Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor: Comparison Guide (2021) (2022)

Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor: Comparison Guide (2021) (1)

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Let’s have a look at a safety razor vs cartridge razor comparison. If you are keen on your surroundings, you’ve noticed cartridge razor adverts all over. Over the past few years, straight razors, straight razor shaving kits, and electric shavers have grown in popularity. However, men’s cartridge razors are still popular shaving tools for men around the world. But they are not in the clear yet. D-E razors are right on their heels with every passing year. So much so, that the debate of which is better, a safety razor or a cartridge razor has intensified.

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If you are a newcomer, it’s all too confusing. Especially when wet shaving experts seem to be on the fence about the winner, but in their defense, choosing between the two is not an easy feat. In this review, we’ll lay it all bare for you and help you understand the similarities and differences. Hopefully, you can decide which is better for your needs. Before we dive into the safety razor vs cartridge razor comparison, let’s look at what these 2 types of razors are.

Safety Razors

What is a Safety Razor?

Safety blade razors are simply shaving tool that has a protective cap between the skin and the blade’s edge. This improves the safety of using these blades hence the term ‘safety’. But even with the above protection, some safety razors are aggressive.

How Safety Razors Compare

Before we look at the differences, let’s start with understanding the different types of safety razors. They are generally classified into two categories: the double edge razor and the single edge razor.

Double Edge Razor

This is the most common safety razor on the market. It’s so common that when experts use DE safety razors to refer to all safety razors. With this type, the double-edge razor blade is exposed on either side of the cap. This allows you to shave from either side. This feature makes shaving more convenient. When one side is covered in shaving soap, you simply rotate it and use the other side. Aside from being convenient, their blades are cheaper since no finish is needed on one side.

Now, you’ve probably heard that DE safety razors are aggressive. This is true as we’ll see in a later section. However, different DE razors have different levels of aggressiveness. You can tell the difference by looking at the curve on the cap. The bigger the curve, the milder the blade is since it’s inclined. If the cap is straight, the blade is harsh and not ideal for sensitive skin.

Single Edge Razor

This type is rare in comparison to the DE razor. From their name, you can tell that only one side has an exposed blade. Some experts argue that this is an advantage since the cap is made with functionality in mind rather than simple symmetry.

(Video) Cartridge Razor vs. Safety Razor / Straight Razor. Why you should switch to a Single Blade Razor!

And since these razors are rare, the few available on the market are more expensive in comparison to their DE razor cousins. Aside from the above categories, there are other types of safety razors based on their mechanism. These types include:

  • Closed comb safety razor
  • Open comb safety razor
  • Slant razor
  • Butterfly razor
  • Adjustable razor

In this article, the safety razor vs cartridge razor comparison refers to a DE razor.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s get into the meat of the comparison guide.

The Cost of a Safety Razor

The best safety razor can indeed cost up to $50. But for a good shaving session, you’ll also need to invest in the good traditional shave cream, one of our recommended best shaving brushes, and aftershaves. But even with all these costs, you end up saving in the long run.

How so? Well, regardless of where you make your purchase of replacement blades, you’ll find that the blades are cheaper than purchasing a new cartridge razor. Even the best safety razor blade costs about $.35. But with such low costs, there is a catch – the lifespan of the said blades.

How Long Do Safety Razor Blades Last?

Generally, any blade used for wet shaving will undergo oxidation and get dull with time (that being said, there are steps you can take to keep the safety razor blade sharp). However, for a replacement that costs about $0.35, you can only expect it to last for so long. At best, you will get a week out of the blade before replacement.

And depending on how you look at it, it can be a pro or a con. The quick replacement turnaround is great if you have sensitive skin. New replacements ensure that you always have a sharp razor gliding over your skin, cutting, and not tugging on your facial hair. The result is reduced skin irritation and a cleaner close shave.

On the flip side, it is bad because not all countries have set up processes to dispose of the safety razors. And even for the few that have these systems in place, it can be tricky.

