It used to be that if you wanted a new razor, your options were limited to the pricey name-brands that dominated the market, such as Gillette and Schick.
These two brands have grown from nothing to become some of the biggest names in shaving, with millions of customers.
What makes them so appealing is that they have both filled a missing niche in the market. Until these two came to the market, razors seemed to be overly expensive for a quality shave, unless you went with a cheap disposable that gave a poor shave after a single use.
Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club changed things by offering a good shave for not a lot of money.
Perhaps that’s one reason that many people lump these two in the same category and aren’t quite sure of their differences.
Here’s everything to know about how the two differ, as well as our take on which one is better.
Harry’s Has a Lot of Focus on Style
For many people, Harry’s is the most recognizable razor out there. That’s due to its unique style. You’ve likely seen the ads on the Internet of the stylish bright-orange handle. It looks straight out of a Mad Men episode. Instead of lots of fancy grips or high-tech features you may or may not need, Harry’s builds a razor that has a classic look.
If you have a bathroom that could use a little redecorating, the Harry’s razor will make it look cooler. If you have a bathroom that’s straight out of Architectural Digest, well then the Harry’s is a must-have accessory to complete the look.
Dollar Shave Club Is Focused on Subscriptions
Whether you like or hate subscription-based razor plans… you can thank Dollar Shave Club for them. The brand was influential in taking subscription razors mainstream, and it continues today.
For those that enjoy subscriptions, it offers an easy way to ensure you will never run out of razors (or other products they offer). Set it up according to your budget and schedule, and new blades will come to your door instead of having to go out and buy them.
The good news is that the subscription doesn’t lock you in. You can cancel anytime and there is no fee or charge to cancel. Actually, once you cancel, then you also get an offer to buy more razors… without the subscription.
Harry’s also offers a subscription if you want it, but you can also buy a la carte, right from the beginning.
Dollar Shave Club is Now Owned by Unilever
These days, whenever an independent company is successful, it seems to be bought up by a major corporation. That’s the case with Dollar Shave Club. It was bought by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion, according to Forbes.
Even so, it still operates as a seemingly independent company at DollarShaveClub.com. Unless you start digging, you’ll never know that the company is now owned by the conglomerate.
Harry’s Is Still Independent (But Was Almost Bought)
Harry’s stands as one of the rare independent razor manufacturers. Based in New York, they make their own blades in a German factory that was bought back in 2014. If you’re someone that likes to shop from independent companies, it’s one of the few in this field.
But it was almost bought by a major player in the razor market. In 2019 Harry’s was set to be acquired by Edgewell — the parent company behind Schick. The next year, however, the Federal Trade Commission said no to the deal.
Don’t think that Harry’s is some tiny mom-and-pop razor company. The deal put a value of roughly $1.4 billion on Harry’s.
Dollar Shave Club Offers a “White Label” Razor
We mentioned above that Harry’s owns their own factory to produce their blades in Germany. Dollar Shave Club goes a very different route. The razors and handles for the company’s “Executive” lineup are actually made by a South Korean company — Dorco.
Dorco has a long history in razors, going back all the way to the 1950s. Instead of having to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to build a razor from scratch, Dollar Shave Club is able to offer a great shave at a low price by using another company’s blades. It’s actually a smart move that’s made the brand a major player in shaving.
Both Offer Affordable Shaves
Don’t want to spend a ton on shaving? Then you can’t go wrong with Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club. Both offer affordable shaves.
Dollar Shave Club offers a set of four cartridges for its “Executive” series (its six-bladed razor) for just $10. There are discounts when you purchase higher quantities.
Harry’s offers four cartridges for its “Truman” razor (which has five blades) for $9. They also get cheaper if you buy more cartridges.
Either way, expect to spend around $2 for a cartridge for either, which should last you at least a couple of weeks before needing a change.
Harry’s Has a Low Pivot Point
Most people don’t think about the pivoting of a razor. Every razor you buy will pivot back and forth as a way to get around the curves of the chin and jaw. What can make a difference is the pivot point — where on the head of the razor the blades actually move.
Ideally, the razor will pivot in the center of the blades. That way, even as the blades pivot back, pressure is even across the razor as it cuts the hair on your face.
Harry’s razors have a low pivot point at the base of the blade. During our review of the razor, that made the top blades feel like they weren’t cutting with as much pressure as the bottom blades.
Dollar Shave Club Offers Multiple Razor Types; Harry’s Offers One
Some people like choices while others like to keep things as simple as possible. Neither Harry’s nor DSC has a long list of complicated razors, but Dollar Shave Club does offer a few more options.
Dollar Shave Club offers the six-bladed Executive, the four-bladed 4X, and the two-bladed Humble Twin. As you might expect, the price for the razors with fewer blades is lower than ones with more blades.
Harry’s on the other hand simply has one razor cartridge. It’s five-bladed razor head fits both of its handles (the Truman and the Winston). Harry’s Truman handle comes in several colors.
Is Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club a Better Razor?
To be sure both are solid choices, but we thought the offering of the Dollar Shave Club is better.
To us the shave was nice and sharp, without any pulling, tugging, or nicks. It breezed through the hair on our face even after multiple shaves. It wasn’t absolutely smooth like some razors — you can definitely feel the blades cutting, but it’s a light feeling.
We especially liked the feel of the handle in our hand as the shape gave us great grip. Combine that with aggressive rubber tread and you don’t have to worry about the handle slipping.
Does that mean Harry’s isn’t these things? Absolutely not. It offers a nice shave as well and we especially liked the style. To us, there were a couple of issues.
First, we found the grip could be better. The handle is relatively smooth, making grip in the wet more of a challenge. There is a ridge at the top of the handle that helps, but more grip would be nice.
As well, the pivot point of the razor meant the shave felt inconsistent when pivoting as equal pressure wasn’t applied across the blades. In this case, the first blades felt firm against the face while the upper blades felt farther away from the shaving area.
It’s a close call, but to us the small things made the Dollar Shave Club razor slightly better to use. You can read our Dollar Shave Club review here and our Harry’s review here to make up your own mind.
First things first, you won't go wrong with either razor. We've personally tried them both and they provide a nice shave. That said, we prefer the Dollar Shave Club Executive over the Harry's Truman razor. It's close, but we thought the Executive from DSC provided a nice close shave, had great grip, and pivoted nicely.
Harry's wins points for looking great, but we thought the grip could be better. We also weren't fans of the low pivot point.
No. Harry's and Dollar Shave Club are completely different companies. Harry's actually is independent and owns their own razor factory in Germany. Dollar Shave Club was bought by Unilever a few years back. Their razors are "white-labeled" versions of a razor from Dorco, a South Korean manufacturer. Either way, while they share the same space as being relatively new brands on the market, they aren't the same.
Gillette is the king of shaving with the most well-known brand and the largest market share. We've tested plenty of razors from the company, and they regularly make our list of Top 10 razors.
To us, both Harry's and Dollar Shave Club put up a solid fight, but we'd give the edge of better razors to Gillette. From the quality of the build to the shave itself, Gillette sets the bar high. That said, one area where Harry's and DSC do win is with price. They are considerably less expensive than many of Gillette's razors.
The good news? The shave of any three brands is pretty good. We don't think you'd be disappointed with any of them.