Panasonic ES-RF31 Review – A Quality Shaver at an Affordable Price

By Charlie Harper | Reviews

Apr 26
Panasonic ES-RF31 review

The Panasonic ES-RF31 and the Panasonic ES-RF31 S511 both offer a clean shave that leaves skin smooth. These shaving tools are best intended for both wet and dry use which makes them catered towards every kind of morning. If you’re in a rush, grab one and be on your way. Or, if you’re a morning person and prefer taking your time, use a gel, soap, foam or cream of your choice for a closer cut because they can also be used wet.

The Panasonic ES-RF31 meets the needs of many men on the go. If you prefer electric razors but hate the price, it is in a much lower price range than many of the other products in our reviews.

A men’s steel foil-razor with functionality and nearly flawless design has everything you could ask for in a shaving tool. It is built into a plastic casing that keeps it lightweight. But, the plastic has an easy-grip base to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Another premier function is that it is completely cordless, so it recharges overnight. The battery has a low, medium and high charge indicator. Then there is the lockable on and off switch. While it’s easy to transition from on and off, whenever you’re travelling you can lock the position.

The lithium-ion battery holds a charge that delivers about 45 minutes of continuous use. So, if you’re planning a short trip over the weekend, you probably won’t even need to pack the charger. Usually, a full charge lasts for about a week. But there is no guesswork with the Panasonic S511 because the light indicator acknowledges the batteries charge.

As you’ll find out after reading our review, the Panasonic ES-RF31 and the S511 are quality shavers with many features that men who prefer electric shavers. But, the bottom line for many men who prefer an electric shaver is 13,000 cuts per minute this tool makes. That means less time spent in front of the mirror.

How does the Panasonic ES-RF31 Work?

Panasonic ES-RF31 reviewAs with most shaver reviews, we’ll start our review by discussing how this particular model works, its blade system, battery, and more.

The Panasonic ES-RF31 and the S511 use independently floating blade system. The system found on the head of the shaver is polished to prevent hair from sticking to them.

Many people prefer foil bladed shavers because of the additional protection they offer against cuts. The method of making the blades is the same method used to forge Japanese steel which has made a name for itself regarding durability and precision. Needless to say, the 4 blade system on this Panasonic model is extremely sharp and very durable.

The blades and foil guard are stainless steel and crafted to ease discomfort. The stainless-steel choice is to minimise allergic reactions.

Because you’re coming into such rigid contact with your skin when shaving, some men experience allergic reactions and unknowingly sum it up as razor burn.

Studies can only prove that about 1% of men are affected by nickel allergies. However, it is suspected these allergies are under-reported.

Many men are taught that bumps, breakouts and itchiness just come with shaving. Although some men regularly suffer from genuine razor burn.

But to minimise the irritation, the system is tapered to a 30-degree angle for optimal hair trimming. Both models use the “Panasonic Nanoblade technology” or what other brands refer to as nanotech. The Nanoblades refer to the thinness of the blade and the precision of the angle.

Essentially they are thin enough to rotate in very close proximity to the skin for an irritant-free shave that is still smooth. They are capable of maintaining their 30-degree angle after months of use. However, there are some reports that the lifespan of the Nanoblades (or a nanotech blade) for those with thicker facial hair is closer to 6 months than 12 months.

Because the Panasonic S511 uses this same blade, it’s a bonus for both models. The 4 blade system work in tandem with the pivoting motion of the shaver head.

After the system, you have the foils. The slip and finishing foils work together so that no hair goes untrimmed. The slip foils snip at the long hairs that typically like to lay flat.

While the finishing foils help target stubble to maintain a smooth shave, the blades underneath the mesh deliver swift tapering close to the skin. It attempts to provide a smooth face that only requires a single stroke for smooth skin. Although this shaver can’t take you from beard to cleanly shaven in 5 minutes or less, it can reduce your time spent getting ready in the morning.