No, it’s not enough to throw the blades into your trash can. If you do, you put kids and sanitation workers at risk of getting serious cuts as they handle the trash. But wait, how about the manufacturing companies recycle the blades? This option isn’t feasible since the blades are thin and small. There are, therefore, too many risks involved in handling the recycling process.

The best option is to store the blades in a blade bank before you throw them into the trash can. This way, you can be sure the blades are safe for you and those who will handle the trash later.

Now you probably think that this is another cost you’d rather not take on. But before you freak out, note that these blade banks cost only $5. Alternatively, you can use pill bottles of old Altoid tins and save $5.

How to Shave with a Safety Razor

Before we get into the technique and use, we need to stress this – a safety razor is not forgiving for learners. Before you get the hang of the shaving technique, you’ll experience a bunch of nicks and cuts. But this is where the alum blocks and styptic pencils come in handy. These little tools help to stop profuse bleeding when shaving.

To get the shaving with safety razor technique right, you can watch several wet shaving experts do it on YouTube. To get you started, you can watch the video below.

(Video) Why is a Double-Edged Safety Razor Better than Cartridge or Electric?

And as you prepare to learn how to use a safety razor, you should also learn the direction in which your facial hair grows. This is important because you will have to make the passes on your skin in the following directions: with, across, and against the grain. Do the passes in the order described above to get a close and smooth shave free of irritations.

As we pointed out earlier, to have a good shaving session with a safety razor, you should use shaving creams. However, with a cartridge razor, you don’t necessarily need such bases to have a good shave. Instead, a shave gel is enough.

Aside from the shaving cream, to have a good shaving session, you’ll also need to use some shaving oil. This oil will help to lubricate the skin underneath the facial hair and consequently reduce the effort you’ll use to glide the blade along the skin.

After using the shaving oil, you can apply the shaving cream. Aside from lubricating the skin, the shaving cream will also help to insulate the hair follicles. In the process, the hair will swell and soften. Ultimately, it will be like slicing through butter with a hot blade.

The Best Safety Razor

In this section, we will not go into the details of what makes the best safety razor. Instead, we shall focus on directing you to the best DE razors depending on your situation and preference. In our research and numerous reviews, we’ve noticed that the popular Merkur 23C is ideal for beginners. This is because it has a look and feels similar to that of a cartridge razor, a tool that most beginners are familiar with. The length is the same and will, therefore, feel the same in your hand.

However, if you have a little more money to spare, you can buy the Merkur 38 HD. It is a good choice for men who are not keen on purchasing a new razor shortly. The difference between the 38 HD and the 23C is in the handle length and weight. The Merkur 38 HD has a longer handle and is heavier. As such, you will not have to exert a lot of pressure when shaving.

But if your skin is sensitive, then the Merkur 37C is perfect. It is one of the best razors for sensitive skin because it has a slanted head design. Therefore, it cuts facial hair at an angle and reduces the pulling and tugging of hair. Learn more about Merkur here.

Note: if you have not done any wet shaving before, you are probably better off investing in a shaving kit. We have also written an in-depth article about why use a safety razor.

Is Shaving with a Safety Razor Dangerous?

No, it is not. A DE safety razor with a quality blade does not irritate the skin as a cartridge razor would. We mentioned earlier that the caps are curved to reduce aggressiveness and improve the shaving experience.

Even better, when you use the safety razor with the shaving cream and shaving oil and master the art of wet shaving, you’ll not cut yourself or experience irritations.

Does a Safety Razor Give a Closer Shave?

Of course, they do. There is a lot of talk about how shaving tools with more blades are more effective than DE blades when it comes to delivering closer and smooth shaves. But this is not entirely true. What we’ve noticed is that single blades yield better results.

This is mostly because, with single blades, the number of passes equals the number of passes you’ve made. However, with multiple blade cartridge razors, you have to multiply this number with the number of blades it has.

