Wilkinsons Sword Hydro 5 Review - Vs the Quattro and Gillette Fusion

Let battle commence

Disclaimer. As it seems to be unclear, this review is a personal opinion, based on personal experience and may not apply to your past, present or future experience or experiences with this razor. This does not constitute an instruction not to purchase this razor or to use this or any other razor. It is entirely your choice.

I've used the Gillette fusion power pretty much since it came out and never found anything better. So when I saw the Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 I was about as exited as one can get over a razor. Despite having just bought a pack of twenty fusion blades I immediately bought one to try. I did a previous review if the Quattro energy versus the fusion power and found Wilkinson lacking in almost everything but price and ergonomics. Everything of substance the fusion did better. So when the chance to try the Wilkinson apple against the Gillette apple came along I expected a fair fight.

As an aside, just to make things confusing, Schick is the company name when marketed in America and Australia. When marketed in the UK the company is called Wilkinson Sword.

The first blood went to the Hydro 5 before I'd got it out of the shop. The price is still noticeably cheaper for the Hydro 5 cartridges than the fusion blades. The Achilles heel of Gillette has always been the ridiculous price for replacement blades. We pay but we aren't happy and the moment a comparable product comes along with a better price, I'd dump Gillette faster than you can say razor burn.

As the Quattro and the Hydro 5 are similar beasts, this is more about what’s better on the new model as well as a product review and comparison to the Fusion. I should point out that I'm using the Fusion Power and while there are two minds as to whether vibrations are gimmicky or not, I firmly believe they help and I see the results every day. Vibrating types give me less razor burn, a cleaner shave and less overall skin soreness. The reason I'm mentioning this is because it appears there isn't yet a vibrating version of the Hydro 5. I expect I'll get one just to try it out when it finally arrives but for now we're stuck with the lo-tech version.

For a fuller comparison between the Quattro and Fusion, see here:

Firstly although I suppose whether it's an improvement depends, but they now have five blades in the cartridge. As such they've altered the layout, no longer have the strange wire in the back of the cartridge case and have a much more open design. Although it still clogged up, with hair and foam it's much better than cleaning was on the Quattro.

gel reservoir that flips up
gel reservoir that flips up

They've also improved the gel strip on the razor, turning it into a water activated reservoir, a solid lump of putty that turns into gel when you wet it. This actually does give a much better delivery of the gel, which is supposed to sooth the area you've just shaved.

It is quite bulky however, so they've made it to flip up to expose just the razor blades when you want to shave the area around your lips or trim around a beard with greater precision. This is a fantastic system and beats the single blade in the top of the razor as both Gillette and Wilkinson have tried before. The gel doesn't get used while it's in this position which is maybe a loss, provided the gel actually works, which is something I've never been able to discern.

There is a marked improvement in the smoothness as you are shaving. I always felt the Quattro tugged quite a bit when shaving and this was backed up by tiny cuts consistent with the razor bumping along on my skin. The tug is definitely gone with the Hydro 5 and for the most part, so are the cuts.

5 blades and better spaced
5 blades and better spaced
Unfortunately that's it for me. The nuts and bolts of a razor, the feel of the shave immediately after and when your skin has settled a bit are substantially lacking. For some reason it just doesn’t give an even shave. I still had a major problem with a patchy shave that just doesn't happen with the Gillette fusion.

I had a worse problem with my skin, worse than the Quattro even, and with a brand new blade! When I use a razor my skin doesn't like, I not only get razor burn but acne as well. Perhaps it's because I'm not using a vibrating version (I couldn't find one or I would have been using it) but I genuinely found the after effects of this razor to be one of the worse I've ever used. My skin was sore for days and I ditched moisturizer in favor of aloe gel an hour after shaving. I don't start seeing effects like that until I've accidentally used a fusion cartridge for a month! The verdict is quite simple: bleeding awful!

As if to add insult to injury, they've changed the way the cartridge clips onto the razor so you can't use your old Quattro version with the new blades, you have to buy the razor. I mention this partly because examination of the two different heads shows them to be not dissimilar so only a small change could have made them compatible and also because I saw an advert from Wilkinson saying that all of their cartridges were compatible with each other. Of course, this was before the Hydro series.

My advice is think carefully, especially if you've had problems with Wilkinson products before. It is pretty cheap though so if you have the money... As a final word and the ultimate test, my girlfriend, who used the Quattro for about a week before giving up declared the "new one" a potato peeler after one try. We used a lot of Aloe gel that week thanks to to this thing. Frankly I'd rate the Quattro as slightly better at actually removing hair although feels more painful when you're doing it, but the after effects of this razor was a la Airplane! Neither are a patch on the Fusion, which gives me an even, relatively pain-free shave without a mirror.

I consider Gillette to be the Apple of the shaving world (you can see my views on apple here) but until somebody can match them, I'm sticking with them.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I often let my facial hair grow around my beard and mustache for a day or sometimes two.

The Fusion won't even pick up a hair, and without the vibrator on it is near useless for me. I am going to change razors next visit to the supermarket.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hey Earnestshub, thanks for commenting, I do the same on weekends, I always get the best shave if I let it grow out. When I did this with the Hydro 5 it felt like it was being dragged out by the roots instead of shaved :-)

It's funny, there are some people who swear by Schick/Wilkinson and others who describe exactly what I have when I use one. There seems to be a bimodal distribution of hair growth! Hope the new one works for you, if nothing else, you'll probably save a hell of a lot of money!

Elcrappo 5 years ago


Razor burn?? When using the fusion (powered or not powered)my face gets ravaged and during the day it will start burning. Sure it provides a closer shave than the Quattro,but at the expense of a pleasant skin feel. Of course you cant use Hydro blades on a Quattro handle: ITS A COMPLETELY NEW RAZOR SYSTEM. Did you make as much fuss when you could'nt use fusion blades on the Mach 3? ????

