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What Is The Best Gillette Fusion Proglide Alternative?

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cartridge throne

7 Challengers To The Throne: Harry’s, 800Razors, MyShavingClub, Manpacks, ShaveMOB, Dorco & Dollar Shave Club, and Schick Hydro

Anyone who reads Sharpologist knows we’re all about the single blade razor.  Classic double-edge, single-edge (Injector, GEM), straight razor…it’s all good to us.  But even we will admit–grudgingly–that modern cartridge razors have their place.  Cartridges are convenient.  They’re widely available.  The blade pivot can provide a quicker, more consistant shave in some cases.

Numero Uno?

And sitting on the cartridge throne is the Gillette Fusion Proglide.  For better or worse this five-blade (!) razor dominates the market.  But the price of replacement cartridges has given rise to upstarts who think they can provide the same shave more cheaply.  Sharpologist, with a little help from our friends over at Razorpedia, takes a look at seven competitors.

(For our purposes we’re taking a look at razors primarily targeted to the US.  Yes, we know there are some good cartridge razors in other parts of the world–we’re looking at you, Raz*War and King Of Shaves–but this article will concentrate on the US market.)

The Cartridge Razor Baseline: Fusion Proglide

The Gillette Fusion is a five-bladed razor released in 2006. The Fusion cartridge has five blades on the front, and a sixth blade on the rear for trimming.  There are a number of variations (with some handles incompatable with each other) but the latest incarnation is the Fusion Proglide.  The Proglide features a lower-resistance coating on thinner blades.  It is generally acknowledged that the Proglide design improves on previous Fusion models.  And for most of us the Proglide does provide very good shaves–better than the previous versions of the Fusion–and by most accounts they have a respectable cartridge life that degrades gracefully, which lowers the per-shave cost (we do think that a cartridge lasting an entire month, as their marketing campaign claims, is a stretch.  But two weeks seemed to be easily achievable).

Cartridge prices are easily the highest in the industry: $5 per cartridge (in a four cartridge pack) down to a slightly-more-manageable $3 range for a bulk pack (14-16 cartridges) from a warehouse like Sams or Costco.  You may be tempted to try the steeply-discounted cartridges found on various internet auction sites but be aware there are counterfeits on the market.

Schick Hydro

Schick, the perrenial number 2 of the razor wars in the US, released their Hydro line in 2010.  They have both a three blade cartridge and a five blade cartridge: we’ll stick to the five blade for this article.  They distinguish themselves by having a “lubrication reservoir” on the cartridge and “skin guards” between the blades to reduce friction.  Our testing suggests that the shave is better than their previous Quattro four blade razor (which had a notorious reputation of an overly-aggressive blade angle), though not as good as the Fusion.  It has a very good cartridge life–maybe better than the Proglide’s–with most of us getting a solid two weeks per cartridge (and a couple of us managed three weeks).  However, many reported an unpleasant “gooy-ness” of the lubrication system when using certain types of gels and creams, and particularly traditional lathering soaps or creams.

Cartridge prices ranged from $3.37 per cartridge in small quantities at retail outlets to $1.87 per cartridge in bulk (15 carts).


Harry’s is going for style. One of the co-founders of the trendy Warby Parker eyeglass retailer, Jeff Raider, wants to do for razors what Warby Parker does for glasses: make a razor for a “more discerning” consumer with both style and a lower price than the dominant players, Gillette and Schick.  THIS article at goes into more detail.  And we think their handles (initially two, “Truman” and “Winston“) are certainly more stylish than the typical handle–they look more like a custom pen than a razor.  Both handles take the same kind of 5 blade cartridge.  The cartridges can be purchased in packs of four, eight, twelve, and sixteen (with a cost-per-cartridge ranging between $2 plus shipping and $1.56 with shipping).

Our testers got a fine shave, though perhaps not quite as close as some others on this list.  And the cartridges had a durability that could only be described as average–a week or so.

Updated article HERE.

