Positioned between disposable razors and straight razors, a safety razor might seem like the typical middle child. That hardly tells the whole story, however.
Make no mistake; safety razors are damn good. They’re a definite upgrade over the majority of disposable razors, and rank right up there with safety razor when it comes to delivering a close, professional-like shave.
Like any other razor, however, a safety razor is only as good as its blade. Slap a dull, mediocre blade in your favorite safety razor, and you’ll get a dull, mediocre shave. Not all blades are the same – as you’ll see in our review of the best safety razors below – and choosing a quality one, such as the Astra Premium Double Safety Blades , our top pick, is of great importance.
In this post, we’ll review what we think are the 7 best safety razor blades out there while also providing information that will help you choose the right one for you, as well as how to place it safely in your razor.
OK, let’s get rolling.
- Before you buy: 4 things to consider when purchasing safety razor blades
- The top 7 best safety razor blades of 2018
- How to change a safety razor blade (A simple, 5-step illustrated guide)
- Choosing the best safety razor blades
Before You Buy: 4 Things to Consider When Purchasing Safety Razor Blades
Before we get into our reviews of the best double edge razor blades, let’s take a few minutes to discuss some things you should consider before you make your choice. After all, like any other product, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – although most men who use safety razors are pleased with the kind of shave they get on a daily basis.
You’ll also want to keep in mind a very important point, i.e., every man’s skin and whiskers are different. Just because a brand of blades works perfectly for another man doesn’t mean it’s going to work just as well for you.
Here are some things to think about:
1. Is sharper better?
It’s easy to get hung up on a blade’s sharpness because a sharp blade usually means a closer shave, right? In theory perhaps, but sharper also raises your risk of nicks and cuts – especially if you don’t have much experience with a safety razor. It is true, however, that a sharp blade allows you to make fewer passes over your skin during the shave.
However, you’ll also want to consider a blade’s smoothness. By “smooth,” we mean that the cutting angle isn’t as extreme and that you’ll have to apply a bit more pressure during your shave than you would with a sharper blade. There’s less chance of nicks and cuts, but an increased chance of skin irritation – which may spell trouble for men with sensitive skin.
2. What’s your hair type?
Your facial hair type is all-important regarding your choice of safety razor blades. Again, everyone’s hair is a bit different – although similarities certainly exist – so what works for one guy may not work for you.
The good news is that double edge safety razor blades make it easier to customize your shave to fit your facial hair type thanks to the number of blade choices that are available.
Generally speaking, the coarser your facial hair, the more aggressive the blade. By “aggressive” we mean the sharpness of the blade. A blade that’s not as sharp will have harder time shaving through coarse hair (with the result being lots of pulling and tugging).
The length of your facial hair is important to your buying consideration, as well. If your hair is longer, then a more aggressive blade is best.
Also, if you have rough, sensitive skin (including skin that’s prone to acne) you’re best served by a less aggressive, smoother blade.
3. Skill level
While the learning curve for becoming adept with a safety razor isn’t as steep as with a straight razor, it still takes some getting used to if you’re used to shaving with a cartridge razor, or are new to shaving altogether.
That said, it’s best to start with less aggressive blades while you’re getting the hang of safety razor shaving. It takes time to learn how much pressure you can apply on the razor head without nicking, cutting, or irritating your skin.
4. Go for variety
Like most men, you’ll eventually decide to stick with one brand of safety razor blade for one simple reason: it works for you. In the beginning, however, there’s no crime in trying a variety of blades, and you can even find them in variety packs . That way, you’re not spending money on several blades of a certain brand (you can even purchase many blades in packs of 100) that you’ve quickly discovered don’t suit your shaving needs.
OK, let’s take a closer look at the best safety razor blades available.
The Top 7 Best Safety Razor Blades of 2018
Quality is king but what good is it if it doesn’t last? Certainly not as good as it could be and the question is relevant to our discussion of razor blades.
After all, a high-quality razor blade is just that – high-quality – but if you must replace it every few days, quality can become wrapped up in aggravation.
Not so with the Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades.
Astra Platinum is not only at the top of the list regarding the best razor blades in any category, they’re also amazingly durable. There’s no reason that you can’t get up to 10 shaves out of each blade, although the thickness of your facial hair will affect durability. When it comes to safety razor blades, it’s hard to beat the “stamina” of Astra Platinum.
The Astra Platinum blades were originally made in the Czech Republic before being bought by Gillette in 1996. Gillette moved Astra production to Russia, where they’ve been made ever since. They’ve also been the subject of thousands of comments on Amazon while retaining a near 5-star rating. It’s obvious that Gillette is doing something right with this product.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why Astra Platinum blades earn so many positive reviews:
These are some of the sharpest safety blades you’ll find. As mentioned, their sharpness lasts for a good long time before it becomes dull and you need to pop in another blade. Indeed, some reviewers talked about the blade remaining as sharp on the seventh or eighth shave as it was in the first.
