safety razor with gillette derby and wilkinson sword razor bladesIf you’re a newcomer or veteran wet-shaver, you’ve likely wondered about razor blades. As we cover extensively in our safety razor guides, there are many varieties of double edge razors you can choose from. However, when it comes to blades the subject can get a little tricky even for the most seasoned enthusiast.

Not only does everyone have different stubble thickness, but some of us can have very sensitive skin. Therefore, some people need to take extra care when choosing their razor blade of choice. Fortunately, razor blade manufacturers cater to this with a wide range of different blades. This doesn’t necessarily solely imply different degrees of sharpness but the way the steel is treated too.

In the following guide, you will discover the different razor blades that you can buy. You’ll also learn how to look after your razor blades as well as how to safely dispose of them.

  1. What Are The Best Razor Blades?
  2. Why Are Razor Blades Coated?
  3. How Many Shaves Before Replacing A Blade?
  4. Storing Razor Blades
  5. Safely Disposing Used Razor Blades

Simply click on the section that interests you the most to jump straight to it. Otherwise, keep scrolling to learn more. If you’re here to actually learn about double edge razors, head to our comprehensive safety razor guide instead!

What Are The Best Safety Razor Blades?

If you’re here, you’re likely looking for the best razor blades to suit your needs. We’ve assembled the 5 best double edge razor blades from around the world that cater to most shaving needs. To make it easier, each one can be readily found on Amazon and we’ve added a handy link at no extra cost to you.

Therefore, without further ado, simply click below to jump straight to the one that interests you or scroll down to discover them all:

  1. Best Razors For Beginners
  2. The Best Blades For Normal Skin
  3. Best Razor Blades For Sensitive Skin
  4. The Best Razors For Thick Hair & Beards
  5. Best Blades For Head & Body Hair

1. Best For Beginners: Razor Blade Sampler Pack

  • Country Of Origin: Varies
  • Material: Varies
  • Number of Blades Per Pack: 30
  • Cost Per Blade: 0.33 ¢
  • Price: $9.95 [Buy Now On Amazon]

Best Razor Blade Sample Pack Feather Astra Gillette DerbyAs everyone’s skin and hair is completely different, sometimes you’ll have to try out lots of different blades before you find the right ones for you. Sometimes it doesn’t just boil down to sharpness and blade treatment but also personal preferences too.

In short, the best way for newcomers is simply testing out different blades with a sample pack. However, there are hundreds of different varieties all over the internet and it’s extremely difficult to choose among them. This is especially true if you’re new to wet shaving.

Therefore, we’ve looked through countless of options available after testing a variety of different razor blades. Some are quite expensive and don’t give many blades for what you pay whereas others are limited in variety.

Finally, we found that this particular 30-pack provides the best variety of razors while still giving reasonable value for money. A single pack contains 2 blades each of the following blades:

  • Astra – Superior Platinum
  • Bic – Chrome Platinum
  • Derby – Extra
  • Dorco – St-301 Stainless
  • Gillette – Platinum
  • Gillette – Silver Blue
  • Merkur – Super Platinum
  • Personna – Platinum (Israeli Reds)
  • Polsilver – Super Iridium
  • Shark – Super Stainless
  • Super-Max – Super Stainless
  • Treet – Platinum
  • Voskhod – Teflon Coated
  • Wilkinson Sword

As you’ll notice if you keep reading, the selection even contains the other brands featured in this list. Therefore, it provides an excellent opportunity to try them all.

Each razor blade costs 33 ¢ each on Amazon sold via the seller Razor Blades Club. This is indeed the most expensive option and you may not like some of the razors supplied either. However, you may save money in the long run by avoiding a large purchase for blades you end up hating.

Razor Blade Sampler Pack
Reviewed by Charles-Philippe Bowles, on .
"A full range of razors to try! Consisting of every major razor blade manufacturer, this sampler pack is the ideal starting block in discovering the right one for you and your skin."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

2. Best For Normal Skin: Astra Superior Platinum Razor Blades

  • Country Of Origin: Russia
  • Material: Platinum Coated Steel
  • Number of Blades Per Pack: 100
  • Cost Per Blade: 0.10 ¢
  • Price: $9.64 [Buy Now On Amazon]

Astra Superior Platinum Razor BladesMany wet shaving enthusiasts agree that the best razor blades actually come from Russia. In fact, Astra used to be made in the Czech Republic until they were bought by Gillette and moved to Russia.

