Reviewers say that the Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A foil shaver is great for sensitive skin. In fact, several users who struggle with acne or ingrown hairs report that the ES8243A's doesn't aggravate these issues as other shavers can.
A shaver that's strong enough to cut through the toughest of beards may leave sensitive skin irritated, but according to numerous reviewers, the Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A mows through even several days of coarse beard growth with little or no irritation. We did find a few stray comments saying that it doesn't perform as well on coarse neck hair.
The four blades vibrate at 13,000 rpm as you shave, and users say the spring-loaded suspension follows skin contours very well. You can shave dry with the Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A, shave wet with shaving cream or gel or take it into the shower with you, a feature that many users say helps them get a good shave. "Use wet or dry -- it's equally effective," writes one owner, adding that it gives him an "extremely close shave without irritation -- matching or even exceeding a multi-blade straight razor."
We found a few scattered complaints that the shaver misses a stray hair now and then, but most users say this isn't a problem. They also say this shaver is very fast. It appears to have a staunch following among users with acne or ingrown hairs, who say this shaver doesn't exacerbate their skin problems. "It's great and I won't need to buy another shaver -- ever," says one.
The Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A's relatively simple design both attracts and repels reviewers. Some deliberately chose this shaver because it's easy to clean under the faucet; no need to mess with a cleaning station. "This razor is one of the easiest to clean," says one user -- just apply a couple drops of liquid soap, run it in turbo mode then rinse. However, some say they miss having a charging stand or cradle to hold the shaver upright when it's not in use, and they end up just leaving it on the counter because they don't have anywhere else to put it.
Users on several review sites praise the ES8243A for its quick charging time. That's a good thing because, as another user points out, you can't use this shaver while it's plugged in to charge. Some say this shaver dumps hair everywhere when you use it, although others say "most of the cut hair stays inside."
Even users who can't get a good shave with this model compliment its construction and design. As one otherwise critical owner writes: "I would say that Panasonic hit another home run. It's well made, easy to hold, and I like the floating head design."
Reports about this shaver's noise levels vary; in fact, noise may be one of the most subjective measures of any electric shaver's performance. But user comments tend toward the high end of the scale. As one Amazon.com reviewer writes: "I found this shaver to be screechy loud." Other qualify their observations of the noise level, saying "it's not loud, but it's noisier than some other electrics I tried," or, "It is kinda loud when it is running but that is expected when it runs at 13,000 rpms."
The Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A is covered by a fairly standard two-year warranty, with the foils and blades excluded; it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. A significant number of users comment that this shaver is a bit pricy and that the replacement blades (which retail for about $80, but are often available for less) run "a little on the steep side."
Others complain that this shaver suddenly stops working after a few months or a year. We also found complaints about customer service: In one Amazon.com review, dating from 2009, a user documents a dispute he had about the length of his warranty. Another reviewer claims that Panasonic returned the same broken razor, simply repackaged, to him after he had sent it in for repair.
Quite a few Panasonic foil shavers are on our radar this year. Most seem to struggle with coarse hair, but users say the ES8243A can mow through a thick, tough beard pretty quickly. That being said, the Panasonic Vortex ES8109S (*Est. $100) gets the best reviews of all the wet/dry foil shavers we evaluated.
About 800 Amazon.com reviewers weight in about this shaver; more than 530 of them give it 5 stars, and the overall average is a 4.4 stars. Although most praise this shaver, saying it gives a clean, no-irritation shave even if you have acne or are prone to ingrown hairs, we also found a substantial number of complaints that this model can quit working suddenly, plus complaints about Panasonic customer service.
Review: Panasonic ES8243A Men's 4-Blade (Arc 4) Wet/Dry Rechargeable Electric Shaver with Nanotech Blades, Blue, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2012
More than 50 users review the Panasonic Arc IV ES8243A on Drugstore.com, assigning it an overall score of 4.5 stars. Despite a few complaints about missed hairs or too much noise, they almost all agree that it's easy to get a close shave, and they like this shaver's wet/dry/in-the-shower versatility.
Review: Panasonic Men's Arc IV Wet/Dry Shaver Nanotech, ES8243A, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of June 2012
About 20 user reviewers rank the Panasonic ES8243A on BestBuy.com, giving it an overall score of 4.7 stars. We found no major complaints, and users who struggle with sensitive-skin issues, including acne and ingrown hairs, report that this shaver gives them a clean, comfortable shave and helps their skin.
Review: Panasonic - Arc 4 Nanotech TM Electric Shaver - Blue/Silver, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of June 2012