Pros: very close shaves, very comfortable, powerful, suitable for very coarse beards, great wet & dry performance, suitable for sensitive skin, excellent build quality, very effective pop-up trimmer, decent accessories bundle, easy to clean manually
Cons: pricey, still not the best with long/flat-lying hairs, large shaving head
What seemed far-fetched at first finally happened: Panasonic added yet another blade to their already impressive Arc 5 shavers.
Meet the Panasonic Arc 6 (aka Series 900+ or Lamdash 6), the world’s first and only 6-blade foil electric shaver.
Out of all the new, high-end shavers introduced in recent years, the Arc 6 got me the most excited.
As a long-time Panasonic user, the idea of a 6-blade electric razor was intriguing, to say the least.
Initially, the Arc 6 line was a Japan-exclusive release, so you had to import the shaver from Japan, meaning even more money for what was already a pricey shaver.
And at that time, it wasn’t clear if the Arc 6 is worth the trouble.
Panasonic finally released the Arc 6 globally (including in the USA) in June 2022 (press release).
Panasonic Arc 6 ES-LS9A-K
As of 2023, the Arc 6 is readily available and you should be able to easily buy one.
However, if you already own an Arc 5 or you can get one for a lot less, you may want to know whether an upgrade to the Arc 6 will bring any noticeable improvements to your shave.
I just couldn’t resist the hype and I bought one from Japan prior to the global launch and in this Panasonic Arc 6 review I will share everything you need to know about it, pros and cons included.
I’ll also be comparing the Arc 6 to the most popular Arc 5 models and see if it brings enough benefits to justify the extra cost.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Panasonic refers to these 6-blade shavers as Arc 6 in the USA, Series 900+ in Europe and Lamdash 6 PRO in Japan.
My Arc 6 is the wet/dry Panasonic ES-LS5A (Japanese model), but it’s identical performance-wise to the ES-LS8A-K/ES-LS9A-K.
So you might as well consider this a review of the Arc 6 ES-LS8A and ES-LS9A (the global models).
The ES-LS8A is somewhat the entry-level Arc 6 as it doesn’t include the cleaning station, so it also costs less.
The ES-LS9A-K comes with an automatic cleaning station, but again, the shaving performance is absolutely identical to the ES-LS8A-K or any of the Japanese models.
Also, as of 2023, there are already two newer revisions of the original Arc 6 models (like the ES-LS8A and ES-LS9A) and are only available in Japan.
However, as I mentioned in my Arc 6 comparison guide, the differences in shaving performance are insignificant and are not worth the trouble of importing a revision B or C Arc 6 (or Lamdash 6 Pro as it’s called there).
Table of Contents
- 1. Features overview
- 2. Build quality and ergonomics
- 3. Included accessories
- 4. Battery life and charging
- 5. Shaving performance
- 6. Panasonic Arc 6 vs Arc 5: Which one is better?
- 7. Cleaning and maintenance
- 8. Replacement parts availability
- 9. Wrapup — Who should buy the Panasonic Arc 6?
- 10. Alternative shavers
1. Features overview
1. 6-blade shaving unit
Let’s start with the defining characteristic of this razor, the bonkers 6-blade shaving head.
Now, 5 individual cutting elements were already plenty. In fact, the Braun Series 7 is proof that even 3 cutters can be enough when done right.
The new Arc 6 comes with 6, slightly curved cutters.
Excessive? Overkill? You bet.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t work well. Besides, it’s better to have an over-engineered product that can do the job without breaking a sweat.
I will be getting into all the details in the performance section of the review.
So what does this new 6-blade head bring? Well, compared to the Arc 5, it comes with an additional slit trimmer, so we now have two for the Arc 6.
These trimmers are supposed to better catch long, flat-lying hairs, something that Panasonic electric razors have always struggled with.
So here’s the structure of an Arc 6 shaving head:
There are four foil cutters and two slit trimmers (mentioned earlier).
The foils are the ones that cut short hairs at skin level, while the golden cutters capture and trim longer, flat-lying hairs to a more manageable length.
Panasonic says this new structure of the Arc 6 shaving head allows it to capture 4 times more hairs in a single stroke compared to the Arc 5.
Fun fact: the two trimmers are exactly the same as the one on the Panasonic Arc 5 revision G, only that we get two of them on the Arc 6.
Unlike the Arc 5, we now have a single comfort roller (7) at the very center. This helps the massive head glide easier on the skin.
Another important difference compared to the Arc 5 is that all the blades are now integrated into the foil block itself.
So for the first time, we have no inner, removable blades as we did with the Arc 5, Arc 4 and even the Arc 3.
With the Arc 6, Panasonic decided to go with a single piece that combines the foils and blades, just like Braun has been doing for years with their cassettes.
It’s a bit less complicated as you don’t have to buy them separately.
On the other hand, it makes the head very intricate and more likely for gunk and dirt to accumulate in time if you don’t clean it properly after every use.
The 6-blade head is massive; however, if you’ve used an Arc 5 before, I don’t think you’ll have any issues shaving with the Arc 6 (more details later on).
2. Flexible head
The shaving heads of most Panasonic high-end shavers are really impressive in the way they can flex in multiple directions.
