bestratedelectricshavers

Braun Series 7

Braun 760cc (aka 760cc-4)

There are fundamental similarities across all of Braun’s recent shaver lines. Whether the Braun 760cc (aka 760cc-4), or Braun 790cc (aka 790cc-4), or the latest Braun 799cc (aka 799-6 or 797cc-7), the lineage is clear. Yet, with so many models to choose from, narrowing your pick down to the one right for you can seem daunting. To overcome the dilemma is simple: drill down to the details. That’s just what I’ll do here.

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Table: Different Models of Braun Cool Tec Series

8100 1250X/40 1250X/46 8100
8700 1250X/42 1250XCC 1250X/47
8900 1280X/42 1280XCC 1280X/47
8800 1290X/40 1290X/46
Type

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Dry Shaving
Wet Shaving
Trimmer
Waterproof
Automatic Cleaning System
Cleaning Programs

1

3

Cleaning Indicator
Cleaning Solution

Jet Clean

Jet Clean

Rechargeable Battery
Battery Level Indicator
Charging Time

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

Cordless Shaving

up to 50 min

up to 50 min

up to 60 min

up to 60 min

Quick Charge

5 min

5 min

5 min

5 min

Shaving With Cord
Replace Shaving Head Indicator
Shaving Head Replacement

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

Travel Pouch
Travel Lock
Power Save Mode
Finish

Black 

Black 

Black / Chrome

Black / Metal

Review

8900

Where to Buy?

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Basic Design

Braun has a long-established and well-earned reputation for quality. You’ll find it’s justified whether you look at a 760cc, a 790cc, or a 799cc.

There are some minor variations in color across the Series 7 models, but most are the more or less standard shiny black with one set the silvery color.

All fit the hand well, but there’s no one-size-fits-all shaver since it depends on you. Still, most guys find the Braun easy to hold and equally easy to manipulate. Whether you prefer the straight foil of a Braun or the rotary head of a Phillips is again just a matter of taste.

One thing that everybody can rely on, though, is the ability of the Braun to give you a close shave without irritation. Not surprisingly, that’s because of the company’s superb head and blade system.

Head & Blades

For those who would rather skip the long version just watch the video below to get Braun’s Series 7 shaving technology summarized in under 3 minutes.

The blades of a Braun Series 7 shaver are driven at 10,000 rpm. Not quite so fast as the super-speedy Panasonic 14,000 rpm, but they vibrate plenty quick enough to ensure there’s no discomfort from drag.

bestratedelectricshavers
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Sharp, quick blades can only be as effective as the foil covering them. The design of the Braun Series 7 gets high marks here. OptiFoil may sound like a marketing buzzword but it’s an accurate term here.

The pattern of holes handles any length of hair – short, medium, or long – so you can shave whenever it suits you.

Equally important, it will effectively cut a very wide range of hair types: thin, medium, or thick. If you’re a teen starting out or a middle-aged Greek who shaves whiskers as hard as pencil lead three times a day, the Braun 7xx can whack them all with ease. 

The Series 7 shavers have an adjustment for slow, medium, or fast to help out. If you’re the first type, with a soft beard, the slow might be useful.

For anyone else, the fast setting is likely to be used almost universally. They go by the names Extra Sensitive, Normal, and Intensive but they’re a speed adjustment not a blade raising or lowering mechanism.

No matter which mode you prefer, the pivoting head sported by the Braun is highly flexible and helps shave every contour closely. Personally, I prefer the Philips or Panasonic design, but only by a margin and it really is an individual thing.

The locking mechanism on the 790cc or 799cc models will prevent pivoting, if you prefer. Take a close look at the tilting mechanism before you do. Press down on one of the twin foils left or right. You’ll see the angle changes by quite a lot.

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Any of the models do a very good job of getting under the jawline, along the neck, near the ear, under the nose, or around the chin – all those tricky areas.

That said, the Active Lift of the middle trimmer is a big benefit. It really helps get those whiskers under the neck that tend (on me, anyway) to lie close to the skin. It has a unique way of lifting them that works well.

Wet Shaving Ability

There is one important aspect in which the 799 model distinguishes itself from the 790 and 760: wet shaving ability.

