Best Straight Razor

6 Best Straight Razors That Have A Wicked Edge

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Dating back more than 3,000 years, the straight razor gave men a way to shave their facial hair.

While the straight razors in ancient times were made from either bronze or bone, modern straight razors of today feature a high level of craftsmanship that can cut through hair with absolute ease.

In this guide, we will not only review the best straight razors of 2019, but we will also go over other key topics in helping you find the perfect straight razor and share a few expert tips in order to get the most from your brand new straight razor.

Let’s get started:

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What to Know When Buying A Straight Razor

As we researched all the leading straight razors currently being sold, we identified a few key features that are important to both consider and think about further before making your purchase.

Each one of these features has not only a direct impact on the performance of the straight razor itself but also the price you pay at check out.

Here’s a bit more on each:

1. Blade Material

Straight razors come in a variety of materials.

As we researched countless brands and blades, we found the following materials to be among the most popular:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Carbon Steel
  • Surgical Steel

Here’s a brief look at each of these metals and how they slightly differ from one another:

Stainless Steel – One of the most common metals used in straight razors, stainless steel is both strong and sharp.  But one of the biggest advantages of this alloy is that it naturally resists corrosion (source).  Therefore, when this alloy is used for extended periods of time in a naturally humid or wet environment, you don’t have to worry about rust or any pronounced spread of bacteria.

Carbon Steel – A more modern steel variety when compared to stainless steel, this alloy is a mixture of steel and up to 2.1% carbon composition (source).  This results in a blade that will be even stronger and sharper than other pure metals and alloy (including stainless steel).  However, a compromise is made in the durability of the carbon steel itself.  Unlike stainless steel, carbon steel is susceptible to corrosion, requiring it to be hand-dried once it is exposed to water or moisture along with being stored in a dry environment (outside the bathroom).

Surgical Steel – Unfortunately, there is no formal definition of what surgical steel is. However, this subset category of stainless steel is designed for medical settings.  Surgical steel will often carry an SAE steel grade of either SAE 316, SAE 440, SAE 420, and 17-4 (source).  This type of steel will often feature anti-corrosion properties like stainless steel.  Often, surgical steel is used as a marketing term in order to bolster a brand’s claims of purity or safety.

2. Blade Type & Width

When it comes to making straight razors, both the blade type and width are important considerations.

Here’s an overview of the common blade types:

  • Round Point

While the blade point is more difficult to cut around a precise edge, the round point offers more forgiving properties when it touches the skin.  This results in fewer nicks or cuts making it a recommended pick for beginners.

  • Square Point

Opposite of the round point, you will find the square point.  Square point straight razors can make clean and straight cuts on the face.  Whether you are detailing your beard, mustache or sideburns, the square point will give you great results.  However, this blade type requires a careful hand as accidental nicks and cuts may occur.

  • French Point

With a quarter-circle curve in the blade that ends on a square point, this blade type is more decorative and closely resembles the same performance found in a square point blade variety.  Expect this blade to carry the same risks of accidental cuts when using.

Blade Width

Beyond the blade tip types, you also have a variety of widths available. Typically found in 1/8” increments (3.175mm), the blade width can have an impact on both weight (more on this in the next section) and performance.

Here are some general takeaways of blade width:

  • Narrow – Much thinner and lighter, a narrow blade width can get around the tight contours of your face, especially when detailing the areas around your nose and mustache. Secondly, narrow blades rely on less metal, making the honing and sharpening process much easier.  While some men may attribute blade width to shave aggression, we found in our research that this largely varies on both the blade sharpness and the shave technique used when using the straight razor – not about the width of the blade itself.
  • Wide – Straight razor blades that feature a wider body will take more effort to strop but generally have a stiffer feeling backbone. While the ability to navigate tight contours of your face is limited with a wider blade, wet shaving experts prefer this variety as it provides greater weight to the blade making the shaving process require less effort.

3. Grind & Weight

One of the most notable factors on the straight razor’s weight will have to do with the grind of the blade itself.

