Safety razors have seen a resurgence due to their low long-term cost of ownership along with the ability to prevent razor bumps. Below is a look at the best safety razors currently available.
9 Quick Tips for Buying a Safety Razor
Take a moment to consider the following before buying a safety razor:
- Head Design: Available in three types which include a closed comb, open comb, and slant bar. A closed comb safety razor is beginner-friendly and the least aggressive. An open comb provides an aggressive shave and is less susceptible to clogging. Slant bar safety razors cut facial hair at an angle which helps to reduce irritation.
- Weight: Heavy safety razors allow the razor blade to cut through facial hair with no additional pressure.
- Length: Short safety razors allow for greater control while shaving. Consider a handle longer than 4″ should you have large hands.
- Number of Pieces: Safety razors can be made with a one, two, or three-piece design. A greater number of pieces may allow for easier cleaning. There is no significant impact on shaving performance.
- Blade Gap: The blade gap impacts the aggressiveness of the shave. A safety razor can have either a fixed blade gap or is adjustable.
- Grip: The handle design can provide greater control when using a safety razor. Grips vary from rubber to a metal knurled etching.
- Razor Blades: Safety razors can be used with many different razor blade brands. Consider a variety pack to test which brand works best for you.
- Brand: Companies such as DOVO Solingen (Merkur), Edwin Jagger, Muhle, and others have expertise in fine metallurgy and precision engineering.
- Price Range: The average price ranges between $30 and $75 for a well-made safety razor that will last you for several years.
1. Best Overall: Merkur 34C Safety Razor
The Merkur 34C provides a very comfortable shaving experience, making it a favorite recommendation by barbers. At 3.25″ in length and 2.68oz (76g) in weight, it is smaller than other safety razors we reviewed. However, despite the short handle, the Merkur 34C still performs exceedingly well and enjoys increased control while shaving.
Additionally, the two-piece safety razor design has a universal fitting that is compatible with all major razor blade brands. Therefore, you can easily test between brands to find a blade that performs best for your facial hair density and skin.
The handle on the 34C features a meticulously engineered knurled grip – a demonstration of fine German craftsmanship, the country where the razor was both designed and made. Included with the Merkur 34C is one Merkur Platinum razor blade. So be sure to pick up a few extra blades if you don’t already have some on hand.
Pros: Beginner-friendly price and shave experience. Well-made.
Cons: Tough to control with large hands.
In-depth Merkur 34C review.
2. Affordable: Edwin Jagger DE89 Safety Razor
Similar in both design and size to the Merkur 34C, the Edwin Jagger DE89 provides a mild aggressiveness that is recommended for beginners. At 3.75″ in length, it is neither too short nor too long – making it good for most men. Available in a variety of handle compositions including faux ivory, chrome plating, and even a rubberized grip, you have plenty of choices.
Priced at $30, $10 cheaper than the Merkur 34C, it is a budget-friendly double edge safety razor that saves you money. Lastly, the three-piece design makes it easy to clean and maintain.
Pros: Mild shave aggressiveness and several finishes available.
Cons: Unknown metal interior.
In-depth Edwin Jagger DE89 review.
3. Best Long Handle: Merkur 38C Safety Razor
With a unique swirling design to represent the Barber’s pole that hangs outside of barbershops, the Merkur 38C, also known simply as the Barberpole, is a beginner-friendly safety razor. At approximately 4.25″ in total length, the Merkur 38C makes for a friendly transition should you be coming from a cartridge razor.
With a brass handle and die-casted zinc alloy head, both of which have been chrome plated, the two-piece Merkur 38C brings with it plenty of weight totaling 3.84oz (109g). Therefore, when using the 38C, little to no additional pressure is needed to slice through your facial hair.
This closed comb scalloped bar safety razor provides a mildly aggressive shave, perfect should you have sensitive skin. As we found in our head-to-head comparison of the Merkur 34C vs Merkur 38C, the shave experience was nearly identical. Ultimately, if you have large hands, go with the 38C.
