There are many things to look at when comparing a shavette to a straight razor. The things that can be compared between a straight razor and shavette are the initial purchase price, ongoing cost of maintenance, and the ability to shave. I’ll discuss each of those items below. (maybe add in learning curve)
If you’re interested solely in the initial purchase price, and assuming that the lower the price is better, then shavettes are most definitely better than straight razors. Most shavettes run in the $10 – $60 dollar range, but higher end shavettes like the Feather Artist Club Razors can cost almost as much as brand new straight razors. In fact, they can in some cases cost more depending on the straight razor you’re comparing them to.
However, as a general rule of thumb, most shavettes are significantly cheaper than straight razors for the initial upfront purchase.
Moving on to the next item, both shavettes and straight razors do have ongoing costs to maintain them. With shavettes you’ll have to buy replacement blades. A lot of shavettes will take half of a DE/safety razor blade that has been snapped in half. Some shavettes have specialized blades such as the Feather Artist Club Razors. Some shavettes can take both a DE blade that’s been snapped in half and their own special blades, such as the Dovo shavette. The Dovo shavette accomplishes this through the use of different plastic insert/blade holders that are pushed into the Dovo shavette’s handles.
With straight razors, your ongoing costs are going to be related to keeping your straight razor’s edge sharp. If you pay to have someone else to hone it, then you will have the cost of shipping it to where ever you have to send it to get it honed and you’ll have to pay them a honing fee. If you hone it yourself, then you’ll have the cost of honing oil and whetstones. You may also have ongoing costs in the form of strops and strop pastes.
As far as ongoing costs are concerned, your straight razors will have greater upfront costs for ongoing maintenance. The ongoing costs of a shavette are extremely cheap since they usually take DE blades and it’s hard to beat the price of bulk DE blades.
Finally the last thing we’ll look at is the ability of the shavette and straight razors to shave. Shavettes and straight razors will both shave any hair you have without issue. I will say that I think I nick myself more with a shavette than I do with a straight razor. It seems like the machine-sharpened blades will cut me before I even realize it whereas with a straight razor I can feel it start to dig in and back off before things get bloody.
I will say that I do appreciate the weight of a straight razor more than a shavette. Also, I feel like straight razors have more of a luxury feel to them than shavettes, with an exception being the Feather Artist Club DX razors. A lot of shavettes are lightweight and I just don’t get a feeling of awe when I shave with them.
Have you shaved with either a shavette, straight razor or both? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.