Having the right blade could be the difference in having a world class shave and a lousy one.

The problem is choosing the right one.

With a plethora of choices, choosing the best de razor blade can be difficult and at times confusing. There are a lot of variables to consider and this includes type of water used, shaving cream, DE razor, beard coarseness, sensitivity and much more.

You could go scientific and use a microscope like what the Sharpologist did or trust on the recommendations of other wet shavers which I will do in this article.

If you’re in a hurry you can jump directly to a specific section in this article:

With a lot of brands to choose from and with very little information online how each one performs,

I’ve gone out to research the top brands and what experts have to say about them. However since this is something that can be subjective, the only way for you to know if a particular brand would suite your skin and facial hair type would be to actually try it.

As they say in wet shaving circles, your mileage may vary (or YMMV).

What I’m giving you are general comments about how each of these brands performs in terms of cutting power and smoothness – two of the most important characteristics of a double edged blade.

If this is your first time to wet shave and completely have no idea or don’t want to commit to any brand, you will be better off buying a sampler kit that contains smaller quantities of blades from different brands.

This way you can test how each brand works on your facial hair and skin before settling on a brand that you will use everyday.

Before I continue I’d like to share the best DE razor blades…

DE BladesSharpnessCoatingMaterialMade In
Personna "Lab Blues"
7/10
Glide-coated
Stainless
USA
Feather Hi-Stainless
10/10
Platinum
Stainless
Japan
Wilkinson Sword
5/10
Chromium
Stainless
Germany
Voshkod
4/10
Chromium & Teflon
N/A
Russia
Astra SP Platinum
8/10
Platinum
Stainless
Russia
Polsilver Super Iridium
8/10
Iridium
Stainless
Russia
Shark Super Chrome
7/10
Polymer
Stainless
Egypt
Bic Chrome Platinum
3/10
polymeric, teflon & chrome platinum
Stainless
Greece
Derby Extra
2/10
Chromium Ceramic Platinum Tungsten and Polymer
Stainless
Turkey

How to choose a de razor blade?

Before buying a blade, you first have to look at these different factors – beard coarseness, skin sensitivity and your experience level.

And other factors come into play – do you have any acne? The type of brush you use and shaving cream.

The success and failure of your wet shaving experience will also depend on the tools you use.

Using a cheap aerosol spray can isn’t the best thing to do because these products contain chemical propellants that can cause more irritation.

To remove additional variables, you will have to purchase a proper shaving cream, safety razor and shaving brush.

It does not have to be most expensive but having the right tools does help immensely in your wet shaving experience.

You will also follow the proper wet shaving techniques – (1) having a hot shower, (2) wash your face thoroughly to remove the excess oils, (3) apply pre-shave soap or oil, (4) apply a proper shaving cream using a shaving brush, (5) a three pass shave, (6) rinse with cold water then apply after-shave oil.

You’ll find all these tips in detail in this article.

Beard Coarseness – If you have a really thick beard, you may need a sharp blade, the downside to a very sharp blade is that it may lack the smoothness which may lead to irritation. You will have to find a brand that has the right balance – sharp enough to cut through a wiry though beard and smooth enough so as not to cause any irritation.

One of the most recommended blades for men with tough beards is the Feather all-stainless blades but unfortunately these aren’t cheap – close to $30 for a pack of 100. A cheaper option would be the Persona lab blues that cost around $13 for a pack of 100.

Skin Sensitivity

For men with sensitive skin the sharpest blade may not be idea because sharp blades lack smoothness.

You’d hear experts say that men with sensitive skin should use the sharpest blades but there is a caveat; a sharp blade isn’t smooth. The manufacturing process makes this impossible.

A better option would be using a less sharper blade with enough smoothness that will not irritate the skin.

The type of razor also plays a factor here. If you opt for a mild razor like a Merkur 34C then a Feather would actually make sense but if it still irritates your skin then opt for a less aggressive option like a Personna or the Crystal.

Experience Level

If you are new to wet shaving, you can’t use something very sharp or risk a lot of blood loss.

Depending on how coarse your beard is pick a blade that’s less sharp that will give you time to master technique first while minimizing risk to cuts.

One option would be the BIC Chrome Platinum that offers a close but at the same time forgiving shave, giving newbies some room for error as they learn the proper technique.

