shaving, electric versus blade

i have never used an electric shaver, i just use Gillete Sensor Excell all the time.

i am considering purchasing a quality electric, but i dont have a clue if i would even use it once i have it.

so for anybody who used both electrics and the blade, how do you feel they compare in terms of

  • time it takes to shave as well as maintain the apparatus
  • cost of maintaining it
  • the feeling, the level of skin irritation

and i would pretty much assume that quality of the result would be superior with the blade, but i am not that much concerned with this.

basically just looking for any kinds of opinions on this.

Well, the biggest advantage I’ve seen with electrics is that you can do it anywhere. I still remember my dad shaving as he drove… which is great for travelling. I tend to use my electric while doing other things (I have the attention span of a puppy on uppers). I found electrics extremely vital during finals at college, for example, and on the long road trips that usually follow. :wink:

<IMHO, here we come!>

It seems to me that every guy goes through an “electric shaver” phase. Yet regular blades are used by a huge majority. that should tell you something.

Zagadka is so right about how electrics can be used anywhere. Hell, I’ve got a small Remington that I only paid $10 for at WalMart that I keep in my brief-case just in case I get a surprise meeting with a client and need a touch up.

Overall though I find that no electric gives as close a shave as a blade.

But even if you end up prefering the electric there is one thing they can’t deal with, and that’s dead skin. When I was in college I used an electric for 3 years straight. Yet every week or so I’d have to use a regular blade and water to scrap off that layer of flaky skin that normally get’s removed with a regular blade shave.
After a while I figured that seeing I was using a blade anyway, I stick with it. Over time the electrics become an exspensinve hassle anyway.
But this is one of those topics that you need to try and figure out what’s best for yourself. Start off with a cheaper electric. That way if you hate it you haven’t spent that much money.

3 words: Gillette Mach III.

Seriously, I know the blades are expensive but they do the job right. I dabbled with an electric for a while, but it never got as close. This really is IMHO territory, by the way.

I use an electric razor. A Philishave 6885, with three circular foils (as opposed to ‘bar’-type foils).

Time to maintain depends on the razor itself. I simply rinse mine under the tap once a week, and recharge it maybe once every three. Many razors, especially the bar-foils, are more fiddly than that.

Cost of maintanance - Depends how good you want your shave. The circular blades take about a month to dull slightly, after which the shave quality decreases somewhat, although not greatly. They say you should replace the blades every year (approx. A$60, your cost will vary), but I usually replace mine every second year. I’ve been using various electric razors for 12 years, and I’ve never had one break down.

The feeling? Not as close as a blade. I’d suggest not shaving in the morning, then going to your electrical shop and testing one to see if you find it acceptable. Also note that most electric razors need bone-dry skin to work acceptably. If you’re even slightly sweaty it doesn’t grip as well. There’s a difference here between bar- and circular-foils - bar-foils are supposed to be better for most, but I find circular foils work better for me.

Irritation? None with the circular foil. Because the blade’s not scraping your skin, it’s not an issue. With a bar foil I had some, but nowhere near as much as a blade. You won’t need aftershave, which to me is the main advantage of an electric shave - I hate artificial scent, and having it on my face isn’t acceptable to me.

I’ve never had a problem with dirty skin that needs to be shaved off.

I like my Remington; it’s one of those flat grill types with the oscillating blade set inside.
My face is mostly beard though, and I think that if I used it on my whole mug, I might get sub-satisfactory results.

What I’m wondering is: are those types with 3 circular blades any better?

Over the last 22 years, I’ve never shaved with anything but an electric. I have no clue what a really “good shave” feels like. The idea of large, sharp blades around my neck has never made me comfortable, no matter the word “safety” next to “razor.”

When my boy gets old enough to shave, I have no idea what the heck to tell him.

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. IMHO is for opinions and polls.

Off to IMHO.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator

Wow, someone else like me. I started shaving only 6 years ago or so and have NEVER used anything but an electric. While I’m aware that I could probably get a better shave with a normal razor, I always have this fear that I’m gonna cut the crap out of my self, which is something I’d rather not do. Also I’ve used two circular foils, three circular foils and I’m currently on a Braun Syncro system with two bar foils. I wanted to try it because of the whole self cleaning thing. I love it. It’s great. I’ve been using it for over a year now, never once had to clean it, and it shave pretty close.

I took a poll on this very subject here. Blades won out by a huge margin. Nevertheless, I’m sticking with my electric. It gives me a great shave with no nicks.

