that the battery in the Panasonic ELSV65s last ony 3 years, and if that’s the case then it is a shaver that will last 3 years only. Now the question is,,,
is it worthy to buy an electric shaver that last only 3 years, as the buyers can not replace the batteries.!
Thank you so much, I enjoy very much all
the great information that you provide to all of us.
thank you for the kind words. Regarding your question, the life of the battery depends on how you use the shaver. A Li-ion battery has limited number of charging cycles, so how often it’s being charged and discharged will affect the life of the battery. It may last more or less than 3 years and that’s actually the case with all electric shavers. I have a few Panasonic Arc 3 and 4 shavers that I bought more than 5 years ago and their batteries still hold a decent charge. I would personally be satisfied if a particular shaver would last at least 3 years of constant use. And most probably will, including the Arc 5.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for your interesting comparison.
I’ve had the Arc 5 (ES-LV61) for just under 4 years now, but I’m extremely disappointed that it just doesn’t shave well anymore. I always took good care and bought a replacement foil set every year (last time in February) for 50€ each time.
I have the impression that it just doesn’t get to 14000 rpm anymore when fully charged. I can’t understand why else it would give me this awful result lately.
I find it very sad that these high end shavers don’t last longer due to a battery. My first braun lasted more than 10 years (it’s probably still working actually) but it came with a wire.
Guess I’ll try if thre Braun series 9 lasts longer.
It’s not easy but you can buy a new battery and replace it yourself. Done with mine ES-LV81 and is back as new.
Hello, I have very sensitive skin, and very coarse beard. I can’t decide between the Braun 9095 and the Panasonic Arc 5. What would be the less iritation shave between a dry shave with the Braun (if I buy Braun, I’d dry shave because I don’t want to clean the foam/gel manually), and a wet shave with the Panasonic that I can clean in the cleaning station?
it’s almost impossible to give you a straight answer. What makes either of the two the right choice is something that only you can decide. It’s very difficult for me to figure out if a dry shave with the Series 9 would be better compared to a wet shave with the Arc 5 in your case. Have you tried shaving wet with an electric shaver before? If so, was it significantly better compared to a dry shave? Preferably with the same or similar shaver.
I am pretty much in the same situation as you, I have a coarse beard and very sensitive skin. For me, shaving wet always yields much better results. It’s very comfortable and makes the shaver more forgiving, allowing me to even press a bit harder and to get a closer shave. For this reason I use Panasonic shavers most of the time, they’re better suited than Braun for wet shaving in my opinion. My preference towards wet shaving largely has to due with the specifics of my skin and facial hair that tends to grow parallel to the skin before poking out. I don’t know if that makes sense. A good shaving cream acts as primer that softens the hairs and makes them stand straight and also minimizes any irritation to my skin. But again, this is just my particular case, I couldn’t tell if it would be the same for you.
The Series 9 would probably be the best choice for a dry shave if you have thick facial hair and sensitive skin. For me, adding a shaving cream makes everything that much better, regardless of the shaver I’m using. But because they’re very easy to clean and comfortable when used with shaving cream I use Panasonics. Considering these aspects, particularly a previous experience of shaving wet or dry, you should have a preference towards the Series 9 or the Arc 5. My advice would be to buy one and to try it; real life use can differ quite a bit from our expectations. If you are not satisfied with the results you can return it and then try the other one and hopefully settle for a shaver that works best for you.
I’m Stefan from Romania.
Now they own a Braun 720 razor (purchased 8 years ago) with the shaft changed 2 months ago. In the last year Braun 720 did not laugh very well and began to irritate me.
I’m thinking of changing it with a Braun 9290CC or PANASONIC ES-LV9N-S803.
The device has only been used on land, as far as I know this type of appliance is not recommended wet mode. The shaving period is 1-2 days and I have a sensitive skin.
Which shaving method would be ok and what version would be ok of the 2?
Thanks and I look forward to the answer.
P.S .: Excuse for translation but I used google translate.
in this situation – shaving daily and dealing with sensitive skin issues – I think the Series 9 would probably be a better pick. The 9290cc is suitable for wet/dry operation, so you can try using it with shaving cream to see if it makes any difference compared to shaving dry. This seems to vary quite a lot from person and the only real way of finding out is to actually use it both ways.
The Series 7 is a very good option for sensitive skin, but if yours still fails to provide a decent shave after replacing the cassette it’s probably time to buy a new one. I would be very satisfied with a shaver that lasted 8 years of (almost) daily use. And since the price of the Series 9 has dropped lately you might as well buy one. The new LV9N from Panasonic is a step up from the previous Arc5 in terms of comfort, but I still think the Series 9 is slightly better in this regard.
Hope this helps. If you have any other questions you can contact me by email in Romanian if that works better for you. 🙂
Thank U for an incredibly helpful article, been in the market (for an electric shaver) for close to three months now but was overall left confused after reading articles. Urs has been lucidity itself and helped clear many a confusion. I have definitely narrowed it down to the Panasonic Arc5. My one question is about the different models available. I’m in the UK and am looking at these models, the ES-LV-95S811 and the ES-LV-95S804. If it helps, searching for Panasonic electric shavers and then filter it price wise (high to low) then the top two/three models are the ones I mean. If U could perhaps shed some further light on what the differences are and which one is the latest model, I’d be truly grateful.
Thank U once again for an incredibly well informed article.
Thank you so much for the kind words, glad to know you found the article useful. Regarding your question, I couldn’t find anything related to the ES-LV-95S804 variation and this is actually the first time I came across this model number. Are you absolutely positive that this is in fact the correct name? Anyway, the ES-LV95S part shows that it is a second generation Arc 5, which means that it’s identical to the other one (ES-LV-95S811) in every aspect. If I were you I would simply buy the cheaper one. 🙂
Hope this helps.
Thank U for Ur reply.
If U could please check the following link, if U scrolled down U’ll see that “Product Description” says “Panasonic ES-LV95 S803”, which until last evening was 804.
I am taking Ur advice on board but must admit I much prefer the ES-LV-95S811 design, all their aspects being the same, I quite like its aesthetics and if I’m not wrong the difference is about £10. I do hope I’m not mistaken, I wonder if there is a catch or hidden cost that I’m being oblivious to or am actually being blind/obtuse. I’ll take another look just to confirm.
My confusion not withstanding, thank U for clarifying it further. If Panasonic must know, U got them a customer.
You are very welcome. As for the aesthetics, rest assured that they are identical in this regard as well. What you’re seeing are just product photos that have been edited to look more appealing, hence the sharper aesthetics of the ES-LV95-S811. The two product listings simply use different photos as they’re being sold by different vendors. Since the price difference is only marginal, you can opt for either of the two.
Much appreciated, kind Sir.
I have subscribed to Ur newsletter and I know who to seek when worthy and very helpful advice is required.
You are very welcome Anubis, glad I could help.
Agree with others, really good article. I have two questions, please.
What is the latest generation model for Panasonic Arc5 shavers.
Can I still return an electric shaver if I’m not satisfied with the closeness of the shave? I’m concerned I may not be satisfied with the result as I have either very flat hair or hair growing almost toward the skin (but definitely not inward growing).
Thank you for your comment. The latest iteration of the Arc 5 line includes the LV models: ES-LV9N/ES-LV9A (cleaning station), ES-LV6N (blue color scheme, no cleaning station). They are identical in terms of performance. You should be able to return an electric shaver within a certain period (60 days for Braun, 30 days for Panasonic) if you buy it from an American retailer.
Unfortunately I’m in the UK and not sure what the Amazon policy is, I was reading on it and they state shavers can’t be returned (if used I’m thinking). All I need is a couple of shaves really to see if the shaver is good enough. I’ll see if I can find more information.
Thank you for your help.
I am interested in buying one of ES-LV-6B-S.
How do you know that the Braun series 9 four bladed shaver is better for men with ‘curly long beards’ compared to the Panasonic Arc5 five bladed shaver above? I appreciate that you may have tested both shavers on a particular beard, but theoretically, the five bladed Arc5 should be more suited to thicker beards due to its construction of the shaver foil head being curved with rollers? The other technical issue that you did not state is that the Panasonic motor has sensor built into the Arc5 shaver, allowing it to adjust its oscillations according to what density of whisker the Arc5 shaver head has gone over, again I would have thought this was another feather in the cap of the ES-LV series above?
The reviews about are excellent though Ovidiu, and back up other reviews recently posted below for the Panasonic and Braun shavers above:
Thank you for your comment, Eric. The reviews are exclusively based on my own experience with a particular shaver. We are all different and shaving is very personal and my findings and conclusions may not always be the same with other people’s experience.
Having used both the Series 9 and Arc 5, I found the Series 9 to be consistently better at shaving longer hairs compared to the Arc 5. Whenever I shave after two days or even more, the Series 9 is simply more efficient at capturing stray hairs; it takes more work with the Arc 5 to get all the hairs. Shaving thick, facial hair is a different topic and in this situation the Panasonic has an advantage as I mentioned in the post as well: the extra cutting element (5 vs 4), along with the curved profile of the head and the more powerful motor.
The rollers on the latest LV Arc 5 improve the comfort during use compared to the previous generation. I didn’t mention the sensors that detect the beard density as I never found this technology to significantly improve the performance or the comfort. On the contrary, a fast motor running at full capacity will provide a faster and more efficient shave. It’s the same with the personalization modes on the Series 7, the sensitive mode just feels slow. I think that’s the reason why Braun never implemented that feature on the Series 9.
I tried to outline all the features of the Arc 5 and Series 9 that improve the actual performance and I simply didn’t find the beard density sensor to be one of them.
Thanks Ovidiu I appreciate your observations on the automatic linear drive motor speed of the Panasonic not being a function of the shaver that you felt was beneficial to you when shaving.
I have contacted Panasonic UK a few moments ago to see if the ES-LV6N and 9N models will be released into the UK shaver market this year, and they have confirmed to me that only the ES-LV64, 65 and (95 including cleaning station) models will continue to be sold as they are very similar to the newer LV6N and 9N models respectively – which they tell me are US models only.
I have a feeling that if the LV6N model was released in 2018 into the UK market it would be just as well received as the LV65 model was over the past few years, but I think I will opt for the Braun Series 9 based on what you have said above, because of your view on those men who have more thicker beards, as a middle eastern-asian man myself.
I am not totally convinced about the build quality of the Braun series 9, but as it is made in Germany I think I can trust it to last for several years.
You are welcome, Eric. Just to make sure there isn’t any confusion regarding my previous reply: I found the Series 9 to be better at shaving longer hairs (as in shaving every other day or even every two days) compared to the Panasonic Arc 5. The Series 9 is also more comfortable and forgiving, so if you have sensitive skin this can be another point in favor of the Series 9.
As for sheer power, the Arc 5 is superior (faster motor, more cutting elements) and it provides a marginally closer and faster shave. So for very coarse, dense beards I actually think the Arc 5 is the better pick.
The new LV6N and LV9N are in my opinion a clear improvement over the previous LV65/LV95 especially in terms of build quality and design. They look and feel like a premium product. The Series 9 is indeed built in Germany, but Panasonic really nailed it in my opinion with the latest Arc 5 line. I think the 6N and 9N currently have the best build quality of any shaver.
The older LV65/LV95 are still highly capable and since the 6N and 9N are hard to find at the moment and very expensive, the previous models are actually a perfectly good alternative.
Both the Series 9 and Arc 5 have their pros and cons and you’ll have to decide which one seems to be a better fit for your needs.
Hope this helps.
Embarrassingly I own both the latest Arc 5 since January and the latest Series 9 March.
Having an extremely heavy and fast growing beard, I require a very close shave in order to prevent 5 o’clock shadow appearing at 12 o’clock.
In order to achieve the required closeness I shave wet using a either Taylors of Old Bond Street or Black Jack shaving cream and shave and apply the cream twice per shave. I use very little cream for each application and work up a lather with my fingers.
If I’m in a hurry I do a traditional wet shave which doesn’t last as well as the double electric shave.
I found the Arc 5 (I previously owned the Arc 3 and Arc 4) to be a fantastic very close shaver but like it’s predecessors, it gives me both shaver rash and ingrown hairs and I had to be extremely careful in certain areas of my face.
As there’s a 60 day trial offer available, my local shaver shop suggested I try the Braun Series 9 as I could return it for a complete refund within the 60 day period.
Utilising the double shave routine from the Arc 5 I find I get as close a shave with the Braun and regardless of how much facial pressure I apply, none of the skin problems I get with the Panasonic.
My method of shaving is not quick but really beneficial with amazing results.
If I’m in a hurry I wet shave with a Gillette razor or dry shave with the Braun which is nowhere near as good a my wet preferred method of use.
After shaving I rinse and run the razor under very warm water and do the same with the cartridge and then allow them both to air dry.
Every 3rd day when they have dried overnight I use the cleaning station just before I shave.
With the Arc 5 I also found I had to thoroughly rinse the shaver and head otherwise the Panasonic cleaning unit would foam from the remaining shaving cream.
