The Gillette Mach3 was released in 1998. The R&D cost for the Mach3 rang up at a staggering $750 million, roughly $1.2 billion when adjusted for inflation.
Over 20 years later, the Mach3 remains a widespread and trusted razor for a lot of men. Some men find their way back to the Mach3 due to the reduced number of blades, comfortable shaving experience, and affordable price point.
Below, we will provide you with a detailed look at the Mach3, including the razor design and a shave demonstration.
Editor’s Note: We paid for the Mach3 out-of-pocket. This article is not a paid review. This post contains affiliate links. Tools of Men is independently owned and operated. Gillette is not aware of this post before publication.
Here’s a brief overview of the design and how the Mach3 differs from other modern cartridge razors.
The most notable difference between the Mach3 and many other cartridge razors is the size of the head:
As you can see above, the head on the Mach3 features three razor blades. Additionally, there is a lubricating strip on the top and fins on the bottom.
The Mach3 Turbo differs slightly from the Mach3 and has a few more fins along the bottom.
Range of Motion
While the head cannot tilt side-to-side like the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, the Mach3 offers a wide range of motion for the pivot mechanism:
This allows the razor blades to remain in contact with the skin as it passes over the natural contours of your face.
Notably absent from the Mach3 is a precision trimmer:
Therefore, when working details such as the sideburns, mustache, goatee, etc., you will be limited to using only the primary razor head.
To give you an idea of how modest the size of the razor head is on the Mach3, here it is compared alongside the Fusion ProGlide:
Like most modern cartridge razors, the Mach3 features a handle that is a blend between both metal and rubber. This composition, while not the most environmentally-friendly, provides you with a steady, confident grip when shaving:
Length & Weight
The Mach3 measures 5.4″ in length. In the picture below, you can see that this length is the norm for most cartridge razor systems:
For weight, the Mach3 is light:
At 35g (1.23oz), it is one of the lightest razors we’ve reviewed.
For greater context, here’s how the Mach3 compares to other popular razor systems:
|Razor||Weight (g)||Weight (oz)||Length (in)|
The Mach3 remains popular for two reasons: the shave’s comfort and the low long-term ownership cost.
We ran an analysis on the Mach3 to see how much it would cost to own for an entire year. Before we share those results, here are a few critical points to know:
- Handle: Every razor requires you to buy a handle. The Mach3 handle will cost approximately $7. Safety razor handles vary in cost. On average, a well-made safety razor handle will cost roughly $45. The handle is a one-time investment.
- Daily Shaving (365): This is how much you can expect to pay per year in blade refills if you shave for 365 days.
- Work Day Shaving (270): This is how much you can expect to pay per year in blade refills if you shave for 270 days. This excludes holidays, vacations, and sick days.
- Razor Replacement: We assumed that a safety razor blade will last you five shaves before replacement and that a cartridge razor will last you 12 shaves before replacement.
As the chart suggests, the Mach3 is significantly cheaper than modern cartridge razor systems. You can expect to save up to $75 per year using the Mach3 over the ProGlide Shield.
When compared to a safety razor, the total cost difference is small. Mach3 will be cheaper by approximately $15 for the first year but will have slightly higher long-term costs after year 1.
Ultimately, the Mach3 is a great budget pick for those men who want to enjoy the convenience and ease of use that a cartridge razor provides.
Supporting data used for our analysis:
|Razor System||Handle||Daily Shaving (Blades Only)||Work Day Shaving (Blades Only)|
|Gillette ProGlide Shield||$10.00||$125.47||$92.81|
|Handle + Expensive Blades||$45.00||$27.74||$20.52|
|Handle + Cheap Blades||$45.00||$8.76||$6.48|
Shaving with the Mach3
To get a better understanding of how the Mach3 performs, here are a few important points that you should know:
- Beard Length: Used a beard trimmer before shaving (approx. 2 days length)
- Pre-Shave Prep: Warm shower
- Pre-Shave Treatment: Proraso Pre-Shave Cream
- Shaving Cream: C.O. Bigelow Shaving Cream
- Skin Sensitivity: Mildly sensitive
- Facial Hair Type: Dense, mildly curly
Here’s how the facial hair length looked before shaving:
And here’s how the Mach3 looked while shaving (full shave analysis provided shortly):
Here’s a look at the skin and facial hair immediately after shaving:
As a Fusion ProGlide user for several years, the Mach3 provided similar results. The shave was comfortable and non-irritable.
What We Liked
- When you look at the shave’s cost and quality, the Mach3 remains in a league all of its own. Forget going with a cheap shave club subscription or even some off-brand budget cartridge razor; seriously, consider this razor instead.
- The results were pretty smooth and the irritation was non-existent. Even writing this a full day after the shave, there is only a very modest stubble that exists.
- While not personally susceptible to razor bumps, men in popular shave forums often claim that the three blades on this razor won’t cut too aggressively, leading to better results, particularly on the neck.
- Even with a thicker and longer stubble, the Mach3 could make long passes without noticeable clogging or pulling.
- For mildly sensitive skin, this razor is among the best. There were no signs of irritation during and post-shave.
What We Didn’t Like
- The lack of a precision trimmer takes some getting used to. After using one for years, trimming hairs close to the nose or detailing the sideburns took a few extra seconds. You might wish that the Mach3 had a precision trimmer.
- The Mach3 has a limited range of motion and can only pivot. For manscaping or head shaving, the lack of a Flexball found on modern Gillette razors is missed.
- Make sure you have a steady hand when using the Mach3. At only 35g (1.23oz), this razor is light. Try not to over-apply pressure.
It’s easy to see why this razor is so beloved after all these years. The Mach3 is cheap and shaves well. If you want to rediscover a classic while adding money back to your wallet, go with the Mach3 — you won’t be disappointed at all.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.