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Cheap vs expensive safety razors: does it matter?

Not a case of expensive vs cheap but what satisfying. Some people think its about bang for buck. Me on the other hand is on the quest for the perfect razor. It doesn't really exist. There are some damn fine razors out there for all desires and budgets.

Technique, blades and soaps all come into the equation. A great razor doesn't make for a great technique.
 
I don't think you can say it makes a difference in all cases. Regardless of your shaving style and preferences, there is likely a very affordable choice that will deliver what you want in terms of the shave itself. Spending more may yield tighter tolerances, finer machining, and the durability of better metal choices. I would posit that the Feather AS-D2 might be an outlier. I know of no other razor quite so mild. It is so mild that some find it unworkable, but once they get the angle down, many love it. The other big difference the higher end market tends to offer is razors that are readily adjustable by changing plates. While there may be a few less expensive razors that offer this, the choices seem better in the high end market.
 
Would I be very happy with a full stainless, brass, titanium version of the broman and snmirn?
Yes I would be happy now willing to pay more than 100 usd a piece....hmmm nope.
 
Nothing wrong with cheep. Baili makes a good razor. I have a couple and use them without concern.
My guess is that they won’t hold up as well as the nickel over brass razors, but whatever. That is a decision for the purchaser. Do you care? If not then buy Baili and a 12 pack of Miller Lite then call it a day. If it matters, go to the bay and get a vintage or Razorock and go stainless. Only the buyer can assess value.
 
Prices don't really matter with razors but in my experience, I've had the most consistent, enjoyable shaves with razors ranging around $50. The exception is the Maggard V3A head which is like 8 bucks but still gave a similar shave to the ones ranging higher.
 
Prices don't really matter with razors but in my experience, I've had the most consistent, enjoyable shaves with razors ranging around $50. The exception is the Maggard V3A head which is like 8 bucks but still gave a similar shave to the ones ranging higher.
I would generally agree. My overall best performers (modern) are Occam, Razorock and Karve. There is a substantive change in the quality of the shave with these guys. You can find it in some of the cheaper vintage razors, but then you're gambling on whether it was abused and may not be what it once was, when buying based only on photos. Higher-end, you're looking as much at pride-of-ownership as anything, IME.
 
I used to only use my Merkurs for many years (not "cheap" but lets call it easily affordable), than I gave in and got the ATT Atlas H1, for a lot more than my 3 merkurs put together. The head is more aggressive, which is what i wanted, but is the "shave better"? No, its just different. It feels the blade sits in more tightly, the razor is way more precisely made etc but it did not make me throw my merkurs away. The only real change came to my skill, as i had to learn to handle the H1, and that made me fine tune my technique to the point that the merkurs now feel like using toys. I use feather blades in all of them, to keep one thing constant. So as much as I enjoy the Atlas, it just is a different tool now. I think it mainly satisfied my vanity, and I could have gotten similar skill upgrade with a cheaper but equally aggressive razor. hope that helps.
 
It depends what we're calling "cheap".

I own and enjoy a variety of razors (locked in to the Ds Cosmetics T7 for FFFMM which is a Mamba copy/variant, and will be locked into a Baili 191 for April frugals).

On a personal level, I much prefer to spend a little more for more durable materials, tighter tolerances and better finishing but there are significant diminishing returns involved...

My Mamba's all shave a bit better than my Baili, and they're made of better materials to far tighter tolerances and are much better finished - these aren't expensive compared to some but (for me) they really hit the sweet spot of price vs performance, durability and quality.

I've had more expensive razors than the Mamba's (not in the really highest price brackets, though) and honestly they were no better built and not better enough finished to justify the extra expense (and in some cases significantly worse shaves - my old ATT M1 in particular wasn't close to the Mamba's in the shave)
 
Here are my 2c: until the beginning of the month, I was in Slats6NR's shoes. All razors I had purchased before my Rockwell 6S cost 1/3 to 1/6 of the price of the Rockwell. There are several factors determining the price of a razor and materials are one of them. I don't often see others in this thread like logistics, manufacturing costs (stamping brass vs sintering steel vs molding bakelite vs ...), advertisement costs, profit margin. To answer the original question, I cannot say that the 6S shaves significantly differently than my Merkur 15C or any other I have owned, but Merkur's warranty and build quality does not compare. I have not owned the 6S for a long time, so I still have to see how robust a heavy all-stainless razor really is, but I can say that this is my 8th razor and that all before it have broken (or were poorly manufactured, e.g. Fatip Piccolo first gen) and have been returned/discarded except the Merkur. The cap on my Merkur is not the original one, but the 3rd in succession, which makes it a Frankenmerkur I guess? I also had a Baili as the original poster and it served me well for half a year until it refused to close properly and would irritate my skin (esp. neck) during the shave - I can comment similarly on other former razors of mine.
The OT has been interpreted in different ways so far but mostly warped into: "Is a razor more expensive than $16 worth the money?" Also, several folks have correctly stated that "worth" varies by person. My answer is "yes": recalling my TTO Baili and the slightly more expensive Feather Popular, the latter survived longer. But both are probably in some scrap heap.
 
