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Cartridge-based disposable razors are great and all, but if you’ve never seriously considered a safety razor, it’s about time you gave it some thought. The best safety razors offer a satisfying shave at an excellent value, and they let you say goodbye to environmentally-unfriendly disposable razors. While they’re not always as convenient, they provide an all-around better way to shave.
There’s a reason safety razors have remained virtually unchanged since they were invented by King C. Gillette in the early 1900s.
Given their greatness, we wanted to test the top metal razors from the best-known brands to find the safety razor to rule them all. That’s why SPY has spent the last 10 weeks meticulously testing the best safety razors in the world. In this review, we’ll tell you which razors offered the closest shave, the best value for the money, and how they compared to each other.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- The best safety razors for men at a glance
- The best safety razors for sale right now
- Why every guy should consider a safety razor
- How single- and double-blade safety razors work
- The best safety razor blades
If you’re just looking for the best safety razors and are ready to make a purchase, keep scrolling to see our top picks.
The Best Safety Razors at a Glance
1. Best Overall: The Art of Shaving Safety Razor — $40.00 at Amazon
2. Runner-Up: Merkur Double-Edge Heavy-Duty Safety Razor 34C — $49.95 at Amazon
3. Contender: King C. Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor — $26.99 at Amazon
4. Lifetime Value: Supply Single Edge SE — $59.00 at Supply
5. Old-School Design: Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor — $39.10 at Amazon
6. Best for Gifting: Baxter of California Safety Razor — $65.00 at Amazon
7. Also Consider: Mühle Traditional Chrome ‘Twist’ Closed-Comb Safety Razor — $62.00 at Amazon
8. Best Grip: Parker 96R Long Handle Butterfly Open Safety Razor — $31.99 at Amazon
9. Minimalist Pick: Standard Razors Aluminum Double Edge Safety Razor — $59.99 at Amazon
1. The Art of Shaving Safety Razor
Why It’s the Best: This safety razor proved it can work as well for a beginner as it would for someone who’s used safety razors for years. It feels great in your hand and offers a satisfyingly close shave.
Why We Chose It: Many of you have probably heard of the brand The Art of Shaving, and it’s arguably the best-known “premium” shaving brand. But the truth is that Art of Shaving isn’t just resting on its brand laurels; this really is the best safety razor we tested.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $40.00
- Special features? This razor shipped with five Gillette Platinum razor blades.
Our first shave with this safety razor far exceeded our expectations, hitting the sweet spot in terms of closeness and precision. It delivered an enviably close shave without taking more than a couple of passes per area. We still needed to go against the grain for a full shave but our skin was surprisingly not irritated given the stress of going against the grain. The second and third shaves were similar, even when working with a lot more stubble. For best results, we found that we needed to replace the blades after the fourth shave.
This razor is also lightweight, which was surprising considering how closely it shaved. How’s that possible? Because the razor has great balance. Even though the handle feels lighter than heavy-duty safety razors, it was stabilized by the weight of the head. Also, the scallops (the little divets on the safety bar), help guide hair into the blade. For this safety razor, the scalloping is wide and shallow, which helped direct more hair to the blade without exposing too much skin or risking the nicks of shaving too close.
The textured grip felt noticeably more textured than all but one of the other safety razors we tested. You can feel the difference running your finger across it, especially when compared to less textured safety razor handles. We do wish this razor had a more sophisticated feature to change the blade, however. It’s the standard mechanism for most safety razors where you twist the handle until the head unscrews itself, which can be unwieldy.
- Excellent weight balance
- Well-designed scalloping
- Top-notch textured grip
- Blade could be easier to change
2. Merkur Double-Edge Heavy-Duty Safety Razor 34C
Why We Chose It: The Merkur is an all-around great safety razor. It’s got a short length that’s perfect for angling and shaping, a hefty weight for its size and very good balance between the head and the handle. If it just shaved a little closer, it would’ve been a runaway winner.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $39.95
- Special features? This razor has a heavy-duty weight. It shipped with one Merkur razor blade. It features an actual screwing mechanism at the bottom of the handle.
