When I’m deciding on one of two shavers from 2 different tiers, I may have some reservations about features that aren’t included in the superior one. However, things are different with this Panasonic Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 battle. I remember going haywire, not knowing what to opt for—it’s like comparing the flagships of the year by Samsung and Apple.
Standing helpless before two competent shavers like the Arc 5 and the Series 9 pushed me toward buying both for assessment. Splitting my face into two, I gave a chance for both shavers to prove their excellence. Most prominently, I studied the nuances behind the dissimilar experience they provide, and I’m glad I get to share this!
We review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying through links on this page as an Amazon Associate.
Let’s Pick A Contender From Both Realms
Unless you’re a newcomer in the world of shavers, you must be aware that the Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 are two umbrellas with tons of variants underneath them. Prior to my purchase, I studied the versions of both series, and I’ll provide a brief explanation of how these variants are different.
The Panasonic shaver made a paramount appearance in its second generation released in 2013, which was later updated in both 2019 and 2020 with a modernized profile and a high-performing linear motor.
The shaver models forming the Panasonic Arc 5 lineup start with ES-LVXX-S. Bear in mind that if the first number is 6, then the shaver won’t be compliant with a cleaning station. For instance, the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S doesn’t feature a cleaning station, whereas the Arc 5 ES-LV95-S comes with a cleaning and charging station.
This rule of thumb is also applicable to the third generation. You’ll find that the ES-LV-9N-S ships with a cleaning station, while the ES-LV-6N-S remains deprived of this luxury. Since the 3rd generation has never been updated, I chose the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV95-S to stand in the battlefield of this comparison since it boasts a top-level motor and a great shaving head.
A Sneak Peek At The Braun Series 9
Likewise, the Braun Series 9 has three generations, with models of the original series starting with 90XXcc or 90XXs. Notice how the Series 9 shavers ending with “cc” come with a cleaning station since these initials stand for charging and cleaning. First off, I ditched the Braun Series 9 9090cc since it didn’t bear a wet-dry capability despite having a charging station.
In response to the Panasonic Arc 5 update in 2020, Braun released its third generation of the Series 9 electric shaver, with models starting with 93XX. I was keen on avoiding the classical Braun Series 9 9293s since the Series 9 shavers ending in s only come with a charging stand at the expense of a cleaning station.
Having decided on the Braun Series 9 9385cc for the comparison, I knew I could confide in its unrelenting 40,000 cross-cutting actions, build quality, and the one-click cleaning station.
The Short Answer
Buy The Panasonic Arc 5 If:
- You crave the strongest motor power.
- You have very sensitive skin.
- You’re looking for a fully-ergonomic razor head.
Buy The Braun Series 9 If:
- You want 20% more run time.
- You don’t suffer from sensitive skin and want to remove stubborn hair.
- You’re searching for a faster cleaning solution.
Both of them is great choice for shaving for an older man.
Braun Series 9 Vs Panasonic Arc 5 : Which One Is Worth The Investment?
It’s evident that the fair majority of us stand baffled while looking at a spec sheet. Since both electric shavers bear nearly the same specs, we’ll base our comparison on how well the high-performing features of either electric shaver fare in day-to-day scenarios.
That said, we’ll assign a winner for our 6 comparison aspects. This doesn’t mean that the winner doesn’t have to be necessarily good for you, and that’s why I’ll share what I stumbled upon with these shavers, bias-free.
1. Blade System
The Panasonic Arc 5 boasts a 5-blade system comprising 5 nano-tech precision blades capable of providing closeness while shaving. Panasonic calls these elements Precision Outer Foils, and they’re tilted at a 30° angle for contour following. At the core of the blade system lies the Advanced Slit Blade for flat-lying hairs, which is hidden by the middle trimmer.
These shaving elements also float when you apply pressure on your skin, and the outer foils do a great job finalizing the shave after the trimmer cuts the tenacious hairs that overcrowd the neck. I really appreciated that Panasonic reinforced the shaver head in the Arc 5 with hypoallergenic steel—not only will you get a close shaving experience, but also a painless one!
The Braun Series 9 unveils a more aggressive approach to blade systems with its 5 shaving elements, including 2 active trimmers for culpable hairs: a titanium-coated Lift & Cut Trimmer for flat-lying hairs and the Direct & Cut Trimmer from the previous Braun Series for the same purpose. In addition to these trimmers, we get 2 OptiFoils for stubble and a Skin Guard for smoothing.
