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Cut-price razors – are replacement blades too expensive?

Nobody likes paying for new razor blades and at £13 for a pack of four, you can see why. Are replacement razor blades too expensive considering new razors appear to be on offer more often than not?

Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Power blades are £3.25 each – if we used one of them per month that adds up to £39 a year. I begrudge paying that much for a few grams of plastic and steel and I’m sure I’m not alone.

So what can we do to get a good and cheap shave? The answer is to wait till razors are on offer and buy any blades that fit, regardless of whether they’re branded specifically for the razor handle you own.

Both powered and manual razors offer a close shave

Our latest men’s razors test shows that differences in the comfort and closeness of shaves provided by powered and manual versions of leading razors is small. And because manual blades fit on powered versions of the razors, one immediate cost-saving measure to take is to buy manual blades.

All of the Gillette Fusion family of razors fit manual and powered Fusions and Fusion ProGlides. The same is true of the Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium manual and powered razors.

Both manufacturers have pointed out differences between their manual and powered blades, but we found in our tests that the shaving differences are hardly noticeable so buying the cheapest blades to fit our razors is the first cost-cutting measure to take.

New razors on offer, but not the blades

It seems that the razors themselves are on offer more often than not, but the story with replacement blades isn’t quite so rosy.

Our research found that in the last year alone, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power razor was either half price or on a two-for-one offer at Asda for 91 days, Tesco for 114 days and for 156 days at Sainsburys.

That’s great news if you’re in the market for a new razor. But since manufacturers know we’ll come back and buy their blades once we find a shave we like, it’s unsurprising that decent offers for replacement blades are very thin on the ground.

We checked the prices of three, four and six-packs of Gillette Fusion ProGlide power blades at the same supermarkets over the last 12 months and could only find half price offers at Asda and only for three weeks. So, unlike new razors, it seems that you’ll have to put up with buying full-price replacement blades.

Have you got any tips for cutting the cost of a close and comfortable shave?

Comments
Guest
Argus says:
16 July 2012

Yes, grow a beard!

I woke up to this a few years ago and now I have about 1 shave every 2 weeks as a result. I may look scruffy but I don’t care, my wife thinks that I look rugged! 🙂

Guest

I bought my last set of Gillette blades on eBay – still not cheap but better than anything the big stores were offering.

One tip I heard recently was that drying blades after use (or even dipping in alcohol to kill moisture, which seems a bit extreme) helps preserve them. I don’t think the blades lasted that much longer but I did feel that they gave a smoother shave for longer before starting to irritate.

The thinking behind this is that it’s not the razor blunting but water scum that causes the problems – living in London’s chalky water area razors do scum up quite quickly so wiping dry will stop some of the build up.

Guest
Andy says:
27 July 2012

Be careful with the wiping – it could damage the blade coatings that deliver anti corrosion, sharpness and smooth shaving attributes. Shaking off excess water and storing in a dry environment is the manufacturers advice – and honestly this is not part of the marketing fluff!

Guest

Thanks Andy for the advice.

Guest

Sounds prehistoric. A decent electric shaver is much more convenient and costs less to run.

Guest
James Cairns says:
20 July 2012

Every electric razor I’ve tried over the years have turned out to be a complete waste of money! Even the recommended ones are not capable of giving a really close shave in my experience. You can tell which men use electric razors by their poor complexions whereas wet shaving gets rid of all the muck on your face. Try it, you’ll be surprised at the scum around the basin after a good wet shave.

Guest
Edward says:
8 September 2015

I hear you on that. Even when I had naught more than bumfluff, no electric razor lifted it. Wet shaving with an old-school DE safety razor is unbeatable on my face. Expensive to start with, as you’re looking at a start-up cost of about £30 for a decent brush, razor handle, soap and some blades, but in the long run it’s so much cheaper. I’ve never found DE blades selling for more than 20p each (bulk-buys on eBay or Amazon can reduce them to a fraction of that). I find I get at least a good week of shaving every day from a single DE blade. Much closer shave than any cartridge ever gave me, and much more satisfying. I only wish it was possible to get the angles right to use it on my head (found out the hard way it’s not!), as I’m still stuck with overpriced cartridges for that, alas.

Guest

Is there such a thing as a decent electric razor with replacable batteries?
I’ve had a number of them over the years, and all of them have eventually died due to the built-in obsolescence ensured by non-replacable batteries.
Braun and Remington are some of the worst offendors.
Seriously, if Which? could lobby the EU to make this practice illegal, it would actually be something useful the EU could do.

Guest

There is absolutely no reason why rechargeable batteries should not be easy to replace. The Braun shaver I mentioned below contained two wired-in AA NiMH cells. Wiring them in helps avoid problems sure to poor connections, but is not essential. Whether it’s a shaver, mobile phone or cordless vacuum cleaner, the batteries should be replaceable without tools.

This is the sort of environmental issue that the EU could tackle and I certainly agree that a push from Which? could help.