I’ve tested six different men’s razors from Gillette and Schick over the past few months. My favorite is the Gillette Mach 3, with the Schick Quattro Titanium coming in second.
- More blades isn’t strictly better—there are trade-offs.
- More blades means less pressure-per-blade. You’re less likely to cut yourself, but there is an increased sandpaper effect where the razor tugs at the hair instead of quickly slicing through. The sandpaper effect is neutralized if you shave regularly, but can be irritating if you typically go a few days between shaves.
- More blades means the blades must be packed closer together to keep the razor head manageably narrow. This causes increased clogging—it’s more difficult to rinse out hair.
- Not all swivel designs are equal. The older Gillette SensorExcel razor heads pivot in the middle whereas the newer Gillette Mach 3 and Fusion pivot closer to the bottom. The newer design allows the razor head to swing away from your face, which seems to reduce accidental cuts. It also means less pressure on the top-most blade which means a less-close shave around edges. The many-bladed Gillette razors include a single trimmer razor on the back side intended to allay this problem. The Schick Hydro 5 allows folding the gel reservoir out of the way.
- The Schick Quattro Titanium blades seemed to stay sharp a little longer. Aside from that I couldn’t discern any difference in blade life.
|# blades||Ability to shave close under nose||Rinsability (water flow through the blades)|
|Gillette Mach 3 (winner!)||3||average||great|
|Gillette Fusion||5||below average—swivel design reduces pressure at top-most blade (alternatively: great if you like using the single trimmer razor on the back side)||great|
|Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power||5||below average—swivel design reduces pressure at top-most blade (alternatively: great if you like using the single trimmer razor on the back side)||great|
|Schick Quattro Titanium (runner up!)||4||average||average|
|Schick Hydro 5||5||poor—gel reservoir above blades is very wide||average|
Average. Basic but works well. Three blades. Slight swivel. Not a clear water flow path so it’s a little difficult to rinse/unclog. Close shave, but easy to cut yourself if you’re not careful. Only three blades means the head is small which makes it easier to shave around my mouth and under my nose.
Gillette Mach 3 (winner!)
Pretty great. Three blades. Maybe not as close as the SensorExcel. The swivel design is different than the SensorExcel: The downside is that it’s a little harder to shave around my mouth and under my nose, but the upsides are 1) it’s extremely easy to rinse/unclog and 2) less likely to cut myself, which means I can shave faster. It has a slight “paddle effect” (I think of it like holding a ping pong paddle to your face and sliding), but it’s not bad.
Bad. The razor felt dull—like it was catching on my hair rather than cutting it. Severe sandpaper effect, and I thought it was hard to shave around my mouth and under my nose. To compensate for the top of the blade pivoting away from your face, the Fusion razors include an extra “trimming” blade, which terrifies me.
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power
Good. Similar to Gillette Fusion, but maybe with better blades? This is the “powered” version. It has a battery and an on/off button, which causes it to vibrate. The vibration seemed silly. I couldn’t tell if it helped, and I definitely found it distracting. It made me nervous.
Schick Quattro Titanium (runner up!)
Pretty good. Similar to the three blade Gillette SensorExcel. Does seem like the blade lasts longer than other razors. Slightly more obstructed water flow path than the Gillette Mach 3, so a little harder to rinse/unclog.
Schick Hydro 5
All in all pretty similar to the Gillette Mach 3. Differences: Slightly more obstructed water flow path, so a little harder to rinse/unclog. Slightly harder to shave around mouth and nose. The “Hydro” means it has “Hydrating Gel Reservoirs.” I don’t like hydrating gel. It feels like a lot of work to make sure I rinse all of it off.