Pros: surprisingly close and comfortable shaves, fast motor (for a travel razor), excellent build quality, good ergonomics, compact dimensions, waterproof, wet&dry use
Cons: works best on short facial hair, not effective with flat-lying hairs, pricey replacement foil & blades
A compact electric shaver is an ideal option for traveling or simply as a backup.
You can toss them in your car’s glove box or in your toiletry bag as they take up little space and most of them run on replaceable batteries.
This is going to be an in-depth review of the Panasonic ES4815P, a compact foil shaver that has a couple of key advantages over most other travel shavers.
In order to get a good idea of its capabilities, shortcomings, and when it would be a suitable choice, I tested the ES4815P thoroughly for a couple of weeks.
I will be sharing my thoughts regarding its pros and cons, but also how it compares against other popular mobile shavers.
Let’s start by quickly going over the main features.
Table of Contents
Panasonic ES4815P features overview
Most travel electric shavers out there are pretty basic in order to fit everything into a compact body while also keeping the price low.
The Panasonic ES4815 in our review is no exception and has a rather modest feature list.
1. Two-blade shaving head
This is certainly one of the highlights of this tiny shaver.
While you’ll generally find a single cutting element on most foil travel shavers, the ES4815P has two.
As you can see in the image above, it’s a pair of regular foil elements that will cut the hairs at skin level.
While having more cutting elements will offer diminishing returns past a certain number, having two instead of one is definitely a plus.
Moreover, the two foils of the ES4815P can also move independently.
This isn’t a novelty, but it’s worth mentioning that the range of motion is quite decent and the operation feels smooth and that’s not always the case with these mobile shavers.
So it’s definitely a promising start.
2. Waterproof, wet&dry use
The Panasonic ES4815P is completely waterproof, so you can rinse it with water and also use it with shaving cream or gel.
Again, a lot of travel razors are only suitable for dry use and the ability to clean it with water is particularly useful in my opinion.
Most men will prefer to shave dry, but it’s nice to have the option of shaving wet as well.
3. 8200 RPM motor
Another pleasant surprise on the specs sheet is the power output of the motor.
8200 RPM means that the ES4815P is fitted with a snappy motor, again something you don’t normally see with cheap, compact shavers.
We’ll see later on in the performance section of the review how well it fares in the real world.
The Panasonic ES4815P runs on two AA batteries.
This is a common solution in the case of mobile shavers and a practical one as well.
I still hope that the major brands will eventually adopt USB-C charging as standard; it’s definitely long overdue.
That’s pretty much it, not a whole lot to say about features, but the ones that really matter look promising.
Build quality and ergonomics
While in the past I used to praise the Braun M90 for its clever design solutions and build quality, I think the Panasonic ES4815P has the edge.
At least in that regard, it’s my new favorite compact razor.
Starting with the design, this is a really good looking shaver.
I love the chunky shape and the color scheme as well. While in these images it may appear large, it’s very compact in size.
But what really impresses me is the quality of the materials and the attention to detail.
Let’s take for example the shaving head.
There are a couple of foil release tabs on each side that make removing the foil a breeze.
For example, the latest Braun Series 7 doesn’t have any and you must use your fingernail to pry it off the shaver.
Panasonic on the other hand managed to fit this tiny shaver with a couple of release buttons for the foil.
The foil itself feels very sturdy, again something that’s not too common with this type of shaver.
Moreover, there’s a foil frame release button on the left side that allows you to easily remove the entire foil frame for easy cleaning.
You just press it and the whole frame pops right out:
This is really remarkable and I have to give props to Panasonic for implementing it.
With the foil frame removed, you can see the two inner blades that do the actual cutting.
They also feel pretty sturdy, even though not quite as solid as the ones found on the Panasonic’s full-fledged shavers.
Also, while the standard Panasonic nano-blades have a 30-degree bevel on the blades, these are sharpened at a 60-degree angle.
The plastic used on the frame is thick and of high quality and everything feels solid and well put together.
Moving further down we have the triangle-shaped on/off switch on the front of the shaver.
It has a cleverly integrated travel lock in the form of a small tab that you must press in order to unlock the switch.
Otherwise, it won’t slide forward.
The blue part of the shaver features a grippier, matte finish, but it’s not rubber. So while the grip is adequate, it’s not quite the best.
I didn’t have any issues during use since the ES4815 is very lightweight at 148 grams (including the batteries), so it’s easy to grasp and to maneuver.
On the bottom there’s the battery hatch, basically a dial-style cover that you must turn 90 degrees counterclockwise in order to unlock it.
The cover has a rubber gasket around it that ensures a watertight seal. So keep in mind that the Panasonic ES4815P is only waterproof when the battery cover is in place and locked.
A really nice touch from an ergonomic standpoint is that everything is perfectly symmetrical and fits both ways: the foil, the foil frame, and the plastic cap.
It’s may seem like a minor detail, but I really appreciate this type of attention to the user experience.
As for negatives, there’s no battery level indicator or pop-up hair trimmer, but that’s to be expected.
Overall, I am very impressed with the quality and engineering of this small shaver. I’ve used compact shavers that feel brittle and almost like toys, but that’s not the case at all with the ES4815P.
