Shaving isn’t just a daily habit. Shaving is a powerful ritual that can transform you from scruffy to smooth. But shopping for razor blades can be a pain. Some are overpriced and they don’t deliver that close shave you want. So many get dull quickly. We wanted to know which were the best blades out there, so we compared Gillette Mach 3 blades to three competitors to see how they stacked up.
You might have grabbed a pack of them absentmindedly at the convenience store or tossed them into your cart at the supermarket without really giving them much thought. Why not? They’re just razors after all. But not all razors are made equal. Some feel smooth the first time you use them but quickly wear out. Others have more to offer: sleeker handles, a more comfortable grip, pivoting action to assist you while you shave. To sort the good from the bad you need unbiased product comparisons, which is why we chose three brands to compare the Gillette Mach 3 with
What is the Gillette Mach 3?
Photo credit by: amazon.com
Gillette was the first to revolutionize shaving by introducing disposable razor heads that could be discarded after they’d worn down. In fact, the brand is so popular around the world that in many cultures “Gillette” simply means “razor.” Being such a powerhouse in its product category, competitors have their work cut out for them trying to disrupt the demand for Gillette Mach 3 blades.
But two recent newcomers have aimed to do just that. Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have promoted themselves heavily to grab a bigger slice of market share that’s traditionally been held by older companies like Gillette and BIC. The question is whether these newer brands can challenge the established industry leaders.
Gillette Mach3 blades haven’t changed much in ten years, and for good reason. They’re high-quality razors available for a reasonable price. They leave you feeling smooth. Gillette Mach 3 blades don’t tug at your skin the way some cheaper razors do.
Even if you’ve been shaving for decades, you might still get razor burn. While we can’t say that this will never be an issue with the Gillette Mach 3 blades, it was really easy to get a smooth shave with no burns even if you’re not paying attention as you move the blades down your face or around your chin. Those spots on the side of the face, just below the ear, weren’t a problem with these razors.
Product Specs for Gillette Mach 3 Blades
Quality blades mean everything. While some purists insist that the finest shave can only be achieved with a straight razor, basically just a sharp knife run along your face and chin, we’ve found safety razors that are perfectly equipped to deliver a great shave, are easy to use, and don’t cost much money.
The Gillette Mach 3 takes its name from the speed at which jets fly. It’s meant to convey speed and smoothness. But its name also comes from its three blades. Other razors boast four or five blades, but that’s not really the relevant factor when deciding whether or not to purchase a razor. It can have 2 blades or 6, but the question is the quality of those blades.
Do they wear out quickly? In the case of Gillette Mach 3 blades, the answer is no. It took 18 shaves for Gillette Mach 3 blades to show signs of wear. Gillette is more modest in its estimation, suggesting that the blades are good for “15 comfortable shaves.” They might be right, or they lowballing the number hoping you’ll throw out your blades faster so you’ll need more.
It’s also possible they don’t want a substandard shave to leave you feeling disappointed. Either way, if you shave daily, then that’s weeks, but if you shave once every few days, then a single set of blades could last you months with no need to replace them.
Another important factor when choosing blades has to do with the space between each of them. If the blades are too close together, you’re going to get hairs caught in the blade which renders it ineffective. When you try to clear the hair and shaving cream gunk off the blades with the tip of your finger
The difference isn’t likely to be perceptible to the human eye which is why you need to try a razor before you can know whether it does this or not. We’re happy to report that this issue didn’t come up with the Gillette Mach 3. Hair and shaving cream slip off the blades without getting caught between them.
The price of these razors varies depending on how you purchase them. You can get a complete razor with a handle and head plus a replacement head for around $8. But once you have the handle, then a pack of 15 replacement blades is only around $22 on Amazon. This is a considerably better value. A pack of 15 replacement heads will last for months no matter how frequently you shave.
So each head costs roughly $1.46 at this price point. Now assuming that each blade head can be used 15 times, then it costs you less than 10 cents for each shave plus the cost of shaving cream. Remember that 15 is just the recommended number of uses for optimal performance, not the outside limit. Taking that into account, you’ve got a great razor head that costs just pennies for each use.
How it Compares
We picked a couple of similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- BIC Hybrid 4 Flex Men’s Disposable Razor
- Harry’s Winston Razor
- Dollar Shave Club 4X
Gillette Mach 3
Ease of Use
- Competitive price
- Smooth shave
- BIC Hybrid Flex 4 is cheaper
- Only one replacement cartridge
- Cartridge made from thin plastic
BIC Hybrid 4 Flex Men’s Disposable Razor
What’s great about the BIC Hybrid 4 Flex is that it’s easy to get into those hard-to-reach spots. The edged blade on the back of the razor makes it easy to shave under the nose. You want to be careful not to run your finger across the edge blade by mistake.
