Why are razor blades so expensive?

I’ve wondered this for a long time, but never really thought to look into it. Until tonight, after shaving. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has asked this question. My search came up with several blogs asking essentially the same question, but with no good answer.

As best as I can figure from the available information, it goes back to Gillette’s “Razor Blade Business Model”, which involved the notion of a “loss leader”–namely, disposable razors. But I’m not sure I understand that. It just raises more questions in my mind. If disposable razors are so cheap where are razor blades so expensive. Disposable razors have a blade, don’t they? Maybe the quality is not as good. Good razors have thin blades and the thinner the better. Maybe it’s more expensive to make them thinner. Also, good razors have more than one blade–sometimes 4 or 5.

There’s nothing conclusive. When it gets down to it, I suspect that a 5-pack of Mach-3 razor blades cost $20+ because people are willing to pay $20+. Especially if you are like me and hate electric razors.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.