Panasonic ES-CV70 (ES-CV51) Review: The No-compromise Travel Shaver

Review Summary Editor's choice

Pros: very close shaves, comfortable, excellent dry and wet shaving performance, very powerful and fast, compact, fantastic build quality, premium hard travel case, easy to clean, great battery life, useful pop-up trimmer

Cons: pricey, long and flat-lying hairs require extra passes, fixed shaving head

Our Rating:

[4.5 out of 5 stars]

Buy the Panasonic ES-CV70 (ES-CV51)

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The Arc 5 represents Panasonic’s high-end line of electric shavers.

Currently in its third generation, the Arc 5 family received 8 relatively minor revisions so far since its introduction in 2016 (more details in this article).

However, along with the third makeover of the existing Arc 5 models, Panasonic also introduced a new and very intriguing model: a compact Arc 5 shaver, namely the ES-CV70 (also sold as ES-CV51 in other countries).

The novelty stems from the fact that this model appears to be a full-fledged, high-performance Arc 5 despite its very compact size.

Apart from a couple of things that we’ll get to later on in the review, it shouldn’t be inferior to the regular Arc 5 models, which are arguably some of the best electric shavers you can buy today.

With an impressive specs sheet, this is in my opinion the most interesting model that Panasonic has launched in recent years.

In this review we’ll find out if the ES-CV70/ES-CV51 really lives up to the expectations.

UPDATE: I’ve been using the compact ES-CV70/ES-CV51 as my main travel shaver for the past 4 years, so I’ll share my thoughts on it from the perspective of a long-term owner as well.

Features overview

It’s important to note that ES-CV51-S is the model name of the shaver sold on the European market and the one that I bought.

There is another identical shaver available in Asia, the ES-CV70-S.

The two are exactly the same so you can very well consider this an ES-CV70 review if that’s the model you can buy.

Again, the Panasonic ES-CV51 and ES-CV70 are absolutely identical, with no differences whatsoever in terms of shaving performance.

There is however one key difference between them, with the ES-CV70 being officially only suitable for dry use, while the ES-CV51 is a wet/dry model.

While both are waterproof, the ES-CV70 will also work with the cord plugged in, so for safety concerns, it is only suitable for shaving dry.

Side note: you’ll sometimes see the two shavers listed as ES-CV70-S and ES-CV51-S. The -S only stands for Silver and it’s actually the full model name of the shavers.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the main features.

5-blade shaving system

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51, my shaver of choice for traveling.

As the Arc 5 moniker suggests, the ES-CV51 (ES-CV70) features a 5-blade shaving system, the very same that is found on its bigger siblings.

Panasonic Arc 5 shavers featuring a metal body: ES-CV70 and ES-LV9Q.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV70 (compact) and ES-LV9Q (full size).

Compared to the previous generation Arc 5, the elements that immediately stand out are the two golden comfort rollers that should make the shaver glide smoothly over the skin and improve the comfort of the shave.

We’ll see how good they are in the performance section of the review.

The 5 cutters that form the rather massive shaving head are:

Panasonic ES-CV51 (ES-CV70) shaving elements.
  1. Two Finishing foils that cut hairs close to the skin
  2. Two Reverse tapered foils that should lift flat-lying hairs
  3. One Power Quick Lift trimmer that captures and cuts longer, stray hairs

Panasonic states that the new Power Quick Lift cutter is an improved version of the previous Quick Lift element that, to be honest, wasn’t that great with longer hairs.

On first inspection, it appears to be pretty much identical to the older one.

In typical Arc 5 fashion, out of the 5 cutting elements, 3 have the cutters integrated into the foil block itself, while the two reverse tapered foils have two corresponding inner blades that are exposed once the foil frame is removed.

Panasonic ES-CV51 inner blades
The two inner blades of the Panasonic ES-CV51.

The blades are Panasonic’s well-known 30-degree nanoblades, some of the best in the industry in my opinion.

Machined with great precision, they feature an aggressive 30-degree bevel that ensures a very efficient cut, without yanking or pulling the hairs.

As a result, Panasonic shavers are arguably the closest shaving electric razors on the market right now.

The downside is that some are not the most comfortable, especially during a dry shave.

But with this new shaving head, the comfort should be greatly improved, at least according to Panasonic.

14 000 CPM linear drive motor

Even though Panasonic tends to fit less powerful motors to some models in the less expensive Arc 3 and Arc 4 lines, with the new compact Arc 5 ES-CV51 and ES-CV70, it didn’t make any compromises.

They come with a very punchy 14 000 cycles per minute motor, the fastest you can find on any electric shaver at this moment.

This is a noteworthy detail on a normal-size razor and even more impressive on a travel shaver like the ES-CV51 or ES-CV70.

The powerful motor should ensure excellent performance even when the shaver is used on a very coarse beard.

Beard density sensor

The ES-CV51/ES-CV70 is fitted with a special sensor that reads the density of the beard and adjusts the power output accordingly.

While in theory this sounds good, in practice it doesn’t seem particularly useful.

I’ve used other Panasonic models that were fitted with this technology (including the new Arc 3) and I found it to be inconsistent and of little to no use.

While with the second generation Arc 5 like ES-LV65 you had the option to disable the sensor and shave in full power mode, you cannot do that with the ES-CV51/ES-CV70 or any of the latest Arc 5 models.

Cordless, wet & dry operation

As with most modern Panasonic shavers, the new ES-CV51 is fully waterproof and suitable to be used in the shower or with your favorite shaving cream or gel.

Panasonic shavers are fantastic wet/dry performers and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

The ES-CV51 can only be used cordless as a safety precaution.

As mentioned earlier, the ES-CV70 is a dry-only shaver that will work while charging as well.

Both are fitted with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that should provide up to 45 minutes worth of shaving time.

There’s a handy 3-minute quick charge function as well.

Misc features

Other noteworthy features include:

  • 3-level LED display
  • Travel lock
  • Long hair trimmer
  • Universal voltage adapter (100-240V).

Included accessories

The Panasonic ES-CV51 comes in a rather slick and compact box made out of thick cardboard and embellished with traditional Japanese bladesmithing images.

Panasonic ES-CV51 box

Alongside the shaver, you’ll find the following items:

  • Charging cord
  • Plastic cap
  • Travel case
  • Cleaning brush
  • One small bottle of lubricant
  • User’s manual and warranty card
Panasonic ES-CV51-S accessories

The highlight of the included accessories is of course the new leather hard travel case. It looks great and simply oozes quality.

Up until now, Panasonic would only give you those flimsy faux leather or textile soft pouches that didn’t offer much protection.

The new hard case is a significant upgrade in quality and a lot more practical.

Also, it’s worth noting that it’s only available with the compact models (ES-CV51 and ES-CV70) and the range-topping (full-size) ES-LV9CX-S that’s only available on the Asian market for now.

Panasonic ES-CV51 travel case

The small bottle of oil is also a very welcome addition and I’m glad Panasonic decided to include it as well.

Build quality and ergonomics

Panasonic shavers have always been on top in terms of build quality and with the latest Arc 5 generation, they have taken this one notch higher.

The top-of-the-line models now feature premium materials like brushed metal and make the shavers from the competition pale in comparison (for example, the Braun Series 9 with its shiny plastic body).

It was a very pleasant surprise to see that Panasonic didn’t make any compromises with the new Arc 5 compact shavers.

The same brushed metal body is being used here as well and it gives the shaver a very classy look and a high-quality feel when held in hand.

Panasonic ES-CV70/ES-CV51 held in hand.

The metal extends from the front to the sides and all the way to the back of the shaver.

The polished chamfered edge at the top is a really nice touch as well.

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51, my shaver of choice for traveling.

I personally love the color scheme with the silver/beige that contrasts nicely with the black parts.

I think Panasonic got it just right it with the design of the ES-CV51/ES-CV70.

The Panasonic Arc5 ES-CV51.

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The front part of the shaver has a central glossy plastic strip that houses the ON/OFF button and right below it there’s a pretty basic LED display that shows some useful info.

Even though it looks really good, glossy plastic tends to get scratched pretty easily and my review unit is already showing a few scratches on that glossy trim even though I was very careful handling the shaver.