In short conclusion they are both great and highly efficient shavers but the Braun is much much kinder to my skin for an equally close shave.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience in such great detail. It’s always interesting to see how a certain shaver performes when used by someone else. I too prefer to use shaving cream with my electric shavers as this setup allows me to get a very close shave. In my case this also makes the Arc 4 and Arc 5 models reasonably comfortable, but then again I am lucky enough to get away with a single pass and no premature 5 o’clock shadow. A dry shave with a Panasonic would result in a nasty rash in my case, while the Series 9 is much more forgiving. Coupled with a quality shaving I find both to be equally good, even tough I still have to keep pressure to a minimum with the Panasonic.
One thing I would recommend in your case would be to avoid alternating between the Gillette razor and your electric shaver. The blade takes off a thin layer of skin cells, while an electric shaver does not. As a result, after a blade shave the body produces this replacement scar tissue and it takes around 2 to 3 weeks to get rid of it. During this time you won’t get the best results with an electric shaver. That’s why the manufacturers always say to allow a few weeks for the skin to adjust to the new shaving method after making the switch to electric.
All the best,
I have been using Panasonic ES 8249 like 6-7 yrs. Its an amazing shaver, i can say it even shaves my 6 day beard. Thou im thinking of trying Braun 9 series.
The most important thing for me is if it shaves 5-6 day beard. So do u think Braun 9 series would satisfy me as Panasonic 8249?
in my tests the Series 9 performed great when I used it on a longer beard. In fact, I would say that it was one of the best performing foil shavers I’ve ever used for longer facial hair. However, by longer I mean a two to three days beard. I have a very fast growth and I don’t think I would ever try to shave a 6 day beard without reducing it beforehand with a hair trimmer.
If you were satisfied with the ES8249, I would actually recommend you to stick with a shaver from the Arc 4 line or even an Arc 5 from the second generation like the ES-LV65-S. The associated costs will be quite a bit lower as well. The shavers are cheaper and a lot easier to clean manually. I wouldn’t personally buy a Series 9 without the cleaning station as it’s a pain to clean manually. So in this case you must add the cost of the cleaning cartridges as well.
Hope this helps.
Thx for reply Ovidiu,
I usually shave once in 2-3 days but once in a while i shave 5-6 day beard. I was at first wondering if 8249 will shave it. But when i tried ofc i couldnt shave fast. At first i had to be very slow but in final i managed to shave it with my 8249 and then i was like wow!
I mean before 8249 i had another panasonic i dont remember the model name but it was an ordinary not a high end model so ofc it didnt have any performance close to 8249. So when i had 8249 first i was amazed and asked myself although it was a pricey model why i didnt buy it before..
In final ive been using 8249 for a couple of years and just amazed by its performance.
At this time my 8249 is i think dieing so I want to give series 9 a chance but my concern is that series 9 is pricey as u know and i dont want to have a machine with a less performence than my 8249 especially when i pay lot of money.
So why i choose series 9 instead of Panasonic LV? I could go with LV95 if i had it in my country but unfortunately its not being imported over here. Instead they import LV65 that only difference than LV95 is the cleaning and charging station. But i want charging and cleaning station. So LV65 is a down for me.
So if i had a chance to find it in my country i would unquestionably go for the LV95 as im very satisfied with panasonic.
In this case Im thinking of going for the series 9. But as i mentioned before my concern is would i be satisfied of its performance after using 8249?
I mean as I know Panasonic shavers have i think the fasted engines my 8249 had 13.000RPM and LV have 14.000RPM. And if im right its fast engines are the main reason of panasonics amazing performance.
But i couldnt find any info about the RPM of series 9. I mean what is the RPM of engine of series 9? Is it as fast as panasonic?
In final same question i will pay lot of money for the series 9 and as no chance of returning it i dont want to regret if its less performance than my 8249.
i mean as a person myself who is amazed by panasonics performance, would i ever be disappointed if i make a change and go for braun?
It’s very difficult to say as shaving is such a personal matter and I always try not to make any definitive or direct recommendations. Instead I try to present as best as I can the pluses and minuses of a particular shaver to hopefully help you decide what would work best for you. By all means and purposes, the Series 9 should be superior to your ES8249 for shaving a longer beard. However, when it comes to electric shaving things don’t always go as we expect them to.
Regarding the motors, Panasonic is in a league of its own. The 13 000 and 14 000 CPM motors are the fastest in the industry. The Series 9 has a 10 000 CPM unit, but then again speed isn’t everything and how the whole shaving assembly works is equally important.
do u know what RPM of series 9 is?
well thx for answer and yes i guess speed isnt everything but dont u think 10.000RPM is quite slow comparing to 14.000 so that is a big advantage for panasonic right?
Well, I wouldn’t think of it that way. Yes, 10 000 is a lot less than 14 000 and it would be very significant in the case of two otherwise identical shavers. The Series 9 and Arc 5 are two totally different shavers. Apart from the speed, the torque also matters and in the case of shaving a longer beard the actual foils and specially designed trimmers that capture and cut the hairs matter just as much.
thx for all the info,
a final question, can u tell me what your personal choice is?
You are very welcome. Sure, I actually said it in several posts as well. I use Panasonic shavers for the majority of time – two examples being the ES-LF51-A Arc 4 and the ES-LV65-S Arc 5 – for the following reasons: they’re fast, powerful, very easy to clean manually and at least for me they work better than any other razors when used with shaving cream. I have very sensitive skin and Panasonic shavers are a bit too aggressive for me during a dry shave, so I use them with shaving cream. This setup simply gets me the best results.
Braun shavers are very comfortable, particularly the Series 9 and I can actually use them dry without any issues, but a wet shave with a Panasonic is definitely closer in my case.
Hi again Ovidiu 🙂
As u know ive been using 8249 so can u help me to do a simple comparison?
I found in a store LA93K. So can u pls tell me..
How much LA93K is better than 8249?
How much LV95 is better than LA93K?
I can only answer based on my experience with those particular shavers, which may be different from yours. Compared to the ES8259, the ES-LA93-K has a slightly more powerful motor (14 000 CPM), a more advanced flexing head and a second motor inside the shaving head that causes the foils to vibrates and should fare better with flat lying hairs. I think you should be able to see a performance bump compared to your current shaver. I have only used the ES-LV65-S which is in fact identical to the ES-LV95-S minus the cleaning station. The closeness is very similar to the ES-LA93-K, but it does shave faster thanks to the larger shaving head. I can’t however tell you how big of a difference this will make in your case.
I don’t have any knowledge regarding the prices of these two in your country, but the LV95 usually costs a lot more unless you can get a great deal on it.
your answers will help me alot do decide, thx.
One major advantage of the Panasonic over the Braun is that you can rinse the foil and the cutters under water and then set the cleaner on “dry” only mode to clean it. You can not do this with the Braun.
That is correct, thank you for your comment.
thanks for this great review . i have a question . i used to shave with panasonic es8259 for about 6 years and now i switched to braun 9290cc but i dont see big difference not closer shaving and now i think i could have better shave with new model of panasonic . i dont shave everyday . i skip one day off and then the second day i need shave,
do you recommend i back to Panasonic ? i can refound my Braun . it has money back
As I said in the article, when used on reasonably short facial hair, the Arc 5 should be superior to the Series 9 when it comes to closeness. And since you were satisfied with your ES8259 (that is actually part of the Arc 4 line), I would say that the latest Arc 5 will perform even better in your case.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for quick response . it was very helpful .
the braun store says it takes a few weeks for my skin and beard to adjust with shaver .
do you think it is true ? because panasonic was also foil razor ..
You are welcome, Saeed. It’s true that it takes a few weeks for the skin to adjust to a new shaving method, like switching from a razor blade to electric shaving or from a foil to a rotary shaver. However, I don’t think that’s the case here as you mentioned yourself. Moreover, this transition period mainly has to do with improvements in comfort, and from what I understand you are not satisfied with the closeness of shave.
just a little note , to say thank you again for helping , i stayed with braun 9290 and i still think panasonic shave closer , maybe in next braun they get better . i just can add that sometimes before meeting when i spend more time for shaving braun wont make my skin sensetive , ,and braun is more friendly with my hand .. thank you and good luck, i keep visiting your articles
You are very welcome. It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying your shave with the Series 9.
Hi! I found a deal for Panasonic es lv65 (about 130 euro for this arc5 of second generation) . The newer (3th generation) Panasonic es lv6n costs 230 and the Braun series 9 about 250 with the cleaning station.
What razor would you suggest to buy?
Unfortunately I cannot simply tell you to pick a particular shaver from the ones you mentioned. Personally, I would go for the ES-LV65-S because it costs significantly less than the others, it’s very easy to clean manually and works better than the Series 9 when used with shaving cream (which is the method I prefer). However, depending on several factors like your shaving habits, a preference for wet or dry use, particularities of your facial hair etc., the ES-LV65-S may not be the ideal choice for you.
In the article I tried to emphasize when a particular razor would be a better choice compared to other shavers. Selecting the right one for the job is a very personal decision.
Hope this helps.
Hi, please, can you tell me what is difference between Arc ES-LV-9A-S and Arc ES-LV9N-s. Which one of them would you recommend for me. Thank you wery much.
The ES-LV9N-S is the model name for the American market, while the ES-LV9A-S is the international model. They are absolutely the same.
Hope this helps.
I have used both Braun and Panasonic. To me the Panasonic does give a closer shave. My main reason though actually has to do with the cleaning stations. This new cleaning station with the pansonics is the best. The sachet is not powder as you mentioned, but a shampoo, kind of Gooey substance that when added with water, cleans the razor as well as lubricates it. It works with shaving cream or not (although I always rinse mine off in the sink before cleaning it). Because it’s water based it lasts about 3-4 times longer than the Braun’s huge refill and is much better on the environment since your not throwing a way huge piece of landfill every month like Braun would have you do. (I realize you can cap the braun refill, or use 3rd party solutions but you don’t have to do this with the panasonic). Last but not least the Panasonic cleaning station has the ability to dry and charge (Instead of just cleaning) the razor only so if you don’t have cleaning solution, want to spread out the cleaning solution longer with less frequent use (like 4-5 months), or you clean it by hand but want to assemble it and dock it for charging, you can have it dry the shaver for you! This means, I can shave, clean, assemble and dock. The next time I use the razor it will be completely dry and charged, and was out of the way. I use this feature all the time! I realize that you may designate a separate section for cleaning bases as they are completely different but this should also be considered!
Thank you for your thorough and highly informative comment, Michael. Those are all valid points and I agree, the cleaning stations deserve a separate topic.
The new panasonic es lv9c / 5c models improvements…. can you please advise if its worth the over 100-150 usd difference over the a/b models? will it be very marginally better or vastly different?
I haven’t used a c model yet, but from what I know the improvements are mostly visual and related to the flexing capabilities of the shaving head. They use the same motor and same inner blades (the foils are slightly different if I recall correctly). I cannot say anything with certainty at this point, but I would be inclined to think that the actual shaving performance would only be marginally improved with these changes. The a/b models were already fantastic performers and I would personally opt for one and save $150.
I own a 9-series. I’ve been a loyal Braun user for probably 20 years, and it is the first Braun that is a misfire to me. The shave is not as close as previous Brauns, the cleaning station clogs (I do not use it with shaving cream), and the cleaning cartridges are expensive. So, no, I do not recommend this version. I am sure there are folks who think somehow this is my fault–that somehow I just don’t “get it” or somehow misuse the razor. I can assure you that’s not the case. It simply does not give me the shave I have come to expect from Brauns. Others, with different beards, may have a different take, but you have mine.
Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that it failed to give you a decent shave. While the reviews and the comments I’ve received regarding the Series 9 were mostly positive, there were also a few cases where it just didn’t meet the users’ expectations.
The cartridges are the same that Braun uses with all their cleaning stations and yes, they are pricey compared to the competition.
Regarding previous/older Braun models, I had a first generation Series 5 and several Series 7 and at least in my case the Series 9 was definitely the better shaver. But then again, the results may vary.
I hope you’ll have better luck with your next purchase.
Do you believe either has benefits over the other if it is being used to shave one’s head?
Both would be similar for shaving the head, maybe with a slight advantage for the Arc 5 (faster, one extra blade). Unless you’re using a shaver that was specifically designed for shaving the head (like the Skull Shaver Pitbull for example), any electric shaver will do as long as it’s reasonably powerful and capable; however, they do work best when used daily.
First of all, thank you sincerely for your detailed reviews. I had no idea about the new models before I read them. I really appreciate your work here.
I was leaning towards Braun since I’ve generally used Braun shavers and mostly satisfied with them. So, first, I was really content to learn that it was better in my two most important criteria, comfort and dealing with longer, lying hair. However, I would prefer to use it without a cleaning base. Because both the base and the solutions’d take up space in the bathroom, I’d have to keep flammable solutions in the house, and I have to remember to buy them on time. And most importantly, the shaver parts cost at least twice here, in turkey compared to usa or britain. The shaver prices are almost the same, but it is as if the dealers assume that you depend on them once you have the product, and I find this really annoying. But, as I understand, it is almost impossible to clean Braun series 9 (and other series, too) without a base. Is that true also for only dry use?
