Men's razors features explained

Our quick reference guide reveals the key men’s razor features to look for. We look at cheap disposables and pricey blade and handle razors and examine the differences between manual and powered razors.

To find out which are the Best Buy razors read our full men's razors results where we reveal the best razors.

Three of the razors we've tested didn't shave nearly closely enough, weren't comfortable to use and left some of our triallists covered in cuts and nicks. 

Find out about the razors to avoid with our Don't Buy razors reviews.

Shaving systems

Razors with reusable handles and replaceable blades are known as shaving systems. Well-known shaving systems include Gillette Fusion, Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 and the King of Shaves Azor (each of which we've tested in our full men's razor's review). Most shaving systems on sale come with three, four or five blades to shave with. Some come with an edging blade for facial hair. 

You’ll also be able to find older shaving systems still available, such as the Gillette Sensor Excel and the Wilkinson Sword Protector range.

Disposable razors

Disposable razors are sold in multi-packs and are significantly cheaper than shaving systems. The most basic disposable razors come with fixed heads and one blade. Most disposables now come with two blades and most feature lubricant strips to help make the shave smoother.

You can buy a ten pack of disposable razors for around £1. Better disposables cost closer to £1 each.

Powered and manual razors

Gillette and Wilkinson Sword both produce battery powered razors – the blades oscillate when switched on to help with razor-glide. In our tests we didn’t notice a significant difference in performance between powered and manual versions of the Gillette Fusion, Gillette Fusion ProGlide and the Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium.

Edging blade and finger pad

Edging blades on the back of the blade cartridge are an excellent option if you have side-burns or a beard to trim around. You’ll find edging blades, or precision trimmers as they’re sometimes known, on the Gillette Fusion, Gillette Fusion ProGlide and Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium ranges of razors.

You’ll find a finger pad at the top of the razor’s shaft on razors that come with edging blades. The finger pad helps to control the razor while edging facial hair.

Guards and lubrication strips

Soft guards beneath the razor blades are used to smooth the skin before the blades cut the stubble. Lubrication strips sooth the skin after the blades shaved the stubble. Lubrication strips on the Gillette Fusion range of razors are coloured and fade to white over time. 

Gillette suggest that the coloured strips fade to white when you’re no longer getting the optimum shave. But it will be best for you to judge this yourself rather than throw your blades away once the colour fades.

Beard trimmer

Razors aren't just for shaving stubble anymore - one manufacturer has branched out into shaving and beard trimming with the same razor. 

The Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Precision comes with a four-length battery powered beard trimmer with moveable guard on the end of the shaft.

More on this…

  • Read our full reviews of Best Buy men’s razors
  • Find out how to have the perfect shave
  • Learn about the razors to avoid with our Don’t Buy reviews