30 Blade Test - My Ranking For What It Is Worth

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Col C, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    Since my return to DE shaving this past summer, I have been testing 30 different blades to find the ones that work best with my face. It was not a totally rigorous test. I used one razor, the Merkur 34c, for testing but I did vary the soaps, which also have an impact on blade performance. I have a medium coarse beard, my face is not overly sensitive except in the usual spots on either side of the Adams Apple, and I typically shave three times a week. The ranking is how I perceived the performance and obviously may/will differ from your experience. Most of the individual tests were posted on the Shave of the Day thread and or on the Safety Razor Forum. Below is a photo of the blades tested.

    I ranked the blades into four categories: poor, good, very good, and excellent. The far left column are the "poor" blades. Within the column they are ranked best to worst. So the Derby was the best of the poor - if that makes sense. Merkur and the Asco Red were the worst of the poor. Both of these blades tore my face up to the point I had to take several days off from shaving to recover. I just cannot see ever using any of these five "poor" blades. The next column are the "good" blades. These gave decent shaves and in a pinch they work. Perhaps one would be sharp enough but not smooth enough or vice versa. For example - the Wilkinson. It gave me a very close shave but very rough on the first use. On the second use I it was far smoother. Sharp Durablade was the best of the "good" blades and the Dorco ST 300 was at the bottom. The next column are the "very good" blades. I could use any of these on a regular basis. These have potential. I wanted to like the Feathers, but I need to work with the blade a bit more (just too sharp for me at this point). I must say - the Dorco ST 301, for being so inexpensive, really is a very good blade. The far right column are the "excellent" blades. They all came very close to that sweet spot of sharpness and smoothness. The Polsilver Super Iridium is definitely the best of the best. The Astra SP was very close behind. The next three - Voskhod, Ladas, and Rapira Platinum Lux were all equally excellent. I really liked all three. The next 5 all could be in my regular rotation as well. It really gets difficult to separate them individually. They all gave me really close and smooth shaves without irritation with the first use.

    Next step - buy blades. I have placed orders for all the excellent blades. For the top five (notice they are all Russian), I will buy a bit more. I want to now try these blades with other razors. The rankings could change for any given razor. I have a new Muhle R89 standing by.

    So there you have it. Thanks for bearing with me on this adventure. I would be interested in your thoughts.
    Blade Ranking.jpg
  2. gwsmallwood

    gwsmallwood Well-Known Member

    I still find it so interesting how personal blade choice is. In each of your categories, I have a few blades that I would agree with you on, but there are far more that I would completely disagree on. My objective, analytical mind doesn't know how to process the disparities...
  3. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    I totally understand. Of all the different variables (razors, blades, soaps, brushes, prep, et cetera) in DE shaving - the choice of blade is probably the most personal. I feel the same way when I see someone say they like or dislike a particular blade. Plus part of the issue with me is my improving skill set. I have a far better technique today than I did back during the summer. That could easily change some of the rankings. Plus I only used one blade of each brand. There is always the chance that the one test blade may not be a true representation. Although I would hope quality control is better than that.
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  4. Marc D

    Marc D Well-Known Member

    Thats how i was with Feather blades.. When i first started wet shaving didn't care for them ... but now came back to them and really like them. Blades also act different when using different Razors :)
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  5. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    Thats my next plan - start trying a different razor. I have a new Muhle R89 that I will try this week.
    Carbide Mike, RyX and Marc D like this.
  6. Matt0210

    Matt0210 Well-Known Member

    Wow i'm going to have to check out those Polsilver blades. I wasnt surprised to see Astra at the top. I like the SS tho over the SP but both are really good. thanks for the comprehensive review.
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  7. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    I didn't have the Astra SS in my sample. There are still so many blades out there - but at some point I just needed to wrap it up and move on. Over time I'll probably buy a blade or two of the ones I missed.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  8. Knox

    Knox Well-Known Member

    Very fun read. I have 3 blades that I use. Astra SP, Gillette Silver Blue, and yes - Derby. I love the Derby!
    Carbide Mike and Col C like this.
  9. Demidog

    Demidog Well-Known Member

    I enjoyed reading your blade reviews. I find it interesting that among the blades we have both used, I generally agree with your opinions. The only big differences are that I would rank Feather and the yellow 7 O'Clock as the cream of the crop. I would probably also put Astras at the bottom of the excellent category or at the very top of the very good category. I hated the Personna red and the Sharks, so I agree with you there. I also loved Voskhod, Ladas, and Nacet.

