The rumor mill has been suggesting for quite some time that Panasonic will eventually add yet another blade to their already impressive shavers in the Arc 5 lineup.
And after years of relatively minor revisions, most of them released exclusively on the Japanese market, we finally have the official confirmation: the new Panasonic Arc 6/Lamdash 6 will come with a 6-blade shaving head.
The announcement was made in April 2021 and there’s quite an extensive presentation page on Panasonic Japan.
There’s a lot to take in, so in this article I will share my opinion on this new generation of shavers and only focus on the things that really matter for us, the end-users.
However, it will be more like a first impressions post as I will have to buy and properly test the new Arc 6 before I can draw a proper conclusion.
So let’s get right to it.
Table of Contents
Top 4 features that could be game-changers
Since the Panasonic Arc 6 will be their new flagship shaver, it will obviously be packed to the brim with the latest technologies and features.
Beard density sensors, fancy smart locking system, complex LED displays, fast linear-drive motors, etc. are all there and I won’t get too hung up on those.
I will be covering them in great detail once I get my hands on the shaver, but for now, I will only address 4 aspects that I consider to be particularly important and relevant.
1. A 6 blade shaving head: Revolutionary or overkill?
The highlight of the new Panasonic Arc/Lamdash 6 is of course THAT shaving head with 6 active cutting elements.
There are no gotchas here like Braun tried to do with their 4 blade Series 9, counting a metal bar as a fifth cutting element.
We truly have 6: 4 foil cutters and 2 trimmer-like cutters.
Right in the middle of the shaving unit, there’s now a single so-called comfort roller. The previous generation had 2 such rollers, but with the addition of the 6th blade, they probably didn’t have enough room to squeeze in a second one.
The purpose of it is to make the shaving head glide easier on the skin, and it makes sense since the total surface of the cutting elements that come in contact with the skin is huge, so the friction will be significant.
The previous implementation with two rollers worked great, so we shall see how effective this one will be.
Getting back to that whooping number of blades, one can’t help but wonder if it was really necessary.
After all, we know that even 3 blades can be good enough if they’re done right. The Braun Series 7 for example is one of the most successful shavers of all time and it still holds its ground in 2021 against other razors with more blades.
In my opinion, adding yet another blade is undoubtedly a marketing decision, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work well.
They could have probably gotten the same performance with only 5 blades, but that wouldn’t have made the new shavers stand out from the countless Arc 5 revisions of the previous years.
That said, there are some rather significant drawbacks that come with a very complex shaving head like this one.
First of all, the sheer size of the head is something you’ll need to get used to. Secondly, the replacement foils and blades will probably be very expensive in typical Panasonic fashion.
And considering that the current replacement parts for the Arc 5 aren’t exactly cheap, you can expect to shell out some serious money for the 6 blade heads.
2. Completely redesigned cutters for capturing long hairs
While the foil elements of the Arc 6 are nothing new — two finishing foils cut short hairs at skin level and the other two supposedly lift and cut short flat-lying hairs — the true novelty is represented by the new slit trimmers.
Cutting long hairs, especially if they grow in different directions or stay flat on the skin, was always the Achilles heel of Panasonic shavers.
The engineers were definitely aware of that and with the Lamdash 6, they finally made something about it.
Precisely, we have not one, but two slit trimmers designed specifically with that in mind.
They have a distinct gold color as a result of a Titanium Nitride coating, similar to what Braun did with the second generation of the Series 9 line.
Panasonic explicitly mentions that the new blade arrangement is now capable of capturing up to 4 times more long hairs in a stroke compared to the previous generation.
The new 6-blade Lamdash shavers should also be more effective at shaving the hairs right under the chin, usually a problem area for many users.
I’m definitely intrigued by the completely redesigned trimmer and the addition of a second one because as I mentioned previously, it’s the first significant update I’ve seen in this regard.
3. Independently moving blades
In addition to the flexing capabilities of the shaving head itself, having independently moving cutters is nothing out of the ordinary.
However, Panasonic always had an issue with properly implementing this feature.
Precisely, it would take A LOT of force to press and move the cutters and during normal use, when you have to apply only the slightest pressure, the cutters would basically stay in the same position.
Moreover, the range of motion was too short compared to Braun for example and this, along with the larger heads meant that you had to work a bit harder in order to keep all the cutters flat on the skin while shaving various areas.
This problem went on for years and it was the same with all Panasonic models, regardless of price point.
Well, I’m glad to see that they finally did something about this and completely redesigned the system. Panasonic calls it an Adhesion float blade mechanism and promises a smooth and effortless flexing action.
I am probably more excited about this part than anything else and I’m really looking forward to seeing how well it performs compared to the previous system (that was honestly pretty bad).
In addition to the 6 cutters that can move independently, the Arc/Lamdash 6 comes with a really impressive shaving head that can flex in 5 directions.
It’s supposed to be a refined version of their previous system, but I’m still really skeptical about it, to be honest.
In my experience, as impressive as it is as an engineering feat, that one just proved to be annoying during use, making the head really wobbly and not really helping me to get a better shave.
