First of all, I’m returning to DE shaving after a 40+ year hiatus (way too long) so I thought a good sampling of blades along with the new Merkur 38C would be wise. I ordered both on a Monday and I was shaving with all the new stuff on Thursday. Great service on all accounts from West Coast Shaving.
I was told by WCS customer service the blades, in order of sharpness, were as follows (least sharp to sharpest): Derby, Bic, Dorco, Crystal, Astra, Merkur, Red Personna, Gillette, Feather.
FOR ME (heavier beard but not walrus-like), here are my findings:
I found the Derby to shave okay but it’s not too sharp.
Bic should stick to making pens and lighters. Not a great shave.
The Dorco was a bit better than the above, but not the closest shave. There was a bit of tugging and some irritation from all three of these.
The Crystal was smoother, but still not the closest shave.
The Astra is where I started noticing the biggest difference. Shaving was smoother, no tugging, and just a wee bit of irritation.
The Merkur and Personna both gave a good clean shave, hardly any razor burn, no nicks.
The Gillette 7 o’clock was a step above. Very close shave, no irritation or burn; a very sharp blade.
The Feather was the best of the lot for me. Very, very sharp providing a smooth, clean shave, no tugging, no irritation whatsoever. This is the blade I settled on.
Another couple of notes about the Feathers: Most of the reviews imply that if you don’t have your technique down pat there is a good chance of self-beheading during your morning shave. I didn’t find anything of the sort. Yeah, they are sharp, but with a bit of experience you shouldn’t have any problems. Of course, this can depend on the aggressiveness of your razor, too.
As mentioned, I have a heavier beard (the gray seems to make it worse). I get 3-4 really good shaves from one Feather blade. I tried six shaves and although the last one was okay, you could definitely notice the blade not cutting very well.
Sorry for the wall of text, but I wanted to give as much info as I could about my results with the blades I tried.
I feel the extended sampler pack is a great choice as it offers a fairly comprehensive sampling of blades.