Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One Is Better?

By Updated: 114 Comments
Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One Is Better?

Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 really is the battle of the Titans.

These two are arguably the most powerful, advanced and capable 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 all the facets of this debate 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.

An overview of the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 electric shavers

Both Panasonic and Braun are known to release updates to their lineups of electric shavers. The frequency of these update cycles can vary and the naming schemes 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 is 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 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. The Arc term designates the slightly arched profile of the shaving head, while the 5 stands for the number of individual cutting elements.

We’re going to group the Arc 5 shavers into 3 categories:

1. The first generation Arc 5 shavers (released in 2009).

These include 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 cleaning stations that used the older detergent cartridges instead of detergent sachets (more on this later on).

First generation Arc5 ES-LV81-K with the older cleaning station

Check the price on Amazon

2. The second generation Arc 5 (released in 2013).

In this group we’ll find the ES-LV-65-S (no cleaning station) and the ES-LV-95-S (includes an automatic cleaning station).

The cleaning stations received a major update and now use detergent sachets — a very economical solution. They’re also more compact and look a lot more modern.

The design of the shavers is also a departure from the older Arc 4 and first generation Arc 5 lines and paved the road for Panasonic’s latest design language (also used for the new Arc 3 LT shavers).

Second generation Arc5 ES-LV-95-S with the updated design and cleaning station

Check the price on Amazon

3. The third generation Arc 5 (launched in September 2015).

This latest iteration includes shavers like the ES-LV-9A-S (international model, automatic cleaning station), ES-LV-6A-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-LV-9N and ES-LV-6N, but they are identical to the international ones.

Buy the Panasonic ES-LV9N

Third generation Panasonic ES-LV9N Arc 5

Check the price on Amazon

In September 2016 Panasonic released a minor update to this third generation Arc 5. You can differentiate them from the previous 2015 international models by the use of the letter B in their names instead of A (ES-LV9B-S, ES-LV-6B-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.

UPDATE: Panasonic also introduced revisions C and D for this third generation Arc 5. You can read a comprehensive guide on what this update brings in terms of features here.

In this article we’ll mainly refer to the latest (third) generation of Arc 5 shavers when putting them against the Series 9. It’s only fair to compare Panasonic’s latest and greatest to the corresponding shaver from Braun.

However, I’ll still mention the older second generation Arc 5 in certain situations as they can still represent an excellent, cost-effective alternative.

Braun Series 9

The Series 9 is Braun’s current flagship shaver. The older Series 7 was beginning to show its age and Braun needed a new machine 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 two 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).

Braun Series 9 9095cc

Check the price on Amazon

While choosing one variation over another comes down to your personal needs, the shaving performance is identical throughout the entire line.

2. The updated Series 9.

The updated models are now called 9295cc, 9290cc and 9293s. The update is minor and mainly consists of a titanium coated HyperLift&Cut Trimmer and a new silver color option. Also, all the new Series 9 are suitable for wet & dry use.

Braun Series 9 9290cc [updated]

Check the price on Amazon

You can identify the newer models by the distinct golden color of the trimmer (it used to be blue on the previous models).

The shaving head of the Series 9 9290cc with the updated, Titanium coated trimmer.

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 break apart after just months of use.

Both 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.

If you would like to know more details, I 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

Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9

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 bits to cover and both the Arc 5 and Series 9 have pros and cons.

  1. The closeness of the shave
  2. Comfort
  3. Dealing with longer, curly, flat-lying hairs
  4. Wet & dry use

Please note that shaving is a very personal matter and a lot of these considerations are based on anecdotal evidence 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 said it several times before, I find foil shavers to provide the closest shaves. And among foil shavers, Panasonic is the best in my opinion when it comes strictly to the closeness of the shave.

The Arc 5 is Panasonic’s top of the line shaver 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. But the Arc 5 definitely has the edge here.

Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV9N-S

Buy the Panasonic ES-LV9N

Check the price on Amazon

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 factors 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.

The shaving head of a second generation Panasonic Arc 5

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 on even 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-LV95-S, which are still fantastic performers when it comes to closeness, but can now be bought at great discounts.

Panasonic ES-LV65-S

Check the price on Amazon

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.

2. Comfort

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 Series 9 is Braun’s best shaver to date. And it is supremely comfortable and gentle to the skin.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

Check the price on Amazon

Shaving with the Series 9 feels effortless and is a real treat. 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 rashes and 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) use comfort rollers to prevent excessive pressure and allow the shaving head to glide smoothly over the skin.

The shaving head of the latest generation Arc 5 shavers with the two golden comfort rollers.

This definitely improves the comfort compared to the previous generations, but the Series 9 is still slightly on top.

To sum it up, the Braun Series 9 would definitely be the better choice for someone with very sensitive, blemish-prone skin.

3. Dealing with longer, curly, flat-lying hair

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 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 it flanked by two Lift-Tech Foils that supposedly lift and cut flat-lying hairs.

