A quality razor should not only provide a close shave, but it should deliver reliable and comfortable performance. But selecting the right razor for your grooming regimen isn’t easy.
In this guide, we review all the best razors for men. From the modern cartridge razor to the ancient straight razor, we cover it all. In addition to our expert reviews, we also spend time covering important considerations to think about when making your selection and answer some common questions men have about all the types of razors available to them.
Let’s get started:
Comparing Men’s Razors
|Merkur 38 (Barberpole) Safety Razor
|Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor
|Adjustable Safety Razor
|Dovo “Bismarck” Straight Razor
|Gillette Fusion5 Cartridge Razor
|Facial Hair, Body, Head
|Schick Hydro 5 Razor
|Facial Hair, Body, Head
|Gillette Sensor3 Disposable Razor
|Facial Hair, Body, Head
|Gillette Mach3 Cartridge Razor
|Facial Hair, Body, Head
|Dollar Shave Club
|Facial Hair, Body, Head
|Facial Hair, Head
The 9 Best Men’s Razors Reviewed
Here’s our list of the top razors currently available:
1. Safety Razor: Merkur 38 (Barberpole)
While the Futur may have been a stellar adjustable safety razor, the equally impressive Merkur Barberpole is hands down the best safety razor.
With a swirl handle design that is reminiscent of the Barberpole that hangs outside of barbershops, the Merkur 38 sets the gold standard of which other safety razors are measured. With an impressive heft of 3.92oz, you can let gravity take over as this double edge safety razor slices effortlessly through your whiskers with a single blade. Without the need for any additional force by you in order to get a close shave, you won’t open yourself up to surface nicks or mild irritation.
But beyond the weight of the razor, the narrow blade exposure will also make for a pretty comfortable shave since you can make several passes with significantly less irritation.
In order to truly make the Merkur Barberpole shine to its fullest potential, you will want to make sure that you pick up a quality shave cream to go along with it. Personally, we loved the combination of this razor with Taylor of Old Bond Street shave cream – it provided predictably, yet stellar results when shaving. The Merkur Barberpole does have a universal blade setting. While the starter blade provided by Merkur is enough to get you started, you can easily switch between other razor blades to find out which one will work best for both your facial hair and skin.
Just note, that unlike other shave systems featured on our list, the Merkur Barberpole won’t be that great when doing personal grooming elsewhere on your body. The lack of a pivot movement will make it designed for face use only.
Here’s a detailed look at a few features of the 38C that really got the attention of many:
- With a weight of 3.92oz (111g), the Merkur Barberpole will cut through facial hair without requiring much additional effort on your behalf.
- While it is 4.02″ in length, when compared to cartridge razors, it is significantly shorter. This shorter handle length provides greater control but can be tricky to use for men with larger hands.
- The knurled handle on this double edge safety razor make for a great grip, which ensures a close and clean shave
- As the name implies, the Barberpole is a razor for those men looking to get more out of their shave experience.
What customers are saying: Overall, customers have mixed feelings about this razor. Many appreciate its solid weight, quality construction, and user-friendly design, with some even using it for many years without issue. However, others report disappointment with the razor’s durability, particularly the threads wearing out or the chrome plating flaking off, resulting in a short lifespan. Some users also find the shaving experience to be rough on the skin.
Read the full review here.
- Quality made product from Germany
- Heavy handle for easy shaving
- Comfortable shave for a safety razor
- Comes with a starter blade
- Tricky for men with smaller hands
- Limited options for body grooming
2. Adjustable Safety Razor: Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor
An improvement on the wildly successful Merkur Progress, the Merkur Futur propels the adjustable razor into the next generation of shaving. First off, the design. There simply isn’t another razor that is nearly as sexy as the Merkur Futur on the market. But the reality is that many men don’t buy their razors based on looks alone. What makes the Merkur Futur standout is the adjustment feature.
With 6 different settings (1 being the mildest and 6 the most aggressive), the Futur can be dialed in to your exact preferences. Should you be looking for an extremely aggressive (close) shave and have the skin that can sustain such a close shave, then you can simply twist the handle and dial it up to 6.
However, should your skin get easily inflamed, then you can set the Futur to 1 and still get a fairly close and comfortable shave that will still look great.
Now for the purists out there that love to make multiple passes (with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain), the Futur will still shine under these conditions.
Unlike other razor systems that have proprietary fittings for their blades, the Futur has a universal blade fitting that will work with any of the best safety razor blades.
