While shaving for some men is an artform that requires attention to detail and great technique, for others it is a necessary evil. The later men aren’t looking to sharpen their blade, learn a new skill, or even enjoy the process of shaving. They are looking to simply get it done.

As a result, razor innovations have made shaving safer, easier, and less time consuming. No better example validates this desire than the cartridge razor. It makes it really hard to injury oneself and easily switches out to ensure that the blade is sharp and effective.

On this guide, we’ll review some of the best cartridge razors for men out there, among which a few popular brands that many men have already shaved with. Upon using all of them the past 18 years that I’ve been wet shaving, three of them make it to the top of my list. These are the Gillette Mach3 Razor and Schick Hydro 5 System. The third and cheaper option that makes it to the top is the Swipe Premium Razors 3-Blade Shave kit, which seemed very reliable for the price.

Best Cartridge Razors For Men

 Micro Touch Tough BladeSwipe 6 Blades RazorSwipe 3-Blade RazorSchick Hydro 5 Blade Cartridge RazorGillette Mach 3 RazorGillette Fusion 5 ProShield Men’s RazorDorco Comfort Thin II RazorPersonna Men’s 3 Blade RazorPersonna M5 Magnum System RazorEvery Man Jack Manual RazorWilkinson Sword Tech 3 RazorWilkinson Sword Protector 3 Shaving RazorBIC Flex 5 Hybrid RazorBIC Flex 4 Hybrid RazorBIC Hybrid 3 Comfort Razor
Weight.2 lbs for entire pack.4 lbs4.8 oz for pack8 oz for pack1.8 oz2.4 oz2.4 oz7.2 oz4.8 oz5.4 oz13.6 oz6.4 oz2.4 oz.8 oz3.2 oz
# of Blades3 blades6 blades and trimmer3 blades5 blades and trimmer3 blades5 blades and trimmer2 blades3 blades5 blades and a trimmer6 blades3 blades3 blades5 blades and trimmer4 blades3 blades
MaterialPlastic and metalPlastic and metalPlastic and metalHigh Gloss MetalAluminumMetal and plasticPlastic with rubber gripPlastic and metal with slip resistant gripMetal with plastic accentsZinc AlloyPlastic and metalPlastic and metalMostly plasticPlasticPlastic
Value for Money4/54/54/54.5/55/53.5/54/54.5/54/54/54/53.5/54/54/53/5
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Our top cartridge shaving razors reviewed

Micro Touch Tough Blade with 12 Refill Cartridges

MicroTouch TOUGH BLADE cartridge razor

As stated in the title, this razor comes with 12 replacement blades. All these blades come in at around half of many cartridge shaving razors reviewed on this guide.

Tough Blades claims to have solved the problem all us men are looking to find answers to, a razor that last longer and shaves better. Each razor head contains three stainless steel blades that were German-Engineered for a close, clean shave. These blades all have a micro-thin, non-stick coating so the blade last up to 4x longer than other blades.

The beauty of these non-stick coated blades is that it reduces the amount of gunk that gets stuck on the blades and limits their effectiveness. The blades are also properly spaced to so that debris passes through easier than with most razors. The three blades give a surprisingly close shave. They prove the opposite of the theory that more blades equals a better shave.

The handle is a nice black and orange hybrid color that looks much more expensive. It is stainless steel with a slip-resistant grip and it has a nice weight to it. Depending on how often and much one shaves, this product can easily last for the entire year and you will like the way the skin feels.

It isn’t the best razor we have tried but is clearly a terrific bargain. It is pretty comparable to a razor like the Mach3.

One word of warning, this product will not work well on really thick, longer beard hair. If looking for a cheap shaving razor to keep the face clean shaven, look hard at this one.

Swipe 6 Blade Razors (24pk and handle)

Swipe 6-Blade Shave Kit cartridge razor

While the title says 24pk and handle, it does come in smaller 12 and 16 pack varieties. This product will feel like a steal at this price point with any pack you decide to go ahead with.

This razor comes with heads that contain 6 blades per. The blades are made from high quality stainless steel that are cut sharp for a close shave. Each blade has a nice coat of a blend of PTFE resin and chrome. In addition to the blades, each cartridge has a nice lubricating strip and a nice feeling built-in rubber fin.