Arc 5 shaving head: 2 Finishing foils (1), Lift-Tech Foils (2), Quick Comb Blade (3)

The Braun Series 9 uses a HyperLift & Cut 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 and grow in different directions.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

Check the price on Amazon

So if you plan on shaving every 2 to 3 days and have flat-lying hairs that grow in multiple directions, the Series 9 is the more sensible choice. The Arc 5 requires more strokes to get all the tricky hairs and this can also irritate the skin.

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. This can be a great option for men with very sensitive skin.

All Panasonic Arc 5 shavers are suitable for wet & dry use, while the first generation Series 9 offers both wet & dry (9095cc, 9093s) and dry only shavers (9090cc).

The latest iterations of the Series 9 are all suitable for wet/dry use (9290cc, 9295cc, 9293s).

But there’s a catch.

Usually, wet & dry means that you can use the shaver with a shaving cream. With the Panasonic Arc 5, there are no restrictions to that. You can use it with shaving creams or gels, in the shower, then toss it into the cleaning station and you’re all set.

Panasonic ES-LV95-S Arc 5

Check the price on Amazon

However, that’s not the case with the Series 9. 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.

So if you want to use a Series 9 with shaving cream you’ll be stuck with choosing a variation that doesn’t include a cleaning station, like the 9093s/9293s.

The other option is to clean all the foam manually and dry your shaver before using the cleaning base. And that’s a bit of hassle with the Series 9 and takes away all 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 a 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 9290cc.
  • Choose the Panasonic Arc 5 if you’re going to shave with cream or gel. There are no restrictions to this, you can use the cleaning station or clean the razor manually with ease; moreover, the comfort of the shave will be improved.

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 chrome/silver finish or a high gloss black. As it was expected, this treatment will probably not stand the test of time very well, at least aesthetically.

The new Silver option found on the 9290cc uses a matte, frosted treatment and it’s better compared to the glossy ones.

The Braun Series 9 9290cc in the silver matte color finish.

The Braun Series 9 9290cc in the silver matte color finish.

The chrome or glossy black finish is a fingerprint magnet and will 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. This is a clear departure from the older generation, which had a plastic body and a more in your face design.

Panasonic ES-CV51 build quality

The compact Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51/ES-CV70 with a brushed aluminum body

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. The intricate and massive shaving head, with its distinct golden comfort rollers, is something to behold.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9N-S

Buy the Panasonic ES-LV9N

Check the price on Amazon

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 just feels subjectively sturdier compared to the Series 9.

As far as ergonomics go, both the Arc 5 and the Series 9 score very well. The Series 9 is lighter and 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 quickly get used to its proportions.

It feels well balanced in the hand and the textured rubber materials on the sides and back ensure a very secure grip.

Also, the latest Arc 5 has probably the most adaptable shaving head of any foil razor, as it can also be depressed. This can be useful when shaving difficult areas that are problematic for foil shavers, like right beneath the jawline.

None of the two however is ideal for finesse work (shaving around a goatee or around 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 obscured by the massive heads, but you can sort of get around this problem by removing the shaving head and blades before using the trimmer.

Removing the inner blades and foil frame on the ES-LV65-S Arc 5 allows you to use the trimmer without the shaving head getting in the way.

I personally like the trimmer on the Arc 5 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 be considered 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.

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 Panasonics and go for it if you were to choose the Braun.

But things are different now.

With the second generation Arc 5, Panasonic also updated the cleaning stations. They now use concentrated detergent gel instead of cleaning cartridges that 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

Check the price on Amazon

The switch to the detergent sachets is also economical. They are cheap to buy and also last a lot longer than Braun’s cleaning cartridges. This means that the cost associated with the cleaning stations will be lower in the case of the Arc 5 shavers.

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.

My recommendation would be to go for 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 Panasonics are dead easy to clean manually.

Regarding the Series 9, definitely go for a model that comes with the Clean & Renew station, like 9290cc.

The Series 9 9290cc Silver during the automatic cleaning cycle.

Braun shavers are notoriously 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 a cleaning once a week or so and in the meantime remove the cartridge and put the plastic cap back on to avoid the evaporation of the cleaning fluid.

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.

The Arc 5 foil assembly offers easy access for a thorough cleaning.

As for the Series 9, take a look at the picture below and you’ll easily see why a manual cleaning is such a hassle.

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 to vibrate really fast, dislodging any debris and dirt.

To sum it up:

  • If the Series 9 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

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.

So here’s an overview of the situation at the moment of writing.

Braun Series 9

Due to the recent (and minor) update mentioned at the beginning of this article, (the titanium coated trimmer), previous Series 9 shavers like the 9095cc, 9090cc or 9093s can sometimes be found at great prices, especially the dry only models.

But that’s not always the case, so definitely check the other options as well. Currently the best option seems to be the wet/dry Braun 9290cc from the updated Series 9 as it’s priced even lower than the original Series 9 cc models.

Braun Series 9 9290cc

Check the price on Amazon

The new 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 shaving head

Check the price on Amazon

Regarding the price of the cleaning cartridges, your costs should be at around $2 – 3 per month. This depends on the price of the cartridges (which can vary) and how often you shave. Also, buying them in bulk (a pack of 4 for example) will usually mean a lower price per cartridge.

