Finding the best double edge razor blades can be a challenge. It’s important to look for one that is safe, effective and easy to use. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. In this article, I’ll compare various razor blades so you can make an informed decision and determine the best double edge razor blades for your needs.
Before We Begin: The Russian Razor Blade Problem
A recent, significant issue regarding determining the best double edge razor blades is that one of the major blade manufacturing facilities is in St. Petersburg, Russia (with Gillette owning about 65% of the facility). Due to recent geopolitical conflicts, imports from Russia have been significantly impaired or banned altogether (depending on what country you live in).
Major double edge razor blade brands that are affected include:
- Astra Superior Platinum
- Astra Superior Stainless
- Gillette Platinum
- Gillette Silver Blue
- Gillette Nacet
- Gillette 7 O’Clock (Yellow or Green Label)
- Ladas Super Stainless
- Perma-Sharp Super
- Rapira Chrome Stainless
- Rapira Lux
- Sputnik Teflon Coated
- Voskhod Teflon Coated
Gillette recently announced that it is moving its double edge razor production from Russia to Pakistan and/or China but that is going to take some time and there is no guarantee the blades coming from those facilities will be the same as the blades made in the Russian facility.
So for the purpose of this article the brands above will not be considered. I will update this post as circumstances change.
What Are The Best Double Edge Razor Blades?
Here’s the thing with double edge razors blades–despite what you might read or be told, there is no “best” blade suitable for everyone. Razor blades are very much a “your mileage may vary” kind of thing: there are so many variables involved that a blade that might be great for one person might be awful for another.
Get Samples To Try!
There are A LOT of double edge razor blades on the market. Your best bet is to try several different brands of blades to find the one(s) that work best for you. Then buy what works best in bulk for the best price.
Some shaving vendors sell blade samplers to make the process easier: you get a few blades of many different types. After you decide which one(s) work best you can then buy your favorites in bulk, saving a ton of money!
But meanwhile, here are a number of popular razor blade brands to consider.
[Note: Amazon links used for convenience and are affiliate links. These links go to bulk purchases which may not be appropriate for your needs. Check with Amazon or your favorite wet shaving supplier for different quantity and pricing options.]
Feather “Hi-Stainless” double edge razor blades, manufactured in Japan by a company best known for medical scalpels, have gained a reputation as one of the sharpest double edge blades on the market. These blades have a cult-like following among experienced wet shavers but they are usually not recommended for newcomers.
The blades are platinum-coated stainless steel, providing an extra level of durability, while also shaving without pulling or yanking the hair.
Compared to other blades, Feather Hi Stainless blades are thinner and may be less “forgiving” compared to other safety razor blades. They also have a reputation for having a fairly short blade life: some find that they can only get three shaves from a Feather blade (the rough average blade life is about 7-10 shaves). However, for those with thicker hair and beards, Feather blades provide a clean and smooth shave without tugging on the hair.
Parker double edge razor blades have been praised by wet shavers worldwide and are my personal “go to” blade. Parker’s blades are known for their durability and consistent construction, which means they can last longer than other razor blades (I routinely get 10+ shaves from them).
Their blades are coated with platinum, tungsten, and chromium, which makes them resistant to corrosion and keeps them sharp over longer periods of time. On top of that, they are suitable for all skin and hair types and provide a smooth shave without causing any bumps or skin irritation. I think Parker blades offer the perfect balance between sharpness and cost, making them a great choice for beginner shavers.
A relative newcomer brand to double edge razor blades, RK is an Indian company whose management and engineering staff have had long experience in blade manufacturing.
RK partnered with Henson Shaving to make a double edge blade with extremely tight tolerances on the dimensions of the blade’s mounting area, where it attaches to a double edge razor’s head. While this blade grip may not seem overly-important to the average wet shaver, it’s actually quite critical to better control a razor’s symmetry and blade exposure specifications.
This is another blade I use quite often. It is almost as sharp as a Feather blade but with a much longer life and far less “drama” when shaving.
Derby Extra razor blades are a popular blade choice with many wet shavers. These blades are known for their forgiving nature, minimizing the risk of nicks and cuts, making them good for those with sensitive skin.