I am still convinced that a proper implementation of a back and forth moving head, with decent range of motion, would be a much better solution. Braun gets this right with the older Series 7 and the Series 9.
4. USB charging
I am a big fan of electronics that use a USB Type-C charging port and I think all electric shaver manufacturers should adopt it so we can use our existing phone chargers.
This would be so much more convenient when traveling and some brands are already doing it.
Unfortunately, Panasonic still went with their proprietary port with the new Arc 6, but at least they included something really neat with the range-topping model: a hard travel case with USB charging.
This is really great and I absolutely love the concept. It’s just like the Airpods that are being charged via the case.
It would be an ideal travel setup as you get a practical and compact case that protects your shaver, but you can also plug your phone’s charger in the USB port and charge your shaver.
Unfortunately, this case only comes with the high-end Lamdash ES-LS9AX model and I don’t think it’ll be available separately.
Also, if they do sell it as an individual item, it will only work with the models that come with a cleaning station as those shavers have the three contact pins on the back needed for charging.
Let’s now take a look at the different models and the differences between them.
Panasonic Arc (Lamdash) 6 model comparison
Currently there are only 3 models and in the table below you can check out the most important differences between them.
There are two models that come with automatic cleaning and charging stations (ES-LS9AX, ES-LS9N) and one that doesn’t (ES-LS5A). The latter is also the cheapest one because of this.
Also, all the shavers come in a black trim, so you’ll sometimes find them listed with a -K at the end of the model name: ES-LS9AX-K, ES-LS9N-K, ES-LS5A-K.
All three Lamdash 6 variations are waterproof, so they can be manually cleaned with water.
However, only the ES-LS9AX and ES-LS5A are suitable for wet/dry use and as a safety precaution, they can only be operated cordless.
The ES-LS9N is a dry-only shaver and will also work with the cord plugged in.
The two models that come with cleaning stations also feature the so-called Smart lock function that automatically locks the power button and unlocks it when you grip the shaver in your hand.
The ES-LS5A comes with a standard electronic travel lock, activated by pressing and holding the power button.
Also, the ES-LS9AX and ES-LS9N are fitted with a battery level indicator that shows the battery remaining charge in increments of 5%, while the budget ES-LS5A only displays that information in 20% steps.
Being the range-topping model, the ES-LS9AX includes the slick USB-charging case. The ES-LS9N comes with a basic hard travel case and with the ES-LS5A, you’re only getting a cloth pouch.
Performance-wise, all three models are absolutely the same, so the differences are only related to the included accessories and a few features that don’t affect the shaving performance in any way, like the travel lock or battery display.
All Arc 6 razors use the same motors and foils/blades.
Panasonic released the new Lamdash 6 line in April 2021, which is a bit unusual as they generally announce new shavers in late summer.
By the way, Lamdash 6 is how they officially call the shavers in Japan, but we’ll probably just refer to them as Arc 6 as that’s way more familiar.
And at least for now, they are only available in Japan and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.jp (shipping starts on June 6, 2021).
The last 3 or 4 revisions of the Arc 5 were never released outside Japan and it would be interesting to see what they decide with the new Arc 6/Lamdash 6.
As expected, the price is very high and it’ll probably be the same in the case of the replacement foils and blades.
The cheapest one is of course the Panasonic ES-LS5A that doesn’t include the cleaning station (and to be honest, you don’t really need it) and it’ll probably be the pick of the range.
It’s a shame that you won’t be able to use it with the USB case in case they’ll sell it separately.
Alternatives you can buy right now
Considering the limited availability and price of the Panasonic Arc 6, we can conclude that it’s not really a viable option right now for users in Europe or North America.
For example, I tried to pre-order one and the seller won’t ship to Europe where I’m located.
I’m sure there will be more buying options available later on, but for now, I think we should consider some of the older 5-blade Panasonic shavers instead.
They’re still fantastic performers in 2021 and even though they have only 5 blades, that’ll be more than enough even for someone with coarse facial hair.
Of course, the issue of capturing longer hairs is present and you’ll have to shave more often in order to get the best results. If your beard grows slower, you can get away with a few days between shaving sessions.
Finally, there’s the newer ES-LV9Q or ES-LV6Q and those two are particularly appealing options for users in the UK/Europe as Panasonic never released them in the USA.
They come with updated outer foils with the two comfort rollers and are a bit more comfortable than the aforementioned ES-LV65 and ES-LV67. But other than that, they shave pretty much the same.
To say that I’m excited about shaving with the Panasonic Arc 6 would be an understatement. And not because it has 6 blades, but particularly for the improvements made to the cutters that catch longer/flat-lying hairs and for the redesign of the floating cutters mechanism.
Unfortunately, I can’t buy one right now, so any definitive conclusions will have to wait.
That said, I am pretty optimistic about their performance and I will of course be reviewing them in great detail and also compare their shaving performance to the older 5-blade models.
UPDATE: We only got a Series 9 Pro with 4 blades, just as the regular Series 9.
Over to you now: Are you excited about these new Panasonic razors? Will you be buying one?
If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments below and please consider subscribing to stay up to date on this topic.
Featured image credit: panasonic.jp