- Smooth Shave
Many reviewers have commented on the superior smoothness of the shave with Astra Platinum blades compared to other double-edge safety razors. While the blades are sharp and can cause nicks and cuts if you’re not careful (then again, what blade doesn’t), they also provide a clean shave with less irritation than other blades. Some would argue, in fact, that they’re the best safety razor blades for sensitive skin.
Astra Platinum DE safety razor blades are surprisingly inexpensive for how good they are. They cost only around a dime per blade when you purchase the 100-pack, which is a helluva bargain that will keep you in blades for well into the foreseeable future.
The standard package comes with five blades. Each blade comes wrapped in wax paper.
- Very durable
- Great price
- Provide a smooth, irritation-free shave
- Sharpness can cause nicks and cuts if you’re not careful
These blades get tons of positive comments for a reason, i.e., because they’re as good as any safety razor blades as you’ll find anywhere. Moreover, you won’t bust your budget paying for them.
The Feather Company of Japanese has built a strong reputation for, among other things, the sharpness of its blade. And their double edge stainless steel blades are as sharp as any safety blade that you’ll find anywhere.
Better yet, they’ll fit in any double edge safety razor.
While Feather might not be a household same such as Gillette or Schick, they can certainly hold their own against any shaving products company. They introduced their stainless steel replaceable razor blades in 1964 but have been around since 1932.
Their product line also includes medical instruments, industrial blades, and more. In fact, Feather uses the same process and technology when making its razor blades than it does for making surgical blades. So, you know their blades are sharp.
While the sharpness of the blades is second-to-none, Feather’s DE Stainless Steel Blades are fine for beginners; newbies should use a lighter razor (or a heavier razor with a lighter touch) to prevent unwanted nicks and cuts. You need to use caution around your jaw line and hard-to-reach places but, again, Feather’s blades will serve you well no matter how much experience you have with safety razors.
Each blade is platinum-coated and built to last. The blades come sealed in a coated piece of paper to help prevent you from cutting yourself while also prolonging their storage lifespan.
The sharpness of the Feather DE blades will produce as smooth of a shave as you’ll find in the safety razor category. Reviewers who started out with more (supposedly) newbie-friendly safety razor blades were amazed at the closeness of their shave once they switched to Feather blades.
- Feather is a name you can count on
- Superior sharpness of blades
- Fit in any safety razor
- More aggressive than other blades, so choice of razor is important
Feather is not only a name you can count on, but it’s also synonymous with high quality. You’ll be amazed at the closeness of your shave when using the Feather DE blade. They’re a great addition to any man’s grooming kit.
How can you be sure that Gillette knows a thing or two (or three) about double edge safety razors? Well, they hold the original patent, for starters.
The fact is, Gillette is one of the giants of the shaving industry and unless you’ve lived in a cave all of your life you’ve certainly heard of it. True, just because a company is iconic doesn’t mean that it cranks out good products. Gillette, however, has had more than its share of successes.
And the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless qualifies as one of those successes.
There’s plenty to like about the Super Stainless blades which, like Gillette’s Astra Premium blades, are manufactured in Russia. For one, the blade isn’t as aggressively sharp as other double edge blades, but still provides a smooth, close shave that ranks among the best. Yet, they’re sharp enough that you don’t have to apply excessive pressure to get a clean shave.
Perhaps not as durable as other double edge blades listed in this review, the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless blades will still give you up to five shaves before becoming dull. You may even get up to a week’s worth of shaves if your facial hair isn’t that coarse.
Last but not least, these blades are affordable, with the cost rounding out to about 16 cents per blade.
There is some confusion, however, when it comes to the 7 O’Clock Super Stainless blades. Specifically, the location of the blades’ manufacturing facility – experts say – makes a big difference.
As it turns out, 7 O’Clock blades are made in India as well as Russia and experienced shavers prefer the ones manufactured in Russia.
Both come in green boxes, a big reason for the confusion, but one is labeled Permasharp Stainless Blade (India) and the other is labeled Super Stainless (Russia).
Oh, there’s also a blade made in India (called Super Platinum) that comes in a black box, while there’s a yellow box (Sharpedge) made in Russia.
But, just to be clear, we’re talking about the green-boxed Super Stainless blades.
What’s most important is that these blades are high quality and fit most safety razors. Each package contains five blades and is easily purchased online when you’ve used your last blade.
- Quality product from a reputable company
- Sharp blades but not too aggressive
- Some confusion with packaging
Mark another success on Gillette’s long resume. The Super Stainless blades are top-of-the-line and will give you a clean, comfortable shave without a lot of irritation.
