Panasonic
Electric Travel Shaver ES3831K

Travel shavers are becoming less and less relevant, if you ask me. All shavers are now battery-powered and can usually provide a week’s worth of shaving from a single charge.

The main advantages travel shavers offer are a smaller size and a removable battery. Honestly I don’t think a travel shaver is on average that much smaller than a regular electric razor, so unless you’re traveling to somewhere where you’ll have to rely on disposable batteries as a source of power, there is little incentive to just buy a regular electric razor.

The problem is further compounded when the travel shaver is bought in addition to your regular shaver, which seems like a senseless waste. However, if you look at this Panasonic unit, you’ll notice that it’s dirt cheap. We’re talking a small-lunch-at-McDonald’s cheap here. So cheap that if you lost it or it was stolen you probably wouldn’t care too much. The same can’t be said for a $400 Series-9 Braun or other top-shelf model. So perhaps there are still a few cases in which a travel shaver like this may be worth a look.

Looky Looky

Speaking of looks, for such an inexpensive product as the Panasonic doesn’t look half bad. The shape looks quite ergonomic and black is always a safe choice. Making it blue or white, even when using the same plastics, can make something look cheap. A nice black shade can hide poor quality plastics though and comes across as tasteful, if you ask me.

Slip ‘n Slide

The Panasonic boasts the ability to be fully immersed in water and obviously has the wet and dry functionality as a result. You can use foam or gel with full confidence or (presumably) your money back. Obviously this also means that general cleaning of the shaver is as simple as rinsing it under a tap.

Single Foil

In concession to its small size this shaver only has one foil. Logically this means you can’t expect the same sort of shaving performance from this as from much more expensive products with multiple cutting elements. Still, this is a stainless-steel head that’s free-floating. If you use it for daily maintenance and don’t skip shaving for more than a day, it should be perfectly serviceable.

Throwaway Line

As with most travel shavers, this one does not have a rechargeable battery, but uses a single disposable AA instead. So there is no cord and no need to worry about charge times. This is of course not very eco-friendly, but it helps if there is nowhere to charge your shaver on your travels. Unfortunately Panasonic is mum on how long a typical AA will last you. Not surprising, considering that there is a lot of variability between battery brands.

Pop-up Book

One glaring omission is the non-existent pop-up trimmer. I’ve come to expect this feature in every electric razor and I am almost shocked that this one doesn’t have the feature. Since a small trimmer is essential, it means you’ll also have to buy a small dedicated trimmer. In other words, the low price may actually be a bit misleading.

Vote of Confidence

When it comes to the all-important experience of shaving, customers are almost unanimous. The single blade on the Panasonic really is a good one. It cuts well and doesn’t tug or pull out beard hair. When Panasonic said that the motor was durable, it seems they weren’t kidding. I’ve seen a lot of testimonies confirming that the little guy holds up well to heavy use and chugs along without trouble.

Complaints seem to center around a general lack of power and poor handling of thicker growth. I think that’s understandable and comes with the territory when we’re talking about travel shavers. I also think many people may be using poor quality batteries.

Making the Cut

It seems that, on balance, the Panasonic is one of the better items in the current generation of travel shavers. Given its price, that’s something I actually found surprising. There is in fact a lot to like here, but even if I were really short on cash I still wouldn’t buy this. Let me explain why.

The big problem the Panasonic has comes in the form of the Braun M90. This travel shaver looks better, performs better, has the pop-up trimmer and literally only costs five bucks more. In a universe where the M90 does not exist, this would be a great budget choice. However, the M90 does exist and that’s what you should spend your money on instead.

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