Electric Shavers VS Razor - Which Is Better?

The razor blade has been around since ancient times. These days there are enough options to fill up an entire aisle at your local drug store! So how are you supposed to choose? Razors vs Electric Shavers? Electric Razors vs Blades? Are Electric Razors Better? Or Manual? Which one is better for your skin? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Don’t stress, here at Cremo we have broken down the benefits and disadvantages of each option so you can decide what will work best for your lifestyle and your shaving goals.

Is an Electric Shaver better than a Razor?

Much like a lot of the beard grooming process, choosing between an electric shaver and a manual razor is a very very personal choice! There is no right or wrong.

The bottom line is what do YOU want from your shave? There are a few main factors you will want to consider in making your decision.

If you want the closest shave, don’t mind spending money and time on additional products and aren’t afraid of risking a few nicks as you learn, then a traditional manual razor blade is right for you.

If you are looking for speed, efficiency and versatility with less overall skin irritation and are not concerned with a very close shave, then the electric shaver is the way to go.

Grooming Factors Razor Electric Shaver
Time Longer shaving time due to prep and additional product, potentially need to Faster and more efficient shave, no additional steps or preps for products
Price Cost is cheaper upfront ($10-$40), however blade replacements can add up over time Cost is more expensive upfront ($50-$100+) but if taken care of, electric shavers can last up to three years or more
Portability Require lathering and wet shaving products so not as easy to travel with or use on the go No additional products are needed for shaving so very easy to use on the go or when traveling
Closeness of Shave The wet shave technique is a closer, cleaner shave The dry shave technique cannot compare to the closeness or a manual razor
Skin Type For sensitive skin, higher possibility of skin irritation due to additional products and unguarded blade increases risk of knicks and cuts Can reduce skin irritation for sensitive skin since no additional products are needed and guarded blade reduces risk of cuts, knicks and ingrowns

It is important to note that it might take your skin about a month to adjust to a new shaving routine. If you are making the switch give your skin a little time to adjust to the new method. Read up on our other shaving tips to keep your beard and skin looking its best.

What is the difference between Electric Shavers vs Razors?

First things first - the fundamental difference between shaving with an electric shaver and a manual razor is the way the hair is cut and the preparation techniques needed.

With a Razor, the hair is cut with a single stroke of the blade. While with an Electric Shaver, the hair is cut between two blades like the motion of scissors.

Traditionally a razor requires a wet shaving technique while the electric shaver usually requires a dry shaving technique. You can read up on the differences between wet shaving and dry shaving here.

how razors and electric shavers   cut hair

Electric Shavers

Basics of Electric Shavers

An electric shaver has two parts to cut hair, a thin perforated metal foil and the “undercutter,” a set of tiny blades that move back and forth very quickly under the foil. The tiny holes in the foil are smooth on the outer side but sharp on the inner side acting like a second blade.

Electric shavers use the skin’s elasticity to its advantage. The shaver presses down on the skin and moves it like a ship creating a bow wave. This allows the foil to contact the hair follicles while they are most exposed. After the hair has been cut, it is pulled back into the skin’s surface giving you that close shave.

how an electric shaver works to cut hair

Most Electric Shavers work well with the dry shaving technique and don’t require any additional products.

Pros and Cons Of Electric Shavers

Pros of Electric Shavers:

  • Time - Electric shavers get the job done fast and efficiently. The way they cut facial hair eliminates the need to go back over areas multiple times while still giving you a clean shave.
  • Portable- They are very easy to travel with and use on the go since there are no other products needed. Many electric shavers capture the cut hairs as well so you won’t be leaving behind a trail of stubble.
  • Cost Long Term- Electric shavers can last a few years if cared for properly so there is no need for replacement parts frequently and no additional products needed for shaving, which cuts down on cost over time.
  • Versatility - Electric shavers are great if you want to shave other areas or cut hair at different lengths. A lot of electric shavers even come with different features that allow you to trim around your mustache, sideburns or parts of your beard to get the exact look you are going for.
  • Low Risk And Best for Sensitive Skin- Shaving with an electric shaver could reduce cuts, nicks and ingrown hairs that can often happen with manual razors.
  • Easy to Clean - This is especially true for electric shavers that have a built-in vacuum or a self-cleaning setting. Technology these days, amirite?


