Time to pit the blades of Dorco against some of the competition. Who better than Gillette, industry powerhouse, to compare them with. Gillette have been in the business for years, the company being founded in 1901, and have created many innovations in the field. Their double ended safety razor was a revolution when it was introduced more than a hundred years ago and they pioneered the razor tech we will be looking at today, the three balded razor.
Dorco, a South Korean safety razor firm, founded in 1955 have a few design innovations under their belt as well. Their combination of soothing materials built into the blade head of most of their products is impressive, and no other firm can claim as many blades. Indeed, they have released a new seven bladed razor, which I cannot wait to try out. There is one inherent flaw with adding more and more blades to a razor, these days at lease. Wearing a beard is in vogue, so clean shaven folks like myself are in the minority.
The first pair of blades I will be comparing are the Mach 3 and the Pace 3. The Mach 3 was the first 3 bladed razor on the market, released back in 1998. The Pace 3 is a newer model, which gives it a small advantage in terms of ergonomic and materials used.
As to the methodology. I will be shaving once every three days, first with the Mach 3 then with the Pace 3. A five step process will be employed. First an exfoliant, then a hot towel, warm foam, three pass shave, with the grain, perpendicular to the grain and against the grain, and finally a menthol based moisturizer. This will, hopefully with minimal issues, create a perfectly smooth shave. Three bladed razors tend to require a little more attention and care when used.
It seems to me that the more blades a razor has the less you need to finish your three pass shave, so I went into this expecting to be shaving for a while. Thankfully that was not the case.
The Fresh Blade – Gillette Mach 3 Experience
Let’s take a look at the Mach 3 first. The design is classic at this point. Three blades on an ergonomic handle. Apparently it took years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop, and I have to say the end result was a revolution at the time. The Blades themselves are fairly close together, but not as close as the Pace 3. The lubrication strip is an unknown factor. It facilitates a smoother shave, but I have no idea what else is there there. Best to assume that we are just looking at some light lubricating gel. It turns white with overuse, letting you know to move on, a nice touch. The handle feels great in the hand, but I would like a more range of motion. Overall a well designed piece of kit.
As to the shave itself, it was okay. I feel I have been spoiled in recent years by the 5, 6 and 7 balded counterparts. The spacing of the blades felt a little tuggy, less so than a single or double bladed razor, but still noticeable, even with the lathered foam. The First pass went well, as did the second, but the final against the grain pass got a little dicey. Shaving to the bone is a hard shave with the best of tools, and here we rediscover why razor tech is advancing to more and more blades. I ended up with a minor cut, just below the Adam’s apple, and a close shave.
The first pass left me with a little more stubble than I expected, so the final pass needed to do a little more work than I am used to. I ended up with a shave to match my finest, but the time it took to get me there could have been better spent elsewhere. The lack of a trimmer limits the utility of the product a little too. As I mentioned, more and more folk are wearing beards, so not have the option to style your facial hair with precision is a little bit of a missed opportunity, but one I think applies to the Dorco as well.
Overall this is still a great wee razor, but it would not be my first choice.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Razor Experience
On to the Pace 3, this is the second time I have shaved with this blade and I came away from the experience with a similar opinion. The handle is nicely balanced and easy to keep a grip on, even when wet. The head has a wonderful range of motion, with one of the most solid pivot heads I have encountered. The lubricating strip is more than a little bit of aloe vera, which I am forced to assume of the Mach 3. It has a nice combination of three chemicals, each able to make the shave that little bit easier. Olive oil, chamomile and allantoin. Olive oil has been used as a moisturizer for years, and it makes the shave a little smoother, the same is true of the chamomile. The allantoin extract is a different thing entirely. It actually helps close cuts. If you have a bad stroke this stuff will help mitigate the damage, so you don’t end up with a nice red scab on your otherwise pristine face.
The shave itself was fine. Up against three days growth, the same as the Mach 3, and it yielded well. The spacing is a little finer on the Pace 3, when compared to the Mach 3, so I felt less tugging on the final pass, but both did equally well on the first two passes. The Mach 3 left a little more on the face after the with the grain pass, so if you like that short stubble look it is definitely worth checking out, but the Pace 3 left a very similar look behind it. The core difference came in the final pass. the Pace 3 felt smoother, though neither are exactly my cup of tea, the Pace 3 comes out a little ahead.
I ended up with the shave I wanted out of the razor, it took very little time, a little over 15 minutes, and given the options I would use it again, in fact I will likely have to. I’ll see how they shave after being out for six days, I imagine not very well, but seeing if I can use them again is useful to know.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Gillette Mach 3
So the second shave test, seeing how the blades fair after being used. I did not go into this with high hopes, as testing in the past with less than amazing blades has cut me. To my surprise they both did the job of shaving me well enough. The Pace 3 held its edge better though, giving me a tighter shave, and taking less time too. the Mach 3 did a great job in its own right, and in a pinch will step up to the plate.
Conclusion – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Gillette Mach 3
The final deciding factor will be the price, and we all know how variable that can be. The Mach 3, handle and replacement blades, retails at close to $30. That gets you the handle, and three heads. The Pace 3 is significantly cheaper. You can get the handle and 24 cartridges for $28. Wow, I guess that’s what happens when you’re the market leader for so long.
There is one final point to make here, the difference in product lines. Gillette’s products are separated by handle. Only Mach 3 cartridges, of which their are three, can fit the Mach 3 handle. The Pace 3 handle will fit all of the Pace cartridges, from the 3 right the way up to the 7. It’s just better value for money overall at this point.
Both of these are great razors, but there is a clear winner here. The Pace 3 provided me with the better shave when fresh and the better emergency shave when two days dull. It offers the more versatile product and the lower price. Hands down the better experience.
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