Technique and experience is the key of a decent shave.

I have around 30 razors (2-3 steels) including REX. But one of the cheapest Rimei 2002 shaves as good as REX. So don't bother to buy expensive razors.

On the other hand, if you are a hobbiest the word "needs" replaced by "acquiring pleasure". If you are hobbiest, life is short just buy and forget.

If one day I decide to be a minimalist I can carry on with my Merkur 37C and Merkur Progress and both are under USD 50.-

N.B. If I became a minimalist I'll keep my Rimei 2002
 
Funny we don't count (and I'm mostly speaking for myself here) the time we spend "in the process" as "resources spent". Is a $15 Gillette Tech, found after God knows how many hours of intensive research/search, really cheaper than a brand new, $80 razor? Is the guy who buys a $100 razor settling for a less expensive razor than the guy who buys $90 worth of "cheap" razors?

I suspect "objectivity" is to blame here. We tend to think of ourselves as objective people (again, I'm speaking for myself), as if that was: 1) a trait to be pursued; and 2) something attainable. Double blind testing is the way to go if we really want to compare things - something that, with the exception of blades, is not feasible when it comes to wet shaving.

But then, aren't we all affected by our perceptions and pre-conceived ideas/ideals up to the point that our actual perception is different? Try drinking your favorite beer in front of the TV when your team is about to loose the Super Bowl. And try that same beer after your daughter has been admitted to Yale Law School.

Doesn't a "penny wise" shaver bring a lot of subjectivity to the table, disguised as purely objective assessment of the quality-per-dollar a razor provides? Take @BigJ 's inafmous Lord L6 razor, for instace (btw, they should pay you for all you've done for that razor, @BigJ ) . We tend to underestimate the non objective rewards that someone who buys a $ 6.70 razor gets from the "marginally inferior" shave it provides, when compared to the all mighty Wolfman; as much as we tend to overestimate the non objective rewards the Wolfmans give to their proud owners.

I spend way more time here than outsiders can possibly understand - or even deem healthy. In the end, I don't see much of a difference in terms of objectivity between all the types that coexist here (the minimalists, maximalists, hoarders, objectivists, crazy guys, regular joes, etc.) - with some exceptions that confim the rule. No one "who's just after a simple shave and nothing else" would be here. And that's what I love about it!

PS. IMO, a very interesting video about how we percieve things (especially the first 5 minutes):

PS2. I've said this before, but I'll repeat it: I envy the "free spirits" here, those who are not concerned about the metaphysical aspects of shaving and just indulge - in either less or more! I'm not naming names, but some of those names come to mind very easily.
 

BradWorld

Contributor
I am a big fan of Wolfman, Timeless and Charcoal Goods razors. Are they worth it to me? Absolutely yes. But saying that, I shaved with a $20 beater Single Ring OLD from 1917 this morning and had a near perfect shave. So as mentioned previously, it’s all about the enjoyment and satisfaction one receives from their shaving equipment. If I did not have the funds for all those expensive high zoot razors, I could live the rest of my life shaving with a user grade vintage or a DE89. But I simply enjoy those shiny expensive toys more. They bring me joy. So they are worth it to me.
 
The cheaper v expensive basically comes down to enjoying something 'special' to use.
If 'special'' is knowing it cost you a lot of money, or 'special' is using something with significant personal value then you will just enjoy using it more.
For me - a £20 Rocket HD takes a lot of beating; smoother than a really smooth silky smooth thing ..
 
This debate is a classic case of YMMV because it is varying for each person.
There are no specific two sides, everything is in the Grey area.

I'll share the budget, satisfaction and requirements for a razor purchase according to my experience.

The amount of money that I can spare for my hobby is a defining factor for the range of products which I'll browse.

In that range, there will be a good, a better and maybe a best quality razor which checks one or more boxes of requirements: tighter tolerance, sturdy material, availability, and company ethics.

