Panasonic Arc5 and Braun Series 9 are the two highly prized shavers. They are flagship products of the two reputable brands. There is no wonder why their performance and efficiency are top-of-the-line.
But in the end, Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9, which is better? We will show how these shavers stack against each other in this article.
- 1 Overview Of Panasonic Arc5 & Braun Series 9
- 2 Panasonic Arc5 Vs Braun Series 9
- 2.1 Construction
- 2.2 Performance
- 2.3 Shaving Time & Battery
- 2.4 Cleaning And Maintenance
- 2.5 Durability
- 2.6 Price
- 3 Quick Rundown Of Panasonic Arc 5
- 4 Quick Rundown Of Braun Series 9
- 5 What Is The Best Overall?
Overview Of Panasonic Arc5 & Braun Series 9
The First Generation
The first generation was launched in 2009 and discontinued. There are two models:
They are recognized by the large cleaning station and outdated detergent cartridges.
The Second Generation
Models from this generation are more compact and feature the economical, concentrated detergent.
Models from the second launch of the Second Generation present visual updates with shaving elements and cleaning stations remaining unchanged.
The Third Generation
These models go through major overhauls in the design and end up with six revisions (A, B, C, D, E, and F). Panasonic has used metal for the body and added two comfort rollers to improve the comfort.
Models from this revision have identical cleaning stations as the previous generation. The only discernible difference is that these shavers do not fit in the older cleaning stations.
Revision B: Panasonic replaced the letter A with B in the name of their shavers, such as ES-LV9B-S or ES-LV6B-S.
Improvements made for this revision only affect the ergonomics of the shavers, not the shaving performance.
The thumb rest is covered with a textured material instead of a smooth finish, which improves the grip for wet shaving. Also, the head front-to-back angle is increased from 17 to 20 degrees.
Revision C & D: These updated shavers are ES-LV9C, ES-LV9Q, ES-LV9D, etc. Panasonic has revised the outer foils for these models and added touch-ups like an intelligent unlock feature on certain shavers. The shaving heads are also more complex and flexible after the revision.
Revision E: The E revision includes ES-LV9E, ES-LV9EX, etc., only found in Japan. Panasonic continues to revise the outer foil with this revision, yet we’ve found no noticeable improvement so far. In addition, the manufacturer used a new AI beard density sensor for a more efficient shave.
The Original Series 9
- 9095cc (with automatic cleaning station)
- 9090cc (with automatic cleaning station)
- 9093s (without automatic cleaning station)
The two final letters “cc” indicate the electric shaver comes with an automatic cleaning station.
Like first-generation Arc 5 shavers, these units are no longer available on the market.
The Updated Series 9
Braun replaced the blue HyperLift & Cut trimmer with the golden HyperLift & Cut one. The new cutting element is Titanium Nitride coated and is not as prone to breaking as the old trimmer.
The New Series 9
The latest iteration has an updated battery that can operate for up to an hour. There are some visual adjustments, such as the added backlighting for the display or the Graphite-colored models.
|Panasonic Arc5||Braun Series 9|
|Including Shaving Elements||5||4|
|Shaving Head||Pivoting Head||Pivoting Head|
|Linear Motor Speed||14,000 CPM||10,000 CPM|
|Shaving Time||45 minutes||60 minutes|
|Battery||Li-ion, Rechargeable||Li-ion, Rechargeable|
|LED Screen||No (LCD screen)||Yes|
|Quick Charge||5 minutes||5 minutes|
Panasonic Arc5 Vs Braun Series 9
Although appearance is quite a subject matter, Panasonic Arc 5 is the clear winner here. This series sports a metal body and two golden rollers nesting between the foils, which give a classy feel to it.
Braun has long been a leader in the shaving industry for its technical innovation and aesthetic design. The Series 9 shavers from Braun are 100% made out of plastic and coated with either chrome or matte.
Panasonic switched from plastic to metal for many models from the Arch 5 series, such as ES-LV9Q, ES-LV9N, and ES-CV51. The use of metal gives an upscale feel to their products that plastic models fail to imitate.
Not to mention that the other Panasonic models made for plastic can compare favorably with the Series 9. They simply have a more premium feel to them.
The models from both two series are comfortable to hold. They feature texture rubber materials on the back and sides to secure grip, even for wet shaving.
In our test, we noticed the rubberized section of the Braun model feels more secure in the hand and is also less slippery than its competitor.
The obvious distinction between the two series is the size of the shaving head. Panasonic Arc 5’s head houses up to 5 blades, so it is larger (and bulkier) than the Series 9, which has only four cutting elements.
Nevertheless, the Arc 5 shaver outcompetes the Braun series 9 in this regard, thanks to its Multiflex pivoting shaving head. It moves independently in up to 16 directions and effortlessly conforms to facial contours like a rotary shaver.
Panasonic series 5 is a 5-blade shaving system, with its foils and blades made of hypoallergenic steel to ensure minimal skin irritation, even on sensitive skins.
