Safety razor vs Cartridge Razor: Which Shaves Best?

Safety razor vs Cartridge Scheermes: Wat scheert het beste?

“Your status as a shaver is still amateur? We all come here to see if you wanna go pro”.

As you know, we often place battles between 2 products. Purely to paint a clear picture of the exact differences so that you can make a clear choice based on which product you want to use. In this context, it is high time that we put 2 popular shaving instruments against each other.

Mainly because we regularly get the question: what is the best razor? A safety razor or the widely used cartridge razors? Both have very different characteristics when it comes to comfortable shaving.

What are the main differences between a safety razor and a cartridge razor?

First of all, there is of course a big difference in design. But also in materials between these 2 ruffs. Safety, durability and the final cost per shaver also play a significant role. Of course also the blades themselves. For example, the safety razor on the fixed shaving head has 1 double-sided blade and cartridge razors have 3 to 7 blades grouped in a plastic cassette.

A safety razor therefore has 1 double-sided blade in the fixed head. The blade itself is covered by a comb, base plate and top plate. There are also safety razors with a shaving head with a butterfly closure. This makes it slightly more vulnerable, but even easier to place a double blade in. Because the average safety razor is (much) heavier than the plastic variant, you don't have to put pressure on the skin yourself. That is the case with the very light cartridge razor. Another difference?

With a safety razor you can choose from a huge number of brands of double blade blades without any effort. That has to do with its universal fit. So you can choose from many qualities of steel and sharpnesses. You can experiment very well with it.

Tip: the safety razor also has a little brother. A best safety razor but with a twisted fixed head. For men with heavy beard hairs a very comfortable alternative to the straight safety razor. Read in the article, what is a slant safety razor , all about the operation of this also very good razor.

What materials do a safety razor and cartridge razor consist of?

safety razor

  • Stainless steel or aluminum body with optional nickel coating
  • Fixed metal/aluminium screw-on shaving head

Cartridge Razor

  • Plastic holder
  • Rubber grip
  • Loose plastic cassette with a rubber strip, plastic comb and the metal blades incorporated in it

Gillette Fusion

How does a cartridge razor work?

Take, for example, the Gillette Fusion5 Proglide with a plastic cassette with 5 blades on board. While we could also take a Mach3 as an example. The design basically remains the same. The advantage of a cartridge razor is that you need little technique to achieve a reasonably close shave.

The instrument is light to use and the head of this razor rotates with every movement you make over the skin. You have to act really crazy if you want to hurt yourself. This is also because the 5 blades are tightly encapsulated.

The cartridge is characterized by the superimposed blades, the lubricant (rubber) strip and the comb. The blades are pre-set to the ideal cutting angle. Then it doesn't really matter how you hold the razor. The strip is there to reduce irritation while the comb does its best to flatten the skin so that the blades can glide over the skin more easily.

In addition to rotating over the skin, the head of most cartridge razors can also tilt from side to side. This keeps the blades on the skin when they go over the contours of the face.

Benefits cartridge razor:

  • Due to the materials used, cartridge razors have a comfortable grip. This is partly due to the presence of the rubber lining. This way the holder stays in your hand. Even when your hands are wet or covered in shaving soap
  • Shaving is easy. You don't really have to concentrate to avoid shaving mistakes or cuts. Such a cartridge with blades is very forgiving. Whichever type you use
  • You don't really have to maintain a cartridge razor. A good rinse with warm water is sufficient

Cons cartridge razor:

  • You have to scrape the cartridge over the same piece of skin several times, up to 6x, to achieve a result that damages the skin earlier. In this case 6x a shaving movement x 5 blades = scrape 30x over the skin to achieve a smooth skin
  • Not the best blades if you have sensitive skin
  • Blades are generally of a lower quality than the steel of the double blades
  • Chance of razor burn because you have to scrape the skin much more often
  • Chance of ingrown hairs. The hairs are pulled out of the skin and then cut off by several blades, so that the hairs can shoot back under the skin and there is an ingrown hair with inflammation as a result
  • With a cartridge razor it is difficult to estimate the exact place to start from the sideburn
  • It is more difficult to rinse the hair and soap residue from the cassette
  • You cannot use other brands of razor blades, so experimenting with other types of blades is not an option
  • It shaves (much) less smoothly than a safety razor, while you often have to scrape the skin with cartridge blades
  • Financial drain. The disposable cartridges are very expensive!
  • High impact on the environment due to various plastic materials and packaging

As you can see, there are quite a few snags on a cartridge razor. In our article, which razor is best for you , we go into much more detail about the differences between several razors.

Muhle Safety Razor R89

How does a safety razor work?

With a safety razor you have to show a little more technique than with a cartridge razor. The safety razor is available with a closed and an open comb . The closed comb safety razor is the most popular.

Also recommended for beginners. At the end of the base plate is a continuous guide that guides the blade over the skin. Due to this design, the skin is less exposed to the knife. So very comfortable.

In a safety razor with an open comb, the continuous guide is missing. Then the base plate often ends in ribbed teeth. Due to the open comb, many users experience the safety razor as a lot more aggressive. You should also shave more carefully to avoid shaving mistakes. You place a safety razor on the skin in a position of 30 degrees and then you can maneuver it fantastically over the face.

Result: You glide over the skin with less resistance. With an open comb, you also have access to more blade surface, so that you cover even more skin. This will give you an even smoother result. A safety razor with an open comb works excellently with heavy beard hairs. Try to control it with a cartridge knife… Good luck.

