on 5 April 2011
I have been using electric shavers for over 30 years, and during that time tried all of the "big names" - Philips, Braun, Remington - and yet always felt that none of them really gave as good a shave as a blade, yet all did avoid the bloodletting, that for me was inevitable when using a razor.
My last shaver finally showed signs of it's oncoming demise, so I set out to do some solid research on what the current technology in shavers offered. During this extensive research I kept coming back to the fact that Panasonic users didn't have a bad word to say about their experiences with their shavers.
I reflected that both my flatscreen TV and camera were manufactured by Panasonic, and I was delighted with the performance of both of them, so why would their shavers be any different?
So carrying on my research further, now limited to Panasonic shavers only, I came up with a mid range product that was being offered by Amazon at virtually half of its RRP - could I really go wrong???
History proves that I didn't !
I have been using the ES-RF31 as a dry shaver every day for a month now - have not felt the need to try using it in the shower. During this time I have only needed to recharge it once, and after you get used to the large shaving head it consistently gives the best shave I have ever experienced from an electric shaver. Incidentally my wife concurs with this
I would recommend not going for the more expensive versions that have fancy cleaning systems, and hence cost a lot more, because this product is just so easy to clean with the brush (supplied) and every week or so under running water.
Panasonic - GREAT PRODUCT !
Amazon - GREAT PRICE !
on 10 August 2011
In my 35 years of shaving I've owned every type of electric shaver there ever has been: foils of various makes, a quirky Grunding "cylinder" shaver and more recently Philishaves including a couple of Cool Skins. After getting fed up with the slow shaving time and poor quality shave of my last Philips Speed (not!) XL triple track rotary, I eBayed that (who would ever buy a second hand shaver?) and, having decided to go back to foil shavers, bought one of these.
I have to say this is by far the best shaver I've ever owned. It's is quiet (for a foil shaver, which will never be as quiet as a rotary) and extremely comfortable on the skin (unlike the brutal but effective Remimgton Microscreen TCT2 I used briefly before buying this). The best part is that the four foils/cutters give a really close shave, which coupled with the powerful motor also means a fast shave; no more than 3-4 minutes on 2 days' growth. I'd say you get the closest shave wet shaving with gel or foam, but it's not worth the extra effort over using it dry with a pre-shave oil; the difference is minimal, both ways give a very close, comfortable shave. Battery life is excellent: I've just got a month's use out of one charge, shaving usually every other day so it has quite a lot of work to do then, probably about 18-20 shaves on one charge.
The only minor criticisms are that when shaving your finger naturally rests on the trimmer release button, causing it to kick in inadvertently, so you need to make a conscious effort to park that finger elsewhere; also replacement foils & cutters are expensive but these are claimed to last for one and two years respectively.
I've used an electric razor for the past fifteen or so years, I've had a number of them from a couple of different brands but this is the first Panasonic I've had and it's brilliant. Shortly after shaving this feels as good as using a safety razor, it does take a couple of passes with the shaver to get rid of all the hair and I find my stubble comes back earlier in the day than with my safety razor (it still takes several hours) but the lack of hassle is worth it. I love this razor. It's even easy to clean and the clear plastic top does a good job of protecting the foils without being fiddly to remove or fit.
I suppose a slight drawback is this unit does not use a regular shaver wire, but has a mains adapter (still with a two pin shaver plug) and a special socket on the bottom of the shaver so it's one more thing to bring with you when you're travelling. Having said that the battery does last for a long time (I've been using it for two weeks and the LEDs on the front still show 'hi' for the battery level) so you may not need to take the charger with you on every trip.
In the box you get the razor with integral battery, cover for the top, mains adaptor, cleaning brush and soft bag. Thankfully Panasonic have used a proper cardboard box and not some plastic bubble that will shred your fingers and you can always put the unit back in its box if you need to.
I ordered this for my brother, whose beard tends to grow in thickly, heavily and quickly. He'd only tried a rotary shaver before and found that such an unpleasant experience that it put him off using electric shavers.
This Panasonic Premium Wet and Dry shaver has changed his mind. He finds that it works quickly and neatly, both wet AND dry. The cut is perhaps less close than he gets with a manual razor, but given that he needs to shave twice a day to maintain a clean-shaven appearance this is a neater and more practical option, which tends to leave his skin much less nicked!
The razor is, as you would expect from Panasonic, extremely well made. It's light, effective, has good battery life and is extremely well-priced on Amazon.
on 16 November 2012
I use this shaver to shave my head every other day. I bought it to replace a six or seven year old philishave rotary shaver, so that's my benchmark for this review. Overall, the shave is faster and better, but the overall experience of this product is more mixed.
Compared to the philishave, the panasonic shaves my head (which is fairly large and thick-haired) in about half the time, and to a noticeably smoother finish. It is also better on longer hair (3 or 4 days). That's the good part.
The first downside is that the panasonic is messier - it doesn't collect the cut hair nearly as well as the philishave and takes longer to clean (I have discovered that if you clean it with water just before use rather than after you end up less covered in cut hair).
Charging is also an issue. The philishave got about 45 minutes shaving from a charge, and the panasonic is similar, but the philishave gave plenty of warning as the battery got low, and most importantly could be used while charging. The panasonic seems to go from showing full charge to running out quite quickly, and can't be used while charging, which means either charging it every time I use it, having a back-up shaver for when the battery runs out, or being prepared to wait an hour in mid-shave for it to recharge.
I can live with the messiness, so if the charging issues could be solved this would be a five star review, but they do make ownership of the shaver more annoying than it needs to be.
