The humble electric razor may have its origins in the early twentieth century, but its modern descendants represent some of the most precision blade technology on the market. It’s easy to be bamboozled by the sheer breadth of options available to you, and finding the right razor for your needs and skin can be a mission.
Panasonic keep a very simple range, based per blade number in their foil razors, so they can be less intimidating to follow then other razor lines. Here’s our take on the best precision technology that Panasonic have to offer in this market.
Who are Panasonic?
Panasonic have been bringing the best Japanese engineering offer to the table since 1918 across a range of consumer goods. Starting life as the Matsushita electronics company, they have gone from strength to strength through the years, from humble beginnings selling lamp sockets.
Their boom came after a corporate re-shuffle and the rigors of World War 2, selling radios and bicycles to the Japanese market. Ironically Sanyo, who were founded to handle Panasonic’s component needs, would eventually grow into one of their firmest competitors before being taken over again in late 2009.
Panasonic brand products began appearing in the US from 1961, although the company used a different brand name in other parts of the world. It became strongly associated with the very best of TV and Hi-fi Stereo components worldwide. They even were the owners of ‘Universal’ TV studios for a few years.
They added electric razors to their arsenal in 1953. Ironically, they also helped Phillip’s with their iconic Phillishave rotary razor, although that was not strictly their own product. This collaboration with Phillips went on for quite some while.
The companies parted ways in 1970. As they opted to continue their own ranges independently, they began to specialise in the foil razor.
Panasonic are, however, strongly associated with the development of the technology that enable wet and dry razors to take root in the nineties and early noughties.
They have a unique linear drive motor system that ensures oscillations remain constant. This means that the motors produce constant output even as charge diminishes, so you can finish your shave with as much power as you started it.
Panasonic’s high quality steel blades are also a critical part of what makes them popular razors. Their Nano blades are also consistent across their entire range, from the entry-level to the top, meaning you get quality at any price tag.
Why opt for a foil razor, anyway?
As we noted, when they stopped collaborating with Phillips on their razors, Panasonic opted to take themselves to the top of the category for foil razors.
Which razor style you favour does have a lot to do with skin type and personal preference, but why the foil razor?
Foil razors work with an action not dissimilar to scissors, with the blades snipping below the surface of the foil. Foils are there to keep you safe from the blades, but they also act as guides to pull in the hairs so you can get a close shave.
This is why foil design can make or break a razor company, and why you should choose yours with the utmost of care.
Foil shavers are typically used in a straight up/down dull across the face. This does give them a partial disadvantage as it means they don’t conform quite so well in awkward places like around the nose and down the neck/jawline.
However, most users strongly feel that they offer a closer shave, and they are generally considered gentler on the skin.
A foil razor isn’t the best for coarse hair, though, due to the need to guide the hair into the foil. If you suffer from omni-directional beard growth it may get a little bit irritating too.
They are great if you need to trim down every day, however, and are generally considered to offer more precision then rotary razors.
The Most Popular Panasonic Electric Shavers
Panasonic are a pioneer company in the art of foil razors, so if you’re a rotary fan they may not the best manufacturer for you.
This Japanese brand have a reputation for producing high end razors that may cost a little more initially but keep on going far beyond more mediocre brands.
Their razor technology is particularly well thought of, and they use the same blades across their range so even the cheapest Panasonic razor is using quality steel.
Their linear drive motor of their high-end ranges gives a consistent, regular shave without variety across the planes of the face and the variety of beards out there.
This also ensures that a poorly charged device will still be useable and not choke and die on you. This makes them a great choice for someone coming from a wet-shave only background, or someone transitioning to foil from rotary.
Their mid-range offerings have a particular reputation for consistent quality and a wealth of features it’s difficult to match in other brands of similar cost, so if your budget it tight you may want to look at the Arc 3 and Arc 4 very closely.
What if I want a very simple foil razor?
Luckily, Panasonic do realise that some people just want very simple, no-frills foil razors, especially if they’re frequent travellers.
Unlike with some other companies, their travel and budget razors do not suffer from a lack of delivery- they are built with the same care and attention that their high-end razors are.
While they may be slightly more expensive than other brands, they are also produced at a very reasonable cost.
Their Dual Blade travel razor is much loved by people on the go everywhere, as well as those simple wanting a standard, no-frills, economical and simple razor that gets the job done.
It’s actually surprising how many people use the dual blade travel razor as their daily go-to razor rather than purely for travel.
Panasonic Dual-Blade Travel Shaver
The Dual Blade is basically the same winning design as the single blade wet shaver we review at the end of this article, with the addition of the extra cutting razor. Does this significantly impact user experience? We take a look below.
