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What’s the Real Cost of Shaving? (Plus How to Save Money!)

What is the Cost of Shaving?

Shaving can be expensive. Really expensive. We often don’t notice the cost because it’s a small part of our weekly grocery bill, but each razor adds up and over the course of your life you’ll spend far more on shaving than you would imagine. 

In this analysis we’ll be consider four different options; the Gillette Fusion ProGlide cartridge razor, Gillette Mach3 Disposable, the Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor and the Braun Series 7 790cc.

Explaining the Analysis: Cost of Shaving

These are some of the most popular options in each category, they are constantly advertised and they are available across the country. One criticism of this study is likely to be that we picked the more expensive cartridge razor and electric razors.

Our reasoning for this is to try and compare an as close to equal level of shaving across the products. It’s useless for us to compare a safety razor to the cheapest razor we could find, even if it was cheaper it wouldn’t speak of quality. Instead, we have tried to remove quality from the equation as much as possible (although we will still discuss it), allowing us to compare like for like.

We will be using the prices from Amazon, this helps to remove price discrepancies from different areas of the country.

Upfront Investment

Initial Investment for each shaving method

Let’s first discuss the upfront investment for each method:

Braun Series 7 790cc - $162.99

Gillette Fusion ProGlide - $12.32

Gillette Mach 3 Disposable - $0.00

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor - $23.49

As you can see, there is a huge difference in upfront investment between the methods. On one end, the electric shaver has a substantial cost and on the other, the disposable razors have no upfront cost. The reason we say this is that you don’t have to buy any device which requires replacement. You could argue that this is the same as the electric shaver, but our reasoning is that you need to replace the blades on electric shavers and therefore the handle and the electronics must hold some value.

Recurring Costs

Braun Series 7 790cc - $79.04

Gillette Fusion ProGlide - $28.47

Gillette Mach 3 Disposable - $41.85

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor - $10.92

As you can see from the chart above, there's a huge variety of recurring costs. For the Braun Series 7 790cc you might be surprised that there is any recurring costs, let alone the most of the four methods. In fact, it could be even greater. Braun recommend that you change the blades every 6-months, at the cost of $60.16 per foil blade replacement. However, from our experience you can make each set last 12-months. Also, you'll need to buy replacement cleaning cartridges for the cleaning station, setting you back $18.88 per year.

It's clear that electric shavers are far from cheap. Sure, you could just choose to not replace the blades, but they will dull and it'll be uncomfortable to shave. Similarly, you could choose to never replace the cartridges on the Gillette Fusion, but the shave will suck and you'll hurt yourself.​

​The Fusion ProGlide needs new cartridges every 6 weeks (on average, from the sources that we read), this means 8 cartridges per year, setting you back $28.47 in yearly recurring costs. Not bad.

This disposables are considerably more expensive, with each razor only lasting 6-weeks, you'll need 17.333 (yes, we like to be precise) razors per year, costing $41.85 in recurring costs.​

Finally, our Merkur Safety Razor needs replacement double-edged blades. In this analysis we're considering the Personna Double Edge blades, 100 blades cost only $12.39. Each blade lasts an average of 4-days, that's only 91 blades per year and with each blade costing only $0.12 each, the total yearly cost is $10.92. We didn't misplace the period, it's really that cheap.​

First Year Cost

Braun Series 7 790cc - $242.03

Gillette Fusion - $40.79

Gillette Mach 3 - $41.85

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor - $34.41

As you'd expect, the Braun Series 7 is far more expensive than anything else. Obviously, it's a completely different shaving method and you're paying extra for that convenience.

​The Fusion has far less recurring costs that the Mach 3 disposables, but with the greater upfront investment they are almost identical in the first year.

Finally, the Merkur Safety Razor is the cheapest of the bunch by quite a way. It's important to note that it's a completely different shaving method to the Mach 3 or the Fusion. With a safety razor you need to apply almost no pressure and shave at a different angle. You can find out more here.​

Cost Per Year After 5 Years

Braun Series 7 790cc - $111.64

Gillette Fusion - $30.93

Gillette Mach 3 - $41.85

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor - $15.62

Wow! What a difference, the Braun Series 7 costs almost $100 more than the safety razor each year. It's clear that the safety razor is by far the cheapest method. Obviously, many people are more than willing to pay the difference for the convenience or their own preference.

Using a disposable or cartridge razor is faster, easier and more convenient for most people. Safety razors need to be used slower because the blades are so sharp. However, many men would argue that the shave is far superior to any other method. The numbers speak for themselves, there's a lot of money to be saved.

Safety razors are cheaper than disposable, cartridge and electric shavers. I've got to give them a try!

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