Just a little off the sides, please.

Getty Images

Disposable vs. Reusable Razors

Razors, disposable and reusable varieties, come in many styles. In order to compare which one is most economical in the long run, we need to compare apples to apples. Gillette offers its battery-powered, light-up, five-blade Fusion Chrome shaving system, but we can't exactly compare that to a double-blade disposable, especially at its $150 initial investment ($120 on sale). Gillette does claim that after the initial purchase is made, you can supply yourself with replacement blades for about one dollar per week, based on "average consumption" [source: Gillette.com].

Of course, if you're really into saving money, you can test a blade's integrity by pushing it far past its limits. It may get dull and tear your face to pieces, but you'll be saving money. And neither Gillette, Bic nor Schick, the big three of shaving, will tell you how many shaves you can expect from any of their razors. They all recommend that you change the blades or toss the disposable models when they begin to get dull.

There are high-end disposable and reusable razors, as well as bargain basement versions. Getting back to apple to apples, we'll go with the middle-of-the-road models of each and compare the same brand. Doing a little simple math based on a usage average of three quality shaves per disposable blade or razor, we can get some ballpark numbers to work with. While prices vary from place to place, and products are marked for sale on occasion, we'll use the Amazon.com list price to supply us with our data.

A Gillette Mach 3 razor that comes with two blades costs $11.99. A 12-pack of Mach 3 cartridges runs $27.00. That makes $38.99 for 14 cartridges and the razor. The fully disposable Gillette Sensor 3 razor costs $8.33 for a pack of three razors. That brings the reusable cartridge total to about $2.80 each, including the cost of the razor. The three-pack of disposables costs about $2.77 per razor. After just a few rounds of cartridge refills, the reusable razor pays for itself and the price goes down to roughly $2.25 per cartridge, cheaper than the $2.77 for the disposables.

In the world of razors, there are myriad choices that will affect the price point. But when you compare like products from the same brand, it appears that buying a reusable razor is cheaper in the long run. Even if you have to replace the razor a couple of times a year, you still come out ahead in the long run and you help save the environment a bit while you're at it.