Merkur has been this writer’s go-to safety razor brand for a long time now, and this Merkur razor didn’t let us down. We’ll admit we were a little intimidated by its shorter size, as we’re accustomed to longer handles, but our first shave was easy and high quality. In particular, the short size gave us unparalleled control and maneuverability. We typically have a difficult time getting a close shave on the chin and cheek lines, but this razor made it unbelievably easy. Also, the heavy-duty weight of this razor feels great in the hand and it’s well-balanced toward the head, where the weight should be. Both contributed to an easy and seriously effortless shave.
The only downside, if we can call it that, was overall closeness on the first shave. Though the razor offered great control and precision and the actual shave delivered above-average closeness, it wasn’t the closest shave, even after taking an extra pass. That being said, we still looked clean and closely shaven, especially around the chin and cheek lines.
The second shave went comparably to the first as did the third, but we did notice a few bumps after the fourth shave, which is when we called it quits. The textured grip is definitely above average, even if not the grippiest handle, and you won’t have to worry about your fingers slipping. But the best feature is the screw mechanism on the bottom, which allows you to unscrew the head without having to go anywhere near the blade. The screw itself is also nice and long, which makes dropping the head onto the handle a lot easier. Seriously, why isn’t this a standardized feature on all safety razors?
- Excellent precision and maneuverability
- Great weight and balance
- The head can be changed without having to touch the blade
- Individual scallops on the safety bar could be wider for a closer shave
3. King C. Gillette Double-Edge Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: Named for the founder of Gillette, this affordable new safety razor is a great starter option for guys who are new to safety razors. We named this one of the best razors of the year in The 2021 Man, our end-of-year product awards.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $26.99
- Special features? The most affordable option on our list; comes with its own razor blades.
Gillette is famous for making some of the best men’s razors in the world. We’re big fans of the King G. Gillette grooming line, and these premium shaving products have won numerous awards on SPY since the line launched in November 2020. In particular, we like the brand’s double-edge safety razor. At under $30, it’s by far the most affordable safety razor, which also makes it the best safety razor for beginners.
Per Gillette, this metal razor was designed for “edging sideburns and strong beard lines”, but we actually found that’s where it struggled. This safety razor will give you a close shave (though not as close as other Gillette cartridge razors you may have used in the past), but it struggled with creating really precise lines. That makes it a better option for guys that prefer the cleanly shaven look and don’t have a ton of facial hair to keep under control.
The razor handle is textured and has a satisfying weight in your hand, and for the cost, this razor offers a luxurious, old-school shave that will make you want to stop buying disposables once and for all.
4. Supply Single Edge SE Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: This famous safety razor promises to be the last razor you ever buy, and it can really deliver on that promise. For the single-edge experience, you won’t find a better blade.
- Double-Edge: No
- Textured Grip: No
- Price: $59.00
- Special Features: Subscription blade refills and a design that lasts a lifetime; 100-day free trial.
The Supply single-edge safety razor is famous, and not just because its founders appeared on Shark Tank. The company was founded on a simple but revolutionary premise: what if men only needed to buy one razor for their entire life? That’s the promise of the Supply razor, which has a durable, long-lasting construction and a sleek design that deserves pride of place on your bathroom counter. You can also sign up for a 100-day free trial if you want to test out the safety razor shaving experience before committing for life.
Supply makes blade refills super convenient as well, with reminders when it’s time to re-up on new replacement blades. The scalloped comb that directs hair to the blades is the best of all the razors we’ve tested, and it’s hard not to appreciate the modern, minimalist design.
But how does it shave? Damn well. For a single-edge razor it provides a surprisingly close shave and does a decent job of creating precision lines. It’s on the expensive side, but compared to a lifetime of buying cartridges or disposables, it’s a real bargain.
5. Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: It delivered one of the best shaves of the bunch.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $39.10
- Special features? This razor has a heavy-duty weight. It shipped with five Derby Extra razor blades.
