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best way to sample?

thinking about picking up some different blades... been using Derbys since i started, just wondering what are the best samplers and which blades should they have.

brands ive seen recommended ( Shark,astra,gilette,feather) one i noticed missing(from these samplers) was israeli personas ??(red blue meds??no idea) aside from those im not really sure what the core blade choices are, any alternative samplers,core blades,comments in general are welcome.

Crystal Super,
Shark Super Chrome,
Shark Stainless,
Astra Stainless,
7Am Platinum,
Sharp Stainless

Treet plat,
super-max plat +stainless,
trig silver edge,
astra superior stainless+platinum,
nacet plat+stainless,
7 oclock super plat,

Astra super stainless+platinum,
7 Oclock +Super plat,
nacet stainles,
big chrome,
super-max plat+stainless,
goal stainless,
trig silver edge,
treet plat,
lord super chrome+plat+stainless+classic,
shark super stainless,
asco super stainless,
crown super stainless,
bigben super stainless,
If I were starting out and had those choices, I'd probably go with #2. There are at least 5 highly-regarded blades in there, and the others have some fans as well. Seems right-sized also, since sampling blades is a time consuming (but fun) exercise.

You could check out the Vendor thread and visit the sites of our supporting sellers for some other options.
In my limited time here, the most popular blades seem to the following:

- Merkur
- Feather
- Astra
- Personna Reds
- Derby
- Crystal

There may be another one or two, but these seem to be the basic against which most blades are compared. I would recommend westcoastshaving.com. The amazon sample packs never seem to have all of those blades or they have an overwhelming number of blades which will lead to confusion.

If you are intriguied by any other blades outside of WCS's "Choice" sample pack (i.e. Merkurs are not included), you can buy a small pack (5 or 10 blades for a few bucks) to round out whatever sample you desire. The only drawback is that they have a minimum order of $80 before shipping is free, but that just incentives you to try a couple more creams or aftershaves to avoid the $10 shipping fee.
There are some good options here. IMO after I researched available options, I found my best option was to order an assortment from WCS that I chose. They have a huge selection (No, they aren't going to carry all of the above but they do carry 80% of them) and for roughly the same price you can get exactly what you want. Look around, you may find this to be a good option for you. Enjoy whatever sampler you order!
I'd go with option three, i purchased a sampler with similar choices (it may be the same one) and was quickly able to weed out the ones that didn't work.
Another way to sample blades is to make a bulk purchase of a premium blade like Feather, Personna Med, Gillette 7 O'clock (Black, Blue, Yellow, etc.) , or even NOS Iridium Super. Then keep reading the posts on this forum and trade your premium blades with B&B'rs that post positive reviews on other blades.

The problem with the sample packs is that they always include blades that are not often regarded as high quality.
Keep in mind that if you're new to using double edge blades, performance is as much, if not more, a function of your technique as it is the blade. Find that the some of the blades I disliked as a starter are much better now that I've developed better technique.
Tried the sampler route and the only blades I really liked were Astra SPs, Lords (all of them) and--believe it or not--Super-Max (Super Stainless as well as Titanium). Always received Merkurs, Sharks, Treets, and Derbys in samplers and I just don't care for any of them....they did--and still do--give me a very rough, uncomfortable shave (labratory mice can learn...I cant. I just hate throwing something out.) My wetshaving experience completely changed when I discovered Gillette's 7 O'Clock line up. Just buy a pack of 7 O'Clock yellows, greens, blues, and blacks and you'll see what I mean.
im not "new" maybe just newish..ive been using DE's for a few months (bought a bulk pack of derbys) which i prefer to 2-3or5 blade razors, i just have some trouble getting a 'good' shave on my neck (especially the right side)

i thought that another blade brand might provide superior results; but smaller packs of blades aren't readily available and 99% of samplers are missing what i view as the core choices and are usually choc full of filler blades, i may just wait and see if any better samplers become available or maybe talk myself into buying one of the huge samplers.
IMHO Be sure the sampler contains Feathers and Astras.

Super Iridiums if you can find them, but you probably won't right now. Personna Med Preps belong there also but aren't usually in samplers.

You might be better off just buying a 5 or 10 pack of a few of the highly recommended blades rather than a sampler.
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Posting a quick update... as i could not find the edit button for OP... :001_huh: *for anyone with similar inquiry*

after further review i ordered from 'West Coast Shaving' ....not sure how i missed them, as i believe they have a loose affiliation with this site. needless to say i feel their sampler/blades provide the most value.

not sure if there's any blades i missed(inform me), but i feel like i hit most(if not all) of the big players(aside from super iridium?), so if i dont find a perfect blade here ill just go with what worked the best.

i got
Gilette 7'o Black
Gilette 7'o Yellow
Personna 'lab blue'
Treet Platinum (coinflip blade?)
and a basic sampler with:
Crystal ((or "isreali"??) whats the difference?)
Red Isreali Personna
and the Derbys(which i have plenty of... but w.e)

50 blades : $22 and some change

Also a related question for any experienced members who feel like humoring me :

Does the actual handle/razor provide a dramatic change in shaving?
::i know some razors can be aggressive and others not so much, but on average are most very similar?
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Yes, the razor will make quite a bit of difference! A mild razor can provide skin protection, while a more aggressive razor can deal out a closer shave, generally speaking.

This link in the ShaveWiki provides some information on the concept of razor aggressiveness, and there are a couple links at the bottom of that page that provides some rough rankings of razors in the categories of weight and blade gap.

the blade bank exchange looks neat, i may have tried it but i was looking to sample a larger number with no restrictions brandwise.


while thats interesting, im not sure if theres a direct correlation implied in those tables(or measurements) and even if there was it might be hard to quantify accurately "aggressiveness""comfort""closeness" without trying a good number/range of razors personally beforehand.

that being said i guess thats a journey for another time! in the future i will look into the popular razor choices and there general impressions-though reviews and possibly information like that from the wiki-

------thanks to everyone who took the time to respond-------
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