Also, the fact that a razor safety blade is replaced often, means that you are working with a sharp single blade and that the safety razor doesn’t accumulate bacteria and dead skin which could cause an infection. Moreover, the blade sharpness ensures you get a close shave.

(Video) Which one is better??? Double Edge Razor vs Cartridge Razor (Honest Review)

Cartridge Razors

At the start of this piece, we mentioned that cartridge razors are everywhere. In addition to this, they have little to no learning curve. But though they are convenient, they have their pros and cons. You should consider these before you decide to use any of them.

Cutting Angle

Most cartridge razors have pivot heads. With these heads, it means that the cutting blades will always be in the perfect position to cut your hair regardless of the inclination. So what happens if you don’t have to worry about the inclination of your razor blades?

You guessed right, your shaving speed increases. While you can spend between 10 and 15 minutes shaving with a safety razor, you can use even five minutes to shave with a cartridge razor.

Now a couple of minutes might not seem like a lot of time, but it is for men who have a lot to do in the morning. If you have to make breakfast and drop your kids off at school, the few minutes you save could make a huge difference.

Unlike most safety razors, cartridge razors have multiple blades. Now the extra blades might increase the chances of skin irritation, but that’s not why manufacturers added them. The idea behind the extra blades was to lift hair and slice through smoothly.

So basically, if the cartridge razor has about four razor blades, the first and third will lift and the hairs and the second and fourth will slice through. Because of this technology, you are bound to get a close and smooth shave with a couple of passes.

Cartridge Razors and Skin Irritation

With a double edge safety razor, you have control over the number of times the single blade comes in contact with your skin. But with a cartridge razor featuring multiple blades, a single pass translates into more skin contact. And if you have sensitive skin, you know that the skin on the neck is easily irritated. Therefore aside from monitoring the number of passes, you also need to learn about your beard growth.

When using a cartridge razor or any shaving tool with multiple razors, you should always shave along the grain. When you shave against the grain you will wreak havoc on your skin. This is because the razor blade will cut the hair under the skin’s surface. So while you might get and super smooth shave, when the hair starts growing back, it will curl back into your skin. The result will be uncomfortable ingrown hair that creates unsightly and painful razor bumps on your skin.

To try and salvage the situation, most men usually massage away the neck pain or simply use aftershave to prevent skin infections.

Cost of Owning a Cartridge Razor

The initial cost of purchasing a cartridge razor is lower than that of a safety razor. But the long-term costs do not compare. With a safety razor, you simply replace the razor blade, but with a cartridge razor, you replace the razor. According to experts, in a year, you could spend $240 purchasing cartridge replacements while you could spend only $13 on safety razor blade replacements.

As you purchase replacements for your cartridge razors, you will come across new, and potentially better cartridge razors. And while it may be tempting to spend a little more on this, the investment will not always be felt in the shaving experience you get.

Let’s take the Gillette Mach 3 as an example. This tool was introduced a couple of decades ago. Back then, it was the bomb, and every man picked it off the shelves. To date, many men still believe the Gillette Mach 3 is the only cartridge razor that can provide them with the results they need at an affordable price despite new introductions in the industry.

So Is a Cartridge Razor Better than a Safety Razor?

From our safety razor vs cartridge razor comparison above, it’s still unclear which one wins. So the best we can say is that your choice boils down to your personal preference. Sure cartridge razors are expensive in the long run in comparison to safety razors. But they do get the job done and in record time as well. So if you are short on time, shave every day, and need to look sharp for a meeting during the day, a cartridge razor is your best bet.

(Video) Cartridge Razor VS Safety Razor 4K - Gillette Fusion Proglide Power VS King C #Gillette

Also, we should point out that between the two, cartridge razors are more forgiving when it comes to shaving. By this, we mean that they are less aggressive and accommodate beginners who haven’t mastered the art of wet shaving. On the other hand, safety razors are aggressive but help in getting the job done.