The Edwin Jagger safety razor was the unexpected star of the bunch. If we had to pick one thing that seemed to work really well for this razor, it was the scalloping. The scallops were all wide and connected, which helped pass more hairs to the blade and delivered a closer shave. This safety razor delivered a cut and nick-free experience and didn’t cause any skin irritation, making it one of the best razors for sensitive skin.
It also has great weight and great balance toward the head, slightly better than the Merkur, so the first shave was unexpectedly easy, especially after we had gotten used to the short length. Going against the grain and hitting our chin and cheek lines were also a cinch thanks to the razor’s small size.
After testing out this razor, we distinctly remember thinking, “Wow, why isn’t this a more popular safety razor choice?” It’s very similar in many ways to the heavy-duty Merkur safety razor, and the only major difference between the two is the Edwin Jagger lacks the bottom screw mechanism the Merkur has. We actually preferred the Edwin Jagger shave overall to Merkur’s because it felt and looked a little bit closer. In our experience, Derby Extra blades are a little more forgiving than most razor blades, and they were really effective for the first two shaves. We do wish the razor blades lasted longer, though. We definitely had to take a few extra passes, and they’ll need replacing after two shaves.
- High-quality shave and scalloping
- Solid weight and balance
- The texturing was not as good as our top picks
- Blades lose sharpness faster than others
6. Baxter of California Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: The Baxter of California is undoubtedly a competent safety razor. It was easy to use, looks really nice and delivers a consistent solid shave.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $75.00
- Special features? The Baxter razor shipped with five Derby Premium razor blades.
We expected the Baxter of California Safety Razor to be good, not great, and it delivered on our expectations. On the first shave, we found there was nothing really to complain about but nothing that necessarily stood out either. Since it’s priced on the higher end, we wanted a bit more. Still, we’re big fans of the Baxter of California brand skincare and hair products, and we appreciated the thoughtful packaging, which could make this a great gift idea for men.
The shave was decent but not too close. Though we wish the shave was closer, every shave with the Baxter razor was very consistent. We were able to shave the chin and cheeks pretty well, but not as effortlessly or as easily as some of the higher-ranked safety razors. Still, everything about this razor was solid — it provided a good experience and was overall easy to use. In particular, we thought the scalloping was well done and was similar to the hair comb on the Art of Shaving and Edwin Jagger razors.
Though the razor handled the second and third shaves in the same way and didn’t seem to lose much quality of shave, it never got much better or worse than that first shave. We appreciated the consistency and general ease of use, but at the end of the day, we wanted a slightly closer shave. For the record, we were totally satisfied with the look after going against the grain, and we didn’t receive any cuts or develop more than a couple of skin bumps after the final shave.
- A solid beginner-friendly shave
- Consistent results
- Easy to use
- Textured drip does not have much traction
- Needs better balance and more weight on the head
7. Mühle Traditional Chrome ‘Twist’ Closed-Comb Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: With the right razor blade, or at least a fresh one, the Mühle safety razor can deliver an exceptionally close shave.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $60.00
- Special features? This razor shipped with one Mühle razor blade. It features a screwing mechanism at the bottom of the handle to change the blade.
The Mühle is what we would describe as chunky. It’s big and relatively heavy, and we weren’t sure what to expect. And after our first shave with the Mühle, we were prepared to crown it the surprise champion. The Mühle razor, with a Mühle razor blade, left parts of the face completely smooth after the requisite pass or two. We were especially pleased with how it shaved the neck. It required fewer passes, which meant that skin was notably less irritated.
The size was a little bit unwieldy (especially when going against the grain), but it definitely wasn’t a dealbreaker. However, we experienced a noticeable drop in quality after the first shave. It was still a very solid shave overall, but it definitely wasn’t as close as the first shave, and we did experience some razor bumps post-shaving.
Though this razor has a nice weight to it and does shave effectively, too much of the weight rests in the hand when shaving and it really should have more weight on the head. On the downside, the cost of the razors can add up and the bulkiness made it more difficult to shave around the chin. This razor did come with our preferred screw opening on the bottom, vastly superior to the alternative.
