I have been having a ball this last few weeks with these razors. I shave a lot, before starting these reviews I shaved to the bone once every two days. Now I shave every three, more than enough growth on my hirsute face believe me, and I get to play around with all kinds of products that are on the market. The Dorco series of razors has been my focus, seen as they are relatively new and remarkably inexpensive. This week has been dedicated to comparing them to Schick, and poor Schick, their prices and blade spacing has left me feeling a little cold towards them. This week it’s the Pace 6 plus Vs the Hydro 5, the Schick flagship vs the former Dorco top product.
Schick are currently the second most popular razor brand worldwide, if you include the Wilkinson’s Sword brand that they are sold under in Europe, and number one in Japan. The Schick brand is over 100 years old, but the Wilkinson’s Sword brand is older than the establishment of the United States, founded in 1772 by Henry Nock, famed gunsmith. They made swords. Now you can find Schick blades pretty much everywhere, with their current product line being fairly regular. A three blade, a four blade and a five bladed build.
Dorco are a little younger, having been founded in the fifties in one of the Koreas, kidding, it was founded in South Korea. They have a fair few patents under their belt and continue to innovate, having released the worlds first seven bladed razor. I realize that the many bladed razor has come under fire for being superfluous in recent years, but I stand by the fact that they provide a better shave. I am currently waiting on one of their Pace 7 as I write and hope to review it soon, though who am i going to compare it with?
These firms operate quite similarly, in North America at the very least. Rather than offering a subscription service, like the newer firms, they stick to the age old storefront model. Selling a handle and replacement cartridges. This archaic delivery method tends to lead to higher costs for the consumer, well they sell the products in stores and they are priced very highly, whereas Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s send them to your house with accoutrements and cost much less, perhaps the delivery method isn’t the reason for the price.
I have a set method when I shave. I followed it back when I shaved every two days, and follow it more strictly now that I am reviewing a shave every three. The first shave will be with a new blade, and a follow up shave occurs a five days later. The shave itself is a five step three pass shave. First I use an exfoliant, to remove dead skin and ensure a smooth stroke. Next is the hot towel, which opens the pores and raises the hair. Then I apply warm foam, simply put some warm water in a cup and spray the foam in it, it will heat up quick. The fourth step is the three pass shave. First with the grain, then perpendicular to the grain, then finally against the grain. Finish up with a soothing balm to mitigate any irritation. I prefer menthol based post shave balm, as it closes pores faster.
So let’s get to it then. See how the Hydro 5 compares to the now legendary Pace 6 Plus.
The Fresh Blade – Schick Hydro 5 Razor Experience
This is going to be a hard review for the Hydro 5. It starts as having fewer blades than the Pace 6 off the bat, and that to me means a more difficult shaving experience. That is mostly for the to the bone shave that I use. For normal day to day one pass shaving I am sure that the Hydro 5 works wonderfully. But this is an in depth analysis, and so I must shave.
There are a few areas that the Hydro succeeds in, and the first is the handle. As was the case with the Quattro, I found the Hydro 5 a joy to hold. Nice, weighty and smooth in all the right places. There are just enough dips and grooves to assure a firm hold too. The Head pivots nicely, and it conforms to your contours well. The most impressive thing about the Hydro 5 is the lubricating reservoir, as they call it. It’s a giant lubricating strip, and let me tell you brother, once it get s going, this thing glides. Unfortunately, i cannot tell you what the gel is made from, but small price to pay for one of the easiest shaves I have ever experienced.
The Shave itself was great, a minor rocky start, a little early tug, but once I found the rhythm to the blade It was smooth sailing. That gel reservoir deserves an award, few other designs move like this. The first pass was good, but not amazing, but that didn’t matter too much, as the final two passes left me with the shave I was looking for. Time spent shaving was low, a little over five minutes, on what was one of my better shaving experiences.