I’ve tried Braun, Wahl, and Philips, and I find that all of them have the same problem-they just don’t shave close enough…I usually have a “5-o’clock shadow” by the end of the day. in contrast, a Mach-3 blade shaves so close that I can frequently get away with shaving every other day. I hear Grundig shaves pretty close…I’d like to try one.
One thing I’ve noticed…the HELLACIOUIS cost of rplacing electric cutters and foils! For example-Philips wants $38.00 for a set of cutters…and you can buy a brand new one for just $15.00 more!

I use the Mache III…BEST.RAZOR.EVER.

Seriously, I only need to shave every other day, it’s so damn close. And it doesn’t irritate my skin, thanks to that weird strip that excretes gel, or whatever it is, on my face.
I have, on several occaions, tried electric. When I first started shaving, I used my dad’s, and found out that I could never, never get anyone near as close a shave with a blade. Maybe I just don’t use them right, but I would go over my face with them, and there are always huge patches of uncut hair, and spots of partyl cut hair, and so forth. If I want to get my full face shaved, and not as closely shaved, mind you, it takes me twice as long with an electric. And I’ve tried a few types, ciruclar blade, the square blade, one of those new Norelco’s that are suppossed to be better than a blade…not for me.

So, in short, get a gillete mach III and never look back.

I’ve used both the Mach III, and the Sensor, and 2 different kinds of electric. I’m back with the Sensor, it gives me a nice enough shave, at a much cheaper cost than Mach III. Actually, I think the Sensor gives me as good a shave as the Mach III, now that I’ve been using it again for a month or so. YMMV, trying out the Mach III only costs $7 or so, and it may be well worth it to you.

You can use an electric at ‘any time’ though I always wound up using it at the usual time anyway. I don’t think the shave is as good, and it takes a while to get used to it. I thought it took longer than a regular shave, because I had to keep going over the same areas multiple times to get it close enough. Keep feeling the whiskers for missed areas, shave again, repeat. With a blade, the shaving cream shows me where I shaved so I don’t miss a spot, no such luxury with an electric.

If you’re just looking for a change, I’d suggest (I do this in every shaving thread :D) trying out a shaving brush. I got a Burma Shave brush and soap in Wal Mart for under $5, dropped the soap in my official Straight Dope mug and I was on my way. It’s more fun than foam out of a can, it’s nice hot lather, and I think it does a very good job.

interesting, i even followed that other poll thread mentioned.

so i just ordered Mach 3 Turbo online. it comes with 2 cartridges but i also ordered 16 extra cartridges, everything including shipping and tax ( zero and zero ) came out to $38.

this does not exclude the possibility of me getting an electric some time in the future for convenience, i just thought i owe it to myself to try Mach 3 first :slight_smile:

but of more immediate interest, i am quite lazy i let the shaving slide sometime for a whole week and then its very hard to shave once the hairs are already long … and from your responses it would be even worse with an electric … so i definitely could use something to crop it up first. something along the lines of a cordless beard trimmer ? like which one ? i dont care about its “precision” just have a device that quickly turns a week-old beard into something workable :slight_smile:


I’m pretty sure you can find cheap battery beard trimmers in most dept stores, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

I’m an electric user too. My problem with blades is that my beard is tough and it requires me to heat up the shaving cream, shave with the flow, and then again against the flow to make it smooth. So for me it takes much less time with an electric, although it’s certainly not as close (and doesn’t last as long) as a blade.

With that said, I’m mighty tempted to give the Mach III a whirl.

I started out with the basic safety razor, Gillette, I think, and went through the ‘slaughterhouse’ phase.

Next was a two headed Norelco, replaced by a tri-headed Norelco.

The only electric which really shaved close was a wet-dry Panasonic. I’d have kept it but the replacement battery was obscenely expensive.

I’m back to the two blade face scraper-I shave in the shower to minimize bleeding on towels.


Another in the Mach III camp, and the Sensor before that.

And besides the usual benefits (much closer and consistent shave, etc.), the choice to become a blade man led to the following entertaining exchange:

Dad: What do you do when you cut yourself?
Me: Generally, bleed briefly, then clot.

I have tried both electric and blades as well. I have to tell you, I prefer the blade, but not for the reasons I’ve seen stated here. I like the ritual associated with shaving with a blade. I use a brush and shaving soap in an antique shaving mug. The whole process of loading the brush with lather, applying that to your face, then removing it with a good blade (and like others, I have to admit I like the Mach III blades) is a good way to start the day. Gives you a few minutes in the morning to concentrate, and focus. Just my personal opinion, and I realize that everybody must find what works for them, but I’ll take a blade every time.