The Panasonic ESLT41K may not win any awards for ultra-quiet performance, but most reviewers love its close, clean, irritation-free shave. They warn, though, that it requires a little more pressure than most shavers, which can take some getting used to -- and if you have a very coarse beard, you may need to shave every day for the best performance.
Comes with a learning curve. The Panasonic ESLT41K shaves a little differently than other electric shavers (both foil and rotary). Users say it takes a little experimentation to find just the right amount of pressure, and that in general you need to use more muscle for a close shave than would be the case for other models.
The upside is a close, irritation-free shave on even the most sensitive skin or shortest whiskers. That's pretty consistent with the discontinued Panasonic ES8109S, which this model replaces. If you're willing to pay about $30 more you can get the same shaver, plus an upgraded display and cleaning dock, all packaged as the Panasonic ESLT71S (Est. $130) .
The ESLT41K can mow through a coarse beard nicely, reviewers say, as long as you shave every day. If you start skipping days, the shaver will start skipping spots in your beard. Reviewers don't agree about neck performance; some complain about temporary irritation, while a few others say the ESLT41K works just as well on your neck as on your face.
"I tried every combination of razor... and creams, but still wound up with a bloody, irritated neck every time. ...[With the Panasonic ESLT41K,] my skin is smooth to the touch after shaving and zero irritation," writes one user posting to Amazon.com.
Switch lock may be its best feature. You can't use the Panasonic ESLT41K when it's plugged in and charging. That's a deal-breaker for some consumers, but most don't seem to mind since this shaver's display clearly counts down how much shave time is remaining, letting you know exactly when it's time to recharge. Even if you forget, about five minutes of quick-charge time gives you enough juice for a full shave. The shaver requires only an hour to charge fully.
We found a few users who say the Panasonic ESLT41K's battery lasts for at least a week, but its very best feature may be a switch lock that lets you secure the switch in off position; that way, the shaver won't accidentally turn on.
Except for minor differences in the display, the ESLT71S is exactly the same shaver with a cleaning/charging dock -- but even without the dock, cleanup is easy thanks to wet/dry capability and an ultrasonic cleaning mode for use under running water.
"This shaver [the Panasonic ESLT41K] cleans easily under a faucet with soap and water, a big improvement over the cleaning station and supplies that used to be required," writes one user at BestBuy.com.
"Buzz saw" is the buzzword. Although we did find a few people willing to describe the Panasonic ESLT41K as "quiet," the majority of users -- mostly posting to Amazon.com -- compare it to a buzz saw. One memorable reviewer suggests wearing earplugs, but most are willing to put up with a little noise in return for a good shave. "Takes getting used to but worth it," writes another reviewer.
Nobody has much to say about the ESLT71S's cleaning dock noise levels; one Amazon.com user compares the dock's sound to a cross between the shaver's own ultrasonic cleaning mode and a person gargling.
Standard warranty, non-standard complaints. The Panasonic ESLT41K is backed by a two-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee. We found a few complaints that the shaver quit working after a year or less, sometimes due to corroded battery terminals. Still, we didn't find as many complaints about durability for this shaver as for previous Panasonic models.
In terms of ownership cost, expect to pay around $70 for a foil-and-blade combo every year. If you have the ESLT71S, refills of cleaning solution cost around $40 per year.
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More than 245 Amazon.com users give the Panasonic ESLT41K a 4.4-star average rating. While their comments are mostly positive, downsides include noisy operation. A few users with heavy beards say this shaver starts to miss spots if they don't shave every day.
Review: Panasonic ES-LT41-K Men's 3-Blade (Arc 3) Wet/Dry Rechargeable Electric Shaver, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Almost 70 BestBuy.com customers review the Panasonic ESLT41K, giving it one of the highest overall ratings on this site: 4.6 out of 5 stars. Most say it's surprisingly quiet and gives a close shave, usually on the first pass.
Review: Panasonic - Arc3 Wet/Dry Pivoting-Head Shaver with Nanotech Blades, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of May 2013
Almost two dozen users give the Panasonic ESLT41K a 4-egg (out of 5) average rating -- pretty much the best rating for shavers you'll find on this site. Although most reviews are positive, a few point out that this shaver doesn't do so well on your neck -- a complaint we also found on other review sites.
Review: Panasonic 3-Blade Wet/Dry Shaver with Nanotech Blades and Arc Foil ES-LT41-K, Contributors to NewEgg.com, As of May 2013
About 20 NewEgg.com reviewers rate the ESLT71S with an average of 4 eggs out of a possible 5. Except for a difference in the display, it's essentially the same shaver as the ESLT41K, plus a cleaning and charging dock.
Review: Panasonic 3-Blade Wet/Dry Shaver, Contributors to NewEgg.com, As of May 2013