Best DOVO Straight Razor – Reviews & Buying Guide (2021)
|Model||Blade width||Grind||Point type||Blade material||Scales/ Handle||Blade finish||Recommendation|
Click on the product name to jump to our short review
|5/8″||Half Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||PMMA (acrylic glass)||Oxidized||Beginner – Experienced|
|5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||PMMA (acrylic glass)||Oxidized||Beginner – Experienced|
|6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||PMMA (acrylic glass)||Oxidized||Experienced|
|Dovo Prima (Carbon)||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Black Ebony||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Solingen||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Acrylic glass, mother-of-pearl imitation||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
Click on the product name to jump to our short review
|5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Stainless steel||Olivewood||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Inox 42||3/8″||Flat ground||French point||Stainless steel||PMMA (acrylic glass)||24k gold-plated||Experienced – Detail shaving|
Click on the product name to jump to our short review
|5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Acrylic glass, tortoise shell imitation||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Forestal||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Redwood||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Diamant||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||African White Ebony||Oxidized||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Astrale||5/8″||Half Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Black Ebony||24k gold-plated||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Natural||5/8″||Half Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Bamboo||Laser-etched engraving||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Black Star||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Plywood light brown||Oxidized||Beginner – Experienced|
Click on the product name to jump to our short review
|6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Pearl Acrylic/ Ebony Wood||Oxidized||Experienced|
|Dovo Barbarossa||5/8″||Full Hollow||Spanish point||Stainless steel||Black Ebony||Laser-etched engraving||Experienced (Professional barbers)|
|Dovo Bergischer Löwe||6/8″||Full Hollow||Spanish point||Carbon steel||Buffalo Horn||24k gold-plated||Experienced|
|Dovo Gentleman||5/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Yew Wood||Brushed satin polished||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Master's||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||West African Macassar ebony wood||Brushed satin polished||Experienced|
|Dovo Flowing||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Grenadille Wood||Brushed satin matte||Experienced|
|Dovo Carre||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Ebony Wood Handle Genuine Mother of Pearl Inlay||Brushed satin polished|
|Dovo La Forme||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Carbon steel||Pakkawood||Brushed satin polished||Experienced|
|Dovo Encina||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Spanish Oak||Brushed satin matte||Experienced|
|Dovo Renaissance||6/8″||Full Hollow||Round point||Stainless steel||Spanish Oak||Brushed satin – 24k gold-plated||Experienced|
|Dovo Shavette Olive Wood||Grained Olive wood||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Shavette Stainless||Polished stainless steel||Beginner – Experienced|
|Polyamide plastic||Beginner – Experienced|
|Dovo Shavette Silver||Matt finished stainless steel||Beginner – Experienced|
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Growth doesn’t come when things are easy, but instead when there are challenges. This sentiment is true for many large companies, including DOVO. When you think of the best wet shaving tools, the first company to come to mind is DOVO – and rightfully so.
Wet shavers associate DOVO with quality, perfection, and high-level craftsmanship. These milestones were achieved through hard work in over a century. If its founders were around today, they’d be stunned at what their company has evolved into.
Here’s a short history to show you why DOVO is a big deal in the wet shaving industry and why you should consider any of the below DOVO straight razors.
DOVO is a German company founded in 1906 in the small town Solingen by Dorp and Voos (hence the name DOVO) as a razor factory with hollow and forge grinding.
Solingen has for several hundred years been the hotbed of sharp knifes on the continent – much like the town of Seki is in Japan. The stamp “Solingen” is the medieval guild’s approved mark for serious quality, and is found on all DOVO’s razors.
Over time, DOVO went through a change of management and also needed to adapt to new markets. Their desire to stay in business and build an empire saw them acquire different brands like Brand Tennis, Bismarck, Ankerflagge, Fontana, Heups & Hermes, and Merkur.
With the acquisitions, they had to focus on different products, including scissors and pocket knives. It wasn’t until 2013 that they made a conscious decision to go back to their razor roots. Since then, wet shaving has been their focus – and boy, don’t they excel at it!
Aside from the rich history, DOVO has stolen the hearts of many wet shavers for a couple of reasons:
- Sharpness: DOVO shaving tools come shave ready (although they might need a quick honing and stropping before use). Aside from this, we are ever impressed by their level of sharpness and how long they retain it. This is possible because DOVO is committed to using carbon steel on some of its products. The carbon steel is elastic, resistant to wear, and maintains maximum hardness over time. And on others, they use stainless steel, which guarantees durability with minimal maintenance. We should mention that full hollow straight razors are sharper than half hollow straight razors.
