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:
The Quattro Vs Fusion
- The Best Vibrating Razor - Comparing Wilkinson Quattro Energy vs Gillette Fusion Power
I decided to switch razors a few months ago, just as a trial run. Previously Id used the Gillette Fusion Power and was determined to test the Schick Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Energy and see which...
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.
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.
for a quick basic guide to shaving musts...
- Mens Shave - wet shaving without fuss & problems
Getting a comfortable, close shave is something Ive always had problems with. Annoyingly, although fair of hair, I have Italian genes and to keep clean shaven, Id need to shave at least twice a day....
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!
Wilkinson Hydro 3 and 5 Razors for Amazon UK Buyers
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.
for a quick solution to minimising razor burn...
- Wet Shave with Oil for Reduced Razor Burn
Ever on the look out for tips that make my shaving routine easier with less abrasion and razor burn and taking less of my precious morning time, while still getting a good result, I jumped on the suggestion...