I don't care if the razor is Pink color or made to look like a weapon etc.

I'm beyond that sort of limitations, I look for the best possible razor which can give me close shaves, and it's blade exposure and the blade gap is reasonable for my liking.

I got a chance to use Feather Artist Club razor (on loan), and it provided me with a great experience, so now I'm considering to purchase it.

Is it expensive: For me, yes
Worth it? Heck Yeah.

So in this case, this expensive razor IS WORTH IT, and NO IT DIDN'T matter if it was out of my initial budget.
I'm willing to buy it after saving money for it.

Now, somebody can say that there is a Yaqi Barber razor which is essentially the same thing just without the fancy SS material......

Here comes the the argument:
Expensive vs Cheap

This is purely a personal matter, some people have a mentality to get the best possible experience with least amount of money spent, and part of satisfaction they receive is from the money saved.

They are correct in their own ways as long as they can actually get great experience.

My thinking is of the other way around; I'd rather spend a pretty penny on the better quality, original material and be done with the buying frenzy, and happily shave without stressing about the money spent AFTER THE FACT.

One man's expensive is other man's normal, and both are correct in their own place.

Satisfaction from a purchase doesn't necessarily depend upon the price or the material as it is a way of thinking, irrespective of the economic leeway that one can afford.
 
High price doesn't equal high performance. There are some very fancy razors out there that I wish I could own (Timeless Bronze, Charcoal Goods etc.) I love my Rex Ambassador, it gives me the best of shaves. But I can get an equally good shave from my Merkur Progress which is 1/4 of the price. I also have a Karve (A,B,C plates) and Rockwell 6S. Although more expensive than the Merkur Progress they still can't keep up with it. What I am trying to say is... Get a Merkur Progress :001_tt2:
 
I am a big fan of Wolfman, Timeless and Charcoal Goods razors. Are they worth it to me? Absolutely yes. But saying that, I shaved with a $20 beater Single Ring OLD from 1917 this morning and had a near perfect shave. So as mentioned previously, it’s all about the enjoyment and satisfaction one receives from their shaving equipment. If I did not have the funds for all those expensive high zoot razors, I could live the rest of my life shaving with a user grade vintage or a DE89. But I simply enjoy those shiny expensive toys more. They bring me joy. So they are worth it to me.
Most candid and honest answer which should rest this whole debate.

One can get a user grade or a 400$ razor for the same shave quality, what matters is which gives joy and satisfaction!
 
I like something pretty today complaining why someone parked my new car (nice Lexus RX of 80k euro) in front of my house and forgot to give me the papers and keys, the insult!

So I will have to keep my now 9 years old Ford Kuga 2.5... which fits in my garage, most parking spaces, is comfy even doing 200 in Germany. And after 70.000 km is maybe on a quarter of its life assuming we are still allowed to enter a city with an old gasgussler
Oh and I paid 50k when it was new which was a lot but I enjoy it

otoh I enjoyed my first car a rover 3500 sd1 even with all its British charme and class (nice wording for utterly unreliable but breaking to pieces close to the garage). I loved that car, cried when it had to go.

oh this was about razors....

well bottom line more expensive makes it a prettier experience but it is not always relative in balance with the costs.
 
Funny we don't count (and I'm mostly speaking for myself here) the time we spend "in the process" as "resources spent". Is a $15 Gillette Tech, found after God knows how many hours of intensive research/search, really cheaper than a brand new, $80 razor? Is the guy who buys a $100 razor settling for a less expensive razor than the guy who buys $90 worth of "cheap" razors?
An interesting thought indeed!

I wouldn't buy a brand new $80 razor without considerable thought and research, either!!

In fact, I'd probably be far more careful with that money on the basis that the moment I unpack it, it's already worth less than I paid for it (and I don't return things unless they're poor quality or the retainer is aggressively marketing their returns policy as a selling point)... Whereas unless I'm extremely careless in my appraisal of a vintage razor (or get far too carried away bidding!!) I can sell it for what I paid for it, if not more.

In my view, the invested research time is probably similar enough as to not be a factor worth entering into comparison - and this would've been equally so early on my journey some ten or more years ago, if not more!!

The only exception I can really think of is the Rockwell (6S) - that was largely impulse, although the knowledge that I could play with multiple plates made it feel a safer buy...
And in a sense it was a safe buy, if I was buying once and being done with it, it makes a very sensible choice (and I could've lived with that alone - in practice, it fell by the wayside)

As ever, YMMV!
 
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