Here’s a closer look at some of the unique details about the Futur that set this razor apart from many:
- Unlike most other safety razors, the Merkur Futur features a snap-on cap that secures the razor blade when loaded. This results in a secure grip on the blade that won’t slip when shaving.
- While the handle is absent of a knurled design, common across many Merkur safety razors, the indent along the handle provides you with a confident grip.
- The Merkur Futur offers 6 blade settings, allowing you to learn on a moderate setting and increase the aggressiveness to your shave preference
- At 4.5oz (128g) the Futur provides plenty of weight. This will result in a easier and predictable shave by allowing the weight of the handle to do most of the work.
What customers are saying: Customers love this razor for its smooth, close shave and ease of use. Although some users reported that the handle could be slippery when wet, the quality craftsmanship, adjustable settings, and effectiveness of the razor make it a popular choice for a long-lasting shaving tool.
Read the full review here.
- Fully adjustable
- Perfect for both beginners and experts
- Universal blade fitting
- Large head may prove challenging around tight contours
3. Dovo “Bismarck” Straight Razor
The Germans know a thing or two when it comes to razors (see Merkur/Dovo, Muhle, and countless other razors). Known for both their precision and uncompromising quality, the Dovo “Bismarck” straight razor carries that legacy forward.
Crafted from a single piece of carbon steel, this 3” razor has been pre-honed and stropped and is ready to go when you get it in your hands (a huge time saver as you don’t have to worry about bringing it to a specialty store to have them do this for you). Only needed to be stropped once every few shaves, the rigid carbon steel blade should have no problem cutting through the thickest of facial hairs.
As great as this straight razor might be, the biggest drawback to any straight razor (not exclusive to this fine piece of metal by Dovo) is the learning curve. Extremely steep and will likely entail plenty of nicks and surface cuts, getting used to shaving with a straight razor can be extremely tricky for some. However, with plenty of practice and persistence, you will be able to get great results.
While the legacy and craftsmanship from Dovo is revered around the world, there were a few features we wanted to call special attention to:
- The 6/8″ half hollow ground blade is made from carbon steel. While susceptible to corrosion (so wipe dry when done), carbon steel is one of the sharpest metals you can use as a razor blade.
- Revered for their precision engineering, the Dovo “Bismarck” is made in Germany.
- The gold-leaf etching on the razor blade has historical significance, it is in honor of Otto von Bismarck who was the German chancellor from 1871 to 1890.
- The ebony wood handle provides a perfect counter balance to the carbon steel blade that provides a comfortable and controlled grip when shaving.
- The “Bismarck” provides a rich and historical shave experience for one who is looking for a traditional straight razor.
What customers are saying: Customers highly praise this razor for its high quality and sharpness, with many finding it shave-ready right out of the box. They appreciate the smooth shave it provides, the lightweight and sturdy design, and how it caters to individuals with larger hands. Some mention needing to strop or hone the razor before use, but most found it to be an excellent, top-quality straight razor.
4. Cartridge: Gillette Fusion5 Cartridge Razor
When it comes to shaving comfort – there is none better than the Fusion5 on the market. Relying on 5 thin blades, the Fusion5 provides a predictably close shave time after time. One of the leading advantages that the Fusion5 had over its competitors was undoubtedly the Flexball head. This added feature built within the neck of the razor provides a greater range of movement compared to most other cartridge razors. Rather than pivoting just up and down, the Flexball allows the razor head to also move side to size.
This is important as it allows the cartridge head to move easily in order to remain in contact with your skin throughout the entire stroke as demonstrated here:
This results in a uniform shave performance no matter where you are shaving on your body, groin area included. Therefore, you can have confidence in the blade that incidental nicks and cuts in delicate areas simply won’t happen.
While it’s no secret that the long-term cost of ownership of Gillette razors is high compared to more traditional options, deals can be found either directly from Gillette or at online retailers regularly. Furthermore, the travel-friendly nature of the cartridge razor allows you to simply toss it into your Dopp kit when traveling – no need for checking your luggage when arriving at the airport.
While the shave experience is predictable with the Fusion5, there were a few features in this razor we wanted to mention:
- While the price of a replacement Fusion blades is approximately $2.85 each (based on a 8 pack refill at $22.76) – it is still significantly cheaper than a shave club.
- Given that Gillette is a household name, you can find this razor and replacement blades at any local drugstore.
- The proprietary Flexball neck and pivot head make it easy to shave your body
- The lubricating strip provides a slick shield to reduce skin irritation.