Braun Clean and Renew Cartridges

Check the price on Amazon

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 cleaning cartridge last longer, check out this guide.

To sum it up: apart from the 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 said 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 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 ES-LV65-S Arc 5

Check the price on Amazon

Regarding the latest models, the price is pretty high at the moment, higher than the price of a Series 9. But if this is not an issue, it really is a fantastic performer and definitely Panasonic’s best shaver yet.

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 solution (about half at the moment of writing).

Panasonic WES4L03 detergent (3 count)

Check the price on Amazon

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

Check the price on Amazon

The Panasonic replacement foils and blades used to be pretty expensive compared to the ones for similar Braun shavers. Regarding the latest Arc 5 and the Series 9, it still appears to be the case.

In its defense, the Arc 5 is newer, so the price will definitely 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 significantly 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 combos are still expensive and sometimes difficult to find (you can order them directly from Panasonic as well).

Overall, I would say that the Panasonic Arc 5 and Braun Series 9 are pretty similar in terms of overall costs.

Final word

This concludes our Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 battle. 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 the first two can still be great budget-friendly alternatives.

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 perfectly satisfied with either of the two.

114 comments on “Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9: Which One Is Better?

Leave a comment
  1. Jack

    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:
    Protective SkinGuard
    2x Opti-Foil™
    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 …

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Best,

      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Jack

        Hi Ovidiu,
        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 …

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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.
          90s
          92s

          Reply
  2. Todorov

    Hello all,

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        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.

        Reply
  3. Neko

    Hi,
    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?

    Kind regards.

    PS : good and helpfull article

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Reply
  4. Will

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Best,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Will

        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!

        Cheers,

        Will

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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 on sites like Amazon.com. And I totally agree, the new LV Arc5s are obscenely 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,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  5. Luis O

    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.
    Blessings.
    Luis.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Luis,

      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.

      Best,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Maxim

        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.

        Reply
        1. Francesco

          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.

          Reply
  6. Alex

    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?

    Thanks.
    Alex

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Alex,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Mare Stefan

    Hello Ovidiu,
    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Stefan,

      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. 🙂

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. Anubis Ahriman

    Hello Ovidiu,

    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.

    Sincerely,
    Anubis

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Anubis,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Anubis Ahriman

        Hello Ovidiu,

        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.

        https://goo.gl/ML9fht

        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.

        Thank U.

        Most sincerely,

        Anubis

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          1. Anubis Ahriman

            Much appreciated, kind Sir.

            I have subscribed to Ur newsletter and I know who to seek when worthy and very helpful advice is required.

            Thank U.

            Best regards,

            Anubis

          2. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            You are very welcome Anubis, glad I could help.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  9. Edward Lucas

    Hello,

    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).

    Thanx
    Edward

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hello Edward,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Edward Lucas

        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.

        Edward

        Reply
  10. Eric Osman

    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:

    https://moo.review/panasonic-arc-5-es-lv9n/

    https://moo.review/braun-series-9-electric-shaver-review/

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Eric Osman

        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.

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  11. Darryl Phillips

    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.
    Darryl

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hey Darryl,

      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,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. Evren Gocmen

    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?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Evren,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Evren Gocmen

        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.

        Reply
        1. Evren Gocmen

          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?

          Reply
          1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            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.

    1. Evren Gocmen

      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?

      Reply
      1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

        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.

        Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Reply
      1. Evren Gocmen

        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?
        and
        How much LV95 is better than LA93K?

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi,

          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.

          Reply
  13. Bob Dorfman

    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.

    Reply
  14. Saeed

    Hi

    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

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Saeed,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Saeed

        Hi Ovidiu
        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 ..

        Best Regards

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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.

          Reply
          1. saeed

            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

          2. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            Hi Saeed,

            You are very welcome. It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying your shave with the Series 9.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  15. Andrea

    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?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Peter Siragi

        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.

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Peter,

          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.

          Best wishes,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  16. Michael

    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!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  17. shah

    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?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi shah,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. Skippyville

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  19. Paul

    Do you believe either has benefits over the other if it is being used to shave one’s head?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Reply
  20. simon

    Hi,
    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Simon,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  21. Miki

    Hi Ovidiu,

    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.

    Thanks,
    Miki

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Miki,

      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).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Miki

        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).

        Thanks again,
        Miki

        Reply
  22. Adam

    Ovidiu,

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Adam,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
        1. Adam

          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.

          Thanks again.

          Reply
          1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            Hi Adam,

            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.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  23. Just another guy

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  24. tibi

    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!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi 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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  25. tibi

    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!
    Kind regards!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Tibi,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  26. Lucifer

    Hi Ovidiu,

    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!

    – Lucifer

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Lucifer,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  27. Fabio

    Hello
    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Fabio,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  28. Fabio

    ..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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Fabio,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  29. John

    Hi Ovidiu
    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)
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi John,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  30. Tony

    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!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Tony,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Tony

        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.

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          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.

          Reply
          1. Tony

            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.

          2. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

            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.

  31. Tom

    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?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Tom,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  32. Carlos

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Carlos,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  33. Tony

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  34. Tony

    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.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hey Tony,

      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.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

Please leave a comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *