Best Straight Razor for Men – Reviews Updated 2017
Before You Purchase a Straight Razor: 7 Factors to Keep in Mind When you Want to Buy a Cut-Throat Razor
- 1 Before You Purchase a Straight Razor: 7 Factors to Keep in Mind When you Want to Buy a Cut-Throat Razor
- 2 7 Things to Take Into Account Before You Buy a Straight Razor
- 3 Reviews of the Best Top Quality Straight Razors
- 4 1. Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor
- 5 2. Dovo Straight Razor Carbon
- 6 3. Parker SRW Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor
- 7 4. Dovo Silver Shavette Straight Razor
- 8 5. Feather DX Folding Wood Handle Razor
- 9 6. Classic Samurai CS-102 Razor
- 10 Straight Razor Buying Guide and Shaving Technique
- 11 Straight Razors Penetrating the Market
- 12 Factors to Consider When Buying a Straight Razor
- 13 How Much Should I Pay For a Straight Razor?
- 14 How Do I Tell the Quality of a Straight Razor?
- 15 The Point, Width, Material, and Balance of the Straight Razor
- 16 How to Shave With a Straight Razor
- 17 5 Easy Steps to do When Shaving with a Straight Razor
- 18 Straight Razors Compared to Other Products
- 19 A Closer Look
With the many straight razors on the market, it is a daunting process to choose one of the best in the market. We all want the best for ourselves this is a given. However, getting the best is not always an easy process. The fact that there are several brands, makes and models of straight razors in the market do not make the decision-making process any easier.
Luckily, we have compiled a list of factors to consider while making the decision. These considerations are designed to add to your knowledge of the straight razors as well as equip you with knowledge of the qualities making a quality straight razor.
That said, let us get into the thick of things.
7 Things to Take Into Account Before You Buy a Straight Razor
1. Blade Type
Straight razors are not made all equal. They vary in the point types they feature. These are categorized into the below types.
This blade point is semicircular. It is devoid of sharp ends. Compared to other blade types, it proves to be slightly more forgiving. As such, it is better suited for beginners learning the art.
Square point blades have a straight point profile. This terminates into a sharp point that is perpendicular to the cutting edge of the razor. It proves to be particularly useful in shaving smaller areas. It does, however, require some experience to handle correctly.
The profile designed on a French point clade looks like a quarter circle. It has a sharp point at the very end just like the square point. Other persons refer to it as the oblique point.
2. Blade Width
The width blade with regards to straight razors refers to the distance between the cutting edge and the blades back. The width of a straight razor blade is expressed in simple 1/8 increments. As such, a 4/8 blade translates to half an inch wide while the 8/8 blade translates into a 1-inch wide blade.
I should point out that the width of the blade does in no way affect the closeness of the shave. This is provided you hone and strop the blade to give it the required sharpness. Smaller blades tend to be easier to strop than larger ones.
Large blades provide a more aggressive shave. They do, however, prove very difficult to shave under the nose especially for beginners. This goes for other hard to reach areas as well.
Smaller blades provide ample room to see where and how you are shaving.
3. Modern VS. Vintage Straight Razors
On a broad spectrum, you only have two choices to make with regards to the straight razors. This is either vintage or modern straight razors. They vary greatly and have their own pros and cons.
If you are into buying old products are restoring them to their original glory, or close to it, then vintage straight razors will prove to be the best and by far the most attractive option on the table. The fact that you can get them at an affordable price is a plus. You should be warned though. They do require some tender care to restore them to their original glory and be perfect for shaving. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you hone the shaving skill first with the modern straight razors before jumping to the vintage razors.
Modern razors as you would expect have the added advantage of featuring new technology in the market. They feature better craftsmanship and most often than not, they have years of experience and shaving backing their design and engineering. Needless to say, the condition of modern straight razors is way better than that of a vintage blade. But then again, a vintage well-maintained razor is usually of the same quality if not better as the modern razors.
No, temper in this context does not refer to those moments you flip out on your family and friends. It refers to the blades ability to retain its sharpness as well as its ease of sharpening.
Blades come with three tempers including soft, medium and hard. Generally, a hard temper razor will keep the edge for longer while soft tempered edges are easier to sharpen.
Straight razors are designed from carbon steel or stainless steel. Stainless steel razors usually are less expensive and also last longer between the sharpening. On the other hand, carbon steel blades are higher in quality and are slightly expensive. Most men prefer getting razors carved from stainless steel. The combination of quality and affordability is too sweet to ignore.