- Extremely close shave
- Bottom screw mechanism
- Textured grip could be improved
- The weight balance could be better
- Doesn’t last as long
8. Parker 96R Long Handle Butterfly Open Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: The Parker safety razor had the best-textured grip of the bunch, and it’s also the only butterfly safety razor that made the cut.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: Yes
- Price: $31.99
- Special features? Old-school butterfly razor that shipped with one Parker razor blade.
We’re not sure where to begin with the Parker safety razor because it was a genuinely confusing shave. We loved the blade changing mechanism; it’s a butterfly opening, and if anything should be the standard razor change mechanism, it should be this. You just twist the handle and then the razor head opens up, like a butterfly, revealing the razor. This is the easiest, safest and most convenient way to change the blade, by far. Also, the textured grip is truly excellent. Not only does the textured grip run basically the entire length of the razor but it actually feels grippy. There’s no chance you’re going to accidentally drop this razor.
Now to the not-so-great parts. Instead of a traditional safety bar with scalloping, the head has a micro-notch safety bar. In theory, this was supposed to help guide hairs more efficiently to the blade, but all it did for us was mess with our shave angles. The end result of this seemingly simple design choice? The razor was totally hit or miss. Sometimes, we were taking a pass and getting a nice close shave, other times we were missing noticeable swaths of hair. In addition, we received a couple of nicks trying to maneuver the razor on a second pass. This issue was only made worse by the razor’s long length, which made it more difficult to maneuver, and the experience wasn’t any better going against the grain.
- Butterfly razor opening
- Excellent grip
- Received some cuts while shaving
- Shave was difficult and tedious
- Awkward to handle due to weight balance
9. Standard Razors Aluminum Series Double Edge Safety Razor
Why We Chose It: Like the famous Supply razor, this aluminum safety razor has a sexy minimalist design we love. Unlike the Supply razor, we don’t recommend it unless you really care about aesthetics.
- Double-edge: Yes
- Textured grip: No
- Price: $59.99
- Special features? No
This polished silver aluminum razor looks like it belongs on the International Space Station. If you have a modern bathroom and want your razor to match, this will blend right in. Unfortunately, the design is the best thing about the razor. To say we were disappointed with the Standard Razors safety razor would be an understatement. We had reasonable expectations going in because it has no textured grip and no scalloping on its safety bars. At the same time, skipping the scallops can be better for more sensitive skin because less skin is exposed to the razor. Alas, the opposite proved true.
Against all our intuition, we received roughly twice as many cuts using this razor as we did with the Parker razor. We attempted to shave like normal, but it seemed that no matter what we did, we were either shaving way too close or not close enough. The end result was a patchy shave that required multiple extra passes. When it did cut our hair successfully, the closeness was decent, but that was unfortunately not the consistent experience.
Going against the grain made the situation worse. Both the head and handle are light and that contributed to our shaving difficulties. We were forced to apply more of our own pressure, which added to the unpredictability of the shave. Unless you prefer style over substance, we recommend choosing another option on our list.
- Futuristic look
- Too light
- No scallops or textured grip
- Doesn’t deliver a close enough shave
- Irritated the skin with bumps and razor burn
Why You Should Consider A Safety Razor
The best safety razors offer a ton of pros relative to traditional multi-blade razors, disposable razors and even our favorite electric razors.
For one, they’re extremely durable. If you buy a decent quality safety razor and take good care of it, it’ll last decades. (Your writer purchased his $32 safety razor in 2013 and it’s still going strong.) In that regard, it’s more environmentally friendly than many plastic razors. Even though you do have to dispose of the blades, you’re not wasting a ton of plastic by throwing out the razor.
The blades will also last longer than those in multi-blade razors because they’re easier to care for and many safety razors are double-edged, so you get double the use out of one blade. That fact also makes safety razors far more economical than other razors. You buy one safety razor and a big pack of blades and unless you need to shave every day, you won’t have to restock for years. I bought a pack of 100 double-edged blades for $11 in 2013 and I haven’t run out yet. That same pack now sells for about $9. If you’re still buying a new pack of disposable razors every month, it’s okay to be jealous.
