The Best Men's Disposable Razors of 2018By Michael Desjardin
Shaving your face can be a treacherous endeavor, particularly if you shave with relative frequency or you’ve been cursed with sensitive skin—like myself. But as taxing as shaving can be for your skin, it’s even more taxing for your wallet. The costs of decent, disposable blades—as you surely know by now—add up quickly.
The solution, therefore, is to find a disposable razor that performs reliably for the most sensible price. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
Shaving is a very personal experience; what works for some is a nightmare waiting to happen for others. I’ve had people tell me they don’t use shaving cream or oil when taking a blade to their face and neck, for instance, but if I were to attempt the same, my skin would absolutely revolt—it’d be nothing but razor burn for days.
If you take your shaving a bit more seriously, there’s a good chance you’ve graduated from disposables and currently swear by safety razors. If this method works for you, it’s probably best you stick with it, since safety razors are far more cost effective than disposable blades. Plus, why mess with a successful ritual?
But if you’re still on board the disposable razor train and you’re looking to buy better, maybe even cheaper blades, consider this round-up a jumping off point.
Of all the blades we tried, the Gillette Mach3 Turbo (available at Amazon for $8.97) proved to be the overall best when you factor in the cost per blade. It may not stand toe-to-toe with the 5-blade heavyweights that hang from the shelf above it, but the Mach 3 Turbo’s three blades provide a close, comfortable shave with minimal irritation—all for significantly less than its closest competitors. In other words, it might not be the best at what it does, but given its price tag, the tradeoffs are minimal.
Updated July 09, 2018
Gillette Mach3 Turbo
Gillette Mach3 TurboBest Overall
It may not have five blades, semi-detachable pieces, and a busy-looking, modern design, but the Gillette Mach3 Turbo delivers the best overall shave for the most reasonable price. Simply put, if you're going to replace your disposable blades with the frequency your skin deserves, the Mach3 Turbo offers the best performance at a cost that won't hit your wallet hard.
As far as features go, there's not much to find here: The Mach3 Turbo is equipped with three blades, a lubricating strip, and a cartridge design that pivots in one direction as you shave. That's it.
So why do we recommend it over some of its more robust, five-blade competitors? The answer is simple: The Mach3 Turbo features a sturdy, well-weighted handle and offers a close, comfortable shave at a very reasonable cost. On Amazon, for instance, you can land a refill pack of 10 cartridges for around $21.
I've used some of the Mach3 Turbo's fancier contemporaries (including Gillette's own five-blade offerings) and, sure, some of them offer a marginally closer shave thanks to their added blades, bells, and whistles, but given the difference in cost, I see no reason to spring for the alternatives.
In my trials, I've also found the Mach3 Turbo to be far, far easier to clean than something like the Gillette Fusion5; less blades, it seems, makes for an easier rinse.
If your skin absolutely demands the added benefits of a five-blade cartridge, the Mach3 Turbo might not be an appropriate fit, but if you're looking for a blade that sits firmly in the "Goldilocks zone" of performance and price, the Mach3 Turbo is a fantastic option.
How We Tested
My name’s Michael, and I'm a senior staff writer here at Reviewed. I'm also a shaver! Even though I shave my face on a regular basis, I still needed to borrow my coworkers’ faces for this round-up. (I didn’t, however, shave them personally.)
After spending some time with each blade, each tester (myself included) filled out a survey detailing the blade's performance in a number of areas, including the closeness of the shave, the blade's contouring ability, ease of use, blade handle ergonomics, and whether or not the blade was easy to clean.
The price of the blades was also factored into the overall evaluation, of course. Disposable blades are notoriously expensive—particularly those with sustained brand recognition. It's also important to note that we gravitated towards these popular brands purposefully, particularly disposables with multiple blades. The truth is, brands like Gillette and Schick are as prolific as they are in part because they've gotten very good at producing cheap, relatively sophisticated products designed to be replaced indefinitely. The multi-blade models, too, offer a demonstrably closer shave than lower-end, single-blade disposables, in our opinion.
If you prefer the ultra-cheap, no-fuss, single-blade experience, by all means, don't let us talk you out of it!
Other Disposable Blades We Tested
The Gillette Mach3 is easily the most ubiquitous disposable razor in our round-up; you’d be hard-pressed to find a drugstore or grocery store that doesn’t keep it stocked. And, in addition to being a popular seller, the Mach3 is also one of the better disposables we tested, despite the fact that it’s only sporting three blades.
I find the Mach3’s handle to be the gold standard as far as disposables go—it’s weighted enough to provide a stabile shave and thin enough to hold comfortably.
