Jordan versus Lebron. Batman against Superman. Jay Gatsby versus common sense. The biggest all-time battles between some of the best to ever do it. And since the new year began, I’ve waged my own: Harry’s versus Dollar Shave Club versus Gillette to determine who are the best subscription razor on the market because dudes need to know.
Buying a reusable razor shouldn’t be something you buy off the shelf. With grooming being an essential part of men’s self-care and enclothed cognition, your razor should represent you. A razor that provides you a robust and close shave without cuts and nicks along the way. A company that best describes your interests. A product for positive masculinity.
So after a couple weeks of frequent shaves using each of Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette’s subscription razors, which one makes the cut as the best available? Check out my in-depth review of all three as I highlight the positives, negatives and let you know once and for all which subscription razor service you should be signing up for.
What should you look for in a reusable razor?
While you might think these are disposable razors, the truth is that all three between Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette is they’re actually considered reusable razors.
A disposable razor is a razor that you use a maximum of 10 times (probably closer to 3-4) before throwing away the whole thing. In contrast, a reusable razor has a razor head that you can replace after a couple of uses. These are called blade cartridges. For a reusable razor, you’re really going to want to pick a good, sturdy handle.
So let’s talk about handles for a minute. There’s a ton of options available, and I mean an absolute ton. If you go to your local grocery store or pharmacy, you’ll find stuff like the Gillette Proglide for less than $15. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, there’s an Ivory Handle from Art of Shaving that’s over $100. To be honest, there really isn’t a need for something that expensive, and all three of the subscription razors provide handles with their service. Before working on this review, I used the same Proglide handle for a couple of years (I’d replace it once a year, if that).
The only time I’d suggest looking for something special when purchasing a reusable razor handle, it’d be if you’re a shower shaver. If you’re a dude who prefers to do all of your grooming in the bath, something like The Winston, or really anything with a rubberized handle.
The other aspect of a reusable razor to think about is the blades or cartridges. Go to any razor section, and you’ll be bombarded with a vast selection of options ranging from two blades to five blades. Research tells us that the more blades you use, the closer the shave. That being said, the closeness of your shave is really dependent on how you shave.
When choosing between Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette, you should look for a couple of things in your reusable razor. The first is obviously comfort. Does this razor cut my skin? Second, how close is my shave? And lastly, the quality of the handle/blades. For the quality of the handle, it’s one of those things where you’ll just know. You’ll pick it up and immediately be able to tell if it’s sturdy or made from something cheap. As for the blades, how long do they last? Around 10 shaves is a pretty good maximum, but if the cartridge is cutting your skin by the third or fourth shave, then you might want to start looking elsewhere.
Why should you trust me?
After being inspired by Ted Lasso, I decided to grow a wicked mustache. And considering I hadn’t had anything less than a beard for what seems like the past couple of decades, I figured what better time than now to test out Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette’s subscription razor service. I would need to shave at least every other day to avoid a five-o-clock shadow from distracting my glorious mustache, which meant each of these razors was going to have their work cut out for them.
I began my journey with Harry’s, then after eight shaves to Dollar Shave Club, and ended my shaving journey with Gillette. Each razor was given a fair shake, and I tried to use all of the additional products that came with each trial package, so you’ll get a bit of a taste of those items as well.
Other helpful pieces of information:
- Dudefluencer was not paid for this post. We do not accept paid or sponsored reviews.
- Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette did not ask us to write this review.
- I purchased trials for all three of the subscription razor products.
- This website uses affiliate links which means if you buy a product from a link on our site, we might make a couple of bucks.
- Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette are not reviewing or editing this review before publication.
Harry’s was founded on a simple concept: create simple, high-quality products that felt good to use, all at a fair price. The company charges $5 for their trial. It includes a weighted rubberized handle, one five-blade cartridge, foaming shave gel, and a travel blade cover. For refills, Harry’s charges $15 for eight blades or $21 if you want to include another bottle of shave gel.
Signing up was super easy; just fill out a couple of forms, choose the color of your handle, and you’re all set to go. For an extra $10, you can also pick up a graphite handle, but I decided to keep it simple for the sake of this review. Within a couple of days, my Harry’s box arrived.
As the first of my subscription razors to arrive, I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting Harry’s made their box look. The razor itself comes in a neat looking, stylized box, and it felt like I was opening an experience more than just a razor. It actually made me kind of excited to shave.