Shaving with a single blade can also be more comfortable because there’s less tugging on your beard hairs as the razor glides across your face. You may have to do multiple passes, but that’s a small price to pay for the additional comfort. Not to mention, there’s a good chance you end up with as close a shave, if not a closer shave, than other offerings because one really sharp blade used properly works just as well as multiple blades.
We also feel it’s important to note something ergonomic here. Safety razors tend to feel pretty heavy in your hand, so they just feel good to use. It’s a whole different experience than shaving with a flimsy disposable. The fact that safety razors tend to be a bit heavier also has a practical consequence: You really don’t have to press hard to get a good clean shave.
Lastly, in terms of required shaving skill, safety razors fall somewhere between modern razors from Gillette and Schick and old-school straight razors, so they’re a great starting point for those looking for a more advanced shave.
How Safety Razors Work And How To Use Them
The beauty of the safety razor is how simple it is to change out blades. The more complicated part is not cutting yourself while shaving, but as long as you take it slow on the first go, using a safety razor couldn’t be safer or easier.
For single-edge safety razors, there tends to be some kind of locking mechanism on the handle that secures the single blade in place. All you have to do is unlock the razor, replace the blade and relock it. When we get down to the product recommendations at the bottom, you’ll see our top pick for single-edge safety razors uses a fairly uncommon injector-style blade replacement system that’s even easier to use than most single-edge safety razors.
For many double-edge safety razors, there’s a top piece, a base and a handle. The blade goes in between the top and base and is typically secured from sliding around between those metal rods from the top that go through the blade. The top and base also create a slight bend in the blade to help you achieve a great shave angle. The handle then screws onto a screw from the top, fully securing the blade in place.
For butterfly safety razors, which are also double-edged, instead of separating the pieces to replace the blade, you simply turn a part of the handle to open the top. You replace the blade and turn the handle back to close the top.
When it comes to actually shaving with the safety razor, three things are paramount: Lack of pressure, the angle of shave and the motion of your arm.
You really don’t want to use much pressure at all. The blades will be extremely sharp and the safety razor will usually be heavy enough that just a little pressure is enough to get a good shave.
The trickiest parts are the angle of the shave and the motion of your arm. You’re aiming for a 30-45 degree angle, but you’ll generally be okay as long as you’re not shaving at too low an angle. In terms of the motion, it’s always up and down, with wrist motion only as needed and never moving your arm or the razor side to side. The risk of using your wrist is it affects the angle of the shave, which could result in a nasty cut or an uneven shave. If you find you’re using your wrist a lot, your strokes are probably too long, so don’t be afraid to lift the razor up, reset and take shorter strokes.
And that’s about it for the nuts and bolts. It might sound a bit complicated, but as long as you use decent shaving cream, don’t shave too fast and rinse your blade regularly, you’ll find shaving with a safety razor as easy as shaving with cartridge-based razors.
Now that we know what we’re dealing with, let’s take a look at some of the best safety razors and some of the best safety razor blades.
The Best Saftey Razor Blades
1. Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
BEST SAFETY RAZOR BLADES
Astra Platinum Double Edge Safety Razor Blades are a fantastic blade for beginners or experienced safety razor users. Don’t let the low price fool you. They might not cost much, but they’re not cheap. They’re thick, durable, made of steel, platinum-coated (so no need to dry them off) and more than sharp enough to offer a smooth, satisfying shave. In this case, their low price merely makes them a great value. At their current price of about $9 for 100 blades, you can join the nine-cent shave club. Now that’s got a better ring to it than the dollar shave club, right?