The power button also doubles as a travel lock; in order to activate it you must turn the shaver ON and then press and hold the button for 3 seconds.

The activated travel lock on the ES-CV51 (ES-CV70).

The locked state will be indicated by a padlock icon on the LED display. Pressing and holding the button for 3 seconds will unlock the shaver.

This is a great feature to have on a travel shaver.

On the back there’s a matte, textured rubberized insert that extends to the sides as well and ensures excellent grip.

The brushed metal feels quite grippy as well.

Panasonic ES-CV51 back.

Also on the back of the shaver, we’ll find the pop-up trimmer that can be deployed by pushing the slider up.

The regular-size Panasonic shavers have a more complex slider that features 3 positions.

Apart from extending the trimmer, that one can also lock or unlock the shaving head.

Since the ES-CV51 and ES-CV70 have a fixed shaving head, the slider lacks the two positions for locking and unlocking the head.

Panasonic ES-CV51 trimmer

The new full-size Arc 5 shavers have a very complex mechanism that allows the shaving head to move and swivel in many directions and it would have been impossible to implement on a compact model like the ES-CV51/ES-CV70.

The shaving head of the ES-CV51 is quite massive with the 5 independent cutters.

Panasonic tried to compensate for this by making the frame that surrounds it as narrow as possible.

The foil frame is made out of plastic and has a matte finish that resembles metal. The bottom part of the shaving head features a glossy black treatment.

Side view of the Arc 5 ES-CV51 (ES-CV70).

The frame is extremely easy to remove by pressing the two tabs located on the sides of the shaving head.

It snaps extremely easily and precisely back into place with a very reassuring click.

Everything about the construction of this shaver just feels very robust and refined at the same time.

Since it’s very compact, the ES-CV51-S feels very good in the hand and the rubber and brushed metal ensure a very secure grip even when the shaver is dripping wet.

The shaver held in hand.

The shaver is surprisingly hefty for its size and I personally thought it would be lighter.

If I were to nitpick, I’d say that it’s a bit top-heavy and its weight is not distributed evenly.

However, this can only be a problem if you don’t hold it firmly in your hand as it can capsize and you could even drop it.

Another minor, but nice touch is the ventilated plastic cap that allows water and moisture to evaporate. It’s great to see this type of attention to detail.

Overall, the ES-CV70 scores extremely high in the build quality and ergonomics department and it’s without a doubt the most premium feeling travel/compact shaver you can buy today.

ES-CV70 (ES-CV51) dimensions

Being a compact razor that one would consider for traveling, the size of the shaver is probably of great importance.

Here are the dimensions of the shaver:

  • Length: 130mm (5,1 inches)
  • Width: 73mm (2,9 inches) (measured at the shaving head)
  • Thickness: 45mm (1.8 inches) (measured at the thickest point)
ES-CV70 dimensions.

And here are the dimensions of the leather travel case:

  • Length: 150mm (5,9 inches)
  • Width: 100mm (3,9 inches)
  • Thickness: 60mm (2,4 inches) (thickest point)

Battery life and charging

Unlike most other compact shavers that are powered by regular AAA batteries, the Panasonic ES-CV51/ES-CV70 comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery.

It’s also true that the power output of those shavers doesn’t even come close to the 14 000 CPM motor of the ES-CV51 (or its price tag).

So a rechargeable battery was probably the only solution.

And that’s perfectly fine normally, but in this case I was a bit concerned about the battery life.

Since the body of the shaver is so compact, fitting a larger battery would be a challenge.

I don’t know exactly how they pulled this off, but the battery life of the shaver is excellent.

During my tests, the ES-CV51 was at least as good as the other larger Panasonic models in this regard.

I was able to get at least 7 or 8 shaves from a full battery, which is more than enough in my book.

It also means that in most cases you could leave the charger at home when traveling (assuming the shaver will be fully charged upon leaving, of course).

And this brings me to the matter of chargers; every manufacturer uses its own proprietary cable.

It would be much more beneficial to us, the users, if they would simply use a USB type C port.

Almost all modern smartphones, laptops and tablets have adopted that standard and it’s about time electric shavers follow suit.

Once this happens we won’t have to worry about charging our shavers anymore.

Side note: a must-have accessory for the compact Panasonic ES-CV 51/ES-CV70 is a USB charging cable.

Panasonic USB cable.

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It’s a typical USB A cable that has the proprietary Panasonic connector at the other end, meaning you can use it with your phone’s charger or from a USB wall socket, so you won’t have to bring along the Panasonic charger.

Speaking of which, it takes just under an hour for my ES-CV51 to go from 0 to fully charged.

Being a wet/dry shaver, you cannot use it while it’s connected to the mains like you can with the ES-CV70.

A handy 5-minute quick charge will however provide enough juice to complete one shave.

The battery status indicator only has 3 levels: Low, Mid, and High. It’s not as useful as a 5-level display, but it’ is what it it’s still better than a single LED.

Overall, the ES-CV51/ES-CV70 fares excellent in the battery life department.

Shaving performance

Let’s now get down to business and see how good the Panasonic ES-CV51 really is.

As I mentioned previously, this model is identical to the ES-CV70, so the review will be relevant in the case of both.

For this test, I have been using the ES-CV51 exclusively for 3 weeks to get a good idea of its performance and to see if it could really be a viable option as my main shaver as well, and not just for traveling.

I shaved daily, every other day and every two days, using it both dry and with shaving cream.

If you just want the conclusion, I can safely state that the performance of the Panasonic ES-CV51 was great.

It managed to surprise me quite a few times and I will try to present my experience in an objective, unbiased manner so you can decide if it would be a good fit for you as well.

Closeness of the shave

I’ve said on many occasions that Panasonic shavers currently provide the closest shave of any shaver brand without making major compromises.

Given that the compact ES-CV51-S uses the same blades and foils as the top-of-the-line Arc 5 shavers and it even has the same motor, I had very high expectations.

And I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.

In fact, the ES-CV51 provided some of the closest shaves I ever got from an electric shaver.

For me, it’s usually very difficult to get a smooth shave above the upper lip and on the chin, but this tiny razor worked great.

Panasonic ES-CV51

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It’s also fast and powerful, so it will be suitable even for very coarse facial hair.

It really is a proper Arc 5. The only compromise that had to be made is the fixed shaving head. But it’s not that big of an issue.

The ability of the shaving head to move up and down is quite handy as the foils (and head) will remain in contact with the skin at an optimal angle (90 degrees) when shaving different areas of your face.

Since the ES-CV51 lacks this feature, you’ll have to adjust the angle of the shaver relative to the skin more often.

But being so small and maneuverable, this really isn’t a major drawback.

Getting back to the closeness of the shave, the ES-CV51 was really good even during a quick dry shave.

Adding a pre-shave yielded even better results, especially when shaving right below my nose and on the chin where I have thick stubble.

However, this shaver excelled when I used it with shaving cream. In my case the closeness was similar to what I would get from a DE razor.

Panasonic ES-CV-51-S is an excellent wet shaving performer.

I only used Nivea and Speick, two of my favorite shaving creams; they’re inexpensive, widely available and work great.

If you’re not totally against using shaving creams with electric razors, I highly recommend them with this shaver if you need a close shave.

As for downsides, the 5 cutting elements require quite a bit of force to be depressed and they don’t move as easily as the ones on a Braun Series 8 or 9 for example.

It’s the same story with all Panasonic shavers, not just with the compact model.

This, coupled with the fixed shaving head means that you’ll need to do a bit of extra work to maintain optimal contact with the skin, especially on the jawline and right below it.

The size of the shaving head is not an issue most of the time. However, I did miss the maneuverability of a 3-blade razor when shaving right below the nose.

But in the end, I always managed to get a very close shave despite bumping the foil frame a few times against my nose.


While Panasonic shavers excel at providing very close shaves, it’s sometimes a different story when it comes to comfort.

With the current technologies, an electric shaver simply can’t be the best at everything and a trade-off must be made, be it in closeness or comfort.

With the new Arc 5, Panasonic did a great job and reduced this trade-off to a minimum.