Well great job promoting Gillette, my friend, Hope they pay you well....perhaps in form of free razors

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Elcrappo, clearly you are slightly different to me, hence you don't get a good result out of the Gillette products. I feel for you, I don't get a good result out of the Wilkinson ones. I didn't make so much fuss because I expect that of Gillette. I didn't expect it of Wilkinson because one of their adverts a short while ago emphasised the fact that you could use any of their razors with any of the heads. I merely expected them to carry this on, it was a good point about them. As to it being a completely new razor system, I would suggest you look at both the hydro and the quattro and the way they attach onto the razor handle and please notice that aside from a slight reduction in the clip depths and some bits of plastic sticking in where the gel reservoir hinges, they are exactly the same when it comes to the design of the clip. Looking at it, I would've said that the hinge got in the way of their design and they couldn't find a way round to make it the same as the quattro and previous so they changed it.

ps I really wish Gillette would, I'd take their money but I'd still give them a completely unbiased review.

Sami 5 years ago

This is so transparent it's almost pathetic. Disguising a promotion for a product as an "unbiased" review is not a new thing, but you totally lack the skill required to make it able to fool anyone but the most naïve of readers. I guess the millions spent on R&D and hours of work by qualified engineers failed to spot the horrible after-effects of using the new razor.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hey sami thanks for your testament. Please give me a convincing argument for why I should be promoting a multibillion dollar company on hubpages of all things (!) as you seem to be claiming I am. Also while you're at it, could you give a go to telling me why Wilkinson doesn't have 100% of the market if their products are so wonderful? They're markedly cheaper in the uk than all but the own brand disposables so why would I pay more for a comparable product? The simple fact is that for me they're not comparable. Hence I give thumbs up to a competitor for providing a better product. That's how a review works.

Sami 5 years ago

Hey Mate,

I like the idea of a reasoned argument, so I'll bite and let's see how it goes:

I don't understand the point of your first question. This is the internet, the most powerful tool in advertising today. If you were writing these "reviews" on a virtual domain WWW.I-WORSHIP-GILLETTE.COM no one would care about it. But a seemingly sincere word of a mouth from some average bloke on a blog would be more effective. Don't ask me why you would be doing it because I have no idea what your affiliations are and it could be one of a million scenarios. You are writing what I consider rubbish, and that's something I know. Only you would know why.

As for your second question about why they don't have 100% of market if "they were so wonderful", can you please point out the part where I said that Wilkinson were wonderful? I actually believe that the fusion is every bit as good as the Hydro 5, which is a testament for Gillette considering that the fusion is the older product, but the H5 has an edge only because of the lower cost.

What I said is that your review was biased because you were not talking about subtle differences or a slight edge for a product. What you said was, and I quote you:

"it just doesn’t give an even shave"

"I had a worse problem with my skin, worse than the Quattro even"

"I not only get razor burn but acne as well"

"I genuinely found the after effects of this razor to be one of the worse I've ever used"

"My skin was sore for days and I ditched moisturizer in favor of aloe gel an hour after shaving."

"The verdict is quite simple: bleeding awful!"

I bet that now, even before I comment, you are thinking to yourself that maybe you went overboard with these comments. Right?

But anyhow, what you said means simply that the product is complete garbage that no one in their right minds would let our of a factory. For heaven's sake you call it inferior to their own Quattro! Do you know how that looks? It's like someone claiming that they did not like their new Rolex watch because it came from the factory without a dial or a movement and there was a used condom stuck behind the crystal. Doesn't make sense, does it?

Logic says that you are either making it up to promote the fusion, or that you really had these torturous effects coming straight from a slasher movie. I think it's the earlier, but if the later and you really had those effects, don't you think a reasonable person should have assumed that it was particular to their own skin or a faulty razor that escaped quality control? Would a reasonable person really think that something would leave their production lines with these major defects that makes it more of a medieval torture tool than a razor? I think I made my point clear enough.

A side question: Why would a Briton write "favor" and "moisturizer" in American spelling instead of the British "Favour" and "Moisturiser"? I think that even you agree that something stinks here.

Have a Merry Christmas my friend.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author


That is certainly some comment! The point of my question is why Gillette would select Hubpages for their diabolical subversive campaign from the straight-up guy? I mean honestly, if you're going to do it through Hubpages there are a few writers on here with tens of thousands of hits per day, I'm happy with tens, but I doubt Gillette would.

As for them being wonderful, I inferred because you seemed to be taking umbridge to my review you were akin to a Wilkinson fanboi :-) Perhaps my question was slightly unprocessed but I though your comment (actually both of them) were very slightly ludicrous in a paranoid sort of way.

I stand by my comments, they are pretty strong, but FROM MY POINT OF VIEW (which is what this review is) we're not talking about subtle differences or a slight edge FOR ME, that week was bad! I usually test them for longer but frankly I couldn't stand it any more.

As for your paragraph about it not making sense, companies get it wrong all the time. I'm not suggesting that for every male, female, animal or lizard on earth Wilkinson has got it wrong, but FOR ME, they got it wrong, to the extent that their previous product was better. Case in point, look at the reception for MS Vista as an operating system compared to XP.

As for assuming it was particular to my own skin, then yes, I assumed my usage of the Hydro 5 was particular to me.... because I used it. I thought that was fairly self evident. I can't assume for other peoples skin, but though that maybe if people had used previous products and had some of the effects I had, they may want to think about giving this one a miss. (Unless three different cartridges from two different packs were defective).

Your side question, and yes I suppose I will dignify that with a reply (and also a recommendation to get help, the greater Manchester police aren't really after you...) a UK born resident would write favour and moisturiser, however my version of Google Chrome still lists this as a spelling error. I simply clicked and hit the correction without looking at it.

Have a great christmas!

Sami 5 years ago

Well, I raised to the bait because basically, and with all due respect, I wanted you to dig yourself deeper. You are mentally incapable of arguing back and you repeat that same asinine question about why you would be doing it as if it was up to me to find out, and maybe while at you you should have asked me to tell you why politicians lie.

But anyhow, it's interesting to see how your reply, while offering absolutely no sensible answers, digressed into the familiar childish insults about my paranoia and how I should seek help etc.