Also, would you need to take the base with you to trips that require 2-4 shaves?
Thanks again. Cheers.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. Cleaning a Braun cassette is clearly more difficult than cleaning a Panasonic shaving head. The problem is not immediately apparent, but in time hair clippings, skin oil, dirt, dust etc. can remain lodged inside the shaving head since you can’t clean it as thorough as the station does. But the problem is worsened by the use of shaving as dried lather is a real pain to clean in this case.
I personally clean my Braun shavers with the cleaning base every 4 shaves or so precisely to avoid these dirt buildups. In this manner I also get to save the cleaning fluid which is also pretty expensive in Europe. So it’s definitely not a problem if you don’t take the base with you on a trip.
Hope this helps.
I have Panasonic ES-LV9N and am wondering if I need to lubricate the blades/foils manually even if I use the cleaning station after each use?
I ask this as Braun specifically calls out that their cleaning solution is also a lubricant but Panasonic is silent on this.
You absolutely don’t have to lubricate the foils & blades yourself if you’re using the station after every shave. The cleaning fluid takes care of that as well (despite Panasonic not explicitly mentioning this).
Thank you so much!!! Very very helpful!!!
Looking forward to your recview of the LV9CX/Q and wether it is a worthy upgrade (logic says no but you never know).
How do you know the cleaning station for the Panasonic ES-LV95 lubricates the blades even though it is not stated anywhere by Panasonic? Is there an ingredient in the detergent which makes it obvious?
Is running the ES-LV95 through the cleaning station once a week enough to keep it oiled and cleaned? Does the cleaning station keep blades sharper?
Appreciate your advice
It is actually pretty well hidden in the troubleshooting section of the user manual:
It may simply be food grade machine oil, I am not exactly sure. But it definitely takes care of lubricating the blades. Unless you also clean the shaver with liquid soap, using the station once a week should be enough. Keeping the blades clean and lubricated will prolong their lifespan, so I guess you could say that the station helps in this regard, even though the same can be achieved by manually cleaning and lubricating the parts.
I would like to let you know how much your reviews and articles have helped me prepare to buy a quality electric shaver, but the one thing that has caused me some hesitation before taking the plunge is the replacement heads. To elaborate, both on the Arc5 line and the Braun 7 and 9 series, there seem to be many reviews indicating people who have experienced very poor quality on the replacement blades, and that the original head lasted over a year, but the replacement would only last a month or two.
I made sure to double check the authenticity of the products, and sure enough they are commenting on what seem to be authentic, first part Braun and Panasonic replacements. It’s not just one amazon either, I’ve seen these reviews on walmart, target and other websites as well.
Anyways my question is do you happen to have any experience with this? Have you ever encountered poor quality replacement heads for either the arc5 or s7/s9? Or is this just a few one off occurrences being blown out of proportion.
Thanks for your time and great reviews.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.
Replacement heads have always attracted very critical reviews. They’re very expensive in my opinion and that alone can trigger this type of response. People are used to companies trying to rip them off and selling poor quality replacement heads just to make them spend money on more seems like a very profitable business model. I personally don’t think that is the case, at least not in general. The Series 9 for example had some serious problems with the first generation of their cassettes and there are also some reports regarding the new heads. The Philips Norelco RQ12+ shaving heads are a lot worse than the older model they replaced and get a ton of bashing. These are all well-known, individual examples, but it’s certainly not the case with every shaving head out there.
I haven’t bought a lot of replacement foils/blades because I have quite a few electric shavers that I use, but the ones I have bought (Arc 3, Arc 4 and Series 7 replacement heads) didn’t seem inferior to the original heads.
Also, cleaning and lubricating the shaver regularly will make a big difference as well. Nothing too fancy, just some liquid soap, a light oil and/or spray lubricant.
In my opinion this concern shouldn’t prevent you from getting an electric shaver if you think a particular one would be beneficial to you.
Hope this helps.
That’s very helpful. Thanks so much for your time and expertise, Ovidiu.
Sorry but I actually have one more question, since the RQ12+ is now (from what I can tell) the defacto replacement for the higher end rotaries and is inferior, do you not recommend getting a rotary? I have tried both the Arc5 and Series 9 and have ran into a problem area on my neck where the hairs grow all manner of directions. I was thinking about trying a 8900 as well, but if the RQ12+ is not great I won’t bother.
Rotary razors just aren’t for me. I know that some men swear by them, but I never managed to get a good enough shave using one. Three main reasons: they aren’t as comfortable, they don’t shave close enough and I don’t feel in control like I do when shaving with a foil-based razor. Yes, most rotary razors will fare better in a situation like the one you described, but it isn’t enough to compensate the shortcomings, at least not in my case. I will not recommend against getting one because lots of users do have good results using rotary shavers.
The Series 9000 Shaver 8900 (not the older Series 8000 Shaver 8900) and also the 9300/9700 that use the SH90 shaving heads (cheaper and longer lasting) are the ones I would recommend to someone looking for a mid-range to high-end electric shaver.
Thanks again very much for all your advice, Ovidiu.
I am very glad to have found this site. A good shave every day is unfortunately something many men do not achieve: they just assume that shaving is inherently irksome. I have spent some time on this activity and own straight razors, double-edged razors (including several made before I was born) along with numerous shaving brushes, soaps, creams etc. and I have come to the conclusion that this is a straightforward, essential skill which has been lost by billions of men around the world.
Thank you shavercheck for providing this article. I own two Panasonic razors and have found them to be well worth buying. However, as a man of a certain age, Braun has always seems synonymous with electric shaving, which is why I found this comparative review. I really hoped that Braun were better made than Panasonic, but appreciate the comprehensiveness of this review.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. Having used pretty much every shaver made by Panasonic and Braun after 2008, the former has arguably the better build quality. Of course, others may think differently and that’s perfectly fine as well. I’m glad you found the article useful.
Hello Ovidiu! My name is Tibi, I am writing you from Romania! Let me please explain my problem!
First of all, I have to tell you I am blind and this was one of the factors I have taken into consideration when I chose an electric razor. So, after thousands of comments I read, last year I bought my second electric razor. The first one was a Philips 9511, a good one but unfortunately the shaving quality for me was poor. This is why, last year I decided to buy a foil shaver, and I had to decide between the best to on the market: Braun 9290 and Panasonic eslv65. I chose Panasonic, I used one year, I was very pleased but after one year, suddenly, it didn’t work. I sent it to the service and they didn’t want to repair it saying that the razor was used unproperly. Because the engine and the electronic part was damaged, they told me that the costs are almost 150 euro. Of course I refused to fix it at this price. Taking into account I told you what do you advise me?
What was my fault in using the razor? I just shaved myself daily, wash it under the sink and that’s all? What shaver should I choose now? Braun 9290cc or Panasonic eslv9n taking into account I use it daily, I am using it with foam and under shower? I am interested especially in a close shave and cleaning easily alone; alone as a blind person, don’t forget!
Thank you so much for your answer!
Best wishes, Tibi!
This clearly seems to be a case of poor customer support. The ES-LV65-S is a wet/dry shaver, so I don’t see the reasoning behind their improper use resolution. And charging 150 euro for the repair is outrageous.
Regarding the next shaver, since you’ll be shaving daily, with foam or in the shower and you want a really close shave, the Arc 5 is still the one to have. Whether you’ll settle for the same ES-LV65-S/ES-LV95-S or go for the newer ES-LV9N, that’s up to you — it also depends on how much you’re willing to spend on it. Also, Panasonic shavers are easier to clean manually compared to Braun, so that’s another bonus. The drain hole of Braun stations can sometimes clog and it must be manually unclogged with a toothpick or something similar.
Hope this helps.
Hello Ovidiu! Thank you for your answer. Of course, it was very helpful. So, I decided to buy Panasonic again. Lets’s hope I will not have the same problem after one year! Although, I would like from amazon; maybe the quality of products is better than in Romania. I still have two questions. What should chose between Panasonic eslv95 and eslv9n? I know there are two versions of the same product. Does it deserve the difference of money? Which are their price on amazon?
Thank you so much again!
You are very welcome. In my opinion the ES-LV95-S offers almost the same performance for a lot less money, at least at this moment. The closeness is the same (they use the exact same inner blades) and the cleaning stations are almost identical. The ES-LV9N is a bit more comfortable and has a more premium build, but that’s about it.
I wish you better luck with this one, Panasonic shavers are normally very robust and will last for years.
I have VERY sensitive skin and at this point cannot use a standard razor ever again simply due to the sheer amount of ingrown hairs, irritation, etc…
I’m hoping that either the Braun Series 9 or the Panasonic Arc 5 will be the answer to my prayers!
Anyways, if I’m going to get one of these, I want to make sure that the one I pick is THE “top of the line” best/newest version/model possible. I assume that the LAMDASH Panasonic’s are the most current and updated versions of Panasonic’s Arc 5 line. However, of the LAMDASH models, which is THE best model, including the cleaning station charger, etc…
Additionally, of the series 9 models, which is the most current and updated top of the line generation/version?
Cost is not really the issue here for me. I just want to make sure I get the most current and full-featured flagship high end device possible. Thank you for your articles they are very informative and thourough!
Thank you for your comment. From what I can tell, the Series 9 definitely looks like a more suitable shaver. If budget is not an issue, the Series 9 would be my recommendation to anyone dealing with very sensitive skin and ingrown hairs.
The latest high-end model from Panasonic is the revision C (LAMDASH) of the third generation Arc 5. I wrote a very detailed article about it here. The range-topping models are the ES-LV9CX-S or the equivalent for the European market, the ES-LV9Q.
The Series 9 models that start with 92 (like the 9290cc and 9295cc) are the latest from Braun and those two also include a cleaning station. I tend to recommend the 9290cc over other models as it’s widely available, comes with the automatic cleaning station and features a matte/frosted finish that should handle better smudges and scratches. That’s the only difference compared to the 9295cc that features a high gloss chrome finish. In your case I think the 9290cc would be a really good choice.
Hope this helps.
nice article, thanks to a good offer I just bought a Braun 9296cc shaver (coming with cleaning base) and the user guide tells you may clean it under water AND you may even use “liquid soap without abrasive substances”. It does not mention any incompatibility with further cleaning in the cleaning station… where did you find info regarding this limitation? I didn’t!
By the way, coming from a Panasonic ES-ST25 (really great shaver for money) I didn’t find this Braun that much superior for shaving closeness. However it seems much superior in handling long hairs. For instance, in case of more than two/three days growth, with the ST25 I had to first reduce hair’s length with the long hair trimmer before shaving, cause it would easily stretch and hurt otherwise. On the contrary, the Braun seems to be able to shave even long hairs with almost any problem. That’s the (only) great advantage I found.
Regarding the first part of your comment, it simply comes down to cleaning the shaver of any foam/lather/soap residues before using the station. That’s it. You can of course use liquid soap to clean it manually. I personally do this with all my Braun cc shavers and only clean them in the station every two weeks or so.
Panasonic shavers have always been superior in terms of closeness, but pretty bad with long facial hair. And it’s the other way around in the case of Braun, so your observation is spot on. Another plus for Braun is the comfort, but that part is obvious only if you have sensitive skin.
..ops! I’m sorry after further reading I understood I was mistaken in my previous post: you didn’t say that manual cleaning with soap is incompatible with the cleaning base, but you said that “Braun oddly decided to make the wet & dry models that come with a cleaning station, only suitable for shaving in the shower, and NOT to be used with a shaving cream as it can damage and clog the cleaning station.”
However, although I found the sticker you mentioned on the cleaning base, I was not able fo find any reference to this limitation in the user guide. May be it’s just a “soft” suggestion and not a strict restriction, something that (I argue) could be valid for Panasonic as well; like saying: use your shaver with cream if you like, but have care to clean it under clean water before putting it into the cleaning station, so that cream won’t mix with cleaning liquid in the shaver base and make it less efficient! If this is the case, I find it reasonable.
Yup, that’s pretty much what they’re saying. If you manually clean it before using the station you can safely shave with cream/gel.
One issue not addressed is the noise volumes of both shavers. As one who shaves while listening to the radio, I find the Panasonic quite loud, and being in close proximity to at least one of your ears, can drown out the radio.
How do the shavers compare volume-wise?
Also, what do you think of the Remington face-saver (dry, powdery, stick-type pre-shave application)
The perceived sound is definitely different — the Panasonic has a high pitched whine, while the Series 9 emits a lower buzz. Measured with a smartphone app, the Series 9 is quieter by around 2 decibels, which is negligible. However, because of the difference in tonality, one may perceive the Panasonic as being louder because of the higher frequency sound. During use, while actually cutting the stubble, both get even louder and I don’t think you’ll find the Series 9 quieter. It will definitely interfere with you listening to the radio. Pretty much all foil-based shavers suffer from this.