Sharp metal edges will typically follow any one of the follow grinds:

  • Hollow Grind
  • Flat Grind
  • Sabre Grind
  • Chisel Grind
  • Double/Compound Bevel
  • Convex Grind

Source

Depending on the type of grind used by the company will result in varying amounts of metal remaining (or have been cut away) from the blade.

This results in not only a different shave performance but the weight of the straight razor as well.

In addition to the grind of the blade, the composition of the metal itself along with the handle materials all play important factors.

Lighter straight razors provide more concentration on the cutting angle and movement of the straight razor along the surface of the skin.

Heavy straight razors, as noted by a few wet shaving fans here, are typically found in old vintage straight razors and will not pull or tug on your facial hair when making a pass.

4. Country of Origin

When exploring the world of wet shaving, you will find that some countries tend to specialize in certain characteristics of the blade and performance.

As you asses and review all the leading straight razors available, you will find that two countries are mentioned more than any other:

  • Japan
  • Germany

Japanese razor companies, such as Feather, are built on their expert craftsmanship.  Feather blades are among the thinnest and sharpest blades available – especially when it comes to shavettes and safety razor blades.

German crafted straight razors are known for their attention to detail and precision.  The quality of the grind on the blade along with a beautiful handle showcase German craftsmanship at its finest.  While not as sharp as their Japanese counterparts, German blades are generally regarded by the wet shaving community as being both timeless and classic.

Beyond Japan and Germany, other countries are still playing catchup when it comes to straight razors.  Whether it’s lacking the engineering expertise or just general traditions, straight razors made in other countries just aren’t simply as good.

If you are truly looking for the best straight razor and want one that will last a lifetime, as it stands today, you should only consider those made in the countries we mentioned.

5. Limited Brands

While the straight razor can trace its origins back more than 3,000 years, as of today, the number of brands available to men is limited.

Other shaving tools such as safety razors, cartridge razors and electric shavers are now the de-facto standard.

Current companies that make quality straight razors today include the following:

  • P. Donovan
  • Boker
  • DOVO Solingen
  • Feather (Shavettes Only)
  • Parker (Shavettes Only)
  • West Coast Shaving

Beyond the list above, many of the other brands that you may come across in the large online marketplaces are often poorly made and exhibit no precision engineer qualities (poor grind, uneven weight, poor metals, etc.).

6. Vintage vs. Modern Brands

The beauty of this unique product category is that straight razors, with proper care, can last a lifetime.

Therefore, beyond some of the more modern brands that we listed above, you also have a wide array of vintage brands at your disposal.

This inevitably begs the question – which should you go with, a vintage or modern straight razor?

If it’s your first time ever using a straight razor, or you are using it in a professional barbershop, then we strongly recommend that you go with a modern brand.

This is simply because the blade engineering has been perfected over time, leading to not only a much more comfortable shave but also a better balance of weight.

Now if you have a few straight razors in your shave den at home, or you are feeling adventurous, then an old vintage straight razor can be a perfect project to work on.

Restoring an old vintage straight razor from the 1800s will let you not only appreciate craftsmanship from a bygone era but will also allow you to really draw out that classic barbershop feeling once you get the straight razor fully restored.

While it goes beyond the scope of this guide, you can find countless articles by passionate wet shave enthusiasts like this one that explain all the necessary steps to bring an old straight razor back to life.

7. Price

The amount you pay for a straight razor will vary depending on the level of craftsmanship involved.  However, we found that most quality straight razors will typically range anywhere between $100 and $250.

Naturally straight razors can cost outside of this range with the lower-end often relying on inferior steel or plastic handles, while the higher-priced straight razors feature ornate or rare materials in their handles.

8. Essential Complimentary Supplies

When using a straight razor, it’s important that you have the necessary supplies to bring out the best qualities in the razor itself.

Complimentary shaving supplies you will need when using a straight razor include the following:

  • Shave Cream / Shave Soap
  • Scuttle
  • Shave Brush
  • Strop or Razor Stone

We will expand on these in the How to Use A Straight Razor section of this guide.