Pros: The extra weight slices through facial hair easily.
Cons: Tougher to control for those with smaller hands.
In-depth Merkur 38C review.
4. Best Affordable Long Handle: Merkur 23C Safety Razor
The Merkur 23C is a long handle safety razor that is 4″ in length – comparable to its counterpart, the Merkur 38C. However, what makes this different from the heavy-duty 38C is the weight. At only 2.1oz (60g) it is significantly lighter than any other double edge razor that we reviewed. While little pressure is necessary to cut through facial hair, should you have a thick or dense beard, some effort may be required – in that case, opt for the upgrade pick to the Merkur 38C.
Aside from length and weight, the Merkur 23C provides a pleasant shaving experience and is one of the best picks for beginners. The chrome-plated knurled handle design allows for a steady grip when shaving.
Pros: Beginner cartridge-like form makes it good for beginners.
Cons: Slightly more weight would make it even better.
In-depth Merkur 23C review.
5. Best for Razor Bumps: Bevel Safety Razor
Men’s grooming brand Bevel was founded in 2013 and has quickly made a name for itself. One of their most popular products is the Bevel Safety Razor. Designed to prevent razor bumps, it provides a nice comfortable shave with very little irritation or redness.
At 3.1oz (88g) in weight and 4.25″ long, it has moderate specs that can work for most men. Brass weighted and featuring a polished and brushed finish, it is unique. While the shave performance is good, controlling this razor may be difficult for some. With no knurled grip, a steady, dry hand is necessary.
The Bevel Safety Razor does provide a pronounced mild shave due to the solid safety bar on the closed comb head. Additionally, Bevel does include a pack of five razor blades with the safety razor which should last you about a month of regular shaving.
Pros: Widely available and moderate aggressiveness.
Cons: Long and smooth handle may be tough to use.
In-depth Bevel Safety Razor review.
6. Best for Sensitive Skin: Merkur 37C Slant Safety Razor
Rather than cutting hair straight on, the Merkur 37C, simply known as the Merkur Slant, cuts beard hair at an angle. This slant design reduces tugging on the hair follicle root as it is being cut, which is a common cause of irritation for men with sensitive skin.
Given the unusual design, professional barbers recommend that the Merkur 37C is best-suited for experienced wet shavers.
The Merkur 37C weighs 3.52oz (100g). The increased weight allows this safety razor to cut all beard types, including both thin and dense beards, easier.
Pros: Reduces post-shave irritation or razor burn.
Cons: Intended for intermediate users.
In-depth Merkur 37C review.
7. Best One-Piece: Parker 99R Butterfly Safety Razor
With a simple twist of the handle, the Parker 99R butterfly razor allows you to quickly and safely change out the razor blade.
At 3.36oz (95g) and 4″ in length, shaving with the Parker 99R is pleasant. Not only will you get a smooth shave, but the moderate blade exposure will help reduce irritation and ingrown hairs. The swirled handle design on the Parker 99R will provide a steady grip when wet shaving.
The Parker 99R is weighted from a brass frame that has been chrome plated. Should you prefer a smaller butterfly safety razor, consider the Parker 87R.
Pros: All-in-one design is simple and easy to use.
Cons: Moderate blade exposure may be too aggressive for some.
8. Best Open Comb: Muhle R41 Open Comb Safety Razor
Experienced wet shavers and barbers should consider the Muhle R41 if a close shave is desired. The open comb design provides both an aggressive shave while being less susceptible to clogging. Men who have a naturally dense, thick beard or only shave once every few days will find the open comb design desirable.
The handle for the Muhle R41 is available in various finishes, including knurled chrome, black, tortoiseshell, and rose gold. The safety razor is 3.25″ in length and weighs a modest 2.2oz (64g). Lastly, Muhle makes the razor in Germany, a country known for its precision engineering.
Pros: Extremely aggressive shave. Well-made.
Cons: Only for experienced shavers.