The new Arc 6/Lamdash 6 is no different and can move in 5 different planes as this picture illustrates:
While this is similar to what we’ve seen with the generation 3 Arc 5 shavers, in the case of the Arc 6, the movement is smoother and feels better when shaving.
With the Arc 5, I’ve always found the head a bit too jiggly.
So things appear to be better in the case of the Arc 6. As usual, you can also lock the head in a fixed position via a multi-function slider on the back of the head.
But I still have my pet peeve with this head as I think a simple front-to-back tilt with an adequate range of motion is the way to go.
Well, that plus a smooth movement of the 6 individual blades.
And speaking of that, the Arc 6 blades feature a new so-called Adhesion float blade mechanism that should improve the previous system found on other Panasonic shavers, including the Arc 5.
This was getting a bit long in the tooth and I’ve always said that Braun simply does it better with their basic shaving heads and foils that move effortlessly with a generous range of motion.
On a quick glance though, the Arc 6 doesn’t seem to be much better: it takes a lot of pressure in order to move a cutter and the range of motion is still way too short.
In practice, this means you’ll have to be more mindful when moving the shaving head over different areas of the face in order to maintain optimal contact with the skin.
Again, in the case of a Braun Series 9 or 7, the shaver does most of the work for you and it’s also more forgiving if you press too hard. And that’s mainly thanks to the longer and smoother range of motion of the foil cutters.
3. Powerful 14 000 CPM motor
The motor fitted to the Panasonic Arc 6 appears to be the same from the Arc 5 line, at least in terms of specs.
It’s a compact, powerful and smooth unit, arguably the best out there right now.
But compared to the Arc 5, the Arc 6 is a bit quieter and more refined, in the sense that it vibrates less.
It’s still loud by any means (as are all foil razors), but just feels like a more premium shaver.
We also get the now ubiquitous beard density sensor that should adjust the power output of the motor in order to provide maximum efficiency and comfort.
As was the case with the newer Arc 5 models, you cannot deactivate the sensor. We’ll see later on how well the Arc 6 performs in that regard.
4. LED display
The Arc 6 models come with an LED display that shows various information.
The one I bought for this review, the ES-LS5A, has a very basic 5-level battery indicator:
There are 5 segments on the white backlit display that turn off gradually as the battery charge drops. Each segment amounts to roughly 20% of the battery charge.
The more expensive Arc 6/Lamdash 6 models that come with cleaning stations, precisely the Panasonic ES-LS9A-K, ES-LS9AX/ES-CLS9AX and ES-LS9N, have a more advanced LED display that shows the battery percentage in 5% increments.
The exception to this rule is the ES-LS8A-K which doesn’t include a station but still features the more advanced percentage-based display.
Unfortunately, none of the Arc 6 models will display the elapsed time, which is a bummer. That was a very nifty feature found on older Arc 5 and even Arc 4 models like the ES-LV65 and ES-LA63-S, respectively.
5. Wet & Dry and Dry only use
All Panasonic Arc 6 variations are waterproof and can be safely washed with water.
The global ES-LS8A-K and ES-LS9A-K are officially suitable for wet & dry use, meaning you can shave in the shower or with shaving cream/gel.
For that reason, these can only operate in cordless mode (won’t work when charging as a safety precaution).
Several Japanese models (like the ES-LS9Q or ES-LS5Q) are suitable for dry-only use and will actually work when plugged in as well.
All Lamdash 6 models are fitted with rechargeable Li-ion batteries for approximately 45 minutes of cordless use.
The range-topping ES-LS9CX (Japan exclusive) is offered with a charge-through travel case that uses a USB-type C connector.
6. Misc features
Other noteworthy features are the pop-up hair trimmer, travel lock, sonic cleaning mode and universal voltage converter (100 to 240 volts, so you can charge it abroad as well).
2. Build quality and ergonomics
For the past 10 years or so, Panasonic has been setting the benchmark for build quality, particularly with their high-end shavers.
For example, a few Arc 5 models in the third generation come with an aluminum body.
And with the Arc 6 being the new flagship shaver, it had some pretty big shoes to fill in.
Luckily, it managed to do that and more.
From an aesthetic point of view, it looks like a more mature, refined and premium product.
And while it’s not exactly minimalist in design, compared to the Arc 5, it’s definitely simpler and more streamlined.
It has none or very few glossy surfaces for example (depending on the model).
Personally, I think it’s the best-looking Panasonic shaver out there right now.
The color schemes are elegant and subdued, comprised mostly of black, dark grey, a touch of gold, as well as some brushed aluminum trim on the range-topping Japanese-exclusive ES-LS9CX/ES-LS9BX.
My ES-LS5A Arc 6, as well as the two global models ES-LS8A-K and ES-LS9A-K, feature a glossy plastic panel instead of aluminum, but still look rather stylish.
By the way, the -K in the name only refers to the color of the shavers (black), so you will sometimes find them listed without it — for example ES-LS8A. Just know that it refers to the exact same shaver.
Let’s now take a closer look at the Arc 6, starting from the top.
The new 6-blade shaving head is absolutely massive. Compared to the Arc 5, it has the same length, but it is wider/taller by approximately 5mm.