- 1 Quick comb blade
- 2 Lift-tech foils
- 2 Finishing foils
The shaving head of Braun shavers consists of 4 separate cutting parts:
- 2 Optifoils
- 1 Direct & cut trimmer
- 1 HyperLift & cut trimmer
- There is also a thin protective guard placed between the Direct & Cut trimmer and the Optifoil.
Panasonic Arc 5 pop-up detailing trimmer is positioned behind and perpendicular to the shaver’s head. This placement renders it obstructed by the large head. You will need to take off the blades and foils to use the trimmer.
While the trimer from the Braun shaver sits parallel to the shaving head, it is not any longer than the head when fully extended. Again, this poses the same problem as with Panasonic models. You won’t get full visibility in front of the mirror with both shavers.
The trimmer on the Panasonic Arc 5 is sharper and slices through hair faster. Meanwhile, the design of the Series 9’s trimmer makes it considerably easier to access.
Hence, the Braun model, with its more accessible trimmer, is the way to go for those frequently touching up their hair. If you find yourself trimming only from time to time, the Arch 5 seems a better choice!
Arc 5 and Braun 9 belong to the high-end league of the two brands, so they’re at the top in this regard. Yet, Panasonic manages to have the edge over its competitor.
The arched foils promote optimal contact with the face, especially in the chin and jawline. Meanwhile, the super-sharp blades are angled at 30 degrees to provide a clean cut at the root.
These angled blades, paired with Panasonic’s smart technology that generates 70,000 cross-cutting actions every minute, give an exceptionally close shave that other competitors fail to match.
The closeness of the shave that Panasonic can achieve is also attributed to its industry-leading powerful 14,000 CPM motor.
The series 9 model produces 40,000 cross-cutting actions per minute and 10,000 micro-vibrations to deliver a shave that is as close as 0.05mm. You can expect to enjoy a smooth, clean, and efficient shave with this shaver.
As mentioned, these two series won’t disappoint you. Yet, if we were to decide which one has the closest shave possible, it would be Panasonic Arc 5.
Both shavers are equipped with sensors that read hair density: Active Shaving Sensor in Arc 5 and SyncroSonic in the Braun series 9. Thus, they can automatically adjust themselves to effectively slice every hair they come in contact with. These sensors minimize the need to go over the same spot again and also contribute to the shave closeness.
Shaving Longer Hair
This area is where both the two brands fall short. It is why they have taken a step forward in the blade system to work better with longer hair.
Panasonic addresses long, stray hair with their redesigned central trimmer called Quick Comb Blade. The Series 9 uses the Direct & cut trimmer to deal with long hair that grows in different directions.
Braun benefits from the duo of HyperLift & Cut and Direct & Cut trimmers, which work in tandem to more effectively cut long hair that grows in different directions. These trimmers know what they are doing, making the series 9 more superior.
We found that Arc 5 lags behind Series 9 in this regard. It uses only one trimmer called Quick Comb Blade to slice long hair faster and more forcefully. Yet, because there’s only one trimmer at work, shaving a 3-day beard requires more strokes and changes of direction with the Arc 5.
Going over the same spot again can irritate, especially with sensitive skin. In contrast, Series 9 provides a better experience with long stubble.
Safety & Comfort
These flagship models from Braun are a joy to use. They deliver a more comfortable shave than Panasonic Arc 5 shavers. Although not as forgiving, Panasonic models give you a cleaner and closer shave.
The latest Arc 5 iterations (third-generation) are equipped with two golden comfort rollers to improve user comfort. They reduce the pressure applied to the skin. Compared to the older generation, the closeness of the shave is identical, but we find the new foils to be more comfortable.
That said, Braun shavers are a more sensible option if you want a gentle and easy shaver on your skin.
Braun is renowned for its series 7, which delivers an exceptionally comfortable shave every time. The series 9 is the next level of its predecessors, in all seriousness. It feels even smoother and more pleasant on the skin than the series 7 during our test.
This superior shave comfort is attributed to different factors. First off, the flexible pivoting head, the increased torque, and the extra shaving elements work together to provide a close shave without inflicting undue pressure on your face. Secondly, the foils remain cool even after a long shaving session.
While Panasonic shavers reign supreme in terms of closeness, it lacks forgiveness on skin. Besides, the foils often heat up if used for a long time, rendering them unfriendly with sensitive skin.
The choice is easy to make for this round, and the Braun series 9 wins effortlessly. It is a safer bet for those with sensitive, irritation-prone skin.
The Braun model is more nimble, with only four cutting elements. It is easier to maneuver than the massive signature head from Panasonic.
Thanks to the 10-directional swiveling head, you can deal with hard-to-reach areas with a few flicks of your wrist. On the other hand, Panasonic shaving heads pivot in 16 directions to get around the facial contours with more ease.
As mentioned above, the Multi-Flex shaving head of Panasonic can deliver a similar shaving experience as you would with a rotary shaver. For this reason, it compares favorably with the Braun 9 series, whose pivoting head can only move back and forth.
Panasonic Arc 5 uses the 14,000 CPM motor, the fastest in the class. The Series 9 comes with a 10,000 CPM engine, which is not as fast but reasonably powerful for a smooth operation.
Speed is crucial when comparing two identical models. But with these two shavers from different brands, it’s best to consider how the whole shaving assembly works in unison to provide the best performance.
