These five blade brands are very popular not only with me, but with most traditional wet shavers. I have also listed an absolute favorite in this group—the blades that have given me the best experience. It will be helpful to remember that every person's skin, hair type (straight, wavy, curly, etc.), beard zones, and thickness are all different. It is also wise to remember that there are slight variations in people's techniques.
What blade is my personal best will not be the personal best for everyone. But among these five blades, you are sure to be satisfied with at least one of these options, though they all have widespread critical acclaim. They are all of superior quality.
If you are new to wet shaving, I would recommend buying a sampler pack to try out different blades. I hope these blade reviews will be informative and helpful.
1. Feather Hi-Stainless Platimum Double Edge Razor Blades
Feather blades are one of the sharpest blades on the market. Feather is a fitting name for them, because that is the amount of pressure you need to use when shaving with one of these blades. Too much pressure can result in irritation or nicks.
There is a temptation, and a stronger tendency among people who are beginners to safety razors and traditional wet shaving to apply more pressure than they need to, especially around the problem areas of their beard. For this reason, I would not recommend these blades for beginners. Once you have become substantially competent in your technique, these are among the highest-quality blades you can buy.
Feathers are more costly than the average safety razor blade, but the quality and the durability makes it worth it. Not only are they extremely sharp, but you can also get about twice the amount of shaves than with some other blades. I normally keep these for about 10–12 shaves, and have even gotten as high as 16 shaves.
2. Astra Superior Stainless Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
Astra Superior Stainless, so far, is my first choice for best quality vs. cost value. These blades are almost as sharp as Feather blades, almost as durable, and are quite a bit cheaper.
Astra also carries a blade with a platinum finish that I have yet to try. They do have a slight oil coating when you first open them. Some people have complained that makes shaven hair stick to the blade more readily.
If the oil bothers you, squirt it with some liquid soap and run it under hot water, and it should wash off without a lot of difficulty. These blades fit all standard double-edge safety razors.
3. Derby Extra
Derby blades are adequately sharp, though not among the sharpest. They do provide a very good quality for the cost. For the price, they are reasonably durable. With each individual blade, your mileage may vary. I have had to dispose of a blade after four shaves, however I have gotten as high as 12 on a few occasions. Seven is about average for the Derby.
Unless you have an exceptionally thick beard, I believe these blades will leave you satisfied.
4. Wilkinson Sword Classic Double-Edge Safety Razor Blades
Wilkinson blades are made in Germany, like their Merkur competitor. They are a bit more expensive than Merkur, but they are of superior quality. They are nearly as sharp as Feather blades, but they tend to be more "forgiving", meaning not as likely to nick with a slightly wrong touch as Feathers.
I would suggest trying these before Feathers to make sure you have your technique down.
These blades, while high on the sharp end, are of average durability, but I found them to be reliably consistent. If your experience is like mine, you are not likely to find duds that you have to throw away after only a couple shaves. They should last about 5–6 shaves before they will need to be replaced.
5. Shark Double-Edge Safety Razor Blades, Super Chrome
The Super Chrome made by Shark is an excellent choice for traditional wet shaving beginners. They are somewhat sharper than average, but are very forgiving, especially around the hard-to-get areas. This blade is highly recommended for novices.
They have average durability, about 6–8 shaves per blade. Their other exceptional attribute is their price. These blades for their quality are very, very cheap.
One point on maintenance as far as cleaning the blade and razor goes—do not wipe the blade with a towel when you are done shaving. Shake it dry instead. Wiping can remove the lubricant coating that is put on to aid in gliding across your skin.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Cerebral Aspect
Leonard H. on December 29, 2014:
Try Astra platinum blades. In a 89lb, they are smooth and cut through a 1/2 inch beard like it wasn't there.