• SumoMe

double edge vs cartridge razors

I had a request for a cost analysis of double edge vs. cartridge razors, and frankly it’s one that I’ve wanted to write for a while now. A nice shave is important, not only because it makes you feel good, but because it turns what was once a boring chore into an enjoyable method of treating yourself. However, the most accessible method of shaving, what you can pick up in the grocery store, is usually not the best way of going about a good shave. To make matters worse, the better method has a much higher up-front cost. However, over time, the double edge razor will begin to pay for itself.

Double Edge Razors

$48 One-Time Razor CostMerkur Chrome Double Edge Razor
$9 Double Edge Razors100 Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
$57 Total Upfront Cost

Cartridge Razors

$9 One-Time (Arguably) Razor CostGillette Mach 3 Classic Razor
$32 Cartridge Razors15 Gillette Mach 3 Cartridges
$41 Total Upfront Cost

You can see pretty clearly that the cartridge razors appear to be the better deal here. However, we haven’t started shaving yet. Let’s see what happens once we add in use.

So realistically, you should change your double edge razors every week, and your cartridge razors every two weeks. I think this is a good average, but it really depends on how often you shave. I also know people who go for months without changing a cartridge razor, which is going to give you a terrible shave and bad razor burn. Because that’s not the goal here (we’re just comparing the cost of good shaves), let’s just work on this running assumption.

So, in a year period (52 weeks) you’re going to use 52 double edge blades, and 26 cartridge razors. This means in the first year, you’ll spend around $4.68 on double edge blades, and around $55.46 on cartridge blades, which changes the first year annual costs as follows:

First Year Annual Double Edge Razor Cost: $52.68
First Year Annual Cartridge Razor Cost:  $64.46

Notice that your first year annual double edge razor cost is actually less than your upfront cost because your pack of 100 blades will last you over a year. Also notice that shaving cream and any brushes are not included in this formula because you would use these regardless of your shaving method.

If you thought thought those numbers were depressing, consider the following. Over the next decade after the first year (assuming price points stay the same and not accounting for inflation) you will spend around $47 on double edge blades alone, and around $555 on the cartridge razor blades alone (assuming you don’t have to replace that cheap cartridge razor body in a decade–which is highly unlikely). If you stick with the stainless steel or chrome double edge bodies, they will last you a lifetime. Not only are they stronger than anything the cheapo razor companies will produce, but they come apart very easily into three pieces, which makes for easy cleaning.

11 Years of a Double Edge Razor: $99.68
11 Years of a Cartridge Razor:  $619.46

In conclusion, as you can see, not only will the double edge razor give you a better shave, but it will come out much cheaper in the long run once the extreme differential in blade price catches up to the extreme differential in the one-time payment of the razor body. The extra upfront cost is nothing compared to what you’re going to pay Gillette for their ridiculous blade cost.

What do you think? Is the extra upfront cost worth the long-term savings? Discuss it in the comments below.