Customer Review

560 of 573 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic quality at its finest, November 1, 2007
This review is from: Panasonic ES8109S Men's 3-Blade (Arc 3) Wet/Dry Nanotech Rechargeable Electric Shaver with Vortex Cleaning System, Silver (Health and Beauty)
Ok, so this is my third Panasonic wet/dry shaver in about 5 years and, by far, this one is the best one yet. I've experimented with other manufacturers' shavers over the years, including Brauns, Norelcos and Grundig shavers, but I've ultimately found nirvana, ok, not quite nirvana, but a most pleasant shaving experience with Panasonic shavers. I love Panasonic's shavers because I like being able to shave in the shower with an electric shaver and a little glycerin based shaving foam (Gilette Series foam in the long silver tube works best for me and doesn't gum up the shaver like gels do). I swear, this unbeatable combination (i.e., shower steam, Panasonic wet/dry shaver and Gilette Series foam) shaves me closer than even the best blades that Gilette offers (at present, the Gilette Fusion) with far less irritation and with no annoying little cuts in conspicuous locations around my face and/or neck.

Just to review, my first Panasonic wet/dry was great and served me well for about 3 years, but when the Panasonic models came out a few years ago with the Vortex cleaning systems, I just had to have one, so I moved on to the model ES8078 wet/dry shaver. The ES8078 served me well for a year-and-a-half - until I dropped that bad boy in the shower earlier this week! 'Nuf said. It didn't break into a zillion pieces or anything, but the motor just stopped working. (It's actually kinda funny because I was so preoccupied with ensuring the safekeeping of that little shaver ever since I brought it home, chiding my poor wife for even looking at it wrong, and then my dumb arse drops the dang thing in the shower. AAARGHHHH!!!) Anyhow, after a quick review of the top of the line shavers from various manufacturers currently available (including the new Braun Pulsonic models), I opted to go for the latest offering from Panasonic. Even though the new Brauns cost $100 more than the Panasonics, their motors are still slower, and you still can't shave with 'em wet. For the uninitiated, higher motor speed = faster moving blades = less friction = less irritation. Panasonics have consistently had the highest motor speed available in any electric shaver.

I've shaved with the new ES8109S shaver for a few days now, and my first impression after the very first shave was that I got a very close shave (consistent with the performance of my prior Panasonics) and, try to understand this, my face did not FEEL as though I had just shaved. It may sound a little odd, but you know how your face feels sensitive to the touch after you typically shave? Well, that sensation, at least for me, was far less apparent after shaving with the new Panasonic. Heck, maybe it's the new curved blade and foil assembly that reduces irritation or something. In this respect, the new ES8109S actually outperforms Panasonic's prior top of the line offering (the ES8078) and actually causes even less shaving irritation than that model (which itself wasn't all that irritating to begin with). Also, much like the prior models, the little pop up trimmer on the side of the new shaver is great not only for trimming sideburns (which I actually never use it for), but also for capturing those awkward little hairs that lie flat or may be becoming ingrown. The latest model is also quieter than the last model and has a more substantial feel to it while holding it.

Oh, one more thing, the ES8109S comes with Panasonic's latest iteration of its Vortex Cleaning and charging base, which is slightly different from its prior models, but appears to use the same cleaning cartridge. The Vortex quietly cleans, lubricates and even fully recharges your shaver for you (alternatively, you can just plug the power cable for the Vortex directly into the shaver to recharge it). The cleaning/lubricating solution in the Vortex consists of a slender cartridge containing a detergent based solid that becomes "activated" when it mixes with water in the Vortex base. The cleaner is not alcohol-based, so it does not evaporate over time like the Braun cleaning solution does - along with the money you'll spend on their big, expensive refills.

In summary, I highly recommend the Panasonic ES8109S shaver to persons like me with sensitive skin that is prone to irritation (I know you're thinking, "Why didn't he just say that from the outset?") Hope this review helps!