Every guy does things his own way. Me, I always shave in the shower, even with an electric shaver. I find that it helps reduce irritation, but again that’s a personal preference. I admit that with the Braun it isn’t really necessary.

When Braun says “wet” they mean it. All of the Series 7 shavers are well sealed, but the 799 specifically adds wet shaving ability for those, like me, who prefer that. Whether you use the old-style alcohol-based liquid, one of the more modern gels, or just the water spray of a shower, the 799 can accommodate your style.

Clean & Renew

All Series 7 shavers come with Braun’s mighty Clean & Renew cleansing system. Like the Panasonic or Philips shavers, the Braun unit doubles as a charging base. Unlike the competitors’ cleaners, the Braun is not a technological marvel, I’m sorry to say. It’s good; it does the job and very well, but it has some cons to go along with the pros.

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One con is common to all: the need to change the cartridge from time to time. In the case of the Braun, that might be a little sooner than the Panasonic or Philips. But because so much depends on your habits it’s impossible to make a universal statement here.

The Braun alcohol-based solution does tend to evaporate even when no active cleaning is taking place. Panasonic uses a proprietary liquid soap solution.

You could remove the Braun cartridge and plug the hole during those times it’s not in use. Still, it’s probably more bother than anyone will want to make. The cartridge replacements are not that expensive, and you could even mix your own if you’re concerned about operational costs. It’s just alcohol, lemon juice, and a bit of silicon lubricant.

The other downside is a little more particular to Braun. Their charging / cleaning holder is simply bigger than the other guys’. You’ll need more counter space to house it. If you compete with the lady of the house for space in the bathroom, it’s something to consider.

Whether the next aspect is a pro or a con might just be a matter of taste. Or, rather, smell. As I said, the Braun Clean & Renew cartridge houses chiefly alcohol and lemon – which provides good debris removal and good sanitizing ability. The blades come away clean and disinfected.

Does it clean as well as, say, the soap solution of the Panasonic? Without lab tests, I couldn’t swear in court the answer is “yes” – but in a review I would. For one thing, there’s never a soap scum residue with the Braun. Does it smell as good? Better, in my opinion, but that’s all it is: an opinion.

There’s certainly no debate when it comes to ease of use here, though. You put the electric shaver upside down in the base, press a button, and walk away for an hour. If you’re in a hurry, you can use the FastClean option. It will clean well enough in less than 30 seconds.

Charging & Battery

One reason for that statement “walk away for an hour” is the recharging time. The Series 7 takes about an hour to go from zero to max. It will then provide roughly 50 minutes of cordless shaving time.

There is a quick charge feature that will give you enough power for one shave (of ~3 min) after charging for about five minutes. So, if you’re dashing to a meeting and find your electric shaver dead, you can still avoid being late.

Fortunately, if you can’t wait even that short time, most of the Series 7 shavers will operate with the cord plugged in, all but the 799 model. The 799 can’t because it can be used in the shower. The motor will not run while it is plugged in to avoid the risk of electric shock.

And, in either case, you don’t have to charge at all by putting the shaver into the cleaning base if you don’t want. You can just plug it in with the cord and it will charge (in the same amount of time).

Another feature might be minor or “must have”, depending on your circumstances. The SmartPlug will automatically adapt to the right voltage for different countries. For you guys who travel a lot, that can be a deal maker.

Speaking of travel, the travel pouch is a little different in the 760cc line. It’s a fine pouch, but the 790cc and 799cc models come with a leather travel pouch. A nice touch.

Shaver Display

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There are some other minor differences in the various 7xx models, essentially on the display. The 790cc and 799cc (the same shaver really, with wet shaving added to the latter line) have a better indicator. In these models, it’s a 6-level LCD. In addition, there is a Foil Replacement indicator in the center.

The 760cc charge level light is an LED instead and shows five 20% increments from 20% to 100% with a Foil Replacement indicator in the center. It lacks the “hygiene staus” indicator of the 79x models. Frankly, even as picky as I am about things like this, I don’t find the difference significant.

Summary

Any of the Braun Series 7 electric shavers will give just about anyone a close, comfortable shave. Which is best for you comes down to budget and a taste for the details that please you most. Luckily, you can’t go wrong.