However many find they are not as consistently manufactured as other blades: some blades are fine but then they get a bad one (or two). While they may not be as sharp or consistent as some other options on the market, they still provide a smooth and comfortable shave. For those looking for a mild yet effective blade, the Derby Extra Razor Blades are definitely worth considering.
Personna Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
You may find conflicting reviews of Personna double edge razor blades. That’s because there is more than one company with the name “Personna.” And blades are manufactured in a number of facilities. You will often find references to Personna Red, Personna Blue, Personna Med Prep, etc. They are all different blades, with different characteristics and price points.
One particular Personna double edge razor blade is manufactured in the US and available in many “brick and mortar” drug stores. It is not the sharpest blade or the least expensive blade but it does have the advantage of wide availability and blades are loaded into a magazine that, when paired with a twist-to-open “butterfly” style double edge razor offers the most hands-off blade loading experience for a double edge style of shaving.
Wilkinson Sword Classic Double Edge Razor Blades
Wilkinson Sword Classic double edge razor blades stand out for their durability, comfort, and affordability. Their proprietary triple-coating process, consisting of chromium to resist corrosion, ceramic for added durability, and PTFE for less irritation, makes them exceptionally versatile. This makes them good for average hair and skin types, and they are a good value for the money. Finally, their decades of experience and excellent manufacturing process make them a reliable choice.
The Kai stainless steel double edge razor blades feature a durable, long-lasting blade made from surgical-grade stainless steel. Many experienced wet shavers consider Kai blades to be almost as sharp as a Feather blade but much longer-lasting. This makes them good for achieving a close and consistent shave.
The blades feature thicker steel than most blades, which contributes to their longevity.
Dorco ST301 (STP301)
Originally manufactured in Korea (and were very good), the Dorco ST301 or STP301 blade is now made in Vietnam and from most accounts and reviews it’s even better than the original. Often underlooked and underrated with wet shavers, they also offer an excellent value.
Dorco 301’s offer a great balance between sharpness, longevity, and durability.
Merkur double edge razor blades were originally manufactured in Germany but are now made in the Czech Republic. “Back in the day” Merkur blades were considered the baseline to compare other blades with, as they were the most common blades found…because they were (and still are) included with Merkur razors.
Performance-wise, most wet shavers find Merkur blades just OK. Definitely not the sharpest blade out there but most find the blade life good.
Merkur blades are generally priced noticeably higher than other double edged blades.
What to Look for in a Double Edge Razor Blade
Quality – Beware Of Counterfeits
Yes, there are counterfeit razor blades. Why anyone would want to counterfeit such an inexpensive item is beyond me but it does happen until I read that the market was US $1141.8 million in 2022 and the global Double Edge Razor Blades market size will reach US $888 million in 2028. Be sure to make sure the source of your blade purchase is reputable.
When considering a double edge safety razor, the cost of the blades is an important factor to consider. The price per blade can range from as low as under US $0.10 to about US $1.00, depending on brand and pack quantity. For those looking to buy in bulk, you can find packs of up to 100 blades to suit your shaving needs.
When looking for the right double edge razor blade for your shave, one of the most important factors to consider is the blade edge sharpness. A sharper blade can offer a closer shave and will last longer, but it needs to be balanced against the type of hair or skin you have. If you have thick hair or coarse skin, a sharper blade is more suitable, as it may provide a cleaner and closer shave. If you have sensitive skin or are a beginner shaver, a medium sharpness is probably the best option, as it won’t cause as much irritation or cuts.
Platinum, Tungsten, Chromium Coating?
When choosing a double edge razor blade, the type of coating is an important factor that should be taken into consideration. There are three main types of blade coatings: platinum, tungsten, and chromium.
Platinum blades are coated with a layer of protective Platinum Nitride, making them more resilient and preventing them from becoming dull.
Tungsten Nitride-coated blades are known for their resistance to corrosion, making them more durable and longer lasting.
Chromium Nitride-coated blades are known for their smoothness and are also very sharp and provide a close shave.
Each type of coating has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider the type of razor blade that best meets your needs. Each type of coating offers different features and benefits, so it is important to understand which one is best for you before making a purchase.
When it comes to finding the best double edge razor blades, there are a number of interrelated factors to consider: the type of hair and skin of the shaver and the type of double edge razor used all interact with the variables of the blade manufacturing.