And while a safety razor is cheaper in the long run, you still have to factor in the purchase of creams and aftershaves every so often. These supplies ensure that you receive a close and smooth shave free of irritations.

You can purchase the razors we’ve recommended for a great experience. And if you don’t mind the learning curve involved, a double edge safety razor will blow you away.

The bottom line; you can choose either of the above depending on your preference.

And by this our safety razor vs cartridge razor opinion has come to an end. I hope this update has been useful for your choice when picking one that fits your shaving needs.

Ruiru Kibet

Website

(Video) Why use a safety razor? Disposable razor vs safety razor. Cartridge razor vs safety razor.

Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice. Kevin's profile on Linkedin.

FAQs

Is a safety razor really better than a cartridge? ›

Cartridge razors are much more likely to yield razor bumps and razor burn. The DE safety razor just has just one blade exposed on two sides that can be alternated keeping a sharp edge with every pass with or against the grain and treating your skin better.

Do safety razors give a closer shave than cartridge? ›

Safety razor benefit 1: You get a closer shave

Forget all this marketing babble about more blades equaling more effectiveness: A single, sharp, clean safety blade can (and typically will) shave closer and smoother than any three- or five-blade razor cartridge, Pike says.

Are safety razors better than modern razors? ›

Safety Razors Give You a Better Shave:

Shaving with a safety razor reduces skin irritation, shave bumps, and ingrown hairs that are common with cartridge or electric razors. The main reason is that with a safety razor you only have one blade against your skin at any time.

Whats the difference between a safety razor and a normal razor? ›

The main difference between a safety razor and a straight razor is the blade itself. Safety razors have removable, or disposable blades that connect to the razor's head. Straight razor blades require maintenance and sharpening in order to keep them working properly. It is necessary to strop your razor before each use.

Are safety razors better for legs? ›

The second reason people choose a DE safety razor is because it offers a much closer shave than many cartridge razors do. Because the blade is so sharp, it cuts the hairs more closely and also exfoliates your skin. It results in smoother legs and a great finish!

Why are cartridge razors so popular? ›

“The cartridge razor system is appealing to many men because it is advertised to be modern and high performing with innovative designs and multi-blade cutting action,” he said. “High-dollar marketing campaigns feature celebrity athletes that promote modern cartridges as the only masculine option.”

What kind of razor gets the closest shave? ›

Straight razors have a metal blade and a handle that doubles as storage for said blade. These are the sharpest razors you'll find, and they provide the closest shave, but they're also the hardest to learn to use; if you're not too skilled in the shaving department, you might struggle a bit at first.

Can you shave with a safety razor everyday? ›

The short answer to "can you shave every day with a safety razor" is yes. It all boils down to the quality of the razor. If a razor can give you a quality shave it can give you a quality shave every single day. It doesn't matter what your shaving schedule is.

Should I switch to safety razor? ›

In addition to cutting back your consumption of single-use plastics and reducing skin irritation, switching to a safety razor can also save you money. “Because safety razors switch out the blades instead of throwing away the whole razor, and ultimately are more cost effective to use,” says Dr. Patel.

Are cartridge razors allowed on planes? ›

The kind that is completely disposable (handle and all), or the kind where you replace them with cartridges. These are permissible in carry-on luggage with the blade and replacement cartridges. Electric Razors: Electric razors are permitted in both checked and carry-on bags.

Do safety razors cause ingrown hairs? ›

If you are not already wet shaving with a straight razor or safety razor, learning to use one may be a good idea. By using an inexpensive disposable razor that becomes dull quickly, you are at a higher risk of getting ingrown hairs.

Are safety razors better for your skin? ›

A safety razor will provide better, more consistent shaves and will leave your skin in excellent condition every time as a safety razor cuts beard hair directly at the skin's surface.

Can you use a safety razor on your pubes? ›

Pubic area

In the genital area, a safety razor can be used as well as a cartridge razor, but you should already have a little experience with traditional wet shaving.