Now, onto the good stuff. The handle you get from Harry’s is considered The Truman Handle. My initial thoughts were about how impressed I was with the feel quality of the handle. Its rubberized grip felt like it would work great in the shower (and it did a decent enough job), and the Truman had a hefty weight to it. Immediately I noticed a difference between this handle and the typical off-the-shelf ones.
The cartridges come on and off relatively quickly. Still, it’s the area around the cartridge that feels the worst about Harry’s Truman handle. The actual plastic piece that holds the cartridge in place feels firm, but the mechanism that pops the cartridge on and off feels a bit flimsy.
While using Harry’s handle, I was impressed by how natural it felt. Shaving was easy; it didn’t slip out of my hands at all—definitely an excellent handle for the price.
This will probably be the most challenging section for me to parse through because it was my favorite and least favorite shave. If that doesn’t make sense, I’ll do my best to explain it in a second.
Harry’s subscription razor cartridges feature five-blades, with a precision trimmer blade to help get those more difficult spaces. There’s also a lubrication strip to help the razor glide over your face and provide an even, clean shave.
Shaving-wise, Harry’s subscription razor was my favorite as it did a fantastic job getting close to my skin. It was probably the closest shave I’ve had not from a barber in a long time. It was seriously that good. But with that came one pretty big issue: Harry’s cartridges cut me up pretty badly. I got a really nasty, deep cut using this razor on my chin that forced me to stop shaving for a couple of days. There wasn’t a shave that I didn’t end up not cutting myself.
Looking for a close shave, Harry’s subscription razors do a great job with the caveat that they’re also the most likely to cut you up while shaving. To me, the negatives outweigh the close shave because you don’t want to end up with a bloodied, scabbed face no matter how close your shave it.
Two extras come along with Harry’s subscription razors: a travel shaving case and some shaving gel. The shaving case is just a plastic cover you put over your razor head for traveling. There’s nothing special about it, but there’s nothing wrong with it either. It’s just kind of there, and I’m sure if you travel a lot you might find value in it.
As for Harry’s shave gel, I loved it. The aloe took a little bit to get used to as I felt my face burn the first couple of times I hopped in the shower after shaving. Still, the shave gel did an incredible job lathering up and providing a smooth surface for my shaves. I enjoyed Harry’s shave gel so much that I ended up using it throughout my review process because it worked so well.
Harry’s subscription razor set was a mixed bag in every sense of the word. I really wanted to love this package, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in the number of cuts and nicks that came along with Harry’s despite the close shave and excellent shave gel.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is one of the OG’s subscription razor services. Founded in January of 2011, the company was purchased by Unilever in 2016. Unlike the other trial sets, Dollar Shave Club has theirs hidden behind a helpful quiz. Basically, you answer a series of questions about your grooming habits; DSC will suggest a series of products, including body soap, deodorant, and razors, based on those responses. If you’re looking for a complete package from the company, then these suggestions are helpful. If you’re just looking for a subscription razor service, then not so much.
But at the bottom of the page is a link to their trial sets. For $5, you get a handle, two cartridges, post-shave dew, shave butter, and prep scrub. An eight-pack of cartridge refills will cost you another $20. Like Harry’s the moment Dollar Shave Club’s box arrived, I was stoked to start trying out their product.
Let’s just say that Dollar Shave Club sure knows how to package their products. Opening the trial set, you immediately are greeted to a ton of different items: the handle, cartridges, but also a tiny magazine that features articles all about grooming. It didn’t feel like I was opening the trial set to a subscription razor service, but an entire grooming experience. Strange, I know.
Simple with designed grooves, the Dollar Shave Club handle is pretty good stuff. There’s a sturdiness to the handle that feels solid. The rubberized texture on the handle itself worked just fine in the shower with no significant issues.
The cartridge attaches to the handle via the metal attachment at the top and pops off through the press of a button. Dollar Shave Club’s handle is perfectly serviceable. There was nothing about it that stood out, nor was there anything that made me think this product was poorly made.
This was the make or break for me. I can handle a less than stellar handle as long as the shave quality and cartridges worked well. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
There are two options when it comes to blades: a four-blade or a six-blade. The four-blade was designed for a bit thicker beard, whereas the six-blade is advertised as the close shave option.