9. Best Adjustable: Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor
With a twist of the handle on the Merkur Futur, you can adjust the blade gap. This mechanical feature allows you to change the aggressiveness of the shave to suit your preference. With a high-quality brushed chrome finish, the Merkur Futur is a well-designed and minimalist razor that borders on being artistic.
One notable drawback for some might be the size of the head. While we didn’t experience any major issues, some men may have trouble navigating around both their nose and mustache areas. The Merkur Progress is a suitable alternative.
Lastly, the Merkur Futur is heavy. At 4.4oz (126g), it is the heaviest safety razor we reviewed.
Pros: Beautiful, modern design. The extra weight requires no extra pressure.
Cons: The lowest setting is still aggressive. Bulky design.
In-depth Merkur Futur review.
10. Luxury Pick: Feather AS-D2 Safety Razor
The Feather AS-D2 is one of the finest safety razors currently available. Made in Japan, the Feather AS-D2 features a solid stainless steel design. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and not susceptible to cracking or chipping like chrome should the razor be accidentally dropped on hard ceramic bathroom tiles.
With a diamond knurl etching along the length of the entire handle, the 3.2oz (90g) body provides a confident, familiar feeling when held.
Included with the Feather AS-D2 are Japanese-made Feather Hi-Stainless razor blades, arguably one of the best razor blades to be used with a safety razor.
Pros: Expertly made of fine materials and craftsmanship.
Cons: Best for wet shaving enthusiasts.
11. Best for Gift Giving: Muhle 4-Piece Gift Set
Whether for yourself or someone else, this safety razor gift set has all the essentials: a safety razor, shaving brush, shaving bowl, and stand. Available in several finishes, you can find a trim to match the style of the intended gift recipient.
The razor contained within this gift set is beginner-friendly. With chrome-plated finishes, it should also last for several years before showing signs of wear. The included shave brush and shaving bowl will help to generate a thick lather.
Pros: Everything needed for a barbershop-like shave.
12. Best Hybrid: OneBlade Core Single Blade Razor
The OneBlade Core is a hybrid alternative between cartridge razors and safety razors. The pivoting head on the OneBlade Core allows the blade to remain at the optimal cutting angle for close, comfortable results. However, unlike other safety razors we reviewed, the OneBlade Core relies on a single blade rather than a double-edged design. Due to this design difference, the OneBlade Core can only be used with a limited number of blades, namely the Feather FHS-10.
The OneBlade Core relies on a rust-resistant stainless steel core along with a plastic head and polymer body. This razor should be considered if you are looking for a more modern design.
Pros: Pivoting head lessens the chance of nicks. Comfortable shave.
Cons: Limited number of compatible razor blades.
Safety Razor Blades
We recently published a guide reviewing some of the best safety razor blades.
However, if this is your first safety razor, we strongly recommend that you consider buying a razor blade variety pack. Variety packs contain a few blades from several manufacturers. It’s an easy way to test across many different brands without spending much money.
Many different variety packs are available. Here’s one we think is great for beginners.
Double Edge Safety Razor FAQs
Here are answers to a few common questions when first using a safety razor:
How is shaving with a safety razor different from a cartridge razor?
When shaving with a safety razor, you must hold the razor at the optimal cutting angle of 30 to 45-degrees. This is different from a multi-blade cartridge or disposable razor that has a pivoting head. After two weeks of practice, you should expect close and comfortable results.
Will my safety razor include razor blades?
In most instances, the safety razor you buy will include a few razor blades to start with. It is recommended that you buy additional double edge safety razor blades with your new razor. A variety pack is a good and affordable way to test across many different brands and determine which blade works best for your skin and beard type. Be sure to follow the razor disposal laws of your local municipality and dispose or recycle razor blades accordingly.
Are safety razors good for the environment?
By relying on a solid metal body, safety razors have little impact on the environment during production or when they are disposed of as they can be recycled. Safety razors are a sustainable alternative to cartridge razors.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.