The question here: are two trimmers better than one in this case?
The answer actually depends on your skin type. People with sensitive skin may be intolerant to two trimmers mercilessly plowing their facial hair. I don’t have any skin allergies, and although I appreciate that the Series 9 wants to offer a great user experience with every stroke, I still see some temporary red spots on my neck because of the titanium-coated trimmer.
However, I’m still grateful that the Series 9 still manages to wipe off the stubble and the flat hairs in the neck area and along my jawline, something most electric shavers aren’t so good with.
On the other hand, the Panasonic Arc 5 has struck a balance between removing flat-lying hairs and being kind to my skin, especially with these hypoallergenic blades that act similarly as the Skin Guard of the Braun Series 9. Since it’s a matter of taste, I’d give them both a huge thumbs up for getting the hang of the most meticulous hairs.
2. Shaving Performance
The linear motor power hints at a slight edge to the Panasonic Arc 5 over the Braun Series 9. That’s why the first round resolved to a tie for either electric shaver: the superior motor of the Arc 5 compensates for the second trimmer in the Series 9.
The Panasonic Arc 5 electric shaver rocks a linear power of 70,000 cross-cutting actions per minute, which will captivate more hair per stroke while shaving. Panasonic also reinforces this electric shaver with its Active Shaving Sensor. You can activate this sensor mode by pressing once on the power button, and it’s on by default.
What this sensor basically does is detect your beard density as you pass the shaver head on the facial hair and adjust the power automatically. I sensed an increase in power when I moved the electric shaver from the cheeks to the neck and jawline. If you wish to turn it off, press the power button twice for a constant shaving speed, but I’d advise against that.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Braun Series 9 enters the competition with 40,000 cross-cutting actions per minute, in addition to 10,000 micro-vibrations to boost the shaving closeness up to 0.05mm. Braun aids this Series 9 electric shaver with its SyncroSonic technology, behaving similarly to the Active Shaving Sensor by reading the beard’s density.
I put both shavers into a demanding test by using shaving cream. I admired the precision of the Panasonic Arc 5. Thanks to the power of the 4 cleaning foils in the Arc 5, I didn’t need to pass over the same area for smoothing. The Braun Series 9 removed the same chunks of hair, but it didn’t render these areas clean-shaven.
I’d give it to the Panasonic Arc5, although the difference isn’t huge.
Winner: the Panasonic Arc 5
Ergonomics makes the toughest part of our Panasonic Arc5 vs Braun Series 9 clash since they both have weak points in the name of comfort. For fairness, I’ll split this round into two: the grip and the shaving head.
A horrible grip is enough for your shaving experience to go down the drain. So, I couldn’t miss evaluating how I hold the two giants of the shavers industry. One look at the Panasonic Arc5, and you’ll notice its shiny, metallic-looking finish on the plastic that stands unchanged from the past generations. The grip starts off sleek until it gets bulkier as you move to the shaving head.
One thing that I didn’t like about this shaver is the lack of firmness in the grip — it has an obvious slippery feel, and I almost dropped it once since I wasn’t cautious. I wish Panasonic would’ve widened the grip a tad bit so that I could hold it with confidence.
There’s no doubt that I fell in love with the grip of the Braun Series 9. Despite the lackluster look of the materials, the Braun Series 9 feels like one uniform piece of hardened plastic in hand. It also features a rubberized back to further improve the sureness of the grip — it has the right amount of thickness for almost all palm shapes.
Winner: the Braun Series 9
3.2 Shaving Head
The first thing that caught my eyes when I lay hands on the Arc5 was the bulk in the shaving head. Luckily, this bulk is packed with ergonomic features regarding the close shaving experience.
The Panasonic Arc5 shaver proudly shows off its Multi-Flex shaving head with the pivoting ability to follow the facial contours, just like a rotary shaver. This shaving head moves side-to-side, back-and-forth, and every direction that lies in between! On the back of this shaver, you can activate the lock mode that holds the shaving head in place.
Despite having 5 shaving elements crammed into it, the Braun manages to mold the razor head of its Series 9 into a more minimal shape. Unlike the Arc5, the razor head of this shaver only swivels back and forth. You can also lock this shaver head by sliding the front button down, and it’ll move in 10-degree increments.
In this Panasonic vs Braun battle, I’d go for the shaver head of the Panasonic Arc5 for its ergonomic mechanics.