- Durability: With the use of carbon steel and stainless steel, the DOVO straight razors’ durability is unquestionable. However, it’s crucial that you wipe the blade and let it dry after use (more on proper DOVO straight razor care later).
- Price: Without a doubt, DOVO offers great value for money. Yes, there are some straight razors that are cheaper than DOVO, but they often don’t match up to their quality. Also, some premium straight razors fetch a hefty price while offering almost as much as DOVO straight razors are. DOVO straight razor prices are determined by material, grinds, tips and the handle material used.
- One person makes the entire razor, from blade to handle.
Before we jump into the reviews, we should mention that DOVO offers exceptional mechanics and designs with its products. It takes years of training to make such razors, and all DOVO’s products represent the best in quality and material selection.
Through arduous study, apprentices can become Master grinders. Each apprentice must learn skills such as preparing and using all tools through a two-year program before attending school for another three years before earning the title of Master grinder in Solingen. Unfortunately there are not many Master grinders left, but if you buy a Solingen razor, you’ll be supporting a centuries-old tradition.
Some of the most popular products include Shavettes. They are straight razors with disposable blades with either a folding, fixed, or straight handle. The blades of these cannot be re-sharpened and hence are ideal for barbers who’ll throw them away after each use.
How Straight Razors Differ From Each Other
When you first dive into the world of wet shaving, you’ll be boggled by technical terms like a full-hollow grind, carbon steel, 5/8-inch, and many more. All this can be confusing, and you may be tempted to opt-out of the journey.
To help you make sense of it all, we’ve prepared a quick guide explaining the different terms and straight razor features you’ll encounter.
Let’s dive into it.
Blade width is described in inches. The most common straight razor widths are between 6/8 inches and 3/8 inches. They both have their fair share of pros and cons that you need to consider before making a purchase.
- 3/8 inch
These types of razors are mostly recommended for skilled wet shavers. Here’s why. At 3/8 inches, the blade is narrow enough to maneuver spots around eyebrows, ears, and the nose. With the narrow form, you can easily incline the blade at the perfect shaving angle for best results. A good example of a 3.8-inch straight razor is the DOVO Nr. 42.
- 6/8 inch
These straight razors are often used on strong beard growths, or for persons with big hands. Given their high blade weight, they glide smoothly and gently over the skin with minimal effort. A perfect 6/8 inch straight razor is the BERGIOSCHE LOWE. This straight razor is the perfect starting point for 6/8 inch blade sizes.
- 5/8 inch
This is the middle child. 5/8 inch straight razors are like the potato – they can be used for anything. And since they can complete a wide array of tasks, they are the most common in the wet shaving space. They are ideal for skilled and beginner wet shavers. 5/8 inch straight razors like the ASTRALE and the DOVO BARBAROSSA efficiently manage to balance between a gentle shave and precise trimming of contours. Their weight also allows the blade to glide smoothly over the face.
Steel blanks are sharpened multiple times by hand to make high-quality straight razors. Different grinding methods are used to create different grind features and blade characteristics.
- Flat grind
A straight razor with a flat grind is referred to as a wedge-ground straight razor. A good example of a flat-grind straight razor is the DOVO No. 42. Such blades are rigid and have great torsion resistance. This type of grind is often seen on narrow straight razors since it allows for precise trimming and shaving.
Straight razors made centuries ago only featured a flat grind because technology allowing for a hollow grind wasn’t available yet.
But today, this grind is rare. However, it works wonders when paired with narrow straight razors for precise shaving.
- Full hollow grind grind
Many of the straight razors you’ll come across have a full hollow grind. But the fact that they are the most common today doesn’t mean they are the easiest to make. On the contrary, they take up to 15 sharpening stages. The result is a flexible blade that adapts perfectly to the imperfections and contours on your skin. This alone makes it quite popular. A good example of a full hollow grind straight razor is the DOVO MASTERS. Those who’ve used full hollow grind straight razors say they are comfortable and thorough.
- Half hollow grind
Like the 5/8 inch straight razors, the half hollow ground blades are the middle kids. They are more flexible than the flat ground blades but not as full hollow grind straight razors. Many wet shavers love the fact that full hollow grind straight razors offer a compromise between rigidity and flexibility. The robustness of half hollow grind blades like the DOVO No. 101 Best Quality is less sensitive and provides a safe shave.