The ES-CV70/ES-CV51 is surprisingly comfortable and it’s one of the best Panasonic razors I’ve used in that regard, being only (slightly) edged by the Arc 6.

It’s also one that I can confidently use dry without major discomfort.

Previous Arc 5 shavers (first and second generations) were a bit too aggressive if you had sensitive skin.

I would often get a rash and razor burn during and after the shave.

With the ES-CV51, it was minimal and only noticeable on the neck where I have very sensitive skin.

The foils did get a bit warm, especially toward the end of the shave, but not to the extent of causing discomfort.

Sometimes after a few months of use, some Panasonic foils will start to get quite a bit warm compared to the ones on a brand new shaver, but I don’t think it will be the case here.

And even so, lubricating the cutters will reduce the heat significantly. So the included lubricant will come in handy.

Using a pre-shave made shaving even smoother, but again it was during a wet shave where this shaver shined.

It was supremely comfortable and I can confidently recommend it even to men with sensitive skin.

Beard density sensor — does it work?

The Panasonic ES-CV51 features a special sensor that detects beard density and alters the power of the motor.

You can notice it as the noise of the motor changes in intensity as you’re shaving different areas.

The sensor icon also blinks while the shaver is turned on:

Panasonic ES-CV51 sensor icon

I cannot say with certainty that it makes a difference as there is no way of deactivating it like on previous Arc 5 models.

But in my opinion the advantages of this technology are minimal and I wouldn’t mind not having it.

Also, during a wet shave the sensor gets confused and the shaver operates at maximum power at all times, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Shaving longer hairs

Apart from being a bit too harsh for sensitive skin, one of my main gripes with the previous Arc 5 razors was shaving a two or three-day beard, especially if the hairs stay flat on the skin or grow in different directions.

Panasonic shavers just can’t capture them as efficiently as a Braun Series 9 or even a Series 8.

The newer Arc 5 models, including the compact ES-CV51/ES-CV70, come with an updated design of the foils that should improve the shaver’s performance with longer hairs.

Unfortunately, after using it on a three-day beard I must say that they’re still not great in this regard.

It’s particularly obvious on the neck, requiring multiple strokes to capture all those flat-lying hairs and the direction of the stroke must be precisely against the grain.

But at least the ES-CV51 won’t irritate your skin as previous Panasonic shavers would.

So despite Panasonic’s claims of using an improved trimmer for catching long, flat hairs, this razor is pretty much on the same level as the previous generation Arc 5.

The workaround would be to simply shave more often; the ES-CV51 performs great on shorter facial hairs, so shaving daily or every other day would yield the best results.

The pop-up hair trimmer.

These Arc 5 compact models are fitted with the same popup trimmer we’ve seen on full-size Panasonic shavers.

It’s positioned on the back of the shaving head and can be extended via the slider located right below it.

The sliding action is very smooth, unlike the one on other shavers which can feel very jerky.

I have to give Panasonic props again for including a proper trimmer; it’s adequately wide, having the same width as the trimmers found on the normal-size shavers.

Most other travel razors only have a tiny (and fairly useless) trimmer if any all.

Since it’s positioned close to the top of the shaving head, it’s not obscured and you can use it fairly well.

However, removing the foil frame and the two inner blades will make it a lot easier to see what you’re doing.

Panasonic ES-CV51 trimmer

For trimming and shaping your sideburns it works great and you can use it to maintain a goatee or mustache as well.

Panasonic pop-up trimmers work the best out of all in my opinion; they’re really sharp, don’t pinch the skin and require fewer strokes to get all the hairs.

I also like that they’re wide enough and have a straight edge, much better for detail work than a rounded one.

As for negatives, the trimmer sits perfectly perpendicular to the shaver and in order to be effective when cutting, you must hold it at a sharper angle relative to the skin.

This makes it a bit less practical compared to other Panasonic shavers where the trimmer is tilted forward when fully extended.

Also, if you hold the ES-CV51 trimmer perpendicular to the skin it tends to wobble during an upstroke, so you’ll definitely have to tilt the shaver a bit.

Overall, it’s really good and the downsides are somewhat normal for a shaver of this size.

Cleaning and maintenance

The Panasonic ES-CV51 and ES-CV70 are extremely easy to clean.

I personally never felt the need for a cleaning station with any Panasonic shavers and this one is no exception.

There are two ways you can go about this.

There’s the included brush that you can use to quickly remove most of the hairs after a dry shave.

However, I recommend this method only if you’re really constrained by time.

Also, make sure not to use the brush on the outside of the foils as you can damage them very easily.

What I always do (and also recommend) is to use a bit of liquid soap and warm tap water.

It takes less than a minute for a thorough cleaning that will ensure proper hygiene and performance.

Once you’ve completed your shave, with the razor turned off, wet the shaving head and apply a bit of liquid soap on the foils.

Panasonic ES-CV51 cleaning

Holding the shaver upright, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds.

This will activate the so-called sonic cleaning mode. The blades will begin to oscillate at a very high speed, lathering the soap and dislodging any stubborn debris.

The cleaning mode will be deactivated automatically after 20 seconds or you can do it sooner by pressing the power button.

Press and hold again to activate the sonic cleaning mode and begin rinsing the shaving head with tap water. The cleaning mode will also prevent splashes.

Turn the shaver off, remove the foil frame and rinse everything thoroughly one last time.

After that, pat dry with a clean towel and let the shaver air dry with the foil removed before storing it.


The use of soap and water will also remove any trace of lubrication, so it’s important to lubricate the blades regularly.

My recommendation would be to do it after every cleaning that involves soap and water.

I personally do it right before I shave as the blades and foils must be dry.

Panasonic ES-CV51 lubrication

Just place one or two drops of oil from the included bottle on the outside of each foil and let the shaver run for a few seconds.

This will allow the lubricant to disperse evenly and coat the blades.

If necessary, gently pat the foils with a paper tissue to absorb any excess oil.

That’s it, you can now go ahead and shave as usual.

If you run out of lubricant, you can simply any brand of clipper oil (the ones from Whal and Oster work very well).

Another option that I highly recommend is a lubricant spray like Andis CoolCare Plus, especially when the blades start to feel a bit dull.

Replacement parts availability

A common problem with newly released electric shavers is buying replacement foils and blades. They’re either too pricey or unavailable.

The good news is that in the case of the ES-CV51/ES-CV70 and all the latest Arc 5 models, the foils and blades set is available on various online stores.

The part number of the combo pack is ES9036 (sometimes listed as WES9036).

Check the ES9036 on Amazon

See the price on Amazon

However, compared to the previous Arc 5 generation, the cost of one set can be a bit high.

It’s interesting to note that while the outer foils are completely new (part number WES9177 or ES9177), the two inner blades are the same ones used by the first and second generation Arc 5 (part no WES9170).

Another option would be to buy the older foils (and blades) used by the second generation Arc 5 shavers like the ES-LV65-S.

Those can be bought for less money and will fit the ES-CV51/ES-CV70 just fine. The part number for the set is WES9032P.


See the price on Amazon

But do keep in mind that they don’t have the comfort rollers and in my experience they’re not as comfortable, even though they shave just as close.

This could be a viable solution until the price of the new replacement foil goes down.

According to Panasonic, the foils must be replaced every year and the inner blades every two years, but this will depend of course on various factors, like how often you shave, how coarse is your beard and how well you take care of your razor (cleaning, lubrication).

For more details on other compatible Arc 5 foils and blades you can use, check out my guide.

Takeaway – Should you buy the ES-CV51 (ES-CV70)?

Concluding this Panasonic ES-CV51-S (ES-CV70-S) review, I can confidently say that this is by far the best-performing compact/travel shaver.

There’s simply no comparison between it and the rest.

Panasonic ES-CV51

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However, unlike your typical compact shaver that is only good enough for occasional use, the ES-CV51/ES-CV70 can represent a great option as your main shaver.

It really is that good and there are no major drawbacks to using it compared to a regular Arc 5 shaver.

In fact, in certain areas, it’s even better: smaller footprint, smaller shaving head, and it comes in a premium metal finish, unlike most other Arc 5 models.

