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Send In The Clones?

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Happily for thrifty shavers in the US, “old school” double-edge safety razors are starting to show up in mass-market retail outlets like Walmart, Target, and similar.  I’m seeing two razors in fairly wide distribution, the Micro Touch One and the Van Der Hagen Traditional Safety Razor.  I also see that Dorco has launched their Dorco Prime kit with a double edge razor.  Outwardly these three razors look identical.  But are they?

What Comes In The Packages?

The Micro Touch One package found in stores is a bit different than the original “as seen on TV” kit (video and review of the original HERE): along with the razor you get a razor stand and 12 blades (Dorco ST300’s.  Dorco tells me they did not supply the blades directly; they must have been purchased on the wholesale market).  As you might suspect, prices for this kit very widely: I’ve seen it go for anywhere from about $12 to $20.  Interestingly I see these units more in store end-caps and check-out areas than I do in the shaving section.
The Van Der Hagen Traditional Safety Razor is the razor and five self-branded blades.  I’ve seen the price vary from about $15 to $20 depending on the store.  Unlike the Micro Touch One, the Van Der Hagen razor is actually found in the shaving isle!  Yay!
The Dorco Prime package contains the razor, 30 Dorco ST301 blades (the difference between ST300 and ST301 blades?  The ‘301 blades are PTFE-coated for a smoother shave feel), and a travel case with a little mirror in it.  The Dorco Prime package goes for $17-20 online, depending on source.


From a purely visual perspective, all three razors look identical:
clone razors
As you can see, they are all twist-to-open (TTO), with a “jewel” texture handle and no manufacturing identification.  Most shave nerds (including myself) notice a more-than-passing resemblance to the Weishi 9306-F razor, itself a far-eastern copy of a 1960’s Gillette Superspeed razor.  However, could looks be deceiving?  I decided to examine them as well as I could.
From a weight perspective they are close but not identical.  According to my scale the Micro Touch One is 56 grams, the Van Der Hagen is 56 grams, and the Dorco Prime is 55 grams.  Interestingly, my “original” Micro Touch One that I bought “as seen on TV” is 55 grams and my ten year old Weishi 9306-F is 63 grams!  A more recent review of a ‘9506 (which in fact compared it to the Dorco Prime) weighed in at 57 grams.  Hmmm…!  Could these variations be due to just manufacturing tolerances?  I don’t know. From this aspect my conclusions are…well…inconclusive.  🙂

So How Is The Shave?

But when “the rubber meets the road” (or in this case, the blade meets the skin), how do these razors perform?  Are they the same?  And what’s the shave quality?
I used all three of these razors for a time to find out.  To reduce the number of variables I decided not to use the blades that came with the kit but instead use a known blade that works well for me–in this case a Polsilver Super Iridium.  Just to be on the safe side I also used the same shave cream (Wm. Neumann Old Fashioned Soda) and brush (Shaveplace Havanna handle badger–no longer available).
All three of these razors gave me a gentle, consistent shave.  But there were not identical.  The Micro Touch One was noticeably (though not dramatically) more aggressive than either the Van Der Hagen or the Dorco.  The balance of the Van Der Hagen was slightly different than the Dorco, but not enough to make a difference (I doubt most people would even notice it).
Are these razors clones of each other?  Perhaps.  But does it really make a difference?  I propose that it doesn’t.  I could recommend any of these razors to someone who wanted to try “old school” shaving at modest cost.
Have you used these razors? What do you think of them? Leave a comment here!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

10 thoughts on “Send In The Clones?”