Your response is typical of idiots and lonely people. The former are always the least likely to recognise that reasoning is not their forte, and because they hate being seen for what they are, they evade responding to simple arguments by hurling insults and accusations. The latter, are prone to emotional reasoning because any opposition to them is considered an invasion to their cyber sphere which is the only place they can feel that they matter.

Your beginning by commenting on the size of my reply was foolish because I'm tearing apart your fake review which is several times the size of my reply. And your claims about google Chrome are lies because if you download it in the UK google will read your IP address and gives you a UK version download with a UK dictionary. That piece was written by an American my friend, and you were not smart enough to change into British spelling when you received/copied it to portray as your own unbiased experience ;)

You will probably delete this or you will keep it then hurl more hysteric hallucinations at me. But unfortunately I have real people around me with whom I want to spend a nice holiday :) So feel free to say the last word then scream "I WON" :D

Merry Christmas to you and have a great 2011 :)

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author


Thanks for your comment, it's providing some much needed entertainment as I'm on the train. The boarders are very picturesque at this time of year although the snow is causing so many delays.

1st paragraph: I repeated the "same asinine question" because it's still the most pertinent question your fairly baseless attack has glossed over.

2nd paragraph: you’re right it was very childish. Your comments have been so ludicrous in their intensity from the start, I didn’t consider you might be serious and hence my reply was flippant.

3rd paragraph: Thank you for your pop psychology, perhaps you’d care to expand it into a piece… I could host it for you. Regardless, I shall share it with my family whom I’m sure will be highly amused.

4th paragraph: I commented on the length of the reply more because I’m amazed you’d bother to be so detailed. Incidentally your replies now total 936 words, the review is 950. As for my copy of Chrome, tell it to google not to me. I vaguely recall being asked to tell Chrome where I was on installing it, perhaps I managed to select USA, after all it is quite close to United Kingdom on the list. Regardless, a somewhat bizarre point but I thank you for proof reading it. Anything more you see just let me know. As a special concession to you and if I can be arsed, in the new year I’ll put up a photo of the times with the razor over the top of it. I like humouring people :-)

Finally, I allowed your comments more to wonder at them than to listen to them. I’ll probably carry on allowing them even though they are mostly thinly veiled insults without much substance. I believe this is known as trolling in the online world. Off your high horse little troll and back to your bridge.

Curiously, what part of the country are you in? Sami is not a very English name.

KP 5 years ago

I have just bought the Hydro 5 after using my Dads Hydro 3. Got both in Wilkinsons, H3 being £2 something (57?) and H5 being £3 something (36?) Cant remember...But far cheaper than the Fusion or the Mach 3. I used the Gilette Sensor 3s for a while, which I thought were excellent (like the Blue 3s were).

I wanted a closer shave so reading all these reviews and knowing how the Sensor 3s performed, I took the bait and got the Mach 3. Rubbish, no two words. I definitely did not want to try the Fusion, or the ProGlide version of it. It just looked like it would be terrible (maybe Im wrong - But definitely would not like to prove myself by buying one - Just not worth that much - specially for vibrating kind, sort of looks gimmicky!).

I definitely Don't want to take the side of Wilkinson Sword Hydro for the minute since I only had one shave (can't say how long the blades will last) but Dad says not long (2 weeks - shaving everyday).

Hydro 3 was miles ahead of the Mach 3. Although I got the 5 blade Hydro for myself, as far as performance goes, I think the extra 2 blades could be a gimmick. I love Gilette for their Blue 3 and Sensor 3, but not their Mach 3 or (without trying - but already discouraged) Fusion. I have not tried Wilkinson Sword Quattro, which many fellow shavers say pulls the hairs but the Hydro systems are far superior to a lot of razors out there. For the price, Id say definitely purchase and try for thyselves!

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi KP, thanks for the constructive comment. The price is what tempts me every time :) it's so reasonable compared to the gillette stuff. It'd be useful to hear the difference between the 3 and the 5!

Edward 5 years ago

Interesting review. I found he Hydro 5 to be excellent.

The hinged head which you flip back wih the thumb to trim boards way better than the utterly useless single blade on he Fusion. That said, i agree wih he review that the first shave did leave me a bit sore...he second didn't though. No sure if it maybe just too sharp on first use bu shaving has since been fine. I disagree that i doesn rinse ou easily. It does his as easily as he Fusion and the head can be flipped back to rinse inside.

Inability to interchange with other model shaving heads (as a critisism)is probably the most stupid and unhelpful comment on here.

James B 5 years ago

Interesting review. I just got the hydro 3 and it's the most comfortable shave i've ever had, even more so than my previous Mach 3 Turbo. With the added gel strip, I don't see how ANYONE could have such problems with such a gentle razor. Then again i've never really had any problems with any sort of cartridge razor, and to be honest in my mind there isn't really much of a difference between any of premium ones. As far as performace and price goes, the best two razors I would recommend is the Hydro 3 and the Gillette Sensor/Excel. Cheers!

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Edward, Thanks for your comment, I do agree that the flip head is better than the single blade, which I don't tend to use at all. For me, the blades are still a little blocked by the plastic surround to be able to clean properly. Perhaps because I'm using a pure oil as an undercoat for shaving it produces more residue between the blades.

The comment regarding not being compatible is there because the Wilkinson cartridges used to be compatible with almost all of the handles. I even saw an advert to this effect.

James B,also thanks for the comment. You seem to be one of the lucky ones.

Curtis 5 years ago a Black dude i do tend to suffer shaving rash whatever i do but found this Hydro 5 on par with the Fusion i have. Just tested against each other like for like for washing out stubble and both are more or less identical. Sideburns are trimmed far better with flip head of Hydro 5 where the Fusion may as well drop their version as its useless. Think his is mentioned on most sites as its flaw now. Cheaper blades will probably see me let the Fusion go and i really don't agree with the post views. Hydro has nice heft also which i liked.

cristian 5 years ago

thank you Lymond, you save my money, great review

ps. unfortunately I' don't receive money for promoting Gillette :(

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Cristian, neither do I... though if you happen to know if Gillette does such a scheme, please do pass me the details.

