I’m a bald, hairy guy. As you can guess, razors and shavers are my (almost) daily pals on my journey to not look like a total slob.
I’ve used Schick, I’ve used Gillette. Sure enough, I’ve groomed my face with Dorco razors too. It’s been quite a few years of me being bald and hairy, after all.
Over the past two years or so, my cartridge razor of choice has been the Schick Hydro 5.
$22.49 ($22.49 / Count)
Before I elaborate why…Here’s my cool shot of it next to its competitors, Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide, and Dorco Pace 6:
I prefer the blue design of the Hydro. It’s also quite popular here in Japan, where I temporarily live.
So, why Hydro 5?
Its lubrication reservoir. I used to swear by Gillette, but somewhere down the line, their lubrication strips went bad. Hydro 5’s reservoir easily lasts double the time of both Gillette and Dorco razors.
Which saves me money. And helps my sensitive skin get a comfortable, aloe-enriched shave.
Now, each of these three razors has its benefits and drawbacks. That’s how products work. Here are my impressions after several years of alternating between them. After that, I’ll continue with a full review of Gillette vs Schick vs Dorco Pace:
Now, I’m not sure what matters to you when you look for a cartridge razor. I have three very simple concerns:
Blade quality: Does it deliver a close shave, do the blades clog too easily?
Maintenance/Economics: How often do I have to change the blades?
The handle: Is it ergonomic enough, maneuverable, and with enough weight to it?
Simple, yet crucial. So let’s talk about these things a little, shall we?
Table of Contents
Schick Hydro vs Dorco vs Gillette:
Not only am I hairy, but my body hair (aside from my scalp…) is also very thick and coarse. If you’re worried about that…don’t be. All three cartridge razors cope well with stubborn follicles.
Well, with some minor differences. For example, Dorco Pace 6 – as the name implies, has one extra blade for a total of six.
Here’s a closeup of our blade actors:
I’ll be honest with you. In terms of the closeness of the shave, Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide wins the race.
There’s a simple explanation for that – the low-friction coating on its blades.
This coating was born to deal with longer, extra thick hair. Sometimes, I can feel my Schick Hydro 5 tugging if I haven’t groomed myself for a longer time. If you keep to your grooming schedule, however, this Fusion ProGlide benefit won’t matter that much.
There’s one thing I love about my Hydro 5, however. All of these have an edging blade/styler on top of the razor. However, Schick is the only brand that designed it like this:
Whenever you need it, you just slide the top to uncover the blade here.
Why does it matter?
Simple: protection. Even when I was writing this review, I cut myself a bit on Proglide’s upper blade as I forgot there’s no sliding mechanism. Same for Dorco – these are sharp and you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful.
Just FYI, I didn’t find Dorco’s extra blade making that much of an impact.
Gillette Fusion Proglide > Schick Hydro 5 > Dorco Pace 6.
- Lubrication reservoir lasts longer than other razors.
- Rubberized body helps for good grip during shower shaves.
- Protected edging trimmer for your safety.
Hydro 5 outshines Pace 6 and the ProGlide
Who likes paying money after only a few shaves?
Neither you nor me. Which is why lubrication strips are important.
I know I said ‘strips’, but Hydro 5’s lubrication is more like a reservoir. This neat buddy has a combo of mineral oils and an aloe-based conditioner.
Once you pour some water on the razor – boom, there goes the gel, ready to nourish your skin and prepare you for a comfy shave.
Seriously, the gel is smooth. It glides over your skin effortlessly. Not only this, but it also lasts way, way longer than both the strips of Gillette Fusion ProGlide and Dorco Pace 6.
There’s one tricky point, though: the reservoir might turn a bit gooey with time.
My shaving experience doesn’t involve beauty contests, however…So I don’t care how my cartridge razor lubrication looks like.
Schick Hydro 5 > Gillette Fusion Proglide/Dorco Pace 6.
A heated competition
What matters the most to you?
Non-sliding grip? Handle weight? How easy to maneuver the body is?
All three brands’ cartridge razors shine in different compartments. For example, Dorco Pace 6’s body not only looks heavier…it actually is. Look at its chrome-looking plastic:
It’s the perfect cartridge razor for people who want a solid, heavier handle that adds balance to your shaves.
On the other hand, Fusion ProGlide razors come with Gillette’s FlexBall technology.
They might’ve lost me with the lubrication strip issues, but I still miss that in all other brands. FlexBall allows you to literally follow any contour you need, making the handle a piece of maneuverable art.
What about Schick Hydro 5? The handle is right between Gillette and Dorco in terms of weight. I like its rubberized body, which allows for a bit more secure grip compared to the other two.
I do quite a bit of wet shaving – under the shower, too. The rubberized handle is a priority to me, as things can get slippery.
No clear winner, depends on your priorities!
- FlexBall follows your facial contours for optimal shaves.
- Low-friction coating on the blades deals better with coarse, thick hair.
- Lubrication strip doesn’t last as long, however.
Do Dorco or Schick blades fit in Gillette Fusion?
You know, a few years ago that might’ve been impossible. Yet, here we are, and you can actually stick your Schick blades into the Fusion ProGlide handle.
This is what the new Schick HydroConnect razor is all about (news article here). You can only put Schick blades on the ProGlide, not vice versa, however.
Here’s a good video that explains more:
As far as Dorco Pace blades go…I don’t think you can fit them. At least I couldn’t do it. Dorco and Schick Hydro blades use a similar changing mechanism, with two small plastic bumps that don’t jive well with Gillette.
Are more blades better? Or is it just a marketing gimmick?
No, I wouldn’t say it’s a gimmick. Going from Schick 3 to Schick Hydro 5 was an eye-opening experience. Same as the older Gillette Mach cartridge razors to the smoothness of Fusion ProGlide.
That said, after one point you’re grasping at straws, I think.
Dorco is the brand that always strives to ‘outblade’ its competitors. You have the Pace 6, and as if it wasn’t enough, they also have a Dorco Pace 7 (check it out here) too.
That is a bit too excessive, I guess. As I pointed out before, I didn’t really feel that much of a change using a cartridge razor with six blades.
Which is better:
Gillette, Schick or Dorco?
I hope my review helped you see which cartridge razor meets your personal priorities and needs. While I prefer Schick Hydro 5, you might value some of Dorco’s or Gillette’s features a bit more.
Obviously, the best would be if we could have a fully interchangeable blade system between all of them, right?
Who knows what the future will bring? It just might happen!
If you want similar in-depth reviews like this one, check my full guide to blade sizes for Oster clippers. Or, if you’re a bald guy like me, check my review of Andis and Wahl shavers. A bit cheaper than your Norelco or Braun…but on a barber-grade quality.