Regarding powder pre-shaves, I am reluctant at recommending them because they tend to be messy to apply and to clean. Also, talcum is mineral-based and it will likely contribute to a premature wear of the blades. I personally use pre-shave lotions, the one from Speick being by far my favorite (not oily, inoffensive spicy scent and excellent performance). I’ve tried all the popular pre-shaves and this one outperformed all of them.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the analysis. You (and a crappy eBay vendor) moved me from Braun to Panasonic. I appreciate it.
Thanks for the comment, Mike. I’m glad you found the information on this website useful.
Thanks for the reviews, I’ve been visiting this sight for several days trying to decide between the series 9 and LV9N. Found a site that I can buy the LV9N-S for $275(free shipping) but I still can’t make up my mind whether paying that much for it or any shaver at $200 is worth it for head shaving. Because I’ll be mostly shaving my neck and head exclusively as I sport a beard. Until I can decide, your site will keep me preoccupied till then!
Thank you for your comment. Either of the two will work, but I would probably get the Series 9 (slimmer shaving head, more comfortable, better at catching longer hairs). Another option would be to buy a dedicated shaver for your head, like the Bald Eagle/Pitbull from Skull Shaver and a separate shaver for the neck (something like a Braun Series 5). The total cost should be pretty much the same, maybe even less.
Thanks for the reply.
Out of curiosity, do you think the Braun cartridge can be refilled using Panasonic’s detergents? Since Braun’s is alcohol based, perhaps this would/could solve the evaporation issue without having to put the cap back on it when not in use.
You are welcome, Tony. It won’t work as the station will likely signal an empty cartridge. Braun’s station takes into account the electrical conductivity of the cleaning fluid as well when assessing the state of the cartridge.
You must put the cap back on only if you won’t be using the station for a longer time. Also, there are third-party alternatives to Braun’s refills that you can get for significantly less money. I only used the solution from CCR Refills and it worked great.
Thank youfor the information. I’m glad I asked, otherwise I’d have attempted this and likely ruin something. Thank you for the alternate fluid link, this will come in handy!
I sprung for the Series 9 (since it kind of on sale through amazon, but tax pretty much killed the discount) and should arrive tomorrow. After reading more of your site and stumbling on the recommendation for black men, it’s likely best that I try out/stick with the Braun.
Though, I don’t have typical black men hair as I’m half Asian. I’d say my hair/beard growth is akin to semi-tight curly Latin American hair and prone to ingrowns on the cheek/neck area if I shave against the grain with a razor.
My Braun series 3 has served me well, but it simply takes too long for me to shave my head and worse if it’s a 2-3 day growth which at times, leads to razor burn around the sides and back of my neck area.
As a side question; will you ever be testing any of the off brand budget electric razors that I often see on Amazon? (Surker RSCW-9008) A couple of them look like Braun knock offs, but I’ve been curious about them. I’ve seen a couple videos on them but unfortunately, they were bad at reviewing.
You are welcome, Tony. The Series 9 will be a significant jump in performance coming from a Series 3, I think you will really enjoy shaving with it. I’ve seen those Chinese shavers on Amazon, I was quite intrigued by the very high ratings to be honest. But I am personally very skeptical; designing and manufacturing a high-quality electric shaver requires tremendous financial resources. Panasonic, Braun and Philips also put a lot of effort into the research and development phase. I will try to get one just to satisfy my curiosity.
This was very helpful and well written. I do have 5 questions:
1) How do the internal rechargeable batteries compare?
2) Does the original country of shaver manufacture affect performance and longevity?
3) About how long, based upon once per day use, ought these shavers last?
4( Can these shavers be repaired?
5) Do you recommend purchasing an extended warranty with either or both shavers?
Thank you for your comment.
1. I have found Braun batteries to be slightly better (as in I’m getting more shaves out of a fully charged battery). But again, nothing dramatically different between the two.
2. It shouldn’t make any difference. All Braun Series 9 are made in Germany and all the Arc 5 models are made in Japan (the charger will often be manufactured in China).
3. There are various factors that will have an impact on the life of your shaver. As long as you take good care of it, it should last for quite a few years. Usually the first part that gives is the battery, but it can be replaced.
4. Yes, but again it depends. If it’s still under warranty, you shouldn’t worry about it at all. Otherwise, it may not be worth it and you’d be better off buying a new shaver. For example, a motor is hard to source and the total costs of repairing will be very high.
5. Extended warranty is always nice to have; if you think it’s worth the extra money for your peace of mind, go for it. I personally never purchased extended warranty with any of my shavers and I’ve been lucky not to experience any premature malfunctions. But that may not always be the case.
Hope this helps.
Good afternoon Ovidiu.
I am Carlos from Dominican Republic.
Can you help to clarify this point?
I want to buy the Panasonic Arc5 Electric Razor, Men’s 5-Blade Cordless with Shave Sensor Technology and Wet/Dry Convenience, ES-LV65-S.
In few months later, I want to buy the Premium Automatic Clean & Charge Station.
Can they work fine if I buy them separately?
Thanks a lot.
Unfortunately no, it will not work. The ES-LV65-S lacks the three metal contacts on the back needed to charge the shaver and to communicate with the station. If you need the cleaning station the only option would be to buy the ES-LV95-S model that comes with it.
Update: Having purchased the series 9 upon your recommendation, a week after ownership, I happened upon the Panasonic LV65-S for $25 used and in pristine condition. (Picture of purchase receipt showed it was purchased a little outside of 3 months, supposedly).
While the Braun Series 9 is pretty good and does catch most of my flat lying hairs. I must say, the LV65-S provides impressive closeness. Beyond impressive, really. More like amazing that an electric shaver can get this close.
The Series 9 leaves me less satisfied. In fact, after shaving with the series 9 to as close as it can get after multiple passes, I can go over it with the Series 3 and get it even closer. However, no where as close as the Panasonic.
Perhaps because I was able to purchase the LV65-S shaver at such a low price, I can’t help but to be overly impressed by the shaver and feel like I’ve overpaid tremendously for the Series 9 as a head shaver. In terms of hand comfort, shave comfort, aesthetics, and just overall usability your reviews are spot on in regards to both shavers.
You’re right about the Panasonic head size and how cumbersome it can/could be around the ears. I’ve somehow managed to nick the connective tissue between my ear and head on several occasions, which I’ve yet to do ever with a disposable shaver or the Braun Series 3 or 9.
The Panasonic is absolutely aggressive
as you’ve stated. For some reason, that satisfies me to know I can get razor burns or nicks. Perhaps because it carries the same risk to the real thing, add to the fact that the results are practically reproduced to that of a razor shave.
In my case, the Panasonic shaver is better for me and it is of my opinion, better than the Braun in all but one area which is flat lying hairs (aesthetics removed).
But that’s okay, that’s what the trimmer blade is for and I don’t think paying premium for having to use the trimmer less, justifies the cost of the Braun (even if I purchased the LV65-S brand new, I would buy the Panasonic over the Braun everytime knowing what I know now with user experience).
Anyway, I’m just here to say to anyone reading my comment and your reviews, that you’re definitely on point and unbiased.
And folks, remember. Regardless of what might be a recommendation for you or to you, a big part will be user preference. Something no reviewer can predict for you. But I can confirm firsthand that everything described about these shavers to be accurate.
Tony, thank you so much for the extremely detailed and thorough follow-up. You described the situation perfectly and I’m sure many readers will find your feedback very valuable when deciding between the two shavers. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.
My pleasure Ovidiu!
There was another thing I meant to bring up that you may have mentioned in one of your many articles, but have missed it if you have.
I would not use the Panasonic LV65-S as an on the go shaver. Meaning, late for work and figure I’ll shave in my office, in the car, or anytime/anywhere that I might already be dressed.
Unlike the Braun Series 9, the Panasonic absolutely pulverizes hair clippings to dust. I suppose this lends to the higher cross cuts per minute or blade configuration (though I suspect it’s a result of the former). I can shave my entire head and face after 2/3 day growth with the Braun 9 and not have a spec of clippings or any noticeable to me after the shave.
However with the Panasonic, black dust on my head, shoulders, and chest from the hair being minced so finely. The LV65-S is a bathroom shaver in my experience.
Not for the office executive getting rid of 5 O’Clock shadows between meetings. I would consider the Braun 9 as a shaver suitable for those who find themselves shaving where it’s most convenient, rather than in the bathroom. Just my opinion.
That’s a great observation. I didn’t really give it too much attention since I always shave in front of a sink and I’m not too worried about making a mess. You are right, the Arc 5 is almost 50% faster than the Series 9, has double the number of foils that cut the hairs close to the skin (4 vs 2) and the blades that oscillate behind the foils actually sit closer to them on the Panasonic. The result is a closer shave and the hairs turned to dust. A very rudimentary example: instead of a single (longer) hair strand, you’ll end up with 2 or 3 smaller ones when shaving with the Panasonic.
It’s also the reason why the foils of the Panasonic can get quite a bit warm after a while and why shaving with it can be a bit harsh compared to the Series 9.
Thank you again for your feedback, I really appreciate it.
Great article…..certainly the best I’ve found in the long list ive read whilst researching the best one for me.
I’ve used a cheap electric razor years ago and suffered very bad razor burn (it was rotary and fry) since then ive always manually shaved. I get razor burn with manual no matter what gel/cream/oil ive used. I even went to DE safety with razor burn too. Now looking to get an electric and thought maybe shaving with cream would be better.
I know it’s personal however would you recommend the Panasonic or Braun?
Thank you for your kind words. Considering the situation, I’d say that a Braun shaver would be a safer choice. I would recommend either a Series 7 or a Series 9 (depending on your budget). Panasonic shavers tend to be considerably more aggressive, especially if you have sensitive skin. While the latest Arc 5 models have been improved in this regard, Braun still makes the most comfortable and forgiving shavers.
Hope this helps.
First of all: Thank you for your article. Was really interesting to read since I am not sure if I should stay with the Braun 9290cc I have right now or I should change to the Panasonic.
Is there a huge difference concerning the closeness of the shaving if I would change?
And my second question: Is there any time difference in the shaving procedure? I do not really know what I make wrong but if I like to be good shaved I have to calculate at least 20-25 minutes. Is this normal? Would I be faster with the Panasonic? For me this would be a point to change…
Hope you unterstand what I mean. My English is not the best.
Thanks for all.
Thank you for your comment. The difference in closeness isn’t huge by any means, but you will notice an improvement especially if you have very thick facial hair and your skin is not sensitive. For example, I get a closer shave on my chin and above the upper lip with the Arc 5 (my beard is particularly coarse and dense on those areas), while on the neck and cheeks the difference is barely noticeable with the slightest edge for the Panasonic.
Regarding the time it takes you to complete a shave, there are many variables at play: the shaver itself, the coarseness of the beard and your technique. Some users are a lot more thorough and scrupulous, while others are hastier or simply more skilled. You can of course improve your technique over time. 20 to 25 minutes is indeed a bit long for a typical shaving session with a capable electric razor.
Both the Arc 5 and Series 9 are arguably the fastest electric shavers you can currently buy. The Arc 5 does have an extra blade and a more powerful motor (14000 CPM vs 10000 on the Series 9), but specs only tell half the story. In some cases the Series 9 will be faster. For example, if you haven’t shaved in a few days and your whiskers grow parallel to the skin, the Series 9 will capture and cut those a lot more efficiently. For short, thick beards, the Arc 5 will be a bit faster.
You should decide yourself which one would be more suitable in your case.
In my opinion, if you’re satisfied with the results (closeness and comfort), I don’t really think there’s a reason to upgrade, at least not for now.
Hope this helps.
I am looking into the Braun Series 9 vs. the Panasonic Arc 5 as a gift for my son. It is difficult to choose a gift that is so predicated on personal preference, but I am giving it a go and it doesn’t seem like I can go too wrong based on your reviews. I am leaning towards the Arc 5 for a variety of reasons, but one last detail is causing me pause: it seems as though the cost of replacement blades is almost the same price as buying a whole new razor, while the Series 9 are almost half the price of the Panasonic. Do I have that right?
The price of Arc 5 replacement foils & blades can vary quite a bit. First of all, there are different Arc 5 models that require different replacement parts (and they usually have different prices as well). For example, the parts needed for the latest Arc 5 models (the ones with the two golden rollers) are more expensive than the ones used on the previous generation (ES-LV65-S, ES-LV95-S). Secondly, the exact same parts can be sold at different prices by various retailers, so make sure to do some research before buying.
As for the Series 9 comparison, the foils & blades set for the ES-LV65-S/ES-LV95-S Arc 5 costs pretty much the same as a Series 9 head, so it’s definitely not twice as much. Overall the cost of ownership will be similar, so don’t let that steer you away from the Arc 5 if you think it will be the better option for your son.
Hope this helps.
I found this Panasonic ES-LV7C-A LAMDASH and i wonder which generation and what is this lamdash?
The ES-LV7C-A is part of the third generation Arc 5, revision C. Lamdash is just moniker used by Panasonic for some of their shavers, usually the more advanced ones.
Very interesting reviews Ovidiu. I have spent weeks researching a new razor and finally took the plunge and splashed out on a Braun Series 9 9292CC (UK) model.