While this razor has 6 blades, it is specially made so that hair can easily pass through the gaps and the blade doesn’t easily get clogged.

The heads have a nice pivoting action so that the blade can handle any angle and give the freedom to move in any direction. This blade also has a nice single blade trimmer so that any small area can be cleaned up. The handle is nothing fancy but does have a nice ergonomic grip.

The price is great for this product and so is the razor that is equivalent to many of the common brands on the market. The blades will not last as long as the previous razor but with 24 in a pack, you should still have to only make this purchase every 6 months to a year if you shave daily and follow proper technique when doing so.

Swipe Premium Razors 3-Blade Shave kit

Swipe 3-Blade Shave Kit cartridge razor

This is the same handle as the above razor with a head that contains only three blades. It has the same lubricating strip that contains aloe, vitamin E, & chamomile.

In this pack comes 12 replacement blades and has identical features to the above reviewed razor. It like the razor above comes with a no risk and 100% money back guarantee with no hassle or additional questions.

While it is just like the above razor in just about every way, we prefer the three blades to the six. It seems to shave just as well and get gunked up far less. It comes at a low price and while it isn’t the best razor you will buy, it works well enough for most men who want a quick and easy shave that is relatively close.

Schick Hydro 5 System: Razor and 15 Cartridges

Schick Hydro 5 System cartridge razor

Schick has been an iconic brand in the razor market for a while now. Their Hydro 5 razor blade shows why. This razor is different than others because it was specifically designed to deliver hydration throughout each and every shave.

The Schick cartridge razor has 7 hydrating gel pools that provide lubrication protection through increasing the lubrication surface by 80%. This system continues the lubrication after as it hydrates for up to an hour following the shave.

It comes with an ergonomically designed premium high-gloss metal handle. The head has five sharp blades with skin guards that the top of every one of them. This doubles the points of contract for the blades and skin. This does a good job to reduce the friction during the shave. It has a flip trimmer to get to those hard to reach areas.

This is a pretty good razor for around for the price, considering that the set includes the razor and 15 cartridges. Each blade cartridge last about two weeks of daily shaving before they feel any form of dull. This means this pack should last for 7-8 months. The hydration strip really works and it does not irritate the skin the way many other razors can.

We would like for it to have one or two less blades but it is a good razor that will leave most men more than satisfied.

Gillette Mach 3 Razor with 1 Cartridge

Gillette Mach3 cartridge razor

As stated earlier in the article, Gillette invented the cartridge razor and have continued to deliver some of the best products for a long time. This razor is possibly the most well known and loved razor on the market and there’s good reason for that.

It comes with 3 DuraComfort Blades that work well on any skin, especially those with sensitive skin that can’t handle other razors.

As Gillette decided to promote their other products more than the humble Mach3, the particular cartridge razor comes with a low price. The set includes the body of the razor and an extra cartridge which makes one think it would perform poorly. But rest assured that this is not the case. It feels better on its 10th shave than a new disposable razor does out of the package.

It has a nice lubrication strip that prevents irritation and a microfin skin guard that stretches out the skin so that it is ready for a complete cut.

There is a trend to put more blades and features on razors as they claim to make them “better.” Nothing could be further from the truth in reference to this razor. Many men have switched to Harry’s or a razor with more blades because they feel the push of marketing to do so. Just about everyone of these men have gotten worse results and switched back to the Mach3, if they used it before, or been stuck complaining about their shave.

If you have sensitive skin, use this razor. It doesn’t gunk up easily and gives closer shaves than most others on the market.

While there are newer, flasher products coming out all the time, nothing performs like the Mach3. It will do all you need a cartridge razor to do and more.

Gillette Fusion 5 ProShield Men’s Razor

gillette fusion 5 proshield cartridge razor

Another extremely popular razor for the people at Gillette. While this razor has been around for a few years they recently just modified it to make it even better.

It now has their ProShield Lubrication that lubricates before and after the blades so there is very little irritation. They have made their blades the thinnest and finest on the market (first 4 blades) with this razor so there is less tug and pull than with any of their other 5 blade razors.