Here’s what you’ll find cramped inside the tiny box:
- Panasonic ES4815P shaver
- Cleaning brush
- Plastic protective cap
- Travel pouch
- User instructions
That’s not too bad considering that with many compact shavers you’re not getting anything at all.
The protective cap in particular is quite a useful and rare addition.
The pouch doesn’t offer much protection, but it doesn’t really matter since we get a cap and travel lock.
The instructions leaflet is in Japanese, so it’s pretty useless apart from the illustrations. Luckily, you can also download the English version at this link from Panasonic’s website.
Since this shaver runs on two replaceable AA batteries, there’s no charging involved.
I’ve used my ES4815P 7 to 8 times with a pair of new Panasonic batteries during my tests and they were still going strong after that.
So it seems that the razor only sips power and you should be able to get quite a few shaving sessions out of a new pair of batteries.
That number will depend on how long it takes you to complete a shave and how coarse your beard is.
Luckily, these batteries are cheap and widely available.
I still would have preferred a rechargeable battery and a USB type C port on a shaver of this type though.
Let’s now see how well this tiny Panasonic ES4815P shaves.
I must admit that I had rather high hopes (as opposed to what I normally expect when reviewing travel razors).
The high-quality shaving head and the beefy motor were the premises of a decent performance.
And for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed — quite the contrary.
But there are some important caveats as well, so let’s take a close look at the most important aspects, starting with the closeness.
Closeness of the shave
This is one area where most mobile electric razors suffer.
They’re just not able to provide an adequately close shave due to a lack of power and a mediocre shaving unit.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with the ES4815P.
To my surprise, it almost never felt underpowered, maybe a bit when shaving areas with thicker hair (in my case these are the chin and below the nose).
But it did work a lot better on short stubble, so I highly recommend shaving more often with this razor in order to get the best results.
The closeness on the cheeks and even on my neck was particularly good.
When I tried it with the Speick pre-shave, the results were even better and it further improved the closeness to the point where I’d say it was very good.
To put things in perspective, I have medium to coarse facial hair and sensitive (dry) skin, especially on the neck.
Because the shaving head is so slim and the whole shaver is lightweight and very easy to use, I was able to really get into all the nooks and crannies and get a smooth shave.
Overall, I am quite happy with the closeness, especially since this is a small, portable shaver.
If I were to nitpick, I’d say that the closeness above my upper lip could have been better and on the chin as well.
But again, if you don’t have a thick beard you should be satisfied with the results.
This is yet another aspect that took me by surprise (and in a good way).
For most of the time, the ES4815 was very comfortable and forgiving.
Again, it is probably the best travel razor I’ve tested in this regard as well.
Except for some post-shave redness and itching on the neck, I didn’t have any serious issues. And I usually do when shaving with other travel razors.
During use, it is remarkably comfortable and the foils only get slightly warm.
Again, I recommend a quality pre-shave lotion when using the ES4815P dry as it will make your experience that much more pleasant.
Somewhat related to comfort, one thing that I don’t like about this shaver is that the head doesn’t glide as easily on the skin.
If the skin is a little damp as well, this is even more noticeable and I personally find it quite annoying. Using a pre-shave completely solved the problem for me.
Shaving flat-lying hairs
This is where things go a bit sour.
In short, the ES4815 struggles a lot with flat-lying hairs. If they also grow in different directions, it can get really frustrating.
However, this is actually normal in the case of basic foil shavers.
The solution to getting around this shortcoming is to shave more often. If the hair is short, the shaver will have a lot less trouble cutting it, even if the hair tends to stay flat on the skin.
So you should consider using the Panasonic ES4815P as a daily shaver, maybe every other day if your beard grows slowly.
Otherwise, it will take you longer to complete your shave and it’ll get frustrating trying to get those stubborn flat hairs.
Since the Panasonic ES4815P is waterproof, you can also use it with shaving cream/gel and hopefully get better results.
If that doesn’t sound too appealing, then by all means stick to shaving dry.
I tried a wet shave with the ES4815P and to be honest, it wasn’t good.
And that’s surprising, to say the least as the addition of a quality shaving cream usually makes up for some of the shortcomings of less capable electric razors.
So what exactly was wrong with it?
Well, the performance when shaving flat-lying hairs was absolutely terrible. The shaver would just leave them behind no matter how hard I tried.
It was noticeably worse compared to using the ES4815P dry.
The closeness and comfort were on the other hand really good, but again, if you have even a few small patches of hairs that lie flat on the skin, it definitely won’t be fun to shave wet with this razor.
The reason for the poor performance has to do in my opinion with the very narrow foil elements.
Even the single-blade travel shavers that I’ve used in the past, like the Panasonic ES3831K performed significantly better during a wet shave.
The difference was likely made by the wider foil that can better capture difficult hairs during a stroke.
So while the narrow foils on the ES4815 make it really nimble and easy to use, they also cause the razor to perform poorly when shaving longer/flat hairs.
A waterproof electric shaver is always preferable, but unfortunately in this case, the only benefit is that you’ll be able to safely (and quickly) clean it with water.