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Image of Braun 760cc (aka 760cc-4)

Braun CoolTec Series

Braun Cool Tec Series

At first blush, it hardly seems worth the effort to write a review comparing all the different models of the Braun CoolTec collection. The different models are so much alike you might think it’s not worth your time to read it. Still, you’re not looking for just any electric shaver, even within the Braun lineup, but the exact one best for you.

With that goal in mind, there are enough detailed differences between the various CoolTec models that it pays to do a little in-depth investigating. This comparison is limited to the 4 CoolTec models made for North America: the CT2s, CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc.

Table: Different Models of Braun Cool Tec Series

8100 1250X/40 1250X/46 8100
8700 1250X/42 1250XCC 1250X/47
8900 1280X/42 1280XCC 1280X/47
8800 1290X/40 1290X/46
Type

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Dry Shaving
Wet Shaving
Trimmer
Waterproof
Automatic Cleaning System
Cleaning Programs

1

3

Cleaning Indicator
Cleaning Solution

Jet Clean

Jet Clean

Rechargeable Battery
Battery Level Indicator
Charging Time

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

Cordless Shaving

up to 50 min

up to 50 min

up to 60 min

up to 60 min

Quick Charge

5 min

5 min

5 min

5 min

Shaving With Cord
Replace Shaving Head Indicator
Shaving Head Replacement

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

Travel Pouch
Travel Lock
Power Save Mode
Finish

Black 

Black 

Black / Chrome

Black / Metal

Review

8900

Where to Buy?

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Basic Features and Similarities

Before we get to the subtle distinctions between one CoolTec shaver and another, a few words are in order about the similarities. They’re legion. That starts first and foremost with the new, most prominent feature.

CoolTec Technology

Every CoolTec gets the name, of course, from housing the special technology that gives you a less irritating shave by cooling as it goes. Since there’s no tiny refrigerator inside, how does it do that?

In the head there’s an aluminum strip attached to a component Braun calls Thermo Electric Cooler (the source for a clever acronym, “TEC”.) Essentially, the system takes heat from your face and from the shaver head (which builds heat up from vibrating) and moves it to other parts of the shaver. Then it’s dissipated into the air.

Interesting geek-speak aside, does it work? Is it of any value? The short answers are: “yes” and “it depends”. It does actually create a cool sensation on your face, the inevitable result of drawing off heat. It might or might not reduce skin irritation. That is a result of several factors, only one of which is heat.

More importantly, probably, there’s a downside to the CoolTec technology. You might be indifferent to the cooling effect or you might love it. But one thing Braun doesn’t advertise loudly is that it does limit how you use the shaver. In a word, it’s best used “dry”.

Certainly, all the CoolTec shavers – whether the CT2s, CT2cc, CT4cc, or CT5cc – are well sealed. You can shave with one in the shower or pop off the head to rinse clean under the faucet, all without fear. The case is completely sealed.

Even so, Braun ads themselves say openly that shaving using creams, electric shave lotions, or even plain water – such as in the shower – can reduce the effectiveness of a CoolTec shaver. It’s not hard to see the reason that might happen. Water, or liquid in general, makes for a very different heat flow matrix than air. Both are technically fluids and either can conduct heat away, but water does it much differently. Moisture interferes with the heat conduction of the CoolTec system.

So, if you’re like me and prefer to use your Wet & Dry shaver, which the CoolTec technically is, in “wet” mode you might want to think twice about buying one of these.

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Cutting System

If you’re still with me, there are a great many fine features shared by all these models. Beyond CoolTec, which might strike some as a gimmick, the cutting system is a Braun design and, like others, very good. The CoolTec line is essentially the same as a Series 3 shaver with the addition of the new feature. Not quite Series 5 or Series 7 level but still quite sharp, close, and effective. That aspect is definitely not part of any marketing ploy.

The SensoBlade component is a good example. The name may be a marketing buzzword but the technology works well. Most guys have whiskers that grow in different directions. If they don’t twirl around on the neck, they almost certainly aim one way on the face and another on the neck or chin. Specially designed shaving blades take care of that through a clever arrangement of holes and cutting blade configurations.