Ben 5 years ago

Lymond i think the problem is that you have seemingly rubbished an excellent product which is in direct competition with Gillette. This leads one (incl me) to believe that something dodgy is at work like say one of the Gillette sales team under pressure etc.

I had the 5 for xmas.Its a match for say the mach 3 in shave and wash out terms being very difficult to save the 2 but then has a huge advantage with the flip head for getting under the nose.

The suspicion for me is that your review is just too extreme to be real.....or you had a damaged blade.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Ben, first, thanks for a slightly more reasonable comment than most. I think the problem stems from you and others not allowing for the fact that this is a personal opinion. There isn't a recognised universally accepted standard (as say when benchmarking a computer)to compare razors to. As somebody on another hub pointed out, they're probably all rubbish and overpriced compared to Merkur and the likes. The net result is that you and I have opposite opinions but you and others choose to assume that I'm making this up (?) purely because it doesn't agree with your personal experience. While you are fully entitled to post your own opinion re the razor, and I will most likely ok it, it's getting tiring where you simply question mine.

To answer some of your direct points, there's no comparison to the mach3 that I have ever made, and aside from the soreness I get from the hydro5 it's markedly better than the mach3 which I don't rate very highly at all, the vibrations aside.

In this very review the flip head is touted as an excellent system, better than both Wilkinsons previous products and Gillettes current products. I don't see a problem there...

Ben 5 years ago

....but there in lies the problem. Your reply does answer the question of suspicion reg you being a salesman for Gillette because you have just also rubbished their Mach 3 i will apologise there but it does point to the fact that you are not a useful tool for reviewing razors. Why?....because nobody in western Europe has ever critisised the Mach 3. It may well have been compared slightly less favourably to say the Fusion (debateably IMO and many)but no one who has ever used it has called

Ben 5 years ago

it poor or "not rated it very highly" as u put it. Clearly there is something wrong there. Everyone who has ever used a mach 3 correctly knows its perfectly usuable and good razor. Perhaps you are comparing all these against some top professional single blade shave in a barbers.....which is not really what the review is about.

Nothings ever going to match a professional shave!

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Somewhat dogmatic statement there that "nobody in western Europe has ever criticised the Mach 3" I'm quite sure they have. And as a rebuttal to that statement, we're comparing two razors here. By itself and never having used another razor, it is a perfectly good tool. I used it for about 2 years. However we were briefly comparing it against the hydro 5, a newer tool and one that I regard as better in some respects, even as I regard the hydro5 as not as good as some others on offer. Hence I don't rate the mach 3 very highly, there are better razors now out there. Also, this view is one that even the defenders of the middle line who have posted on here have pointed out, see the post by KP.

David 5 years ago

I would agree that the Hydro is about the same as a Mach 3 but with the added benefit of a good sideburn trimmer. Cant afford Fusion really.

I also liked the old Sensor as many often report, where maybe 2 blade shaving is probably good enough

Dan 5 years ago

Just a thought has anyone tried the Hydro 3.

No trimmer feature but easy to weild in tight spots, seems to clean out ok. better than a Mach 3 dunno not bad and cheaper and heavier

Ste 5 years ago

terrible! the blades last hardly any time too!

lastime i had to use my girlfriends razor as i needed a shave bad and this couldn't even shave me

plus it cuts me and gillette rarerly does

-1 out of 10

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Dan, thanks for your comment on the Hydro 3, I'm a little lacking in personal info on that one as I don't own one.

Ste, I couldn't say on the blade time, I've not used it for long enough. thanks for commenting.

Ricky 5 years ago

I think that post by ste with comments like terrible is really sad for review pages such as this, where 1 immature kid can cast doubt on a product by people trying to find out about a product which is probabaly quite good.

No, im not a salesman but the Hydro 5 is a very good product now into its 4th week since xmas with the same blade. Its more or less impossible for even the newbee shaver to cut himself with it but seems impossible for an experienced shaver like myself.

On the note of soreness mentioned by the original article here i would agree with one other poster who said he experienced soreness for the first shave. Its been suberb since. I would say just about as good as a Mach 3 with a trimmer and perhaps not quite as a good as a fusion but which has a lousy trimmer. I also agree that the old Sensor takes some beating.

James 5 years ago

Im struggling to find a difference on a typical shave between the Mach 3, Fusion, or this Hydro 5 and a Mach 3 power i have gained over the years. The outstanding feature for me is the Hydro flip head which presents the top blade of the group within a hairs breathe of the crease of your nose which no other blade can do because of their lubrication strip being in the way regardless of how thin.

It also creates a perfect clean straight finish to the bottom of your sideburn.

You must watch out for posts reviews as one remarkably similar to this mentioned cleaning required to the power trimmer on the Titanium freestyle or would rust.

I had one and so did friends at the Rugby club and they never ever managed to get the thing to rust no matter what they did

Ron 5 years ago

James if you mean the Wilkinson sword Quattro precision, i hear ya.

Not a great shave but the trimmer never neede cleaning out or drying off like that review mentioned. Used mine for 12 months and never rusted once.

However recently purchased this Hydro 5 and it blew the Quattro precision out the water. Yeah the first few shaves do leave you a little sore but because its so damn sharp. Perfect even shave with no cuts and great trimming in with the head

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Ricky, thanks for weighing in. Good that we get an idea of the life of the blades, I didn't use it for long enough to get that point. I try to allow all comments within reason, after all it is an opinion.

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Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

James, Ron, I wouldn't have though any but a damaged blade would rust on any modern razor, same with the trimmer on the back. I own one and it's been sat in a bathroom for a year, I've just checked it and no rust.

James 5 years ago

Lymond that does like a bad review of that Precision.

The review was as big as this one and the main one you get if you type that razor in. Just goes t show that not all review sites can be trusted.