The entire head pivots in severe ways for manoeuvrability, but the heads of the Panasonic S511 are where the magic happens. The forward and back motion has a 25-degree angle of mobility, while the side to side range of motion has a 20-degree angle rotation.

The angles are kept at less than thirty to sustain a feeling of stability while allowing flex where it counts. The curves of your face, chin, neck, jawline and cheeks are all different. The range of motion can make this easier although you’ll still have a few difficult regions.

Because there is not a greater range of motion, you may see the difficulty in the jawline, and upper lip regions. These more severe angles are difficult for this shaver to adjust to so quickly. However, you can get the hard to reach areas with the trimmer which slides out easily. The trimmer maintains a moustache, sideburns, goatee, or beard line.

Finally, the motor comes into play. Although the Panasonic ES-RF31 uses a very standard 10,000 RPM motor option, there’s a reason this type of motor is in almost every electric shaver. The speed produces a gentle rotation of the blades but ensures that hairs aren’t trapped and reduces pulling.

Overall, both of the shavers deliver a clean and smooth shave. The finishing foils ensure the cut is extraordinarily close while not leaving red bumps, itchiness or soreness.

Specifics Behind the Panasonic ES-RF31 Design

This electric shaver is an option loved for travelling, and the design behind it makes it perfect for anyone on the go. The 4-blade system is backed up with a dual-motor and the 30-degree angled blades.

For most men, this means that you’re getting a smooth shave because of these hard-working, clean cutting Nanoblades. Panasonic has put a lot of effort into designing the type of blade that works best with their electric shavers. They work well under the mesh to provide a safe shaving experience that you can get on your way to work or midway through the day when you need a touch-up.

The second motor is part of its unique design. This second motor sends vibrations to the head, so it moves slightly up and down. This up and down movement helps lift stubborn hair that likes to lay flat. It also makes shaving more efficient as it cuts down the need to go over a single space multiple times. The Arc 4 features a curve to handle both wide and slim surfaces well.

The battery was chosen to get 14 shaves out of each full charge. While the goal is to set up a 2-week stretch where you wouldn’t need to charge, Panasonic missed this goal slightly. Instead, this model needs recharging about once a week. This time frame is still large enough to go away for a week and not need to pack your charger.

Why Chose the Panasonic ES-RF31?

A solid feature that makes the Panasonic ES-RF31 stand out from its competition is the complete waterproofing. Typically, you find some “water resistant” or “splash proof” shaver, and it breaks as soon as you drop it in the sink or take it in the shower.

People who prefer to groom their facial hair in the shower struggle with electric razors. The downside is they’re missing out on the impressive closeness you get with a tool like the S511. The internal mechanism and electronic components are fully encased to prevent any water damage.

The other feature which has most people choosing to this shaver is the sonic clean, or self-cleaning mode. Everyone has had to deal with a razor that is clogged with tiny hairs. It seems impossible to get them all out, and foil razors are usually worse about this cleaning problem.

Both shavers have a self-cleaning mode that only requires you to run the head of the shaver under slightly warm, running, water. This self-cleaning feature removes:

  • Hair
  • Soap scum
  • Gel buildup

With this self-cleaning mode, you can save time every month. As your blades become dirty, they move throughout the system less quickly than when your shaver was new. Then you’ll be saving yourself the time spent struggling to clean the shaver head as well.

After you run your shaver under running water with the sonic cleaning mode on, you give it a quick shake and pat it dry.

For this price range, a shaver with a 4 blade system is hard to come by, but at this point in our review, we can safely say this Panasonic model does it well.


pricingPart of the price that many people ignore is the replacement of the foils and inner blades. Men often opt for an electric shaver because it means you don’t have to replace the cartridge except on occasion. With the S511 you should replace the cartridge every 12 months.

Although the price of these Panasonic products vary by retailer, the price isn’t shocking at all. It undercuts most electric shavers in price. Where the cost comes in is with the replacement cartridge. The replacement parts are more expensive than some of the competitors’.