The handle has a nice flexball technology so the blade pivots and contours to every nook of the face. On the back there is a Proshield Precision Trimmer that has an enhanced blade and slots to rinse out all the things that could clog it. These blades are proven to be sharper than most subscription service blades after two weeks. So while it is a little more expensive for the razor and a single cartridge, it will last a little longer.

We are guys who prefer less blades and find three blades to be more than enough. With that being said, if we used a five blade razor regularly, this would be the one we would lean towards. It provides a nice shave and is reliable.

The price could be a little lower but you pay for a little extra quality with this one.

Dorco Comfort Thin II – Two Blade (12 pack and Handle)

Dorco Comfort Thin II cartridge razor

This razor bills itself as the world’s best twin blade and while it is a decent razor we aren’t sure that it can make such claims.

Since it has a nice open flow cartridge, it can easily be washed out and works really well for the wet-shaver. It has a decent lubricating strip with Chamomile, Olive Oil, and Allantoin. This prevents irritation while moisturizing.

The head tilts, slightly, to allow an easier shave at all angles. It limits the nicks and cuts that can be experienced as a result.

Some guys will really like this razor but to us it feels a little too flimsy. It can break easily and the blade often doesn’t stay in place. It feels more like a disposable razor than anything else to us. As some men really prefer the cartridges and it is hard to find two bladers that work this well, we recommended buying the Gillette Atra razor and these cartridges will work and fit on that handle, actually better that the handle it comes with.

Personna Men’s 3 Blade Razor with 15 Replacement Cartridges

Personna Men's 3 Blade cartridge razor

Personna is a company that has been around since 1906. They pride themselves on making razor blades that are cheaper but perform as well as the more expensive brands. In this pack comes a razor and 15 ceramic coated 3 blade razor cartridges. These heads have a lubrication strip with aloe and vitamin E so that it glides pretty well on the skin.

This razor has a pivoting head and when it comes to performance, it doesn’t give the closeness of a shave that most others do. It doesn’t cut facial hair extremely well and often completely misses hair and leaves unshaven spots.

It has a nice handle with is modeled after some of the other big name 3 blade razors but isn’t quite as nice. It does have some slip resistant grips that are handy on the metal and plastic handle.

The best thing about this razor is the box it comes in. It has a cardboard box with a inlay that allows the handle and cartridges to be nicely displayed when opened. This display makes it seem like it will be high quality, unfortunately it is not.

Personna M5 Magnum System Handle with 2 Refill Cartridges

Personna M5 Magnum System cartridge shaving razor

Another product from Personna but this one is slightly nicer because of the handle than the above reviewed razor. It has 5 blades per cartridge and delivers and ok shave but not near as close as the Gillette or higher costing 5 blade. This razor has a nice orange mostly metal handle and looks nicer than most razors around the same price point.

Still, it will not be able to handle any stubble more than most men grow in a day. It will hurt and tug on the skin. The out of the box shave mirrors the 6th day shave from the Gillette Fusion. It comes with a trimmer but this is equally ineffective as well. I

t, like the razor, is only to be used if there is little or no facial hair and no other options.

Every Man Jack Manual Razor

Every Man Jack Manual cartridge razor

Every Man Jack is a brand that most men recognize but many don’t realize that they sell a razor. Their razor comes in a chrome and a black variety. When buying this razor you will receive the razor, a display stand, and four cartridges (ask before you buy because some product listings do not include the stand). Each cartridge has 6 stainless steel blades that have a pretty decent lifespan. They are open and allow hair and shaving cream to pass through better than most 6 blade razors.

Each cartridge as a lubricating strip with olive oil, chamomile, and herbal extract that moisturizes and protects skin. The handle is made from zinc alloy and looks very well made and sleek.

While this razor isn’t as good as some of the other name brands, it is a good razor for the price. It provides a pretty close shave and it cheaper to refill. It is built to last and is better than you would expect for the price.

Wilkinson Sword Tech 3 Razor and 2 Cartridges

Wilkinson Sword Tech 3 cartridge razor

Wilkinson has been a brand since 1772 as it originally made swords. Following that it made guns, bayonets, scissors, and even motorcycles. In 1962, they began to make stainless steel razor blades and have continued to do so since. They have always sought to make long lasting razor blades for a great price.