800 Razors differentiates themselves from other competitors by offering a “burn free” guarantee: “no skin burn, wallet burn, or American job-loss burn” or they will provide a full refund.  They offer both three blade and five blade cartridges (as well as a woman’s razor): the five blade cartridges come in four, eight, sixteen, and twenty cartridge packs, with a cost-per-cartridge ranging from $2.50 to $1.95 with shipping.
Our testers thought the 800razors cartridges were set to an extremely mild blade angle (perhaps this is part of the “burn free” motto?).  Reactions tended to be on the opposite sides of the spectrum: those with light beards or very sensitive skin thought it was a comfortable shave, while others thought the razor was too mild and the shave not nearly close enough.  Cartridge life was about average, a week or so.

My Shaving Club

My Shaving Club offers a razor with 5 blade cartridges via subscription.  You can get two cartridges per month or per alternating month for $5.99; or three cartridges per month or alternating month for $8.49. That amounts to a range of $3 to $2.83 per cartridge with shipping.
Our testers thought the shaves from My Shaving Club razors were excellent: close and comfortable, with a graceful blade degradation and a very good cartridge life (most testers got at least 10 days out of a cartridge).


Manpacks is another subscription service, offering a razor with a set of four, five-blade cartridges for $9/mo ($2.25 per cartridge) including shipping.  We assume that they assume that the typical shaver will go through one cartridge per week.  Our testers were able to consistantly get more than a week, and excellent shaves to boot.  Some testers did note that cartridge degradation did drop off a little more quickly than other razor cartridges.

Shave MOB

ShaveMOB boasts “save 70% on premium shaving razors.”  No membership, no subscription.  They offer three, four, or six-bladed cartridges.  The six blade cartridges have a version with a trimmer on the back and one that doesn’t.  If we look at the most expensive version (six blade with trimmer) the cartridge prices range from $3.25 to $1.67 depending on quantity (all include shipping).  Of course, different cartridges in their line will be lower cost.

Once again our testers got excellent shaves out of the ShaveMOB razor, and the cartridges lasted over a week and degraded gracefully.
Interestingly, ShaveMOB and Manpack razors share the same cartridge connector on the razor handle.  But the cartridge designs appear to be slightly different so they may or may-not be interchangeable!

Dorco (Dollar Shave Club)

Dorco’s 6 blade cartridge have trimmer and no trimmer versions: the trimmer version is slightly more expensive.  Per-cartridge prices range from about $1.69 to $1.22 depending on quantity.

Dorco razors are also used by Dollar Shave Club (HERE is our review of DSC).  Of course, DSC works on the subscription model and will send you four, six-blade cartridges per month for $9 (including shipping).  That works about to $2.25 per cartridge.

Our testers found the Dorco shaves to be very comfortable but just adequately close.  A cartridge typically lasted 7-8 shaves but then degraded quickly.

We suspect that Dorco is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of some of the other razors on our list.
Updated article about Dollar Shave Club HERE.

So Which Is Best?

Well…that depends. 🙂 If you’re looking for bottom-dollar,  Dorco has the lowest cartridge price (in quantity), with Harry’s and ShaveMOB coming in not too far behind.  But remember that the number (and quality!) of shaves you get from each cartrige effects the per-shave cost so don’t judge by price alone.  The razor from is something to consider if you have fine hair or very sensitive skin; however you may not get as close a shave as another alternative.  If you want to buy your razor cartridges under a “set it and forget it” subscription, offers flexible terms.

The bottom line here is we think the shave quality of all these alternatives will get very close to that of the Proglide–close enough that you probably won’t have a problem trading shave for cartridge price.

Extending Razor Cartridge Life

There are also some strategies you can take to extend the life of a razor blade cartridge.  Here is a video Mantic59 made a couple years ago:

Products mentioned:
Pacific Shaving Blade Oil
Of course, you wouldn’t have to worry much about price at all if you shaved with a double edge razor.  🙂

Sharpologist Staff

Sharpologist Staff

37 thoughts on “What Is The Best Gillette Fusion Proglide Alternative?”

  1. I have the Fusion proglide, as well as the old fashioned razor. But my razors clog up fast on my cheeks, and the double edge razor with a fresh blade in there will tear my neck up. I may be to rough with shaving however. The double edge will definitely take care of any ingrown hairs on my cheeks. I need to see if there is a stronger double edge blade out there I can use.

  2. I’m disappointed that 800 Razors seems to have moved to sellng blades thru Amazon only and now charges for delivery. H their blades and have heard that their blades and handles are interchangeable with Personna Caliber model. Can anyone confirm?