All foil shavers, in general, are pretty loud. Volume-wise, Series 9 is slightly quieter than Arc 5. It is expected since Arc 5 models use a more powerful motor than their counterparts.
Regardless, models from the two series have different perceived noises. Panasonic models produce a distinctive, high-pitch whine with less vibration. Those from Series 9 have a low buzz and vibrate more due to the rotary motors.
Wet and dry shaving spells a difference between the two series. All models from Panasonic Arc 5 are safe for wet and dry shaving. Most Series 9 models are for wet and dry use (except for the dry only 9090cc).
When used with shaving cream, Panasonic Arc 5 performs better than their competing models. The shaver glides effortlessly and tackles that coarse facial hair that you otherwise would not get a close shave.
With only a thin lather, wet shaving with Arc 5 is exceptional. When dealing with flat-lying hair, in particular, this Panasonic series gives a more precise, closer shave if used wet.
Although the Series 9 is not equally good at shaving with cream, it gives a satisfying performance with the dry operation. Unless you’re a fan of wet shaving, settle on dry shaving with the Braun shaver, and you don’t have to deal with manual cleaning the machine.
Shaving Time & Battery
Panasonic Arc 5 units take 60 minutes to charge fully and provide around 45-minute of running time. Braun models take the same amount of time to charge up but can run for 50 minutes (old generations) and up to an hour (new Series 9).
Both brands offer quick charging in 5 minutes to give enough power for a single shave.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Cleaning Panasonic shavers is much easier. You can remove the foils and blades in a cinch to clean all the dirt buildup.
Moreover, you can activate the Sonic vibration mode to shake the stubborn hair and cream. Simultaneously, rinse it under running water to thoroughly clean your shaver.
On the other hand, Braun’s shaving head does not give easy access for a deep clean. Upon opening the head, you can see that the foils and blades virtually form a single piece, known as the cassette. So it’s easier to miss out on hair clippings and dirt due to the small, complicated components inside this cassette.
Automatic Cleaning Station
The oldest Panasonic iteration is bulky and leak-prone. The manufacturer managed to fix these problems in the second and third generations. In general, Panasonic cleaning stations of these two iterations are comparable to their competing models.
Another nice thing about Panasonic’s cleaning stations is the switch from cleaning cartridges to concentrated detergent gel since the second generation. Detergent sachets are more compact, convenient (as you no longer need to mix anything in the station’s tray), and more economical.
This change of cleaning stations gives Panasonic the upper hand in terms of cost for budget-conscious users. The last thing that helps Arch 5 triumph over its competitor convincingly is the dry option only. You can choose to only dry your shaver with Panasonic’s cleaning stations, whereas there’s always an A-to-Z cleaning cycle with Braun.
To sum up the pros and cons of cleaning stations of the two series, here are our suggestions:
- If Braun series 9 is your chosen shaver, it’s worth spending the extra for a cleaning station.
- With the Panasonic Arc 5, 1st-generation cleaning stations are a big no to us. The second and third generations of cleaning bases are an obvious improvement, and the choice is yours. If you feel the added convenience justifies the extra money, then go for it. Yet, we would say that they are not a must, given how easy the manual cleaning is.
Blades from both two series can last around three months of use. The actual longevity depends on how often you shave, care and maintenance.
The latest Arc 5 is more expensive than a Series 9. However, go for the second-generation models without a cleaning station if you want a more affordable Panasonic shaver.
Panasonic detergent sachets are more affordable and longer-lasting than Braun cleaning solutions.
The replacement blades and foils of the two brands are quite the same for their second generations. They are still expensive and sought-after for the latest iterations.
Quick Rundown Of Panasonic Arc 5
- Premium metal body
- Closer shave
- Sonic vibration cleaning
- Powerful motor for a fast, efficient shave
- Easy to clean manually
- Great wet shaving with cream
- Improvable performance on longer hairs
- Slightly noisier
- Not as comfortable as Series 9 models
Who Is Suitable?
If you place shaving closeness at a premium, Panasonic Arc 5 is the obvious choice. Also, the wet shaving performance is phenomenal. Thus, the shaver is better suited to wet-shaving lovers.
Their design makes them easier to clean manually. We would recommend purchasing this series without cleaning stations if you’re on a tight budget.
Quick Rundown Of Braun Series 9
- Works better with longer hair
- Comfortable shave
- More suitable for sensitive skin
- Close shave
- Plastic body
- Hard to clean manually
Who Is Suitable?
The Series 9 is arguably one of the most comfortable electric shavers, so it’s a perfect choice for those with sensitive skin. It is more efficient in dealing with longer stubble. Thus, it’s also a good option for people shaving daily or every two days or more.
What Is The Best Overall?
These two foil shavers are the top performer in their category, so it’s hard to choose the better one. It depends on your needs and priorities to pick out the most suitable.
All in all, Panasonic Arc 5 has a metal body that is more aesthetically pleasing. The series is also slightly better than its competitors in more categories we’ve analyzed. So it is more likely to be the choice in the Panasonic Arc5 Vs Braun Series 9 competition.