The 3-stage system works in conjunction with that to provide a very close shave everywhere you need. The twin foils (with a blade assembly under each one) teeter-totter a little. In addition, there’s an interesting cutter down the center. It moves back and forth 130 times a second between the two foils. That helps lift flat-lying hairs, such as those on the neck.

Naturally, like almost every Braun, those blades are very sharp and very durable. The company recommends changing them about once every 18 months but that’s pretty conservative for most men. Braun has earned its reputation here.

Differences

Cases

The case itself for each model is similar but varies slightly from one CoolTec model to the next. All of them are the same size, weight, and shape. With your eyes closed you’d find it hard to tell the difference. With your eyes open, it’s easy to distinguish the dual-toned Grey Lacquered CT5cc from the Blue Lacquered CT4cc and from the single-tone black CT2cc and CT2s.

From that point, the differences between the various CoolTec shavers begin to show – sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically.

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Clean & Charge System

I could say the major difference between the CoolTec models is in the Clean & Charge system, but that might be a little misleading.

It’s a different housing from other Braun shavers like the 790cc, though even there the similarities are greater than the differences. But it’s the same system across the CoolTec collection – wherever it’s included.

In this case, it’s the cc in the model name that tells you whether a model comes with the Clean & Charge station or not. In other words the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc all come with the Clean & Charge System while the CT2s does not.

Like the 790cc charging system, it takes about an hour to recharge the shaver from zero. You then have about 45 minutes of shaving time. However, there is a Fast Charge feature that gives you roughly one shave’s worth of time (a few minutes) with just a 5-minute charge. I wouldn’t rely on it too often but it’s good in an emergency, such as when you have to rush to a meeting and have forgotten to recharge the night before.

A Charging Cradle and Stand is available for the CT2s – the model without Clean & Charge System. The cord directly plugs into the Charging Cradle/Stand assembly and the shaver is recharged through its metal contacts, just as when it’s placed into the full-sized Clean & Charge System.

The cleaning portion of the shell is also the same across all three – the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc. No surprise since it’s the same physical unit in each case. It’s also substantially the same as many other recent Braun models.

It uses the same alcohol-based solution, mixed with lubricant and a bit of lemon “flavoring” to give it a nice smell. Each cartridge houses a tiny honeycomb grid in the base that allows shaken-loose whiskers to fall to the bottom. That helps the cartridge last longer while it provides a cleaner environment at the blades during cleaning.

One final point on the cleaning system. The shell is a bit large compared to many. Not a major issue in my view, but for those with very limited counter space in the bathroom it might be a consideration.

Accessories

The other differences between the various CoolTec shaver models are minor and lie chiefly in the accessories or attachments provided (or not).

For example, not all models come with a protective cap. That’s a bit strange; it’s a supremely inexpensive item to manufacture and you’d think Braun would include it automatically with all models. Still, that’s apparently not the case. It’s only available for the CT2s and CT2cc. Weird.

Some of the other differences in accessories included (or not) are not quite so strange, though maybe still a little odd.

There’s a nice protective pouch that comes with the CT4cc and the CT5cc. You’d expect, if they leave it out of any package it would be the lower-end models. Except that there really is no “high end or low end” distinction in this line, just different colors and accessories.

The above mentioned Charging Cradle also comes with the CT2cc, CT4cc, and CT5cc models but without the Charging Stand. The cradle is a handy thing to have. Sometimes you’d like to carry just the cord and cradle along on a trip but not the bulky Clean & Charge system.

Summary

It’s possible to get lost in the weeds with all these variations. So, I’ll just summarize here that it really comes down to this:

The different CoolTec models are different colors and offer minor differences in accessories or attachments for the most part. The only major difference is between the s and cc models. The CT2cc, CT4cc and CT5cc come with the Clean & Charge System . The CT2s doesn’t.

That said, whether any of the Braunc CoolTec shavers are right for you is a tough call. If you like to wet shave, probably not. Any of these can operate fine in the shower or over a lathered face. However, Braun states that you won’t get the best results from the CoolTec technology that way. And, since that’s the whole point of this collection, that could be a decisive point for a percentage of buyers.

Panasonic Arc 4 Series

Panasonic Arc 4 Series

The Panasonic Arc 4 electric shaver collection houses a number of models (ES8243A, ES-LF51-A, ES-LA63-S, and ES-LA93-K) with what appear to be minor differences. Yet, the prices vary substantially. Are there not-so-obvious features that can account for such a wide divergence in cost? Let’s take a closer look.

