The Best Cartridge Razors in 2020: Your Complete Guide

black man shaving with razor

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best cartridge razor is, then we recommend the  Gillette Fusion 5 ProGlide as the best one.

So you’ve decided to shave your beard off and are on the hunt for the best cartridge razor to keep your face smooth and stubble-free. With so many razors on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the right one. In this review, I give you the lowdown on five of the best cartridge razors on the market. 

In this article, we are going to review the following cartridge razors

How to Choose the Best Cartridge Razor

While I’ve always been fascinated by straight razors and safety razors for shaving, cartridge razors are my go-to for a clean-shaven face with minimal fuss. They provide a close shave without worrying about big cuts.

Here are some things I look for when comparing cartridge razors. 

Price

It’s no secret that owning a cartridge razor can be expensive. Sometimes, the price of a razor plus a pack of starter blades is lower than the price of refills. Not many people want to pay $25 a month to buy 4 blades. That is the main reason why shave clubs have made such a huge splash in the cartridge razor market. 

Companies like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s are so popular that they forced larger brands such as Gillette to lower the cost of their cartridges and create a competing subscription shave club. 

You need to ask yourself how much you’re willing to fork out each month for those cartridges. Try working out what it would cost you for a year of razors when deciding which is the best cartridge razor for your budget. 

Brand

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It used to be that there were only a few brands of cartridge razor to choose from, such as Gillette and Schick. 

But as I mentioned above, there are now a ton to choose from with the introduction of shave clubs that claim to cut out the middleman to bring you the best razors at the lowest price. 

That means the most popular brand isn’t always the best, and the razors with the most bells and whistles may be overkill. 

Try to remain objective when choosing the best cartridge razor for your needs. 

Number of Blades

I admit, when they first came out with cartridge razors that had three blades, I was super excited to try them. For me, they delivered on their promise of a closer shave over the dual blades, and I was sold. 

But now we have cartridges with six blades. Like many of you, I have asked the question, “How many blades do I need to shave my face? Surely, another blade or two wouldn’t make that much difference.” 

So, I did some research and learned that razors with multiple blades cause the “hysteresis effect.” This is a fancy term that means the first blade pulls up the hair, and each additional blade cuts it shorter. 

Your beard hair ends up getting cut below the skin’s surface, so it does stand to reason that the more blades you have, the better your shave. 

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You should also pay attention to the spacing of each blade. The less distance between the blades, the less irritation you will get because there isn’t as much friction. 

Of course, there are things to consider when considering the number of blades in a razor. Do you need to shave every day to avoid the 5 o’clock shadow? If not, you could get away with fewer blades. 

Also, more blades equals more money, so you need to balance out how close your shave needs to be with how much you can afford. 

Lubrication Strips and Guards

Gone are the days when all you had are razors encased in plastic cartridges that offered little protection against irritation. You needed to use a lot of shaving cream to avoid razor burn.

Now you have the addition of built-in lubricating strips to help protect your skin from irritation. Be sure to take a look at the placement of the lubricating strips. Some have lubrication strips before the blades, and some have lubrication strips before and after. 

There are also cartridges with fins that pull the hair up before the blade makes contact with it. 

For the most sensitive skin, some cartridges have guards that provide another level of protection, in addition to lubrication. 

But as with any cartridge razor, lubricating strips only last so long. Eventually, they wear out and provide less and less protection. 

Your Shaving Needs

Do you use your razor to shave other parts of your body? The top of your head is more round than your face. Your chest may have a few more contours than your face, too. For these areas, you will need a cartridge razor that offers more maneuverability than a standard razor.

Manual vs. Battery-Powered Cartridge Razors

While you might think that battery-powered razors provide a closer shave, there is no merit to that claim. It’s okay to take a pass on them, unless that is your preference. 

The Five Best Cartridge Razors on the Market Today

Now that you know the most important things to consider when buying a cartridge razor, it’s time to move on to what I believe to be the top five cartridge razors you can buy. 

There are razors for every budget and skin type, so you should be able to find what you need in the list below, presented in no particular order:

Gillette Fusion 5 ProGlide

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Featuring five anti-friction blades and a patented Lubrastrip containing even more lubrication than the Fusion 5, this cartridge razor is a favorite for men with sensitive skin looking for a super-close shave. 

You’ll also be happy to know that each blade lasts one month of shaves for most men. You may find that it lasts shorter or longer, depending on how much you need to shave as well as how much of your body you shave. 

Another feature I like is the Precision Trimmer located on the back of the razor. It makes shaving hard-to-reach areas, like under the nose, much easier than with a standard razor. The trimmer also does well with sideburns as a bonus. 

If you shave other parts of your body, you’ll also appreciate the FlexBall handle technology. The razor adjusts to the many curves and angles of your face with ease. 

The cartridge that comes with the Fusion 5 ProGlide is also versatile, meaning it will fit on all Fusion 5 razor handles. So, there’s no need to buy a new razor handle if you want to give this cartridge a try on your older Fusion 5 handle. 

Pros

  • High-quality blades
  • The Precision Trimmer is a feature you will not find on other cartridge razors.
  • The FlexBall handle technology makes this razor suitable for multiple purposes.
  • You can try out the cartridges on older Fusion 5 handles. 

Cons

  • More expensive than other cartridge razors on the market.

