Electric Shaving Costs: How much money does an electric shaver actually save you?

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Electric Shaving Costs: How much money does an electric shaver actually save you?

While some aspects of traditional vs electric shaving can’t be objectively quantified – be it comfort, closeness of the shave, practicality – we can certainly present the costs and savings in an unbiased manner. So let’s talk money!

A little background story first. The author of this article uses an electric shaver. Chances are you are too (or at least contemplating the idea) since you ended up on this website. Other men prefer to shave the way most our fathers and grandfathers did in the old days – and I say most since electric razors are not as recent as one might think.

My shaving journey started during my teenage years with a Gillette Mach 3 and some canned goo. The results were a disaster. I started educating myself and moved to a safety razor and better shaving products. The results improved significantly, but shaving was still far from an enjoyable experience. As a last resort, I tried an electric razor. The beginning was not as smooth, but eventually the improvements in my technique and the use of more suitable razors for my sensitive skin finally made the difference and I’m currently a happy camper.

Comfort and closeness aside, another significant difference caused by me switching to electric shaving was related to costs. But let’s see exactly what that means.

What are the typical costs of buying and using an electric shaver?

It’s important to note that dry and wet electric shaving imply different costs; for example, there’s no need for shaving creams if you shave dry. On the other hand, you won’t be using pre-electric lotion for your wet shave. For these reasons, we will analyze them separately. Also, electric shavers that come with a cleaning station imply additional costs for the cartridges and higher costs for the initial purchase, so again they will be depicted separately.

Let’s take a look at the costs to be expected for each different scenario.

Dry electric shaving costs

  • Electric shaver (no cleaning station): 1 x Braun Series 3 3040s
    • Replacement blades/foil: 1 x 32b Replacement Head
  • Electric shaver with Cleaning & Charging station: 1x Braun Series 3 3050cc
    • Replacement blades/foil: 1 x 32b Replacement Head
    • Cleaning cartridges 1 year supply: 1 x Braun Clean & Renew Refills pack of 4
  • Pre-shave products 1 year supply (optional): 1 x Afta pre-electric pack of 6
  • After-shave balm 1 year supply (optional): 2 x Nivea Post Shave Balm pack of 3

Let’s see how these costs add up over one and three years.

Dry shaving costs (no cleaning station):

ItemCosts for the first yearCosts over 3 years
Electric Shaver (no cleaning station)$50$50
Replacement foils and blades-$50
TOTAL (bare basics)$50$100
Optionals
Pre-shave products – 1 year supply (Optional)$15$45
After-shave balm – 1 year supply (Optional)$30$90
TOTAL$95$235

Dry shaving costs (cleaning cartridges and station included):

ItemCosts for the first yearCosts over 3 years
Electric Shaver with Cleaning & Charging station$100$100
Replacement foils and blades-$50
Cleaning cartridges – 1 year supply$20$60
TOTAL (bare basics)$120$210
Optionals
Pre-shave products – 1 year supply (Optional)$15$45
After-shave balm – 1 year supply (Optional)$30$90
TOTAL$165$345

Takeway: for dry shaving, we’re looking at anywhere from $100 for just the shaver and replacements all the way to $345 for the whole shebang over the course of 3 years.

Wet electric shaving costs

  • Electric shaver, Wet & Dry use, no cleaning station: 1 x Braun Series 3 3040s
    • Replacement blades/foil: 1 x 32b Replacement Head
  • Electric shaver with Cleaning & Charging station, Wet & Dry use: 1 x Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 5700
    • Replacement blades/foil: 1 x SH50 Replacement Head
    • Cleaning cartridges 1 year supply: 2 x Philips Norelco Smartclean Replacement Cartridge 3 count
  • Shaving cream 1 year supply: 3x Proraso Shaving Soap 5.2 oz
  • Shaving brush (optional): 1 x Perfecto Best badger Shaving brush
  • After-shave balm 1 year supply (optional): 2 x Nivea Post Shave Balm pack of 3

Let’s now see how these costs add up.

Wet electric shaving costs (no cleaning station):

ItemCosts for the first yearCosts over 3 years
Electric Shaver (no cleaning station)$50$50
Replacement foils and blades-$50
Shaving cream – 1 year supply$30$90
TOTAL (bare basics)$80$190
Optionals
After-shave balm – 1 year supply (Optional)$30$90
Shaving brush (optional)$10$10
TOTAL$120$290

Wet electric shaving costs (cleaning cartridges and station included):

ItemCosts for the first yearCosts over 3 years
Electric Shaver with Cleaning & Charging station$130$130
Replacement foils and blades-$74
Cleaning cartridges – 1 year supply$28$56
Shaving cream – 1 year supply$30$90
TOTAL (bare basics)$188$350
Optionals
After-shave balm – 1 year supply (Optional)$30$90
Shaving brush (optional)$10$10
TOTAL$228$450

Takeaway: for wet shaving, the costs over a three year period start at $190 for just the shaver, replacements and shaving cream and can go up to $450, all included.

