review of harrys razors

Harry’s Razors Review: Is This The Future Of Shaving?

Last Updated: October 8, 2018 | This Article May Contain Affiliate Links

I’m a sucker for marketing.

Seriously, put a glossy coat of paint on a website with trendy colors and couple that with Silicon Valley design aesthetics and you can take my money.

From companies like Birchbox, Warby Parker, and yes, Harry’s (who’s co-founder coincidentally was also a founder of Warby Parker), you have a new wave of companies that are quickly putting the old stalwarts of yesteryear on their heels.

But when you push through all that sexy marketing, it’s the product that really matters…

…right?

Here’s the cold hard truth:

I wanted to love Harry’s.

I really did.

But the fact remains – it wasn’t a match made in heaven. Now before we get all negative on the review (as I will share all the unfiltered details below), I want to take a minute to really talk a bit about the background of why we are doing this review now (several years after Harry’s was founded) along with a proper unboxing.

Harry’s has been around for years

While many men reading this review will instantly attribute the genesis of the subscription shave box model with Dollar Shave Club and their insanely viral video, Harry’s been around for quite some time (founded in 2013).

Since inception, Harry’s has raised over $450 million dollars in venture capital funding according to Crunchbase.

What did they do with all this money?

Bought a factory in Germany that makes razor blades.

Not only did this allow them to lower costs and pass on the savings to you the consumer, but also control the quality of the product as they come off the production line.

Fast forward to today, we approach this review as a razor company that has fully worked out the kinks so to speak in their production process and ultimately attempt to deliver a fine razor blade that competes with more established companies like Gillette, Schick, Dorco (maker of the Dollar Shave Club blades), and others.

But first, let’s talk about what you get when you place an order with Harry’s:

Unboxing Harry’s incredibly cheap (and impressive) starter set

When you go over to the Harry’s website, you are met with a few options.  You have your selection of the trial razor that costs only $3 bucks, the Truman Set ($15), and the Winston Set ($25):

harrys review - website

Visit Harry’s

Based on our findings, the cartridge that is included for each of these options are identical.

What really separates one set from the other is the finish of the razor handle (Winston features a die-cast zinc body with chrome finish whereas the others feature a textured rubber grip), along with the inclusion of extra cartridge razor blades.

Since we were buying this ourselves (Harry’s didn’t give us one for free nor are we being paid to write this), we went with the cheapest plan – the $3 starter set:

harrys review - proof of purchase

Immediately upon arrival we were awestruck in the packaging.

Unlike having to go to the drug store and purchase a razor blade that is under lock and key (and one of the many reasons the founders of Harry’s created their company in the first place), we were blown away from the attention to detail.

In a simple 6.5” x 10” box, you see the design aesthetics from their site carry over to the packaging:

harrys review unboxing - packaging

And a simple logo on the side as well:

harrys review unboxing - packing 2

These aren’t boxes that announce to the world in a bright color that your shave subscription arrived – they are minimalist and to the point (note: the shipping details were on the reverse side).

When opening the box, you are met with a simple ‘Hi There’ card:

harrys review unboxing - whats inside

Along with a nice message on the top fold:

harrys review unboxing - inside message

This is seriously way more personal than waiting for a clerk at the local drug store to come over with keys and let you pick up your refills.

Within the box you have two items – a bag containing all the shaving goodies along with a note from the founders:

harrys review unboxing -

Close-up of the note should you want to give it a read:

harrys review unboxing - personal note

Now within the bag you will find the razor, shave gel, travel case, and a few notes on changing of the blade coupled with shaving tips:

harrys review unboxing - inside bag

What’s nice about the packaging is that nothing is contained within the rigid blister packaging that you may be accustomed to when opening cartridge razors (i.e. no heavy-duty scissors required).

Instead, you will find the razor itself in a nice quality box.  As mentioned earlier, if you are giving Harry’s as a gift, there is no denying its incredibly beautiful presentation:

harrys review unboxing - razor presentation

This little line on the side of their box reminds us of Apple’s ‘Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China’ that’s emblazoned on the back of every iDevice:

harrys review unboxing - american designed german engineered

Again, a nod to the fact that Harry’s bought the German razor factory Feintechnik in 2014 (source).

The Truman razor we received features a rubber grip (which performed well when induced in a wet shaving cream environment) along with a simple H’ on the handle:

harrys review unboxing - razor handle

This terrific grip was further reinforced with the tire-like markings on the underside of the razor:

harrys review unboxing - razor grip

When looking at the head of the razor, you will find 5 blades that will do the cutting along with an edging tool that is located on the top of the razor to keep your sideburns and other details in check:

harrys review unboxing - razor

harrys review unboxing - edging blade

It’s important to note, that when Harry’s first introduced their razor to the world, that this edging blade didn’t exist.