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Schick Hydro 5 Sense

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Next up is another favorite cartridge razor for men with sensitive skin, the Schick Hydro 5 Sense. 

Like the Gillette, this cartridge razor has five precision, ultra-glide blades for a close shave with minimal friction. For added comfort, there is a skin guard at the top of each of the five blades. 

The blades remain sharp for up to two weeks of usage, which is a shorter lifespan than the Gillette Fusion 5 ProGlide. Your mileage may vary depending on how much and how often you shave, however. 

But where this razor differs is its unique hydrating gel pools that provide continuous lubrication with every shave. This technology increases the lubrication surface by 80 percent and moisturizes the skin for about an hour after you shave. 

Another unique feature that appeals to me is the shock-absorb technology. It somehow knows how much to adjust the pressure with each stroke of the blade, resulting in a more comfortable shave from evenly-applied pressure. 

And depending on your skin type, there are three types of cartridges to choose from:

  • Hydrate contains coconut oil for normal skin
  • Energize contains menthol for normal skin
  • Sensitive contains an herbal extract made to soothe sensitive skin. 

Pros

  • The continuous lubrication and long-lasting moisturization really help prevent irritation.
  • Variety of cartridges for various skin types.
  • The self-adjusting shock absorb technology does provide a better overall experience.

Cons

  • The round handle with minimal grips can get slippery.
  • More expensive than other razors.

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Gillette Mach 3

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The oldest cartridge razor on this list has stood the test of time. Introduced in 1998, the Mach 3 is still a favorite among many men. In fact, we have this razor to thank for launching the cartridge razor product craze. 

The three super-sharp blades coated with Diamond-Like-Cutting (DLC) technology will give you a close shave without irritation. Some men prefer it to razors with more blades, saying it provides as close of a shave as newer razors. 

For an added level of comfort, the skin guard at the top of the cartridge gently stretches your skin before the razor blades make contact with the hair. 

Then, the Lubrastrip on the bottom of the cartridge helps to soothe the skin after the hair is shaved off and doubles as a reminder to replace the blade once it turns white. 

The handle is also balanced nicely and is easy to grip, even when your hands are covered in shaving cream.

Because the Mach 3 is older, it doesn’t get marketed as heavily as the Fusion 5 series. This fact, combined with a smaller number of blades (three to be exact), makes the Mach 3 more affordable. 

It is an excellent option for men who can’t afford the newer cartridge razors but still want a close, comfortable shave. 

Pros

  • Budget-friendly three-blade razor.
  • It provides a close shave with minimal irritation.
  • Blades last up to two weeks.

Cons

  • The head doesn’t swivel, making it a poor option for shaving your head or other parts of your body.
  • It is an old product line, so it could be discontinued at some point.

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Dorco Pace 6 Plus

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One reason why I bring the Dorco Pace 6 Plus into the mix for the best cartridge razor is that it’s the blade you’ll find on most Dollar Shave Club razors. Not everyone knows this little factoid, so now you have options if you like the Dollar Shave Club razors but want to ditch the monthly subscription.

The other reason why it’s on this list is because of the features. Yes, it does have a whopping six blades, but the technology behind them is top-notch. Dorco patented the Angular Blade Platform, allowing you to get a close shave with minimal irritation. 

The lubricating strip contains a nice mix of soothing botanicals, including vitamin E, aloe, and lavender to work in conjunction with the blade system to minimize irritation

If you are annoyed by razor companies changing the fitting of a razor blade when they introduce a new line, then you will love Dorco’s Common Docking System. All of their razors use the same fitting, thus reducing waste. 

The price point is also appealing. It’s less expensive than the Schick Hydro 5 Sense or Gillette Fusion 5, but it’s pricey in comparison to the Mach 3. 

Pros

  • The Angular Base Platform with six heads provides a close shave.
  • The Common Docking System lowers waste and reduces frustration.
  • It’s moderately priced.

Cons

  • Large razor head makes maneuvering around tight spaces difficult. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Solimo 5-Blade MotionSphere 

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In case you haven’t heard, Amazon has its own line of grooming and beauty products (among other things). It’s called Solimo, and Amazon recently launched a line of Solimo razors aimed at men who want all of the features of more expensive five-blade razors without the high price. 

Featuring five double-coated blades, the Solimo 5-Blade MotionSphere definitely provides a clean shave. The dual lubricating strips give an added layer of comfort with vitamin E, reducing irritation. 

The head also pivots from front to back and side to side so you can shave all of the contours of your face with ease. The pivoting head also works well for shaving your head and other body parts. 

Note that you can use the ergonomic handle with the three-bladed version of this brand, reducing waste and frustration. 

Pros

  • Best value for five-blade razor head.
  • The blades are easy to clean with their anti-clog design. 
  • Great refund policy. 

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain that they don’t get as close a shave as with more expensive five-blade systems.
  • Blades don’t last as long as the more expensive cartridge razors. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

My Favorite Pick

So, by now you must be wondering which one of these five recommended razors is the best cartridge razor. 

For me, it’s the Gillette Fusion 5 ProGlide. While it is more expensive than some of the other razors I reviewed, the blades are the best I have ever tried in terms of providing a close shave with the least amount of irritation. 

Plus, the blades last longer than any other cartridges on this list, so for me, it evens out the cost. I don’t have to buy more blades to compensate for the shorter lifespan of cheaper blades. You really can’t go wrong with a trusted brand like Gillette, either. 

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