The foil frame can be easily removed by squeezing the two release tabs located on the sides of the head:
As mentioned earlier, all 6 blades are now built into the foil, so we don’t have the two inner blades anymore.
The foil can pop out of the frame by squeezing another pair of tabs on the sides:
Once it’s out, you can easily observe what Panasonic calls an Adhesion float blade mechanism, basically what allows the foils to move independently.
There are tiny springs at the ends of a cutter, so it can flex and stay in contact with the skin.
In my opinion there are still two major issues with Panasonic’s implementation.
First of all, the range of motion for each cutter is very limited (less than 2mm). A Braun shaver for example has at least double of that.
Secondly, the plastic ends of each of the 6 cutters rub against the plastic frame — which results in a jerky motion and it takes a lot of pressure to move the cutter.
Again, this is in stark contrast with the smooth-moving foils of a Braun Series 9 or 7.
It’s an inherent problem of Panasonic’s foils/foil frames that cannot be addressed unless they completely redesign them.
This was something that I’ve always noticed with all Panasonic lines of electric razors, from the Arc 3 to this latest Arc 6.
But what I wanted to emphasize is that they still haven’t managed to address it, despite mentioning this new Adhesion float blade mechanism extensively on the official product pages.
That aside, the foil block is very sturdy and well made, the materials are of high quality and no compromises seem to have been made.
There are six pins that drive each cutter, the linear motor being connected directly to them (as opposed to the older rotary motors that required additional linkage to transform the rotational motion to linear).
This ensures optimal power delivery and reduces vibrations.
As a side note, Panasonic has been using these linear-drive motors since 1995 (with the introduction of the innovative ES881 shaver).
The head of the Panasonic Lamdash 6 is extremely flexible and can move in 6 planes.
However, I wouldn’t say this is also very useful in practice. But it’s an impressive feat of engineering nevertheless.
The front of the Arc 6 is quite minimalist and there’s not a lot going on.
For example, we do not have a rubberized thumb rest area above the power button anymore. In my opinion that would have been useful.
The front fascia has a smooth, matte finish, again a departure from the glossy one on the Arc 5.
I think that’s a good decision, both visually and practically. It will not show hairline scratches or smudges and it’s also grippier.
The power button is now round and quite small, but very clicky and easy to operate.
It doubles as a travel lock, activated by pressing and holding it for 3 seconds while the shaver is running.
A flashing padlock icon will signal that the travel lock is activated.
With the Japanese ES-LS9AX/ES-LS9BX/ES-LS9CX and ES-LS9N, we have a Smart Lock system instead — basically, the travel lock is active at all times and it deactivates automatically when you grab the shaver in your hand.
Below the power button we have the LED display.
It’s quite nice, with no backlight bleed, very even, sharp and bright. It shows various information, the most important one being the remaining battery charge.
The range-topping Japanese Arc 6 models have a more advanced display that shows the charge in 5% increments, while my ES-LS5A has a very basic display, only showing 5 bars, so 20% increments.
Luckily, the global/USA Arc 6 (ES-LS8A-K and ES-LS9A-K) comes with the better display.
One of the biggest letdowns regarding the Arc 6 display is that none will show the elapsed time anymore.
That was one of the more useful features on some Arc 5 models like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV9Q.
The Arc 6 is fitted with the typical Panasonic proprietary charging port, located at the very bottom of the razor.
On the back, we have the pop-up trimmer located on the shaving head itself.
It can be deployed via the multi-purpose switch located right below it.
The switch can also lock the head in a fixed position when you need more control and precision, for example when shaving the area below the nose.
Here are the 3 positions of the switch:
The ribbed rubbery surface on the back extends to the sides and towards the front of the Arc 6 and ensures an excellent grip.
Despite the large size of the shaver, the body is quite thin and you can hold it very securely.
Compared to the Arc 5 head, the one on the Arc 6 doesn’t feel much larger during use and you’ll definitely have no problem switching from an Arc 5.
My Arc 6 ES-LS5A weighs 209 grams, so only 10 more than a generation 3 Arc 5 (plastic build).
The Japan-exclusive ES-LS9CX for example tips the scales at 220 grams, a small bump in weight likely caused by the smart lock system.
Overall, the build quality and ergonomics of the Arc 6 are really good.
It’s a pity Panasonic couldn’t come up with a better solution for the independently moving blades though, that would have made the Arc 6 stand out in comparison to the Arc 5.
3. Included accessories
The Panasonic ES-LS5A, the budget model in the Arc 6/Lamdash 6 family, comes bundled with the following accessories:
- Charger (model RC1-80, 100–240v)
- Protective cap
- Cleaning brush
- Storage pouch
- User manual (Japanese only)
This is a pretty good bundle in my opinion. For example, Panasonic is the only one among the big 3 that still includes these small bottles of oil.
You won’t find one with a Braun or Philips shaver; the protective cap is also becoming a rare sight.
The only letdown is that storage pouch. It’s like a textile/velvety bag that looks and feels cheap and won’t offer much protection while traveling.
It’s also a lint magnet as you can see:
Even Panasonic’s old faux leather pouch would have been a step up from this.
The other more expensive Arc 6 models do come with upgraded cases.