However, we just didn’t want you to fall into the trap of buying a straight razor, using a canned shave gel and then experiencing a poor shave.

The Best Straight Razors of 2019 Reviewed

1. DOVO Inox Straight Razor

Best Straight Razor Overall

Founded in 1906, DOVO has become one of the most prominent brands relied upon by wet shaving experts.

Drawing out the best qualities in German precision engineering couldn’t be more pronounced than with the DOVO Inox Straight Razor.

Relying on an 80-step production system, this is a straight razor that is anything but mass-produced.

What makes this straight razor one of the best ones currently available is a combination of factors.

First, the full hollow ground blade is a moderate 5/8” and is crafted from carbon steel.

This wicked sharp blade and the unique grind found on the edge of this straight razor will provide one of the closest shaves that you have ever received.

As mentioned previously, carbon steel is susceptible to both natural rust and corrosion.  Therefore, this straight razor must be dried on a hand towel after you are done using it.

On the blade itself is a 24k gold etching which says the following:

“DOVO-INOX TIEFGEKÜHLT ROSTFREI”

While we don’t speak any German, a Google Translation leads us to believe that it is a Rust-Free blade.

Opposite of the blade is an olivewood handle that has been protected with a waterproof seal.

Given that each one of these straight razors has a unique level of craftsmanship, the wood grain on the handle will vary from one razor to the next – giving you a true one-of-a-kind product.

When it comes to the shave experience, DOVO does recommend that you strop the blade every time before use for optimal performance.

If you really want to go all-in on a straight razor and want one that you can happily pass down to the next generation, then there is no better choice right now than the DOVO Inox Straight Razor.

Pros

  • Super sharp blade to provide the closest shave ever
  • Beautiful wood grain on handle
  • Heirloom quality

Cons

  • Must be taken care of properly

What You Need To Know

When it comes to precise and sharp blades, DOVO still leads the pack. This straight razor is second-to-none, making it the best straight razors money can buy.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

2. DOVO Straight Razor

Best Budget Straight Razor

Found in bathrooms and barbershops across the country, the classic DOVO Straight Razor is the perfect razor for those looking for a cheap or affordable option.

While the price of this straight razor may be much lower when compared to others featured on our list, the quality of the shave remains exceptional.

In order to deliver a predictable and close shave, this DOVO Straight Razor relies on strong and sharp carbon steel.

While carbon steel may be susceptible to corrosion when exposed to water for extended periods of time, a simple wipe of this razor across your towel should be enough to keep this razor going.

Unlike other boutique razors that require an initial honing of the blade (which is also an additional cost), this straight razor by DOVO will be ready to cut your facial hair from day one.

The grind of the blade on this straight razor is hollow (concave on either side of the blade) allowing for a lighter and beginner-friendly design.

In addition to the grind of the metal, this straight razor has a rounded blade making it less susceptible to accidental nicks or cuts.

With regular stropping between shaves, you should expect this straight razor to not only save you money for the rest of your life but also deliver a high-quality shave as well.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Round tip is beginner-friendly
  • Made in Germany

Cons

  • Carbon may rust if not treated properly

What You Need To Know

If you want to try out a quality straight razor but don’t want to pay several hundred dollars, then this straight razor by DOVO is a perfect choice. It features quality craftsmanship, and if cared for properly, should last a lifetime.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

3. Feather Artist Club SS Japanese Straight Razor

Best for Barbers

If you are looking for a new straight razor to use on your clients or you simply want the barbershop experience at home in your bathroom, then the Feather Artists Club SS Japanese Straight Razor will make perfect sense.

This shavette straight razor has a single slot that you can swap out blades both easily and regularly.

Swapping the blades between each customer not only creates a sanitary environment (which they will surely pick up on), but also a reliably close shave and great results to make them come back.

Unlike most straight razors or shavettes that can fold, what makes this razor unique is that its body is completely straight and rigid.

This design helps to ensure that you get a better cut on the hair when standing behind or on the side of the customer.

Another feature about this design that professional barbers love is that the handle and head can detach for a deeper cleaning.