This is a good razor for the price tag and the set includes 2 cartridges. It has a pivot style that resembles the one on a Sensor razor but the attachment point is much wider. For this reason, the cartridges and handle only work for Tech 3 products.

While they try to make long lasting blades, they don’t last for about 2 or 3 shaves. The handle is ok but nothing special and it isn’t really built to last. This razor will work in a pinch but it is not as good as most other 3 blade razors.

Wilkinson Sword Protector 3 Shaving Razor System Kit (Razor and 17 Cartridges)

Wilkinson Sword Protector 3 cartridge razor

A product that claims it is comparable to the Schick Protector. While it does have some similar features, it is not near the same quality. It does not shave with the same comfort and is not as durable.

This cartridge razor by Wilkinson comes with an Aloe Strip for a smoother shave but it isn’t well designed. It has three blades per cartridge and each blade has a wire guard to prevent nicks and cuts.

Many people who ordered this product claim it didn’t come with the promised cartridges. In fact, many men only got 11 instead of the 17. Some of the cartridges people received came with heads that didn’t fit the handle. This is disappointing for a product that cost almost as much as a Gillette Fusion. It is cheaper than some popular brands but you clearly get what you pay for.

BIC Flex 5 Hybrid Razor

BIC Flex 5 Hybrid cartridge razor

BIC is a family-owned company that has long been loved for their stationery, lighters, and razors. They have been around for more than 60 years.

This brand has been long perceived as nothing more than a disposable razor company but this cartridge razor comes with some interesting features.

It pivots 40 degrees for great control and adaptability. It has balancing spheres that add a little weight so it is easier to control and use. It comes with 5 flexible blades that give a pretty close shave. It, also, has a trimmer blade to get tricky areas. These razor blades are of high quality and can usually last at least a week of daily shaving.

By all mean,s this is not a fancy razor and the handle feels rather cheap and flimsy. Still, the razors works well and is cheap for the razor and 5 cartridges. This is a good option for the guy who doesn’t care about style just wants a razor that performs.

BIC Flex 4 Hybrid Razor

BIC Hybrid 4 Flex Disposable System cartridge razor

This razor is built with a lot of the same features that the above razor has but has one less blade. These 4 blades nicely adjust to the bends of the skin and provide a good quality shave. It has a weighted handle so that it is easier to use and has a lubrication strip. The head pivots nicely.

One thing that must be known about this razor is that you can not buy replacement blades. The handle is not intended to last or be kept. This is why the price is fairly low for the razor and 4 cartridges. Each time you want more cartridges you must buy a new razor as well. This makes this a fully disposable razor.

Now, it is not the best razor you will buy but the blades do last for longer than one would assume. The shave is pretty close and it’s worth the low price to buy for travel purchases if nothing else.

BIC Hybrid 3 Comfort Razor 12 Cartridge

BIC Hybrid 4 Flex Disposable cartridge razor

BIC comes out with a no fuss, quality 3 blade razor. This razor has a comfortable ergonomic handle and a pivoting head that gives a reliable shave. It has a lubrication strip for extra smooth shaving. Like the above mentioned razor, this one is completely disposable and you can’t replace the blades.

While we love most 3 blade razors over higher blade options, this is the exception to the rule. The blades of this razor are disappointing compared to other 3 blade razors and other BIC products. You feel the razor cutting your hair and it will still cause razor burn for most people after the first use. If you have ever picked up razor blades from the dollar store in a pinch, these unfortunately give the similar shave quality.

Although the price and number of razor blades seem to do the trick, the particular cartridge razors don’t live up to the BIC’s name.

Harrys subscription model razors

Harrys Winston cartridge razor

Harry’s, together perhaps with Dollar Shave Club, was one of the first companies that revolutionized modern shaving with their subscription model.

With Harry’s one can get a good cartridge razor and blades deliver to your door for less than two bucks a blade. They can actually offer these prices because they claim by selling directly to the consumer, they can keep the price down. They have a team of over 600 craftsmen and designers that try to create great products with reliable materials.

They bought the German factory that made their blades to ensure their products quality. While this sounds great in theory, Harry’s does not provide the best shaving razor out there when compared to brands such as Gillette or Schick. If the user has a sensitive face or thicker facial hair, they should look else where. While Harry’s is a convenient way to buy the razor and it is better than other subscription razor services like Dollar Shave Club, it is not much better than a low end Gillette razor with a good lubrication strip.