- The included precision trimmer on the back of the razor provides versatility when detailing sideburns
What customers are saying: Customers appreciate this razor for its close and long-lasting shave, as well as being easy to clean and use. However, some users were disappointed with specific features, such as the lack of a pre-lubricated cartridge or issue with provided blades. Overall, the razor received mostly positive reviews for its performance and value.
- Easily shave any part of body
- Comes with all the bells and whistles
- Reliable and convenient
- Travel friendly
5. Cartridge (Affordable): Schick Hydro 5 Razor
Developed for men with sensitive skin, the Schick Hydro 5 provides stellar results at an affordable price. With gel pools instead of lubricating strips found on the top of the razor, each shave you do with the Hydro 5 should be a fairly pleasant experience even if you have severely sensitive skin. While yes, many may note that this razor from Schick contains 5 blades, which in many cases will cause a more pronounced level of irritation, many men found that the skin guards added to the blades helped offset any irritation that they may have experienced with competing razor brands.
But what really sets this razor apart from all others featured on our list is the shock-absorbing technology. This unique feature allows the razor head to adjust based on the pressure applied while shaving. Therefore, should you have a heavy hand and go a fair bit aggressive with your shaving strokes, then the razor will compensate by alleviating pressure on the skin.
While the focus on sensitive skin is a key selling feature for the Schick Hydro 5, here were a few other standout features that caught our attention as well:
- The cartridge head also contains a trimmer blade that is perfect for detailed edging around nose, sideburns, and ears.
- While the sensitive skin variety of the Hydro 5 was reviewed, Schick also provides two others that focus on energizing and hydrating tired skin.
- The Hydro 5 gel pools rely on herbal extracts in order to provide relief to your skin.
- The pivoting head increases contact and reduces irritation while shaving.
What customers are saying: Customers have mixed opinions about these Schick Razors. Some find them to be a great value, providing a smooth and comfortable shave, while others believe the blades to be low quality or knockoffs, stating that they lose sharpness quickly and the lubrication strips don’t last as long as expected.
- Classic yet stellar performance by Schick
- Refills aren’t terribly expensive
- Popular for men with sensitive skin
6. Gillette Sensor3 Disposable Razor
The Gillette Sensor line of razor blades has been around for years (since 1990 to be exact). In that time, the Sensor3 has become the staple disposable razor for many men around the world. While absent of the latest technology found in pricier cartridge razors, the Sensor3 showcases some great selling points including a pivoting head, dual lubricating strips, rubber grip, and more.
Unlike so many other throwaway razors that rely on two blades, the Sensor increases this count by one. The three-blade system on the Sensor3 provides a close shave, especially given that it is a disposable razor. Whether you are shaving at the gym or looking for a razor to bring with you on a business trip, the Sensor3 will deliver smooth and semi-irritation-free results.
It is worth noting that these blades do carry a bit of ruggedness with them. Therefore, if your skin is sensitive, it may be worth going with a cartridge razor with a thicker lubricating strip, or a hybrid electric razor.
Given the lightweight and disposable nature of the Sensor3, the razor itself does require added pressure from your hand in order to cut your facial hair cleanly.
Here are a few key features of the Sensor3:
- Based on our research and the literature from Gillette, while these are marketed as disposable razors, men have been able to get an impressive 10 shaves or more per razor.
- The anti-slip rubber handle provides adequate grip should your hands be covered in shave cream or while shaving in the shower.
- Like many high-end cartridge razors, the Sensor3 contains two lubricating strips to reduce skin irritation.
- The head on the Sensor3 can pivot up to 40 degrees, ensuring that the razor blades remain flat on your skin while shaving.
What customers are saying: Generally, customers enjoy these razors for providing a good, clean shave without irritation. However, some found them to be of lower quality, unsuitable for thick beards, and only suitable for one-time use. Most customers highlighted the easy-to-hold handle and the razor’s lack of skin irritation.
- Perfect for travel
- Quality blades given cost
- Passable comfort
7. Best Value: Gillette Mach3 Cartridge Razor
While not nearly as heavily marketed as it once was in the late 90s, the Gillette Mach3 is a terrific razor that still gets the job done.
With blades costing roughly $1.75 apiece, it’s significantly cheaper than what subscription services Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s charges while also being about half the price of the Gillette Fusion5 – making it quite affordable.