  1. I have 3 razors. Two of which I inherited from two other generations.
    My very first shave when I grew one whisker was a Christmas edition, 1947 Eversharp Schick gold-plated razor my dad gave me. I also have a Gillette Tech made in England that I received from my grandfather. Both razors give me fantastic shaves. I have a light beard so even though they both give slightly different results, in the end it’s the same.
    Gillette Tech – This is a two-pass razor for me that is fantastic. Five minutes, two passes I’m done. I think this razor is highly under-rated. I can go 2 days without shaving with this lovely razor.
    Eversharp Schick G3 – This is a one-pass with the grain against the grain razor. Shaving with this razor means I can go 3 days without shaving…awesome. I have to ‘focus’ with this razor because for me it’s mildly aggressive and I have to watch out for razor burn. When I started using Cremo shaving cream all that ended…but that’s another story.
    I tend to favor the Schick G3 because of the close, long lasting shave I get. I miss the boar brush and shaving soap but Cremo is super slick and no nicks and no razor burn.
    I rediscovered these two razors when cleaning junk out of the shed. They had been totally forgotten for decades until recently. I had forgotten how satisfying a shave was with either of these two razors. I ended up giving all those crappy cartridge razors to my wife.
    For me shaving is a ‘chore’. When I decided that the extra 5-10 minute it takes with ‘real razors’ I realized the stupidity of thinking a disposable razor could be in anyway an enjoyable experience.

  2. I am new to wet and DE shaving but Van Der Hagen got me started with their Premium Shave Kit at Walgreens, which I bought out of curiosity. I noticed the Gillette Foamy shaved better when I got to the wet stuff at the end of the can. I used it with my 2 bladed Gillette Sensor Excel. Looking about on the internet I got interested in the wet shaving subculture and in DE razors. I just bought a Merkur 38C barber pole. I love the razor and its weight but not the Merkur blades. I bought a variety on Amazon and am waiting for their arrival. I was in Target the other day and saw the VDH blades for $3.99. I bought a pack on a lark and was pleasantly surprised. I think they shave much better than the Merkur blades.
    Anyhow, while you can’t find the more luxurious products in the brick and mortars stores, I do have Walgreens to thank for getting me started into an interesting pastime that just happens to give you a better shave.

  3. The Van Der Hagen razor along with their shave set got me into shaving just a week ago. I don’t have anything to compare it to and I’m using the included blades but I’ve never had such a great shave. Skin isn’t at all irritated, wife has commented on how smooth of a shave I’m getting compared to my old five blade cartridge, and my razor bumps have all but disappeared. I may be using peasant tools but it has worked great for a beginner like me.

    1. I too bought Van Der Hagen razor along with their shave set at a local grocery store out of curiosity. This also led me to this website. But I’ve never had a better more comfortable shave, and I enjoy the process of it all. If a cheap store bought DE does this well for me, I can’t wait to get a higher end razor and blade!

  4. The MTO got me into DE shaving as well. I can’t imagine it as aggressive, I had to use a shim and still it was very mild.
    Looking at the head from the ends I could see the bars were bent up instead of square to the base as I’ve seen in pictures.
    If there can be that much variation I suspect the 1 or 2 grams are well within their QA standards!
    As for the older heavier one, now that the price is up, they’ve probably cut back on the “noble” copper when mixing the brass allow.

  5. I re-entered wet shaving with a Weishi but found it to be lighter and less substantial than a piece of paper, giving me a poor shave. I purchased a Parker 22 and was satisfied with it. It was only about $30 and I considered that to be very affordable. Of course after acquiring many others since, my go-to razors are, in order:
    1975 Gillette Long Handle Adjustable Black Beauty
    Gillette Open Comb 3-Piece
    1912 Gem Single Edge
    1940s Schick G Injector
    Was disappointed with:
    Gillette Super Speed
    ” Adjustable (“Fat Boy”)
    Gem G Bar
    Merkur Slant Bar

  6. I’ve been using the VDH razor for a few months and I like it, but I don’t have anything to compare it with as it’s my first DE razor. I use it with Feather and Derby blades. I’m thinking of making the switch soon to the Merkur 34c HD.

  7. I’d like to know how similarly they shave within their own brand. I suspect at these prices that the tolerances are not as precise. So will the MTO that is more aggressive currently remain that way if you picked up a second or third? I personally could see quite a bit of inconsistency at this entry level which could be tough on those looking to try one of these from their local retailer.

  8. The MTO was the first “new” shaver I purchased (kinda entered wet shaving by inheriting a lot of great Gillettes). It stays in the rotation and is usually my traveller. Has held up quite well and does a respectable job with a quality blade in it. Surely is a “gateway” for folks getting into the DE experience.

  9. Weishi gave me good enough shaves to return to wetshaving after a long hiatus. Build quality is low but it shaves well, especially with a Feather blade.

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