I got a new razor the other day. It’s a stainless steel razor from Japan — a Feather.

I’ve been doing the “old fashioned” shaving for around 2 1/2 years now. Using a standard double-edged razor blade. I’ve tried several other razors and decided I wanted to try what has been described as the best to see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be.

So, is a $150 razor worth it?

Before you get shocked at the cost, take a look at the normal disposable blades. Even the cheap ones cost a couple of bucks for a cartridge. You can easily pay $5 each for some. Double-edged blades cost on the order of $0.05-$0.20 per blade. A good inexpensive double-edged razor costs around $30. Not only are the blades cheaper, they’re also better for your skin. (more later)

A couple of shaves on a single day’s growth of beard — which for me is the hardest to shave without drawing blood — I had way better luck with the Feather than I did with my other razors. The rumors that I heard that it’s a mild razor are true. Even a gentle Merkur was way harsher than the Feather.

Why is double-edged shaving better? The key is that the blade slices, not tugs. When you have a multi-blade razor what happens is the leading blade gets dull and catches and pulls up on a hair to be sliced by a trailing blade. It sounds like that’s a good idea. The problem is the hair retracts under the skin after it gets cut. Once it’s under the skin it has a far greater tendency to become ingrown.

Beyond the angles and all that it has a very comfortable weight (stainless steel instead of plated brass). More importantly, the knurling is very prominent and is easy to hold with slippery fingers. Most of the German razors look like they have good knurling, but for the most part, it’s just on the surface and doesn’t contribute significantly to grip. My US-made Ikon has a good handle but the slant-bar style I got is far too aggressive for me.

Right now I’m putting this in the worth it category.

I spend perhaps 2-3 hours a month shaving. I think it’s a worthwhile purchase to make that a bit happier.