As regard yours here i just cannot figure why you have rubbished this Hydro 5. Have you tried a 3rd shave to see if its still leaving you sore. It also washes stright out as easy as pie. Don't understand it doesn't make sense

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

James, I used the hydro 5 for about four days shaving every day when I first wrote this. After the first shave I swapped the cartridge thinking there was something wrong with it, so I used one cartridge for 3 shaves. I recently used it again as I couldn't find a deal in fusion blades and didn't want to pay 20 quid for 8 blades. That was for two days, same cartridge so it's been used for 5 shaves in total. I hadn't shaved over last saturday when I went back to it and the longer hair did seem to make a difference with the patchy shave but unfortunately, still quite sore. By the end of the second time I went back to an overused fusion. Sorry, but for me this thing just isn't it.

Greg 5 years ago

Im not totally sold. Outstanding idea that the lube strip can be flicked back out of the way presenting the blades where they should be. Gee its only taken 30 years to get back to where my dad enjoyed his shaving without the bulky strip but not sure on the shave. I would say edged by a Mach 3 for comfort but then the Mach 3 has no flip away strip feature. Ive recently tried single blade safety razor with a high quality holder. Looks great and hefts beautifully but lose concentration and you bleed out for the morning. Fusion should be boycotted by all due to stuid price.

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Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Greg thanks for the comment. I think the idea is that the lube strip is supposed to be good when shaving :-) difficult to tell if it does or not but at least the Hydro one seems to actually do something other than act as a dubious indicator of when to change the blades. I haven't used my Mach3 in four years and I recall it being ok but definitely edged in shave quality by newer razors although maybe not on comfort given my issue with the Hydro5. I tend to shave in the shower and without a mirror so a safety razor is right out for me. I agree with the sentiment on boycotting, apparently Gillette makes thousands of percent difference between the cost and the sale price but unfortunately I find them the best. However they will pay with immediate loss of my custom for their greediness, as soon as I find something acceptable to replace them.

Pete 5 years ago

Its the 3 that you all should try. Yes ive tried the hydo 3 and it is comfortable. Lacks the flick back feature but doesn't present a big lube strip when compared to other models. About as good as a fusion std. without power but about half the price of the blades. Shave is smooth and even and lasts for atleast 2 weeks of shaving.

Give it try

dave 5 years ago

Schick and you lot on here have all missed it and i think lymond may well be right in part.

Everybody the Hydro 3 is the answer. Why.

Because the Hydro 5 when clicked into normal mode doesn't pivot on the hinge well and thus could cause sore shaving.

Sad really because the Schick pivot on the these Hydros is potentially better than Gillettes (as scientifically tested on the Hydro review site and far superior to King of Shaves ACER.

Try the Hydro 3 then. Voted better than the mach 3 in a controlled study of 100 users but then spoiled slightly by making it more complex for the 3. Ive just put 3 heads on my Hydro 5 (they fit) they're cheaper and are better than the mach 3 for quite a cheap price.

Ray 5 years ago

Ive reviewed both across about 10 review sites before buying. All point to Hydro 3 being very good and cheap.

Hydro 5 gets slight critisism for head being too big in normal mode.

Gillette products getting hounded for being just too expensive now. My Fusion blades are not being replaced this weekend. Probably go the Hydro 3

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Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Well, that's encouraging! I may well buy a pack of the Hydro3 and give them a try. I just bought a large stockpile of Fusion blades, taking advantage of an offer but even then, more expensive than the Hydro blades. I hope this starts to click with Gillette!

Martin 5 years ago

My teenage son had the Hydro 3 and i had the Hydro 5 off my wife this christmas. We have used our first blade for about 3 weeks but agreed to swap our second blade over to try the other. I drove the idea so that i might buy the cheaper 3 blades and he was happy because he got the 5s more novel blade system.

The 3 proved suprisingly easier to use and gave a more comfortable shave. Didn't find the lube strip any more inpractical around the nose area than other models out there. I would agree its better than a mach 3. Trouble is my son is now sold on the better sculpting feature of the 5s lube strip flick back system.

I guess you pays your money and takes your choice but i wont be purchasing the Proglide. Think shaving is expensive enough!

Mick 5 years ago

I absolutely concur with what some of the comments regarding false reviews are saying. One site (The baldy forum)citicises the back blade????....hey.

It don't have no trimmer on the back of the blade!

Clearly someone is bored at work and just wants to slate the product. If you've actually tried it for real you will know that it has no blade on the back but a completely different method of trimming by means of a flip out of the way lube strip and absolutely no blade on the back whatsoever.

Best thing to do is average 10 reviews. 3 might have not even held the darn razor!

As for this thing itspretty good like most say about like a Mach but with a trimmer aspect.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Martin, Thanks for your comment, there' starting to be a fair few who say they prefer the 3 over the 5 not least because of the price. I do concur that shaving is expensive and gillette worst of all.


I don't think anybody on here is saying the 5 has a back blade, I don't know about the 3 because I haven't examined one yet. Just in case it is your view, I both own and have tried the hydro5 on multiple occasions with multiple blades from different packs.

Ron 5 years ago

Tried the Hydro 3 its about the best shaving experience you will ever have. Try it and write an honest review.

Hydro 5 did leave me a little sore. Flip away lube strips works very well but frankly not needed on the smaller Hydro 3 head. Its about perfect in every aspect. Beautifully smooth, small head, a lube strip and relatively cheap blades.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Ron, thanks for your comment. I do have some corrections. It may be the best shaving experience you have ever had but it does not follow ipso facto, that it will be for me. I don't like your implication that this review is not honest, it is. Apologies if this was not the way you meant it.

Ron 5 years ago

Lymond no definitely not how i intended.

Im suggesting everyone on here who hasn't tried it to try it then write an honest review because clearly there are some inaccurate reviews around. As regard your review (if you want the feedback) yeah fair assesment. Wouldn't have critisised the heads not fitting other models especially when 3 and 5 heads ARE interchangable.

The 3 really is that good though. I defy you critisise it especially at the price. Its almost not like shaving. Cannot figure why they put all their advert hype into the 5 which frankly isn't a great shave.

Ron 5 years ago

oh nearly forgot, the Hydro 3 heads are perfectly color coded enough to match the Hydro 5 handle incase anyone was wondering. Some guy above mentioned it was the answer. Hes right.

