You don't need an expensive razor to get a better shave my man! However I did start with a cheap razor and bought many expensive ones over the years
Just find what works for you would be my advice..and if you're looking to save money..don't hang around on these forums too long
My R89, 39c and X3 have given me the most comfortable shaves than any of the higher-priced razors I have been duped into buying. When you find something that works -- stop! You'll end up like @wayne mattison.
Started with a Mühle R89, been though the entire spectrum... R41, 37c, Progress, Futur, Rockwell, Feather and every damn type of vintage Gillette.
They're all interesting to try but don't go chasing better/closer/smoother shaves, that way madness lies. If you want something fancy that you can show off and feel proud of owning get an expensive one but it won't shave any better, in fact my best razors have all been the cheapest.
The best shaves I've experienced have been with Gillettes,..Fatboy, Slim and my lovely Canadian pre-war Tech.
I've had great shaves from the ATT's M and S2's, Supply SE and Schick G, but none better than my Gillettes.
My first DE (Merkur 39C) cost £39.99. I got some great shaves with it. My favourite DE's cost £31.99 and £55 (Muhle R41 and Merkur Futur) respectively. At the opposite end of the scale, my Gillette Tech cost me under a tenner and I get great shaves with it.
The point of what I'm saying is that great shaves are available at all price points Don't be fooled into parting with more money than you have to.
I have used a Merkur 34C for approximately 4 years. This year I bought a Rockwell 6S - hardly 'top of the range' given some of the prices of razors I've seen, but still significantly more expensive than the Merkur. For me, the 6S gives allows me to shave more frequently (daily), so to that end, yes, it gives me better shaves. However, I could've bought the 6C, which is far less expensive than the S.
You hit the nail on the head Roy , you can put a rubbish blade in the most expensive razor going and you will get a rubbish shave. Conversely you can put a good blade in a cheap razor and get a good shave. I can get great shaves from cheap vintage razors with a good blade so you don't need to buy that expensive razor if you don't want to. enjoying your shave is the most important thing and getting a good shave while doing it . It's the same thing with cars!
One has to start from somewhere to be able to see what they are after in a razor or shave.
I did this with the 34C but it was too mild and got the FatBoy which was a revelation.
Later on I wanted something smoother which I found in the 6S albeit in a little less aggression than ideal for me even on plate 6 and a feather.
Now I have something like 40 razors of all blade kinds and price points but I learned one thing. I naturally gravitate towards medium aggression and superior smoothness . Aggression I can adjust with the various blades when not adjustable but exceptional smoothness is not a quality that can be found in all razors. .
New things come on to the market, like the new generation Gem blade razors. That in my books translates to a more rigid blade which can only be a good thing after having bought and used the OneBlade V1 Genesis. I bought the SE-G and the Sabre hoping for the best shaves of my life. (I have yet to try them).
In all honesty though, once one knows what they are after and search the various forums asking questions, I thinlk a moderately expensive razor like the 6S or the Variant are all one needs for a great experience.
The best razor made is the one that gives you personally a really close and more importantly a comfortable shave quite irrespective of price and it is likely to vary enormously from one person to the next for numerous reasons many of them small but none the less important. For me the two razors that fit that bill are the GEM Micromatic open comb, a dirt cheap common as muck razor, e-bay US has dozens listed every day of the week. The second is the Heljestrand 'wedge' blade SE just the opposite, hard to find a good one and quite expensive if you do.
Cost seems to me to be pretty meaningless when it comes to performance.
I started with a Merkur 34C, I have since used razors across the spectrum from £5 to £150 and none shaved better than the others because of the cost. The razors, their materials and price don't make a better shave, it is you who is handling the razor that makes a good shave with well practiced technique and prep.
If you have good technique you can have a great shave with any razor (barring a really cheap badly made razor).
Of my last two razors I used one is £20 (Fatip Testina Gentile) and the other £95 (ATT Calypso), I am prefering the shave of the Fatip, it comes down to preference and feeling, experience as well.
It is good to get a razor and use it, use it, use it until you have your technique down before you start exploring the vast array of razors out there. Most of the time a bad shave is user error. Through experience you get to know what works for you, for me I get my best shaves from razors on the milder side of things. Aggressive razors are just too much for my skin to handle.
...They're all interesting to try but don't go chasing better/closer/smoother shaves, that way madness lies. If you want something fancy that you can show off and feel proud of owning get an expensive one but it won't shave any better, in fact my best razors have all been the cheapest.
I'm another to add to the 'personal preference' herd. Of my two modern single-edge razors I prefer my RazoRock Hawk over my Claymore V2 (which is coincidentally up for sale). The former costs around the £27 mark new whereas the latter is £70-ish new. Both do give great shaves and I'd absolutely state that the latter is better made with a better finish and tolerances/materials/etc. but the former just suits me as I tidy up around a beard.
On the flipside, the DE I've gone for more than anything else is a Thomas Clipper razor I received in a trade. It's by far my most expensive razor (circa £80 new for the razor only - I fortunately got the 'travel kit' included), but it (again) suits me better than my other razors, being medium aggressive and easy for me to find the right angle.
That being said, I've had equally good shaves with other razors - Merkur 37C, Gillette aluminium tech, QShave Futur copy, SR's etc. It must also be stated at this point that cost is subjective. If I hadn't realised I'd spent a small fortune (to me) on soaps and a couple of SRs I wouldn't have had the Thomas Clipper nor the Claymore V2 in my 'shave den'.