Typically near the checkout line of any major drugstore or grocery store, you’ll find disposable razors hanging on the shelf.
Their low price point, throwaway nature, and convenience make them a suitable shaving tool when you need to get ready in a hurry.
But should they ever be your go-to razor? Let’s find out.
Taking on a nearly identical form factor as the cartridge razor, disposable razors are a single piece of plastic that has a fixed blade attached to it. This beginner-friendly design allows you to get a close and somewhat comfortable shave without experiencing any nicks or cuts.
As the name suggests, disposable razors aren’t intended to be a daily use razors. Instead, they are designed to last only a few shaves at most before they must be thrown away. Unlike cartridge razors, where the blades can be replaced by simply changing out the cartridge, you can no longer use a disposable razor once it has become dull.
Due to the limited use of these razors, they are often found in gyms, airports, hotel gift shops, and of course, drugstores. They are very much a temporary solution to shaving.
Over the past decade, disposable razors have been under quite a bit of scrutiny for their environmental impact. Many razors find their way into landfills and oceans, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. In fact, a study conducted by the EPA in 1990 estimates that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year in the United States alone.
As such, initiatives have started to try and ban the sale of disposable razors in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. We have also seen a rise in the popularity of [safety razors], an Eco-friendly alternative that can last a lifetime before needing to be replaced.
To be fair, companies like Gillette and Schick have started to make efforts to reduce the amount of plastic used in their razors. For example, Gillette has started to use recycled plastic in their razors. Meanwhile, Schick, owned by Edgewell, also has a recycling program in place for their razors.
One of the biggest advantages that disposable razors have over other types of razors is their portability. They are TSA compliant, provide an acceptable shave while on the go, and won’t get damaged when stored in your toiletry bag.
Rather than traveling with an electric shaver that may turn on in your bag, or a safety razor where the blades aren’t even allowed on the plane, disposable razors are a good alternative.
Whether you are shaving your face, chest, legs, or any other part of your body, disposable razors can get the job done in a pinch. While we think cartridge razors are better for more precise and delicate areas, disposable razors are great for quickly getting you on your way.
Based on current market prices, you can get an 8-pack of Gillette’s Sensor3 disposable razors for only $10. That equates to $1.25 per razor, which, when compared to a cartridge razor, is significantly cheaper. Cartridge razors typically cost $30 for eight cartridges, which is $3.75 per cartridge – a 200% increase in cost.
While subjective, the shave quality of disposable razors will often feel a bit rougher than a cartridge razor. This is likely due to a few factors:
- The number of blades is typically fewer, which may increase the pressure placed on the skin by the blade
- The handle is much lighter, requiring you to try and generate more pressure to get a close shave which can lead to irritation
- Lubricating strips are often not as luxurious as those found on cartridge razors
How long do they last
Disposable razors are rated to last up to 10 shaves, but in reality, they often last about half that. A lot of factors can impact how sharp the edge of the blade remains, including how coarse your facial hair is, how often you shave, and how much prep you did to the skin and hair prior to shaving.