In the end, you’ll be able to catch the upper lip hair with a bulky shaver head if you exert extra effort.
The Braun Series 9 still exhibits an ergonomic razor head, and it even has a full-length pop-up trimmer as opposed to the cramped trimmer we have on the Arc5. It did a great job reshaping my sideburns and the tips of my neck hair. However, it daren’t come head-to-head with the rotary-like Arc5.
Winner: the Panasonic Arc 5
4. Wet-Dry Operation
There’s some good news for the folks who can’t let go of their memories with disposable razors: you can use shaving cream with both shavers. It’s nothing new for high-end shavers like the Braun Series 9 and the Panasonic Arc5. However, pay attention to which model number you’ll purchase in both series since few models don’t allow for wet-dry shaving sessions.
I want to point out that you should use the shaving cream or gel in a dry environment since getting both shavers to the shower for wet-dry shaving could sabotage the power inlets. Either shaver being waterproof has nothing to do with deliberately submerging them in running water — it’s just for cleaning purposes.
You’re bound to experience minimal performance degradation when the shaver makes contact with the gel since a foil shaver is primarily targeted at achieving a better dry shave. Also, make sure you rinse the razor head of the shaver when you’re done with wet shaving to avoid blade damage.
5. Charging And Cleaning Station
I regard this as the most intriguing round of our Arc 5 vs Braun Series 9 since I got the privilege to test the most feature-rich 2 cleaning stations on the market. Before delving into either station, let me remind you that a cleaning station doesn’t deal with a wet-dry shaver with gel remnants — you should be cleaning this manually. Otherwise, you’ll damage the cleaning station.
The cleaning station of the Panasonic Arc5 has a button on the side that you should press on to unveil the compartment where the cleaning fluid is stored. With the purchase, Panasonic includes detergent cartridges that should be mixed with tap water in the compartment.
On the cleaning station, the Select button allows you to trigger 3 modes. Click it once, and you’ll activate the Clean + Dry + Charge mode, whereas 2 clicks will activate the Clean + Dry mode. Lastly, 3 clicks will take you to the Charge mode. The station cleans the Arc5 in around 10 minutes, which is acceptable.
What’s not acceptable is that the cleaning station dries the razor in around 80 minutes. That’s where the Braun Clean & Charge kicks in. The Series 9 also comes with an advanced Clean & Renew cartridge that lasts for 30 cleaning processes. This station cleans the Series 9 in a minuscule 3-minute time frame, whereas drying takes up to 40 minutes.
I’ve also liked the one-click operation that makes the Braun Clean & Charge Pro stand out. Only one press of a button does the whole hygiene check for you with a dedicated sensor that predetermines the cleaning intensity required based on how stained the Series 9 is.
Another department where the Series 9 gets the upper hand is the run time. Both shavers necessitate a 60-minute charging cycle for cordless shaving. However, the Series 9 gives you 50 minutes of run time in return, while the Panasonic Arc5 is capped at 40 minutes. Both shavers house lithium-ion batteries that rarely degrade over time.
Winner: the Braun Series 9carti
Cost Of Ownership
Concluding our Series 9 vs Arc5 comparison, you should put into consideration that shaving with electric razors is a costly endeavor — you’d want to factor in the post-purchase foil replacements you’re destined to buy annually. Sometimes, there’s a fancy word for these replacement foils: cassettes.
Panasonic recommends that you change both the outer foils and the inner precision blades once a year in the Arc5. It provides these high-priced WES9032P cassettes in a set that comprises both parts. If you want to take a glimpse of these replacements, check them out here.
Conversely, Braun endorses that we should replace only the outer foils every 18 months to keep the Series 9 in its prime. It still produces compatible 92S cassette cartridges that comply with the shaver. Not only will you replace the foils less frequently, but you’ll get cost-efficient replacements with the Series 9 — take a look at them out here.
However, our battle hits a roadblock because the Series 9 carries a heftier price tag than the Arc5. Consequently, if you count in the replacements, you’ll pay the same amount of money if you opt for either.
It seems like our comparison of both electric shavers has resolved to an equilibrium. The Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9 are top-of-the-line electric shavers. At the end of the day, you may not notice any differences between both unless you’re aiming at a specific feature. After an unbiased comparison, I hope you’re ready to hit the buy button with confidence!
I’m really passionate about shaving and grooming. I shave my friends’ hair as a hobby and totally enjoying my time writing about shavers and razors. My main job? Ok, I’m a pharmacist!