Lastly, like many straight razors featured on our list, the rounded shaving head helps to even out the pressure on the tip of the blade to give the client a much more comfortable-feeling shave.

Pros

  • Made with professional barbers in mind
  • Injectable blade allows for a sanitary and sharp shave
  • Made in Japan

Cons

  • Storage requires that the blade be removed (unable to store safely in a pocket)

What You Need To Know

If you are a professional barber and want to provide the best shave for your clients, then the Japanese Feather Artist Club SS is the perfect pick. The swappable blades allow for an always sharp and sanitary shave without the necessary stropping.

Read hundreds of other reviews here.

4. Feather DX Folding Straight Razor

Best for Collectors

Wet shaving is unlike any other grooming process that a man goes through daily.

It is serious business for some, so much so that very active forums like Badger & Blade, The Shave Den and countless others are popular hangout spots for men (and some women) to geek over their lineup of shaving tools and supplies.

Whether you want to make others green with envy by building on your shaving tool lineup, or you simply want an heirloom piece to add to your collection, the Feather Artist Club DX will make an excellent addition.

While the DOVO Inox is a formidable alternative, the Feather Artist Club DX is a starkly different straight razor in many ways.

First, the blade head.

It is crafted from SUS316 stainless steel which is a higher and heavier grade of steel particularly resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments (source).  Furthermore, this steel has better welding and forming characteristics – allowing it to exhibit more consistent results when being made.

While the blade head is absent of any 24k gold etching, towards the joint of the blade where it meets the handle is the simple engraving of ‘Artist Club SUS316’.

Furthermore, the blade head can be unscrewed from the handle in order to be fully cleaned and disinfected.

Unlike some straight razors that may feel a bit dainty in the hand, the SUS316 stainless steel coupled with the solid wood handle gives this straight razor a hefty amount of weight.

While likely not best for beginners, the weight of this straight razor has been perfectly balanced for better control.

One noticeable difference between this straight razor and many of the others on our list is that it is categorically classified as a shavette (has injectable blades).

While some purists may scoff at this design choice, when it comes to shaving with this straight razor, you won’t need to worry about honing or stropping the razor.

Feather does recommend that you use their lineup of straight razor blades with the Artist Club DX.  You can typically find these blades at boutique shave shops like West Coast Shaving.

Pros

  • High-grade of stainless steel is among the best out there
  • Heirloom straight razor
  • Balanced weight to provide great control

Cons

  • Some men may not like that it is an injectable straight razor

What You Need To Know

If you don’t mind paying the high price tag, the Artist Club DX is simply one of the finest straight razors out there. It exhibits all the qualities that men seek in a straight razor (quality materials, perfect balance, etc.).

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

5. A.P. Donovan Straight Razor Set

Best Straight Razor Kit

Whether you are a beginner or are looking for a gift for that special someone in your life, a full-straight razor kit will be a great way to start on the right foot when shaving.

Straight razor kits not only provide you with all the essentials to get that classic barbershop shave, but they also save you quite a bit of both time and money in the process.

One kit that stood out during our research was this offering by A.P. Donovan.

Included in the kit you will receive the following:

  • A nice presentation box (important if you are giving as a gift)
  • A wooden box to store your razor
  • The straight razor itself
  • Shave brush
  • Strop
  • Shave soap

While we won’t cover each product included in the kit, we do want to call out a few of the more important ones:

A.P. Donovan Straight Razor

Like many of the other quality straight razors reviewed, the included A.P. Donovan straight razor features a carbon steel blade that is both strong and hard.  With a 63 rating on the Rockwell Scale, it will have no problem cutting through even the thickest of hairs.

While not a heritage brand like Feather or DOVO, A.P. Donovan is a much more modern brand that is quickly gaining popularity among wet shaving experts.

Like the DOVO Inox, this straight razor also features a beautiful gold etching on the blade head.

With a rounded tip and a hollow cut, this blade will evenly distribute pressure along your skin in order to deliver a much more comfortable shave.

Opposite of the blade, you will have a sandalwood handle that has been sourced from India.