The ES-LS8A-K and ES-LS9A-K come with a hard leather travel case.
The range-topping ES-LS9CX includes a plastic USB-charging case, similar to Braun’s PowerCase that made its debut with the Series 9 Pro.
Unfortunately, Panasonic’s case is not fitted with a battery, so it will not charge the shaver on its own (like a power bank).
Instead, it has a USB-C connector, so you can use your phone’s charger to charge the shaver when placed inside the case.
It has Panasonic’s proprietary connector at the end that goes into your shaver’s charging port, while on the other end there’s a regular USB-A connector.
This is in my opinion a very useful cable, especially when traveling and it’s the next best thing until Panasonic finally decides to drop their port in favor of USB type-C.
4. Battery life and charging
A new Lamdash 6 line would have been a good opportunity for Panasonic to also bump up the capacity of the rechargeable battery.
Both Braun and Philips have been doing that for the past few years with their premium razors.
Unfortunately, Panasonic has lagged a bit behind and things aren’t any different with the Arc 6.
Precisely, the Li-ion battery will provide enough power for approximately 45 minutes of use. So that’s a bit underwhelming for a premium-priced electric razor.
Also, you’ll probably want to charge it before it drops below 20% as you will notice the motor slowing down and your shave won’t be the best.
The Panasonic ES-LS5A that I’ve been testing is a wet & dry Arc 6, so it will only work cordless. It’s the same with the ES-LS8A-K and ES-LS9A-K.
Some Japanese models on the other hand are dry only, so you can also shave with the cord plugged in.
As for how long it takes to charge the Panasonic Arc 6, not that much actually.
It needed less than 45 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, which is really good.
There’s also the 3-minute quick charge feature that allows you to get just enough juice into the battery for a quick shave.
That won’t be a problem with the dry-only ES-LS9N as you can also shave while the razor is charging.
You can charge your Arc 6 by plugging the cable directly into the shaver’s port but also via the cleaning station (if it came with one).
With the Japanese ES-LS9AX/ES-LS9BX/ES-LS9CX, you also have the option of charging it through the USB case using any USB type-C cable.
All in all, nothing too spectacular regarding the battery life of the Panasonic Arc 6.
The charging time is short though and you can also opt for a model that works while charging, but you will need to buy one from Japan as the global models are cordless only.
5. Shaving performance
So far so good, but how does the Panasonic Arc 6 actually shave? And also, is it better than an Arc 5?
Well, let’s find out.
As usual, I will go over a few key areas, starting with the closeness.
Closeness of the shave
Having more blades can yield certain benefits, however, when it comes to closeness, particularly in the case of the Arc 6 and its blade arrangement, things are not as straightforward.
Out of those 6 blades, only the two outermost ones are the so-called finishing blades that are able to cut the hairs very close to the skin — so the same as the Arc 5.
Compared to the Arc 5 though, we have one extra slit trimmer (the pair of gold cutters) that captures and cuts longer, flat-lying hairs to a stump (which are then cut at skin level by the foils).
So objectively, the Arc 6 shouldn’t be better than the Arc 5 when it comes strictly to how close it can cut the hair.
And after using it for almost two months, I can also confirm that the closeness is the same as in the case of the Arc 5, regardless of the generation.
That said, it’s really good, arguably the best out there right now.
Panasonic ARC 6 ES-LS8A-K
And when used together with shaving cream, at least in my case, I really don’t see how an electric shaver can get closer than this — it really is razor blade close.
I shaved with the Arc 6 wet and dry (with and without a pre-shave) and the results were excellent every time.
But as I mentioned previously, in order to get the absolute closest shave with a razor, using a quality shaving cream is the way to go.
Most men will however prefer to shave dry. In this case, a pre-shave lotion (like Tabac or Speick) would also be beneficial. It takes seconds to apply and you’ll most likely get a better (and less time-consuming) shave.
The Panasonic Arc 6/Lamdash 6 is particularly impressive at shaving areas with coarse, thick, dense stubble.
When shaving dry, those areas are usually a problem in my case (below the nose, on and under the chin).
The Arc 6 manages to get closer than pretty much any other electric shaver I’ve tried. Again, it’s on par with the Arc 5 in this regard.
By the way, Panasonic explicitly mentioned how good the Arc 6 is when shaving under the chin — and I can confirm that the 6 cutters plus that curved profile make the shaver really effective.
Despite the large head, I didn’t have any serious issues shaving above the upper lip and around my sideburns.
Again, for Arc 5 users, shaving with the Arc 6 will feel extremely familiar.
Bottom line: the Arc 6 is (alongside the Arc 5) one of the closest shaving razors you can currently buy.
While things were pretty much the same regarding closeness, the new Panasonic Arc 6 is definitely better when it comes to comfort.
In fact, I’d say that the Arc 6 is the most comfortable and forgiving Panasonic shaver I’ve ever used.
As long as you don’t press too hard — the only way to get some razor burn — I think even men with sensitive skin can use it without any worries.
I found it to be reasonably gentle even when used dry, with no pre-shave lotion, as long as you’re not sloppy or press too hard.
The addition of a pre-shave or shaving cream will make things even better, but nevertheless, it’s one of the very few Panasonic razors that’s good enough out of the box.
