Electric Shaver vs. Razor: Which Shaving Method Works for You?

Getting their first razor or electric shaver is a rite of passage for young men, and at some point, they have to choose their own shaving equipment. Some men just stick with what they've always known, but what if the other method is better? Should you go for the electric shaver, or should you go for the razor?

Here are some factors to consider with the electric shaver vs. razor debate to help you decide which shaving method is the best fit for you.

Electric Shaver vs. Razor

Types of Razors

Unless specified as electric, a "razor" in this article will refer to any non-electric shaving tool. Bear in mind; there are plenty of different types of these razors, each with its own benefits and challenges.

Various types of razors include disposable razors, straight razors, safety razors, and cartridge razors (or classic razors). These all have their own pros and cons and will have their own camps of advocates.

Straight razors and their predecessors have been in use throughout history. Many early examples were nothing more than a sharp edge with a handle, but the straight razor took off in the 17th century. It is often considered the "classic razor" but requires a lot of skill to use, sharpen, and strop.

The safety razor was invented in the 18th century as an improvement on the straight razor. Most disposable and cartridge razors today fall under the umbrella term of "safety razor," but the classic safety razor is still sold today as well.

Disposable razors are basic razors designed for you to use until the blade is dull and then toss. They are on the low end of the razor spectrum but are cheap and easy to take places. This makes them great in a pinch or if you're traveling.

Cartridge razors are similar to disposable razors and have a similar shape. They are easy to use and less costly than many of their counterparts. And like disposable razors, they're made to be replaced when the blades get dull; you just replace the head instead of the entire razor.

An upside of the cartridge razor is that they're usually higher quality than the disposable razor and are more forgiving for both novices and experts alike. They typically offer a better, more even shave and won't require replacement as much either.

Cost

At first, an electric shaver often costs a fair bit more than most disposable cartridges or safety razors. However, with the replacement costs for razors and razor heads, the costs end up mostly evening out in the long term.

If you're strapped for cash, it's probably best to find something cheap in the short run. But in the long run, your best bet is basically to buy the shaving implement that fits your needs. Your skin will thank you, and your pocketbook probably won't take much of a hit any way you go!

Whether you want the best electric shaver for men or a quick disposable cartridge, you have more options than ever before. Don't be afraid to splurge a little and get what you want!

Skill

Some razors and shavers require quite a bit more skill, both with the actual art of shaving, as well as maintenance and cleaning. Depending on your comfort level and experience shaving, you may want to consider some types over others.

The straight razor is probably the shaving implement that requires the most skill to safely use and the most work to maintain. For those of you just starting in the shaving game or unsure of your skill level, it may be best to practice a bit if you're planning on getting a straight razor. It's doable, of course, but there will be a bit of a learning curve!

For beginners, the best shaving tools are probably safety razors, cartridge razors, or electric shavers. If you want a razor, the safety and cartridge razors are relatively easy to use and more forgiving with cuts and burns.

An electric face shaver will probably be the best bet for avoiding cuts or burns and is ideal for many new shavers. It does take some practice and can be an expensive purchase if first starting, but it offers an even look without too much hassle. If you want a closer shave, though, you may have to go for something else!

The disposable razor often found at convenience stores and gas stations is usually not as high quality as one would hope when starting. They'll do in a pinch, but until you figure out what you're doing and won't have to worry about dull blades, it's probably best to learn with a different kind of razor.

Replacement

At some point, most of the razors and shavers mentioned here will need some or all of their parts replaced. Again, the costs will mostly even out in the long run, so this is mostly a factor of convenience and frustration. You won't want to be stuck shaving with a dull blade because you haven't had time to go to the store!

Electric shavers don't require as much replacement, but eventually, you may need to replace some parts. The foil on foil electric shavers often needs replacing every few years, so you'll have to bear that in mind if you go for this type of shaver. If something breaks, of course, you'll have to fork over more money to fix or replace part of the machine.

For disposable cartridges and other replaceable razors, the common recommendation is to replace the blades after 5-10 shaves. Shaving companies recommend shorter replacement periods, so take it with a grain of salt since their income comes from people replacing blades frequently.

Either way, if you don't buy an electric shaver, you're going to have to factor in a steady replacement of your blades (unless you go with a straight razor).

Additionally, it's typically a good idea to have two different razors if you're shaving your private areas. This reduces the transmission of bacteria and helps keep the rest of your skin healthy. If you have an electric shaver for your face, you may want to strongly consider using another shaving implement for your groin.