Mike 5 years ago

Ok tried the 3 head on my 5 model. Works beautifully.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Ron, apologies again. I have bought some hydro 3 blades and am two days into testing. I do have to say that the soreness I got from the Hydro 5 is not there! This is very encouraging!!!

Ray 5 years ago

Only ever had the Hydro 3 and works perfectly. Had planned on trying the Hydro 5 next but may not bother now. I would say its marginally better than a mach 3 but one of the cheaper blades around and could shave you ok without shaving cream should you run out if out of town.

David 5 years ago

Packed the Hydro 3 for a recent over night field trip with the mapping service. Figured with a brand new blade i could dispense with packing shave cream to keep bulk down. Worked out ok. Seems to provide enough emoilent for atleast 1 or 2 field trip shaves. I may test to find out how many it can handle but the for the fact it obviously is not as good as a shave with canned cream.

David 5 years ago

Ok managed 4 more shaves without the cream but seems to have degraded to the point where i will now use cream for the next shave. Its suggests that you could take it for a weeks vacation without the need to pack cream which i suppose is quite remarkable and a first for such products.

I dumped the Mach 3 for the Fusion and more cost but will probably dump the Fusion now in favour of this and less cost.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi David, thanks for the update, good to know in extremis you may be able to get away with just a bit of water for a few days. I have to say, having used the Hydro 3 for five days now I'm half a convert. At £1.27 per set as opposed to £2.29 for a fusion, the cost is much more acceptable. I don't think the shave quality is quite as good as fusion, its still a little patchy and doesn't do jaw lines well but its ok for an every day shave! Looking forward to a micro-pulse version!

David 5 years ago

Lymond thanks but gotta disagree regarding shave quality with the 3 when compared to the Fusion. Agreeing with some above, it really is quite exceptional, being smooth, even and burn free. I found it a staggeringly good shave. Maybe you are comparing against the Fusion poer version then?....where that would probably be an unfair comparison like for like.

Yes, if a power version of the Hydro comes avail then a comparison with the Fusion power would be fair.

don 5 years ago

rumbled this Lymond.......the Hydro 3 is absolutely superb on jaw lines and anywhere else. Does it matcha Fusion...maybe...lacks the back trimmer but the back trimmer is pretty poor but heck of lot cheaper

stan 5 years ago

yeah gotta agree first the reviewer slags off the hydro 5 and then does the same to the 3 when comparing against gillette products which paints the picture. This is not to say that all Wilko products whip gillette ones which they don't but the 5 and 3 are completely different razors.

The 3 has a def edge on gillette stuff below the proglide which i just tried. Proglide is the best but requires a small mortgage to invest in the darn blades.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Don and Stan, I have problems with soreness along the jaw lines and the sides of my upper lip. The 3 is definitely better than the 5 for minimising this, but after using the 3 for just shy of two weeks, it was definitely a problem. As stated in the opening paragraph of the review, this is a personal thing, but as I've never shaved anybody else with it, a razor review can't be anything else!

mick 5 years ago

Lymond cannot for the life of me figure how your having a problem with the hydro 3. Its just the smoothest shave ever and you simply have to be making this stuff up.

The 5 is a little more bulky and really cuts too close imho but i have numerous buddies using this 3 version and all have said it exceeds anything they have used.

Nobody has purchased the the Proglide yet though but agreeing with the above poster reg the cost of the blades.

Think the Hydro 3 should be compared against the mach 3 and here it wins hands down.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Mick, I cannot for the life of me figure how you are not having a problem with the Hydro3. It's ok at first but if I use it for more than a week and a half, I get a sore jaw line and sides of my upper lip. You simply have to be making this stuff up.

As stated at the top of the page, this is a personal opinion based on personal experience. I fully concede that many people will not have the problems I've had and have never said anything different.

I'm simply trying to find a razor I can shave with on a day to day basis that gives a reasonable shave quality, i.e. cuts evenly around my face and relatively close the skin so I don't look entirely unkempt, a reasonable level of comfort, i.e. least sore patches, least razor burn, least cuts and a reasonable price, i.e. low as possible while maintaining quality.

On the first and the last - for me - the Hydro 3 and to some extent the 5 are perfectly acceptable. There is a little bit of patchiness on the shave but otherwise ok, this could be a case of needing to get used to the thing and the price is great compared to any of the Gillette products. However, after a time, soreness kicks in that I cannot ignore. I have stopped using the Hydro 3 now and the sore patches have gone away even though I have not stopped shaving. I have simply switched back to the fusion.

In terms of where to compare what against what, I was simply comparing the most recent - time wise - offering from Schick/Wilkinson against one of the most recent offerings from Gillette.

I have no reason to lie or to make this up, I own the fusion, powered and standard, the hydro 3 and hydro 5 and have used all razors for at least one week each and in the case of the hydro 3 for two weeks. I am not a fan of Gillette as I believe they are ripping off their customers on price in terms of what it costs them to make the cartridge and what they retail at. I understand the notion that if the customer pays the price then Gillette will sell it at that price but I do think there should be some correlation between R&D /production cost and retail price that strikes a balance. I would add that if you can use a Wilkinson product, be my guest! At the moment, the more people who use Wilkinson, the less customers Gillette will have (give or take) and the less customers they have, the more they'll have to listen to their customers and I would guess that the single biggest gripe all Gillette product users have is the price.

Mick 5 years ago

Ok sorry. I suppose it is a personal opinion but yours is not shared with either the main collection of posts on here or friends who used the Hydro 3 when it was free trialed amongst the men who worked at my dept store.

None of us had patchy shaves at all and certainly no soreness after the 2 weeks or so of using the blade.

Ive tested it back and forth againsta Mach 3 for about 3 weeks now and it clearly edges it for less cost.

The Fusion or Proglide may well compare but double the brainer really.

Jason 5 years ago

I have used the Sensor, Mach3, Quattro, Fusion and now currently using the Hydro3.

For me the Sensor, Mach3 and Hydro3 all gave me an excellent shave. The Fusion let my skin sore and I didn't like the way my chin appeared to bury itself into the bank of blades on it. The Quattro was terrible.