Now if you are under the age of 25 and feel like this might seem a poor selection, don’t turn a blind eye right away. Given that the Mach3 only has 3 blades on the cartridge head as opposed to 5 or even 7 found on the more modern razors of today, the fewer blades often equate to much greater comfort for some men with severely sensitive skin. This is primarily because there are fewer blades touching your skin.
So, if you find that you have some mild irritation post-shave when using some of the more modern razors, the small investment you need into this system might be worth the price of admission. Given that this blade is still being produced by Gillette nearly a decade after its introduction is a statement in itself. It’s an undeniably reliable razor.
- Mach3 vs. Mach3 Turbo
One of the major decisions men have around Mach3 is whether or not they should pay extra for the Mach3 Turbo. From the onset, these two razors look nearly identical. However, there are some noteworthy differences with the Mach3 Turbo, for starters, it contains a thicker lubricating gel strip on the top of the razor. This thicker strip is perfect for men with sensitive skin as it will help to reduce razor burn. The Mach3 Turbo cartridge system is also marketed as having stronger blades – which can be a major selling point for those men with thick and coarse beards. The Mach3 Turbo handle is slightly heavier (by about .2 ounces) which gives it a comfortable feeling into the palm of your hand. Lastly, if you have a Mach3 handle, the blades are interchangeable between these two cartridge systems.
Here we were a few key features we wanted to share with you about the Gillette Mach3:
- Relying on diamond-like carbon steel blades, the Gillette Mach3 blades will stay sharper longer (when compared to the Sensor3).
- The microfins included on every cartridge razor head work to flatten and smooth out your skin which results in a closer and consistent cut on your facial hair
- The pivoting head makes shaving the contours of your face much easier.
- The compact and battery-free body make it a travel-friendly razor that is much better than a disposable razor.
What customers are saying: Many customers are satisfied with the razor, praising its performance and cost savings compared to retail stores. However, some have complaints about the handle being too small and lightweight, feeling like a toy, making it difficult for adults to get a good grip.
- 3 blades are enough for a close shave
- Great alternative to pricier current cartridge razors
- Pivot head works well for areas other than your face
8. Subscription: Dollar Shave Club
After disrupting the shaving industry in 2011 with their viral marketing campaign and famous $1 razor, Dollar Shave Club has since been acquired for $1 billion dollars and is still going strong. But with it comes to quality, we ran a few extensive tests on shave clubs like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club and we found that Dollar Shave Club was better. While Dollar Shave Clubs’ packaging and marketing simply doesn’t match that of Harry’s, they have it where it counts – a quality shave at a semi-affordable price.
Here’s why we say that Dollar Shave Club is only semi-affordable at best:
If you want to save money, you are better off purchasing razor blades in bulk. With packs like this one readily available, you can get a full pack of blades at a cheaper rate than if you were to subscribe with any of the subscription shave companies. At a cost of $9 per month for Dollar Shave Club which includes 4 cartridge blades ($2.25 per blade), you can order a 24 pack ($50) of Dorco Pace 7 blades directly at a rate of $2.08 per blade.
This ultimately will equate to a savings of $4 per 24 blades – while not huge, but it’s worth noting as you do pay a minor surcharge for the convenience that Dollar Shave Club offers. Now price is one thing, but when it comes to the shave of the Dollar Shave Club razors, they are similar to systems that are probably already found in your medicine cabinet. With the multi-blade head, you can expect to get a close shave on your face via the lift-and-cut technique that they employ.
In addition, the increased number of blades does provide a comfortable shave while also opening you up to the possibility of razor bumps and mild skin irritation.
There are a few things to note when considering Dollar Shave Club:
- Beyond razors, you can get other essential grooming and shaving needs delivered straight to your door
- The service can be cancelled at any time
- Simply one of the best options that can be delivered to your door
What customers are saying: The reviews for this razor are mixed, with some customers praising the product for providing a clean shave, while others complain about the quality of the blades, experiencing dullness and difficulty attaching them securely to the handle. Overall, the razor seems to have some quality issues that need to be addressed.
- Simple subscription service that delivers a decent razor
- Perfect for men not worried about traditional shaving experiences
- Can get a grooming kit to cover all parts of the body (monthly)
9. Hybrid Electric: Philips Norelco OneBlade
At the intersection of cartridge razors and beard trimmers, you will find hybrid systems like the Philips Norelco OneBlade. Borrowing characteristics of both shave systems, the OneBlade executes beautifully when it comes to shaving performance.