When you finish with the BIC Hybrid 4 Flex razors, you might look for new blade heads. You can throw the old head away, but BIC doesn’t sell the heads and handles separately, so you’ve got no choice but to buy a whole new disposable razor. This means that more plastic is wasted, and it means that you’ve got to spend more to replace a perfectly good handle you already had.
At roughly $6 per pack, with 5 blade heads and one handle in each, you can get a lot of use out of the handle before you need to dispose of it. So let’s do the math. You can expect them to last for roughly 10 shaves, though it may be closer to 8 depending on the thickness of your hair and preferred comfort level. That means that each shave costs you around 12 cents.
Ease of Use
- Edge-blade is good for edges
- Alloy strip with vitamin E
- Head pivots
- The handle isn’t flexible
- Edge blade might be a hazard
- Doesn’t last as long as other razors
Harry’s Winston Razor
Harry’s Winston razors get points for style. The handle looks sleek, and the blade heads are shiny. The shave is smooth, but cut hair got caught in the cartridge frequently which required extensive rinsing to get out.
At nearly $28 for a razor and five replacement cartridges, Harry’s Winston razors are a little pricey even when you consider you’re essentially getting 6 razors for that price. For less than $6 you can get a BIC Hybrid Flex 4 with 5 blade heads.
Let’s break the cost down for each shave. If we exclude the cost of the handle, each blade head cost $4.6 and can be expected to maintain peak performance for around 12 shaves then each shave costs around 39 cents. Not likely to break the bank, but still it’s nearly four times as much as the cost of Gillette Mach 3 blades.
The sturdiest component is the handle, but it’s the flexibility of the blade heads that matter here. The blade heads aren’t as comfortable to use as the BIC Flex 4 which can pivot around the chin and neck as you shave. They felt fine against the cheek and under the chin, but those tough to reach spots around the jawline took extra attention to clear completely.
The spacing between the blades also meant that hair and shaving cream clogged up the works more than once. It’s one of the most annoying parts of any good shaving session when you have to stop to clear gunk from between the blades. It takes up time, and it’s too much of a hassle.
Still, Harry’s Winston razors aren’t without a certain panache. They’ll look great on the countertop. But if a low price is a must-have, and you want to avoid little annoyances while shaving, there are better quality razors available.
Ease of Use
- Handle looks sleek
- Comfortable grip
- Sharp blades
- Blades are too close together
- Hard to get around corners
- High cost
Dollar Shave Club 4X
With four blades rather than three Dollar Shave Club 4x blades have one over the Gillette Mach 3 blades. The handle offers excellent pivoting ability, which is another advantage over the Mach 3. We felt that the look of the handle couldn’t match more stylish handles, like the Harry’s handle, but it gets the job done, and it comes free with the cost of the razors.
The catch is that Dollar Shave Club doesn’t allow you to make a onetime purchase in a store. Their business model is about putting you on a subscription plan and billing you every month for razors. Are you going to stop shaving anytime soon? Probably not. But does that mean you want to make a commitment to one razor for as long as you continue paying membership to the club?
If you shave in the morning and you start noticing that 5 o’clock shadow forming it probably means you didn’t get the closest shave possible. Every man’s beard grows at a different rate, so you might not notice much growth. But this review team was looking a little shaggy by the end of the day after using the Dollar Shave Club 4X.
As for the price, the fact that the handle is free is a selling point. The razors themselves are around $6 for a pack of four cartridges. If each razor lasts for roughly 12 shaves, then the cost for each is around 11 cents, which makes it roughly comparable to the Gillette Mach 3 in terms of overall cost.
Ease of Use
- Competitive price
- Shipped to your home
- Pivot handle
- Subscription required
- 5 o’clock
- Handle looks plain
Innovation is essential in every business. Actually, it’s essential in every facet of life. Without it, old methods stay around longer than they should. Eventually, no progress is possible. But just because something new comes along doesn’t mean that it’s an improvement on what came before. Gillette Mach 3 blades hold up better than their newer competitors hands down.
Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have flash, but Gillette Mach 3 blades have more staying power. They last longer, which makes them a better value for the money. Not only do they last longer, but they’re also more comfortable to use too. BIC Flex 4 blades cost close to the same, but they can’t be counted on to last as long.
Gillette Mach 3 blades deserve recognition for sticking around so long. That’s why Gillette Mach 3 blades earn a score of 4 out of 5 from this review team. They’re excellent razors for the money. And while the other guys gave Gillette a run for their money, they’re still the best value according to our review team.