The shave itself isn’t quite as close as the one you’ll get with one of the Mach3’s five-blade competitors, but it’s quite easy to get a pass against the grain thanks to the cartridge’s narrow dimensions. You might also find—as I did—that the Mach3’s trio of blades are easier to clean than a quintet.
So why don’t we like the Mach3 as much as the Mach3 Turbo? The standard, non-turbo Mach3 lacks a lubrication strip, which might make your shave a little more of a struggle, depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
As for the price, the Mach3 falls on the lower end of the spectrum, which puts these blades in the top tier in terms of value. Since the difference in the price of replacement blades is typically negligible, we prefer the added comfort of the Mach3 Turbo.
Schick Hydro 5 Sense
Schick Hydro 5 Sense
The five-blade Schick Hydro 5 Sense is a curious case. After using it once, my colleague Dave recorded on the survey that it "felt as adjustable as a high-end office chair—and just as perplexing."
What's so perplexing about it? The Schick Hydro 5 Sense has two points of articulation, which ostensibly provides a more contoured shaving experience than cartridge and handle tandems that only feature one point of articulation. This system also features a locking mechanism (though I struggle to imagine a scenario in which I'd ever actually lock it down).
The Hydro 5 Sense's peculiar precision trimmer—dubbed the "Flip Trimmer"—also contributes to the "confusing, high-end office chair" vibe. Unsurprisingly, we couldn't find a use for it.
The good news is that the Schick Hydro 5 Sense is comfortable to hold, provided a close shave, and didn't leave Dave with any lasting irritation. That said, The cost of refills—though not exorbitant—is still higher than some of its competitors.
Gillette Fusion5 ProShield
Gillette Fusion5 ProShield
The Fusion5 ProShield from Gillette is a chunky, five-blade disposable whose handle comes equipped with what Gillette calls a "FlexBall." The FlexBall and its intuitive hinge are supposed to increase the blade cartridge's overall coverage by moving along with the contours of your face. In addition to its handle's FlexBall feature, the blades on the Fusion5 ProShield are flanked by lubricating strips.
Although our tester Dave found the ProShield's contouring abilities to be impressive compared to some of the lower-end disposables he's used in the past, he also found the handle to be somewhat slippery to hold. Additionally, Dave had a tough time cleaning the blades in between strokes.
Our conclusion? The Gillette Fusion5 ProShield might offer one of the closest shaves in the game, but its drawbacks in functionality combined with its not-so-cheap price (about $32 for an 8-pack refill via Amazon) make it a tough sell.
The Gillette Fusion5—also known, simply, as the Gillette Fusion—is essentially a less-flashy version of the aforementioned Fusion5 ProShield, the main difference being the Fusion5's lack of Gillette's "FlexBall" feature (though to be fair, the FlexBall itself is a feature of the ProShield's handle, not the blade cartridges themselves). The Fusion5 cartridge also lacks the ProShield's secondary lubrication strip, opting instead to use the real estate beneath the blades for a basic "comfort guard."
Nevertheless, this basic five-blade offering from Gillette performs at a high level. Its weighty, textured handle is easy to hold, the pivoting head and five-blade design provides a slightly closer shave than the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, and I walked away from the shave with nary a nick on my neck.
Much like its higher-end counterpart, the Fusion5 ProShield, the standard Fusion5 was a little difficult to clean—I found that whiskers had a habit of clinging to the Fusion5's blades due to how close each of them sit side-by-side. Cost per cartridge is a factor, too: An 8-pack will run you about $20 on Amazon.
Schick Quattro Titanium
Schick Quattro Titanium
At the time of publishing, the Schick Quattro Titanium is the only four-blade offering in our round-up, and unfortunately, our tester Connor was less than thrilled with the Quattro's overall performance.
There's not much here in terms of nifty features, but frankly, there doesn't have to be if it works well enough. Disappointingly, though, that just ain't the case with the Schick Quattro Titanium.
Connor's biggest beef had to do with the blade's handle, which had a flimsy, slippery feel. The Quattro's head also failed to contour as well as Connor's go-to blade brand, and the overall shave wasn't as close as he was hoping.
At around $18.25 for a refill pack of eight cartridges, you might want to steer your shopping cart in a different direction.
Harry's The Truman
Harry's The Truman
Harry's standard, five-blade razor—also known as "The Truman"—is primarily a component of Harry's subscription-based blade delivery program, but it's also available online and in stores as an alternative to some of the big brand names like Gillette and Schick.
Unfortunately, my colleague Jon was less than impressed with Harry's five-blade system, noting on the survey that he felt like the blades "tugged at [his] face."
The shave itself, he thought, wasn't nearly as close as it ought to be given the cost of the handle and its refill cartridges.