Like Gillette and others, Merkur has built an impressive tradition started over a century ago. Located in Solingen, Germany, Merkur came into being thanks to Emil Hermes, who owned a cutlery factor.
Named as the Roman equivalent of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, Merkur expanded into shaving and grooming products and the rest, as they say, is history.
One of Merkur’s many superior products is their stainless steel, platinum-coated DE safety razor blades. Each blade fits every standard double-edge razor on the market and all but guarantees a close, clean shave with every use.
One of the many benefits of the platinum coating is that it keeps the edge sharp without imperfections. Meanwhile, stainless steel is an all-around excellent material that resists rust – which is important in the wet world of safety razor shaving.
Price-wise, the Merkur Double Edge Safety Razor Blades fall in the middle, but their quality makes them a good bargain.
You’ll also get at least five shaves out of each blade – if not more – before it grows dull, and each package comes with 10 (individually wrapped) blades.
While the blades might be a bit too aggressive for safety razor newbies, adjusting to them doesn’t take very long. They’re very comfortable to use and provide a shave that’s consistently smooth.
And, hey, Germany is known for its craftsmanship. It only makes sense that one of the best double edge blades comes from the country that gave us the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
- Provides consistently smooth shaves
- Quality at an affordable price
- Superior craftsmanship
- Perhaps a bit too aggressive for beginning shavers
You’ll find the name Merkur popping up in a lot of our “best of” reviews and with good reason. Their products are superbly crafted and made for anyone who’s interested in getting a consistently great shave. You won’t go wrong with these blades.
Sometimes it’s all about the process. Like the process that goes into the creation of Derby’s Double Edge Razor Blades.
A product of Turkey but made in Sweden, the Derby DE blades are ground and hardened through a process in which tungsten, platinum, and chromium ceramic are added to them. The result is a blade that’s of superior strength and long-lasting.
Officially, the above technique is known as “sputtering.” What it describes is using high energy particles to deposit a thin film of materials on the blade. A final coating of Teflon is applied to reduce friction between the blade and the shaver’s face. You’ll get a close, comfortable shave even if you have the thickest of facial hair, and if you have sensitive skin – well, Derby blades are considered among the best safety razor blades for sensitive skin.
They’re also very “uniform” in that each blade you use is going to work just as well as the one you discarded after it became dull.
But Derby is no newcomer to the business and has been a wholesaler of razors, blades, and other fine products for over half a century. And their Derby DE blades certainly live up to their excellent reputation.
The Derby DE’s fit virtually every double-edge razor on the market and come individually wrapped in a package of five. But here’s another cool thing – there’s a thin web between the two blades that allows you to break them in half for use with a single-edge razor. We like that.
What else do we like? We’ve mentioned Derby’s durability, but it’s worth repeating. Some reviewers say they can get up to 10 shaves before it’s time to change the blade.
And, again, we like the “process,” which includes stringent quality control inspect at each stage of manufacturing. It’s enough to earn an ISO 9001 rating which, while not guaranteeing a superior product, indicates that the company is meeting a rigorous standard of consistent quality.
Finally, the Derby DE blades are reasonably priced and are well worth your investment.
- Made through an advanced manufacturing process
- Hardened coating made to last
- Consistently provide a comfortable shave
- Not as sharp as some blades
Derby is a company you can count on, and their Double Edge safety razor blades will help make your daily grooming a pleasure.
“Sword” doesn’t necessarily conjure up images of a smooth, nicks-and-cuts free shave, but Wilkinson (the folks with the iconic two-sword logo) pull it off quite well, thank you.
Here’s why: Wilkinson uses a three-step coating process on its Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades that reduces irritation to a manageable level. They’re smooth enough to be considered the best safety razor blades for beginners.
Wilkinson’s triple-coating process is well-known in shaving circles. It includes a coating of chromium which inhibits corrosion, a coating of ceramic to make the blades last longer, and a coating of PTFE (Teflon) that works to prevent and/or reduce irritation. Wilkinson certainly stands by its process as they claim that their blades’ edges last longer than stainless steel.
The durability of the Wilkinson Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades ranks right up there with the other blades included in this review as you’ll easily get five to six great shaves with each blade.
Like other companies listed in this review, Wilkinson has been in the game a long, long time. It formed in England in 1772 to manufacture swords, knives, and daggers, while creating their first line of steel double-edged razor blades some 190 years later. Today, all of Wilkinson’s blades are manufactured in Germany (which brings us back to our earlier point about German craftsmanship).
Interestingly, a blade with “sword” in the name isn’t as sharp as others – at least that’s what some reviewers say. No worries, you’ll still get a close shave, and you’ll experience less friction compared to other blades. The blade moves smoothly over your face and works particularly well if your facial hair is of average texture.