The foils never got hot during use, but I did make sure to lubricate them every time (more details on this later on).
From past experience with other Panasonic shavers, I know that as time passes, the foils will start to gradually get warmer and warmer during use.
And one effective way to counteract that is to use a spray lubricant for electric shavers on a regular basis.
The takeaway is that the Panasonic Arc 6 is very comfortable and the vast majority of users will enjoy shaving with it, even the ones with sensitive, irritation-prone skin.
I wouldn’t say it’s quite as comfortable as a Braun Series 9 or 7, but it’s very close.
Shaving longer, flat-lying hairs
Another key area where Panasonic electric shavers have traditionally lagged behind Braun or Philips is dealing with longer, flat-lying hairs.
Even Panasonic’s latest Arc 5 models were only mediocre, so the Arc 6 promised to fix that with the pair of specially designed gold trimmers.
With the Arc 6, Panasonic says it’s 4 times more efficient than the previous generation.
To test this, I let my beard grow for 3 to 4 days and shaved dry (with a pre-shave lotion).
So how did the Arc 6 deal with the flat hairs on my neck? Decently. Better than an Arc 5 (with the older generation foils), but not significantly better than for example the Arc 5 revision G with a single gold trimmer.
It still required multiple strokes and changing the direction in order to capture all the flat-lying hairs and get a smooth shave.
In contrast, a Braun Series 9 or Series 9 Pro is more efficient and takes less time to cut this type of hair.
So while the Panasonic Arc 6 is an improvement in this regard, it wouldn’t be my first option for someone that doesn’t shave often and has areas with flat-lying hairs and multiple grains.
If you plan on shaving regularly and the hairs are still reasonably short (let’s say less than 1 to 1.5mm), I think it’ll handle the job just fine.
As a side note, when using shaving cream, the Panasonic Arc 6 was a lot more effective at catching these difficult hairs.
Speed, noise, hair trimmer
The Arc 6 comes with Panasonic’s fantastic 14 000 CPM (cycles per minute) motor.
It’s a very powerful, reliable, fast and torquey motor that makes a great contribution to the shaver’s stellar performance.
And as long as your facial hair is reasonably short (so the foils can catch it with fewer strokes), you’ll be able to finish your shave very quickly and effortlessly.
That said, it is quite loud and makes this high-pitched noise. Some users find it less annoying than Braun’s lower hum, while others think it’s even more disturbing.
I personally don’t mind it too much as I got used to noisy foil shavers.
The Panasonic Arc 6 is however a bit quieter than an Arc 5, primarily because it vibrates even less.
If however you need a very quiet electric razor, you will need to opt for a rotary.
The pop-up hair trimmer on the Arc 6 is the best of this type I’ve ever used.
Until now, my favorite was the one on the Arc 5.
While the Arc 6 trimmer looks absolutely identical, it seems to cut even better.
It’s great for on-the-fly tweaks and grooming, particularly for shaping sideburns, edging a beard line or cutting a few stray flat hairs.
You could use it to pre-trim an entire beard, but I don’t imagine it’ll be too enjoyable. If you must do that often, I recommend getting a cheap beard trimmer.
My Arc 6 is a cordless-only wet/dry shaver, so I’ve also used it with shaving cream quite a few times.
I don’t always shave wet as it takes me more time, but when I do have a few minutes to spare, using this razor is a real treat.
The Arc 6 is absolutely phenomenal during a wet shave.
All Panasonic razors are in fact really good and that’s the main reason I went with a wet/dry model for the review (plus the fact that it’s the cheapest Arc 6).
My favorite shaving cream is from a German company called Speick, I’ve mentioned it quite a few times on this site.
Speick shaving cream
I like to wash my face with warm water and then apply a very thin layer of pasty, watery lather. I wait a few minutes to let it soften the stubble and then proceed to shave, making sure to hydrate the lather more if needed.
The result is the closest, most comfortable shave I’ve ever got with any electric razor. In fact, the closeness is similar to what I would get from a cartridge or DE razor.
I’m not by any means implying that you’ll automatically get the same results, but the closeness will definitely be good enough.
I highly recommend shaving wet with the Arc 6 if you have the time, maybe on weekends or for those occasions when you want to look extra sharp.
6. Panasonic Arc 6 vs Arc 5: Which one is better?
I’ll try to keep the Arc 6 vs Arc 5 comparison short, actionable and to the point.
I won’t be getting into details that don’t really make a difference when shaving (like beard density sensors, smart locks or displays).
Having used lots of Arc 5 models through the years, I have a pretty good idea of their pros and cons.
After shaving with the Arc 6 for two months, I can say that it is a better shaver, but only slightly.
Regarding the closeness of the shave, I find the Panasonic Arc 5 to be just as good as the Arc 6.
You will NOT get a closer shave by switching to an Arc 6.
Well, you probably will, but only because the Arc 6 will have brand new, sharp blades, but you can achieve the same thing by replacing the foil and blades of your existing Arc 5 with fresh ones.
Side note: you can upgrade any Arc 5 to the latest revision G foil, it will fit perfectly (more details in this guide).