In this case, buying two electric trimmers may be bulky and expensive, so you'll have to weigh your choices. You probably won't want to use a straight razor at all, so you should decide whether you want to use some sort of safety, cartridge, or disposable razor, or if you're happy with an electric trimmer.

Time

Most electric shavers don't require water or shaving cream, which makes them great for dry shaving. They are often designed to work with both wet and dry shaves, but one of the biggest benefits of the electric shaver is its ability to give you a comfortable shave even if you don't have water.

You can dry shave with regular razors as well, but this is typically only a good idea in a pinch. Dry shaving with a razor usually irritates the skin, giving you a worse shave and more red marks, burns, and cuts.

Dry shaving can save you quite a bit of time, so many people like electric shavers when they know their mornings are pressed for time. Razors typically take a little more care and time to use properly, and rushing is just inviting injury and poor results.

Disposable razors are great for a last-minute shave or in a pinch. So, if you're in a hurry and need to run out the door, the disposable razor may be a good choice.

Sensitivity

Sensitive skin, pimples, and rashes are tough to deal with, and shaving improperly can really irritate things to the point of discomfort and pain. For many men, this is the biggest factor when they decide what kind of razor they want to use for their daily routines. Thankfully, the difference between an electric shaver vs. a razor for sensitive skin is quite clear.

Electric shavers are almost always the best choice for sensitive skin. The nature of the machine doesn't give you as close a shave as some would like, but that also means there is less direct irritation of the skin by the blades. You can still pick up the best close shave electric razor and do a good job, but it's up to you to decide how close you want your shave.

This is why many people prefer electric shavers for sensitive, private areas, as well as for regular neck and face shaving. They don't have to worry about rashes and irritation and can feel more comfortable with their shave results.

For regular razors, a key thing to help is to use shaving cream or lotions that reduce irritation. Some razors are designed to help cut hair without overly irritating the skin, so don't be afraid to shop around for a well-designed razor that is made to help with sensitivity!

As you gain more skill and your skin gets used to shaving, you'll also get better at not irritating the skin. If you're just starting or started using a new shaving tool, give it a few weeks or months before you try something else. It takes time for your skill and skin to adjust, but you may be quite pleased with the results by the end!

Accessories

An electric shaver inherently has many more accessories and tools and is generally more complex to keep track of and maintain. A straight razor also needs extra tools and equipment to maintain it, making it a bit more complex for your shaving jobs.

On the other hand, most men need water and shaving creams, lotions, or oils to help them shave with razors. These will keep your skin smooth and reduce razor burn but add to your costs and clutter up your counter.

If you don't have a lot of space or just want a tidy countertop, the safety razor family is probably the way to go. All you usually need is a razor, your sink, and a bottle of shaving cream!

But if you're excited by the prospect of having lots of options and customization, you may want to spring for an electric shaver. You can add lots of parts, blades, and guards and customize your grooming kit the way you want. It's a lot more to keep track of, but many men appreciate having the options!

Versatility

As mentioned above, it's a good idea to use a separate razor for your private areas than for the rest of your body. This prevents the spread of harmful bacteria, keeping your skin happier and healthier (and your body less smelly!)

For the rest of the body, you have a few options. An electric head shaver is used not only at the barber's shop but is quite popular for many men to use in their own homes. With the right accessories, this can be a great tool for your whole head and face.

Even if you're losing or have lost your hair, using an electric shaver for a bald head can really be convenient. But if you want a closer shave, you can lather up and grab a safety razor or cartridge razor. This can let you get a more even, smooth look while still not irritating your skin too badly.

Men like different options for the rest of their body as well. Many people actually use an electric shaver first to trim most of the hair off, then follow with shaving cream and a regular razor. 

Maybe you really want to make your limbs smooth. You pick up a grooming kit or the best electric shaver for legs and do a quick pass, then swap the shaver out for a nice cartridge razor and some lather. It's fine if you only want to use one or the other, but you may find that it takes more work to get the look you want if you use only a razor or electric shaver.

Final Thoughts On Electric Shaver vs. Razor

While there still isn't a consensus in the electric shaver vs. razor debate, you should now have a better idea of your options for shaving and grooming. Whatever path you choose, you have a lot of great products out there to pick from, so don't feel like you have to settle for a bad shave! 

If you have questions about this topic or shaving and shaving products in general, we'd love to help! Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns, and we'll do our best to get you taken care of.

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