It’s great to see that they listened to their customers and made this modification on future blades (surely something that can be done due to their vertical integration when owning parts of the supply chain).

Comparing Harry’s razor to shaving systems

We get that it’s hard to really get an idea of how big or small, heavy or light a razor may be when reading an article online.

All too often you fall victim to having this vision built in your head on how the product will feel only to be left with disappointment upon arrival.

Therefore, we wanted to take a quick minute to show you a comparison of Harry’s razor versus the other guys (namely Gillette and Merkur).

When looking at the length of Harry’s razor compared to others, you will notice that it’s just a tad bit longer:

harrys review comparison - razor length

Why should you care about this?

If you are a bit larger of a guy with bigger hands, the longer handle will make it much easier to control when shaving.  Therefore, you don’t have to worry about fumbling the razor, especially if you are shaving in the shower.

This is also important given Harry’s weight.

When putting this on the scale, we found that Harry’s razor was by and far the lightest (41g) of the three (we expected the Merkur ‘Barberpole’ to be the heaviest given it’s a razor of a different class):

harrys review comparison - razor weight

And for comparison the Gillette Fusion ProGlide weighed 50g while the Merkur weighed a hefty 110g:

harrys review comparison - other razor weights

When looking at the cartridge heads themselves, Harry’s razor does appear to have both a substantially larger lubricating strip along with wider set blades (you will see why this could be a problem for some men in just a minute):

harrys review comparison - razor heads

The width of the razor heads was nearly identical, making it easy for men to convert from one shaving system to another.

We estimate that both Harry’s and Gillette’s razor head width is about 1.625” give or take a few hundredths of an inch:

harrys review comparison - razor width

Finally, we want to talk about the pivot head of the razor.

Harry’s pivot head is on par with other razors in its class.

When pressed down, we could achieve nearly a flat surface.

Why does this matter?

A well performing pivot head will ensure that the razor will easily conform to the contours of your face:

harrys review comparison - razor pivot

And for argument’s sake, here is a look at Gillette’s razor:

harrys review comparison - gillette pivot

For the bald-headed readers out there, the Harry’s razor does not feature a flexball type of head that moves side-to-side.

Of lesser importance when compared to the actual razor, the starter set we got our hands on included a blade protecting case which fits beautifully on the Harry’s razor:

harrys review - travel case

The attention to detail with even the mini-mammoth is remarkable for such an affordable razor.

harrys review - travel case

Along with a 2oz shave gel infused with aloe (note: shave gel was made in the USA):

harrys review - shave cream

The sub 3.4oz liquid rule enforced by TSA while traveling will make this combo great for road warriors:

harrys review - dopp kit

Reviewing Harry’s shave performance

As beautiful as the Harry’s razor may be when it comes to packaging, it unfortunately falls just a bit short when it comes to performance.

Once the box has been recycled and the newness of the product begins to wear off, the daily shaving ritual begins to set in.

I’ll be the first to admit, shaving isn’t the most fun process in the world, especially if you are running late to work or have kids running around.

But the simple fact remains:

A razor that performs poorly can make your shave immensely worse.

While far from being the worse shave in my life (that one is reserved for the time I had to use water and a disposable razor while working at a job in high school that didn’t allow facial hair), Harry’s just didn’t excite me.

For starters, my beard grows in a bit on the thicker side, therefore for the men reading this who have medium or thinner whiskers, you may not experience the same results…

…but for the guys who have thick and coarse beards, pay attention.

Secondly, my skin is also mildly sensitive – it’s the reason why I like using a beard trimmer like the OneBlade instead of a razor on occasion to give my skin a break.

Here’s a look at my beard before shaving:

harrys review - beard before shaving

I went ahead and liberally applied the Harry’s shave gel:

harrys review - shave cream application

And then went ahead and made the appropriate passes:

harrys shaving gif

Here is a closer look at the cheek while shaving:

harrys review - shaving cheek

The head of the razor did seem rather large when shaving the mustache:

harrys review - shaving mustache

The razor covered my whole mustache making it tough to get a clean pass.  Therefore, I had to rely on the edge trimmer for the area directly under my nose.

There were no clogging issues when rinsing the cartridge head – this is likely due to the wide set blades:

harrys review - cleaning razor head

But where I really had problems with this razor was when it came to shaving my neck.

As you can see, the hair on my neck grows in an upward direction (therefore I shaved with the grain as one should):

harrys review - shaving neck

Immediately once I was done shaving, there was severe irritation all around my neck area.

To put it bluntly, my neck hurt pretty bad.

While I did everything that one should do while shaving (showered beforehand, ensured a supple surface prior to blade exposure, going with the grain, etc.) I just simply couldn’t get past the irritation.

The best way I could equate the performance of this blade is with that of a disposable razor.