This isn’t too bad after all considering that most men prefer to shave dry anyway and the performance of the Panasonic ES4815P, when used in that manner, is actually pretty solid.
Cleaning and maintenance
As expected, this shaver is simply effortless to clean.
That’s mainly because you can separate the outer foil from the blades with the press of a button and the whole shaver is waterproof.
Panasonic also included a small brush that has both long and short bristles, something you don’t always get with other more expensive shavers.
If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to rinse the razor with water, you can use the brush to remove the crud of hairs.
Just make sure never to brush the inner blades across, but always with the direction of the cutting edges. Otherwise, you will blunt or damage them.
My preferred way of cleaning the ES4815P is with warm tap water and every once in a while, a bit of liquid soap.
With the shaver turned off, remove the foil frame and gently tap the plastic part on a surface to remove most of the hairs trapped inside.
Snap the foil back in place, turn the shaver on and rinse the head under warm tap water for approximately 15 seconds or so.
Turn it off, remove the foil and give it a final rinse. Do the same for the two inner blades.
Shake off the excess water, pat dry with a towel, and with the foil removed, let them air dry completely.
That’s pretty much it.
Every now and then I recommend using a bit of liquid soap for a more thorough cleaning.
With the shaver turned on, add a bit of water to the foils and place a few drops of liquid soap on them.
Let it run for 15 seconds, then generously rinse the head with warm tap water. Turn it off, remove the foils and give them one final rinse.
Panasonic recommends lubricating the ES4815 regularly, especially if you use liquid soap.
You can use any highly refined mineral/paraffin oil. I recommend the Andis or Wahl clipper oils as they’re very reasonably priced compared to the Panasonic branded lubricants for example.
Here’s a complete guide on how and when to lubricate your electric shaver.
Replacement parts availability
Here’s the main problem with the Panasonic ES4815P: the replacement foils and blades are pricey and sometimes difficult to find.
And while the foils are easier to source from various websites, getting the inner blades can be an issue.
The part numbers are the following:
Panasonic ES9857 Replacement outer foil
Side note: There are also some aftermarket foils out there that are a lot cheaper, but I don’t have any information regarding their quality or reliability.
Panasonic ES9852 Replacement inner blades
The best deal I could find is this set of the foil and the blades from a third-party manufacturer called Ronsit.
It seems to have good reviews as well.
The manufacturer recommends replacing the outer foil once a year and the blades every two years.
In reality, that will greatly depend on how often you use the shaver. If you only shave with it when traveling or on vacation, you can expect the parts to last a lot longer than that.
Wrapup—Who should buy the Panasonic ES4815P?
Concluding this Panasonic ES4815P review, I think we can safely say that there are some good and bad parts about it that may or may not be a dealbreaker.
This compact electric razor has excellent build quality and ergonomics, it’s among the most comfortable machines of this type and it’s fitted with a snappy motor, resulting in an adequately close shave.
It’s also waterproof and extremely easy to clean.
Because it only works well on short facial hair, it is better suited to users that shave often, ideally daily or every other day.
It would make an excellent travel razor thanks to its decent performance, compact dimensions and integrated travel lock.
Men with light facial hair could consider it as their main shaver, but for most users, the ES4815 would make a lot more sense for occasional use.
Now, my main gripe with this razor is its price (especially in Europe) and the availability (and cost) of the replacement foil and blades.
Most travel shavers out there are inexpensive and we all expect them to be. The ES4815P is on the more expensive side though, costing more than other popular shavers of this type (more details in the next section).
And then there’s the problem of the replacement parts that are also pricey and not always easy to find.
The higher price is somewhat justified by the excellent quality of the shaver and of the shaving unit in general, but again, most users are not willing to pay a lot for a shaver of this type.
Another letdown for me was the wet shaving performance, but it’s a non-issue if you plan on shaving dry.
That said, let’s check out some alternatives to the ES4815P.
The first option would be Panasonic’s own ES3831K, arguably their most popular travel shaver.
Its main advantages over the ES4815P are the lower price and the availability of the replacement foil and blade.
Even if it’s a single-blade shaver, the performance is quite decent thanks again to a very snappy motor.
It’s waterproof as well and works a lot better when used with shaving cream.
However, in my experience, it wasn’t quite as comfortable as the ES4815P.
Also, you’ll want to shave daily with it since the longer, flat-lying hairs are a problem here as well, even though not quite to the same extent.
Finally, there’s the Braun M90, usually the default choice of many users.
It’s inexpensive, has really good build quality and some ingenious design features, like an integrated rotating cap, and it performs adequately well for a compact shaver.
There’s an integrated slide-out hair trimmer as well, definitely a rare sight on a travel razor.
The closeness of the shave with the M90 is actually pretty good, however the comfort is not great.
In fact, it’s the least comfortable of the three, so I would only recommend it if you don’t have sensitive skin.
You will get the best results when shaving short stubble, just as you would with the two Panasonic models.
The replacement foil and blade are reasonably priced and widely available.
The shaver is waterproof and you can easily rinse it under tap water.
For more details, make sure to check out my review as well.