That is not the end of the story. The Hydro 5 has a trimmer, and while the design of the trimmer is not quite as good as the Quattro, it is still one of the better ones on the market, and a step above even the mighty Pace 6 Plus’ trimmer. I was able to shave the philtrum and the Adam’s apple cleanly. Overall I was left very satisfied with the shave.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 6 Plus Razor Experience
I seem to have gushed over a product that isn’t the Pace 6 Plus in that Hydro 5 section, and it was deserved. But my shaving experiences with the Pace 6 Plus have all been amazing. The core design is one of the best on the market, and while it lacks a lubricating reservoir, it does have a sizable strip, and a nice bracing section at the base of the blades. The six bladed design means a closer together set of razors, and one of the closest shaves on the planet. The handle is great, not quite as good as the Hydro’s, but few are to be honest. It might not be as weighty, but it has more grip points, so you can be assured of a firm hold on the thing.
The shave, well, the shaves in this case. I have used the Pace 6 Plus on numerous occasions, to the point where I am, as of right now, completely out of them. I have a few Pace 7s on the way to replace them, expect a review soon. The first pass went by easy, immediately smooth, but not as eventually smooth as the Hydro 5. All subsequent passes where better than the Hydro 5 though, that extra blade makes a cumulative difference to how a shave feels all the way through. The back mounted trimmer was serviceable, I feel they need to redesign it a bit in order to match the trimmer blades from Schick, but it does the job. I was able to shave the area beneath my nose quite closely, to the point where the tweezers weren’t necessary at the very least, and my Adam’s Apple posed not problem for the core 6 blade head here.
At the end of the day I would call the shave from the Pace 6 Plus the better overall, the more consistent experience. While the Hydro 5 excels in some areas, it falls short in others. There are moments of great joy, and moments of fervent hope. I would prefer my shave to be fantastic start to finish.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 6 Plus Vs Schick Hydro 5 Razor
Oh good. I tend to find the 5+ bladed razors hold up well over time, far better than the 3 and 4 bladed counterparts. I went into my six day old, five night old? Shave with significantly less trepidation than I usually do. The Hydro 5 was… a challenge. Much of my love for the core shaving experience was derived from the gel reservoir, which on day 6 had completely vanished. In its place was a war against coarse hair, a bloody ‘Nam esque conflict that left me a little worse for wear.
The Pace 6 Plus held up as well as it normally did. A little blunt, a little longer to get the shave done, but done it was indeed got. I ended up with a to the bone shave, and happily threw the blade out glad.
Conclusion & Pricing – Dorco Pace 6 Plus Vs Schick Hydro 5 Razor
Here is where all of the positives of the Hydro 5 are rendered moot. I reviewed the Quattro and the Xtreme 3 already, and the pricing section hit them like a hammer. They had already been placed on the anvil of my opinion by that point though, so the fact that I may have to flog the Hydro 5, a razor I am actually quite fond of, fills me with despair. Handle and 10 cartridges will set you back $25. Which is actually fantastic, all things considered. The Pace 6 Plus, handle and 10 cartridges, costs the same, $25. You might be able to find either of them cheaper, this close to the holidays, but the on average price is that stated.
For a change of pace Dorco is not lagging behind in terms of product line. Neither Schick nor Dorco offer anything other than branded shaving foam. There is one area that Dorco prevail though, interchangeability. All Dorco handles can accept all Dorco cartridges, not the case with the Hydro. It does accept all the other Hydro models, of which there are three, but if you buy a Quattro cartridge when they are on cheap you will need to get a new handle too.
It is nice to have a review be this close. The Hydro 5 is probably the best razor available from Schick, it shaves close, it glides smoothly, and the price is far from terrible. But The rrp is a little higher than what I have found, so I expect it to rise come January, and the lack of cartridge options hurts it. The Pace 6 Plus offers the better overall experience, and the flexibility offered by them far surpasses the competition. I feel like razors are like your favorite beer. You keep trying a new one until something sticks, and then changing isn’t an option. But the companies behind razors have been using their huge market shares to increase the price of their products with little regard for the quality, and the profit margins on them are ridiculous, if they weren’t Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club and Dorco could not sell their products as cheaply as they do. I implore you to at least give a new blade a chance, see how much you save.
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