LONG TERM UPDATE! - Well, I've had 8109S for almost one full year now and it's still going strong. I've noticed it's become slightly less efficient at capturing the few hairs on my cheeks that tend to lie flat, so it's about time for the annual changing of the foil, which I know (based on past experience with Panasonics) will restore the shaver to its fullest hair capturing & cutting potential. One tip I have about cleaning the razor - I shave and rinse clean my shaver every day, and I only clean it in the Vortex when it needs charging which, for me, is about once every two weeks. This cuts down on the usage of the cleaning cartridge. The need to clean your shaver will depend in large part on what you shave with (I use a foam, which tends to rinse cleaner than creams and gels). Also, one more tip regarding the cleaning cartridges in the Vortex cleaning system - you DON'T HAVE TO replace the cleaning solution at the manufacturer recommended interval. You can definitely get away with using them longer. I tend to use them until the service light on the Vortex base turns on, then I change the cleaning cartridge and water in the Vortex and it's good to go. I'm only on my third cleaning cartridge in the year I've owned the razor.

EVEN LONGER TERM UPDATE! - Well, it's a little over a year-and-a-half since I purchased this shaver, and it has died on me. It all started about two weeks ago when I noticed that it was holding less of a charge between chargings, i.e., I could get progressively less and less shaves per charge. Then the display started giving unintelligible readings that did not correspond to the charge level. Then, today, I go to try to turn on the shaver and no response. All in all, this shaver performed exceptionally well throughout it's lifespan and, considering the price of "next-best option" Gillette Fusion blades, was far less expensive, and less irritating, over time than shaving with blades. I have to admit I thought it would've lasted me a little longer than it did as past Panasonics I've owned have lasted longer. Now, I could try to have this thing repaired for some astronomical price, only to have it stop working again. Or, I could take this opportunity to purchase Panasonic's latest offering, the Arc IV Nano Men's Wet/Dry Rechargeable Shaver, which I've scoped out and seen positive reviews of here on Amazon. I think I'm going to go with the new Panasonic, but this time without the Vortex cleaning base as this was the 2nd Panasonic shaver I've owned (one of which I dropped) that I am now stuck with a useless Vortex cleaning base. Happy shopping!
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2007 7:45:42 PM PST
M. Key says:
I want to buy a wet/dry razor for my husband who has thick and coarse hair. I have read such great reviews about Panasonics so I think I am going to go with one of them. But I am confused about all the different models and their slight differences. I had been looking at the Panasonic ES8101S Pro-Curve Linear Wet/Dry shaver with Nano Technology Blades. How would that compare to this 8109S model? Or also the Panasonic ES8043SC Pro-Curve Pivot Action Linear Wet/Dry Shaver? They all start to seem the same to me after attempting to do some research. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks for the review!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2007 8:28:26 PM PST
K. Gehrke says:
It looks like the 8101 and the 8043 do not come with the cleaning/charging stand. Though it takes up room on the counter, I no longer hear the complaints from my wife about the hair in the sink when I am done shaving. She is willing to give up a little counter space in exchange for a clean sink and I dont have to clean the shaver or sink anymore (woohoo!!). The 8101 appears to be a step up with the Nano technology blades. These blades are sharpened at a different angle to cut more/better/faster the first time, reducing the number if passes you need to get the job done, and reduce razor burn from said passes. Good Luck!! I just bought the 8109 and love it.

Posted on Dec 18, 2007 7:04:55 PM PST
EinLA says:
Faster = less friction doesn't necessarily make sense. Basic physics says the opposite - call me "uninitiated" - I am curious to hear your explanation. I had the ES8168S and it shaved quite smooth, took a fair bit of going over the same spots - particularly on my neck, but cut up my chin. I returned it and got the newest Braun, which is OK, just not as smooth a shave, although it is quite comfortable, need some more time with it. I liked the wet shave though... curious about the Vortex Nano

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2008 1:06:05 AM PST
In defense of the statement "Faster = less friction," in many materials (especially metal-on-metal) the coefficient of friction decreases with increasing sliding velocity. Whether this is what the original reviewer had in mind, I do not know.