I happened to have a brand new ES-LV95 Arc 5 for this comparison and I shaved with it at the same time — I even shaved the other half of my face with the Arc 6.
So take my word for it, in terms of closeness, they are the same.
The Panasonic Arc 6 is on the other hand more comfortable. It’s gentler, the foil doesn’t get as hot and you’re less likely to get razor burn when you’re not very careful or when you press too hard.
This is particularly obvious when you compare the Arc 6 to some of the older Arc 5 that don’t have comfort rollers, like the ES-LV65/ES-LV95, ES-LV67/ES-LV97 (again, you can actually upgrade the foil to a newer, more comfortable foil).
The Arc 6 also feels more refined and as I mentioned earlier, it vibrates less. But it’s still a loud razor nevertheless.
The Arc 6 beard density sensor seems to be less aggressive as I pretty much never hear a change in the sound of the motor, which means that it runs at full power for most of the time.
With the Arc 5, I can hear it a lot more often.
As far as ergonomics are concerned, both have a large head and might feel cumbersome at first. If you didn’t have any issues with the Panasonic Arc 5, you’ll feel right at home shaving with the Arc 6.
Both are very powerful, fast and perfectly suitable for men with coarse hair.
The main highlight of the Arc 6, its ability to tackle long, flat-lying hairs, proved to be a bit underwhelming.
While it is more capable than an Arc 5, it’s not some groundbreaking Panasonic that you can use once or twice a week. The Braun Series 9 Pro will be a much better option if you plan on using it that way.
Price, availability, value for money
The Arc 5 wins this hands down.
It’s cheaper and you can likely buy one locally, even if it’s not one of the latest models (usually sold exclusively in Japan).
The ES-LV65-S and ES-LV67-K are usually the best picks.
The Arc 6 was at first only available in Japan (before the June 2022 global release).
I had to import mine from Japan as it wasn’t available anywhere else at the time of writing the review.
Side note: I used a proxy service called forward2me.com (not affiliated). They’ll assign to you a Japan address that you can use to have the shaver shipped and then they’ll send it to you for a reasonable fee. You will still need to pay customs fees (country-specific).
If you want to buy the very latest Arc 6/Lamdash 6 Pro from Japan, I highly recommend it.
The Arc 5 foil + blades combo usually costs less than the Arc 6 foil head and again, you can find several variations (older or newer) no matter where you live.
Any Arc 5 foil will fit any Arc 5 model, regardless of the generation. Here is my Arc 5 foil guide for a complete rundown of all the different foil models and differences.
Important: the Arc 5 foil will not fit the Arc 6. Likewise, you can’t use an Arc 6 foil on an Arc 5 shaver.
At least for now, the Arc 5 offers better value for money than the Arc 6, especially the older models mentioned above.
Arc 5 owners: Should you upgrade to an Arc 6?
If your shaver is in good shape and you’re happy with the performance, then no.
And by performance I’m mainly referring to the comfort of the shave. Again, you won’t really get a closer shave (unless your current Arc 5 shaver has really blunt blades and worn foils).
Also, the performance of the Arc 6 with flat-lying hairs is still not great, so it won’t be a massive improvement in that regard.
If however your shaver is pretty beat up, doesn’t hold a charge and you don’t mind spending more in order to get the very latest, the Panasonic Arc 6 is a fantastic option.
7. Cleaning and maintenance
Basic, waterproof foil shavers are generally the easiest to clean.
The Panasonic Arc 6/Lamdash 6 is not by any means basic; with 6 individual cutting elements, it has one of the most intricate shaving heads out there.
Luckily, cleaning and caring for it is easy and straightforward for the most part.
As mentioned several times in the review, you can get an Arc 6 with or without a cleaning center.
That will give you the option of cleaning it manually or automatically.
I went with the cheapest Arc 6, so I didn’t get the cleaning station.
And on a related note, the ES-LS8A-K will NOT work with a cleaning station purchased later on.
This is a common question as some users plan on getting just the shaver and eventually buy the station when it becomes available, ideally for a fair price.
In this case, you cannot do anything with the station, it will not work — it won’t even charge the shaver for that matter.
And that’s because the three contact studs that connect the razor to the station are missing on the ES-LS8A.
With that out of the way, let’s see what a typical manual cleaning involves. After that, I’ll also address the cleaning station as it’s pretty much identical to the regular Arc 5 cleaning stations.
Since all Panasonic electric shavers are waterproof, even the ones intended for shaving dry, the easiest and most effective way to clean them is with water (and soap).
There’s a tiny cleaning brush included as well and you can use it sparingly when you’re in a rush for example (never directly on the foils tough).
But for most of the time, cleaning your Arc 6 with water will be much better.
Here’s how I do it.
Once I finish my shave, I turn the razor off and remove the foil head.
I tap the plastic frame on my sink to remove most of the hairs, maybe even give it a quick rinse, then snap it back in place.
If you shave with cream/gel, you can skip the tapping as all the hairs will be engulfed in lather.
Now, you can either just use warm tap water which is fine, but at least every once in a while I would also use some liquid hand soap.
Personally, I use soap after every shave as I like keeping my shavers clean.
