Friday, 4 October 2013

Razor blades...can you save money by buying non standard blades?

This will be a post for the male readers today - not that I discriminate but for this weekend post I will be writing about the cost of razors and whether it is worth buying non branded blades in order to try and save on what is a very very expensive product.

Let me say upfront this is a personal observation and not scientific.  If you have had a different experience I would love to hear from you.  The test subject for this 'experiment' was my face and I'm one of those guys that needs to shave every day so it got some fairly robust testing.

What are the options when it comes to razors and shaving?

  • Buy a brand name razor and replace the blades with authentic branded blades
    • This is the super expensive option which we all bemoan
    • Most people buy a Gillette or Schick and then replace the razor 
  • Buy a brand name razor and replace it with generic blades
    • There are a lot of websites which sell generic blades for brand name razors.  This is particularly useful for those of us who already own a brand name blade which (let's face it) look and feel better than the disposable razors (discussed below)
  • Use disposal razors
    • There is a view that disposable razors are actually just as good as the brand name razors for a fraction of the costs
    • The argument is that you get exactly the same quality of shave for a fraction of the cost
I actually decided to try all of these options - I figured that I was going to be shaving for the rest of my life and if I worked out the best option reasonably early then it I wouldn't mind taking the pain early.  I basically assessed them on how good the shave was and how long the razor lasted.

The disposable razors were brilliant at the start but gave a terrible shave after only 2 or 3 days

I actually wasn't even going to try disposable razors but a colleague convinced me so I stored one at my girlfriends house for use whenever I stayed the night.  It was actually brilliant the first time I used it - and the cost was tiny - I was almost ready to write a blog post on the grand scam that was the branded razors.

However the fourth time I used it the blade was so blunt and ineffectual that I gave myself shaving burn and cut myself a significant amount of time.  

They are really cheap though so you can possibly just buy a big value pack and then replace them every couple of days.  I think this is slightly impractical so this was the least preferred of my options

The generic blades which fit onto the brand name holders were decent...but didn't last as long

When it came to generic blades which fit onto my shaver (I use a Gillette Mach 3) I tried two different options - the ones which are advertised as generic blades and the ones which are clearly rip offs but are advertised as the official product (which you can typically buy from overseas).

Both of these types of razors performed about the same.  I used these as my primary razor and they worked brilliantly at the start (same as the actual branded blade and the disposable razor) but didn't last quite as long as the branded blade.  However I did use it every day for shaving and it lasted for a good 2 months before it started to blunt and I had to replace it.

The branded blades were the best quality however cost significantly more

I was actually slightly disappointed to realise that there was a noticeable difference in how much longer the branded blade lasted.  It lasted significantly longer than even the generic blade which fit into the same holder and it did not need to be replaced for at least 3 - 4 months of shaving every day (obviously the company tells you to replace it much faster than this but I was just going on how good the shave was).

In terms of cost / benefit I'd go for the generic blades

In purely a cost / benefit sense I'd buy the generic blades because they cost less than half of what the branded blades did.  While it does mean that you need to buy them more often you can save ~30% by doing it this way.  Just know that you are going to be using more blades and the savings are not quite as large as you imagine because they do not last as long.

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1 comment:

  1. Dollar shave club is worth checking up. Relatively cheap, mail order blades of good quality.
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