Necessary disclaimer

It’s important to clarify several important aspects:

  1. The numbers presented above reflect what yours truly believes to be a relevant selection of products and scenarios for most men out there. We are all different and we have different shaving habits. Some of us shave daily, others shave every other day; some prefer to spend more or less on razors and creams and some don’t use creams at all. There is a great deal of variety of use cases and it’s obvious that we can only address the most common ones.
  2. The cost estimates are based on average prices from large retailersand will include popular products from their respective categories. For example, Proraso is a very popular choice as far as shaving creams go, while Braun Series 3 is a reasonably priced and commonly used electric razor. It comes in variants that are suitable for various use cases, like wet & dry or dry only operation; there are also models that come with a clean & charge station, like the 3050cc from our example.
  3. Since all the shaving methods that we’ll analyze imply very different up-front costs, it’s fair to present these costs over longer periods. An electric shaver means a high initial purchase price, so the costs for the first year won’t accurately reflect the costs in the long run for the years to come. Given proper care, an electric razor will last for many years. For the sake of this comparison, I consider 3 years to be a relevant period (even though you’ll likely use a good electric razor for a longer time).
  4. Shaving creams, pre-shave products and cleaning cartridges are optional for electric shaving and they are depicted accordingly.
  5. The prices presented in this article are subject to change from the moment of writing.

How does electric shaving compare to wet shaving in terms of costs?

In order to put things into perspective, we will compare electric shaving to (traditional) wet shaving. Moreover, we will take into account the costs of both mass-market shaving (multi-blade cartridges, pressurized foam etc.) and traditional wet shaving (DE razors, quality shaving creams etc.). If you want to see a more in-depth analysis on the costs of mass-market and traditional wet shaving, I highly recommend Mike Sandoval’s excellent article on shaving101.com.

Mass-market shaving costs

  • Multi-blade cartridge razor: $10
  • Cartridges (8 count): 4 x $25 = $100
  • Shave gel, canned (6 count): 2 x $19 = $38
  • After-shave balm: $30
ItemCosts for the first year Costs over 3 years
Multi-blade cartridge razor$10$10
Cartridges 1 year supply$100$300
Shaving gel 1 year supply$38$114
After-shave balm 1 year supply$30$90
TOTAL$178$514

Traditional wet shaving costs

  • DE razor: $30
  • DE blades (100 count) – 1 year supply: $20
  • Shaving brush: $10
  • Shaving cream – 1 year supply: $30
  • After shave balm – 1 year supply: $30
ItemCosts for the first yearCosts over 3 years
Safety razor$30$30
DE blades (100 count) - 1 year supply$20$60
Shaving brush$10$10
Shaving cream - 1 year supply$30$90
After shave balm - 1 year supply$30$90
TOTAL$120$280

Putting it all together

Now that we’ve covered  pretty much all the use cases, let’s see how they compare to each other in terms of costs.

Dry shaving costs (no cleaning station)Dry shaving costs (cleaning cartridges and station included)Wet electric shaving costs (no cleaning station)Wet electric shaving costs (cleaning cartridges and station included)Mass-market shaving costsTraditional wet shaving costs
$100 – $235$210 – $345$190 – $ 290$350 – $450$514$280

Looking at the master table above, I think it’s safe to make the following observations:

  1. Wet shaving with mass market products will likely cost more than any other option. This is mainly due to the obscenely high price of the refill cartridge blades. There are other disadvantages as well, but this article is solely focused on the financial aspect.
  2. Electric shaving will be the most economical option for the vast majority of men. Especially when compared to mass-market shaving. Also, a large part of the men that use an electric razor only shave dry. Again, one of the main reasons of switching to electric shaving is ditching the shaving cream and the associated hassle. As a result, there are no additional costs with shaving creams or brushes. Moreover, dry only shavers also tend to be less expensive, so the initial investment is smaller.
  3. The increase in expenses with electric shaving has to do with a higher purchase price of the shaver – that only applies in the first year – or the addition of a cleaning station, which again is a convenient feature that only some will pay extra to have it. And even so you can get away with as little as $210 over three years and that’s including the razor, replacement blades and cleaning cartridges. Compared to ~ $500, that’s quite a difference. Costs go up a bit in the case of wet shaving ($190 to $350), but still well bellow mass-market shaving. Just make sure to do a bit of research beforehand and definitely check out our tips for buying an electric razor the smart way.
  4. Traditional wet shaving, with real shaving cream, double edge razors and shaving brushes can also be a very economical option. But as a former wet shaver myself, I can tell you with enough certainty that no wet shaving enthusiast can settle for a $10 brush. Or just one razor. Or just one tub of Proraso and inexpensive after shave when there are so many wonderful products out there. The costs will easily add up to a few hundreds of dollars per year more.

Conclusion

As I said in the beginning of this article, after trying pretty much everything that’s out there, it comes as no surprise to me that electric shaving is, in the majority of cases, the most economical solution. Again, there will be situations where things will be different, like buying premium priced razors and accessories; and that’s fine too since we are all different and have different needs and budgets.

What matters even more is your personal well-being. Shaving is such an integral part of our life style as men that it makes a lot of sense to try and make it as enjoyable as possible. Many men hate shaving because it causes them a great deal of discomfort and pain. And sadly, the use of cartridge blades and poor quality products is still the most popular way of shaving. And as we’ve seen from the tables above, this not just bad for your skin, but for your wallet as well.

Apart from a less steep learning curve when compared to traditional shaving (with a DE or straight razor), there really isn’t any compelling reason to use multi-blade cartridge razors and canned gels. I suppose you could argue that there is less work to be done – no shaving mugs or lathering. But then again, electric shaving gets rid of that all together, costs less and you’ll be saving more than money in the long run. Give it a try.

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