As for "Nano Technology," I think the sharper cutting edges of the Nano cutters (30º versus 60º or 90º for other shavers) plays a significant role in the effectiveness of Panasonic shavers having these blade types.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 2:19:12 PM PST
Thanks for the review. But 3 shavers in 5 years? Yikes! I'm using a Norelco wet/dry rechargeable that I got for Christmas 6 years ago and finally the battery charge was only lasting about six days so I picked up a replacement set of batteries on ebay for $9 shipped and changed them out myself and now I'll probably get another 6 years out of it. I thought of buying a new shaver but love the Norelco I have so much that I hate to spend $150-200 on a new top of the line model when a simple battery change keeps this baby going..

And after 1 year use and you already have to replace stuff on the Panasonic? Doesn't sound like a good investment to me.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 1:01:37 PM PDT
K.B. says:
)My third Panasonic ($120 Vortex) "bought the farm" the same way, only my wife knocked it of its perch in the shower(after much chiding to not put ANYTHING on that shelf) and broke it's poor little neck it was 3 month old. Great shaver, shaving wet in the shower totally rocking very close. I had Norelco's for years and they got better over time. but I left the super cool red one I got at Costco for $120 at home, I found a cheap Panasonic at a yard sale next to where I was staying (what a coincidence!) and that was the end of Norelco's for me. I have had several since then. One thing i want to get in in regards to Panasonc razors is the Customer service sucks and is pretty much useless and their model numbers /product line is confusing, but the shavers are great from the fist $29 cheap to to the best models. Review: good close shavers, shaving wet with gel, foam, etc in the shower, triple plus+++, be careful of dropping it in the shower

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 11:13:14 AM PDT
Good Advice says:
1.5 years is definitely too short of a life span for this type of razor. I wouldn't be so forgiving. Although I have also had some Norelco's that died too soon, and one that is still strong after a few years, so it is definitely not a Panasonic specific thing. I recently bought a Panasonic 8078 and think it's the best wet shave, even better than blades for me, so I hope mine doesn't suffer the same premature death.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 12:25:38 AM PDT
Blair says:
Don't feel too bad about dropping your ES8078 in the shower. I did too. And it busted the shaving head. Fast forward ... after months of alternating between my trusty old Braun shaver, and a blade, I've decided it's time to try the ES8019S. I'm curious about the Nano polished blades ... and the price is right: $94.21 and free shipping.

I'll report back in after I've had the shaver for a while. Thanks for your helpful review!

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 12:33:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2009 12:34:00 AM PDT
Blair says:
Your last log heralds the premature demise of the shaver. Two thoughts I'll share: First, I think that it would be worth writing a letter to Panasonic's headquarters and reporting that the shaver died within 18 months. That's an unacceptable service life. A reasonable request would be they repair or replace it for you. One more point: American Express users be reminded that they (Amex) double the factory warranty. Accordingly, if this shaver had been purchased on any of their cards, with only a year and a half of use, you are eligible for a new shaver replacement. Just call Amex.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009 12:07:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2009 12:10:32 AM PDT
Blair says:
I have to agree with EH in LA -- I notice that when this shaver gets going, it gets warm fast. And that ultimately means heat, and with that heat comes some discomfort. Accordingly I am doing two things to work around that:

1. When I shave, I shave the most tender areas first (for me that's my neck), before the shaver gets hot*.
2. I try to shave wet 90% of the time, with a good shave cream, like Gillette Foamy for Sensitive Skin.

I still think its a great shaver, but this particular model does heat up more than previous Panasonics. And that's not a plus in my book.

* a tip I learned from another gentlemen posting on Amazon about electric shavers.
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Review Details



C. Perry

Location: New Jersey, United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 9,810