I have to say that I generally use a razor blades for a wet shave, and when in a hurry, revert to my 20 year old Philishave. BUT, this has recently started doing a Freddy Kruger on my face and the other day it left a red rash – so rather than locate some new blades I thought I would get an update and see how these have improved.
So I have used it a few times so far with 2 days growth average and my first impressions are… what a let down!
I was so looking forward to seeing it plough through and leave my skin silky smooth, but no, didn’t happen. I still had a job with low lying flat hairs under the chin that took 7 or 8 attempts to get. A further disappointment was the side burns – the razor head is so bit, it just can’t get close enough to my ear to shave the sides, leaving a line of uncut hair up the side. So I had to use the trimmer to do the worst and then try again and again to get the shaver to cut the rest. Here’s where the rotary Philishave is better – I can use one of the rotary heads in the pyramid of 3 to actually go up my side burns and get in closer to the side of my head. The large rectangular shaving head of the Braun does not allow this as can be seen from the pictures – the cutters are a good 10-mm in from the outside of the shaving head, so cannot get up as close.
As for the neck hairs – I had to roll left to right instead of up and down to get the hairs cut as this seemed the only way to get the the little blighters.
I have not even inserted the clean and renew cartridge yet, as I don’t want that evaporating until I’m ready to use it based on your advice.
I know that people are thinking how can I write review after several uses – but that’s the point, that I should be able to see a huge improvement from first use – nothing will really change after 100 uses that I can see. So, I am waiting another day or so and will try it wet using some gel to see if it improves the closeness or not and then I may decide to return it – I believe Braun have a 90 day ‘love it or return it’ offer on at present (60 days in some countries).
I may persevere for a few more weeks to give it a proper test – but I’m not convinced at this point and feel that the hype, ads and videos I have seen are not in reality replicating the performance for me.
I was going to go for a new Philips rotary, but the thing that put me off was the reviews concerning the poor quality since they are now made in China with overly plastic components, whilst keeping the premium price tag.
So back to square one – but if this Braun Series 9 is supposed to be up there with the best, I can only say they have a LONG way to go, as I was totally underwhelmed by it. I think the old razor blades and a wet shave are the only way to get a close smooth shave to be honest. But thanks for the review and your comparison, I did find it unbiased and helpful in helping me decide on the Panasonic or the Braun. I don’t think I will chance the Panasonic if I return the Braun, as I may not be able to return that over here in the UK if it proves as equally poor as the Braun.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience in such a detailed manner. From what I understand, this was the first time you shaved with a foil shaver. Without any intentions of implying that you did something wrong, the underwhelming results you got with the Series 9 could have something to do with the technique. All things equal, the Series 9 should outperform an old rotary Philips by quite a bit. Most users will get better results with a foil shaver as opposed to a rotary, so generally a foil shaver would be the safer choice. But then again, for some men rotary shavers just work better and this may be the case here as well.
But before concluding that the Series 9 is no good, try it for a couple of weeks before returning it. For example, you mentioned that you had to go from side to side on the neck to get all the hairs. And this is relevant because with foil shavers the direction of the stroke should always be against the grain and you should continuously adjust/alter the direction depending on the area that’s being shaved. So relatively short, straight, controlled strokes against the grain, while keeping the skin taut, are key with foil shavers.
Regarding the size of the shaving head, I actually got used to it and I’m able to shave very close to my sideburns using the very top edge of the leading foil (during an upstroke). It’s pretty difficult to explain and I hope this makes sense. However, I do shape my sideburns beforehand using the trimmer on one of my Panasonic shavers. Yes, the one on the Series 9 (and on all Braun shavers actually) is pretty bad.
And speaking of Panasonic, I don’t think you should opt for one right now. In my opinion the problem is not the Series 9, but rather the type of the shaver — foil in this case. So if you don’t manage to eventually get a satisfactory shave with the Series 9, it’s unlikely to see a significant improvement with a Panasonic shaver.
If that proves to be the case, you should probably consider a rotary razor. I personally don’t get along with them, but the S9000 Prestige for example performed exponentially better than any other rotary razor I’ve used before. It is very expensive though, at least now. This is my review in case you want to know more details about it.
Anyway, thank you again for your comment and if you have the time please let me know how it goes.
Thanks for the response.
I have indeed stuck with the series 9 and have since tried it with gel using a wet shave.
I have to say a 300% improvement using gel! It has made so much difference that it is now almost comparable to a wet shave – with just a few of those low lying problematic hairs on the lower neck. I have to say my face does feel so much smoother, so I think this is the way I will have to go. It is actually very easy to clean, as the gel very quickly disappears so there is nothing much to clean afterwards.
A quick clean by dipping the head in water and operating it has worked well, with a rinse afterwards.
All that remains now is to work out the best solution to make my own cleaner to refill the clean & Renew cartridge with. Trying to get the right alcohol base and oil to make the mixture is the next big challenge as there seems to be lots of opinions on the type to use!
You are very welcome. That’s awesome, I’m glad you found a setup that works great for you. I personally didn’t get a much better shave using the Series 9 with shaving cream — unlike the Arc 5 that absolutely shines in that regard — but these results will vary among different users and again, you should stick with whatever works for you.
Regarding a diy Braun cleaning solution, that is absolutely correct, there are loads of approaches and opinions and it’s one of the reasons I didn’t yet post a guide on that topic. I’m still experimenting and trying different things myself, but there are some ingredients that I wasn’t able to source here in Europe. For the time being there are also a couple of ready-made, third-party solutions like the one I covered in this post. It works great and the price is right as well. The other one is called Cleanerist and it’s pretty easy to find, at least in Europe.
I am curious to see anyone’s feedback on the longevity of the shavers. I have used both the Series 9 and the newest Arc 5 (with the gold rollers). I prefer the Panasonic as I like wet shaving with a cream such as Proraso.
My Braun always reminded me to get a new cassette around the 18 month mark and I replaced it even if I felt it was still shaving well.
My Arc 5 just told me this morning to replace the blades- only 9 months into ownership. The owner’s manual says 12 months for screen and (I think) 2 years for blades, so only 9 months in seems a little too soon. It is still shaving well, so I do not think it is actually worn down. Does anyone know how the shaver calculates the replacement time? Is it number of power cycles, number of minutes used? I tend to shave for 5 min (I honestly have no idea how one can shave in the suggested 3) 5-6 times a week, so maybe the longer shaves count down the replacement timer faster?
Just curious if anyone knows!
That’s absolutely correct, a longer duration of the average shaving session will trigger the replacement notification to show up sooner. Your shaver simply thinks that you’ve been using it for 12 months based on the total time it’s been on. In my opinion you should simply ignore it (and reset it). The foils and blades must be changed only when the performance of your shaver starts to suffer and your results are constantly poor (comfort, closeness, the foils getting really hot). There’s no reason to replace them if you’re still getting good shaves.
I am going into the police academy and therefore have to shave every single day. The problem, is my skin is incredibly sensitive and I breakout / get ingrown hairs every time I shave. I spend 99.9% of the time with facial hair.
Having said that, which product do you think would be Ideal for someone who has sensitive skin and who will be shaving 4-5x each week? I understand the Panasonic is less forgiving on the skin, but wouldn’t suffers from irritation do better with a gel shave? Panasonic being the optimum choice for that? OR would I fair better with something like the Braun because its easier on the skin, regardless of whether it’s wet or dry?
Thanks for any help you provide!
In this situation I would recommend a Braun Series 7 or 9 (both are equally good). I actually tend to prefer the Series 7 because of the slimmer head.
The improvement in comfort is more obvious when using the Panasonic with shaving cream/gel (since it’s a bit too harsh during a dry shave), however a Series 7 or 9 would still be better in my opinion (wet or dry). Also, since you break out and get ingrown hairs, that’s yet another reason to consider a Braun shaver over a Panasonic. Using a shaver that cuts the hairs really close to the skin (like the Arc 5) can increase the chances of getting ingrown hairs and bumps.
Hope this helps.
I have a question regarding charging stations, which I cannot see from the Braun or Panasonic websites. Say I am going away for 2 weeks, obviously I need a charger. Do either include a travel charger (i.e. a plug with a cable) or do I need to bring the charging station for the razor with me?
Absolutely, both include a small charger as well, so you don’t have to bring the station with you.
Excellent well detailed article. I have been researching both of these shavers, but for a different application. I’d like to shave my head and I’m looking for a good product to assist in that endeavour. There are some rotary products on the market like the Pitbull brand. But; I am opting for the foil shavers for shaving my head and I have short listed these two products. My question to you is… Which one of these two products in your opinion would work well for head shaving? Or, could you recommend another product brand & model for me to review?
Thank you for your comment.
First of all, I think you made the right decision by steering clear of the Pitbull/Skull Shaver brand. I’ve received dozens of messages from users complaining about reliability issues and very poor customer support.
Regarding your question, I must first say that I do not shave my head, so I don’t have any practical experience with either of these shavers in this area. However, I do know from other readers of this website that both can work really well for shaving the head. I would give the Series 9 the edge though, mainly because the 4 shaving elements have a significantly larger range of motion and move freely a lot easier compared to the Arc 5, which makes the S9 ideal for shaving a spherical shape like the head. My barber actually uses a Series 9 to shave the head of his clients and he’s really happy with it.
Hope this helps.
Great review !!
I went and bought the braun series 9 today. I use it to shave my head and it’s amazing !
Previously I used a foil shaver (babyliss pro) which was very harsh for my skin. The babyliss foil shaver might be better for fades then to shave your entire head. A barber suggested me the S9 a year ago and he was right. The S9 is very smooth and powerfull.
I haven’t tried the Arc 5, but I recommend the S9 for bald head. I chose the S9 because I think it’s smoother for the skin then the arc 5 and apparently it cuts longer hair then the Arc 5. If your dont like to shave evereday and shave every 3 days like me, the S9 is proably a better option for you.
Thank you for your comment. I think getting the Series 9 was the right decision — it’s an excellent choice as a head shaver. Foil razors like the BaByliss, Andis Pro Foil, Wahl Finale, etc. are indeed better suited for fading the sides and back of the head as they can be too aggressive. My barber also uses a Series 9 when a customer needs a head shave. The Arc 5 should also work well, but I don’t think it’ll be quite as good as the S9, mainly because the 4 cutters on the S9 have a greater range of motion and the flexing of the head actually helps.
Love your work.
You mention the following in this article:
“They use the same automatic cleaning stations as the second generation Arc 5 — however they have different part numbers and the new shavers won’t fit in the older stations.”
What exactly do you mean by this?
I was hoping to buy a gen 2 shaver (with its respective cleaning station) and upgrade the foil to a gen 3 variant. Would I still be able to fit my gen 2 shaver (with updated foil) into the gen 2 cleaning station?
Don’t want to be wasting money on a cleaning station if it won’t fit. 🙂
Thanks for your help!
That is an excellent question.
You should still be able to use your station after upgrading the foil without any problems; the profile of the new foil is basically the same. In that phrase I refer to the new shavers as a whole — the shape of the body, head and the position of the metal contacts on the back. Because of these aspects (and maybe even electronics), they will not work with the gen 2 stations, not because of the foils.
Hope this makes sense.
I love your knowledge!
So the 9390 wich is a 2019 model i can buy it at 200 punds in uk amazon. The older model 9290 is 270. Why is it cheaper or why the older model is more expensive? Can’t figure why
These price oddities are not that unusual with electric shavers. For example, the 9390 could be sold at a discounted price, while the supplier of the 9290 is selling it at full MSRP. Also, I remember that when the 92xx models were launched, the price of the older 90xx spiked for no apparent reason.
The takeaway is that you should just buy the cheaper one, in this case the 9390.
first of all, a million thanks for your site, tests, comments and insane knowledge. As you pointed out in other posts, it is easy to find reviews that list marketing hype, but extremely hard to find reviews that include real-life tests with measured personal opinions; I would add that it is even harder to find reviews that include real-life tests AND are as well documented as yours. In fact, I’d say that your efforts are quite simply unique, both in terms of breadth, clarity and quality. So, hats off to you, good sir, with immense gratitude.
I have just found an offer for an ES-LV95 for about £110 in the UK, I am very tempted to get that (that price puts it between the best deals I find for the series 5 and 7 –actually closer to series 5–, and also exactly the same price as the best deal I find for an ES-LV65… price oddities indeed, but I’ll take the “free” cleaning station). I was just wondering if you could cast some light on the following two points:
1) how would you rate the ES-LV95 (or 65) against the Braun series 5 (or possibly 7), considering that I find them in the same price range at the moment?
2) I am just a bit concerned with the price of replacement foils (around £47 at the moment) so how often would you say that they need to be replaced, assuming reasonable care (with lubrication and sanitation), and, say, shaving every other day? Is it the same for the Brauns?
Thanks again for all your (extensive) help!
Thank you so much for your comment, you’re way too kind. Glad to know you found the website informative and useful.