Each blade comes individually wrapped in a small paper envelope within a cardboard tuck, which contains 5 in total. They’re often considered the perfect middle-of-the-road choice for those who don’t like overly aggressive shaves but don’t have sensitive skin either.

As they’re quite versatile, you can happily use these on any razor head. For instance, it will provide an excellent shave with a beginner’s safety bar whilst being perfect for open comb razors. Generally, Astra blades last a reasonable length of time but are not the most durable. However, you can expect at least 10 good shaves with a single blade.

Finally, a pack of 100 Astra Blades (in 20 tucks) will set you back around 10¢ per razor on Amazon. Overall, 100 razors for under $10 is the average price to expect.

3. Best For Sensitive Skin: Derby Extra Razor Blades

  • Country Of Origin: Sweden & Turkey
  • Material: Chromium Ceramic, Tungsten & Platinum Deposited Stainless Steel With Polymer Coating
  • Number of Blades Per Pack: 100
  • Cost Per Blade: 0.09 ¢
  • Price: $8.99 [Buy Now On Amazon]

derby extra steel razor blade with envelope & dispensersOpinions can strongly vary towards Derby’s Extra blades. Many users applaud them for being remarkably comfortable when others look at them with scorn because they’re too mild. However, the way you will perceive a razor blade’s quality depends only on the end user.

Firstly, Derby Extras are manufactured in either Turkey or Sweden. However, there’s no indication whether either of these locations produce better or worse quality. Both feel great on the skin and are perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Having been coated with a plethora of substances, Derby Extras create less friction against the skin and provide a very comfortable experience. As mentioned above, they are indeed milder than either Astra or Feather. Yet if you are prone to rashes, this is exactly what you need.

Additionally, the blades come in plastic dispensers rather than cardboard tucks. Although this doesn’t sound like much, it means that they’re easier to store as the blades can be individually glided out. Furthermore, there’s a slot in the back so you can use it to store old blades.

Finally, at $8.99 for a pack of 100 blades on Amazon, Derby Extras are one of the cheaper options available but not by much. That said, they do tend to dull faster than others so you may need to replace them sooner. You can expect around 4-5 shaves per Derby razor blade.

4. Best For Thick Hair & Beards: Feather Hi-Stainless Razor Blades

  • Country Of Origin: Japan
  • Material: Platinum Coated Stainless Steel
  • Number of Blades Per Pack: 100
  • Cost Per Blade: 0.25 ¢
  • Price: $24.97 [Buy Now On Amazon]

Feather Hi Stainless Razor BladesIf you’re looking for the sharpest and most precise blades available, then Feather may suit your needs. Since 1964, Feathers have been made like surgical blades in Japan with a platinum coating.

Therefore, they’re considerably sharper than any of the other razor blades featured on this list. Many consider Feather to be the best razor blade brand out there. However, as mentioned earlier, how a blade rates is a very personal experience.

Consequently, they may not be the best choice for beginners. Feather razor blades tend to be the most effective for thick and coarse stubble as it will seamlessly glide through any growth. Nevertheless, they’re not exclusive to these beard types and you could always pair them with a mild safety razor. However, those with sensitive skin may experience some irritation with Feather.

Like Derby Extras, Feathers come in plastic dispensers, which allows you to easily keep your blades together in a convenient container. They also make disposal a far less hazardous task.

Being the most precise blades, they also come at a slight premium. Costing $24.97 for a 100-pack on Amazon, they’re more than double the price of all other options save for the sample pack. Then again, they tend to be more durable and offer up to 15 shaves each.

5. Best For Head & Body: Shark Super Stainless Steel Razor Blades

  • Country Of Origin: Egypt
  • Material: Chrome Stainless Steel
  • Number of Blades Per Pack: 100
  • Cost Per Blade: 0.09 ¢
  • Price: $8.57 [Buy Now On Amazon]

shark super stainless steel razor with envelope & puckThere are many people who don’t necessarily use a safety razor on their face. For instance, safety razors are becoming popular among women too and many use them for their bodies. Similarly, some men may choose to shave their head with Sharks or even opt for a little manscaping.

All this is indeed possible with a safety razor. However, because the skin is so sensitive in these areas, it wouldn’t be a good idea to use an aggressive blade. Of all the blades tested, Sharks tend to be the best possible razors to achieve this.