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Table: Different Models of Philips Series

8100 1250X/40 1250X/46 8100
8700 1250X/42 1250XCC 1250X/47
8900 1280X/42 1280XCC 1280X/47
8800 1290X/40 1290X/46
Type

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Dry Shaving
Wet Shaving
Trimmer
Waterproof
Automatic Cleaning System
Cleaning Programs

1

3

Cleaning Indicator
Cleaning Solution

Jet Clean

Jet Clean

Rechargeable Battery
Battery Level Indicator
Charging Time

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

Cordless Shaving

up to 50 min

up to 50 min

up to 60 min

up to 60 min

Quick Charge

5 min

5 min

5 min

5 min

Shaving With Cord
Replace Shaving Head Indicator
Shaving Head Replacement

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

Travel Pouch
Travel Lock
Power Save Mode
Finish

Black 

Black 

Black / Chrome

Black / Metal

Review

8900

Where to Buy?

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Similarities

Any big differences in the Panasonic Arc 4 shaver line certainly do not lie in the look and feel, or even the basic housing.

All of the cases are well-sealed, so they offer the ability to shave wet or dry, for instance. As a result, they can all be rinsed clean in the same way – by holding the shaver under the shower head or popping off the shaver head and rinsing the blades directly under the faucet.

Also, the bodies of the ES8243A, ES-LF51-A, ES-LA63-S, and ES-LA93-K are so close to the same size and heft you wouldn’t notice with your eyes closed. There isn’t enough variation in size or mass to sway anyone here.

True, six or seven ounces is noticeable but how many are likely to care about even that? Some, no doubt but not everyone. Similarly, from smallest depth to largest, the models differ by up to just shy of half an inch. You can feel that, for sure. But few guys have hands so small it would move them to choose one over the other, all other things being equal.

Of course, that’s the point; the other things are not equal. Before we get there, let’s look at some of the other similarities that place each of these shavers squarely into the Panasonic Arc 4 lineup.

Blade and Motor

The most important of the similarities, not surprisingly, is the blade and motor system that each of these four models offers.

The very name, after all, gives away the key: each houses four blades. Those aren’t just any blades, however. Sure, they’re all stainless steel and hypoallergenic. But that really doesn’t distinguish them from even the cheap models offered by other guys. That’s standard these days. Instead, Panasonic is right up there with Braun in offering electric shaver blades that are super sharp, very durable, and therefore cut without drag while lasting a long time.

Those two things together are hugely important. A shaver that offers low-to-no irritation due to drag naturally gets high marks before even considering any other attributes. But if they wear out in a few months you’ll spend a lot replacing the head. The shaver would be suited only to those with money to burn. Needless to say, that’s not a big group.

By the same token, if the blades lasted forever but cut your face up even after an initial adjustment period, that shaver would be useless. If anything, that kind of irritation is no doubt the biggest complaint buyers regularly have about poor quality electric shavers. You won’t have that problem with any of these Arc 4 models.

One reason is not just the quality of the blades, though, important as that is. It’s what drives them. In this case, that’s a fast, powerful, linear motor. Here, “fast” varies a little bit. In the ES8243A, for example, it’s 13,000 rpm. The other three models offer 14,000 rpm. All of them are set at the same 30-degree angle.

While, in general, higher is better the 1000 rpm variation is unlikely to be noticeable. It’s certainly not important. Even the lower speed is plenty fast enough to keep things moving along at a good clip.

Run an Arc 4 electric shaver over your cheek and you’ll find most of your 3-day stubble whisking away with a single stroke and no tugging. That means low-to-no irritation.

There can always be some, for some users, simply because of the type of skin they sport. Some guys have uber-tender skin. An electric shaver, or shaving at all, just isn’t for them. For practically everyone, the Arc 4 blade/motor system lets you get done in a jiffy without leaving behind a flaming-red face.

Head and Foil

Still, it isn’t just the motor and blade that account for the smooth shave that puts the Panasonic Arc 4 line among the best around. The head movement and the foil system both do their part, and a big part it is.