What is the most eco friendly way to shave? ›

Five Tips For An Eco-Friendly Shave
  • Choose a plant-based shaving cream. Fellas: Aveda Pure-formance Shaving Cream and Aftershave. ...
  • Slow down and go traditional. Safety razors have been around since the 1900s and are great for those who want to minimise waste or gain a closer shave. ...
  • Recycle what you can. ...
  • Body Sugar.
1 Jun 2018

Is it hard to shave with a safety razor? ›

Safety razor blades are very sharp, and don't require effort or force on your part to easily slice through stubble. When using a safety razor, it's important to let the weight of the razor do most of the work, and only using gentle pressure to keep the razor head against the skin.

How often should I shave with a safety razor? ›

The general rule is any safety razor blade that if you are wet shaving daily you will need to replace your blades after five to six shaves or once a week.

What angle do you hold a safety razor? ›

Hold the razor at a 30 degree angle. If you're feeling a bit unsure, angle the blade away from the hair and skin, then gently rock until you start to take hair, and presto: you have your angle.

How do you shave with a safety razor without cutting yourself? ›

So, how do you use a safety razor? Start by holding the razor at a 30° angle against the skin to reveal the blade. Use short strokes with a lighter pressure as you move the blades in the same direction of hair growth. If you need to pass over an area again, remember to reapply shaving gel.

Are safety razors becoming more popular? ›

At the Art of Shaving, which has 155 stores nationwide, sales of safety razors have increased 1,000 percent from 2009 to 2014, a company spokesman said.

Is a double edge safety razor better? ›

A double edge safety razor is much cheaper in the long run. Most importantly though, you will achieve a better quality of shave. With practice, it's surprisingly easy to use and you will get better access to those hard to reach areas.

Is shaving with a single blade better? ›

After thousands of hours of R&D and prototype testing, we verified that a single blade shave is key to achieving the perfect shave without razor burn, bumps, or irritation. With multi-blade razors, the first blade tugs at the hair while every subsequent blade cuts the tugged hair and removes more layers of skin.

Is there a razor that wont cut you? ›

Bevel safety razor

If you're prone to shaving bumps, ingrown hairs, and irritation, then you should consider the switch to a safety razor. Bevel's safety razor is weighted perfectly to give you a smooth, single-blade shave that won't ravage your skin.

How long do blades last in a safety razor? ›

Most safety razor blades can last for 5-7 close, comfortable, tug-free shaves, due to their sharpness and the fact you can use both sides of a safety razor. Ensure that you change the blade at least weekly to guarantee a close, gentle shaving experience.

Can I use a safety razor in the shower? ›

Can you Shave in the Shower with a Safety Razor? The short answer is that you can shave in the shower with your favorite safety razor.

Can you sharpen a safety razor blade? ›

Position your safety razor at the bottom of the honing pad, tilt razor up to around 35o so blade touches leather. Push razor up to top of the honing pad, lift and return to bottom (do NOT drag blade back over leather). Repeat up to 5 times. Flip the razor 180o and repeat so both edges have been sharpened.

Why is it called a safety razor? ›

The term safety razor started to become used in 1880 when it was described as a basic razor with a long handle that was attached to a head and there was removable blades to could be placed into the razor heads. The edge of the blade is protected by a comb patterned head that is able to protect the skin.

How do you store safety razors after shaving? ›

Storing Double Edged Safety Razors - FAQ's - YouTube

Should I switch to safety razor? ›

In addition to cutting back your consumption of single-use plastics and reducing skin irritation, switching to a safety razor can also save you money. “Because safety razors switch out the blades instead of throwing away the whole razor, and ultimately are more cost effective to use,” says Dr. Patel.

Are safety razors better for your skin? ›

A safety razor will provide better, more consistent shaves and will leave your skin in excellent condition every time as a safety razor cuts beard hair directly at the skin's surface.