Durability – Blade Life – Consistency
Different double edge razor blades exhibit different characteristics as they are used: some get dull faster, some dull consistently and gracefully, and some are sharp then suddenly drop off.
There are three basic types of packaging of double edge razor blades.
The simplest and least expensive is a simple thin cardboard box. Individual blades are wrapped in waxed paper to avoid damage to the blade edge in transport and storage.
Another common package is a plastic frame around a set of blades. Some frames are designed so that a new blade is removed from the top and a used blade is disposed of by slipping it in a slot on the bottom of the frame. Individual blades are usually wrapped in waxed paper here as well.
Finally there is the blade magazine. A metal or plastic frame holds a number of unwrapped blades. A blade is partially removed by sliding the blade out by the center with your thumb which is then dropped into the receiver of a twist-to-open (TTO) “butterfly” razor.
While the manufacturing characteristics of a razor blade are a little more objective, I believe environmental factors also play a role in the performance of a blade.
Water Mineral Content
The mineral content of the water used definitely plays a part in the shave. “Hard” water generally makes a poorer lather compared to “soft” water, making a slightly more difficult job for the blade. I am sure “hard” water would also tend to degrade some types of blades faster, depending on their metallurgy.
Maybe it is obvious but worth mentioning anyway, a blade will have an easier time cutting thin, fine hair compared to thick, coarse hair (all other things being equal).
As an example of how the shave product (soap, cream, gel, etc.) can affect a blade, here is a used blade that was exposed to a bendonite clay-based shaving soap under a scanning electron microscope:
And here is the same brand of blade used with lather from a shaving soap that did not have clay:
Finding the best double edge razor blades for your needs is an important decision that requires research, knowledge, and personal preferences. As different blades serve different purposes, try a few types before deciding which type of blade is best suited for you. The advantage of using a double edge razor over other types of razors is its precision and the quality of the shave achieved from it.
Feather blades in my Jack Black razor have served me well. I get 4 shaves per blade and that suits me fine. I’m 68 and have been using a safety razor since I was 14. The only time I get a nick or cut is when I hurry.
Can you provide the citation where Gillette has announce production in Russia will be ceased?
Just as a Feather blade works best in a Feather razor, so too do Parker’s blade excel in my Parker open comb razor
My go to now are the Wilkinson Sword Gillette blades made in China or India ( Saloon pack) . I’m a 2 and through guy so I cannot speak to their durability.
Do you have a sorce on gillette moving their st Petersburg factory. iv tried to look it up can’t find anything but old articles.
Alex Angelico says
Can’t Beat those Astra’s for all round performance. Feathers a Razor Sharp and can be deadly in a bad quality razor, a nick ends up being a slice.
Large parts of the article have faulty information.
Blades are not coated with Tungsten, Platinum & Chromium.
They are coated with Platinum nitride, Chromium/Chromium Nitride, Titanium Nitride etc.
Tungsten is not common. And is never applied as bare metal.
The purpose of all those coatings is to reduce friction between the blade & your skin.
PTFE also does that, but has a very short life. It’s mostly worn away after a shave or two.
Platinum Nitride is the gold standard for longer term friction reduction.
A few notes:
-Derby Extras underwent a factory relocation like Dorco, and most people agree the new blades have improved quality control versus the old blades. The newer blades are the “horizontal” Derbies where the brand name is written lengthwise on the green packaging. The old stock are the “vertical” Derbies like you have pictured above.
-Derby Premiums seem to be binned for quality/have better QC and are much more forgiving than the Extras for just a little more dosh (at least in comparison with “vertical” Extras.)
-Kais are great, but their added blade thickness can cause some issues with trying to load them into certain razors like the Tatara Masamune, so it’s especially important to buy a sample pack first with them to make sure that they work with your specific razor.
I switched from Harry’s to de razor blades in safety razors during the pandemic. so glad I did. This article on blades is very helpful!
The “overuse” of “quotes” is “super” annoying. “Please” stop
“I” ”didn’t” ” notice” ”the” quotes.” ”HA, Ha”” ” ” ”
I’ve had way too/to/two much coffee this morning!