Overall, it’s a well-balanced straight razor that has garnered a lot of positive reviews from other men as well.

Shave Brush

A shave brush is a key supplementary shaving tool that not only provides a gentle exfoliation pre-shave but allows for the shaving cream to generate a thicker and richer lather that is well-lubricated.

Unlike most shave brushes that are sourced from badger in China, where quality concerns often run rampant, the included badger brush here has been sourced from a high-quality American badger.

This relates simply to a nicer and more predictable performance when you go to lather your face with shave cream before making the passes with the razor blade.

Strop

Before the straight razor touches your face, stropping your blade is an essential step in order to get both a comfortable and close shave.

A sharp blade allows for less tugging on the root of your hair follicle and ultimately translates to a much cleaner cut.

This leather strop that has been sourced from a Kazakh cow will deliver a reliably sharp edge to the carbon steel blade for years.

Another standout detail about this strop that we (and so many other men) really liked was the included hook.

Able to be fastened on to a fixture, the hook will allow you to pull the strop straight in order to make the sharpening process much easier.

Pros

  • Includes everything you need to get started
  • All quality products that should last for years
  • Expect to get a comfortable and close shave

Cons

  • Carbon steel blade must be cared for properly

What You Need To Know

In order to have a straight razor perform well, it also needs well-made complimentary products. Each of the included products in this straight razor kit will simply enhance the shave experience. While the price of this kit may be quite high, if you purchased each separately, you would be paying a substantial amount more.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

6. Theirs Issard Stainless Steel Straight Razor

Best for Beginners

For those who want to bring that classic barbershop shaving experience home to their own bathroom or budding shave den, then the 5/8 blade straight razor by Theirs Issard (which is sold by Art of Shaving) is a sound pick.

Founded over 135 (est. 1884) years ago in France, Theirs Issard brings expertise to the cutlery and shaving world.

It’s one of the few vintage brands that still make straight razors today.

What makes this razor special is that it relies on a hallow ground and carbon steel blade. This will not only deliver a sharp edge that will effortlessly cut through your whiskers but it’ll also deliver a shave experience that is comfortable.

But there is more to like about this blade than just the shave experience.

The narrower size makes it great for beginners who are getting comfortable with navigating the tight contours of their face (particularly around the nose and mustache area) while also having a rounded blade tip to lessen the pressure.

Given that this is a traditional straight razor, honing and stropping of the blade will be necessary before shaving – giving you that classic barbershop feel.

Lastly, the weight.

While lighter straight razors are often preferred by beginners, it is worth noting that this handle is made also from stainless steel, increasing the weight significantly.

According to the Art of Shaving, the weight on this straight razor is 107g (about the equivalent of holding 40 pennies).

But to make up for the increased weight, the razor has been expertly balanced which makes for greater control.

Pros

  • Quality stainless steel that won’t rust
  • Expertly balanced
  • Great for navigating tight contours
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons

  • Heavier than most

What You Need To Know

While it has a rather heavy body when compared to other straight razors reviewed, it makes up for it in striking the perfect balance between blade and handle. This super sharp razor will make quick work of thick and coarse whiskers. It’s also rather forgiving, making it a sound pick for beginners.

Read hundreds of other reviews here.

How to Use A Straight Razor

When it comes to using a straight razor, it’s critical that you follow the proper steps when it comes to using one.

Not following the correct directions can lead to a poor shave, or in a worst-case scenario, accidental nicks or cuts to your face.

Here’s how you should be using a straight razor:

1. Pre-Shave Prep

In order to achieve a close and comfortable shave, pre-shave prep is an important part of the process.

Prepping for your shave entails the following steps:

  • Aligning the Blade & Sharpening the Straight Razor

Unless you own a shavette (a straight razor that has an injectable blade), aligning and sharpening your straight razor blade properly is extremely important.

A dull or tired blade will not only require additional passes to cut all your facial hair but will also result in tugging or pulling on the root of your hair follicle.