Note: half hollow straight razors have a slight vibration to them.
Straight razors have a rich history. Over the years, they’ve undergone a lot of changes, most of which have been experimental. On point types, a couple have passed the test of time.
- Square point
Pro and skilled shavers are in love with square pointed straight razors. The square point allows for precise trimming and shaving of your contours. With that said, they should be handled with care because the square point is sharp and could cause injury if not handled with care. If you’d like a square point straight razor, try the DOVO PRIMA.
- Round point
This is the most common point type for straight razors. A perfect example is the DOVO BISMARK. The benefit of round point straight razors is that they reduce the risk of injury when shaving. If you are new to wet shaving, the round point is perfect as it leaves you with room for error as you get the hang of the shaving basics.
- French point
This point is a great compromise between the square and round point styles. With this point, you get to trim contours nicely and shave facial hair thoroughly even without a lot of wet shaving experience. A good French point-style straight razor is the DOVO No. 42.
- Spanish point
Spanish point straight razors have acute angles that change into concave shapes at their cutting ends. The DOVO BARBAROSSA with a Spanish point will cater to your contours without compromising safety.
Initially, straight razors were made of carbon steel. But with time, technology has advanced, which has allowed the creation of metal alloys, including stainless steel. Below is how they compare.
- Carbon steel
Carbon steel straight razors are popular for smooth shaving. Their cutting durability is gotten by heating it to 1000 degrees Celsius and dipping it in an oil bath. Straight razors created through this process have a Rockwell hardness of 61 HRC. But on the flip side, carbon steel isn’t stainless. As such, you need to follow a strict and regular care regimen for the straight razor to last long. An example is DOVO SPECIAL.
- Stainless steel
Often straight razors made from stainless steel are acid and rust-resistant. This alloy is characterized by great sharpenability and durability. As a result, they are easy to clean and low-maintenance. A good example is the DOVO INOX 41.
Straight Razor Recommendations for Beginners
So far, you’re armed with basic information on straight razor features. This is great and will go a long way in helping you decide which product to pick.
In line with this, we’ve made a list of popular and great straight razor recommendations.
- DOVO NR. 100 BEST QUALITY
This straight razor has over time proven itself to be great for wet shaving beginners. The full hollow grind ensures that you have a gentle shave while its round point reduces the risk of injury.
- DOVO SHAVETTE
Shavettes come with minimal upkeep requirements. You don’t have to strop or hone the blade. Instead, you simply insert a new blade and get to shaving.
- DOVO NR 41. INOX
This straight razor is also a good introduction to wet shaving. The round point and its full hollow grind offer a gentle and safe shave. Moreover, stainless steel construction needs minimal maintenance.
What is Shave Ready? What About Honing and Stropping
Dovo straight razors are known for their quality, durability, and excellent shaving experience. They are a great option for when you want a close shave. Generally, straight razors are ideal for wet shaving enthusiasts. You’d have to learn the right form and process to get the best results. Aside from this, you’ll need to learn how to prepare your skin and shaving tools.
The great thing about using straight razors is that there are no blade replacement costs, and the process is quite satisfying – once you get the hang of it. With proper care and maintenance, your straight razor will serve you for ages.
Now, Dovo straight razors are marketed as ‘shave-ready.’ Most people take this to mean that they can deliver the closest shave immediately after they unbox. But from our experience, this isn’t the case. But it doesn’t mean that Dovo is misleading in its marketing and description.
On the contrary, Dovo puts in basic work on their straight razor edges before they ship them off. Therefore, the straight razors arrive with a sharp edge but not enough for the closest shave.
While we believe that some work is necessary before use, it should be limited to stropping. Honing by an inexperienced user can be disastrous. Always strop before shaving. And for the first couple of times, use a mild stropping paste. As the edge gets duller, you can transition to a more aggressive paste. At this point, you can also hone the blade or send it to a professional for even better results.
Best DOVO Straight Razors
We’ve tested a range of DOVO straight razors, and below is what we think about each of them.
DOVO Best Quality Series
DOVO Classic 5/8 - Half Hollow - Best Quality Series – Good for Beginners on a Budget
The 5/8-inch DOVO Classic is a great straight razor for beginners and those men who prefer owning a straightforward and robust blade. The DOVO Classic matches the quality of its DOVO brothers and is a perfect introduction to straight razor shaving. It’s laden with precision, is finished by hand in a couple of stages, and has a ribbed tang for added control. This way, even when you handle it with wet and foamy hands, it’ll be steady.