The hard travel case is another bonus; again, only the top of the line and much more expensive ES-LV9Q and ES-LV9CX come with one.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on those and since the cleaning station is not really necessary, the ES-CV51 is a perfectly good alternative.

If you also travel a lot, you’ll really appreciate its compact size.

I’ve been using it in almost all my travels and it’s been great and reliable.

It even has the original foils and blades and I bought it more than 4 years ago.

But since I only use it when I travel, the blades will last a long time.

As mentioned in the performance section, the ES-CV51 excels at providing a close and fast shave and for the most part, it’s comfortable as well.

It works the best on shorter facial hair as it tends to sometimes miss longer, flat-lying whiskers and requires multiple passes to get those.

So if you usually shave daily or every other day, this could be a great shaver for you.

If your skin isn’t overly sensitive, you’ll be fine shaving dry as well. Using a shaving cream really makes it extremely comfortable so that’s also an option.

However, if you don’t necessarily need a compact shaver, there may be other options that would suit you better.

Alternative shavers

Panasonic ES-LV65-S Arc 5

Panasonic es-lv65-s Arc 5

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This is the best-selling Arc 5 model from the previous generation and it still represents a fantastic option, especially now as it has a great price.

If you don’t necessarily need a compact shaver, the Panasonic ES-LV65-S will provide a similar shaving experience but for less money.

Also, you’ll have the option to deactivate the shaving sensor.

As for downsides, the ES-LV65-S is a bit more aggressive during a dry shave and despite being very solidly built, it doesn’t have a metal body.

You can however upgrade the foils to the newest, more comfortable Arc 5 foils.

Braun Series 9 9370cc

Braun Series 9 9370cc.

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The Series 9 is the direct competitor of the Arc 5 and since there isn’t a compact version of it, the 9370cc is usually the best pick (availability and price).

The Series 9 is one of the most comfortable shavers you can currently buy and likely the best option for men with very sensitive skin.

It’s also a lot better than any Arc 5 models at shaving longer hairs.

If you don’t shave regularly (as in more often), have very sensitive skin or your facial hair tends to grow parallel to the skin and in different directions, I think the Series 9 would be a far better choice.

Finally, if you just want a more affordable compact shaver, make sure you check out my guide to the best travel shavers.

Article by

Hey. I’m Ovidiu, the founder and editor of ShaverCheck. I independently buy and test electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 10 years, hopefully helping others choose a suitable shaver.

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    • Hi Wen,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. I personally clean the shaver after every use with liquid soap and water. It literally takes me less than 30 seconds, so I do it after every shave.


      • It looks like a very nice shaver, compact but powerful, but the price! Whew!!
        I would even be willing to buy a used model, and I would just clean it thoroughly, just to be able to find one that is more affordable. Nothing on ebay or Amazon, re used shavers for this model.
        Any suggestions, Ovidiu?

        • Thank you for your comment, Murray. It is a really nice little shaver, but I agree, it does cost a pretty penny. The price is however more reasonable in Europe for the ES-CV51 model.

          Being a relatively new shaver and definitely not as popular as let’s say a Braun Series 7 (there are tons of used ones for sale), it’s unlikely to find a pre-owned one, although not impossible. Another option would be to keep an eye on the price and maybe grab one on sale (on Black Friday for example). Nothing much else to do, I’m afraid.


      • Ovidiu, do you think there is any potential harm cleaning the shaver and putting it away wet to travel in one’s luggage? In this case, would it be better to wait a day or two until returning home and then clean it? Or I am overthinking this and it really doesn’t matter?

        • Hi Mike,

          There is potential harm only if done repeatedly and/or the shaver is left inside the case for a long period. One time will certainly not matter at all. If you’re worried about water getting inside the case you can also wait until you get home and then clean it properly — again won’t be a problem. Unless you use shaving cream as it will get hard quickly and be difficult to remove.


  1. Hi, using ES-CV51 for more than a month, as travel shaver as well as main when back home. I have thin hair, and do dry shave so I was really surprised that battery lasted about 3 weeks in my case. Very compact shaver and case is great, shaver feels well protected in it.
    So far, really happy with my choice, do not miss flex head so much, even I feel to be in better control with fixed head. Try to clean as suggested with liquid soap but only once per week, seems like enough in my case.

    • Hi Henrikas,

      That’s great to hear — it really is a fantastic shaver. If you use it dry, cleaning once a week with soap and water should suffice. Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience.


  2. Hi Ovidiu,

    Terrific review as usual. Really enjoyed reading this. Sounds like it is not a worthy upgrade from LV9N model, rather targeting new to Panasonic shavers.

    It seems (from your description) that we have similar type hair. One disappointing thing with Panasonic for me has been just how short lived the blades are. I clean them after every shave but after 6-7 months their performance deteriorated significantly to the point of having to replce both blades and foils which made the whole difference in my shaves. Very very expensive though.

    On a similar but a separate topic, I’d be really curious to hear what your thoughts are on a new Philips S9000 Prestige model? This is the latest and greatest from Philips.
    I am not big fan of rotary shavers as they never worked for me and I did give them a go fair bit over the past 20+ years.

    I was asked to take it for a ‘spin’ for a few months and so far it has blown me away! I have to say that it provides the closest shave I have experienced in my life, which includes DE wet blade shaving. It comes with self sharpening V-shaped blades covered in nano-particles. Philips claim that they take at leadt 2 years before they need to be replaced. I’m yet to validate that obviously but afrer a few months – so far so good.

    It also provides very comfortable shave (just make sure you do not press hard at all against your face – very gentle circular motions do all the trick). Cleans up my neck best of all shavers (Panasonic ARC5 or Braun 9).

    I’m not a big on promoting products but I feel this shaver deserves some of your airtime as it truly is amazing.

    It also comes with the wireless charging pad which is a bit of a gimmick to be honest.

    Anyways, looking forward to your thoughts and hopefully a review at some point.


    • Hi Miki,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      You are right, the ES-CV51 or any of the latest revision C and D Arc 5 are not a worthy upgrade from the previous LV9N/LV9A models. If you already have one of those, definitely not worth the upgrade.

      I’ve also experienced a decrease in performance with my Panasonic shavers after one year of use or sometimes even less. However, I’ve found a cleaning and lubricating spray to work wonders in this situation. I use a Remington Shaver Saver spray and it makes a world of difference, so I highly recommend giving it a try before buying new Panasonic foils and blades every 6 months — they’re really pricey.

      I’ve actually been very intrigued by the S9000 and your experience with it just made me even more hyped. In the past I’ve tried lots of rotary shavers, including Philips Norelco’s high-end models that cost a ridiculous amount of money only to get a mediocre shave, so I’m really curious about this one. I will definitely get it, hopefully very soon.


      • Thanks for your reply Ovidiu. I do use ShaverShop’s spray which is medical grade silicone lubricant specifically made for electric shavers. Longetivity is still <1yr sadly. Braun lasted me longer in the past although I haven’t used 9 long enough. I returned my within 60 days as my shave was not that different to 7 and I had an eye for new Panasonic, which is mich better imo.

        My experience with rotary has been very mediocre as well in the past to the point I gave up altogether after trying initial Series 9000 back in 2014. Always left that ‘sandpaper’ feel on my skin.

        It feels like Philips got tired of playing catch up game with Braun and Panasonic on the shave closeness and redesigned the shave head, which is made of metal now as well. At least in my case it made a complete 180 turn. Closer than Braun definitely and I’d say you can’t tell the diffrenece between blade, Panasonic and S9000 Prestige.

        A word of advice once you get it, it takes a few weeks for the face to fully adjust. Never press harder than a weight of a blade so let them just glide over the face making circular motions around the face and neck. I prefer wet shave with preshave oil and proraso shave cream.

        With LV9N and Philips in my bathroom I instinctively now pick up Philips mainly because it’s sooo much quieter, never gets hot, and seems to be more comfortable for my skin. 1st world problem I know, but for a guy that needs clean shave every day (work required) this is excellent choice.

        Enough of my opinio – looking forwards to yours!

        • Thank you, Miki. I really appreciate your input. I already have a review in the works, but the S9000 will definitely be the next one.