Grind refers to the concave indentation on the straight razor blades. A full hollow grind usually makes a blade sharper and lighter. On the flip side, a less hollow grind is not as sharp and is as such perfect for beginners in the industry.
7. A Shavette – What About It?
A shavette can be likened to training wheels on bicycles. They are perfect for beginners learning the ropes and making the transition between normal shaving and the use of straight razors. They resemble straight razors in many ways. They feature a standard double-edge razor blade the kind that you would still use with a safety razor. It is a great way to get the hang of the shaving motion and generally, the technique of straight razors.
They are far cheaper compared to actual straight razors.
If you want to learn more about straight razors maintenance and get in-depth knowledge about this classic tool, check out our Straight Razors Maintenance – Everything You Need to Know article.
Reviews of the Best Top Quality Straight Razors
When it comes to straight razors, you will notice (if you haven’t already), the sharpness of the blade is not everything. But nonetheless, it still means a lot.
The Feather SS Japanese Razor comes in first place courtesy of its sharp blade. With this straight razor, you will not have to worry whether the blade is sharp enough or not. Also, with this straight razor, you have the tech backing of a Japanese company. This company and brand are one of the most respected and reputable in the straight razor industry. Simply put, it is the best of the best.
Here is what has skyrocketed this straight razor into fame over the past few years. First and foremost the Feather SS Japanese Razor is a straight razor like any other with regards to its body design and shape but features a disposable blade. As such, you are in a way getting the best of both worlds. The sharp blade requires no stropping and honing. Its maintenance is a walk in the park, and it can be replaced.
But this introduces a new concept of removing and replacing the blade. Before you freak out, the removal and replacement process is a walk in the park. All you have to do is pinch the razor head and allow the blade to pop drop from the socket. It is an easy and fast process.
You do, however, still need to exercise caution throughout the process since after all, you are dealing with sharp blades, and any mishap could have you bleeding profusely.
You will be pleased to note that the blade head is spring mounted. This contributed to its ease of blade removal as well as its ease of cleaning the razor with water. I should mention that the blade is also disinfectant safe.
With that, let’s have a look at some of the other features of the Feather SS Japanese Razor.
- The razor is made of stainless steel. It is built to last for ages
- The Feather SS Japanese Razor features a resin handle. This handle sets it apart from its competition. It is heat resistant and gives a superior grip. Switching hands to get to the hard to reach and sensitive places such as the jawline and neck are easier with this straight razor. The handle is also shorter than that of other straight razors. Nonetheless, most reviewers feel it comfortable in their hands.
- The sharpness of the blade and the overall design allow for shaving without applying undue pressure.
- The Feather SS Japanese Razor is comfortable and has a lightweight design. This makes it very easy to maneuver the face. Ultimately, the goal is to get a close shave every time you place the handle on your face. The Feather SS Japanese Razor achieves this with great finesse.
- The craftsmanship couple with the design of the Feather SS makes it very easy for newbies to handle this straight razor. Shaving with a straight razor no doubt requires care and technique discussed in this piece. But it does not hurt to have a friendlier learning curve.
- Round Point blade
- Easy to replace blades
- Features a lightweight design making it easier to handle and use
- Its sharpness is second to none
• It is slightly more expensive compared to other blades
While you will pay more for the Feather SS, it is without a doubt a case of you get what you pay for. This shaving tool is needless to say superior to others and will last for ages. The razor is a long-term investment and is highly rated.
Dovo is a German company. It is reputed for providing high-quality razors. The Dovo Straight Razor Carbon is one straight razor that is hard to beat. This straight razor is also a contender for the best quality straight razor for newbies. Let us have a closer look.
Dovo has been for the longest time producing superior blades. This is since 1906. They have over time built a name and a reputation for themselves. A reputation for excellence and that is well deserved. Solingen, a part of Germany was already popular for producing quality cutting tools when they got into straight razor industry.
Dovo prefers to ship all of its razors while they are ready to shave. This is to mean that before shaving, you do not have to take it through any setup or assembly.
The Dovo blade is full hollow, sharp and light. Additionally, it features a rounded point that is best for beginners. It is made of carbon steel that is durable, elastic and hard. The blade is 5/8-inches wide. This is an added plus for the straight razor lovers.
The Dovo Razor handle is wooden. It is ebony in color and looks great. Additionally, it has a strong grip and will not slip from your hand.