When it comes to owning a straight razor, you will need to be aware of two steps:

  • Stropping
  • Sharpening

Stropping – This is the act of realigning your blade on a regular basis.  This is typically done every time you shave; however, some men may only do this once every few shaves.

A video by “The Classic Edge” expertly demonstrates the proper technique on how to strop your straight razor. It is worth watching in its entirety:

Sharpening – In order to get a sharp edge on the blade, you will want to pass the edge of the blade along a water stone.  Recommended to be done annually, honing or sharpening your straight razor is nearly identical in technique as stropping.

Water stones can be purchased at online specialty razor stores like Maggard Razors.

It is worth noting that some specialty shops offer you to bring or send in your straight razor and have it professionally sharpened.

For the men who like to do things themselves, here’s another great video we found demonstrating the honing process:

  • Inspecting Hair Growth Patterns on Your Face

Whether you use a straight razor or cartridge razor, understanding the natural growth patterns of your facial hair will be important for a comfortable shave.

No two men are alike; therefore, we can’t recommend one process for you to follow along at home.

Our recommendation here is that you take a minute to look at the directions of which the hair grows on your face and either remember it or write it down.

For example, if the facial hair on your cheeks grows in a downward direction, then when making the stroke with the straight razor, you will want to follow this and shave in a downward direction.

The areas of concern for many men may lay in their neck and chin areas.  Often, the hair follicles will vary greatly in their growth directions in these areas.

  • Whipping Up A Shave Cream with Your Shave Brush

Straight razors need a well-lubricated surface to get a clean and smooth cut on the facial hair.  When prepping your shave station, make sure you use either a traditional shave cream or shave soap (preferred).

These boutique shave creams contain many more moisturizers when compared to mass-produced shave gels.

They not only help make the skin supple but will also help to soften the facial hair significantly for the blade to make a cleaner and easier cut.

  • Laying Out Essential Accessories

Beyond both the straight razor and shave cream, men may often use either a pre-shave oil or aftershave balm during the shaving process.

These complimentary shaving supplies can significantly increase comfort for men who have severely sensitive skin.

You can also use this time to set aside a shallow bowl of warm water (blade rinsing or to use with shave cream) along with a towel to both wipe the blade of cut hair clippings or for cleanup.

2. Apply Shave Cream with A Brush

Now that you are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to begin applying shave cream.

The application of shave cream should be both uniform and thick.

A thick layer of shave cream on your skin will help to retain the warmth of your skin as it will act as an insulator and provide a gradual softening and swelling of your hair follicles.

It is generally recommended that you use a shave brush rather than your hands when applying as a shave brush will not only ensure that the hairs will be standing up on end (whereas shave cream applied with hands may result in matted down hairs), but it also helps to gently exfoliate your skin by loosening dead skin cells, oils and any natural pollutants that may be resting on the surface (this is particularly important as it may help to lessen irritation after you are done shaving).

3. Get A Grip

In order to achieve a close and comfortable shave, the grip on your straight razor is important as a good grip will provide much better control and fewer passes.

While we could talk at length about the right grip, we thought that this excellently produced four-minute video by the Nomad Barber demonstrates the process well (coverage on the proper grip starts the 2:23 mark):

To echo what was covered in the video, he prefers the following:

  • Three fingers on the top of the blade (index, middle, ring)
  • Pinkie finger on the tang
  • Thumb on the bottom neck of the blade

But as you can see, this isn’t strict, and you can switch it up depending on the angle and surface you are cutting.

4. Tight Skin & Proper Direction

Once you feel confident in your grip, you are now ready to shave.

As covered earlier, when you begin to shave, you are going to want to recall how the hairs grew in around your face and neck.

This will dictate the proper direction that you will want to move the razor.

In addition to shaving with the grain, you are also going to want to make sure that your skin remains tight when shaving.

This means that you will want to get in the habit of using both hands when shaving – one to pull the skintight and the other to cut the hair.

No matter your age (although this is important for older men), tighter skin will help to flatten any natural indentations, curves, etc. on your face.

This provides a much flatter and uniform surface for the blade to glide effortlessly on – so make sure that you don’t underestimate its importance.