Much like the Derby Extra, they’re very mild blades and offer a very comfortable shaving experience. Although they’re not by any means duller, they seem to feel better against the head and body’s skin.

Sharks perform very well on face hair too but they are extremely effective on fine body hair or thick head hair growth. They provide a smooth shave without any irritation. Of course, this is something you’ll need to test on your own skin.

Finally, Sharks are the cheapest of all the razor blades on this list albeit not by much. A 100-pack of razors will only set you back $8.57 on Amazon but like the Derby blades, they tend not to last more than 5 shaves.

Why Are Razor Blades Coated?

gillette 7 o'clock sharp edge razor & tuckAs you may have noticed above, most of the razor blades advertise their products as being coated with various materials. Some may claim that this provides a closer shave whilst others use the fancy wording as a marketing gimmick.

However, there is a lot of science and economics that goes into these little strips of metal. When King Camp Gillette first introduced their own safety razors, they used a business model known as “bait and hook”. Today, this is aptly referred to the “razor and blades” approach on which the company still depends today. However, in 1901 it was an entirely new concept.

In short, this consisted of selling the razors themselves very cheaply and practically at a loss in order to attract customers en masse. However, once they obtained a new customer the blades themselves would be sold at a considerable profit.

In order to cheaply manufacture blades and ensure consistent sales, they were made from carbon steel. As carbon steel is prone to rust, this guaranteed a short lifespan for the blades and customers would often replace them everyday.

Introduction Of Different Metals & Coatings

wilkinson sword razor blade with envelope & puck

Some decades later, brands began standardising razor blade designs to fit on any device. Eventually, Wilkinson Sword introduced stainless steel razor blades in 1960, which lasted far longer.

Similarly, other brands began to coat their razor blades with different materials. Most coatings ensure that the razor blades don’t rust too soon when left in a humid environment. However, others improve sharpness at a lower cost and can even reduce friction with Teflon-style substances.

Many brands tried experimenting with different metals such as tungsten steel but because they lasted so long, they couldn’t sell enough to stay in business. Even diamond blades exist today but their cost is so great that they’re rare to find.

Nevertheless, Gillette still profit from their original approach today with their patented multi-bladed cartridge razors and mechanisms. However, wet shaving enthusiasts can enjoy the plethora of razor blades now widely available from a host of different manufacturers.

How Many Shaves Before Replacing My Razor Blade?

pile of derby shark wilkinson sword & gillette safety razor bladesA frequent question asked by newcomers is how many shaves you can expect in a single blade. After all, this is something we mentioned in our list above. However, it’s not a simple question to answer.

On average, you can expect 5 good shaves with a single blade but you could likely achieve up to 10 if you have fine hair. Men with thicker hair may struggle to go beyond the former. If you’re an average person and shave every day, a single 100 pack could easily last you over a year.

Nevertheless, every blade is different and the end user considerably varies a blade’s lifespan . The way a blade is handled from the applied pressure to the shaving angle can affect this. However, you shouldn’t apply any pressure really. Furthermore, the thickness of your beard and number of shaving passes will also affect the lifespan of your blade.

Don’t forget that personal preference plays a factor in how long a blade is still usable. Whilst most people are satisfied with at least 5 shaves from a blade, others will try to get over 10. There are also some wet shavers who prefer their blade to be perfectly sharp. Consequently, they may only use a blade for 1 or 2 shaves before disposing it.

Finally, the way a blade is stored can impact the life of a razor blade. You can learn about how to properly store your razor blades in the next section.

How Do I Know When To Replace The Blade?

As previously mentioned, this again boils down to personal preference. As a general rule, a blade needs replacing when it’s dull. This can be detected by the razor blade tugging and pulling at your hairs, which may cause nicks and irritation.

In short, if you feel any discomfort, you’ll know it’s time to change the blade. Your hair and skin are the best indicators for this as it’s different for everyone.

How Does This Compare To Cartridge Razors?

vintage gillette safety razor with butterfly mechanismAlthough they contain more blades, cartridge razors aren’t all that different. In fact, some argue that they don’t even last as long and dull after the first few shaves. However, some say that they can be used for about a week or more.

Furthermore, many multi-bladed cartridge razors come with so-called glide strips that contain aloe vera and other substances. These are supposedly designed to reduce friction and improve the shave.

Another use for them is to indicate when the blade needs replacing as they will disappear over time. This tends to happen sooner than when the blades are dull but shaving without it increases friction and tends to be uncomfortable.

