Shaving is part of how we care for that beautiful mug, and, more importantly, it’s a part of how we care for the man underneath. A few manly minutes out of the day can make you say, “Damn! I look good today.”
Finding the best safety razor can be a challenge, so we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Here’s a comprehensive chart of some of the best on the market. Check it out.
The Top Safety Razors On The Market:
What Is a Safety Razor?
Safety razors were invented in 1880 by a couple guys named Fredrik and Otto Kampfe from Brooklyn, New York. In their patent, a single-edge (SE) blade was attached to the handle at a right angle and was covered by a protective comb (hence the “safety”).
A bit later, in 1901, a chzap who went by the rather awesome name King Camp Gillette patented a design that included a disposable double-edged (DE) razor, which earned his design a lot of popularity, since it became the standard razor for the American military in WWI.
Nowadays, safety razors typically retain an air of antique luxury, and you can find them in both designs: single- or double-edged. (A small note: really, even some of the popular razors everyone knows about (e.g. Mach5) are technically safety razors. But when most people use the term, they are usually referring to the old-timey, manly types featured in the chart).
Advantages of a Safety Razor
Aside from just being cool, there are a lot of benefits to using this type of shaving instrument.
You get a much, much closer shave. Really, the only thing that gives you a closer shave is a straight razor. Obviously, learning to use a straight razor is really, really hard, and it can be pretty hard to find someone to practice on. Safety razors are an easy way to get a near-barbershop-quality shave without risking anyone’s life.
It’s cheaper. It can be a pretty hefty up-front investment. For a good one, you’re looking at $30-$60 – or sometimes up to $150 or $200 for a luxury razor. However, you’ll spend a lot less money on blades in the long run. Like, a lot. Not only are DE blades cheaper than standard blades, but you probably won’t need to shave as often, since the shaves are so close.
Did I mention it’s just cool? Honestly, when someone walks in to your bathroom and sees your shaving stand with your chrome razor and shaving brush, you’ll look like a total bad***.
How do I find the best safety razor for me?
When you’re shopping for a safety razor, there are a number of factors you should consider.
Number of parts. Safety razors consist of three parts: a handle, a base-plate and a bar (or cap). The handle is, well, the handle. The blade sits between the bar and the base-plate. Some razors break down into all three parts; some break down into two parts (only the bar detaches); others are all one piece and include an turn-to-open knob. This part of the design doesn’t particularly affect the performance of the razor. It just kind of depends on how much time you’d like to spend putting the blades in.
Weight. The weight doesn’t directly affect its performance, but it does affect your comfort level and your ability to shave. Generally, you don’t want to pull the razor across your skin; instead, you want to let the weight of the razor do most of the work. This can be easier with heavier razors, but you may sacrifice a bit of control. At the end of the day, it’s personal preference.
Bar style. There are two basic styles of bars – flat and slanted – and they are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Slanted bars usually create more of a scything motion, which translates to a much more aggressive shave. This is good for thick beards, but it’s not recommended for beginners.
Comb (or rake) style. The “safety” part of the bar is called the comb, and there are two styles: closed-comb and open-comb. Closed-comb styles usually give you a milder shave, while open-comb bars give you a much more aggressive shave. If you don’t have a crazy lumberjack beard and like a smooth shave, look for a closed-comb bar. If you’re a manly-man’s man and have an out-of-control beard, you might want to look into an open-comb. Also, it should be noted that some products include both (one on each side).
Top 5 Best Safety Razor Reviews:
Any of these would be great buys. Much of it comes down to personal preference. Like with any product, you can get some really, really nice razors if you’re willing to spend a bit of cash, but there really are great products in every price range.
Edwin Jagger De89lbl
The Edwin Jagger De89lbl is one of the best razors you can get for under $50. This thing is beautiful. The chrome finish is basically like a mirror. It looks like something the Silver Surfer would use. I mean really, this is a fine piece of metalwork.
It’s a 3-piece shaving instrument. The bar is pretty unique, too: it looks like a combination between a closed- and open-comb bar; it’s essentially a closed-comb bar with groves in it instead of a true open-comb design, so it gives a slightly aggressive shave. However, the shave is also very, very smooth. It doesn’t pull or tug on the hair at all (with a new blade at least). This is partly because of its weight. It’s not super-heavy, but it’s definitely got a bit of heft to it.
It also comes in a snazzy, black box. That’s part of what makes the Edwin Jagger brand so cool: they put a lot of energy into style. They want you to feel like a distinguished gentleman when you’re using their products – and you do.
The only downside is that the chrome is so shiny that it sometimes gets all smudged up after extended use. I mean, hey: it’s sitting around in a bathroom after all. If you’re interested in this product, and you want to keep it looking good, it might be worth investing in a simple polishing cloth.
Parker 22R – Long Handle Butterfly Open DE Safety Razor
This is one of our all around favorites from Parker. This is a DE razor made by Parker, a company known well for their high-end products. Of course, the first thing you’ll notice is the design. It looks a little more flashy than some of the other razors on the list. It features a solid brass frame for durability and rust resistance.