All you need is two or three blades. You don't need something resembling a radiator grille to get a good shave.

Jack 5 years ago

Got to be honest im one of 1000s of old timers who endorse the old Sensor Excel. There are a number of forums that back my view. Im kinda thinking that 2 blades proved close enough while balanced against the ability to get under the nose easily and act as a good enough sideburn trimmer without the nedd for any special adaption features and added costs.

It was declared the best razor in the world around 1992 and ive tried nothing since to better it for an allround shave. The head isn't too big niether, being my biggest complaint with these later models.

Did recently try this Hydro 3 though. Pretty good all in but still not better for the extra features.

Rick 5 years ago

Yah agree with the old Sensor. Cannot help but feel 2 blades probably reached the optimum between multi blade closeness and being able to weild the darn things properly. No closer really with 3 or 5 blades but like weilding a log for a load of wasted extra cash.

My Sensor always felt a little light so i bought a custom stainless handle.

Dan 5 years ago

Not intending this hydro 5 discussions to turn into fan site for the old Sensor but i also agree with the comments about it. Its possible that 2 blades were quite enough, being an optimum between a closer shave than single blade with its lift and cut ability (do we need anymore) but then get into tight spots by not being too bulk.Its interesting that many Barbers like the Sensor, possibly being a good comprimise between price, easy handling and good shave. Ive certainly not been able to better it (great sideburn trimming too)and wont change provided i can still get the darn blades. Shop never had them last time i went in!

grahem 5 years ago

Just tried this Sensor this week, entirely based on what you guys are saying here. Available in Boots.

Superb. Its the Sensor Excel 2 blade. Smooth even and close shave. No thick fins,slim head and no emoilents.

Great under nose and no soreness. However, not as cheap as you would imagine. 10 year old technology almost same price as Mach 3. Ill keep mine though as long they keep supplying the blades. Tried the Hydro. Very smooth shave.

Jason Tye 5 years ago

Just for the fun of it, I tried the Fusion Proglide Power and found it the biggest load of nonsense in razor history. It felt like dragging a block of cheese across my face with the vibration on and the shave was no better than my Sensor razor and £20 for 6 blades? You have to be joking.

Larry 5 years ago

Im a bit of an old timer but also favour the Sensor.

Did swap for the MACH 3 when it arrived but found i just couldn't geta perfect edge on sideburns with the thicker head. It probably is a tad smoother but do we really need all this smoothness. I shaved for almost 10 years with a safety fins or anything with them.

The Sensor is a precsion machine, simplistic and does the job very well. Do fear they will drop the blades though.

Rod 5 years ago

Don't get sucked into this new safety razor hype though.

These old blades are cool things but get your line wrong and your slice your face off. They are fine provided you use in straight lines up and down but move sideways slightly and your gonna get cut big time. Sensor was good, i remember it well Hydro 3 not bad. Wouldn't pay the price for the Fusion stuff.....silly money.

Ray 5 years ago

Agree on the Sensor excel.

Its a great traditional shave that is safer than a safety blade but more easily weilded than these big headed multi blade units. Its good under the nose and gives a good line at the boards.

No blades last time i went in the store though.

Maybe Gillette needs to listen to this post.

paul 5 years ago

Tricky one. I tried the old Sensor Excel against a Fusion recently (not spending the dollars on a pro glide)

The Fusion does seem to have the edge in smoothness.

Yu can hear the Sensor cutting with the traditional shaving sound but not the Fusion. However, the Sensor is much more manouverable around the nose and much easy to handle. I think this is the oversight of Gillette. They have gone all out smoothness but forgot the other needs.

Sensor is fast manouverable and a real pleasure. The slight drop in smoothness didn't bother me at all.

Mach 3 is somewhere between the 2.

Dave 5 years ago

Im still using the mach 3. Tried all but think the Mach is a good combo of everything.

Nobody has ever said the mach 3 was a poor shave which will do me without extra expence. Couldn't get on with Hydro 5, leaves me sore.

Ive now purchased a satin stainless special handle for my mach 3 blades off ebay

Jim 5 years ago

Always wanted to find a gillette alternative, Hydro is looking good so far! First shave but gillette can get blunt quickly if you let you stubble grow. First wilkinson sword product I have thought comes close. Really some of you guys, PR people get a grip. No real punter believes such bull sh$t!

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Jim, I don't think anybody posting on here believes advertising BS, it's why we look for reviews and ultimately try the product ourselves.

Jason 5 years ago

I cannot understand for the life of me why anybody needs 5 blades in their razor. If you can't get a good shave with 1 or 2 blades is 4 or 5 really going to help? Like I said in my earlier post I tried the Fusion and found it uncomfortable and it even gave me an ingrowing hair a couple if times. Plus with the extra expanse of metal it can get uncomfortably hot as well, contributing to the burning sensation when using it. Two or 3 blades is perfectly fine for my needs. Any more than said number of blades is just marketing nonsense and a blatant excuse fir the companies to charge us rip-off prices.

Also I don't like the fact that Gillette has the audacity to market their Snowplough skinguard as a 'breakthrough feature' when a Tesco 2-blade disposable has a similar feature way before the Fusion cane out.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

I guess that's what happens when marketing drops into R&D. They have to have some 'new' selling point and the obvious was more blades. On the plus side, at least they're trying to make it better even if their ultimate goal is still only to sell as many as possible. The better the product the more people will use it.

Bill 5 years ago

Ive used the Gillette sensor, excel version for many years. Get xmas gifts of all these other contraptions but never get me to move on from my Sensor.

I almost believe the Mach 3 power which i was given over 2 years ago might just edge it but do i need batteries and slight extra cost. Worryingly none in Boots last time i looked , i wonder if they have stopped being imported or Gillette are winding them up.

I then added the std Turbo mach 3 blades to it and these fitted and worked the same, which is an ok cost for a close shave without a large shaving head. Is the set up better than the Sensor? no i don't believe it is but Sensor excel blades are very hit and miss to get hold of now.