Advantages safety razor:

  • You only need to glide over the skin 1 to 2 times to achieve a very smooth result
  • You come with the blade directly under the nostrils
  • Much more comfortable shaving for men with sensitive skin
  • Much less chance of razor burn, ingrown hairs and acne
  • A much smoother end result than with a cartridge razor
  • Save a lot of money compared to a cartridge razor
  • Much better for the environment (!)

Disadvantages safety razor:

  • You could label the higher entry price for a safety razor as a disadvantage. However, you can make it as expensive as you want. You already have a good safety razor for 40 euros and you have earned it back with the much cheaper double blade blades.
  • It requires more technique than shaving with a cartridge razor
  • The steel of a safety razor, and in particular the screw thread, must be cleaned regularly

In our blog , a perfect shave: how to use a safety razor , we take a closer look at the operation of this, in our opinion, best razor on the market.

Which is cheaper to use? A safety razor or a cartridge razor?

To immediately fall into your bathroom with the door: in the end you are always cheaper with a safety razor. Purely because of the double blade blades that you can purchase for little in many variants. The payback period of the safety razor itself depends on how much money you want to spend.

For example, you can purchase a very good razor such as the Mühle R89 Safety Razor for less than 40 euros that will last you for years . Or possibly invest in a fantastic Feather WS-D2 Safety Razor . If you maintain a safety razor properly, you can actually use it for your entire life. It doesn't get more sustainable and cheaper.

Why cheaper?

Pretty simple. Just look at the prices of the average disposable cartridge razor blade. For a Gillette Mach3 you pay around € 4.00. Per blade . With some competitors of another brand you may be able to save a Euro. But: this is still a lot of money.

Bizarre actually. For a blade with which you don't even shave sublimely. You often get the holder for free if you decide to get started with a cartridge. Hurray!

But what does a double edge blade razor cost?

Hold on… The average price for a good razor blade in a safety razor is between 25 and 40 cents on average. Repetition: The average price for a good razor blade in a safety razor is on average between 25 and 40 cents. A disposable cartridge blade is therefore on average more than 10x more expensive. Cuckoo!

Let's focus: imagine that you shave from the age of 20 to the age of 80 and that you use a new blade every week on average. So 52 blades used per year. for 60 years.

Cost of disposable cartridge blade (60 years) – Average 1 new blade per week

3,120 weeks x € 4.00 = € 12,480.00

Cost double edge blade knife (60 years long) – Average 1 new blade per week

3,120 weeks x € 0.40 = € 1248.00

Of course there are also men who shave 4 or 5 times a week instead of 7 times a week and that naturally affects the costs. But the above calculation example does indicate the enormous price difference between a disposable cartridge knife and a fully steel double blade knife. Even if you only shave 3 times a week, you will still save a lot.

How many shaves does a razor blade last?

Let's first take a closer look at the disposable cartridge blades. Gillette's average Mach3 or Fusion cassettes for example. On average, you can perform an average of 5-7 shaves with these razors. These are of course the averages, but also our experience.

Some users believe it after shaving 5 times and you also have men who manage to squeeze out 10 shaves. We would strongly advise against the latter, by the way.

The same also applies to the double blade knives. If you go for the loafers and the cheapest versions, you can use such a double blade about 5/6 times. The choice is huge. One of the loafers is the Derby Double Edge Blades . Only € 0.10 cents each and you can shave very comfortably with it.

The writer of this article is very enthusiastic about the Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Blades After about 8 to 9 times I notice that it goes a little less smoothly.

Tip: Check out our extensive range of the best double edge blade razor blades . Also try to vary with different sharpnesses and brands. Many safety razor addicts have preceded you and now have the ultimate safety razor and double edge blades combination(s) that make shaving wellness .

Durability Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor

We can be brief about that. Due to the many different components that a cartridge razor contains, it also creates much more waste. For example, quite a few different types of plastic, rubber, ink and metal are used. The holder of a cartridge also only lasts for a certain period of time. So you're going to throw away a number of them during your life.

Source USA Today: Still, billions of plastic razors and refill blade cartridges get tossed in landfills each year. With a safety razor you only have to deal with a wafer-thin steel razor blade that you can save and, for example, hand in separately. That's it. A good holder can certainly last a lifetime. Crystal clear and a no-brainer.

Tip: Use a razor dispenser . Then you can safely and properly store the used double-sided blades and later dispose of them in a controlled manner in the recycle bin.

Summary Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor

In fact, you should see a cartridge safety razor like a printer and its toners. The printing system itself is relatively very cheap, but when it comes to the toners you will spend money. That is the revenue model. The same is true with cartridge razors. No matter what, there will always be fans who want nothing more than to shave with a cartridge razor.

And here too you have a lot of choice in cartridge razors such as the Mühle - Gillette Mach3 Purist or if you want to go chic you can also opt for a Mühle - Gillette Fusion Sophist.

And the winner is!

It should be clear by now that when it comes to shaving comfort, costs and the environment, you cannot ignore the best safety razor. Not comparable to a cartridge razor. The latter has become extremely popular due to the huge marketing budgets that have been spent on it over the last 30 years. As a result, you are somewhat conditioned and it is purely that you use a plastic razor out of convenience. Purely out of convenience.

But you can't compare it to the shaving sensation and the super smooth effect you achieve with a safety razor. Basically, a cartridge razor is no match for the ruler of shaving. The Safety Razor. By the way, also the best razor for women. The ladies are big fans. Read our article:why the safety razor is the best razor for women . In short: with such a massive instrument you shave your old school but always cutting edge . Grandpa wasn't that crazy after all!

Tip: check out the 10 best safety razors we've put together for you. Easy right?

If you still have questions or comments, we would like to hear from you. For now? Shave that!

Good luck & regards,

Your friends, The Alpha Men