Safety Razors vs Cartridge Razors – Which is Best?

There is no doubt about it, while the disposable cartridge razor is still by far the most popular utensil for shaving, the safety razor is hands down a better choice. Price, quality, environment and style are all factors that come to play in deciding which shaving style is the best.

Safety Razors vs Cartridge Razors – Which is Best?


However much we pretend that it doesn’t matter, price will always be the greatest factor in many of our choices.

At first glance a cartridge razor will always seem cheaper than a safety razor, just because the razor itself is cheaper.

However, that’s where it ends. Cartridge refills cost over twice as much as safety razor blades, but they both need to be replaced just as frequently.

If you buy a good quality safety razor (this doesn’t have to mean expensive), with good care you probably won’t need to replace it for years.

The plastic disposable razor will most likely need to be replaced a lot earlier than that, especially if the manufacturers come out with yet another “revolutionary” technology.

Even if you invest in a more expensive cartridge razor, you will still save on average $200 a year by using a safety razor. Sounds pretty interesting when you think of it that way, doesn’t it?

Shaving Quality

Every day we are bombarded with images of cartridge razors: if we believe the media then everyone from the most popular model to James Bond uses a cartridge razor.

Gillette has created a fantastic image for their product: glamorous, powerful and effective.

It’s easy to believe that the newest, most “high-tech” 5 blade cartridge razor with roller ball handle is going to give you the smoothest and easiest shave, because that’s all we see when we watch the commercials.

However, passing multiple blades in one go over the skin can actually lead to more skin irritations and razor bumps, due to how the blades damage the skin.

There is also a great tendency to rush shaving when using a disposable cartridge razor. There is no ritual, no care or thought really put into the act.

The safety razor, on the other hand, demands a careful and calm approach, almost ritualistic in performance.

There is cream or soap to lather, blades to replace (if needed), and a specific technique to adhere to.

It may take a few tries to get it right, but once you have mastered the shaving technique you will find that not only is your shave smoother and more precise, your skin will be softer and less prone to nicks, cuts and razor burn.

Those extra few minutes spent on shaving are well worth the results.


While price and quality are huge factors when it comes to choosing between a safety razor and a cartridge razor, there is also the environment to keep in mind.

Every year we dispose of tons and tons of plastics and metals, filling up landfills with disposable content that may take thousands of years to break down.

If you use a safety razor you will most likely not be contributing to the tons of shaving plastic that are being disposed of every year: a safety razor will last you for years and the blades can be recycled.

And if you want to make sure you only use cruelty-free products, then safety razor shaving is the way to go.

While there are cruelty-free cartridge razors on the market they are nowhere near as effective as a safety razor.

Not Just For Men!

There are an abundance of cartridge razors on the market, advertised in a similar way as their masculine counterparts.

Instead of being strong, powerful and masculine of course, manufacturers like to portray women as ready for anything, beautiful and fun-loving.

Cartridge razors manufactured specifically for women, such as Venus by Gillette for example, tend to also be a little more expensive than those designed for men, although the only main difference between the two is the color.

Women can also use safety razors, as they did before the disposable cartridge razor existed. The Lady Gillette, no longer in production, is still considered one of the best women’s razors around.

No need for a special women’s safety razor though, a regular one works just as well for men and women, with all the same benefits.

Shaving as an Art

Last, but not least, shaving may have become a daily duty such as showering or brushing your hair, but it hasn’t completely lost its charm.

We mentioned above that safety razor shaving, and even more so for straight razor shaving, become quite ritualistic, and many people feel that the process is actually calming and relaxing.

Instead of rushing through a chore, you have to learn a technique that works for you, to think about what you are doing and also pamper yourself with soft creams and ­soaps.

In addition to that, a safety razor really has a lot more charm than a cartridge razor, and if you use a shaving brush

the set up can look really great in your bathroom, a lot more aesthetically pleasing to say the least.

A safety razor also feels a lot sturdier in the hand. It definitely feels good to use a weighted razor that does all of the work!​


For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below: