Panasonic Premium ES-RF31 Review – Mid Range Magic At An Exceptional Price


Panasonic are known for making exceptional equipment, be it TVs, Music systems, toothbrushes or shavers – the electronics market is their playground. The top range models however are often carry an exceptional price tag for the workmanship. Thankfully for those of us that have a more modest budget they also provide a range of mid-range products. That being said, you might be forgiven for mistaking the ES-RF31 as a top range model if it weren’t for the exceptionally modest price tag. Let me explain.

What’s Under The Trunk?

A Cut Above –
The ES-RF31 has 4 exceedingly thin, 30° nano blades. These are the same blades that are in the flag ship 5 blade models, only at a snip of the price. A good blade is one thing but that doesn’t always guarantee a good cut. Thankfully in this case it does.

Panasonic Premium ES-RF31-4cutting-blade

Once you get used to the larger than average shaver head, the flexible pivoting motion is more than adequate to tackle all problem areas, with a motor clocking in at 10,000 rpm. It’s not the quickest motor on the market and very thick hair might need a few passes, but for a mid-range model the performance is unquestionable. The trimmer is also reliable and easy to activate, as you would expect from Panasonic.

Washable And Waterproof –
You can use the ES-RF31 in the shower, with a variety of gels and foams it is entirely waterproof – although I prefer a dry shave, always have. It is also however, exceptionally easy to clean under water with the provided cleaning brush. Hence there is no real need to fork out for any of the more expensive models in the range that come with a cleaning station – you get far better value with the ES-RF31 if you are willing to take the few seconds, weekly, that it takes to manually clean the shaver.

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Battery Charging and Life –
A standard 1 hour for a full charge, but from this you will get a 65 minute life which is the best I’ve come across to date. Most bottle out between 45-60 minutes tops, so the charge in this thing is superior – particularly important if you travel a lot or if you are planning on taking it on holiday and don’t necessarily want to take up valuable space with the cord and regional adapter (depending on where you are going).

There is also a 3-stage LED indicator that lets you know your battery level and also when the unit is in need of a clean. Next to this is a lock button, essential to ensuring the power doesn’t mistakenly get knocked on when travelling – leaving you high and dry.

What Else Comes In The Box

es-rf31 boxed

Cleaning brush
Carrying pouch
Mains cord – with 2-pin UK plug.
Operating instructions
More expensive models will also come with a cleaning cartridge and station, but for that you will pay a considerable amount more than for the ES-RF31.

Drawbacks – Big or Small

The only minor criticism that I have, is that your finger naturally rests on the release button for the trimmer whilst shaving, and if you’re not careful it’s easy to kick it into action by mistake. So be mindful of your grip. Replacement vital parts, such as foils & cutters are also rather expensive but on the flip side, they do have a larger than average life span.

Overall Verdict From

It comes as no surprise that the Panasonic Premium ES-RF31 was a ‘Which’ best buy featured product. The value is undoubtedly kept down by the absence of a cleaning station but this is no great lack. Indeed the saving to be had far outweigh the benefit of the cleaning unit that is available with other expensive variations in the series. In short, There are better shavers out there, but not in this price range.

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