Personally, I prefer the full rotary movement of the Norelco SensoTouch 3D. But that’s the result in part of me having a face with lots of sharp curves combined with round areas. I need that full flexibility in order to get the stubborn sections and recessed areas.

That said, there’s no question that the head of the Arc 4 provides more than adequate movement to satisfy all but those weird guys like me. Just about anyone will find the large, rounded-rectangular head (the “Arc” in the name) plenty good enough.

Equally important, it’s flexible enough to get where you need to go. The well-designed pivot ensures that. However, two models are a little different in this aspect. Both the ES-LF51-A and the ES8243A lack the MultiFlex ability of the other two. They’re flexible, just not to the same degree.

All of the heads sit in that same Aliens-style body – big head, tapering body, narrow but sturdy neck connecting them. That isn’t just for looks, either. It provides a nice grip (especially with the added rubberized pieces) and, at the same time, keeps your hand from interfering with the business end of the shaver.

For those to whom it might matter, the ES-LA63-S and ES-LA93-K do sit at a larger angle to the body than the ES-LF51-A and ES8243A. A simple hand adjustment can take care of that usually, but there it is if you care.

Each shaver houses a pop-up trimmer and they all work pretty much the same. I’m never fully satisfied with these things but that’s probably just my quirky face. My small mouth, for example, makes it tough to get the trimmer into the corners so I use a special mustache-trimming tool for those winter months when I choose to maintain a beard. Most buyers say the tool trims their sideburns and/or mustache cleanly with no hassle.

Foil Pattern

The foil pattern is as or more important, actually. Here, I couldn’t be happier. Panasonic knew they had to do something really innovative to beat Braun or Philips here and they delivered. The very carefully arranged multi-hole pattern on the Arc 4 line was the result.

One size/shape hole takes care of those longer hairs. After all, for many guys the beard grows at slightly different rates in different areas. So, when you shave on a Monday after being lazy over the weekend your shaver may have to deal with varying lengths. Another pattern tackles that stubble left after you’ve hacked off or whacked down the long stuff, or if you’re one of those who shave twice a day. A third aims at cleanly removing the medium-length ones.

All the foils on all the models are high quality and all last about the same time, a year or two depending on use, maintenance, and environmental conditions. A continually humid area, for example, will cause a foil to decay quicker than a dry space. Not a bad idea to keep your shaving area well aired.

One final note, though. The ES-LA63-S and the ES-LA-93-K have not just the multi-Arc foil that gives the line part of its name. They have an extra, ultra-thin vibrating foil as well. That additional foil helps produce an even more precise shave with even less irritation than the already minimal amount of the other two.

What Difference Does It Make?

So, with all these similarities – and all this similar high quality – what difference does it make besides price? It’s the ratios that are important here, not the absolute price, since we’re comparing one to the other. If the high-end ES-LA93-K model can run more than double even the mid-range model there must be a reason. Panasonic isn’t suicidal in their pricing strategy.

The solution to that mystery isn’t hard, though it lies in not just a single attribute. There are a half-dozen features, including most importantly the charging and/or cleaning system, that drives the price of one Arc 4 model up so much over another.

Differences

Shaving Time

The number of shaves per charge might be thought to give a clue to one of those features. Sometimes those clues are a little cockeyed, though. The ES8243A, ES-LA63-S, and ES-LA93-K offer 14; the ES-LF51-A provides 15.

The figures are all approximate anyway. Meaning, they might deliver that number and they might not. That’s particularly true after the razor has aged a bit. All rechargeable shavers run down over time and they age at different rates depending on use and charging patterns.

Just as one possible factor that will affect the real number… Whether you shave for 3 minutes per session (the figure used for the official ratings) or 5 minutes at a time will make a difference. Even apart from the required recharging time, even the best batteries will react a little differently from one usage pattern versus another.

Charging System

All four models take roughly the same time – an hour – to recharge from zero. Still, the details of the charging system differ from one to the next.

For example, the ES-LA63-S and the ES-LA93-K are essentially the same shaver. They differ only in the color/material of the outer casing with the LA63 being silvery and the LA93 a shiny black. The latter, and much more expensive, model includes a sophisticated cleaning/charging system which we’ll cover in detail below. That accounts for their difference in price.