Passable but not pleasurable.

Here’s how my neck looked a few minutes after I was finished shaving:

harrys review - razor nicks

As you can see there were a handful of small cuts that left a bit of blood – not good.

The cheeks however were still in fairly good shape:

harrys review - final results

harrys review - final results

When reflecting on the shave, one notable characteristic that seemed to be missing was any help from the lubricating strip.  While not necessary for every shave (after all, they tend wear off after a few shaves anyways), it didn’t provide that general slick feeling when the razor passes on your skin.

In a word, the shave experience was…

…meh.

But can you get past the irritation with the great savings?

Cost of Harry’s replacement blades compared to others

harrys review

No matter the subscription model you go with through Harry’s, the cost per blade remains the same at $2 bucks per blade – which makes it relatively affordable…

…but how does that stack up to competitors?

Likely not as much in savings as you may initially think…

To put this in comparison, when purchasing a 12 pack of blades from Gillette (yes, it’s a higher investment cost), you would be paying roughly $2.37 a blade (or $28.50 for the 12 pack).

Furthermore, with Schick, you will pay roughly $2.16 a blade (or $26.00 for the 12 pack) for the Hydro 5 refills.

When you compare Harry’s to others in the market, while it might seem cheap from the onset, if you can afford the larger packages, it’s really not a significant cost savings as one may believe.

Final thoughts on our Harry’s razor review

Overall, I feel it was generally a mixed bag.

The razor itself evoked some nasty irritation that I haven’t personally experienced in some time and was akin to that of a disposable razor.

Given that this is set at a $3 price tag, I think I had a bit higher expectations simply due to the perfect marketing execution that Harry’s employs.

If you are giving this product as a gift to someone else, from the onset they will absolutely love it.

Seriously, it looks amazing.

But, will they renew their subscription?

That’s a toss-up.

If you or the man you are buying this for has a pretty thin or medium bristled beard, they will likely have far better results.

If you are on the fence, and don’t mind spending three bucks to give it a shot, you can sign up through their website.

Shawn Burns | @toolsofmen

Hi, I'm Shawn! A beard and shave enthusiast! I am an aspiring writer who wants to give guys great tips on how to pick up better grooming habits! From beard oil to using a double edge safety razor (yes I do get rid of my beard every now and again), I wanted to create this site where readers can get great information about men's grooming.

Comments

  1. I really loved the old Harry’s!
    The handles were sleek. No more of the ugly fluorescent handles from Gillette. As a designer by profession, I really loved the overall design. The shaving gel can looked great with the ‘H’ logo and coloration. My wife loves the smell of the shaving cream.
    The blades in the multi packs cost much less than Gillette and the shave was really smooth.
    I’m a man that loves black, which they offered as a fathers day special. Even found the last black aluminum stand at Barneys. My ideal look.

    BUT, now the blades have changed. Once they added the trimmer they also spread out the blades for ‘better wash through’ I was told by a Harry’s email. ‘I should experiment with holding the handle differently’
    How do I know these are not the same quality of blades? I still have a few of the old blades in my travel kit. Each time I come back from a trip I realize how ‘raw’ the shave is. I change my blades much more often. So where is the cost savings. I am now at a crossroads. I love my look but not the feel anymore. Not sure how much longer I will stick with Harry’s. I have emailed them over the past year and they say ‘thanks for the feedback’.
    From a design standpoint, they moved away from the nice logo and brown caps. They added a rubber grip to the handles that moves away from their ‘point of difference’ to the Gillette’s of the world. I’m sure these design and packaging changes work for their marketing to stores like Target. So now we have a ‘Target’ experience!

    A very frustrated user considering my options.

  2. I have been with Harry’s for quite some time. Over the last 1-2 years I have noticed a few things. For starters some blades were dull right out of the box and to the point that it was a painful experience. After several times I did call Harry’s and they sent me another box. Secondly and foremost I have whacked the hell out of my chin area a couple of times – to the point of bleeding like a stuck pig with people asking me what I did…yeah that bad! I am thinking this has happened due to the wider space between blades. Wish I could post a picture of what my chin looks like in this comment. You bring up a good point concerning the irritation as I experience this my self. I’m to the point of cringing every time I shave now. This has me researching other razors and comparing which led me to this site. The few dollars I may save is just not worth the unpleasant experience of shaving with Harry’s.

  3. I’d really like if razor manufacturers would just put one really nice and sharp blade in the cartridge.

  4. As a woman, I have always found mens razors to provide a smoother shave than any woman’s product. As much as I loved the closeness of the first few uses, I have found that the blades rust within a day of the first use. I’ve gone through 4 blades within less than 2 weeks. Cost wise, it does not come out cheaper than any other men’s razor I’ve used. Highly unsatisfied!

Comments are closed.