We found this material rather nice, since it yields a good grip because of the grooves, for a chrome finish. It’s not a particularly long handle, but it is longer than the Edwin Jagger DE89, which some find a bit short.
Additionally, the handle-to-head weight ratio is 1:1, which means the handle weighs about the same as the head, which will give you a slightly more aggressive shave than heavier-headed razors, which work with you a bit more.
For under 30.00, it’s not outrageous – and it’s a good investment for beginners and shaving pros alike.
Merkur Model 180 Long Handled Chrome Safety Razor
The Merkur Model 180 made our list for its combination of price and quality; it’s also just really popular. At most retailers, this razor can be found for under $40. It’s sturdy chrome option from a reputable company with a lot of history. There are only a few big companies in this market, and Merkur is one of them.
This a 3-piece shaving instrument, which means you’ll need to take it apart to replace the blade. While some may think 3-piece razors are a hassle, we think they’re kind of cool. It satisfies that deep, manly urge to tinker with stuff. There’s something about taking it all apart and putting it together again that adds to the experience. Check out this review by
One of its defining characteristics is its handle. It’s a long handle with a very textured finish, which we really love. It’s almost like having gripping tape on a baseball bat. It’s much easier to control when wet than some of the smooth chrome finishes we’ve tried. All-in-all, this is a great option in the low-to-mid price range, and it’s ideal for beginners.
Parker 99R – Long Handle SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT Butterfly
The Parker 99R is the only butterfly razor to make it on our top five list. Unlike the 3-piece razors on this list, it features a turn-to-open handle, which opens the head, giving you access to the blades.
And this thing is a beast. It’s a long, heavy razor. Really the only thing that beats it is the Merkur Vision, which is the largest in production – and really, they’re not that far apart. This razor sports a textured chrome finish and a large base screw at the end of the turn-to-open handle.
All of these things combined – lots of weight, twisting the handle to crank the massive head open – makes you feel like you’re in a garage. While it’s not my first choice (I prefer a bit of luxury), it’s great for big guys who like to feel like they’re holding a sturdy shaving tool. Lastly, you can’t beat the price. If you shop on Amazon, you can snag it for under $30.
Merkur Heavy Duty Double Edge Razor #34C
Shaving with this razor is a slightly different experience. Why? Well, it’s relatively small, but it’s also relatively heavy. That said, the weight makes for a smooth shave, and the size (unless you don’t have gigantic hands) seems to lend itself to control. The razor isn’t well suited for long passes, but it’s perfect for short, intricate strokes, so it would be great for guys with goatees (or any other facial hair, for that matter).
This is a 2-piece shaving instrument, so the handle and base-plate are connected. The head inserts into the handle and attaches to an internal screw, which is tightened by a knob at the base of the handle.
What are the best safety razors for beginners?
That’s all well and good, but what if you’re brand new to this whole wet shaving business? Well, thinking about safety razors for beginners is something we like to do quite often, to make sure those coddled chins can ease effectively into a life of inexpensive, yet blindingly close shaves. Luckily for you, we’ve figured out a few examples that make up the best safety razors for beginners – if you’re just starting out, you could do much worse than to try these on for size. We guarantee that if you try these bad boys out, you just might never go back to that $6 stick of plastic you have to say goodbye to every week.
If you want something even more stripped down, perhaps even with a little case to protect you, the Weishi model here will give you want you want. The 9306 is yet another stripped-down vintage looking razor, with a rippled set of grooves on the handle to keep even the most insecure grip as tight as can be.
Made with a copper alloy, this construction is a little bit lighter, so it feels slightly more like the old shaving instruments you’re used to using – no need to start lifting weights in preparation to use this thing. The chrome plating is as shiny as ever, though, so no need to worry about this copper razor looking like the strangest penny in the world.
Even better, this razor comes with a nifty little blue travel case; it’s good if you’re on the go, but most importantly it keeps it secure when you’re not using it – that’s especially good for beginners, since it eliminates that nagging feeling in the back of your head that your shaving instrument will jump out at you at any moment. This one’s mighty cheap at $14, especially since you get the case.
Rubber Coated Ebony DE86RC14bl by Edwin Jagger
Going back to the Edwin Jagger school of double-edged safety razors, this one is very good for close-shave novices because of its rubber handle. Sure, it doesn’t have the manly feel of holding a bit of steel in your hand while trimming your face, but the rubber makes for an even more secure grip – nifty if you’re starting out and a little shy.
The best part about the rubber grip is that it doesn’t really impact the look of the razor – the sleek, black rubber surrounds the handle and contrasts well with the chrome, making it look like it belongs there. You won’t feel like you’re giving yourself shaving training wheels, if you follow me; you’re just taking a different direction to your shaving aesthetics. This one’s a bit pricier at nearly $40, but that construction really won’t let you down.
Image credits: Amazon.com