The DOVO Classic blade is made from carbon steel 1.2210. The carbon steel goes through a tempering process that gives it toughness and elasticity. On the flip side, the handle is made from a thermoplastic that doesn’t need special care, but some feedback’s are that this is the weak point. Simply wipe off the dirt, water, and soap residue with a damp cloth, and you are good to go.
The blade is a ½ ground blade that you can use in any angle. This is not true for the full-hollow blades. The razor also has a stabilizer to prevent it from closing too deep and to offer sufficient spacing.
DOVO Best Quality Versions
Please note that the DOVO Best Quality Series straight razor is currently available in 3 different versions.
DOVO Inox 41 – Stainless Steel – Good for Beginners and Experts
The DOVO INOX 415875 straight razor is a beauty to behold. It comes in a decent blue box. It has a 24K gold ‘INOX’ etching on the stainless steel blade and the #41 as a sign of the stainless steel grade used. What’s more, there’s the DOVO logo, ‘Made in Germany’ engraving. To top it all off is the beautiful olive wood handle.
Aside from the beauty, the DOVO INOX 415875 has the following to offer:
- A 5/8-inch full hollow ground stainless steel blade that makes cutting through all types of hair a breeze. Also, owing to its sharpness, it’s ideal for beginner and experienced wet shavers with sensitive skin.
- The stainless steel is tempered with surgical ice to provide a tarnish and rust-resistant razor that’s easy to maintain.
- The Olivewood handle is naturally impervious to water, but DOVO seals and polishes it to improve durability.
- DOVO 415875 is light, weighing only 3.5oz (100 grams). It also has jimping on the underside of the tang, which provides a good grip.
DOVO Special Straight Razor (Imitation Tortoiseshell Handle) 5/8 – Professional Shave at HomeThe DOVO Special Straight Razor has a retro charm to it. Its tortoiseshell imitated handle, and a golden decorated blade adds beauty to the already functional design. The DOVO special is a hand-ground, full hollow grind 5/8 inch straight razor. The 5/8 inch design is easy to maneuver and not too narrow that it gets lost in your hand.
The DOVO Special blade is made from carbon steel that’s elastic and tough. But while it’s durable, it requires extra care. To top it off, DOVO added a 24 karat gold plated logo on the blade.
The handle is made from a tortoiseshell imitation of silk-matte polished acrylic glass. The beauty of the handle shines through and compliments the blade.
During grinding, the straight razor is ground concavely towards the cutting edge. This design achieves high flexibility and high-torsional rigidity.
The razor weighs 3.53 oz (100 grams), measures 0.74×6.7×1.2 inches, and has a curved shape to make it easier to use in areas close to the nose, ears, and dimples. And when it falls, the rounded head protects you from injuries.
DOVO Bismarck – An Icon
Out of all the DOVO straight razors we reviewed, we had difficulty finding fault with the DOVO Bismarck. This classic razor is a beauty at 6/8 and o.8 ounces. It’s made from carbon steel, a material that ensures it withstands the test of time albeit regular maintenance.
The spine is gold-dipped, and laser etched with the brand name. To top it all off, we fell in love with the ebony wood handle option.
The 6/8 inch dimensions are ideal for men with large hands. Moreover, the thumb notch has a shoulderless S-curve design to accommodate your thumb naturally. There’s no ridge that you’ll have to be careful to avoid while stropping with this design. Speaking of which, we recommend stropping the straight razor before use for a great wet shaving experience.
DOVO Straight Razor Shavette – Good all-round & Beginner Razor
If you’d like a lightweight razor, then this DOVO shavette is perfect for you. Shavettes are similar to straight razors only that their blades are replaceable and often have a small form factor. And while they are marketed for beginners, experts can also wield them proudly.
This DOVO Straight Razor Shavette weighs 3.04 ounces and measures 1 x 1 x 1 inches. It has a black polyamide plastic handle that forms a beautiful contrast with the blade. The tang is ridged and curved for better grip, and control. Aside from looks, the plastic handle also adds to the shaving experience. When shaving, it amplifies shaving sounds making you aware of the progress you are making.
The DOVO Straight Razor Shavette comes with two extra black blade inserts and four disposable blades. It also comes with a clear acrylic pouch that’s ideal for storage.