- Curved Foil for maximum gentle contact
- Fully wet/dry use, can be used in shower
- Comfortable shave that’s still close with little irritation
- Uses alkaline batteries. These can be swapped to rechargeable, but no inbuilt battery
- Small head size makes shaving slower
- No pop-up trimmer for beards
Both of Panasonic’s ‘entry level’ totally simple razors perform incredibly well for size and capacity, and users love them. Clearly, Panasonic are doing something right in a market where entry level usually means poorer quality.
If you need to keep a tight rein on the budget but want an effective shaving experience, this is the razor for you, even if the narrow head takes a little longer. A small trade off in patience to get access to a razor that performs like a higher end razor.
Panasonic’s Wet&Dry electric shavers- our favourites
Panasonic have a reputation as the pioneer brand in the art of wet/dry razors, and you’ll notice their entire ranges offer this option.
While they still have a few models out there that are dry only, the vast majority can be used for wet shaves too and almost all newly produced Panasonic razors are wet and dry technology, no matter how cheap.
This becomes particularly attractive at the lower end of the ranges. It’s difficult to get a safe and effective wet/dry razor at entry- and mid-level budgets.
A razor that can work for either shaving style can prove a versatile purchase, especially if you are looking to invest a little in your shaver and are prepared to pay a little more than average.
If you suffer from a particularly sensitive skin, it may well be worth trying both of these shaving techniques to see which effects your skin less.
Panasonic Arc 3 Wet/Dry Razor
Unsurprisingly, the Arc 3 boasts three cutting blades under its foil head, promising a contoured, hypo-allergenic shave for the man with a bit of a budget to adhere to. It has the good looks of a more expensive razor, so let’s see how it delivers.
- Close shave for an electric razor
- Compact and easy to grip in the hand
- Good charge and battery life, with performance not failing over time
- No swivel head to help in contouring
- Deceptive charging light is difficult to understand, looking like the unit almost always needs charging despite excellent charge retention.
- Head awkward to re-fit after routine cleaning, which discourages good hygiene.
The Arc 3 represents a simple, lightweight but powerful wet/dry Panasonic razor that consumers enjoy. It’s a fabulous mid-budget choice that delivers consistent, long lasting and trustworthy performance.
Panasonic Arc 4 Wet/Dry Razor
The Panasonic Arc 5 wet/dry razor with- no surprises here- 5 blades promises an even closer finish. Let’s see if it lives up to the promise of its shiny design and can outperform the stunning mid-budget potential of the Arc 3 and 4.
- Pivoting head as well as multi-flex blades allow for closer adherence to face
- Lighter then Arc 4 and easier to handle
- Central lift to foil ensures maximum comfort and connection
- Minimal irritation for most users
- Some feel this has a cheaper build quality then other Arc razors, surprising in a top end razor
- Cleaning is difficult and many feel cleaning station refills overpriced
The Arc 5 is an efficient razor offering a close shave, although the look of the razor is a little cheap for their premium product. It does perform better than the Arc 3 and Arc 4, but perhaps not quite as better as it should. It’s still a good investment for the money.
What about Panasonic’s best epilators?
If you’re searching for the effect of a waxing, but don’t have time for regular appointments or don’t like the sometimes painful technique, an epilator may well be the perfect gadget for you.
Powered by pairs of tweezers below a guard- rather similar to the foil razors Panasonic is so well known for- hair is removed at the root, significantly lengthening the time to regrowth.
While they can be exceedingly painful to use on the first few tries, most women [and men] who persevere enjoy the greatly lengthened time before the next ‘shave’ and the extra smoothness to the skin. Here are some of Panasonic’s top picks.
ES2045 Wet/Dry Epilator
Wet/Dry epilators are the new focus of the market, allowing users to epilate in the shower and gain the benefits of warm steam. As we already know, Panasonic rock the world of wet and dry technology Let’s look at how this Panasonic model stacks up to the competition.
- Bikini trimmer and shaver attachments- buy only one unit for multiple purposes
- Users generally feel it’s less painful then average epilators, although there still will be irritation
- Works on short hairs that other epilators wont
- Bulky head makes it difficult to manoeuvre
- Cordless, but no on-cord operation [battery only]
- No Charge light to indicate charge state
- Battery life declines over time and is somewhat unsatisfactory
Overall, the ES2045 Panasonic epilator provides a fairly comfortable epilating experience and the convenience of a three in one package if you use other tools. It also seems slightly less irritating then other epilator brands.
ES ED90-P Wet/Dry Epilator
With 6 snap on heads, the ES ED90P is an interesting epilator, particularly as it offers pedicure attachments alongside the more standard bikini and shaver heads. It looks a lot more fancy and versatile then other Panasonic epilators, but does it live up to that promise?