The offer is excellent for the ES-LV95 considering what you’re getting. Regarding your questions, precisely how it stacks up against the Series 5 and 7, I’d say that performance-wise, the Arc 5 is clearly better (sheer power, speed and the closeness of the shave). Also, the Arc 5 works best on short facial hair, so it’s ideal for shaving more often.
The Series 5 and particularly the 7 are more comfortable during a dry shave, but if you don’t have very sensitive skin, you should be perfectly fine with the Arc 5. The Series 7 is quite a bit better at catching longer and flat-lying hairs with fewer passes, but if you’ll be shaving every other day, again this shouldn’t be a cause of concern if you’ll get the Arc 5.
Panasonic replacement foils and blades have always been pricey, especially the high-end parts like the ones used by the Arc 5 line. With proper care (lubrication is very important with Panasonic shavers as the parts basically rub against each other), you should be able to use it for one year before needing to replace them. I highly recommend a lubricating spray for electric shavers (Remington shaver saver would be my pick if you can get it). It makes a big difference when the blades are starting to show signs of wear.
In my experience, Braun cassettes tend to last somewhat longer as the wear isn’t as pronounced during use. The tolerances aren’t as tight (hence the better closeness in the case of the Arc 5). But again, these findings can vary tremendously and I wouldn’t consider them decisive in making your decision.
Hope this helps.
I did go for the Arc5, and after 2 weeks of use, I just wanted to say that I absolutely love it. You played a big part in my decision to 1) go for electric, and 2) go for that model. Shaving has become something I quite enjoy doing in the morning (and trust me when I say I never did before), and my life is a little bit better for it: that’s the difference you make!
For everyone else out there, I just wanted to say that my findings after over 2 weeks of use match *exactly* your excellent review.
The closeness of shave really is very close to what I can achieve with blades, but without the bleeding and the burning. I do have quite sensitive skin (neck in particular), but here again, your advise really did help, and I can avoid any redness and rashes with a wet shave. When time is short, the Speick pre-dry-shave lotion also does makes a massive difference, and I get a reasonably comfortable dry-shave with it too. Interestingly, I find that a 3-minutes shave every morning brings less irritation than a (necessarily) slightly longer shave every other day; as it also helps maintain the “closely shaven” look every day, that’s my new routine. …something that I was never able to do with blades (and I did try!).
I also really enjoy how well designed the Arc5 is. Obviously, I can’t compare with other brands, but this one is very well thought-through. This applies to most aspects of it, but in particular to the cleaning, and here as well, you are spot on when you say they are really easy to clean. It takes no time at all, and the high-speed self cleaning setting actually works (I thought it would be a gimmick, but no, it does its job quite well, and makes things disappear that were otherwise stubbornly hanging tight). The cleaning station, while superfluous as a need, does however add a nice touch and it’s nice to put the shaver in there knowing it will be nicely cleaned and lubricated at the end. Not needed every day, of course, but once or twice a week seems pretty good to me.
— a note about the cleaning station, for anyone who reads this: it looks nice and works well, but beware that is it very noisy. It switches the shaver on and off during cleaning, and after that the fan that dries it makes a very audible hum. I only use it if I know nobody will want to use the bathroom within 3 hours, but I think that’s OK considering that it doesn’t need to be used every day —
Regarding the price of the foils, I dawned on me that the price of the blades for my razor, if I was to shave often enough (ish) to remain reasonably clean shaven reasonably frequently, would probably be over £65/year. If the Arc5 foils do indeed last around a year, then the cost of consumables are on par with the razor, so… no hesitation!
So there we are, after almost 3 weeks of use, a lot of people have commented positively on my new stubble-free chin, and I get a small amount of joy starting each day playing with my new toy.
An excellent start for 2020, in good part courtesy of Ovidiu. Thanks man!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed follow-up. Glad to know that going with the Arc 5 proved to be the right decision. I still remember that feeling of finally looking forward to my next shave after years of loathing it — and knowing that I actually helped someone achieve that genuinely makes me happy.
there are two further questions about the Arc5 cleaning station for which I find contradictory information… I wonder if you could maybe help here as well:
1) drying the shaver before using is?
The manual states that the shaver must be dried before using the cleaning station, but it is unclear if they mean the body of the shaver only (presumably to avoid short-circuiting the electric contacts on the handle), or also the foils. Considering that the cleaning solution is detergent mixed with water, I can’t understand why a few drops of water in/around the foils would be a problem.
Do you have any idea on this?
2) using a lubricating spray for electric shavers?
I am unclear if, considering I will be using my cleaning station, there is sill a point in also occasionally using a spray for electric shavers? My thoughts are that there isn’t, and the cleaning station does the job… But maybe the spray does something that the station doesn’t? I will welcome any thoughts you might have on the matter.
Thanks again for your help!
Those are some excellent questions.
1) You are correct, the main reason is indeed safety. Other manufacturers recommend it as well and they do refer to both the shaving head and the rest of the body. However, if let’s say you quickly rinsed the shaver (maybe after a wet shave), you can shake off the excess water and gently pat the shaver (and foils) dry with a cloth. It’s very important for the body of the shaver to be dry in order to avoid a short circuit and especially for your own safety. If a small amount of water from the foils ends up in the fluid tray, that’s not a problem, but I guess that repeatedly doing so can dilute the solution. In the case of Braun shavers for example, the sensor that measures the electric conductivity of the cleaning fluid may even (mistakenly) signal an empty cartridge. I personally take safety precautions very seriously and always recommend following the safety instructions in the manual.
2) Normally, additional lubrication isn’t needed if you’ll be using the cleaning station regularly. But if in-between those cleanings you also clean the shaver manually with water and soap, the soap will remove any traces of lubrication. If you’ll shave again before the next automatic cleaning, I would highly recommend using a lubricating spray. My favorite after trying pretty much all the brands remains the Shaver Saver from Remington. It doesn’t smell as nice as the ones from Braun or Philips, but it’s hands-down better.
Hope this helps.
I notice you did not mention Braun’s sonic vibration feature that makes smoother shaving.
I tried to keep the comparison as lean as possible, so I skipped mentioning it explicitly. The important takeaway is that the Series 9 is gentler and smoother, which I think it’s (hopefully) obvious from the article.
Awesome review , answer all my questions.
Thank you, glad you found it useful.
Thanks for your excellent website. I’ve been using panasonic shavers for about 20 years. Started with a ES8936 which gave a good shave, moved through models to the arc5 ES-LV65
Purchased a Braun ser.9 about 10 months ago.
I agree with your reviews that the arc5 is a better shaver but not by much.
My question is with the arc5 is there any way of leaving the Shaving sensor mode in “Normal” full power without pressing the power switch each time to select?
Thank you for your comment, glad you found the site useful. Unfortunately no, you must select the mode each time you shave. But at least we can do that — with the newer Arc 5 versions like the ES-LV67-K the sensor can’t be deactivated at all.
I tried both Braun Series 7 & Series 9: I definitely say that series 7 comes at a much higher & better performance than series 9: the hold, the grip, the shaving quality… I do shave everyday, sometimes twice a day (if I have an event in the evening) the series 7 delivers a much smoother & nicer shave. After I upgraded to series 9 & used it for couple months I found myself buying a new cassette for the series 7 & using it all over again. I enjoy shaving with it.
Thank you for your comment, Ahmed. That’s really interesting. I do enjoy the Series 7 more because of the slimmer head, but I do find the performance very similar between the two.
Hello, I wonder one thing, whose blades will last longer? I bought an expensive philipset 2 years ago, but I would have to change the blade in it every 3 months and I got bored. When I buy the new blade, it cuts off nicely, but after 3 months the edge goes out and I shave for 20 minutes. Are their blades better? (Sorry for my poor english) Thanks.
It would be difficult to say which one will last longer with certainty. It can vary (a lot) among different users as the coarseness of the beard, how often they shave and how they take care of the razor will play a big role in the longevity of the blades. But with proper use and care (cleaning and lubrication), you should get a lot more than 3 months, no matter which one you choose.
I’ve had both of these and, indeed, the Panasonic provides the better shave–no question. The Braun eventually had trouble with the switch and getting competent service was nearly impossible. Strangely, the ES-LV95 had the same problem, but it lasted at least a year before the power switch would get stuck (on or off). I bought a second one and it gave out in about a year too. So, obviously, there’s a manufacturing or design defect here.
For now, I’m still sticking with the Panasonic, though, and so I just bought the new ES-LV97, which seems to have a different switch design. I’ll have to get the others serviced for travel and backup, but hopefully this one will hold up. I should mention that the on first ES-LV97, the chrome finish started coming off of the head, which is a bit unsightly, but doesn’t affect functionality.
Finally, the TWO CLEANING STATIONS ARE NOT COMPATIBLE between the ES-LV95 and the ES-LV97. They’re ALMOST identical, but the design of the ESL-LV97 head is deeper and won’t fit in the ES-LV95 cleaning station. However, it looks like the ES-LV95 fill fit in the ES-LV97 cleaning station. It fits, but haven’t tried a cleaning cycle with those older units yet.
One last comment: I completely concur with your assessment of Braun quality going downhill. This is probably and artifact of their acquisition by P&G. They feel cheaper and they don’t last like the old units. Really, I’ve had multiple Braun units for almost 30 years and I loved them, especially compared to the Philips-Norelco, which I used before. Braun shavers have lost their mojo. They’re made of cheaper material, don’t last, and are expensive.
Good call on the cost of the cleaning solution between the Panasonic and Braun. The Braun is extremely expensive, IMHO, which I’m sure does wonders for P&G’s profit margin. It’s the old HP model (sort of)–give away the printers and soak them on the ink cartridges. Except, Braun is definitely not giving away their shavers. They’re expensive–very expensive. Perhaps this is because people can do without the cleaning solution. A Inkjet printer is a brick without the ink.
I totally agree. I remember the first Series 7 I bought back in the day that came with higher quality plastics, superior blades and Bosch electronics.
Many thanks for your comment.
Sorry about the switch issues you’ve had — this is actually the first time I’m seeing it. I own several Arc 5 and Series 9 shavers and so far they all work flawlessly.
Your information and detail is amazing and much appreciated. I was wondering if the LS 65 shaver would work in the LS 95 cleaning station? Thanks!
Thank you for your comment, Stan, much appreciated.
I believe you are referring to the LV65 and LV95, respectively. Unfortunately, the LV65 will not work in a cleaning station as it doesn’t have the metal contacts on the back that connects it to the station. Only the LV95 has them.
I am considering to buy Panasonic Arc LV65 or Braun 7020s because of similar price range.
Which one should I pick? Thanks.
The choice should really come down to what you need from a shaver. The ES-LV65 is a really powerful machine that shaves really close and works the best on short facial hair. It’s not ideal for sensitive skin or if you have lots of flat-lying hairs. The 7020s is very comfortable and easier to use thanks to the smaller shaving head, works noticeably better on flat-lying hairs (or) that grow in different directions. It doesn’t shave quite as close as the Panasonic, especially above the upper lip or under the chin, but most users should be perfectly satisfied with the closeness.
Hope this helps.
THANK YOU for providing such a comprehensive review and analysis.
Any search produces a myriad of model numbers and it is hard to assess them without your guidance.
Incidentally long ago I had an early Philishave which cut me, then a succession of Remington and Panasonic and, based on other reviews, a Philips 9000 – this to me seemed a vast improvement – very close and quiet, better at flat hairs on the chin and neck than the others. When the blades needed replacing I found them up to £80 for the complete head so I thought, hey, what the heck, I’ll try the cheapest around £8 and see what it offers – in fact it melted in the SmartClean!
I decided no more Philips – the cleaning is almost impossible and the SmartClean clogs easily – there is no mention of this in the instructions.
I’ve just bought a series Braun 9 9390 at reduced price which suits me though, if I had seen your review, I might have gone back to Panasonic.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
I don’t think you should regret your choice — especially since you’ve mentioned flat hairs. The Panasonic Arc 5 isn’t as good at cutting flat hairs as the Series 9 or your previous Philips Series 9000. It does have other advantages of course, but I think the Series 9 makes more sense here.
Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful comparison.
Maybe I’m the only one who has had this concern, but when I had my Braun Series 7 with the Clean and Renew station, and after a few years it became a bit noisier during cleaning, I became concerned that a device with an electric motor that was pumping flammable alcohol might be a safety hazard. All it would take is a minor spark to set off the alcohol-based cleaning solution. Perhaps they have sealed the motor so as to provide protection from such sparks but I have never read anything on this topic. Almost all motors generate sparks so some care would be called for to ensure safety.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
That is a valid concern. However, it would be extremely unlikely for something like that to happen. I am certain that there have been numerous and rigorous tests and as long as the users follow the instructions, the units are perfectly safe.
Actually I’ve both Panasonic and Braun shavers, the older models. Yes I agree that Panasonic does seem to provide a closer shave initially but Braun does the same job as well if one only knows how to manipulate the shaver. They are both built by different manufacturers, German and Japanese. Oh I forgot to add that I’m Asian. As both Panasonic and Braun are in some ways built with different technology and creativity in mind, they should be used in different methods of shaving. I found that out thru many different practices. A Chinese idiom goes like this, it’s not only the quality of the blade that makes a swordsman powerful but it’s the skill and maneuvering ability of his swordsmanship that makes the difference! Stay safe everyone..