    1. I am disappointed about 800razors, as well. Shave Mob bought out 800razors, and are now selling re-branded Dorco razors, same as Dollar Shave Club. I wish I could find some more 800Razors to stock up on. For me they are superior to Harry’s and Dorco.

  3. I started shaving in the early 1970’s, and the razor I learned with and used until 1980 was Gillette’s Trac II. I started using a Gillette Adjustable DE razor in 1980, and went to the Schick Injector razor in 1982. I still used the Trac II off and on, until 1989, when Gillette came out with The Sensor. To this day, this is still my all time favorite cartridge razor, and it will out shave any of those 3, 4 ,5 and 6 blade razors IMHO. The only two razors I use now are the Merkur 36C Long Handle and the Gillette Sensor, and when you combine those razors with Mantic59’s face prep tips, you can’t lose.

  4. Cartridges that are stored wet in a 50/50 mix of glycerin and water last for months. Don’t let the blade dry out as the mineral deposits left behind by the dried water dull the blade. The glycerin can be purchased at any drug store. It keeps the blade lubed and prevents bacterial growth in the solution.

  5. I’ve heard that pouring a bit of cheap rubbing alcohol over the blade after shaving helps dry out the blades. Any truth? Also, is an off brand baby oil a good option vs. the olive oil or the mentioned vegetable oil for coating the blade?

  6. Please review the Feather cartridge razor system and blades, as sold on Amazon, Bullgoose, Lee’s Razors, West Coast Shave etc. US vendors sell the M3 Neo handle; UK vendors sell the previous FII handle. Then there is the Feather Samurai edge handle and blades sold mostly on ebay.
    One advantage is that cartridges for each model fit all other handles.
    Which handles are the best?Which blades are the best? What combo makes the best value?

  7. Would love to see alternatives to the fusion that fit fusion handles (if that’s even possible). I’ve got a great razor from the art of shaving that I would hate to give up, but would need a blade to fit. Any ideas if any of these companies have blades that fit?

    1. Also wondering what thoughts you have on razor life when not shaving daily? Would a comfort strip blade last as long if you shaved every other day or so? It seems like the strip on the blade tends to dry out when I shave this way, and then of course instead of 10-14 shaves with an effective comfort strip, you would have a dried out strip after only 5 or more shaves?

  8. Hey Sharpologist, Could you please also review the razors at I have been using their High Performance razor blades for about a year now and would like to know how you guys think they compare with all the other companies you listed in your review. Thanks. Mike.

  9. It’s about the shaving cream. I have sensitive skin and I’ve used every major razor brand on the market with varying degrees of razor burn. I switched to soap and a brush and my razor burn went away. I use a Dorco razor for $1.40 a cartridge from Sam’s Club. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference from Dorco and the Gillette Fusion as long as the blade is sharp. Chemicals like aerosol and alcohol found in the mass market stuff dry out the skin. Alcohol aftershave feels cool, but just makes the problem worse. Seriously, don’t waste your money on those overpriced razors. Instead, use a good moisturizing shaving cream or soap. If you’re thinking about Dollar Shave Club…don’t. Buy it straight from for half the cost.

  10. Pingback: Wall Street National | 5 ways to save on shaving - Wall Street National

  11. I am not a fan of those types of shaving tools. I for one prefer the feel and look of old style shaving product like Merkur safety razor. Call me old fashion but I find the old ways better for the skin, and it’s the best way to get a comfortable shave. Did I say it was cheaper too!

  12. Thanks for the article. I too agree that cartridges have their place. Our Classic Shave Cream is so smooth and luxurious it doesn’t require a shaving brush. With an extremely moisturising formula we created the best non lathering shave cream available.

  13. I tried going back to a DE razor for a while (about a month). Every time was pretty much of a adventure. Where will I have scabs today from nicking myself? I like the lesser cost of DEs. But I get a comfortable, painless, and bloodless shave using the Gillette Fusion razor. They last two weeks for me. I would be glad if I could successfully use DE razors instead. But it just was not a good thing for me.

  14. Just what I was looking for. I have tried Harrys, Dollar shave and gave a my shaving club a shot, was impressed to say the least. Shave is as close as a gillette fusion. But still cant beat DE for the price though.