  3. Hi Ovidiu,
    I stumbled upon your website through a google search, wow, so much information! Thank you! After spending way too much time lol on your website, I’ve decided that this shaver would work best for my needs, but I have two questions that I was hoping you might be able to answer before I go ahead with the investment:

    1. I’ve been shaving with a professional grade Wahl T-Blade trimmer for years, mostly because it allows me to shave dry without causing any irritation, but the compromise is that I don’t get a close shave. I haven’t used an electric shaver since I was a teenager – do you know if this shaver will give me a closer shave than the Wahl trimmer that I’ve been using?
    2. Are there any downsides to buying this here in the US, where it’s not readily available? (Other than through a Japanese seller on Amazon). Alternatively, do you know if a US version of this shaver is planned to be released anytime soon?

    Again, thank you for all of the detailed information that you provide, it’s extremely helpful.

    • Hi Gilad,

      Thank you for your comment, that’s very kind of you. Glad you found the information useful.

      This shaver (and any other high-quality electric shaver) should provide a significantly closer shave compared to your Wahl trimmer. It is after all a hair clipper and it’s mainly intended for detailing/shaping.

      As for the second question, the price would be the main downside with Japanese sellers, especially with these latest Arc 5 models. I would also contact the seller beforehand and ask him specifically about support and warranty in the US. Unfortunately I have no information about an official US release. To be honest, I was expecting the ES-CV51 variation that is sold in Europe to be available in the USA by now. But so far Panasonic seems mainly concerned with promoting its third generation Arc 5 line in Asia and Europe. I guess Panasonic shavers are still nowhere near as popular as Braun in the USA.

      Hope this helps.


  4. Great site and great reviews Ovidiu! Just ordered the ES-CV51 from, and the ES-LV9Q is on the way as well, partly based on your reviews, but I already use an LV9N, so the Q is just an upgrade/back up. I also periodically use a Braun 9290 occasionally, and an S9000 Prestige (I know – shaving is sort of a hobby, but I’m not a reviewer except on Amazon). I’m also a traditional wet shaver of several decades, with enough artisan soaps, blades and DE razors to last several lifetimes. Agree with everything you noted about Panasonic and Braun. I’ve not noticed a difference in comfort level with either the Braun or Panny, but my electric shaves have the same prep, pre-shave and lather as my DE shaves, and the Panasonics are the only electrics I’ve found that give me a shave comparable to a DE blade. The Philips is definitely less comfy, but the necessity of multiple across-the-grain cycles with a rotary contributes significantly I’d guess, even with the new heads. Looking forward to trying the mini-Panasonic traveling – I’ve not really found an ideal travel shaver, and the super easy cleanup with the Panasonic makes it an ideal candidate, plus the advantage of the same shaving head in a compact size. Thanks for the writeups!

    Doc H.

    • Hi Allan,

      Many thanks for your kind words, I truly appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with the trio, arguably the best electric shavers currently available. I think you’ll love the ES-CV51, it’s a fantastic little machine. I’ve been using it as my travel shaver for the last few months (along with some travel size shaving cream) and it’s been just great.


  5. Thanks Ovidiu – looking forward to it! Electrics have definitely come far compared to my original corded Remington, and although my DE pals generally look down on electrics, they are usually comparing their memory of that old Remington. I’ve found the current crop of electric shavers every bit as comfortable, almost as close (insignificantly different), faster, and safer for the average shaver for the daily shave compared to a DE. I still sometimes use a DE, but more often find an electric in my hand, and find I no longer need to trade quality for convenience.

    Doc H.

    • I can totally relate to this, Allan — 15 years ago I’ve switched from cartridge razors and canned foam to DE razors and nicer creams and soaps. This made a big difference, but it was still not good enough. I then tried an electric shaver and never looked back. I only kept an Edwin Jagger DE89 as it’s very mild and it was actually my very first DE razor, but I’ve only used it once or twice in the last few years as I would still break out afterward. Well, at least I still get to use my shaving creams. I tend to wet shave with my Panasonic shavers and grab a Braun when I need a quick dry shave. This seems to work best for me.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful comments, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them.


  6. Shaved with the little beast (ES-CV51) the first time this morning, and I agree 100% with your review – this is a fantastic shaver in it’s own right, even discounting the diminutive size and travel designation. As a travel shaver, it’s definitely the best shaver I’ve ever used. Even using Freelette (another great tip found here!) and no other pre-shave or soap (my usual electric routine), it provided one of the smoothest, most comfortable shaves I’ve had. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for the perfect travel electric. Super easy cleanup as with all Panasonics, I could shave and be on the road in 10 minutes start to finish. Can’t tell from the rather basic charge indicator (I agree Panasonic could have been more generous here, although maybe couldn’t get a full 1-10 scale on the small screen), but I suspect you could get a couple of weeks from a full charge. Nothing negative to say other than the cost, but just as well constructed as any of its top-of-the-line Panasonic big brothers, and you indeed get what you pay for here. Thanks for the excellent reviews and steering me this way!

    • Allan, that’s awesome — glad you liked it! Thank you once again for the kind words and for the excellent insights.


  7. Hi, Ovidiu,

    I’d like to also offer my congratulations on such a well written review on this little number and you’re the reason for me purchasing this amazing piece of hardware.
    I live in Hong Kong, so I have the Japan market and the box looks a lot different to the international design. That said, the following I’m going to write might pique your interest somewhat.

    What you wrote about the shaver was spot on, and if I’m honest, I didn’t feel that the shaver was a tiny bit top- heavy, but that’s because I was used to wielding the Panasonic ES-SL41 WET/DRY as my first ever electric shaver since my parents bought me a Philips shaver about twenty one years ago, but I digress.

    You mentioned that it’s a shame that the shaving companies all use their own proprietary cables and haven’t jumped onto the bandwagon with USB-C. It’s also a hindrance for people who could go on business trips for weeks at a time, go on extended holidays or simply forget to charge their shavers before setting off. As a frequent holiday maker, I’m loath to carry such a huge charger with me, especially when space is an issue when I’m buying things in Japan (which I just came back from, incidentally). I was given a free gift by the Panasonic staff upon purchasing the ES-CV70 in their shop in what I can only describe as a USB converter (that’s what it was written on the box). It connects to the charging port at the bottom of the shaver- and here’s the beautiful part; it is then connected to a micro USB to allow charging! I don’t think I’m able to send pictures on here, but it’s an official bit of Panasonic hardware. Sadly, I asked if I could have some more of these and even offered to pay for them, but I was refused. Looking at the back of the box, Panasonic has deemed fit to giving it a model name: “USBCVT”, but that’s such a generic name. Hopefully Panasonic might roll them out to everyone in the western countries.

    I hope you all have a great day and thanks again for such a great review!



    • Hi Joshua,

      That’s very interesting and I wasn’t aware of the existence of such an adapter — I will definitely look into it and try to source one myself. Thank you for taking the time to share this in the comments, I truly appreciate it.


      • Hi Ovidiu,

        I’m more than happy to try and upload some pictures on here via google photos to give you and everyone who’s interested a heads up. I just tried charging with the USB converter (I used the main charger to charge it first time round just to be on the safe side) and it charges just like it should.

        I forgot to mention that after unsuccessfully trying to buy some more of the USB converters, the Panasonic salesman informed me that I could go to some shaving/ electrical stores and get some unofficial USB converters. I’ll be having a look this weekend to see if I can track some down and see if they work just as well as the one I was given. Lets see how I get on.



        • Hey Josh,

          That would be great, please feel free to paste the links in the comments. Thank you again for taking the time to share this.


          • Dear Ovidiu,

            I’ve uploaded some pictures of the aforementioned USB converter. I tried looking for it today in Sham Shui Po (it’s a place famous for getting knick- knacks in Hong Kong) but it was the wrong day of the week for all the stalls to come out.


            Either way, this is what the converter looks like, boys. If in doubt, you could always copy these pictures and show them to electrical suppliers and see if they can help you source one or twenty- it would be great to have a use for my old discarded micro USB cables!



          • Thank you, Josh, I really appreciate it. For some reason the link returns a 404 error, maybe the album is not set as public.


