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Which is Better: Shaving Blades or Electric Razor?

Updated on April 12, 2012
The pre-WW1 two handed electric shaver
The pre-WW1 two handed electric shaver
1928-9 razor
1928-9 razor

While primarily for men, both women have to decide which is best for closeness and most cost effective. This is an age old issue ever since electric razors come onto the market against the blades. The straight blades were used in the 18th century but the disposable and the first electric razor was not on the market until 1926 and 1929. The inventor of both was Jacob Schick, an American who conceived the idea. His first electric shaver prototype was a two hand shaver created before WW1. He tried to patent it but was rejected. He was able to open a factory in Stamford, Connecticut which employed 100 people. Times were lean for the Schick family, forcing them to mortgaged their home for $10,000 in order to allow the business to survive. The company we now know today began in 1946.

Having used both types, blades are somewhat faster yet become dull much faster than those in today's electric blades. That really what it comes down to. Of course, how tough your beard is, how often you need to shave plays a critical element. Men that shave daily with tough beards will use blades up much faster than those that don't. Using many electric razors, like the Braun Series 5 with its alcohol cleaning station, can allow close shaves for a year before a new blade ($40) is needed. The trouble with blades is that corrosion can also age the blade making them dull faster. One should always dry them if water is being used. Using alcohol to clean a blade is effective, which is why Schick has the alcohol cleaning station for the electric razors!

The average man when shaving, according to studies from Gillette, show between 180-200 strokes, yet some require far less. To prolong blade life, one should wash the face and use shaving cream. I have found using a gel creams tend to clog the blades and make the shave less effective. After a few shaves, many blades are less effective even more.

Gillette claims that its Fusion Proglide only needs to be changes one a month, which for me, is impossible. This would make the cost only $55 a year for blades, if you change three times a month, which is more likely for many, the cost is $165 a year. The cost of the Fusion is around $12, a pack of four cartridges, about $20. You can go with the bag of 10 single blades from Bic for about $6. You might get two decent shaves from them each, which means using three blades a week.

The electric razor up front cost is much higher, $100+.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      I have the Braun Series 5, it is as close as any blade.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Interesting read, especially for men who are considering this purchase. My hubby prefers the rotary blade because it is quicker, and less painful. He tends to cut himself with the razor -- ouch! Great tips and comparisons.