If Harry’s is your method of getting your razor, we recommend the Truman razor from them. It has 5 blades and a precision trimmer on the back.

The razor comes with body that has a comfortable, rubber, bright orange handle. It is simplistic but makes for an excellent gripping point when shaving. As for the head, it has an appropriate amount of flexibility and has one of the greatest lubricating strips we’ve come across. Unlike most lubrication strips, it feels like new after using the razor for three to four shaves.

When buying a starter set, it comes with the razor handle, a 4 oz bottle of nice shaving gel, 3 replacement blades and a travel blade cover. A

ll in all the shave is neither the closest you will get nor the most comfortable. That being said, the blades do not stay sharp for as long as some of the other razors, but it is a cheap, timesaving way to get a razor that is nicer than a cheap disposable one.

How razor blades have evolved

Throughout history men have needed a way to remove unwanted facial hair. While early razors were nothing more than crude, sharp rocks and broken clam shells, many razors, today, are designed and manufactured in a way that many and our grandfathers couldn’t have fathomed. So how did we get to this place in razor history?

The straight razor has been a long loved and effective way to shave for many years. It, as most of us know, is an open single blade that is really sharp and delivers a really close shave.

While it is still a preference for many of us men, it is dangerous and hard to maintain if placed in the amateur’s hands.

As a result, the first safety razor was designed around 1770 by a man named Jean-Jacques Perret.

The premise of this razor was to take the standard, sharp straight razor and install a wooden guard on it. For years, shaving was so dangerous that men had to go to the barber whenever they desired a good shave. Perret thought this was absurd and yearned for a day when men could shave themselves yet still stay safe.

Still his vision wasn’t widely accepted until around 1880 when the first patented safety razor was made by the Kampfe brothers. The razor had a handle that could be taken off, the head was designed so that it caught and held on lather, and it had a protective wire guard over the blade for safety. While this razor blade made shaving safer to the regular man, it was not more convenient as the blade still required sharpening by a hand that knew what they were properly doing.

Fifteen years later, in 1895, a man by a name most of us recognize, King C. Gillette, came up with the idea for a double bladed safety razor that was affordable and came with disposable blades that never needed to be sharpened.

After several years of trial and error, he and his team, finally, produced a thin, sharp blade that was cheap to make and easy to mass produce. Almost immediately their new safety razor began to penetrate the market.

Soon, most men had one of these razors and began to shave themselves daily.

Years later, in 1971, Gillette again changed the shaving game when it produced another revolutionary product, the Trac II. The Trac II was the first of the most commonly used today, the cartridge razor.

The Trac II had a cartridge of two fixed blades that could be easily removed or clicked into place on a permanent handle.

Now cartridge razors have changed and adapted for an even better shave. Some have lots of blades, pivoting heads, comfort, lubricating strips, and some even stimulate the hair with vibration.

What is the difference between today’s safety razor and cartridge razor?

While the cartridge razor may have come from the design of the safety razor, these are not the same thing and cartridge razors are not, simply, more current safety razors.

The term cartridge razor refers to a razor with multiple blades that are disposable. The handle is often reusable and new blades are bought when the old blades become dull and click on the the head with much ease.

When one refers to a safety razor or double edge razor, they are referring to an older style razor that has a double edged blade that can be disposed as well. These razors are, almost always, made of metal and are built to last.

If the shaver looks to keep more facial hair and not be clean shaven, it is best to look into an electric razor or beard trimmer. These give more flexibly because the cartridge razor and safety razor is only intended to provide a clean shave.

What are the advantages of a safety razor and a cartridge razor?

Let’s first start by dismissing a commonly assumed and promoted myth that the more blades a razor has the better and closer the shave. While this sounds great, it is not actually factual.

Believe it or not, the opposite is closer to true. In all honesty, it only takes one sharp blade for a close shave (this is why most men who use a straight razor do it for, what they perceive as, the superior shave.).

The more often a blade passes over the skin, the more irritated the skin can become and impede the closeness of the shave.

A safety razor has only one blade and is believed to provide a closer shave than a cartridge razor as a result. Additionally, safety razors are usually associated with better quality components.

