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Wet/Dry Electric Shavers

By: Carl Laron on October 26, 2017

Panasonic wet/dry shavers come out on top

Braun's foil shavers receive the best reviews overall, and many models can now be used wet as well as dry. The Philips Norelco models discussed in our section on the best rotary shavers can also go into the shower with you. However, for those interested in wet shaving, most reviewers say that Panasonic wet/dry shavers are a terrific option.

Among the models with the strongest feedback, the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 (Est. $110) hits the sweet spot where value and performance meet. It's well regarded in professional reviews, and earns plentiful and relatively strong feedback from owners. The Panasonic ES-LA93-K Arc 4 (Est. $170) is the identical razor, except in black (the Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc 4 is silver) and packaged with a charger/cleaning base. Feedback on the cleaning base is mixed -- as is typical for cleaning bases with most electric shavers; some love it, some hate it, and some say why spend the money either way since the Panasonic shaver is fairly easy to clean. We tend to agree with the last sentiment, but either model is a good choice if you feel otherwise.

In testing, the Panasonic ES-LA63-S/Panasonic ES-LA93-K perform impressively, but also typically finish in second or third place to foil shavers from Braun. You will need to occasionally go over an area more than once to get things perfectly smooth, reviewers say, but that's acceptable for an electric shaver versus a standard razor (and if you want to stick with blade shaving, we cover manual razors in their own report). Ovidiu Nicolae at ShaverCheck.com says that shaving times are fast with the Panasonic, faster than the Braun Series 7 razors, but the downside of that is that the razor "can be a bit aggressive to very sensitive skin." However, he adds that the ES-LA93-K he tests seemed to need less pressure than other razors to get a close shave, "and that is always a good thing, as irritation and razor burn are often caused by excessive pressure and multiple passes." Tyler Stokes at Electric-Shaver-Guide.com says that, as with most electrics, there may be a little irritation at first, "but within a few tries you should be fine."

These shavers get tons of user reviews. We see more than 2,880 of them for the less expensive, base-less model at Amazon.com, where the wet/dry razor earns a score of 4.3 stars; the pricier ES-LA93-K attracts more than 980 reviews, and just a slightly lower rating of 4.2 stars. Most users are mostly or completely satisfied. Of those that aren't, complaints run the gamut, but one thing we noted is that battery life between charges isn't tops, and since you can't run the shaver with it plugged in (a terrible idea in the shower, anyway), you'll need to be sure it's topped off sufficiently or you might get stuck without a shaver for a while before you are quite done cutting your stubble.

Owners of the ES-LA93-K have added gripes about the cleaning stand, again citing a variety of convenience, operational, and durability issues. Noise is about par for a foil shaver, but that doesn't stop some from being disappointed with that. We also saw comments that the cleaning station in the step up model is noisy in its own right.

On the plus side are some nice design touches that help improve usability. There's a non-slip coating that make the shaver easy to hold on to when wet, and contoured shapes that feel good in your hand. The batteries may not last the longest (about 45 minutes of shave time), but they charge fully in just one hour. Flexible, adjustable heads make it easy to shave hard-to-reach nooks and crannies without causing irritation.

Both of these shavers are part of Panasonic's Arc4 series, indicating that they have four cutting blades. If four blades are great, wouldn't five blades be better? Maybe, or maybe not, but either way, Panasonic also offers Arc5 shavers with five heads.

Reviews are generally good, but the larger head comes in for a little bit of criticism. The older but still available Panasonic Arc5 ES-LV65-S (Est. $185) was a former top pick at Techlicious.com (it's since been surpassed there by the Braun Series 9). However, at the time of the original review, Robert E. Calem says that he likes the Panasonic a bit better than the highly regarded Braun Series 7 shaver despite the fact that "as with other Panasonic shavers, I found that the Arc5's extremely large shaving head made it awkward to use, especially around the edges of my sideburns."

Ben Atkins at Moo.Review looks at the newest model in the Arc 5 line, the Panasonic ES-LV9N-S (Est. $300), which can still be a little hard to find in the U.S., at least at a reasonable price. He notes that the large head can make the razor seem a little top heavy, and that getting the best results can take a little bit of a learning curve. "But once you pass the break in period the Arc 5 really starts to shine." he says.

Ergonomics do come in for some small criticisms, and Atkins says that those with larger hands might prefer the grip of the older Arc5 models, but that it is still comfortable to hold -- especially for wet shaving. "The rubber grip on the rear is second to none," he says. "Even the most clumsy of hands coated in a lather of shaving foam were able to keep a grip on the Arc 5 with little difficulty." We didn't find enough user reviews as of yet to be meaningful, but for what it's worth, what's available so far seem pretty positive. These Panasonic electric razors are covered by a two year warranty, plus a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

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