    You're right in that there are so many choices out there that at some point, we just have to wrap things up. I haven't finished testing all my blades but I've already decided on a few brands to buy. Considering how much blade preferences vary from person to person, I find it interesting that we seem to have very similar preferences for the most part.
    Carbide Mike and Col C like this.
  10. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    Agree. I think the Feather will move up as I get use to it. I only used it once in the 34c and had a very close shave but it was a little rough. I think as my technique continues to improve I will go back a try it again. Also I will be trying other razors which may move the rankings around a bit. The second five in the "excellent" category are all great blades and actually I should have lined them up across as I consider them pretty much equal.
    Carbide Mike and Demidog like this.
  11. preidy

    preidy Just call me Dino

    Congrats. Disagree or agree that was quite an undertaking. I'm not sure anymore that I could stay that focused. Anyway as indicated above I agree with a lot of your ranking especially on the far right, but I find a few on my favorites listed on the far left side. But no harm no foul as we all know in this business one man's favorite blade is another one's folly.
    Carbide Mike and Col C like this.
  12. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    Yeah - folks seem to have a love hate relationship with Derby.:)
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  13. PickledNorthern

    PickledNorthern Fabulous, the unicorn

    That did take some discipline. I started something similar once, and never finished. Once I had several in my excellent category I quit and sampled through the rest, did some blade PIFs etc. Congrats on sticking with it.
  14. PanChango

    PanChango Not Cute

    Congrats on getting through your test. Regardless of how you feel about them, don't pitch the terrible ones for you. Revisit them down the road and you might be surprised. It is amazing how tastes change over time as your technique does. Now I get good shaves with most blades where I had strong opinions about some in the past. It is more of a feel or preference than a good versus bad shave.

  15. '65 G-Slim

    '65 G-Slim Well-Known Member

    I found Nacet blades almost as bad as Rainbow. Hideous waste of metal. I've gotten good results with Shark, and I'm currently using BICs for my 30 Day thingie. I wouldn't waste any money on Astra or Derby. Mixed results with all the 7 o'clock blades, and the gold box PermaSharps are high on my list. Certainly a YMMV thing.
    Carbide Mike and Col C like this.
  16. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    Have not tried Rainbow - read about them though. The Bics I actually kinda liked. They are high on my good list. Only tried the 7 O'clock yellows. Many folks seem to like some of the other 7 O'clock varieties.
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  17. Screwtape

    Screwtape Well-Known Member

    I'm not surprised at most of the blades in the Excellent or Very Good categories, as a huge number of reviewers have given them all high marks at one time or another. The big surprise for me was finding Red Personnas and Israeli IPs in your Don't Touch With A 10' Pole category...
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  18. '65 G-Slim

    '65 G-Slim Well-Known Member

    I've got the yellow SharpEdge, green Super Stainless, and both the black box (Indian) and blue box (Russian, and better) Super Platinums. In order, I'd probably go blue, yellow, green, and black. The Rubie Platinum Plus is an OK blade, too, I reckon between yellow & green.
    Carbide Mike likes this.
  19. banks741938

    banks741938 Well-Known Member

    I can't believe you actually found a made that is worse than derby... I know this may be blasphemy but I'd about rather shave with a cartridge than shave with a derby. I hate them....I would agree with you do the most part about the blades that I have tried. I will have to try the polisilver.
    Carbide Mike and Col C like this.
  20. Col C

    Col C Well-Known Member

    I didn't test the Red Personna - they were not included in my sample pack.
    Carbide Mike likes this.

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