I’m pretty sure all of you guys know the following situation – either you’re bald or shaving somewhere else: You’re standing in front of the razor shelf, watching out for replacement blades for your cardridge razor and each time you ask yourself if the fucking costly Gillette cardridges are worth the extra money compared to “noname” or whitelabel products.
Well. I was using a Gillette Fusion (neither the Flexball, nor the Power version) more or less every day for years, but I also tried a couple of budget friendly whitelabel cardridge razors occasionally and gave them a try from time to time. I don’t know about you, I always came back to the Gillette after a while.
But when I started using my latest purchase, the “Elkos xenon 6.1” razor (sold at Edeka), I was actually amazed by the overall quality and results I got for a significant smaller money compared to the Gillette, and after some weeks I decided to keep this system.
The following article is a comparison of both the Gillette and the Elkos cartridge razors. Please note that I only use these razors to shave my bald – usage for facial shaves might influence the cost calculation or the time they stay sharp.
I did some research for this article and the Elkos is also sold under different names worldwide, in the US it’s named “Dorco Pase 6 plus” for instance.
If you take a first look at the packages, you’ll notice that there is nearly no difference between the product specifications or included delivery.
Elkos xenon 6.1 cardridge razor
- with precision trimmer
- 6 blades for a thorough and gentle shave
- chrome coated, durable blade
- lubricating strip with lavender, aloe vera extract and vitamin E
- ergonomically optimized grip with rubberized profile
- Handle with elastomer-profile
The Elkos comes with the handle and 2 blades, but no carrying case. I never used those cases, so for me that’s fine.
Gillette Fusion cardridge razor
- 5 thinner, finer blades with Gillette’s most advanced coating
- New blade stabilizer helps to maintain blade precision during shaving
- Comfort slats tighten the skin and set up the whiskers
- Improved Lubrastrip enriched with oils for better skimming over the skin
- Precision trimmer with improved blade and anti-clogging slot
- Handle with Elastomer-profile
The Gillette comes with a handle, 1 blade and a storage case (which I threw into the trash, so it’s not on the pictures).
Because the Gillette comes with 1 blade only, the point in this category goes to the Elkos even it comes without a case.
Elkos / Dorco: 1
Some thoughts about cardridge razor pricing in general. First of all, sure, there are cheaper options to get rid of your stubbles. You could take a traditional shaving blade for instance – buy it once and use it for the rest of your life. But for my morning routine – too complicated for a quick shave.
Or you could use a disposable cardridge razor. But try one and you’ll see that they are neither clean nor gentle enough for regular and good looking head shaves.
I shave usually every 3rd day (that’s around 120 shaves a year). I prepare the skin with some shaving oil and an ordinary shaving cream from the drug store 5 minutes before I start shaving (well, most likely I’m in a hurry and I don’t wait that long to get started. When you’re patient enough and really wait some minutes, the stubbles will get much softer and the blades will stay sharp much longer).
Elkos xenon 6.1
I need to replace the blade after 4 shaves in average, means a pack of 4 Gillette blades lasts for round about 7 weeks. For one year, I need 8 replacement packs, that’s a total of 71,20 Euro plus 9,99 Euro for the razor = 81,19 Euro. Based on 120 shaves a year, I’d pay 0,67 Euro for one shave.
Starterpack Price: 9,99 Euro
Replacement cardridge with 4 blades: 8,90 Euro
Price per shave in the first year: 0,67 Euro
I need to replace the blade after 5 shaves in average, means a pack of 4 Gillette blades lasts for round about 8 weeks. For one year, I need 6 replacement packs, that’s a total of 101,94 Euro plus 9,95 for the razor = 111,89 Euro. Based on 120 shaves a year, I’d pay 0,93 Euro for one shave.
Starterpack Price: 9,95 Euro
Replacement cardridge with 4 blades: 16,99 Euro
Price per shave in the first year: 0,93 Euro
Overall, the Gillette costs round about 40% more than the xenon so the point goes to the latter. The prices are based on amazon.de at the time of writing (23rd January, 2018). They might be different in local markets, also the number of shaves you personally get might differ.
Elkos / Dorco: 2
Both cardridge razors offer a nearly identical set of features. They both have super thin, single spring-suspended blades. The xenon has 6 and the Gillette “only” 5 blades. The more blades, the less pressure is neccessary and the less skin irritation in the end – but you won’t feel a big difference here.
Both razors are equipped with a number of rubber lips, ment to lift the stubbles upwards and get a smoother result. They also both offer a lubricating strip – contact with water releases the lubrication liquid. The color fades away after some time to indicate the end-of-life replacement.
They are also both equipped with a rubber profile, giving grip for easy handling even you shave under the shower.
Plus they both sport a precision trimmer, which is a single blade at the backside of the razor. I never saw an advantage in these blades, but manufacturer says it’s good to shave under the nose or shape fine details with it.
No winner here. One point each.
Elkos / Dorco: 3
During my tests, I got the impression that Gillette blades last a bit longer. I shaved my head in average 6 times with a Gillette blade and 5 times with an Elkos blade. The so-called Lubrastrip of the Gillette indicates when the blades get dull but I think it’s better to feel when it’s time for a replacement and not being a slave of the manufacturers reminder (and yes, you really feel it).
Elkos / Dorco: 4
As with most of the other categories in my comparison, there is absolutely no difference in the handling of both cardridge razors. As you can see on the photos, the shape of the handles is nearly identical. Both razors weigh 43 grams with a blade and they have the same size.
The cardridges allow a super simple replacement once the blade got dull. Just press the button to release the old blade, push the handle into the next fresh blade in the cardridge and you’re done.
Shaving process is smooth and easy. The risc of getting hurt by the cardridge razor blades is small because of the number of single blades, it actually 2 times during the years (I guess that’s why it’s called “safety razor” too).
The shave heads are primarily made for shaving beards, but they also work perfect for head shaves. The blades of both razors are – you name it- identically wide again.
There is a little difference in the maximum angel the blade can be moved.
No winner in this category.
Elkos / Dorco: 5
For me, both razors deliver the same smooth result, I don’t see a real difference. It seems the Elkos just copied the Gillette 1:1. I also need more or less the same number of moves to get all areas smooth and clean.
They both don’t cause any skin irritation and, what’s important for my morning routine as well, I can use them both for super fast shaving.
Elkos / Dorco: 6
Watch my shaving routine in this video (still using a Gillette razor):
And the winner is …
… you guess it: the Elkos is the better choice. At the end of the day, in terms of features and handling, there is no winner for me. But when it comes to the price, there is totally no reason to go for the Gillette and spend more.
The Elkos cardridge razor offers identical features for a significant lower price and delivers the same smooth and fast result than the competitor.
What is your prefered cartridge razor? Let me know in the comments below!