Are safety razors cheaper long term? ›

Conclusion – The Safety Razor @ The Wet Shaving Club Is Cheaper To Use. We have shown that the safety razor is cheaper to use than the cartridge razor. It is cheaper in the both the short term and long term.

Is it easy to shave with a safety razor? ›

Safety razor blades are very sharp, and don't require effort or force on your part to easily slice through stubble. When using a safety razor, it's important to let the weight of the razor do most of the work, and only using gentle pressure to keep the razor head against the skin.

Can you shave everyday with a safety razor? ›

The short answer to "can you shave every day with a safety razor" is yes. It all boils down to the quality of the razor. If a razor can give you a quality shave it can give you a quality shave every single day. It doesn't matter what your shaving schedule is.

Do safety razors cause ingrown hairs? ›

If you are not already wet shaving with a straight razor or safety razor, learning to use one may be a good idea. By using an inexpensive disposable razor that becomes dull quickly, you are at a higher risk of getting ingrown hairs.

Can safety razors go on a plane? ›

Safety Razors: Because the razor blades are so easy to remove, safety razors are not permitted in your carry-on luggage with the blade. They're fine to pack in your carry-on without the blade. The blades must be stored in your checked luggage. The same applies for straight razors.

Are safety razors good for pubic hair? ›

Better for Your Skin

From shaving your legs to your bikini area, a safety razor outperforms a cartridge razor every single time. It also helps reduce those annoying razor bumps and ingrown hairs. How? Because unlike multi-blade razors, safety razors use a single double-edge blade that doesn't tug and pull.

How long do safety razor blades last? ›

Most safety razor blades can last for 5-7 close, comfortable, tug-free shaves, due to their sharpness and the fact you can use both sides of a safety razor. Ensure that you change the blade at least weekly to guarantee a close, gentle shaving experience.

What is the advantage of a safety razor? ›

They are difficult to properly clean and you then transfer that grime into your pores each time you shave. A safety razor is much easier to keep pristinely clean. You'll also be happier to change the blades more frequently. It therefore helps to reduce the risk of acne.

How much should I spend on a safety razor? ›

It's Cheap

Though, there are some startup costs. First off, a basic, classic safety razor will set you back around $25 to $40. (We like this one from Germany's Merkur, which has been making razors since 1896.)

What is the most economical way to shave? ›

The cheapest option, if you're paying for everything yourself, is to get a razor blade sharpener and some cheap disposable razors, shave in the shower with a bit of soap so you can avoid the cost of shaving cream, and sharpen the razor after each use. This keeps the cost down in the $0.02 per daily shave range.

How do I choose a safety razor? ›

Choose a razor with a wider gap between the head and the bottom of the blade or an adjustable razor that lets you adjust according to your needs. If you think your beard needs to be guided into the blade you may choose a closed comb instead of a scalloped safety bar.

What kind of razor gives the closest shave? ›

Straight razors have a metal blade and a handle that doubles as storage for said blade. These are the sharpest razors you'll find, and they provide the closest shave, but they're also the hardest to learn to use; if you're not too skilled in the shaving department, you might struggle a bit at first.

Can you shave with both sides of a safety razor? ›

You can rinse between, and switch sides of the blade, but do your best not to re-shave any single patch of skin to avoid irritation.

Can you flip safety razor blade? ›

Flipping the blade on your safety razor is a common trick that supposedly helps extend the life of your razor blade while providing a closer, cleaner shave.

Videos

1. Which Razor is Best? | Cartridge Vs Electric Vs Straight Vs Safety Vs Disposable Razors
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2. The 3 Best Safety Razors For Beginners | Close Irritation Free Shaves
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3. Safety Razors: 5 Best Safety Razors in 2021 (Buying Guide)
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4. Top 10 Single Edge Razors | March 2021
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5. 5 Best Safety Razors if You Only Wanted One
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6. Top 5 Safety Razors of 2021
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