Thank you for your comment, Ronald. I agree, my experience with a particular shaver won’t always be the same as someone else’s. In my case, I could never get the same closeness with the Series 9 on areas with thicker hair like my chin or below the nose.
Great to read (over here in Europe/Holland) your experiences and opinion about the Braun and Panasonic shavers. After using Wilkonson Sword for the last 35 years I’ve decided it’s time to buy an electric shaver. Shaving every day except for the weekend 2/3 days and with a normal to strong beard growth and normal skin I now do have to made my choice which one to buy. I’m in doubt for these models and the prices are EU prices converted to $: Panasonic ES-LV67/95A $190 – ES-LV6Q $290 / Braun 7865CC $190 – 9296CC $225 – 9360CC $265.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your comment. Considering your shaving routine, but also your facial hair, I would go with one of the Panasonic models you’ve mentioned. My personal pick would be the ES-LV67 as it’s the cheapest one and the performance throughout the generations 2 and 3 of the Arc 5 range is pretty much the same. The ES-LV6Q has the updated foils with the rollers, but apart from making the shaver slightly more comfortable, it shaves exactly the same. Some users are also not fans of the rollers as they feel they somewhat affect the closeness — they don’t bother me at all, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for replying me so fast with your advise. Today I saw a price breakdown for the Panasonic ES-LV6Q and the diiference between the ES-LV67 is now only $40. Will your advise be the same?
I searched a little bit further and found the ES-LV67 on Amazon Germany for only $145 incl shipping costs. In my opinion is this a great deal so I bought it. Next Saturday it will be delivered.
I think that was the right call — I would have still suggested the ES-LV67 despite the price drop of the ES-LV6Q. The difference was still (almost) a new set of foils and blades. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5!
Spot on. I have both and I find that the Arc provides a closer shave but the braun feels more refined.
I wish they could have a love child 🙂
That would be my dream shaver as well. 🙂 Thank you for your comment, Mike, much appreciated.
Costco has a Braun S9 Sport with cleaning station on sale for $159,99. Cannot find what the heck a Sport model is. Good price, but am hesitant.
That would be the 9310cc sold exclusively in their stores. It’s basically the same as any other 93xxcc Series 9 model that comes with the standard cleaning station. You can read more in this guide.
I don’t know if this was already answered. But if you go for a wet shave, what would be the best type of cream or gel. Otherwise impressively detailed and knowledgeable posts you have here!
As I mentioned in this comment, any quality shaving cream or soap will work as long as you nail the consistency and use only a thin layer of lather (and keep it properly hydrated). More details in this article.
Firstly thanks for the reviews. I have read a few of your articles on these two shavers. At this stage I am leaning towards the series 9 but thought I would ask for your input.
For years I sported a beard due to sensitive skin and issues shaving. Then I started a job that required me to be clean shaven to obtain an airtight seal. I have to shave up to 4 or 5 days in a row (shift work) and have been using a safety razor with creams ect straight after a hot shower. After a few years of still getting ingrowns, rashes and nics ect on my neck, I have had enough and want to try an electric shaver.
I am leaning towards the series 9 due to the sensitivity and the frequency of shaving (as well as hairs that like to grow sideways and just below the skin). However, I keep reading that the arc cuts closer.
I was wondering, having never used an electric shaver.
1: Is there much difference in quality and comfort between the series 7 and 9?
2: Is there really that much difference in ‘closeness’ between the arc and series 9?
3: If there is, the arc would surely be less ‘destructive’ than a razor shave yeah?
My facial hair is somewhat dense and quick. particularly around my mouth.
Thank you for your comment. Considering everything you’ve mentioned, the Series 9 seems like a better fit. Ingrown hairs, sensitive skin, hairs that grow sideways — those are things that are normally handled better by Braun shavers. The Series 7 is still an impressive performer and easier to use for a beginner (very compact and nimble shaving head) and in most cases it’ll be good enough. The Series 9 does have an advantage when shaving longer, coarser facial hair. But as far as comfort is concerned, I find both equally good and very forgiving. Please note that I am referring to the older Series 7 generation, not the 2020 models which are in fact worse.
As for the closeness, the Arc 5 can cut the hairs closer to the skin compared to a Series 9. The difference isn’t by any means huge, but I am able to notice it, especially on areas with thick hairs like under the nose or on my chin.
If your technique is on point, I would say that the Arc 5 is gentler to the skin than a razor blade.
Thanks for the great comparison review of the two of top shavers.
I have a Panasonic ES-8251 which is very similar to ES-8249.
It’s a dry only shaver and works with the power cord plugged-in.
I’m keen to go with wet and dry shaver for my next shaver but I would like to try a wet shave with an electric shaver before I consider it as a key item in my decision making.
Can I use my dry shaver with shaving foam with extra care and ensuring to not to allow water leaks goes into the connection area with no power cable connected? I was even thinking about wrapping some cling wrap around the bottom of the shaver to protect the electronics from water and try a wet shave with foam but just wanted to make sure apart from not being water proof, do the dry only shavers have different foil, blade and head than the equivalent wet/dry shavers or the only difference is about being able to use them with power cord plugged-in or battery only?
Also, after using the Panasonic shaver for about 10 years now, it does a very clean shave and the shaver speed is quite fast. it’s great around the neck. On the negative side, it’s quite loud and it doesn’t collet all the residue in the head and makes a lot of mess around the vanity. Also it’s not that comfortable on the skin comparing to likes of Philips 7000 series however Philips sucks in shaving around the neck and curve areas.
Thanks again for your great reviews 🙂
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
In my opinion the risk of damaging your shaver is real, so I cannot recommend using it for a wet shave. Also, most current Panasonic shavers are actually wet/dry models, so you would probably end up buying a wet/dry model anyway, even if you’ll be using it dry. The foils and blades are generally the same between a wet/dry and the dry-only variation of the same shaver. The difference is usually related to corded/cordless operation.
I think you could hold on to your shaver for now if it still gives a decent shave. The newer ones are also loud and most foil shavers will make a mess.
This is Reza. Sorry, my Shaver is Panasonic ES8259 that I said ES8251 by mistake.
It’s dry only shaver but I would like to try wet shave with that if possible and seeking your advice.
Please see my reply above to your original comment, it’s still basically the same situation.
I have VERY sensitive skin and at this point cannot use a standard razor ever again simply due to the sheer amount of ingrown hairs, irritation, etc…
I’m hoping that either the Braun Series 9 or the Panasonic Arc 5 will be the answer to my prayers!
Anyways, if I’m going to get one of these, I want to make sure that the one I pick is THE “top of the line” best/newest version/model possible. I assume that the Panasonic’s are the most current and updated versions of Panasonic’s Arc 5 line. However, of the …… models, which is THE best model, including the cleaning station charger, etc…
Additionally, of the series 9 9390cc models, which is the most current and updated top of the line generation/version?
What about Xiaomi trimmer?
Cost is not really the issue here for me. I just want to make sure I get the most current and full-featured flagship high end device possible. Thank you for your articles they are very informative and thourough!
Thanks for the all info that you stating!
Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated.
Since you have very sensitive skin, I would go with a Series 9. There’s actually an Arc 6 that was just launched in Japan and it is the latest one from Panasonic. However, it’s difficult to buy at this moment and I am yet to test it.
As for which Series 9 to get, the models starting with 93 (like the 9390cc) are from the latest iteration and all of them shave exactly the same. I’ve also tested the Xiaomi shaver (you can read my review here), but I strongly recommend going with a Series 9 instead.
thank you for this web dedicated to shavers. I commented before when I was upset about mine Braun Series 9 has still problem with cassettes falling apart. You directed me to alternative razor Panasonic Arc5 (i did not knew panasonic is making razors, before I found it on your web).
I just want to let you know I just found a suitable deal for me and bought Panasonic Arc5 in “great deal”. There is massive discounts now in europe on Panasonic shavers, so now Panasonic shaver costs nearly half the price of Series 9.
Just for comparison:
Panasonic Arc 5 – ES-LV9Q-S803
Razor price: 5800 CZK / 264 USD
Cleaning detergent (one piece price counted from 3pack): 63 CZK / 2.9 USD
Replacement razor cassette + blades (WES9034Y1361 – Cheapest compatible option): 1350 CZK / 62 USD (or WES9036 from authorized service for 1600 CZK / 73 USD)
Braun Series 9 – 9390cc
Razor price: 8900 CZK / 405 USD
Cleaning cassette (one cassette price counted from 6pack): 110 CZK / 5 USD
Replacement razor cassette (92B – cheapest one, strangely other colors vary much in price, some of them costs double…): 930 CZK / 43 USD
So now I have both of them (but Braun is 9090cc, cause I have it for few years, but with 92 cassette) and I am excited about it’s long-term comparison.
First impressions are good.
What I found so far better on Panasonic:
– Much smaller cleaning station than Braun (just a cosmetic issue)
– Better solution when refilling cleaning station (no plastic garbage like on Braun)
– Better build quality – braun’s head feels wobbly compared to panasonic – There are metal components, even below the cassette. (another cosmetic issue)
– It’s quieter than braun (another cosmetic issue)
– There is an information in the manual how to access a battery integrated in razor! OMG! I want this for every device! This signals me that manufacturer just does not presume that you will throw away razor when battery dies. (Yeah, I know that you can replace battery on Braun, I’ve done it in past on my old Series3 – but manufacturer just does not tells you how and you must just try your luck…)
What I found better on Braun:
– Easier placement of razor into cleaning station – you can just throw the razor in and it will be aligned by magnets. While on small Panasonic station you must put the razor into cleaning station the specific way. But it’s again only cosmetic one.
What is kinda different:
– The shaving heads/cassettes are completely different. I expected that Arc5 head will be really massive. But it is not! I believe it’s kinda same size as that series 9 head. The difference is that Braun has 4 bigger cutter elements. Panasonic on the other hand has much smaller cutting elements, but there are 5 of them.
Thank you for taking the time to share this, much appreciated. With electric shavers, prices sometimes don’t make much sense and you’ll just have to do some research before buying. I’m glad you enjoy shaving with the Arc 5 and I totally agree, in terms of build quality, Panasonic is currently the best.
Thanks so much for a wonderful detailed review. I am a fan of your work. Just marvelous.
You are way too kind, Felix, glad you found the site useful.
Hi just wanna say very informative and detailed article thank you also is this still relevant 2021 or are the newer better shavers out there maybe from other makes or something
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated. Yes, it is still relevant and I consider the Arc 5 and S9 some of the best shavers out there if the budget is not an issue. There is a new Arc 5 generation available in 2021, you can check out my review of it here.
Excellent write-up and your continued support is commendable.
What are your thoughts/experience with the following foil shavers for facial hair?
* Wahl Finale
* Andis ProFoil TS-2
* Babyliss Pro Foil FX02
… and how do they compare to Braun Series 9?
* Andis T-Outliner Trimmer (Cordless)
* Andis Slimline Pro Li D8 Trimmer (Cordless)
* Andis GTX T-Outliner Trimmer
* Braun 9290cc
All three Andis trimmers have been zero-gapped, GTX and Slimline are my backups, and the cordless T-Outliner is the only tool I use these days (i.e. once a week). Braun wet shaving is patchy in some areas (perhaps the shaving gel/foam isn’t conducive), dry shaving is much better after multiple passes, and wet/dry shaving always leads to unsightly razor bumps (tiny white bumps) that develops two days after shaving, and as a result this expensive purchase has been relegated to the storage room gathering dust.
In my experience, the zero-gapped T-Outliners are the closest razor bump free shave I can get, however, it’s not close enough and I have to wait a week between shaves. Being black with coarse hair (and a few that are flat-lying) makes me predisposed to post-shave skin irritation.
Would appreciate your thoughts/advice re the above. I’m also wondering whether a rotary shaver (https://shavercheck.com/best-rotary-shaver/) would be more suitable for my needs? And perhaps I need to reconsider my post-shave treatments and investigate better suited shaving gels/foams/creams… I’ve tested many over the years.
Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.
The three foil shavers you’ve mentioned above are quite similar in all regards (performance and versatility). I tend to recommend the ProFoil since it usually costs less. In my opinion all of them can shave closer than a Braun Series 9 since they have really thin foils. However, I find them a lot more aggressive than the Series 9 and also they work well on short hairs that grow straight, not wiry or flat-lying hairs.
I personally never got along well with using outliners/clippers on my face as the closeness was never as good as in the case of a good foil shaver and the hairs would often be cut at a very sharp angle, causing some problems post-shave, at least in my case.
But if you’re dealing with razor bumps then it would be recommended to stay away from shavers that cut the hairs very close to the skin as that can only favor pseudofolliculitis and bumps. So getting a closer shave might not be beneficial here. That said, the Series 9 is among the best in these situations. Maybe give it another try, let’s say a dry shave with a pre-shave lotion every 3 to 4 days? I really like the pre-shaves from Speick and Tabac, those are the most effective I’ve tried so far.