    • Hi Josh,

      It’s working now, thank you so much. I think it’s an incredibly useful accessory but unfortunately I don’t think it will be available for purchasing, at least not in Europe. I reached out to Panasonic CS here in Romania and they didn’t have info about the existence of such an adapter. No luck on ebay either. I guess we’ll just have to wait until all manufacturers jump on the USB bandwagon and phase out proprietary chargers.


      • If you want a USB charger adapter for the ARC5, you can make one yourself. I bought a cheap ARC5 replacement charger from Amazon. I then cut off the adapter plug for the shaver. I did the same with an old USB A cable. Then I soldered together the red and black wires of the USB A plug to the shaver plug. That’s it. Plug it in and it charges the razor as usual. Now I can travel without the bulky shaver charger, just using the USB cable instead.

  8. Hi and thanks for the amazing website and in-depth reviews. Shaving is more of a necessity for me (usually only shave once a week using a DE razor or an old Philips body groomer..) but hoping to make it less annoying with a proper electrical shaver.

    Currently deciding between:


    In your opinion, are the upsides (metal body, etc) of the LV6Q or even CV51 worth the extra bit of money? Even if using the CV51 as a primary shaver at home?

    Thanks for the help!


    • Hi Joackim,

      Thank you for your comment. I think a gen 2 ES-LV65-S currently represents the best option for most users (excellent performance and great value for money). The gen 3 are definitely some impressive machines, but the current prices are a bit too high and the performance bump is incremental and mainly related to the new foils that are indeed a bit gentler to sensitive skin. Also, the LV6Q doesn’t have a metal body like the CV51 does — only the compact and the range topic models (like ES-LV9Q) from gen 3 feature a metal body. The rest are still plastic.

      I can see the CV51 working as a main shaver, not just for traveling since it’s powerful and uses the same blades/foils. However, if you’re not actually taking advantage of its smaller size I think the ES-LV65-S would still be a better pick. It’s cheaper as well.

      And finally, the foils/blades of the gen 3 will work with a gen 2 Arc 5 like the LV65, so you can “upgrade” it when it’s time to replace them.

      Just a word of caution, electric shavers work best on short facial hair, so depending on how fast your beard grows, using one once a week may require some trimming beforehand.

      Hope this helps.


      • Appreciate the feedback, that removes LV6Q from the equation. It boils down to if i need/want the metal body of the CV51 (and if it’s worth paying extra for) and if not – Is the LV95 worth 30€ extra over the LV65 to get the charging & cleaning station. I’ll think about it but you’ve helped greatly so far! I’m sure i’ll be happy with all three.

        I do have fairly thick and coarse growth, but by getting a electric shaver i’ll up shaving to 2-3 times a week – at least that’s what i’m hoping to achieve.

        Thanks again,

        • You are very welcome, Joackim. I have a few Panasonic cleaning stations lying around and never felt the need to use them. Panasonic shavers are really easy to clean, so I personally would go for the LV65. The station itself is really good, my main gripe is that it doesn’t use cartridges that you can simply take out and put the cap back on (as it’s the case with Braun stations). And that’s important to me as I don’t use the station after every use and I can simply store it in a cabinet without the solution evaporating or spilling if I tilt or bump the station.

          The price difference is not huge though and depending on how you plan to use the station, it could make sense to opt for the LV95.


      • One last question, do you feel the size of the CV51 is a plus or a minus if it would be a daily user? Ergonomically speaking.

        Thanks once again,

        • I can see it being a problem for someone with very large hands/thick fingers but other than that it’s very comfortable to handle. I would have liked to see a simple up and down movement of the shaving head as it makes it easier to maintain a ~90 degrees angle (less “wrist work” for the user), especially when shaving the neck. But again, nothing too serious.

          • Late reply, but thanks once again. Keep up the good work with the site – I’m confident a lot of people find it very helpful in their search!

    • Yes, it will work. You may need to buy a simple plug adapter if for example your cord comes with a European plug and you’ll be using it in the USA.

  9. Hi,

    I wonder if the form factor, that seems to allow for a ‘pen grip’, offsets the lack of a moving shaver head? I’ve got the LV9Q for the moment but I just find it too big to be honest.

    • Hi Maarten,

      The ES-CV51 is a 5 blade shaver and the head is still large by any standards, despite the overall smaller size of the body. It is less tall than the head of the LV9Q as it doesn’t have the swivel mechanism, but that has more to do with the length of the shaver (top to bottom). I’m not bothered by the lack of a moving head, in fact, I often shave with the LV9Q with the head in the fixed position as it’s a bit too wobbly for my liking.

      But in my opinion, if you feel like the LV9Q is a bit too large, I don’t think another 5 blade Arc 5, even a compact one, would make a significant difference.


  10. I have the LV9Q and read in one of your other reviews that it comes with the hard leather travel case, mine didn’t. I bought an after market hard case that works great, but is too big for traveling. After reading this review I bought the CV 51, my question is, can I clean it in the 9Q cleaning station? I know they are very easy to clean manually, which I do with the 9Q, but once every week or two when it needs charging I clean and charge it at the same time. Thanks for your input.

    • Hi,

      The ES-LV9Q only comes with the standard Panasonic soft pouch. If I mentioned otherwise in another review, that is definitely an error and I apologize for that (if you can still remember which review was it, I would be grateful if you could let me know so I can correct the information).

      Regarding your question, the answer would be no, the CV51 doesn’t even have the metal contacts on the back, so it cannot to the station. One workaround would be to use the foil and inner blades of the CV51 on the LV9Q and clean it in the station. But in my opinion is too much of a hassle.


  11. Hey Ovidiu,
    I’m still waiting for the ES-CV51, I think they are walking it from Japan. Do you know if the LV9Q and CV51 share the same charging cord. I replaced the charging cord on the 9Q for the US version and I am hoping they share the same cord.
    Also, you asked me where it was stated that the ES-LV9Q included a hard travel case, well it is in this review. It is under WRAPUP, 4th paragraph, last sentence.

  12. I don’t understand how Panasonic priced this shaver. It has the performance of full sized Arc 5s, without the screen and cleaning stations but, costs more. I’d buy of these for ergonomics if the price was the same as Arc 5s without the cleaning station.

    • That’s a really good point, Keith. However, I think it would be fair to compare it to the price of the Arc 5 shavers from the same generation (like the ES-LV6Q or even the ES-LV67-K). The ES-CV51 is still more expensive, but the price difference is smaller. In my opinion the downsizing is the main reason for the higher price; squeezing the same components into a smaller form factor is more expensive. For example, thin and light ultrabooks are (a lot) more expensive than a larger laptop, even though the latter offers better performance.

      I think Panasonic thought of this shaver as a niche/luxury product. It’s definitely not necessary (you can get a cheaper, normal Arc 5), but for the small form factor, metal build, and leather case you will have to pay more.

      Anyway, that’s just my take on their price strategy.


  13. Hi Ovidiu,

    Thanks for the review! I find your website to be very informative. I intend on getting the Panasonic ES-CV70 since I live in Asia and, as you mentioned, that is the one available here. Just one question though and forgive me if this sounds like a stupid question at that, you mentioned that the main difference between the ES-CV51 and the ES-CV70 is that the ES-CV70 is basically dry only despite being waterproof. My question is this, while I have no intention of using it in the shower (I have this fear that I might suddenly drop it and injure myself or break it) suppose I were to use it with soap or shaving cream, will that still be ok? Again, sorry if that sounds like a simple question. I just wanted to be sure since this thing is quite expensive and I don’t want to find myself regretting purchasing it. If I could, I’d go for the ES-CV51 just for peace of mind but buying that from Amazon or Ebay is basically a no-go for me because of its far more expensive price.

    • Hi EJ,

      Thank you for your comment, glad you found the review informative. That’s actually not a stupid question at all, on the contrary, it’s one of the things that cause great confusion among us, the users. It’s the same situation in the case of waterproof dry-only Braun shavers, for example. But to answer your question briefly, the shaver will probably be just fine when used with soap or shaving cream (always cordless, of course). All current electric shavers that will work while charging are dry-only as a safety precaution even if they are waterproof. I obviously can’t and will not recommend using an electric shaver against the manufacturer’s explicit instructions.