Jon 5 years ago

Well i did purchase the Proglide. It probably is the best shave. Super smooth and the trimmer seems a little better than hopeless one on the Fusion.

It certainly takes some beating. However, everyone in my sports club all bring out Mach3s, Hydros and King of shaves stuff. Its just to expensive to replace blades and i think owing to credit crunch they are not chucking their money at it. Gillette need to think about it. We all no they make these blades for less than quid so how can they justify 9 quid for 3

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Jon, thanks for your comment, I agree, its good but just too expensive, and for the production cost to selling cost % one article I read suggested it was over 1000%!

Stan 5 years ago

Lymond i agree too. I purchased the std Proglide 3 weeks ago (i don't bother with battery power) Got it on offer for £6 in Boots Chemist. Its easily the best shave ive had. Anyone stating less is lying. Super, super smooth with accurate trimmer and undernose precsion.

However when i returned for spare blades this weekend, i was utterly shocked at the £9 for 3. Yes thats 3 Not 4.

The 8 pack requires a small mortgage and i just cannot justify it really, especially in the light of me just reducing the kids pocket money.

I may evaluate this Hydro 3 at £5 for 4 blades which is a shame.

Graham 5 years ago

I have just received a Proglide for free handed out in a shopping mall promotion. Its just the manual version but has proven an incredibly good shave. The back trimmer really works well and i geniunely cannot knock it regardless of cost.I like the color with black cartridges because i hate the bright orange of the Fusion ones. Cost will have to be considered when i come to replace the 2 blades in the little kit.

I rule out the Fusion because the back blade does not work. Could be Hydro 3 then but i don't think it will better than this thing somehow.

Ben 5 years ago

Ive had them all apart from the earlier Sensor models. The Proglide is the best thing ive ever used but just cannot seem to bring myself to buy the blades when in the chemist. Theres always other things i need as well and end up buying blades in the £5 to £6 area.

My wife similarly thinks they are a silly price.

If only Gillete realised this im sure they would be onto a world beating product, capturing the entire market.

Ray 5 years ago

Ive just been using the Hydro 5 and are not very happy. It seems like a great idea to have this flip away strip which presents the first blade like a single blade razor. It works to give a perfect clean edge to the sideburn but leave it like it and it will cut you and/or leave you very sore. Agreeing with Lymond it left me sore even with the flip down in the usual shave position. I think it does not have flexible mountings to the blade.

Proglide too expensive so sticking with Mach 3 for the moment then.

Kevin 5 years ago

Hi all. I have discovered a major flaw with the new Proglide.The shave is good, the blades wash out easy but do they. They do partly. If you look at the edge of both sides of the frame where the blades join the sidewalls, there is about 4mm per side which is backed by plasic. Ive noticed that these edges to the blades clog up quite badly after a few shaves and there being very little one can do about it. It caused missed spots at the edge of the blade.

In all none are perfect, so i think it maybe best to go to centre point of good blade and reasonable price. Quattro Titanium none power maybe, or possibly mach 3. Cannot find a Sensor handle that lots of you are on about.

Ralph 5 years ago

Kevin i agree about the blocking. Its closer to 6mm per side bytheway but i have not found it a problem so far just that your shave becomes over less blade area as it fills up.

George 5 years ago

Recently swiched back to the Gillete Sensor Excel.

Still got my old handle from all those years back, cleaned it up and managed to get the blades.

Heck, why did Gillete ever try to improve on it. It just works so well, without all these strange ergonomic, weird color gizmos with 5 blades.

I had forgot how beautifully it handles and it does the job perfectly, allowing you to easily see where you are going.

Dan 5 years ago

Get over it already.....they're just razors. Some better on others than some and vice versa. None of them worth more thean £5 for 4 though, so go for the cheapest

Miro 4 years ago

I've tried Hydro 5 after 25 years of using Gillette products and this blade and entire design is so amazing! Best shave ever!!!

Brendan 4 years ago

Blogs like this are tricky when trying to assess products.

Classic has to be the King of Shaves blog where the designer/sales guy expresses the virtues of suspension technology....absolutely great on paper but anyone tried the darn things. Terrible. Wrong angle, massively cumbersome and will cut you to bits if you get it wrong.

Maroan 3 years ago

Ive read this review with great interest, and I must say, I was a bit chocked by your shaving experience with the the Hydro 5. I too have a sensible skin, and i have managed to avoid soars and others bi effects by using another shave foam. The foam wich was delivered with my Hydro 5 wasn't good at all, I had burns and soars as well. Then I bought a cheapo gel foam from Lidl (Cien for sensible skins and I use a brush to apply the foam on my face) and it does the trick. Painless shaving, no problems at all! Now back to the Hydro 5: It is (for me) an excellent razor, buuut the Gillettes Fusion performs slightly better. I use less runs on my face with it. But I keep the Hydro, its cheaper! About your acne, I was thinking that maybe your bears grows inside your skin? My stepfather had the same problem, he couldn't use razor blades, he had to use an electric one because a blade razor shaved too close and his hair growed inside his skin... Sorry for my poor English!

graham 4 weeks ago

to all those lads out there having problems with shaving ! just wait until you reach between 50 & older when you discover that you have a problem ? my beard is like steel & I would love to get more than one shave out of any blade ! blades ! I started with a safety razor over 50 years ago when you could buy blue star blades which my father always used & was able to get at least 4 -5 shaves out of one blade ! now it seams that the makers are driven by price only because its so lucrative now we are expected to pay a minimum of £20 to buy rubbish that don't last me for even one shave regardless of how many blades they put in the razor head its all just a con ? I bought an electric razor years ago & that's what I have used for years ! but they are doing the same thing with those as well the cost for batteries is extortion & replacement blades , so now I shave with electric & finish with a safety razor & get 3 shaves out of a double edge razor blade because the blades on the electric need renewing & you can buy a hundred blades for a fiver £5 --I for one refuse to pay the sums of money they are asking these days its a no brain -er ! I am thinking now is the time to go back to the cutthroat & to hell with them all & save at least £200.00 a year & remember we all get old & your beard gets tougher every year..............

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