Cons of Electric Shavers:

  • Not As Close of a Shave - Electric Shavers don’t get as close as razors and if you have thick hair, you may need to shave more frequently than with a razor.
  • Cost Upfront - The initial cost of an electric shaver can be quite pricey. How much do Electric Shavers Cost you ask? They range between $50 to $100 and some of the higher-end models can even get up to a few hundred dollars. While that may seem like a lot, most users think it's worth it because of the quality.
  • Harder to Replace - Replacement heads and other parts of an electric shaver can be a bit harder to track down than your average manual razor.

Manual Razors

how manual razors cut hair

Basics of Manual Razors

Razors use what is called “hysteresis,” which is a fancy way of saying when a blade touches the hair it lifts it up from the follicle before cutting it. Modern razors have between 3-5 blades positioned in such a way that give you the smoothest and most comfortable shave.

With this method, it is important to note that a wet shaving technique is needed. With manual razors, the blade is making direct contact with the skin increasing risk of abrasions, razor burn and shaving irritation. You will need additional wet shave products to lather your face before and after shaving to keep your skin moisturized and healthy. Warm water, shaving cream or gel, and post shaving balm should all be in reach when you pick up your manual razor.

mens shaving cream

Find out which type of manual razor matches your shaving needs here.

Pros and Cons of Manual Razors

Pros of a Manual Razor:

  • Closer Shave - The closest, “smooth as a baby butt” shave can only be achieved with a manual razor. Due to the style of the blades, it provides a much closer shave than an electric shaver.
  • Upfront Cost - Manual razors are very cost-effective upfront. A manual razor can cost anywhere between $10 - $40 depending on the brand and the numbers of refills included. Despite the low price, you will still enjoy a close and effective shave.
  • Easy to Replace - Replacement cartridges are super easy to find for razors so you won’t waste any time or energy searching for hard to find replacement blades or heads like with electric shavers.

Cons of a Manual Razor:

  • Higher Risk - There is a higher possibility of skin irritation and potential nicks and cuts with the unguarded blade of a manual razor. Those with sensitive skin may experience tenderness but using high quality shaving products and proper shaving techniques can aid in fighting those issues. Cremo’s barber grade shaving cream not only provides the most ideal surface for the blade to glide over but leaves your skin smooth and soft.
  • Cost Long-Term - With the need to replace head cartridges often to keep blades sharp and purchase additional creams or gels for the wet shaving process, the cost of manual razors can add up over time.
  • More Time-Consuming - Wet shaving is a more time-consuming method, more products are needed and unless you fancy a case of razor burn you will need to take a few moments to wet and lather your face.
  • Less Portable - Since manual razors require lathering and wet shaving products, they are not as easy to travel with as electric razors.

So Which Is Best For You? Electric or Manual Razor?

Now that you know a little bit more about the differences, benefits and potential cons of Electric Shavers and Manual Razors, let’s dive into which one is best for you.

The bottom line is what do you want from your shave? There are a few main factors you will want to consider in making your decision.

5 Grooming Factors to Consider

5 Grooming Factors to Consider

How Much Time Do You Have?

When comparing the electric shaver and manual razor, it’s important to take into account how much time you have in your beard care routine for shaving. Dry shaving takes less time and is more efficient overall however some men truly enjoy taking their time with a traditional wet shaving routine.

What Is Your Price Range?

You will notice an electric shaver and manual razor have very different initial costs. An electric shaver can be expensive upfront but can last for years if properly taken care of. This option is more of a long-term investment. Vice versa, manual razors are very cost-effective upfront but replacement blades and additional products can add up over time.

Are you looking for Portability?

In terms of portability, nothing seems to beat an electric shaver. Not only are no additional products needed for shaving but many models even collect the cut hairs so you aren’t creating any mess. Nowadays, you can basically shave anywhere with an electric shaver. While manual razors are also easy to pop into your dob kit on the go, needing additional products and water to lather your face allows for a little less freedom.

How Close Of Shave Do You Prefer?

Another big difference between electric shavers and manual razors is the closeness of the shave. You can’t get any closer than with a manual razor. If closeness is a deal-breaker for you, the manual razor is the way to go.

What is Your Skin Type?

If you have sensitive skin, many men have found the best success with electric shavers. Finding shaving cream and other wet shave products that don’t irritate your skin can be difficult and pricey. Luckily dry shaving doesn’t require any lathers or creams. The guarded blade of an electric shaver can also reduce the risk of knicks, cuts and ingrown hairs.

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