2. Razor Blades Club Double Edge Razor Blade Sample Pack
BEST VARIETY PACK
It’s worth considering a variety pack of razor blades just because everyone’s skin is unique. This Double Edge Razor Blade Sample Pack from Razor Blades Club offers 15 different brands with two blades per brand, so you can do your own testing and ranking to find a blade that works for your skin. We stand by Astra razor blades as the best overall blade for most shavers, but this pack not only features Astra blades but also some of our other favorites and other well-known blade brands, such as Bic, Derby Extra, Dorco, Feather, Personna, Shark and Wilkinson Sword.
3. Feather Double Edge Safety Razor Blades (50 Count)
We’ve been using Astra blades for years because they’re a great all-around safety razor blade, but if you’re looking for something sharper, Feather Double Edge Safety Razor Blades are the way to go. Like Astra’s blades, these blades are made of steel and platinum-coated, but Feather’s blades are honed on the edges for increased sharpness. Japan’s been making finely honed steel for centuries, so you can trust these Japanese-made blades to deliver the sharp, close shave you’re looking for.
Read more: The Absolute Best Razors for Men Reviewed
4. Gillette 7 O’clock SharpEdge Safety Razor Blades
Not every face can handle Feather blades but you’re still going to want something pretty sharp for a clean cut. That where the Russian-made stainless steel Gillette 7 O’clock SharpEdge Safety Razor Blades can help. Sharper than Astra blades but not as sharp as Feather blades, these blades offer a medium or medium-high level of sharpness. The result is a pretty close shave with less risk to your skin than with Feather blades as well as a much better value for a long-lasting sharp but not too sharp blade.
5. Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades
For those seeking a less aggressive shave, Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades could be the blade you’ve been looking for. Because Derby Extra uses a chromium-ceramic-platinum-tungsten and polymer coating, the blade is less sharp and runs across your face comparatively smoothly. While that sounds like a bit of a downside, it actually means cuts are less likely and not as bad as those from sharper blades, which makes Derby Extra blades more forgiving and a great first buy for safety razor novices. So if you have thick or coarse hair, these probably aren’t the blades for you, but if you have more sensitive skin, these blades could be a great pick. After all, if barbershops use these blades (and we’ve been to some that do), then Derby Extra is definitely doing something right.
Feather Styling Razor Disposal Case
One inconvenience of using a safety razor is having to dispose of the blades safely. The blades aren’t recyclable because companies don’t want to spend the resources for such a little return. Also, depending on where you live, it may actually be illegal to throw your razor blade directly in the trash and even if it isn’t, it’s unsafe for you and anyone who may handle your trash. That means you need some kind of container that you can put the blades in to safely dispose of them later. Many people turn to an Altoid tin because it fits blades easily and can be disposed of safely. But if you don’t have a tin like that around, Feather also makes a cheap disposal case for razors. When you’re finished with a blade, just pop it into the container and when the container is full, just throw it in the trash.
How We Tested the Best Safety Razors
For this review, we mostly considered fixed double-edge closed-comb safety razors, with the Supply Single Edge SE being the only exception. While there are other safety razors available such as single-edge safety razors and open-comb razors, it made the most sense to focus on non-adjustable, double-edge safety razors because these are the most popular safety razors and, generally speaking, the best safety razors for most people because they typically offer a medium-aggressive shave.
Here’s how we tested safety razors for this review:
- Shave: In order to test how well each razor shaved and make it fair across the board, our produt testers started with a clean neutral shave from a safety razor not being tested. Our grooming testers have strong facial hair, and some of them shave against the grain. Even so, we judged most of the razors on their shaves going with the grain. We shaved after two days and then waited an additional two days and then shaved again. We had our testers shave their entire face and neck. Most often, we used Cremo Original Shave Cream as well as the Ahava Soothing After-Shave Moisturizer. After completing this process, we had our product testers score each razor on the overall closeness of the shave.
- Irritation, bumps and nicks: In addition to checking the closeness of the shave, we also checked to see if any irritation and bumps occurred from the shave. We also noted any nicks that we got from the razor.
- Longevity of blade: Since being able to use blades multiple times is important, we scored each blade on how many times we could use it before needing to change blades, up to five shaves. We used the blades that came with the safety razor, and if there were none, we used our go-to razor blade, Astra Platinum Double-Edge Blades, which are pretty decent middle-of-the-road safety razor blades.