The edge of this blade is fine. It is as fine as gets with straight razors. This not only enhances the shave quality you get but also provides you with a graceful feel requiring no extra pressure.
The Dovo Straight Razor features a simple design that is stylish and elegant. It looks great.
- Round point blade
- Finely-crafted blade
- It is perfect for beginners
- The wooden ebony handle with a great grip
- At times it requires making repeat strokes to achieve a smooth and close shave
This razor is perfect for beginners. We, however, do not want to overemphasize this fact as it also works well for experienced shavers as well. The Dovo products are beginner friendly, and they are affordable making them a rather wise long-term investment.
The Parker SRW Shavette is designed with professionals in mind. It is however still a perfect choice for beginners and DIYers as well. The price is affordable and hard to beat. On top of this, it is a quality razor.
The Parker Safety Razor Company has been in the razor industry for quite some time. In this period, it has proven itself a leader in design and innovation. This stainless steel razor lives up to the hype and industry high standards.
Below are some of the features it sports.
- The blade cover of the SRW is constructed from stainless steel and not aluminum as many believe ad is the norm with other brands
- Reviewers have taken note of the SRW in their hand. They complement its great balance and weight which make it smooth to use and nick and cut free.
- It accommodates both half double edge and single edge disposables. These blades are designed to securely snap into the blade holder. The overall design makes it easy to change the blades. It is without a doubt a great advantage for professional barbers who do not have time to waste changing blades.
- It features a rounded tip which minimizes the risk of cuts and nicks. It is beginner friendly.
- It features a 100 sharp blade perfect for professional use. It is perfect for individuals looking for comfort while shaving
- Most reviewers term this straight razor as fun
- Round point blade
• It is beginner friendly
• It is reasonably priced
• The process of changing blades is easy
• The handle is designed from plastic material
While the Parker SRW is not a fancy blade, and the quality is not near what you get with a Feather SS or a Dovo – it is still a quality razor that fetches a reasonable price. It is easy to change blades and maneuver for beginners.
It is important to bear in mind that while the shavettes are considered to be more of training wheels in the straight shaving industry, it does not mean that they are of low quality compared to other straight razors. This clearly stands out with the Shavette Straight Razor.
While it is a beginner razor, perfect for beginners needing some time to master the art of straight shaving, it works best for pros as well. It is a perfect means to try straight shaving without spending a fortune. The Shavette is well priced, and despite the fact that the blade is disposable and you have to replace it regularly, it is a fairly easy blade to maintain. But when you look at it from the perspective of sharpening blades, it is not expensive. As a matter of fact, they help you save some cash on this end.
While this has the style and looks of a traditional razor, in the way it folds, it is lighter. With the Silver Shavette, there are several blade holder options with regards to color. These are green, black and clear.
Every holder comes with a different blade type. The clear for instance features a double-edged blade that is split into two portions while the black features a blade similar to the double-edged blade, only longer.
Last but not least, the green unit features a blade that is stiff compared to the other two types. Its blade length resembles the traditional straight razors.
Note that the green and black holders are costlier than the clear holder. Also worth noting is that while the blade’s sharpness is a great thing, you need to take extra care not to nick or cut yourself.
- Square point
- Sharp blade
- Gentle learning curve
- Requires less maintenance compared to the standard straight razors
- The construction feels to be a bit on the light side
Everyone has to start somewhere. The Dovo Shavette is not a great starting point. You get a close shave comparable to that from a traditional straight razor. It is perfect for travel as well.
The Feather DX is perfect for shaving purists. Its wooden handle gives it a great design. It delivers a close and smooth shave especially in the hands of an experienced straight razor shaver.
The Feather shaving Company has been in the game for more than 80 years. It as such knows a thing or two about the shaving industry – straight razors to be specific.
The Feather DX blade is replaceable. The blade is as sharp as you would expect in any other product. And the best part is that they need no stropping or honing either. The blade head is spring mounted and features a one-touch mechanism that makes it easy to take apart and reassemble during cleaning. To keep the handle of the blade at your desired angle is a pivot screw. It helps to maintain constant tension.
The handle is made from resinated wood. This is a special polymer that is chemical and water resistant and is heat treated. With these qualities, you can easily sterilize the razor in boiling water.
The sharp blade means that one wrong move can have you bleeding profusely. It is imperative to exercise care and caution while shaving.
