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 razors on the market because dudes need to know.
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?
What should you look for in a reusable razor?
While you might think these are disposable razors, the truth is that all three of Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette are 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. All three of the subscription razors provide handles with their service.
The only time you should be looking for something special when purchasing a reusable razor handle is 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, will do the trick.
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-blade razor cartridges. 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’s starter kits, 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? You can’t expect anything as close to a straight razor shave, but these razors all claim to get close.
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 service.
I ordered all three starter kits to see what the big deal was all about.
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.
After eight shaves to Dollar Shave Club, I began my journey with Harry’s 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 razor cartridge, foaming shave gel, and a travel blade cover.
For refills, Harry’s charges $15 for eight razor 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.
One of the first things you’ll notice about your Harry’s Package is how interesting everything looks.
The razor itself comes in a neat-looking, stylized box, and it feels like opening an experience more than just a razor. It’ll get you excited to shave.
The handle you get from Harry’s is considered The Truman Handle.
The quality of this handle is impressive.
Its rubberized grip works excellent in the shower and has a hefty weight to it.
Immediately you’ll notice 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, you’ll notice how natural the whole experience feels.
Shaving is easy; it won’t slip out of your hands—definitely an excellent handle for the price.
Harry’s subscription razor cartridges feature five-blades, with a precision trimmer blade to help get those more challenging areas.
There’s also a lubrication strip to help the razor glide over your face and provide an even, clean shave.
Shaving-wise, Harry’s razor subscription does a fantastic job getting close to the skin.
It might be the closest shave outside of a barber or safety razor. It was seriously that good.
But with that came one pretty big issue: Harry’s cartridges can cut you up pretty badly. Don’t be surprised if you get nicks and scrapes more often than not using these cartridges.
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.
Two extras come along with Harry’s razor subscription: 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.
As for Harry’s shave gel, the aloe vera takes a little bit to get used to as you might feel your face burn the first couple of times you hop in the shower after using it.
Still, the shave gel does an incredible job lathering up and providing a smoother shave for your shaves.
Harry’s subscription razor set was a mixed bag in every sense of the word. The packaging is excellent, the shaves are clean, but you’ll end up with enough nicks and cuts to rethink ordering the whole starter set. Especially if you have sensitive skin.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is one of 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.
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 blade refills will cost you another $20.
Let’s just say that Dollar Shave Club sure knows how to package its products.
Opening the trial set, you immediately are greeted by many different items: the handle, cartridges, and a tiny magazine that features articles all about grooming.
It’s pretty awesome.
Simple with designed grooves, the Dollar Shave Club handle is 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 feels great, looks great, and will make you shave great.
There are two options when it comes to blades: a four-blade or a six-blade. The four-blade was designed for a thicker beard, whereas the six-blade is advertised as the close shave option.
For this review, we received the six-blade razor.
The cartridge sticks to hairs and ultimately feels cheap while you’re using it.
The actual quality of the shave itself was lacking. You’ll go over spots multiple times because the first time missed entire sections of hair. Expect to have irritated skin afterward.
These cartridges are hugely disappointing. Not only were they irritating, but they just didn’t provide a nice, clean-cut.
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.
It feels more like a subscription box than just razors being mailed to your door.
Along with the handle and cartridge, there were small bottles of shave butter, post-shave dew, and prep scrub. The shave butter is a no-foam alternative to shave cream.
The post-shave dew does a decent-enough job moisturizing, and the prep scrub does the same. None of the extras stand out, though, compared to other products on the market.
The best part of Dollar Shave Club is that their trial set allows you to try out all their products.
You’ll appreciate giving the pre/post-shave products a shot alongside their razors.
At the end of the day, though, the quality of their cartridges is disappointing. It honestly feels like using a disposable razor versus something you’d get from a subscription razor.
Gillette razors have been around forever. That being said, you might be intrigued to see what their subscription razor service would be like.
There are two options available for their free trial kit (just pay $4 for shipping): ProGlide or Skinguard. Both choices come with a carrying case.
For blade 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 replacement cartridges included.
The most disappointing presentation of all three subscription razor products, the 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. There’s a bit of weightiness to the entire thing, 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 you dropped the razor and it landed the wrong way, the entire container would break.
This handle is relatively solid, but you should hesitate to pick this one up if you plan on shaving in the shower.
Out of all of the cartridges in this review, this one was by far my favorite because the SkinGuard cartridge is one of the better razors on the market.
The SkinGuard razor cartridge is unique in its design compared to others tested during this review.
The SkinGuard only features two raised edges to minimize contact with your skin instead of four or six blades. There’s also a precision trimmer and the patented skin guard right in between the blades.
This cartridge was the best feeling razor, with no irritations, no nicks, or cuts. Everything just moves smoothly as you go through the scruff on your 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.
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 monthly 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 high-quality razors, then Gillette. If you’re after a grooming experience delivered to your door on a monthly basis, 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.