The ES8243A has a nice 5-minute quick charge feature. You plug it in and, even from a state of being completely drained, in a few minutes it will have enough juice to give you a 3-minute shave. Perfect for when you’re rushing to a meeting in a strange city and discover your electric shaver is dead.

Display

On the shaver itself, the ES-LA93-K (and the ES-LA63-S) has a 10-stage display that shows you very precisely the level of charge, in increments of 10% of the total. In addition, there’s a low-battery indicator. The LCD screen also shows how much time you’ve used cumulatively since re-charging to full.

By comparison, the ES-LF51-A display is “only” a 5-stage LED system. To my mind, the two stages found on lower models is inadequate but five levels is plenty to judge the state of the battery. The ES8243A offers the same 10-stage display as the ES-LA93-K and the ES-LA63-S.

Cleaning System

One of the big differentiators is, as mentioned above, the Vortex cleaning system. The ES-LA93-K has a doozy, which the others lack. The housing itself does dual-duty, serving as a stand and case for the charging system, but holding the components for automatic cleaning as well. No, there’s no risk of shock by having the two inside one unit. At least, no one has ever reported any problem with this.

One nice feature of the ES-LA93-K system is the cleaning material itself. Unlike, say, the Philips system, the cleaner isn’t an alcohol-based solution. There are tiny dry cakes you insert into the base. Then you pour in water. The cake dissolves and the vibration of the shaver head mixes everything together as it cleans.

That points to one reasonable doubt, though. It’s an open question whether you need the cleaning material at all. The rapid vibration will do much of the work. Still, for the ultimate in residue removal and sanitizing, it’s a good system.

All 4 shavers do have an alternative Sonic Vibration Cleaning Mode you can activate by holding the On/Off button for a couple of seconds. You hardly need a cleaning system at all with that kind of feature. Just hold it under the water and let the razor agitate any residue off.

That’s one possible source of saving since there’s no need to buy refill cleaning cartridges. Still, the cartridges for the ES-LA93-K last a decent amount of time so they’re not a huge expense. You can get about 30 cleanings out of one. Today’s price on Amazon, that equates to about 30 cents per day, if used daily.

Summary

All four Panasonic Arc 4 electric shavers reviewed above represent good value. They’re all well made, offer a close yet irritation-free shave, and feel good in the hand. The devil is in the details, of course, so deciding which is best for you can only be done – not surprisingly – by you. Fortunately, you really can’t go wrong.

Panasonic ES2216PC vs ES2207P

Panasonic ES2216PC vs ES2207P

Surprising myself this time, I’m a fan of the Panasonic ES2207P ladies electric shaver. I say “surprising” because it suffers from many of the same drawbacks as the ES2216PC. Neither is ideal, but the ES2207P offers a few features the ES2216PC does not (and vice versa) and you really can’t beat the low price.

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Table: Different Models of Philips Series

8100 1250X/40 1250X/46 8100
8700 1250X/42 1250XCC 1250X/47
8900 1280X/42 1280XCC 1280X/47
8800 1290X/40 1290X/46
Type

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Rotary

Dry Shaving
Wet Shaving
Trimmer
Waterproof
Automatic Cleaning System
Cleaning Programs

1

3

Cleaning Indicator
Cleaning Solution

Jet Clean

Jet Clean

Rechargeable Battery
Battery Level Indicator
Charging Time

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

1 hr

Cordless Shaving

up to 50 min

up to 50 min

up to 60 min

up to 60 min

Quick Charge

5 min

5 min

5 min

5 min

Shaving With Cord
Replace Shaving Head Indicator
Shaving Head Replacement

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

RQ12

RQ12+ (New)

Travel Pouch
Travel Lock
Power Save Mode
Finish

Black 

Black 

Black / Chrome

Black / Metal

Review

8900

Where to Buy?

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Best Price

Similarities and Differences

For such a low cost electric shaver, the ES2207P packs a few features that might surprise you.

The triple blade shaving system is a good example. The three independently floating heads do a decent job of whacking hairs in one pass, even when they lie nearly hidden near your curves. By comparison, the four blade twin head shaving system in the ES2216PC helps even more. Also, the ES2207P lacks the pivoting ability of the ES2216PC. So, the slightly higher-end model earns a slightly higher score in this area.