  15. The main problem that I have with cartridge is that the get clogged. This is a problem for me because the stubble goes back into my skin clogging my acne prone skin. I usually shave with a straight but when I am in a hurry I grab my merkur futur and do 2-3 passes on 5-6 setting with a feather out astra blade.

  16. Who needs 3, 4, and 5 blade razors. Sometimes I use my Fatip Grande or my Edwin Jagger DE 86 when I have the time for a traditional wet shave. For my everyday shaving needs, I prefer the Gillette Trac II— 1970’s-tech. I could buy Personna replacement cartridges (They’re just good as Gillette’s blades for over half the price cheaper.) in allotments of fifty for 20-25 bucks online, which last me a whole year if I got about a week per blade. By the way, I have coarse whiskers that are stubborn to shave off. The Trac II with Personna blades on it mows through my wiry stubble with ease in a very timely and efficient manner. Peace.

  17. Thanks for the article. I too agree that cartridges have their place. However, I think that even the alternatives to the Fusion ProGlide presented here are still too expensive.
    Here’s my alternative: Target’s Up&Up brand twin-blade disposable razors with a pivot head. A 12 pack of these cost $2.74 at my local Target. At approx. 23 cents a razor, that’s cheaper than a lot of DE blades! The package says they’re made in the USA and based on how they look I’m 99% sure they’re re-branded Personna disposables. Now, before I got into DE shaving I would have dismissed these little guys as rubbish. But, in the hands of someone with experience with the DE shaving techniques that folks like Mantic have taught us, these razors can really be quite effective. For me it’s a win-win; the cost is similar to DE blades and the convenience is similar to cartridges. I personally, don’t have the time for a proper DE shave every day so I shave with these in the shower during the week. Give em a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    1. Dan, I definitely agree there are plenty of additional alternatives in cartridge razors. But we did want to make this post an “apples to apples” comparison to the Fusion. I’m planning a follow-up article about cartridge razors with fewer blades and even lower cost than what we’ve presented here.

  18. This is one time that I can say I have not been there and done that. For the past 50+ years it has been either DE, Injector, or Straights for me and I do not plan on switching anytime soon. I agree with VillageBarberUK.

  19. Thanks for the great review on the overall space! It’s clear there are some worthy alternatives coming to the market in the razor space. For anyone interested in giving a try, use the code INTHEMOB to save $1 at checkout – and let us know what you think of our blades.

  20. Nice write up on cartridge razors. I must admit that I got a close shave with much less time/effort from a cartridge than I do with my DE razor (I’ve been using the Muhle R41 for the past several months now), however, the price per shave is what lead me back to the DE world (as well as the classic bad-ass’ness of it). Cartridge prices in my part of the world (San Diego, CA) are insane, the only semi-reasonable place to buy them out here is Costco and I have not tried any of the subscription places mentioned here yet.
    I find that I get a close enough shave in about 20-25 minutes with the Muhle R41 and either Dorco or Feather blades to satisfy my needs. As far as blade life goes, we have very hard water here so it’s tough on the blade edge, still I shave about 2 times a week and can still get 2-3 weeks out of a blade (this amounts to about 4-6 shaves per blade).

  21. I am a head shaver. Best cartridge razor is the Gillette Guard from India.
    Number one it is cheap. Number two it shaves close at least for me. Extra
    Cartridges are .50 each. You can get the razor with cartridge around 2.00
    to 3.00 bucks. The handle and head are all plastic but I have used the orginial
    Handle for over three months now with no problem. Great shave and great razor.
    Gillette does not sell it here in the us because everyone would buy it and
    that would be the end of the expensive stuff.

    1. “you cannot argue with the convenience”….. but you certainly can argue with the extra damage such ‘multi-blade’ systems cause to the skin! Always remember the lowest common denominator when shaving with ANY blade: you are scraping a sharpened piece of steel across your skin – you WILL cause damage. Therefore, what damage are you inflicting when scraping 3, 4, 5 or 6 ‘sharpened pieces of steel’ across your skin?!

      1. I’m with Iain. I have no problem with cartridge razors, I just wish there were more single blade cartridge systems. I use the Gillette Guard to shave my head with great results.

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