The steel of the razor and blade is often considered better quality than that of any cartridge blade and stays sharper longer. They are also easier to clean and don’t fill up with gunk like cartridge razors can. They are slightly cheaper as well.

The cartridge razor is believed to cause more irritation than the safety razor but this has been drastically reduced with the addition of features that offset this like the lubrication strip and safety guard.

Cartridge razors are angled in a way that it is extremely hard to injury yourself while safety razors, while safer than straight razors, can, still, easily cut its user. These razors are usually thought of as the easiest razor for someone to begin with and shaving can be done quicker with as well. It allows for easier replacement as they blades are easy to pickup at any store and can be removed and a new blade can be added with very little effort. It is the preferred razor for those who travel because it is lighter and easier to store.

How to Choose the Best Cartridge Razor for your needs

What is the best cartridge razor for your shaving routine

Image courtesy: vladacanon/BigStock.com

Weight

Before making your first cartridge razor purchase you need to pick on up and see how it feels in the hand. Does it feel heavy and bulky?

Always look for a balance of lightness and ease of use and sturdiness so the handle and blades don’t break and bend.

Craftsmanship

Does the razor look like it is well made or cheap? Inspect the blades for quality and the handle. The handle should be comfortable and built to last.

Blade type

look at the angle of the blades and the distance between them. If you like to let a beard grow out from time to time look for a blade with less blades that are larger and more spread out.

When buying a razor with 5 and 6 blades they are really close together and get easily clogged with coarse beard hairs. Only buy a 5 or 6 blade razor if you have little to no facial hair and intend on shaving daily. Three bladed razors are our recommendation for most men if not less.

Also, make sure the blades are made of stainless steel for quality and durability. Most market leaders have stainless steel blades so unless you’re ready for a thorough research as well as trial and error, choosing a reputable brand could be your best bet.

Value

I wouldn’t want to name that criteria as price as it really depends on the quality of the razor as well as the cost of cartridges. And the mentioned two goes together with how often you replace each cartridge.

\Many cartridge razor producers also offer monthly subscriptions which could make some razors an even better deal than buying them one-off.

Shaving with a Cartridge Razor

Shaving with a cartridge razor

Image courtesy: borusikk/BigStock.com

When shaving with a cartridge razor this is the plan of action you should look to take.

  1. Thoroughly wash the face.

It is recommended to apply warm water to the face for between 2-3 minutes to make sure all debris and dead cells are removed from the skin. This will prevent the razor from clogging up and limit nicks and cuts.

For this reason, we usually shave immediately following our morning shower.

  1. Apply shaving soap or cream.

This will help the blade glide off the skin and prevent painful razor burn. We recommend using a shaving brush to do this. It gives a richer lather, makes it easier to apply and ,just, adds a level of class to your shaving routine.

First, soak the brush in water for a minute or two so the brush is completely wet. Then, place the shaving cream or lathered soap on the brush and swirl it around and around in a bowl or scuttle until it reveals a robust lather.

It is best to apply the shaving soap or cream and allow it to sit and soak in on the skin for around a minute so that it functions at its optimal level.

  1. Begin shaving.

When using a cartridge razor, remember not to press too hard on the skin.

If the razor is working as it should, the blade should do all the work. A blade that is as sharp as one should be for the shave will not allow the hairs to be felt being cut. There will be no tug and it with felt smooth with each stroke. If the skin feels irritated and like it requires work to remove the hair, odds are it’s time to replace the blade.

Remember, always shave with the grain on the first pass. This will prevent irritation. At the end if one desires an ultra smooth shave, they can, then, go against the grain.

  1. Don’t forget the aftershave.

First wash the face with cold water to close the pores, then apply a moisturizing aftershave. Doing this will make the skin feel and reduce any irritations. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you’ll smell great.

There is a discussion going on, currently, as to which method (subscription or as needed) is best when buying a cartridge razor. Below we will, briefly, discuss the benefits and detriments of both of these models as well as review some of the most popular cartridge razors.

Closing thoughts

The razor world was revolutionized for many men with the invention of the cartridge razor. It made shaving easier and faster.

For men that are looking for that in their shave, let our article serve as a guide and look to our highest recommended products to make your shave close and reliable.

Thanks for reading and happy shaving.