- Dual Discs to hug contours and reduce pinching, offering closer tweezing action
- LED light to find hairs
- Choice of colours and personalisation
- 48 tweezers is about the market maximum and provides close finish
- Some issues with motors seizing, seems to be a bit of a quality control issue
- Pedicure head not replaceable and wears out with time
- Not the best for fine hairs as it doesn’t lift as well as other options.
The ES ED90-P does provide a Panasonic quality epilator, but many users find the extra heads to be a matter of indifference and its questionable whether buying for them is worthwhile. However, it is an efficient and well running epilator at heart.
ES EU20-P Epilator
This 3-attachment epilator also comes with a razor, as most Panasonic epilators do. While some customers find this a little confusing [you are looking for an epilator, after all] several find it useful for trimming before or in between the epilation. Remember that working with trimmed hair is often best for your first epilation experience.
- Pop Up Trimmer is easy to use
- Is also a Wet/Dry epilator
- Compact size
- Limited tweezers and narrow head is good for some areas but limited on legs
- Not for thicker hair types
Overall this is not a bad epilator for the entry-level market, but suffers a few design flaws that may want the dedicated consumer to look higher in the range.
Panasonic’s most popular beard trimmers
Lumbersexual is in as a look- but few men enjoy sporting an untamed tangle as a beard and keeping pristine control of those facial locks is certainly the name of the game. Beard trimmers allow you to shape and tend your beard while still giving you the freedom to grow it out to your taste, and are a tool no beard-wearer should be without. Here are a few of the very best beard trimmers by Panasonic.
Cordless Electric Beard and Hair Trimmer
If you’re looking for a basic, minimalistic trimmer that doesn’t ship with a ton of bells and whistles, the Cordless electrical beard and hair trimmer from Panasonic will instantly appeal to you.
- 19 trim settings at 0.5mm increments
- Lightweight with ergonomic grip
- On-board adjustment so no separate pieces to lose
- Smoothed teeth to prevent pulling
- Wet/dry combo trimmer
- Large for the genre
- Plugs into [large] base station at rest
Despite a charger design that seems to put off more customers then it pleases, this particular Panasonic beard trimmer is a firm crowd favourite.
ERGB80S Electric Beard and Hair Trimmer
This particular Panasonic beard trimmer is an award winner in its category, so it’s interesting to see how that works out in field tests with real men.
- 39 trim settings at 0.5mm increments
- Rubberised grip, easy to hold
- Rechargeable and fully washable
- Body groomer included
- Durable body
- Some unevenness at short settings
- Frequent clearing needed
- Can be harsh on skin
This is a durable and welcome addition to Panasonic’s beard trimmer range, although some seem to feel the addition of the trimmer was not sufficient to distinguish it from its earlier, cheaper compatriot. All the same, it’s a good value purchase from the Panasonic range.
ERGB40S-19 Electric Beard and Hair Trimmer
Panasonic are not as known for their beard trimmers as some other famous razor companies. We’re looking at one of their budget offerings to see how it stacks up in the hands of users, and if it lives up to the Panasonic quality promise
- Trimmer dial with 19 settings
- One attachment- none to lose or swap
- Slow charging processes and poor battery life
- Needs maintenance
- Can be uneven on low settings
While not a blow-away favourite, this Panasonic beard trimmer none-the-less is a good budget offering that many users enjoy.
Panasonic’s best wet shavers
As many of you will already know, despite the many great wet and dry shavers out there, if you are a wet shave purist it is incredibly hard to try and replicate the experience of a ‘cutthroat’ razor wet shave with electrical razors.
You’ll never get quite as close [or as dangerous] a shave from a foil or rotary head. However, when it comes to the art of the wet shave, Panasonic have one razor you may like to consider despite how unlikely a candidate it is.
Panasonic ES3831K Travel Razor
Although only a humble travel razor, the ES3831K is of interest to wet shavers as it is a single blade razor- a rarity among foils and something quite close to replicating the effect of a straight edged, traditional wet-shave razor.
- Easy to grip shape
- Fully immersible-shave in the shower
- Light-weight and small- designed for travel
- Very close shave for a foil razor
- Can irritate skin more easily
- Some beard types seem to resist cutting action
- Takes standard batteries not rechargeable
- Not a heavy-duty razor
Sadly, we haven’t yet reached the point where the perfect electric wet shave razor exists, but the ES3831 is a decent little gadget for its capacity
From ladies espilators to trimming the beards of cool dudes everywhere, Panasonic have become a market anchor for hair trimming and razor products worldwide, with a reputation for high quality products that last.
If you’re looking for fully wet/dry technology, Panasonic are the go-to brand, and their middle range product offerings offer strong shaving everyone can afford.