Another reviewer said that he preferred Wilkinson’s Classic Double Edge blades over premium blades such as those made by Merkur, Derby, and even Astras.
At about 20 cents per blade, the Wilkinson Classic Des are in line with other similar blades on the market and very affordable. Furthermore, it’s entirely possible to get a full week’s worth of shaves before you’ll need to pop in a new blade.
- Made with triple-coating process
- Great for inexperienced double-edge shavers
- Not as good with coarse facial hair
Wilkinson is a name that not only has been around a long time but is one that you can trust. You’ll love their Classic Double Edge Safety Razor Blades, even if you’re new to the wet shaving game, and they’re affordable.
Where do we start with the Super Iridium Blade? When it came out several years ago, many men raved about how great they were.
And then they were gone.
Gone, that is, as in you could no longer find them on the shelves.
Alas, their sudden disappearance turned out to involve a change in distributors. And, here they are, back on the market and getting the same kind of reviews as before.
The Super Iridium blades are produced mainly in Russia, but they’re also produced in Poland and the Czech Republic (and that those produced in Poland are the highest quality). Did we also mention that the company – known as Wizamet – was bought by Gillette? Oh, the mystery.
The truth is that these are damn good blades. At 35 cents per blade, they’re pricier than others, but their quality makes them well worth the investment.
What’s to like?
- The Super Iridium blades strike an excellent balance between sharp and smooth. Their sharpness compares most favorably to the other blades on our 2018 list and will cut through thick hair without the pain-in-the-ass (not to mention, face) tugging and pulling.
- They’re coated with iridium, a very hard metal of the platinum group. It’s the second-densest element after osmium – which is good info to have when conversation wanes at your next social outing. Kidding aside, however, iridium helps make for an excellent blade.
- They’re not only as sharp as most other blades, they’re also considered more durable than blades known for superior sharpness.
You get Super Iridium blades with each package, although you can order a pack of 100 that range in price from $17 to $35 depending on where you buy it.
- Excellent balance of sharp and smooth
- Great for all facial hair textures
- More expensive than many blades
The Super Iridium blades aren’t as well known as others on the list – perhaps due to company changes – but they hold their own against any other DE blade out there. Expensive, yes, but the majority of reviewers think they’re worth the investment.
How to Change a Safety Razor Blade
It’s tempting to start this section with one of those “how many people does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes but we’ll kindly refrain. Changing a safety razor blade is, after all, fairly serious business.
If you’ve just migrated to the land of safety razors after years of disposable shaving, your new world of changing blades can even seem a bit daunting. But, trust us, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back.
1. First things first
Your most important consideration is the type of safety razor you own. Single piece? Two-piece? Twist-to-open? Three-piece. Your other consideration is how the blades are packed. Some come in a magazine wrapped individually with paper; others come unwrapped.
2. Unwrapping wrapped blades
Safety razor blades may come in a single or double wrapper. Many wrappers come with a small dot of adhesive on the blade to keep the wrapper in place. In either case, simply grasp the blades by its ends (not on the blade edge side, ever).
3. Take the razor apart
Your next step – particularly with two-piece and three-piece razors – is to take the razor apart, which usually involves unscrewing the handle while letting the other pieces come apart. Set them aside before you pick up your blade. Or, you may have a twist-to-open razor which means you need to twist the handle to open the “butterfly” head at the top of the razor.
4. Positioning the blade
Replacing a blade simply involves positioning it over the mounting post at the top of the cap. An extra mounting plate that fits between the blade and the handle is needed for a three-piece razor. Be sure that the mounting plate is positioned correctly; if you put it in upside down, you’ll get a less-than-ideal shave. Your final step is to screw the razor top down while resting a finger on top the razor to keep it away from the blade head while helping to position the blade.
5. Screw the handle back in place
Screw the handle back in place while holding the blades and razor head in place. You’ll feel the pieces close together as the bottom part pushed upward while also noticing that the blade bends in a 30-degree arch.
And, that’s it! You’re now ready to shave!
Choosing the Best Safety Razor Blades
As with all of our reviews, our method for choosing the best safety razor blades of 2018 involved equal parts research and objectivity. As far as the research goes, we don’t have the resources to test every blade on the market, but we rely on as much personal experience as possible, as well as the reviews of others.
Once we’ve done the research and scoured the reviews, we take as fair and balanced of an approach as possible. It goes without saying that there are several other blades that could have made the list, but we think you’ll find the 7 blades listed above helpful for getting the close, comfortable shave that you deserve.
What do you Think?
Finally, we want to encourage you – as always – to share your opinions and experiences with us. Have you used one of the blades listed in our review? What are your thoughts? Do you think another brand of safety razor blades that you think belong on the list?
Send us your comments and suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.