Resharpening & Recycling Your Razor Blades

How To Strop A Safety Razor BladeAside from stitching a used razor blade to your cap like in Peaky Blinders, there are ways to recycle old razor blades at home. In fact, you can actually increase their lifespan very easily by effectively stropping them.

Those with straight razor experience may know that stropping is the process of realigning a dull blade by running it across leather. We cover this extensively in the straight razor sharpening guide.

However, you don’t actually need to use a leather strop to achieve this but just a pair of jeans instead. If you do have a strop, though, you can always use this if you prefer.

How To Sharpen & Strop An Old Razor Blade

  1. Lie a strip of denim or jean leg on a flat surface.
  2. Put the used blade back in a safety razor.
  3. Hold it against the jean or strop at a normal shaving angle.
  4. Run it up the chosen surface in the opposite direction for shaving.
  5. Repeat this step 15-20 times.
  6. Open the razor and turn over the blade.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6.

As you will see, it’s very easy and can give you another two or three clean shaves. Additionally, this is even achievable with a cartridge razor! Just remember not to run the blade down the surface as if you were shaving. This won’t sharpen the blade but damage the leather strop or jean.

How To Store Your Razor Blades

Now that you have your razor blades and have started using them, you’ll need to take a few steps to look after them. Firstly, make sure that the razor blades are kept away from a humid environment.

Although this may be difficult given that they’re used in a bathroom, you could find a drawer or cabinet out of the way. Stainless steel may not rust like other metals but it can still oxidise over time.

New Razor Blades

New blades tend to be wrapped in wax-sealed envelopes, which should provide a little protection. Similarly, the tucks or dispensers are often sealed in a cellophane wrapper too.

Before it’s been opened, it should be fine in most areas and well-protected from the elements. However, when this is open, you should try and keep them in a dry area. Otherwise, your razor blades may begin to wear before you’ve even started using them!

After Shaving

As we cover in our safety razor guide, you should always thoroughly rinse your razor right after using it. A good 10-15 second blast of water should be enough to remove any debris and dried soap between the cracks. This should always be followed by drying the razor with a towel to ensure that no leftover droplets eat away at the metal between shaves.

The steps above are the basics but if you want to guarantee your blades a long life, there are some other measure you can take.

Firstly, leave your blade in a glass of alcohol or barbicide between shaves. Rubbing alcohol will disinfect the blade but also prevent any rust from gathering until your next shave.

Alternatively, you can use an oil or lubricant to coat the blade. Various oils can be swabbed onto the blade between uses, which will create a protective barrier against the outside world.

It’s true that razor blades are very inexpensive and it won’t cost much to just change it when it’s worn out. However, if you’re conscious about the environment you may want to take some extra steps to avoid unnecessary waste.

How To Dispose Of Your Used Razor Blades

derby extra used razor slot dispenserUnlike cartridge razors, which are impossible to recycle, you can actually recycle your safety razor blades. Due to the plastic components of a cartridge razor, taking them apart would be a hazardous and expensive process. This is one of many reasons people have turned to shaving with a safety razor.

Firstly, you may want to check whether your local recycling centre is automated. Some recycle manually by hand and if the waste is handled, someone could get hurt. However, this is becoming rarer these days.

If your blades come in a plastic dispenser, simply tape the openings closed and you can throw it in the recycling. Easy, right? It’s certainly the safest option but may get rejected by a recycling centre because the plastic and metal are together.

If not, you can use a soda can as a razor bank. Amazingly, razor blades fit perfectly in a typical aluminium can and you’ll be able to store hundreds before it’s full. When ready, just tape the opening so they don’t fall out and dispose of it in the recycling.

The advantage of a soda can is that the contents are all metal, which may be easier for the recycling centre to handle.

Finally, even if you don’t want to recycle your razor blades, you could always throw them away. After all, you’d be throwing away a lot less than if you used a cartridge razor. Nevertheless, if the opportunity to recycle presents itself, why not?

However, just be careful to put the blades in a container. You wouldn’t want the used blades to rip the garbage bag to shreds or hurt anyone handling it!

What Next?

Now that you’ve read all about the best safety razor blades, consider learning about other shaving material while you’re here! We host a detailed guide on the best shaving soaps and creams as well as all you’ll need to know about shaving brushes. Finally, you can visit the main safety razor page to learn more about shaving with safety razors in general.