Budget

How much are you willing to spend?

A good quality safety razor will range between $20 and $50 depending on the type and quality. If you compare it to a cartridge, the cost of the razor isn’t significant – maybe a difference of $10.

Once you’ve settled on blades you like, you’ll be spending much less unless you’ll treat is as a hobby and try different shaving soap scents or razors.

Prices range between $8 to $35 for a 100 pack so that’s roughly 8 cents to 35 cents per blade another factor to consider in calculating the cost is how long you’ll use these blades.

Again the numbers I will share later on will just be average as again your mileage may vary. Most blades will last between 3 to 6 uses, some will last even longer.

Some will change their blades after every shave, again this is all personal preference.

How do you know if you need to change the blades? Simple, if it does not cut smoothly and you feel more of a tugging action then it’s time to replace the blades.

Sharp and Smooth: Personna “Lab Blues”

Personna Lab Blues

In terms of smoothness and sharpness the Personna lab blues has it in bunches, for the price it is one of the better performing blades.

A lot of men love these blades because they just glide on the skin. If you have sensitive skin and the Feather is too aggressive give these blades a try. A pack of 100 will cost around $12 to $13 in Amazon.

The Personna Lab Blues and Med Preps will yield the same result but the latter goes through an extra cleanup process required for hospital use. This step however will not affect the quality of shave but it’ll be more expensive.

  • Sharpness: 7/10
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Coating: Glide-coated
  • Made in the USA

Sharpest Blades: Feather Hi-Stainless

Feather Stainless

This Japanese made product is known in the wet shaving community as the sharpest in the market right now.

Great for men with really dense or coarse hair looking for something really sharp that will cut through even a 4 to 5 day beard growth.

Having that reputation, a lot of men shy away from this brand because of it but if you have really tough beard give these a try.

One plus in using a really sharp razor like this is you don’t need to put any pressure on the razor. Less pressure mean less irritation and less passes.

It isn’t the cheapest but for men who don’t want to do more than a 2 pass shave this is a great option. But please avoid using this with an aggressive razor like a Merkur Slant.

I would not recommend these for a beginner though because of it has small margin for error. Men with sensitive skin or with acne might be better off with another brand such as the Feather that offers a much smoother shave. A pack of 100 will set you back around $28 in Amazon.

  • Sharpness: 10/10
  • Coating: Platinum
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Japan

Great Option for Newbies: Wilkinson Sword

Wilkinson

Here’s another great option for newbie shavers who want to have a close yet smooth shave. Not quite as aggressive as the Personnas but these are smoother.

Some wet shavers do warn not to use this if you have a coarse beard but for men with normal facial hair, this is a good choice because of the smoothness it brings to the table.

This also makes a great blade for a mild razor like the Merkur 34C or Edwin Jagger DE89 because it brings up the aggressiveness scale of those two razors but remember these aren’t as sharp as the Personnas.

A pack of 100 will cost around $20 in Amazon so it’s about the middle of the road in terms of pricing, cheaper than the Feather but more expensive than the Personna.

  • Sharpness: 5/10
  • Coating: Chromium
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Germany

Under the Radar: Voshkod

voshkod

This Russian made blade uses Teflon coating that gives it a really smooth feeling almost buttery feeling.

In terms of sharpness it falls between a Derby and a Personna which make it a very good option to use on a Slant bar razor like a Merkur 39C.

It’s mildness makes it another good option for beginners. This is also one of the cheapest – at around $15 for a 100 pack in Amazon.

  • Sharpness:  4/10
  • Coating: Chromium and Teflon
  • Made in Russia

Great for Sensitive Skin: Astra SP Platinum

Astra SP Platinum

The Astra blade is another great option for men looking for a fairly cheap blade but still provide a high quality shave.

Blades like Personna are fairly sharp but also smooth – a big reason why it has a large following.

According to experts, the Astra may be a little sharper than the Personna and a little less smoother.

Like most of the blades in this list, the Astra is made with stainless steel and coated with platinum that gives it the smooth shave.

Here’s an interesting tidbit – Astra blades are made by Gillette in their Russian plant according to Nick Shaves.

One of the best value for money blades costing only around $11.50 per 100 piece.