EDIT - the Panasonic is also a lot higher-maintenance. The foils are quite fragile and expensive to replace (around £40) and in less than 6 months I've seen a noticeable deterioration in shaving performance to the point where it isn't much better than the old philishave.
on 14 February 2011
If you can't cope with that, you'll end up with an expensive paper weight after a year.
[I have now updated this review and changed the rating from 2 to 4 stars because there are spares available from Panasonic Germany.
Only 4 stars, because this is still not as convenient as getting the spares from a UK supplier.]
Make no mistake. This is near enough top of the range as far as Panasonic shavers go, and performs as good as those at twice the price. And if you're a long time user of Panasonic shavers like me, you'll know that means really good indeed. So, why is it this cheap now?
I can see only one reason: a complete lack of spares.
After a year, you will need to change the foil. After two, you'll also need a set of inner blades. All my Panasonics have lasted through two changes of inner blades -- that is, over five years. I have yet to find someone who sells either foils or inner blades for this model -- and that includes Panasonic's own shop.
I thought it might be a grey import from US and checked the US sites. Same result: no spares.
Even the world's favourite tat bazaar auction site sells plenty of these shavers, but again, no spares.
Who knows? Maybe these are being imported from Japan. But by the time I've learnt Japanese and paid the postage and the import duties, I might as well go for the more expensive UK/European models.
If I could have laid my hands on a reliable source of spare foils and blades, I would have given this ten stars out of five. It really is that good. As things stand, though, we (and our landfill sites) will be better off with models that have readily available spares.
having owned the top end philips which was just poop. And also owning the top end Braun shaver, this panasonic one is just top of the pops!
the Braun cant get that close, and the philips stuff just slices your face. However the panasonic is so smooth and just cuts alot closer, its nearly as good as a wet shave!
The only think i didnt like is that it comes with a two pin charger.
OTherwise i recommend this over ANY philips shaver including the Philips SensoTouch RQ1280cc GyroFlex 3D and over the Braun 790 series
on 16 April 2013
I've always been disappointed with electric shavers and been happier with the closeness and speed of a wet shave.
With the increasing prices of decent razor blades, like the turbo triple action hyper mega go faster striped juggernaut things, I figured it was time to give another shaver a try.
I've been disappointed with previous makes, but this shaver for me is as close to perfect as I'll get.
Compared with Braun models I've had previously, this thing is closer and quicker.
It still struggles a little with the jowls of fat around my neck, but it's great for the money, and if it saves me £20 a month on blades and saves me from having to struggle with scalding hot water and foam, then that's a bonus.
on 16 April 2014
This is for a Panasonic ES-RF31 sold by Amazon for GBP 59.99 (clarifying because I get the impression that sometimes reviews appear under different products/sellers/prices).
I was not satisfied with the performance, but before explaining my rating, let me explain the background and usage: I've been using blades for most of my life, and more recently I started shaving my scalp as well, but I've always found it difficult to get a good and lasting shave, and I always got cuts and skin rashes. I recently tried my dad's old Braun M-60, and I converted to foil shavers. I still didn't get a very deep shave, but I didn't get the cuts and rashes either, which meant I could shave more frequently as required. Because these shavers can dry-shave, you can also avoid a lot of the mess required with blades, and you can keep it with you at work for a quick refresh when necessary.
So I did some market research for a new electric shaver and settled on the Panasonic ES-RF31. Given that Panasonic makes what many people claim to be the best shaver models (the much more expensive ES-LVxx), the much higher price than my base for comparison and all the positive reviews I read, I expected a much better performance.
But I was disappointed. The general foil-shaver advantages I mentioned still stand, but the ES_RF31 was at best only as good as the three-year-old Braun I had tried. The head did not feel as comfortable (it certainly didn't adjust to "the contours" of my face as the product claims), and I never felt I got a good shave, even after allowing some time for adjustment (I read somewhere that your skin might need some time to adjust when switching to an electric shaver, though I don't know if it's really true).
The other thing that I didn't like was that it has a two-pin plug for recharging, which is not really convenient for the UK. It fits into a bathroom shaver socket, but you can't use it while it's plugged in, so what's the point? The battery didn't last for many (admittedly long) shaves, though to be fair, if it's empty, it can get enough power for a single shave after only a few minutes plugged in.
At the end, I returned this and got the much cheaper and more portable Braun M-90, which I found performs a lot better. For comparison, it would take me 30 minutes to fully shave my face, neck and scalp with the ES-RF31 and 20 minutes with the M-90; and still, the shave with the Panasonic didn't feel quite as good (which is very subjective I suppose).
So even if it's not a lot worse in performance (at least, compared to the limited selection of electric shavers I've tried), I'm giving it below average rating for what I consider to be bad value.
on 14 August 2015
I am in a good position to write a review. I have the Panasonic ES-LP71 electric razor which cost silly money although it came with a cleaning station that i never used. Anyway, bought it about 2 years ago and decided i needed a new set of foils although the old ones were still cutting good. While i was looking around for foils (£36 quid ish) i came upon this razor ES-RF31 which i noticed used the same foils as my old expensive shaver so i bought it knowing i was getting a new razor and foil for about 25-30 quid ish more than just the foils.
So with a complete set of new blades in my 2 year old Panasonic razor and this brand new razor i was able to compare them both together and the outcome was they cut the same . Build quality seems the same although my old razor was made in Japan and this one is made in China.
So, if you want a good shaver to shave with which comes in just a cloth pouch buy this and you wont be disappointed. If you want to pay 3 times as much for a shaver that comes in a fake leather case with a cleaning station (which in my view is a bit of a gimmick ) buy the expensive one
Bit of an update...... I would say my expensive shaver shaves slightly better but as it uses the same blades it must be because the motor is a bit faster,but i do stress its only "slightly". Hope this review helps