      Hope this helps.


      • Hi Ovidiu,
        Thanks for replying and clearing that uncertainty of mine. I actually did a bit of searching for the Panasonic ES-CV51 before asking my previous question. Unsurprisingly, they’re more expensive than the ES-CV70. I did however found a website selling the ES-CV51 at a cheaper price than what most other places are offering:
        I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask this but have you or anyone else reading this bought anything from there? I checked online to see if the website is legitimate and for the most part, it seems it is. However, reviews of the site seems mixed, at best. There are those saying that the website isn’t legitimate and that they’re running scams, while others are complaining that when they did receive the product they bought, it wasn’t as advertised, or it was used, or it was missing some stuff.
        To be fair to the website, most of those saying negative stuff about the website seem to be disgruntled gamers who tried buying a PS5 from the site but haven’t received their order. Considering how difficult it is to procure a PS5, and with the pandemic raging all over the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if the site is having trouble acquiring and shipping PS5s to their customers.
        Anyways, I’m not after a PS5 but the ES-CV51 and if I can buy it at a cheaper price than what other sites are offering then all the better. If you have ordered from the site, I’d like to know your experience and whether or not the site is safe to order from. Thanks in advance Ovidiu, and keep up all the wonderful reviews! This site has been very informative and has helped me in deciding what shavers would work best for me.

        • Hey,

          You are very welcome, glad I could help. I’m afraid I haven’t bought anything from that particular site, so I can’t say anything from my personal experience. That said, the company behind it, tradeinn, seems to be legit (although their reviews on google are mostly terrible). I cannot say anything however about how reliable they are with fulfilling their orders. I don’t know if it helps, but I got my ES-CV51 from


  14. Thanks for your informative review. This compact Arc 5 looks very interesting,, but I’m curious about one thing. My ES-LV65-S is wonderful, at home,, but I never travel with it, and I cannot imagine an Arc 5 – even a compact one – a as a travel shaver. The problem is the shaving head with the outer foils integrated. To clean it adequately, I need to rinse it with soap and water. As you describe, this is fast and easy, but I feel I need to leave the head off and the shaver exposed to air to let it dry. It seems that if traveling with it, I would have to re-assemble it, zip it in its case, and pack it while still wet. Would it dry properly? Doesn’t the interior of the case accumulate too much moisture? For travel, I take a shaver I can simply brush out, but the integrated blades make this impossible with the Arc 5. Is there a way around this problem?

    • Hi Barry,

      If you need to pack the shaver right after your shave, then I think a dry cleaning would be preferable, even if that means not being able to remove all the hairs with a brush. You can simply clean it with water and soap as soon as you have that possibility. I travel with my ES-CV51 and clean it with water and soap for most of the time and let the parts air dry as you said. If I happen to leave the very same day, I will simply use the brush to remove most of the hair and take care of the rest when I get home. It’s really not a problem doing this.


        • I almost always shave wet with my electric shaver and I travel frequently. Every hotel room has a hair dryer, so I just blast the shaver head for a minute before packing. Problem solved.

  15. Ovidiu, in your above review of this Panasonic travel shaver you indicated, “ The ES-CV51 is surprisingly comfortable and it’s actually the best Panasonic I’ve used so far in that regard.”

    Just wondering whether that’s still true, or whether the Arc 6 surpasses it in comfort.

    As always, thanks for a great website.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks so much for the comment — that’s an excellent observation.

      When I wrote the review on the compact Arc 5, the Arc 6 wasn’t even a rumor back then. So I will need to update the article as the Arc 6 is now the most comfortable shaver in Panasonic’s lineup. That said, the Arc 5 models that come with the new foils (like the ES-CV51) or any other models from the third generation revision C and up, are not far behind. In fact, I’d say most users will find them perfectly comfortable even when used dry.


  16. Hi again, Ovidiu,
    Digging your site. Right after reading your ES-CV70 review, I headed out to a store here in Tokyo to check them one. But I was greatly disappointed that the models here are dry shave only — yet they are supposed to be cleaned with running water! The manual warns the user not to use the shaver in the shower (where it would presumably not be plugged in) for fear of electrical shorts.
    It looks like a very nice unit but for its $200 price tag, I would definitely expect a better engineering concept and user consideration.

    • Hi Geoff,

      Thank you so much, glad you enjoy it.

      Unfortunately that is the case with all models that work with the cord plugged in. Usually Panasonic releases both variations on the domestic market. For some reason, in the case of the compact Arc 5, the wet/dry model (ES-CV51) was only made available in a handful of other places, including Europe where I got it from.



  17. Hello Ovidiu,

    You sir, have just taught me more in a few hours about razors than I thought it was possible to know!! I am very grateful indeed : )

    I have Arc 3 ES-8228 from about 2008. It has served me well and is on it’s original battery. Now it dies when it hits 50% charge. I could put a new battery in it but nothing lasts forever and foils/blades are getting hard to find too.

    I’m interested in the ES-CV70-S after reading this article. I travel a lot, and a hard case and smaller form factor would be nice. I live in Canada, and will need to buy this from Japan via Ebay if I decide to move on it. You already said that we can interchange foils and blades from other models so that is great. But my concern is serviceability in Canada. Do you have any experience getting repairs done to a razor NOT originally intended for the North American market? Especially being as this on is an odd duck? Or do they just not normally have any issues so it’s not a big deal? My ES-8228 has certainly served me well.

    By the way, I totally agree with you on the wash station. Came with my shaver and I never needed it. Thanks so much and keep up the great work!


    • Hi Colin,

      Thank you so much, it’s always nice to know that my ramblings were helpful to someone. 🙂

      When bought from an authorized Panasonic seller, like Rakuten or, the shaver should still be covered by the International warranty, allowing you to just send it to an authorized Panasonic service center in Canada (together with the proof of purchase, like an invoice). It should still be the case if you buy it from a reputable seller with a storefront on eBay.

      Panasonic customer support, at least in Europe, is pretty much non-existent, so hopefully things are better in Canada.

      Whenever I import a shaver from Japan, I simply accept that there’s the risk I could never get a shaver repaired for free — again, that’s the case where I live. Luckily, the shavers proved to be very reliable and never had to be sent for repair.

      Hope you’ll never have to do it also, the ES-CV70/CV51 is a fantastic little Arc 5, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy using it. It’s the perfect travel shaver if we don’t take the high price into account.


      • Thank you for your quick response Ovidiu! You do not ramble at all. You provide the kind of details that these big brands should be supplying in the first place. Sometimes I wonder if they intentionally make it complicated so that we don’t really know what we are buying. Like getting a GPS from Garmin. Good grief the model numbers….

        I was thinking of using the ES-CV70 for everyday and travel.

        The razor market in Canada is frustrating. The only real “deal” in Canada right now is the ES-LV97 for $190 CAD. The ES-LV65 is $225 CAD, but between the two, your review would incline me towards the ES-LV65 for the extra $35. The ES-LC6Q is about $350 CAD. So I can buy the ES-CV70 for about $325 CAD from in the states, or else on ebay – both are direct from Japan.

        The only thing I don’t really love about the ES-CV70 is the minimal display. In your experience, is the size difference worth the sacrifice in display features? I’ve been trying to use a tape measure to determine the difference in length, seems about 2″ shorter. The articulating head isn’t a big deal to me as I don’t feel like I use the flexing head features on my old Panasonic shaver anyways, you have to push so hard you’d be giving yourself razor burn. I really like the fact that the ES-CV70 has some metal on it too. And the hard shell case is such a bonus.

        Have a great day!


        • You are very welcome, Colin.

          The ES-LV97 definitely looks like a better deal than the ES-LV65 in Canada. I prefer the latter over the ES-LV67 if the price is the same, but in this case, I would definitely pick the ES-LV97. Cheaper and also comes with a cleaning center (even though I won’t be using it). If you didn’t need a smaller shaver for traveling, I would have definitely recommended the ES-LV97.

