It took a while, but I finally gave in and bought the Panasonic Arc 5.
Sure it’s one of the most expensive shavers on the market, but I had to test out the 5 blades.
I learned that 5 blades is better than 4, which you would expect, but it’s maybe not necessary for everyone… I hope to provide enough info so you can decide if the upgrade is worth it.
Difference between the ES LV81 K and the LV61 A:
In case you didn’t know, most Panasonic models come with a cleaning station and razor only option.
In this specific review I’m using the ES LV61 A which is the razor only version, however the review is applicable to the ES LV81 K which comes with the cleanining station because shaving performance is the exact same between these models.
The cleaning station is almost identical to the ES LA93 K’s (previous model) so I’ll refer to that in the review.
Enter the 5 bladed Panasonic shaver(s): (ES LV61 A)
These are the items you will get when you order these models:
- Electric Razor
- Safety Cap
- Traveling Case
- Electrical Cord
- Set of Instructions
- ES LV81 K comes with a cleaning station
Make sure you have it turned off and then plug it into the electrical cord.
For safety reasons you’ll notice that you can’t turn it on when it’s plugged in.
In the instructions manual it says a charge should last 1 hour, and it should give you about 45 minutes worth of shaving time. The first time you charge it up don’t worry if the lights don’t come on right away.
Also, don’t worry about overcharging. When it’s fully charged it will go into stand-by mode. This is one improvement from the previous model where the lights would blink when it was done charging (in the charging stand).
Because it doesn’t function while it’s plugged in, it’s best to take good care of the battery. These are lithium ion batteries so they work best when they’re fully drained and re-charged once and a while (maybe every few months or so).
If you opt in for the LV81 K you will get the cleaning and charging base which functions the same way the older LA93 K model does.
A few improvements is that it seems to clean a bit faster and the lights no longer blink as was mentioned above.
There are two ways to clean these razors. You can clean both models manually, or use the cleaning station on the 81 K.
A manual clean is really straight forward. Just turn it on and rinse it under running water. Remove the foil cap and shake away any large water drops and set it to dry. If you want you can also apply some liquid soap and do a thorough clean.
You can also blow or brush away any stubble. I usually do this first, then do a rinse. I personally would apply some liquid soap maybe once a week if I was using it everyday. Also, don’t directly brush the foils.
If you’re interested in more information about setting up the cleaning station you can review it here (opens in a new window).
Taking an up-close look at the design you’ll notice that everything is basically the same as the previous model except of course for the new 5th blade.
The shaving head looks quite big and impressive, and has that powerful and very advanced look. It really makes you want to test it out.
The 5 blades are made up of a cutter in the center and 4 foils, along with the two inner blades. They’re all designed to do something a bit different. Some tackle longer hair while the others shave the shorter stubble.
All these blades along with a pivoted head are designed to deliver a nice smooth shave with little irritation. Plus it still comes with Panasonic’s most powerful motor.
So on paper, the specs look pretty impressive.
On the back there are a few settings which lock the head into place and pop the trimmer up. I personally always keep it on the “free” setting which lets the head pivot 360 degrees.
Lastly there’s a lock feature on the front which keeps the unit from accidentally turning on.
Overall the design and look is the same to the previous model. It fits nicely in the hand, the foil cap easily comes off for cleaning, and the digital displays tells you how much battery life is left.
The only new improvement is that extra “blade”, and I think it’s time to see how it performs!
Overall my shaving experience was great.
I really noticed that there was little to no resistance around my cheek and lip areas.
Even around my chin and neck area where facial hair can be a bit more dense I noticed that the 5th blade seemed to make the process easier. I didn’t have to press in very hard and I felt the shaver just motor right through my stubble.
Those with thicker facial hair will really be able to tell the difference between this model and some less powerful units. I always recommend that those who need to shave everyday should be using a more advanced model.
If you want to try it wet, just use the same routine you would if you were using disposable blades. Apply warm water to your face, rub in some shaving cream, and rinse off the head every couple passes.
Recently some people have sent me messages stating that they do a whole wet shave without rinsing at all and see better results, so that’s something you might want to test out yourself.
It’s definitely one of the better performing models out there, and I think that’s something we all expected to hear.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
With such a large price tag, you would expect these models to deliver a really smooth and comfortable shave…
Fortunately they do!
I would say that this is one of the better electric shaving options on the market, but the only problem is that you need to pay a premium price. That being said, it's now on sale!
So if you want the most advanced Panasonic shaver and you’re willing to spend the money, this is definitely the option for you.
Bottom line you are paying more, but you ARE getting a better product.