Keep in mind that you may need to replace your cartridge on the S511 if you’re using it multiple times a day. So, if you’re the type who needs a midday touchup, the price on this model is a bit more than what you initially expect to spend on this product.

However, even if you’re regularly replacing the cartridge, you can rest assured you’re still not spending as much as you would on standard razors. The initial purchase price is an investment.

Public Perception, What Do Others Say About the Panasonic ES-RF31?

in actionUnfortunately, there is a single issue that keeps coming up even in other reviews, and that’s the foil damage. We experienced this ourselves when we were testing this shaver out for our own review. The mesh on the Panasonic ES-RF31 is very thin. The thinness makes it great for catching hairs that lay flat. But, the thinness of the mesh also makes it easily susceptible to damage.

If you are packing your shaving tool in your bag, be sure to pack it in the carry bag it came with and situated it, so it’s less likely to take on damage. Realistically, store it away from the corners of the bag.

The fact that the two are prone to foil mesh damage is a downside for both shave quality and price. Because you’ll need to replace the mesh more often the shave will retain its smoothness. But, it also means paying for more replacements which can quickly become an unwanted expense.

There are also reports of issues with the LCD indicator for the charge. This problem is especially upsetting if you’re packing to travel, check the charge and leave the charger at home. If the charging indicator isn’t properly showing the battery level, you’re left to unnecessarily charging it constantly.

It’s difficult dealing with any inaccurate LCD light when you’re on the go. Most people prefer an electric razor when they need a midday touch-up or travel often. But, when you’re dealing with faulty electronics your trust waivers, and you can’t always be sure that you’re packing correctly. Or worse, you’ll be ready to stroll into your late afternoon meeting only to find that the much-needed touch-up isn’t going anywhere because there is no charge on your razor.

Panasonic is known throughout many different product categories for improving their existing models and updating features to correct reported issues. We can hope that Panasonic is looking to improve both models, so their LCD indicator will read accurately.

How It Compares

The weight of the Panasonic S511 comes in at about 7.1 ounces which is far lighter than many electric shavers. The lightweight plastic casing could account for much of the lost weight when compared to its competitors.

The Panasonic ES-RF31 also fits nicely in hand with a slight curve and non-slip grip centred over the controls. The dimensions are 6.4 inches high by 2.3 inches wide which make it easy to handle. That with its flexible head and foil components it makes a great choice for many other, more expensive, electric shavers available.

Compared to its competition, the Panasonic ES-RF31 and the S511 hold their own. Each feature uses quality design to ensure that the shaver lasts for a long time. Its durability put it above the rest of the competition for this price range.

The downside you must consider when pitting the Panasonic ES-RF31 against its competition is how much you’ll spend on this model. If your account for the mesh damage and needing to replace blades you might spend much more than you initially planned to.

If you’re looking for more of a one-time expense with minor maintenance here and there, you might want to consider the Braun electric razors.

What We Think of the Panasonic ES-RF31

what we thinkOverall the Panasonic ES-RF31 S511 is a top quality electric shaver that many men would prefer over the alternatives. Because you can use it in both wet and dry conditions, the shaver meets some different preferences.

It’s great for anyone who travels constantly. Since the weight is light, and the S511 holds a charge that should last about a week, it’s well worth space in your travel bag. The concern that many people have with cordless electric razors is that they will turn on when packed. However, the Panasonic ES-RF31 removes that possibility by having a lock-catch on the on and off switch.

If these Panasonic models are within your price range, they’re an investment in quality. You should expect this razor to last for years with proper maintenance and blade changes.

Do remember though, that without changing damaged mesh or cleaning the blades periodically the Panasonic ES-RF31 will quickly deteriorate. It’s also important to handle the battery properly for extended life. Or else you might find yourself only using it immediately after it’s been plugged into the wall.

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