Evening things up a bit, the ES2207P houses nickel-free, hypo-allergenic stainless steel blades, just like the ES2216PC. That helps both razors provide a safe shaving experience. Provided you keep them clean, neither is likely to give you any problem from introducing bacteria under the skin, as is possible with a manual razor.

Without laboratory testing it’s hard to confirm Panasonic’s claim that the ES2216PC’s blades are the sharpest around. They don’t make the same claim for the ES2207P. Still, real-world use suggests they’re both decent, though not stellar. Yes, the ES2207P has the same limitation as its somewhat more expensive cousin. It just doesn’t do the kind of job that you might hope for.

Naturally that evaluation depends just on what you “hope for” but suffice to say the closeness is good but not impressive. Even keeping in mind that this is an electric, all of which only do so well, it’s not quite up to the “outstanding” level. Men’s shavers, by contrast, typically do a much better job.

On the upside, the ES2207P does provide a pretty comfortable shave for such a low-cost shaver. In fairness, the men’s Panasonic models typically cost 5-15 times as much as this unit. Still, you should not expect miracles from either model.

You can increase that upside even more by using the ES2207P (or the ES2216PC, for that matter) as a wet shaver. Thanks to a well-sealed case you can do that with no fear of harming the motor or any other component.

Even better – and this is one big reason I actually like the ES2207P better even apart from the price – the case is a much better shape for wet shaving. The lady-like curves of this model make it so much easier to hold, especially in the shower when your hands are often soapy.

It helps that it only weighs 5.3 oz. Not that the ES2216PC is all that heavy at 5.75 oz. The ES2216PC is a bit longer – 6.3″ rather than the ES2207P’s 5.9″ – but that doesn’t really affect much the ability to grip well. Even so, a rubbery grip would have helped here, I must say.

Many ladies prefer the wet technique not only to make for a more comfortable shave but because it’s so much easier to shave and then clean right in the shower. True, it’s not hard after a dry shave to pop off the foil and brush away those collected hairs. But the ability to rinse them away after a shave means no chance of spilling any on the sink or floor. How many times have you shaved then looked at the bathroom floor only to find a dozen more little hairs around?

Additional Features

Like the ES2216PC, the ES2207P houses a pop-up trimmer. Surprisingly for such a low-priced shaver, the design is really effective. It stands out just enough to get those long hairs without being intrusive.

Oddly, the bikini trimmer attachment fits only on the ES2216PC. I can understand why Panasonic might not have wanted to produce two different ones. That would increase manufacturing costs, inventory complexity, and so forth. But it would have required only the smallest design change to make it fit either.

Charging System and Battery

I have to say, I dislike the charging method of the ES2207P to the same degree as that of the ES2216PC and for the same reason. It certainly looks stylish plugged directly into the outlet. But that design puts a lot of stress on the outlet and, at least in my house, would be an accident waiting to happen.

Even considering the problem of having yet another power adapter, and wondering “What does this one fit?” I’d rather have a cord to attach. Sure, you could use an ordinary extension cord but those are so unattractive and who wants to use one for that purpose? Also, I wish the little charging light would turn off, or at least change color, when the shaver is fully charged.

I do have to give Panasonic credit for the battery life in the ES2207P. It’s rated for 10 shaves at 3 minutes per shave on the official website. In any case, real-world use shows it actually does get 30 minutes on average.

Over time that’s likely to fade a bit. Virtually all rechargeable batteries become less than optimal after they’ve been owned for a year or so. And, one could wish it were longer but, once again, that would increase the price or weight.

No matter. About half an hour of charge is pretty decent for such a low-priced shaver. It doesn’t match the full hour the guys get but, again, they pay so much more for that. I just wish it charged quicker than 12 hours. The ES2216PC suffers from the same drawback, though.

Summary

Both the Panasonic ES2207P and the ES2216PC ladies shavers offer a good value. I’d prefer the shave be more impressive and the charging system were different. Still, at these prices you can’t complain… much.

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Image of Panasonic Electric Shaver for Women – ES2207P

bestratedelectricshavers

Image of Panasonic Electric Shaver for Women – ES2216PC

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