- Ease of changing the blades: We also noted how easy it was to change the blades.
- Weight balance: We scored each safety razor on how its weight felt, if it was the appropriate amount and if it was well-balanced for a clean and easy shave.
- Maneuverability: We also took into account if the razor was easy to maneuver and if it left us free of cuts.
- Textured grip: Having a good grasp on a safety razor is important so you’re not dropping it, so we judged each on the texture of the handle and if it gave us a better grip.
- Price: We also looked at price because on top of the cost of the razor, refilling blades can also add up.
About the Author: Jake Cappucino
Jake Cappucino is a long-time contributor to SPY.com and one of the site’s most experienced grooming writers. In addition, he has been shaving with a safety razor for nearly a decade, and he served as the primary product tester for this review. In addition to testing safety razors, Cappucino has also tested and reviewed the best cartridge razors, straight razors, disposable razors and electric razors as well as other shaving products like creams and aftershaves. In short, he’s very comfortable using a safety razor and has come to learn what works best. (He also has wickedly stiff facial hair, so if a safety razor isn’t good, it’s got no chance on his skin.)
Safety Razor FAQs
Got Questions About Safety Razors? We've Got Answers
Using a safety razor couldn’t be easier! Seriously, after a couple times shaving with a great safety razor, you’ll be a pro and never want to use disposables again. While it's ultimately a matter of personal preference, we strongly recommend trying out a safety razor at least once, as these razors are much better for the environment and your wallet.
If you shave more often than a few times a year, a safety razor will be way more economical in the long run because the razor handle never needs to be replaced and the blades are hilariously cheaper. Even compared to the cartridge razors where you reuse the handle, because of the exorbitant cost of replacement heads, cartridge razors will quickly become more expensive than safety razors.
Disposables are the most expensive of all because you'll be buying them for the rest of your life.
You might hear both of them mentioned in contrast to cartridge razors, but straight razors are really their own beast. In essence, a straight razor is a single-edge folding knife, just one designed only for shaving. So unlike cartridge razors and even safety razors, there aren’t really any “parts” or things to put together. It’s a handle and a single-edge razor blade that folds into the handle. A safety razor basically delivers the same kind of sharpness and a similar shaving experience as a straight razor, only in a less risky package (hence the safety aspect).
Adjustable razors are those safety razors that have built-in mechanisms, frequently a twistable knob at the base of the handle, to adjust the razor’s head and expose more blade. The more blade that’s exposed, the more aggressive the shave and, in theory, the better the shave overall for the experienced shaver. The numbers indicate how aggressive the shave will be. Typically, one is the least aggressive shave, with the least amount of blade exposed, and six is the most aggressive, with the most amount of blade exposed.
It’s all about sharpness and precision. A safety razor simply allows for more precision and control of the blade and safety razor blades themselves are often much sharper than those in cartridges. Alternatively, better could also mean the ability to choose duller blades, which you can’t do with cartridge razors. The use of a single blade also makes rinsing 1,000 times easier, which means never dealing with a clogged three-blade again.
If you’re asking, you’ve probably never used a safety razor before. That being the case, go for a basic razor (e.g. not too expensive) with a closed comb. Open combs offer more aggressive shaves due to a more-exposed blade, so closed combs with either a basic safety bar or a safety bar with scalloping (the little divots in the bar) are more forgiving and are better for beginners. After testing over a dozen safety razors, we believe The Art of Shaving Double-Edge Safety Razor is the best choice for most men.
The best safety razors range from $27 on the low end to $75 on the high end. That being said, there's no reason to pay more than $60 for the best safety razors.
A bad safety razor will require multiple passes to remove all the stubble and give you a close shave, and that will result in more razor burn, skin bumps and irritated skin. That means you should prioritize a safety razor rated to give you a very close shave with minimal passes. We also recommend looking for a safety razor with a scalloped hair comb built into the design.