          Getting back to the ES-CV70, I’d say yes, given its compact dimensions, the display compromise is worth it. The shaver is noticeably smaller than the full-size Arc 5 and it shaves the same. So this is a rare case when a compact shaver can also work well as your everyday shaver. The build quality is super nice, it looks and feels expensive. And it is. You’ll have to spend more for the small form factor, just like you would with an ultrabook vs a regular-size laptop.


  18. Hi Ovidiu. Thank you for another fantastic review. These are always helpful and interesting to read. At the bottom of this post, I have a question that I would like your input on, if I may. I have an ES-LV65-S that I purchased a couple months ago. I don’t travel enough to justify buying an ES-CV70/51, but when I do travel, I think I would like to keep my Arc 5 safe and sound at home. I also have an older Braun 340 Wet & Dry (which I think is the generations old version of the new Series 3 Pro Skin?) with a new 32B cassette. The shaver still works perfectly, and although it doesn’t shave as well as the Arc 5, it’s adequate, so I’m thinking of taking this one when I travel.

    When I first started using my Arc 5, I experienced some razor burn, but now that I’ve grown accustomed to the shaver, that is no longer an issue. Since Braun shavers are generally less aggressive compared to Panasonic, I’m wondering, after using the Braun for a couple weeks while traveling and then going back to the Arc 5, if I might experience some razor burn again while I readjust to the Panasonic.

    Since you regularly use so many different types of razors, have you ever experienced this, that your skin has to readjust to a shaver that didn’t previously bother you? I could just take my Arc 5 with me and be extra careful with it rather than having to adjust to it again, but with your extensive experience switching between so many razors, I’d be interested to hear your feedback. Thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Greg,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      That is an excellent question. I don’t think switching back from the Series 3 to your usual Arc 5 will be an issue (and you are correct, your Series 3 is indeed the predecessor of the current ProSkin models). In my opinion the main thing that changed and made a difference to your experience with the Arc 5 is your technique and how you use the shaver, not necessarily the skin adjusting. That one is usually the case when switching from a razor blade to an electric shaver.

      In my case, I guess I’ve got to a point where I really know a shaver and I just slightly tweak my technique depending on the shaver. For example, if I’ve used a Series 9 for a while and I switch back to the ES-LV65, I know that I’ll need to be a bit more careful and press lightly since that shaver is more aggressive than the Series 9 especially during a dry shave.

      But again I don’t think it’ll be a serious issue especially since you would only use the Series 3 briefly during your travels. It’s a really good pick for that also — robust, pretty compact, easy to clean and it’s cheap so that’s good for peace of mind.


  19. That’s encouraging, and makes sense! One time, I had the most expensive shaver I had purchased up to that point stolen from my checked luggage at the airport, and another time I took a budget shaver with no travel lock on an international flight. Even though I had it in a soft travel case and packed it carefully, the power button somehow got pushed, and when I got to my destination, it was completely dead and wouldn’t even take a charge. Like most other shavers today, it also wouldn’t work when plugged in, so I had to go the whole trip growing an itchy beard. Not good! My 340 should give peace of mind on both of these issues (I really like that the protective cap covers the power button), so that’s probably what I’ll take. You’re a blessing, thanks again Ovidiu.

  20. Hello, I don’t know if this is where I should be asking this but I have this Panasonic ES-CV70 that I’ve been using for more than 2 years now and just a while ago, after using it normally for a wet shave, it won’t turn on.

    It’s fully charged according to its LED though the lock is, for some reason, turned on. I tried turning off the lock by holding down the power but it still won’t turn on. Also, the only reason why I know it’s locked is because I decided to plug it in and see how much battery it still has. I tried turning it on while it was plugged in and it still won’t activate. When I took off the plug, the lock icon would flash for a short while but when I try to turn off the lock by holding down the power switch, the lock won’t deactivate no matter how long I hold down the power button.

    I should also mention that a few moments before, after cleaning my shaver after a wet shave, the shaver would sometimes activate on its own. This happened a few times and I would quickly turn it off until eventually I couldn’t turn it on. Perhaps while turning it off, I might have held on to the power switch a bit too long and activated the lock? In any case, I am now unable to switch on the shaver.

    Do you happen to know what I should do in this situation?

    • Hi,

      From what I can tell, the problem could be related to the power button alone (best case scenario). It would need to be replaced in a Panasonic service center though, I don’t think the part is available to end users (I haven’t been able to find it).


  21. Can I use the washable shavers like the CV70 in the shower or with shaving cream? I like to wet shave only since it irritates my skin less and I can’t seem to find the CV51 for sale anywhere anymore

  22. Hi Ovidiu! Bought the LV65 on your recommendation but was very tempted by this shaver because of the higher quality build, the size, and the fixed head.
    I find the multi-way moving heads on these foil shavers to be a gimmick that just adds complexity, bulk and weight. I actually prefer to use the fixed head position because it’s easy to adjust the shaver with my wrist and in fact it gives more control. But I get why manufacturers do it: it looks like an advantage, and maybe it is for a more distracted shaver. If competitor X has a multi-adjust head and we don’t, the average consumer will think the other razor is better.

    Nevertheless, as the LV65 was my first Panasonic in a while, and I actively disliked the Panasonic I bought several years ago (I think it was an Arc 3), I went with the LV65 since on sale it’s quite a bit less than this razor. And so far so good, but I’m still tempted by this one.

    The reason I’m writing is to praise your comments about the angle of the pop-up trimmer. The pop-up trimmer is one of the reasons I switched from Braun to Panasonic; no, I don’t use it often, but the Braun trimmers are just poor. When I first read your comments, I wasn’t quite sure what you meant. But now that I have the LV65, I do see what you mean. As you say, the cutting shears of the CV70 are more perpendicular to the body of the razor. Having the LV65, I can see how the perpendicular angle would make the CV70s trimmer more awkward to use. That’s how the trimmer was on my old Braun Series 7 also.

    The fact that you noticed and write about this is outstanding. This is the level of detail that a truly great review will go into. It shows you have really observed the differences among all these shavers within the context of real world use, and you have chosen to share this surely unique knowledge with the rest of us, so we don’t have to go through the time and expense of figuring it out for ourselves. Impressive, well done, and thank you!

    • Mark,

      Thank you so much for the comment, you’re very kind.

      I totally agree with you, an overly complex flexing head will not only provide diminishing returns, but it can be downright counterproductive and annoying. Just like Panasonic gets the trimmer just right, Braun on the other hand nails the flexing head, at least on the Series 8 and Series 9 (and its flankers). The old Series 5 and 7 with a similar system are now discontinued.

      I’m really glad you found the details about the trimmer helpful, I try to include any aspects that might be useful and relevant to us, the users.

      The CV70 is a really great little Arc 5, but it is pricey and I think it’s worth the investment if you’ll be using it constantly when traveling. Otherwise a standard Arc 5 like the ES-LV65 or ES-LV67 costs less and the head can be locked in a fixed position.


  23. This looks very promising, however I am somewhat concerned about the size for traveling. What are the actual dimensions of the razor? On Amazon it only shows the package dimensions.

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Rex,

      Here are the measurements for the shaver:
      – Length: 13cm
      – Width: 7.3cm (measured at the shaving head)
      – Thickness: 4.5cm (measured at the thickest point)

      And for the case:
      – Length: 15cm
      – Width: 10cm
      – Thickness: 6cm (thickest point)

      I know the numbers may seem a bit high, but it’s very compact and those are the maximum values; the thickness/width of both the shaver and the case tapers down.

      Hope this helps.


  24. Hi. Thanks for this helpful review. Question about the electric current being different between Japan and the US. If the USB cord is used to charge, do you still recommend some sort of transformer to adjust for the current difference?

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks so much for the feedback.

      You would plug the USB cable in either a power brick (like your phone’s charger) which most likely has an automatic voltage adapter and can take between 100 and 240 volts (it should be printed on it) or you would plug the cable into a USB wall socket. Most USB wall sockets will output around 5 volts (anywhere in the world) which is perfectly fine for charging a Panasonic shaver. USB ports on laptops for example also have around 5 volts but usually a lower current, so the shaver will charge slower.

      I would however not use a USB wall socket if it looks of poor quality. But the ones in airports and most hotels should be fine.

      Hope this helps.



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