Press and hold the power button for a few seconds — you will notice that the sound of the motor will change into this high-pitched whine, while the LED display lights will turn on and off.
This is the so-called Sonic cleaning mode that makes the blades oscillate really fast for around 15 seconds.
Rinse the head with warm water while the shaver runs in this cleaning setting.
Because the blades move faster, but the actual side-to-side motion is shorter, it won’t splash water all over the place.
You can rinse it until the shaver automatically turns off (after around 15 seconds) or you can do it sooner by pressing the power button.
After that you can remove the head, give it a final rinse inside out and you’d be pretty much done.
You can pat it dry with a towel and let it air dry (with the head detached).
This is how you would clean the Arc 6 using only water.
The better way is to also add a bit of liquid soap.
After you’ve tapped out the hairs, put the foil head back in place, add a bit of water to the foils and pour a few drops of liquid hand soap on it.
Press and hold the power button to start the cleaning mode.
Use your index finger to spread the soap evenly on the foils and add more water if needed to get a nice lather.
Once the shaver turns off, press and hold the power button again and with the razor in the cleaning mode again, generously rinse it with water.
After it stops, remove the foil head and give it one final rinse inside out and rinse the shaver body as well.
Shake off the excess water, pat dry with a towel and let it dry with the foil detached.
Even though the inner part of the head is very intricate which makes it more likely for dirt to build up inside, if you clean it like this regularly, I’m pretty confident you won’t have any problems at all.
So in my opinion the station isn’t absolutely necessary. It never is actually, but with Braun shavers for example it is more practical (I will get to that right away).
In case you’re thinking of buying an Arc 6 model that comes with an automatic cleaning & charging station like the ES-LS9A-K, here are a few things to consider.
The station is basically the same as the one that comes with the Arc 5, both aesthetically and functionally.
In fact, it will even work with an Arc 5 (that originally came with a station).
It has a few minor tweaks like a larger opening to accommodate the 6-blade head of the Arc 6 (props to Allan for the info), but everything else has remained unchanged.
It has a small footprint, looks sleek and feels more robust than other cleaning systems from other brands.
It automatically charges, cleans and dries the shaver.
And it does the job really well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. You can also just dry the shaver without going through a cleaning process, which is something you can’t do with other stations.
Personally, I never really end up using my Panasonic cleaners.
It takes me less than one minute to thoroughly clean my razor manually (following the steps I described above).
But the main reason is the way it handles the cleaning fluid.
Unlike Braun stations that use a cleaning refill that you insert into the station only when needed, then simply remove it, put the lid back and store it in a cabinet, the Panasonic cleaning system has this open tray where you mix the concentrated detergent with water.
And once you do that, you’re pretty much stuck with it. And you must always be careful not to tilt it or knock it over as the fluid will spill.
I cannot take out the container, seal it and store it like I can with my Braun stations. And I often have to do that in order to clear some space on the sink and it’s just too fiddly for me.
This may not be a problem for you and if that’s the case, again, the Panasonic station is great.
It uses these detergent packs that you must mix with water and the solution doesn’t evaporate as fast as Braun’s alcohol fluid — again, you can actually fix that by sealing the Braun cartridge.
The solution also lubricates the blades, so if you’ll be using the station regularly, you don’t have to oil the blades in addition to that.
Unfortunately there aren’t many alternatives for Panasonic stations; there’s only one that I know of from Shaver Shebang; I haven’t personally used it, but it is cheaper than the OEM Panasonic packets and has good reviews.
As with any electric shaver, you will need to lubricate the Arc 6 regularly.
In my opinion this will make a big difference in the short and long term as Panasonic foils/blades are more susceptible to wear than others because the tolerances are so tight.
The blades will rub against the foils and the friction can generate a lot of heat, making your shave less comfortable. The blades will also get blunt faster.
Fortunately, fixing this is really easy and straightforward.
Panasonic still includes a small bottle of lubricant (which is in fact highly refined mineral oil/paraffin), so props to them for that.
You should apply one or two drops of oil on each of the 6 cutters (on the outside of the foil), then turn the shaver on for a few seconds and spread the lubricant with your finger so that it coats the foils evenly.
Gently wipe any excess with a paper towel, and you’re all set.
As for how often you should do it, twice a week should be enough if you only clean the razor with water or with the brush.
If you use liquid soap, I would lubricate it after every cleaning. Just make sure that the foils are dry before applying the oil.
I personally oil my shavers right before I shave, but that’s just my preference.
From time to time, apply one drop on the pop-up trimmer blade as well.
If for some reason you don’t have the Panasonic oil, you can safely use any clipper oil (like the one from Wahl or Oster). Those are basically the same stuff and work just fine.
Another alternative is a spray cleaner & lubricant for electric shavers.
The best is in my opinion Remington Shaver Saver, that one just makes a massive improvement especially when the blades are beginning to lose their sharpness.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get in Europe. If you live in the USA, you may still be able to get it.
The next best thing would be the Andis CoolCare Plus spray, which also works well, it’s cheap and comes in a very large can.
Tip: always wait for the spray lubricant to dry before shaving. If you use any of the recommended oils above, you can shave right away.
8. Replacement parts availability
The Panasonic Arc 6 uses a head unit that integrates the foils and the blades.