• Round point
- Easy to work with
- Wooden handle that is chemical and water resistant
- Has superior craftsmanship
• It is quite expensive
The Feather DX is a straight razor designed for serious shavers. The price is enough to scare away newbies. It is an investment that will pay off into the foreseeable future.
This unit is for both pros and newbies in the straight razor industry. The razor has a lot playing in its favor. With this razor, you enjoy a great shaving experience at a fraction of the cost of other straight razors. But this low price does not mean cheap or low quality. On the contrary, it is loved and preferred by professionals for its high quality.
Here is a sneak peek at its features
- The razor is made of stainless steel. It is easy to take apart and replace
- The Samurai CS-102 features a great synthesis of weight and balance. It is user-friendly especially for individuals learning the technique
- It comes in a pouch (plastic) for added protection. This helps to extend the life of the straight razor
- It is designed in 6 colors namely; brown, blue, cream, white and red
- Round point
- It is easy to use courtesy of the perfect combination of weight and balance
- It has excellent value
- It is perfect for the straight shaving newbies
- The blades are smooth just like other brands – nothing unique there
More often than not, you always get what you pay for. But in this case, with the Samurai CS-102, it is reasonably priced, and the quality is through the roof. It is perfect for beginners and professionals alike.
Straight Razor Buying Guide and Shaving Technique
If men were, to be honest, shaving is a chore for them. Well, for most of them anyway since there are still those who enjoy it. They seize the opportunity readily and take time to ensure that they are well groomed. Making first impressions is after all, imperative in this life. For those men who enjoy shaving and grooming, they welcome the return of straight razor shaving with open arms. They are of the opinion straight razors should not have disappeared, to begin with.
Now a little history of the straight razors to help you appreciate their return. The use of folding razor dates back to the 17th century in England. For the longest time, about a century, they were the only option men had for grooming and keeping their faces baby-butt smooth. But the 1900s ushered in a new era that saw the creation of safety razors followed closely by that of electric razors. These inventions, needless to say, turned the once ‘worshiped’ straight razors into relics rarely used. Only daring souls still used straight razors; either for nostalgic purposes or just because it made them feel a little bit more masculine.
There is one thing that straight razor enthusiasts have in common – they share a love for the fine things in life. They also seem to have a significant amount of patience which allows them to savor moments and experiences. In the recent times, safety razor manufacturers have gone on record to state that they have experienced a massive drop in their sales. On the other hand, straight razor brands state that they have experienced exponential growth. This could only mean one thing – Straight Razors are back and with a bang.
Straight Razors Penetrating the Market
Straight razors are also referred to as true razors or the cutthroat razor and are, as mentioned, making a big comeback. Whether you are one of those men looking to give these razor types a try or a straight blade devotee, it is important to know the considerations to make while choosing the best straight razor and in learning the perfect techniques for straight razor shaving.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Straight Razor
In this piece, we shall have a look at some of the factors we deem important when it comes to choosing a great straight razor. However, I should point out that some of the most important considerations have nothing to do with the type of blade you choose. On the contrary, it has more to do with your discipline levels and patience.
Straight razor shaving is not for individuals who are always in a hurry or cannot stand spending the time to learn the technique of proper straight shaving. As you prepare to buy your straight razor and transform into a “razor man”, you should be prepared to be deliberately slow to master your blade. This is important because the efficiency of the razor you choose will also depend on your technique. A novice wielding the best straight razor on the market can easily render the razor next to useless.
How Much Should I Pay For a Straight Razor?
A fortune? Honestly, how much should one pay for a simple piece of metal with a handle? Well, you do not have to spend all your savings, but a high-quality straight razor will cost several hundred of dollars. Some of the best in the market have price tags in the range of thousands of dollars. The difference in price is caused by the material used for construction, the precision and craftsmanship that is used to forge the razors as well as in honing them.
As you prepare to make a purchase, remember that straight razors are designed to serve you for a lifetime.
How Do I Tell the Quality of a Straight Razor?
Can a new shaver judge the quality of a straight razor? Yes, they can. However, learning how to tell the quality is possibly an even more difficult and challenging process than learning how to use the razor. For instance, a straight razor blade can have a medium, soft or hard temper. This greatly affects just how long its edge will remain as well as the ease of sharpening the razor. Hard tempered straight razors tend to keep their edge for longer while the softly tempered razors prove easier to sharpen.
