All Articles
All Articles

Panasonic ES-LV81-K

This top-of-the-line wet/dry rechargeable shaver trims the competition

by Evan Orensten
on 10 November 2011

One of the best things about electric razors is their low environmental impact. I love to shave in the shower but am always concerned about wasting water, and even though the indispensable Razor Pit extends the life of overpriced razor blades I cringe every time I throw a pack in the garbage, knowing it will sit in a landfill for way too long.

Electric shavers can be a tough alternative though—there's the tug factor, plus they're noisy, hard to clean and often dry-shave only. Shavers are still evolving, and very few models have been able to do it right. Panasonic's awkwardly named ES-LV81-K shaver surprisingly comes as close to perfection as any we've seen so far.

For starters, it's a wet/dry razor, which gives you the flexibility to shave at the sink or in the shower. The cleaning mechanism uses a refillable water tank which mixes with the concentrated, solid cleaning solution—inexpensive, long-lasting and easy to install. Other razors use costly fluid cartridges that gunk up quickly and need more frequent replacement. Panasonic's five thin foil blades give a shockingly close shave, especially compared to lower-end shavers, which favor one or two larger—and less effective—blades. The head pivots in all directions for help around the jaw, and because it has the fastest cycles per minute of any electric shaver, your whiskers get cut, not tugged. The small pop-up trimmer feels like an afterthought, though, and will do in a pinch but won't replace a proper beard or body trimmer, and the shaver head feels a bit larger than necessary. Its design won't win any accolades from Jony Ive or Dieter Rams, but it won't offend either. Its simple digital battery readout on the front keeps track of your charge and use (I've gone two weeks without needing a charge), and a twist of a switch prevents it from turning on accidentally.


The ES-LV81-K is not an inexpensive investment with a retail price of $600 (you can expect to pay 20-30-percent off at most retailers) though it does appear to be a solid investment for years of eco-friendly shaving. It's available from Amazon and other retailers.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools
Loading More...