Review: Panasonic ES 8249 electric razor

Yes, I’m serious. Panasonic sent me its high-end electric razor to try out after I complained about needing to learn how to shave again when I transitioned from a rather scraggly beard to a neatly trimmed goatee. As I’ve said earlier, it was a sort of strange thing to be a forty(cough)-year old man having to learn how to shave smoothly again after having a beard for over a decade, but ask I did, and I delved into the world of cheap, disposable razors and chemical-filled “sensitive skin” shaving creams.
It worked, but to be honest, shaving with a razor is a pain and I found myself only shaving twice a week, which left me – surprise! – looking scraggly again, but with two lengths of beard: the long beard where I was intending to have facial hair, and the short stubble where I was too darn lazy to shave every morning.
But an electric razor? Last time I tried one of those (admittedly a looonnnggg time ago) I was super unimpressed and concluded that my skin/beard just didn’t work and that if I only had steely, straight, tough stubble I could get by, but since mine isn’t that stiff, I was hosed.
Enter Panasonic and its PR agency…

I did a bunch of research, including asking men on Twitter what kind of solution they had for shaving and keeping clean, and was led to two main companies, Braun and Panasonic. I dug further, including reading Amazon reviews of electric razors, and found that a lot of guys seem to have an ongoing love affair with the high-end Panasonic with “nano technology”.
Now, I don’t have a clue where there’s any “nano technology” involved, but I like the enthusiasm of the company being so geeky, so I contacted them and asked if there was any possibility I could get one of their units to try out. To my surprise, the PR agency they work with said they already knew my writing, so it was pretty easy to make it happen. A few weeks later a big box arrived with their current top-of-the-line model, the Panasonic ES 8249.
Why a big box? Because this isn’t just an electric razor, but a base unit that sits on the bathroom counter and both charges and cleans. The rechargeable ergonomic razor itself is a quite reasonable size, with a shaving head that makes fast work of my face:

panasonic razor toothbrush

With previous shaving devices of any sort, cleaning it was always up to me and typically involved a tiny little – easily lost – stiff brush. Not modern hi-tech razors! This unit included a large base station that offers up storage, charging and cleaning, as you can see here:
panasonic razor in base

The problem is, when the razor is in the base properly, the LCD display flashes every few seconds that it’s fully charged. Incessantly. So as you can see in the pic, I’ve learned to flip the razor around in the base so that it’s still resting, but there’s no annoying LCD display to bother me.
This is one of my criticisms of the unit. For a whopping $399 (at Amazon.com [aff link]) it should be smart enough to just flash that it’s fully charged for a few minutes once dropped into the base unit, then the display should just turn off.
On the other hand, I have to say that the cleaning capability of this razor is pretty astonishing. Check these two pics out, first of the razor when I’ve used it for a week, then after I dropped it – dirty – into the base unit and selected the “clean” option:
panasonic razor head dirty

and, some time and a lot of weird noises later…
panasonic razor head clean

Impressive, eh?
Ultimately, I have to say that I think that the Panasonic ES-8249 “arc iv” “pro-curve” “nano blade” razor (yeah, that’s a mouthful!) is hands-down the best razor I’ve ever used. I not only now shave every morning but sometimes touch up late afternoon before a night out. It’s never bothered my skin one iota and it’s actually kinda fun to use, especially when compared to the shaving cream and razor blade I was using prior.
Is it really worth $400, though? If you want to look clean and have shaving be a quick and easy task rather than a chore, almost akin to cleaning your teeth, then yes, it might well be one of the best investments you make for your appearance this year. Oh, and the people around you will doubtless appreciate your new, clean looks!

6 comments on “Review: Panasonic ES 8249 electric razor

  1. Dave~
    I was just wondering what to get my son for his birthday when I saw your article on the Panasonic razor. He just bought his first home, and this will be the best present for him! I love the fact that it cleans itself, and Jeff will enjoy the technology behind it, not to mention the clean shave.
    I’m heading out to buy one now!!
    Thanks again~
    Elaine

  2. Okay, it is truth or dare time…Would you go out and buy a $400.00 electric razor with your own money? My memory of electric razors is not so good. Oops, understatement, it is terrible. However, you do have me curious, but $400.00 worth…….????
    Thanks for the encouragement today on the faculty call. I am trying what you suggested. I am sooo glad you are back with us a Stomper. NEIL

  3. Quite a fair question, Neil. My answer is: if I could try this razor out before I bought it, yes, I’d definitely buy one. In the few weeks I’ve had it, it’s already changed my shaving habits for the better.

  4. I just bought one. Works great. Wondering how often to run the cleaning cycle and how often to replace the “soap insert” or replace the water in the reserve area? Any ideas- the manual was not clear to me? Reb

  5. A year later, I am still quite enthused about this electric razor and find that one thing I didn’t test when I first got it was the portability of the device. I find that if it’s fully charged before a trip, it holds plenty enough charge that I toss it in my suitcase (with the little plastic cover) and it lasts ten days or more, no worries.
    In terms of your questions, D. Reb, I’ve replaced the soap insert twice in the year I’ve had it and try to replace the water monthly or so. Wish there were recommendations. 🙂
    In terms of how often I actually run the cleaning cycle, I do so every 2-3 weeks and it seems to be fine. I don’t leave it plugged in, btw, so as not to tap “vampire power” unnecessarily, so every two weeks or so I plug it in, let it clean and charge fully, then unplug it again.
    Hope that’s helpful. I’d be very interested in hearing from others how they approach these maintenance cycles.

    • I have had mine for five years or so. Every couple of day, I will squirt some soft soap directly onto the blades and rinse in the sink. The cleaning solution lasts 9-12 months on mine with cleaning only being once a month or so. This is the second Panasonic I have had. Briefly went back to Braun, but didn’t last long. Also, I have never replaced the blades or foil. Compared to buying disposables, shaving cream, syptic pencils, and band aids, I think $400 is cheap.

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