  • Sharpness:  8/10
  • Coating: Platinum
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Russia

Russian Personnas: Polsilver Super Iridium

Polysilver Super Iridium

Only a few blades can match the Personna in terms of sharpness and smoothness but these Russian made blades come awfully close. This is a big reason why it has gained a huge following by wet shavers worldwide.

Downside would be price – a pack of 100 will range between $17 and $35 depending on where you purchase it.

Price wise I’d pick the Personna lab blues over this because it’s 50% cheaper but if you really like this I wouldn’t blame you.

Formerly manufactured by a Polish company named Wizamet and subsequently bought by Gillette who has since move the manufacturing plant to St. Petersburg Russia [source].

  • Sharpness:  8/10
  • Coating: Iridium
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Russia

Budget Option: Shark Super Chrome

Shark Super Chrome

Here’s another budget option worth your attention. The Shark Super Chrome is another blade worth considering if you’re looking for a fairly sharp blade that will glide on your face. Not as sharp as a Personna but it is smooth.

This blade is manufactured by Lord International Co. based in Egypt. This is the same manufacturer as the Lord Safety Razor – one of the cheapest de razors in the market right now.

In terms of aggressiveness, this blade is on the sharper spectrum – definitely around 6 to 7 in the scale of 10.

Between this and the Personna, the latter would be sharper but it’s pretty colose. A pack of 100 would cost around $11 in Amazon.

  • Sharpness:  7/10
  • Coating: Polymer
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Egypt

A Notch Up The Derby: Bic Chrome Platinum

Bic Chrome Platinum

Bic is well known for manufacturing cheap disposable razors and ball pens.

My wife uses the disposable razors but we’re not going to talk about that here. What I’m going to talk about is their DE blade.

These blades are made in Greece. It has a coating made from chrome, platinum and Teflon that’s responsible for a really smooth shave.

In terms of sharpness, you can classify this in the same area as a Derby blade but a few notches higher – if you’re a newbie and feel that the Derby is too dull then this would be the next step up. It does provide a comfortable shave but do not expect it to get a close shave in just two passes.

This would be great though for men with sensitive skin. It is a bit pricey – a pack of 100 will cost over $20.

  • Sharpness: 3/10
  • Coating: Triple honed with polymeric, teflon and chrome platinum
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Greece

Smooth but Not So Sharp: Derby Extra

Derby Extra

The Derby extras have the reputation to be a dull blade that will give a comfortable shave. You’ll see these blades as an add-on to some DE razors you’ll see in Amazon. The dullness may require you to add a little bit more pressure on the razor which may irritate your skin.

Definitely not a blade you’d want if you have a coarse beard but for men with regular facial hair it would be a great option – especially if you’re a beginner because you’ll have some margin for error.

Derby blades are one of the cheaper ones available right now. A pack of 100 will cost $8 – that’s only 8 cents per blade.

  • Sharpness: 2/10
  • Coating: Chromium Ceramic Platinum Tungsten and Polymer
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Made in Turkey

To wrap things up

These are just recommendations of the top blades that a majority of the wet shaving community uses.

What I’d like you to take away from this is that different blades will react differently depending on the coarseness of your beard, skin type, presence of acne and other factors.

Personna “Lab Blues” offer the best bang for the buck of all the brands here. A pack of 100 will cost just $12 so it’s cheaper than the Russian made Polsilver or the samurai sharp Feather.

Men looking for a really sharp blade should opt for the Feather. But I must warn you not to even try this if you’re a beginner, only use this if you’ve mastered the basics.

But remember that the most important thing is to enjoy the process of shaving and constantly improve upon this skill that takes time to master.

Newbies should opt for a Wilkinson Sword because it’s less sharp than Personnas but smoother.

The best way to find the right blade for your skin and beard type would be trying a blade sampler that contains different brands.

Buying a sampler set is much cheaper than purchasing individually. This is a great way of narrowing down a list of favorites for the long haul.

If you’re confident in your technique then using different brands is possible depending on the need. Sharper blades would be in order if you don’t have time for a 3 pass shave. On days you just like to enjoy the process of wet shaving, then opt for something smoother.

That’s the beauty of using a safety razor – it gives you options.

I know that I may have missed a few brands and if I did please give me a heads up. If you’ve tried any of these blades I’d also like to hear from you.