While capable of being used in both a wet and dry environment (although from our tests, the dry shave performed much better), OneBlade is great for men whose necks get inflamed quite easily even when they exercise absolute caution while shaving.
Cutting the hair at just a fraction above the surface of the skin (not baby skin smooth), you will never have to worry about ingrown hairs or skin irritation – making it great for men who don’t have to worry about stringent facial hair requirements while at work.
But as great as the OneBlade is, there are inevitably some downsides. First and foremost, the propriety blade system. Unlike safety razors that feature universal blade mounts, when you need to refill the OneBlade, you will need to purchase Philips Norelco produced blades (~$12 each). While likely not needing to be replaced but once every few months, it can be a sticking point for some men who don’t like having to make repeat purchases.
Secondly, depending on the model you choose, both charge time and battery life can vary greatly. If you have the budget, upgrade to the OneBlade Face + Body pack – it has a Li-Ion battery that has 60 min battery life and a 4 hour charge time (as opposed to the cheaper model that has a NiMH battery which takes 8 hours to charge and only can last for 45 minutes). It’s one of those little features you likely won’t care about until you have to charge your battery before an extended trip.
Here were a few other noteworthy features about the Norelco OneBlade:
- The five attachments included give you grooming versatility.
- The contour following of the cutting blade allows for consistent results no matter the angle.
- Included skin guard protects the sharp blade from accidentally clipping any of your sensitive bits.
- The durable steel blades should get through any kind of hair – super coarse hair included.
What customers are saying: Customers have mixed opinions about this razor. Some find it to be a great purchase, providing a close shave, long battery life, and being easy to clean. However, others have experienced issues such as patchy and uneven shaving, cuts, and poor blade durability.
- Quick and non-irritable results
- Not razor smooth, but close
- Compact design
- Replacement heads will be necessary
- Value option compromises with a lackluster Ni-MH battery
6 Considerations When Buying a Razor
1. Type of Razor
There are several different razor systems available; here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each:
- Safety Razors: Relies on a single blade and can provide a close shave for men of all facial hair types. The biggest advantage of this razor is that it won’t cause ingrown hairs and has a low long-term cost of ownership. However, safety razors are challenging to learn and are not travel-friendly.
- Adjustable Safety Razor: Nearly identical to the safety razor but has an adjustable blade gap that impacts the aggressiveness of the shave.
- Straight Razors: Available as a fixed or injectable blade (shavette), the straight razor provides a traditional barbershop shaving experience. This is a very niche product and one that is difficult to master.
- Cartridge Razors: These razors are beginner-friendly and provide close results. However, irritation and razor bumps may occur for some men – if this is your case, consider a cartridge razor with fewer than four blades. Cartridge razors are travel-friendly.
- Disposable Razors: These razors are intended just for travel and one-time use. The plastic handle isn’t eco-friendly either. Performance is sub-par at best.
- Shave Clubs: Some clubs make their razors (Harry’s) while others just resell bargain brands (Dollar Shave Club uses Dorco razors). While a low introductory price, the cost of shave clubs quickly adds up. You are primarily paying for convenience here.
- Hybrid Trimmers: These unique (yet proprietary) systems, such as the Norelco OneBlade, are best for men who like to keep a kempt beard but may not need (nor desire) to shave daily.
2. Ingrown Hairs
If you are susceptible to ingrown hairs or razor bumps, you will want to get a razor that reduces this ailment from occurring. Most men find that single-blade razors such as the safety razor or straight razor will cut the hair follicles only to the surface of the skin (not below). This greatly reduces the chance of razor bumps forming.
3. Skin Sensitivity
If you suffer from irritation or razor burn when shaving, regular replacement of the blade coupled with soothing shaving cream can be helpful in reducing this unpleasant effect. Furthermore, many modern cartridge razors contain lubricating strips to further provide relief.
4. Shave Time
Some men enjoy shaving, others want to simply get their shave done quickly before going to work. Modern cartridge razors and electric shavers provide a quick and reliable shave. Safety and straight razors will take a little longer. Therefore, you will want to purchase a razor that meets your unique needs.
Men who like to shave other parts of their body such as their chest, legs, arms, and elsewhere should consider a razor with a pivoting head. This little feature, common among many cartridge razors, allows for the blades to remain in contact with your skin for efficient and smoother results.
6. Brands of Razors
Here’s a list of some of the major brands that make various types of razors:
|DOVO Solingen / Merkur
|New York, NY
|Yorktown Heights, NY
|North Bergen, NJ