For my review, I received the six-blade razor. From the moment I put the razor against my scruff, something felt off. The cartridge kept feeling like it was sticking against my hair and, honestly, felt kind of cheap. And as I continued to shave, the actual quality of the shave itself was lacking. I had to go over spots multiple times because the first time missed entire sections of hair. This further irritated my skin.
Needless to say, I did not like Dollar Shave Club’s cartridges. Not only were they irritating, but they just didn’t provide a nice, clean-cut. Hugely disappointing.
If you’re looking for extras with your subscription razor, then Dollar Shave Club makes sure to give you everything you need for a grooming session. The handle and cartridge were small bottles of shave butter, post-shave dew, and prep scrub. I’ve never used shave butter before, but the experience wasn’t as welcoming as a traditional gel. This may just be a personal preference thing. The post-shave dew did a solid job moisturizing my face, and the prep scrub did the same. None of the extras stood out to me, nor am I using them still.
The best part of Dollar Shave Club is that their trial set allows you to try out all of their products. I appreciated giving the pre/post-shave products a shot alongside their razors. At the end of my eight shaves, though, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by the quality of their cartridges. It honestly felt like I was using a disposable razor versus something I’d get from a subscription razor.
I’ve been using Gillette razors for what seems like forever at this point in my life. That being said, I was intrigued to see what their subscription razor service would be like. After a couple of quick Google searches, I ended up at the page for their free trial kit (just pay $4 for shipping). There are two options available, ProGlide or Skinguard. Both choices come with a carrying case.
For refills, you can expect to pay $21 for four skin-guard (or pro-glide) plus a whole bottle of shaving cream. That’s about the same price as Harry’s. In contrast, Dollar Shave Club charges a bit more but double the number of cartridges included.
The most disappointing presentation of all three subscription razor products, my Gillette SkinGuard Razor, arrived in just a plain box. Not much different than purchasing one at the store. There really isn’t much to say for presentation as it just kind of exists.
The Gillette subscription razor handle is a bit nicer than those you typically can buy off the shelf. Made from a solid metal material, the whole thing just feels solid to me. There’s a bit of weightiness to the entire thing, and I like that. But because of that, the grip isn’t really that strong in the shower for you dudes who like to shave underwater.
The cartridge attaches via a plastic clip to the top of the handle. While it pops on and off quickly enough, the whole contraption feels a little cheap. Like if I dropped my razor and it landed the wrong way, the entire container would break.
This handle is relatively solid, but I’d hesitate to pick this one up if you plan on shaving in the shower.
Out of all of the cartridges I tried in this review, this one was by far my favorite. Maybe it was because it was something I’ve been used to, but the SkinGuard cartridge is one of the better razors on the market.
The SkinGuard razor cartridge is unique in its design compared to some of the others I tested during this review. Instead of four or six blades, the SkinGuard only features two raised blades to minimize contact with your skin. There’s also a precision trimmer and the patented skin guard right in between the blades.
This cartridge was the best feeling razor on my skin, with no irritations, no nicks, or cuts. Everything just felt so smooth as I went through the scruff on my cheeks. That being said, if you’re looking for a close shave, this particular razor isn’t the one. The cut length is between Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, but the feel more than makes up for it.
I loved the SkinGuard razor; there’s no other way to put it.
Ummm…there’s a case? Seriously, there’s nothing else that comes along with the Gillette subscription razor service. The case is kind of nice, but nothing that makes it stand out.
Gillette provides the best razor amongst all of the subscription razor options, but that’s about it. The handle, the lack of extras, everything else is just kind of there. It feels like the Gillette subscription plan is more for convenience (which is fine) rather than providing an entire shaving experience.
Best Subscription Razor
This is a more nuanced answer than I would have hoped. Suppose you’re just looking for the best subscription razor/cartridge. In that case, you have to go with Gillette’s SkinGuard or ProGlide package. It is by far the best feeling razor out of all three that I tested.
That being said, when I signed up for a subscription razor service, I wanted something more than convenience: I wanted a grooming experience. That narrowed my choices down to Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. And if you’ve read this far, you probably already know my answer.
Harry’s subscription razor service provided the closest shave as well as a great shaving gel. Opening the box made me feel like I was a part of something special, which I can’t say for Gillette.
So my answer depends on what you’re looking for—just a good razor, then Gillette. If you’re after a grooming experience, Harry’s should be your choice.
Do you have a favorite subscription razor brand that you love that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments below.