The indentations on the blade also referred to as the grind, are an important characteristic. Why? Well, a complete hollow lightens the blade and makes it sharper. But with the increased sharpness comes an increased safety hazard. The opposite is true for a less hollow straight razor making them a better choice for newbies to the art of straight razor shaving.
That said, also remember that the needs of different persons are different. Sticking to one straight razor brand with a reputation that precedes itself is the surest way of choosing a great straight razor.
The Point, Width, Material, and Balance of the Straight Razor
With regards to this consideration, there are two questions that do not need you to be an expert to answer correctly. The first is pertaining the width of the blade. Wide blades are usually considered as harder to manage. They, however, can contain more lather while shaving facilitating the shaving process. On the flip side, narrow blades are perfect for reaching tight spots such as behind the ears and under the nose.
The second question is the blade point. Generally, round pointed blades are easier to manage while the square versions though more precise are tougher for a user to handle.
It is, however, a relief to note the ease in determining a well-balanced straight razor. This is a good thing since it is a key element which determines how easy it is to handle the blade and shave consistently. The handle on the straight razor has got to be solid not to mention comfortable. It should feature scales which that help add to the grip.
When you first pick up a blade at the local store for scrutiny, the very first thing you will check, consciously or unconsciously, is the blade material. The cheap and affordable straight razors are made of stainless steel. The stainless blades are said to last longer and cut better compared to the carbon steel blade.
But despite these advantages, most brands still prefer and insist on manufacturing their razors with carbon steel blades since they can produce high-quality blades with this material.
Now that we have that out of the way, assuming you have made a purchase. Where do you start learning the art of shaving with a straight razor?
How to Shave With a Straight Razor
While they might be back and gaining traction in the market, you have to understand that compared to the tools that technology has presented us in the recent past to make shaving more convenient, for effective straight razor shaving, you will need to master the technique.
And truth be told, it is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you are just getting into it. But this is not to say that it is impossible. To get you started, below are the fundamentals of straight shaving you need to get a hang of.
5 Easy Steps to do When Shaving with a Straight Razor
Preparing for a straight razor shaving basically involves two things; sharpening the blade and softening the hair to be shaved. Blade sharpening can be done with a razor stone or a razor strap while softening the hair is done with warm water.
You can either take a warm shower and kill two birds with one stone or use a wet towel. If you will be using a replaceable blade you should ensure that it is sharp at all times, replacing often.
2. Lather the Area You Need to Shave
You can use your fingers to apply the gel or shaving cream. However, it can prove to be slightly tricky to get the shaving gel under the hairs. It is recommended that you use one of our recommended shaving brushes for this.
3. The Grip
When it comes to holding the straight razor, everyone has their preference. However, one method that most people seem to agree on and has proved to be effective is resting the first three fingers on the straight razor blade’s back and rest the pinky on the blade tang. The tang is the blades narrow part that is just after the pivot. The thumb should rest on the blade’s side close to the middle.
4. Shaving Stroke
Make even and slow strokes with the straight razor. This is especially important if you are just starting out and are learning the techniques. You should always make the strokes with the grain of your beard.
You should always start by shaving your cheeks. Use the free hand to draw the skin upwards to tighten it to avoid nicking yourself. Start from the top and move downwards. Afterwards, you should proceed to shave under the jaw while still tightening the skin in the process. After this spot, shave the upper lip and finally under the chin.
Straight Razors Compared to Other Products
So straight razors are also known as cutthroat razors. With such a reputation, why in the world would people prefer these? Why risk getting nicked if you make a mistake or do not have the right technique?
This is a great look. To answer this question, let us make a comparison between the common shaving tool and straight razors. Why do people still hold them in high regard?
A Closer Look
What Are Straight Razors?
They are basically simple shaving tools. They feature a handle and a sharp blade. They have been around for the longest time and are still very effective in shaving.
Traditional straight razors feature a metallic blade. These blades are usually made of stainless steel which requires constant sharpening and honing to maintain its sharpness. A single blade can, however, last a lifetime when given proper care.
Getting a quality straight razor is expensive. When you compare the price to that of other shaving equipment, the price might seem over the top, but the great thing is that they are long-term investments.
There is no way around this. Straight razors require you to master the shaving technique. Compared to other straight razors, they do feature a steeper learning curve. You cannot be completely effective after your first shaving experience. It is not a simple process and it requires patience. However, if you do stick with it, it is rewarding.
And there you have it. All you need to learn about straight razors and shaving techniques.