With rotary razors it would be a bit of a gamble; for most users a foil shaver will be a safer choice, but there are men that simply get better results with rotary razors. I don’t usually recommend them when dealing with bumps as most of them are not as forgiving as Braun Series 9 or 7 for example.
Thanks very much for your feedback.
Of all the trimmers I’ve tried, a “zero-gapped” Andis T-Outliner seems to provide the closest shave without the risk of razor bumps, but yes, it’s certainly not close enough and it’s harsh on the skin. And with regards razor bumps, I probably need to get a skin test done to determine whether my condition is folliculitis barbae, pseudofolliculitis barbae or both.
Here’s a list of things I’m now looking to use/try out:
* Andis T-Outliner
* Philips OneBlade Pro QP6550/15
* Andis ProFoil TS-2
* Braun 9290cc
* Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige
* Witch Hazel
* Proraso Pre Shave Cream Sensitive
* Boots Electric Pre-Shave (UK brand)
* Speick Men Pre Electric Shave Lotion
* Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel
* Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm
* Bump Patrol Sensitive Formula
* Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
The idea is to trim with Andis, a dash of Speick and Boots pre shave on either sides of my face, OneBlade Pro next, at which point I’ll make a determination whether or not to shave further. If yes, I’ll reapply pre shaves, follow up with Braun and S9000 Prestige, wash and cleanse face with Cetaphil, dab some alcohol or witch hazel, apply either proraso, bump patrol and/or Nivea as an aftershave and call it a day. If I do decide to wet shave at a later date, it’ll be with proraso as a pre shave, Nivea shaving gel, shave with Braun and S9000, and finish off with the same post shave treatment mentioned earlier. ProFoil may end up not being used if I get satisfactory results from the above.
Do you have any thoughts re OneBlade, Witch Hazel and Proraso pre-shave cream?
I’m happy to try anything (within reason) but my biggest challenge is that it usually takes three long weeks for the rashes/bumps to completely disappear without intervention.
No problem, glad I could be of help.
I haven’t personally used the OneBlade as I prefer a close shave, but this is the exact type of situation where the OneBlade could be a really good option. It will likely leave some stubble and won’t be as close as a shaver (be it rotary or foil), but again, that is generally beneficial when dealing with bumps and folliculitis. I think it would be great to perform the skin test as well.
I’ve tried Witch Hazel back in the day when I shaved wet with a DE razor but I remember that I didn’t really enjoy that astringent sensation, so I eventually stopped using it. But it can help and some users swear by it. I’ve also used the Proraso pre-shave cream for sensitive skin, the other one is way too heavy on the menthol for my liking. In my case it didn’t do much — again, I was wet shaving with a blade at that time, so it might be better with an electric shaver.
And regarding the Nivea shaving cream, I highly recommend the one that comes in the dark blue tube (that you must lather yourself). It’s way better than the canned foam/gel.
I have The Panasonic LV65 and it’s a very good shaving machine BUT after 2 years of using it the battery is almost dead. I bought a new one from amazon but it lasts as the old one in the machine. I am very dissapointed about this aspect although the shaving machine is very good. I have to recharge the battery once at 3 shavings which is very frustrating.
Sorry about your trouble. Two years is on the lower end, normally you should be able to get at least 3 years of decent use. My very first LV65 still holds a charge after years of use, so I’ve been lucky in that regard.
As for the new one that you recently bought, that doesn’t sound right and you should take advantage of the warranty and ask for a replacement.
This review is excellent. It’s highly detailed, easy to read, and does a great job in helping with the decision.
Thanks for taking the time!
Many thanks for the comment, glad you found it useful.
As of today, the replacement foil for the Panasonic is $110, on sale at Amazon for $80, which is still TWICE the price of the replacement foil for the Braun.
I was just about ready to click “Purchase” on the Arc5 ES-LV65-S, but now that the replacement foil is double the price, I’m back where I started: Undecided!
The price of these parts tends to fluctuate a LOT. Also, you might find some of the newer Arc 5 foils (the ones with the rollers) for a lot less than the ones that come with the ES-LV65-S (they will fit perfectly). You can check out my guide here.
Thank you for pointing that out, Ovidiu. I didn’t realize that I can buy an Arch 5 ES-LV65-S and the newer foils will fit it as well as the ones made for it. That may be the solution I needed.
Hello Ovidiu. Thanks for this site and all reviews! I have Braun series 7 and series 9 shavers and decided to buy and try Panasonic ES-LV6Q, so my impresssion for the first time, that there isn’t very big difference from Braun shavers talking about the closeness. I Don’t know, maybe it is just first impression.
And I wanted to ask, is it okay sometimes to use Panasonic, other time Braun shavers? For example in the morning Panasonic and in the evening Braun, or one day Panasonic, another day Braun? Is it no problem, what do you think?
Thanks a lot!
Thanks for the comment, much appreciated. The difference in closeness isn’t by any means huge and to some users it could be more or less noticeable. For example, in my case, the Arc 5 does seem noticeably closer below the nose and on the chin where my beard is really thick and dense. But apart from that, the two are on par.
Regarding your question, it’s perfectly fine to alternate between your shavers (I do it all the time).
Thanks for answer. Already some time I use Braun or Panasonic, and I like to change shavers.
And I have one more question, about my Braun 9293s, some time ago for some months I was not using my Braun series 9 shaver and the battery went to zero from not using, so I charged it, and everything works ok. But my question is, could this not using and draining it, affect battery lifetime?
Thanks a lot!
No problem, Jonas. As long as the battery has at least 60% charge before storing the shaver, I think the overall impact on the battery’s lifespan will be minimal. Also, sometimes Braun electric shavers will not start after a long period of sitting idle, even though the battery still has enough charge in it (I think it’s like a safety feature available on the newer shavers). Connecting it to an outlet with the cord for even a few seconds will kick start it back into life, so the battery won’t even be completely drained after a few months.
Just a follow-up to an earlier question I think I’m going to try the Arc 5 LV65/LV95 or LV67/LV97 first to see if I prefer it over a Braun series 9 after using a series 7 for years.
I’ve always used Braun’s cleaning stations with absolutely no issues ever well except for the expensive cleaning cartridges. After reading Arc 5 reviews though on their cleaning station the pump seems to fail in a year or two (assuming gen 2). Do you know this to be an issue?
Also the Panasonic cleaning station water/solution reservoir according to reviews needs to be cleaned and changed out weekly. If this is the case that’s a lot of maintenance for a cleaning station at least compared to the Braun.
Just wondering when it comes to the Panasonic cleaning station if it just makes more sense to not buy it and clean the Arc 5 manually?
I have no knowledge of the pump failing on the second gen station. The liquid tray should be rinsed when changing the solution, so definitely not on a weekly basis. I personally prefer buying Panasonic shavers without the station and clean them manually. It takes less than a minute and I lubricate the blades with a spray like the Andis CoolCare Plus or Remington Shaver Saver. I also prefer Braun stations (I can take out the cartridge and seal it when not in use, plenty of cheap third-party solutions).
I’ve read and reread this article over 8x and I really appreciate all the work and detail you’ve put into it. It took me a while to settle on the choice, and you really helped me be comfortable with my purchase. I will be getting the Arch 5 ESLV9Q model with cleaning station and comfort gold rods. I appreciate all that you do and I know my face will thank you too!
Awesome, Michael, many thanks for the comment. Hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new ES-LV9Q!
Which in your opinion is a better razer, the Braun Series 9 Pro 9465cc or the Panasonic ES-LV9FX-S Shaver?
Both are really good shavers, but excel at different things. To me, the Series 9 Pro is currently the best foil shaver for shaving dry, particularly if the hairs stay flat on the skin or grow in different directions. It’s just more effective than any Arc 5 at getting difficult hairs in fewer strokes, especially if you also shave less often, so the hairs are longer. It’s more comfortable than an Arc 5 too.
The ES-LV9FX-S on the other hand works great on short, thick, coarse hairs and can get even closer than the S9 Pro. But I would recommend it over the S9 Pro if you usually shave more often as it’s not as good as the S9 Pro at catching difficult facial hair, requiring more effort and time, particularly with the flat hairs on the neck.
Performance aside, the ES-LV9FX-S is clearly a step above anything Braun currently makes: build quality (aluminum body), 10-stage LED, superior pop-up trimmer. The S9 Pro’s battery is larger on the other hand (60 min vs 45 on the Arc 5).
Both have their specific pros and cons, so you should simply get the one that makes more sense for what you need.
Hope this helps.
Dear Ovidiu, thank you for a very comprehensive and helpful analysis. However, I wonder if you can help me as I have a disability which includes a cognitive problem of not being able to absorb and process many details, my brain can’t do it. I have tried to go through all your comments, but my brain can’t process it. I’m in my 60s and I am trying to find an electric shaver for my father, who is 92 and has wet shaved all his life.
He has poor eyesight and limited grip etc. and has recently badly cut himself a few times using a DE Safety razor. I think I’m going to suggest he gets either the Panasonic Arc 5 or the Braun Series 9, I think? He needs a razor easy to operate, easy to clean, preferably just under the tap water, and one that is relatively easy to get replacement parts. I’m also not sure whether I suggest he gets the cleaning station?
Grateful for your advice and razor recommendation for him please.
Thank you for your comment and kind words, much appreciated.
I would lean more toward the Series 9 — it’s more forgiving and easier to use (smaller head). It’s also more effective on stray/grey hairs which again I think would be beneficial. Both can be cleaned with warm tap water and while I do like the practical Braun station, you don’t absolutely have to get it, especially if you think your father will have some trouble using it. The Series 9 would again be better since the blades are integrated into the foil head, so one less thing to worry about when cleaning it. Also the Series 9 head fits both ways, while the Arc 5 foil head fits only one way and you must be careful not to bump it into the exposed inner blades.
You won’t have to worry about replacement heads for the Series 9 as they are available everywhere and even the newer Series 9 Pro head is compatible with the standard Series 9 shavers.
Hope this helps and that your father will be able to get a good shave. It will probably take a few shaves until he gets used to an electric shaver after a lifetime of DE razors.
I have both. The Arc 5 L65 and a series 9. The Arc 5 gets closer and is easier to clean. The Series 9 is faster, I don’t have to go over the same spots as many times. A little more effort to clean the shaving head. I think the Series 9 gives more shaves per charge. Not a fan of cleaning stations. Both shavers do a great job. The Arc 5 L65 can be purchased for $100 during Amazon specials or on Ebay. This is best shaver bargain around.
Thanks for the comment — that’s an excellent summary, I agree 100%.
Let me just say: very, very good job.
I chose Arc 5 version C.
Please tell me what is the difference between “ES-LV9Q” and “Series 900 ES-LV9U” models. I am interested in whether the ES-LV9U model has characteristics at least like the ES-LV9Q (e.g. does the ES-LV9U also have comfortable rollers that allow the shaving head to slide smoothly over the skin, etc.). Which model of them is the newest?
Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it.
The ES-LV9U is newer, but I wouldn’t say it’s actually better. The ES-LV9Q has a nicer aluminum body and a more feature-rich display. Both come with the comfort roller foil, but the one on the ES-LV9U is a newer revision, being slightly more comfortable. The differences are minor and you can actually upgrade the ES-LV9Q foil with the latest one (that comes on the ES-LV9U), it will fit perfectly. I wrote a very detailed Arc 5 comparison guide here if you want more details. I personally would choose the ES-LV9Q if the price is more or less the same.
The paradox is that the ES-LV9U is cheaper. Tell me please does he also have an aluminum body? The display is not so important to me anymore because I prefer the black color of the shaver. Are there any other differences I should know about?
No, the ES-LV9U has an all-plastic body (it really should be cheaper). No other significant differences, the shaving performance will be identical, maybe with a slight advantage for the ES-LV9U since it comes with a revised foil. Oh, and you also get a hard leather case instead of the soft one.
I have had the Braun S9 for just under two years now. My power button fell out the other day. This is extremely disappointing. I had similar issues with my first Braun shaver years ago. I just don’t think the Brauns are very durable.
I will be purchasing the latest Panasonic.
Thank you for your I depth review and comparison.
Thank you for the comment, Lee. Unfortunately these power button issues do happen sometimes. I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with the Panny.
I have been using ES-LV95-S for 3 years.
From time to time, I refer to this article to find out if it’s time to move on to something else or not.
Perhaps now is the time to do it.
I would like to confirm or not that my cleaning station is compatible with the following Panasonic shavers such as ES-LV97*, ES-LV9U, ES-LV9Q, etc.
Do you have an answer to this?
Thanks for the comment, much appreciated.
Unfortunately your station is not compatible with any of the models you mentioned (or any of the newer Arc 5 variations). The shavers won’t even physically fit inside the station even though they appear similar in size and shape to your ES-LV95. The three contact dots on the back won’t come in contact with the station. Even if they did, there’s a high chance the station wouldn’t pair with them.
Thanks a lot for the quick and clear explanation, even if it’s not what I was hoping to hear. I will take your previous advice and buy a shaver without a cleaning station.