Electric Razor vs. Blade: What’s All the Fuss About
Other than choosing a partner, one of the biggest decisions in a man’s life is the battle between electric razor vs. blade. Luckily, while marriage means you’re supposed to stay with your partner for life, with razors you have the ability to keep playing the field until you’re satisfied, so in a way, maybe it’s more similar to dating.
Sticking with the dating analogy, while all girlfriends obviously have their good sides as well as their bad, electric razors and blades also have their advantages and drawbacks. So to help you out in your search for the perfect shave, in today’s post we’ll do a comparison of electric razor vs blade.
Electric Razor vs. Blade: The Differences
Before we get into the pros and cons of each type of shaver, we’ll first look a bit more into each type so you know what all of your options are. As far as electric razors go, you’ve got the choice between a foil or rotary shaver, both of which have their own plusses and minuses. Still, we won’t get too much into the differences here, as you can learn all about them in our post on the best electric shavers.
When it comes to manual razors, you’ve got a ton of different options to choose from. Straight razors, safety razors, cartridges and disposables—virtually all manual razors offer a closer shave than an electric razor, but again, each definitely has its disadvantages. Since you’re reading this particular post, we can probably assume that you’re not ready to take the plunge and start using a straight razor yet, or else you’d already be reading our post on how to shave with a straight razor. Therefore, today we’ll focus only on a comparison between an electric razor vs. disposable/cartridge vs. safety razor.
- Disposable and cartridge razors are generally considered the easiest to use, which is why they are usually the first razor a man learns to shave with.
- Provide a closer shave than electric razors.
- No time wasted searching for hard to find replacement blades or heads like with electric razors.
- Perfect for travelling or when on the go.
- Can provide a close, smooth shave in a fairly short amount of time. Cartridge razors are obviously quicker than disposable due to the extra number of blades.
- Can be one of the more cost effective shaving options, especially compared to some of the electric razors that sell for several hundred dollars. However, the cost of cartridge razors can quickly add up over time.
- If the cartridge razor truly interests you be sure to check out our comparison of two of the best cartridge razors on the market today: Mach 3 vs Fusion.
- Takes longer than shaving with an electric razor, but is still a bit quicker than shaving with a safety razor.
- Shaving with cheap disposables increases the chances of nicks and cuts, as you’ll need to go over areas multiple times to get a close, smooth shave. Cartridge razors usually lessen the chances of cutting yourself compared to single blade disposables.
- Increased irritation when compared to safety razors, due to having to go over areas multiple times. Cartridge razors are especially notorious for irritation, as each stroke is the equivalent of three, four or five passes with a single blade razor. Still, some men find they cause less irritation than electric razors.
- The blades tend to dull very quickly and usually need to be replaced every few shaves—sometimes after every shave, depending on how hairy you are and how coarse your facial hair is.
- Doesn’t provide as much freedom as an electric razor, as you’ll need to take the time to properly lather up and wet shave, whereas an electric razor can be used on the go.
- Safety razors provide the closest shave of any method, save using a straight razor. No other method even comes close.
- Probably the cheapest shaving method in the long term. Although some safety razor handles can be slightly expensive, even the best blades only cost a few pennies each.
- Safety razor blades are made of a much higher quality steel than those found in disposable or cartridge razors, which not only makes them much sharper, but also means that the blades should last longer before going dull.
- Decreased irritation and chance of ingrown hairs when compared disposable or cartridge razors.
- Check out our article on the benefits of shaving with a safety razor for more details.
- Safety razors have a fairly steep learning curve, as they require a special technique. Since the blades are super sharp, you should be prepared to bleed for at least the first few shaves until you master the proper way to hold and shave with a safety razor. But don’t worry, this can be avoided, be sure to check out our article on how to shave with a safety razor for detailed instructions.
- Takes more time that shaving with a manual or electric razor.
- Hands down the quickest way to shave and the only way to go on those mornings when you overslept. A high quality electric razor forces the hairs up before slicing them off, which means you don’t have to go over areas many times to get an even shave.
- Helps to reduce ingrown hairs and irritation and eliminates the chances of nicks or cuts. Still, not all men experience less irritation with electric shavers, so your mileage may vary.
- Cordless models can be used anywhere—even in the car (just don’t do it like this woman)—making them perfect for the man on the go. Most models have anywhere up to an hour or more of battery life, so they don’t even need to be recharged all that often.
- No need to purchase shaving cream, gel, soap or other shaving products, cutting down on the overall price.
- Many models come with precision or detail trimmers that allow you to trim around your beard, mustache, sideburns or other facial hair styles.
- Many of the newer models can be used in the shower and some even come with a built-in vacuum for easy clean up.
- Although some models can be difficult to clean, some of the better electric shavers are self-cleaning, which is definitely a plus.
- Electric razors cannot provide nearly as close of a shave as a manual razors. It’s highly unlikely your face will ever be totally smooth, and if your beard grows fast, you may even end up having to shave more than once a day to keep from having some serious stubble showing.
- Although it is generally considered quick and easy, it actually takes most men a bit of practice to get the hang of using it properly. You may experience a bit more pain or irritation at first, but this should fade as you learn the proper technique. Of course, this all depends on how sensitive your skin is.
- The initial cost of electric razors can be quite high, with some of the best models costing several hundred dollars. Still, a high quality electric shaver should last you for quite a few years, and with few continuing costs, they could end up saving you some money in the long run compared to cartridge razors.
- The electric razor could die in the middle of a shave and leave with you half a beard. Still, this is obviously not a problem with corded shavers, and on rechargeable models is only really a problem if you’re not near an electrical outlet or the power is off.
- Some models can be quite loud and annoying, so not a good choice for those with sensitive ears or those mornings when you’re hungover.
- Require a bit more maintenance to keep them in working order. It is important to always properly clean and dry (if it’s a wet/dry model) the shaver after each use, or you could choose a self-cleaning, self-drying model and save yourself the hassle.
At the end of the day, choosing what type of razor to use is a matter of personal choice. Your decision should be based on what factors are most important to you, whether that be price, time, convenience or closeness of the shave. While we personally recommend that every man go full out and start wet shaving with a safety or straight razor, a quality shaving brush and one of the top shaving creams or soaps, there is nothing wrong with whatever method you choose—as long as you’re aware of the pros and cons of each.
Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert and body grooming aficionado. His work has been featured on many other prominent publications including Good Men Project, Addicted to Success, Steven Aitchison, and Sharpologist.