Until now, all Panasonic razors, regardless if it was an Arc 3, 4 or 5, had two removable blades.
This change introduced with the Arc 6 should make things easier and less confusing for the user that often needed to buy the foil and the blades separately.
It was also fiddlier to change the blades and you had to be really careful not to damage them.
Personally, I was hoping that this new Arc 6 foil unit would also be cheaper. Unfortunately, it’s not the case, at least not for now.
The part number of the Arc 6 replacement foil (and blades) is ES9600 (or WES9600P, same part) and it’s now available globally.
Panasonic Arc 6 replacement head (WES9600P))
And as I mentioned earlier, it’s expensive, but the price should go down as time passes.
An Arc 5 foil & inner blades set is usually much cheaper and there are more variations available and all of them will fit any Arc 5 model.
As for how often you’ll need to replace it, Panasonic says once every one and a half years.
With the previous foil + removable blades system, it used to be one year for the foil and two for the blades.
Since you cannot remove the blades, 1.5 years is probably just a middle-ground estimate.
The longevity of the shaving head will greatly depend on a few factors like the coarseness and density of your beard, how often you shave and how well you take care of the razor (cleaning, lubrication).
I usually get between one and two years from an Arc 5, so I suspect things will be the same here. Again, lubrication is particularly important.
Being a brand new shaver, I cannot say at this moment how reliable the new head is or if it needs to be replaced sooner (or later) than what the manufacturer recommends.
However, the fact that the foils don’t get hot at all is encouraging. I will update the review if anything happens along the way.
9. Wrapup — Who should buy the Panasonic Arc 6?
Objectively, and not taking into account things like value for money or how easy it is to get in 2023 for users outside of Japan, the Arc 6 (Lamdash 6) is now Panasonic’s best shaver.
Panasonic ARC 6 ES-LS8A-K
As mentioned throughout this article, the improvements over the previous flagship, the Arc 5, aren’t massive, but I was able to notice a few.
In my opinion, the main one is actually related to the comfort during the shave, especially when compared to an Arc 5 that uses the older foil without the comfort rollers.
The closeness is the same, so among the best you’ll get from any electric razor.
So who should get the Panasonic Arc 6?
Well, anyone looking for an electric shaver with top-notch performance if the budget is not an issue.
It will work brilliantly if you have coarse, dense, thick facial hair and you want a very close and fast shave. It will just mow through the beard without breaking a sweat.
Then again, so will an Arc 5, the difference being that the Arc 6 will be smoother, more comfortable, a bit more refined and won’t get as warm.
Even if you have sensitive skin, you’ll be able to get a comfortable shave even when using the Arc 6 dry.
It will also be a bit more effective at catching longer, flat-lying hairs than the Arc 5, but you’ll still have to work a bit in order to get all of those difficult hairs.
That’s why the Arc 6 will work best when used regularly (the hair is still short).
Also, if you’ve tried (and enjoyed) shaving wet with an electric shaver, the Arc 6 is probably the best out there — it’s just amazing when used with a good shaving cream.
That said, there are some great alternatives out there that you can get easily right now and for less money.
10. Alternative shavers
Unsurprisingly, the tried and tested Arc 5 would be a great option.
While the closest performance-wise to the Arc 6 would be the Arc 5 revision G (aka Series 900), that one is not available in the USA (it is however in Europe).
Also, if we factor in the shipping and import fees, it will end up costing a lot.
Therefore, the ES-LV65 or the ES-LV67 (whichever is cheaper) are the ones to get.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65
If you can buy any of these at a discount, you got yourself a winner.
It’s a great shaver, it shaves just as close as the Arc 6 and it has the same punchy motor. It won’t be quite as comfortable, but with a bit of extra care (and a pre-shave lotion) you won’t have any major issues.
The ES-LV65 has a feature-rich display that also shows the duration of the shave and you can actually deactivate the beard density sensor and shave in full power mode every time.
You can get it with a cleaning station as well for not a whole lot more (the models are ES-LV95 and ES-LV97), but as I mentioned earlier for the Arc 6, the station isn’t really a must-have.
If you have the budget, you can also opt for a newer Arc 5 like the ES-LV6Q (no cleaning station) or the ES-LV9Q (cleaning station included), especially if you live in Europe where these models were officially released.
These come with the more comfortable foils, but again, you can upgrade the ES-LV65/ES-LV67 as well to use them.
If you won’t be shaving often, the flagship models from Braun will be a better choice for most users.
Braun Series 9 Pro 9465cc
The Series 9 or the Series 9 Pro are now available pretty much everywhere and you can simply get one that suits your budget.
You can opt for one with or without a cleaning station.
I actually like the Braun station for the reasons I outlined above, so my pick would be a 93xx cc model like the 9390cc or 9370cc.
The Pro models are a bit more powerful and shave just a tad closer, but generally cost more. However, lately the price has dropped and the 9465cc Pro for example can be had for almost the same money.
The performance is however similar and either will be a good pick.
That pretty much concludes my experience with the new Panasonic Arc 6.
Hopefully this post will make it easier for you to decide whether to get it or not.
If you have any other questions or you’d like to share your experience with the Arc 6, please leave a comment below.