5. Work in Sections

As you get comfortable with both pulling and shaving your skin in tandem, you will want to shave your face in sections.

This ensures that you not only get a clean shave but also makes it much easier to support the previous step of shaving in the proper direction rather than jumping around to various areas of your face.

6. Rinse & Repeat If Necessary

After completing the first pass with your straight razor, you will want to fully rinse off your face and visually inspect any areas that you may have missed.

If there are any stray hairs (which there typically are), simply repeat the steps above.

7. Aftershave Balm for Added Comfort

Whether you are using a straight razor, safety razor or even a cartridge razor, aftershave balms can help to relieve any discomfort once you are done shaving.

Unlike aftershave splashes or lotions that contain alcohol, aftershave balms are full of emollients that will help to both moisturize and nourish your skin.

A quality aftershave balm will provide greater comfort to your skin and prevent it from looking or feeling dried out.

Straight Razor FAQs

Here are a few answers to some of the more common questions men had when it came to straight razors:

Is it better to shave with a straight razor?

When it comes to both straight razors and double-edge safety razors, men with sensitive skin have benefited from the single blade design.

When compared to multi-blade cartridge razors, single blade razors, like a straight razor, lessen the amount of contact that the blade has with the skin and results in significantly less skin irritation.

However, this can vary greatly depending on the sharpness of the razor blade, technique, shave cream and more.

Are straight razors illegal to own?

No, straight razors are not illegal to own.

If there was any validity to this myth, it would revolve around the spread of bacteria at barbershops.

Given that straight razors rely on a single and fixed blade, they are unable to be cleaned between clients when used at a barbershop.

However, modern solutions such as blade cleaners are anti-septic and will remove most surface bacteria.

Furthermore, nearly all barbershops now use shavettes rather than straight razors.  Shavettes rely on a swappable single blade that is changed between each client.

This not only provides a much better shave for the client but also a much more efficient tool for the barber as they don’t have to worry about honing or stropping their blade regularly.

What makes straight razors so expensive?

Straight razors require a certain level of craftsmanship in order to perform well.  A quality straight razor blade requires a perfect grind on the blade to cut through hairs effortlessly along with a carefully made handle to counterbalance its weight.

When you double that with the smaller market that they cater to, the costs will inevitably rise.

Just like when buying a knife for your kitchen, the difference between buying a budget straight razor blade and one of quality is like night and day.

Are straight razors allowed on planes?

Since 9/11, straight razors are no longer allowed as a carryon item.

Instead, straight razors must be checked with the rest of your larger luggage.

Can barbers still use straight razors?

Legally, yes, barbers can still use straight razors.  However, shavettes are the razor of choice for barbers as they provide a sharp edge and can be swapped out between clients in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Does a straight razor shave last longer?

Shaving with a straight razor does not impact the rate at which your hair grows.

Whether you use a cartridge, safety or straight razor, you can expect your facial hair to continue its growth of about .33mm per day (or about ½” per month).

It’s worth mentioning that straight razors don’t experience the hysteresis effect found in cartridge razors.

Also known as the lift-and-cut technique, the hysteresis effect of cartridge razors allows the hair to be cut just a fraction below the surface of the skin.

This equates to a slightly longer time before the hair will grow out from the surface.

Straight Razors vs. Shavettes vs. Safety Razors

As we got into the weeds when reviewing various straight razor brands, we found that many men were getting confused between the options available.

Therefore, we wanted to note the key differences between straight razors, shavettes and safety razors.

Straight Razors

Crafted from a single piece of steel, straight razors are the most classic or traditional shaving tool available.

While more modern inventions have since supplanted the straight razors’ dominance, it still enjoys a cult-like status with many men.

Able to be used for a lifetime, straight razors are also one of the most economical shaving tools one can own.

While not practical when it comes to shaving either your head or body hair, a straight razor will be best suited for facial hair-grooming only.

Priced typically much higher than other shaving tools, the straight razor is steeped in tradition and is great for those men who want that classic barbershop shave.

Shavettes

Shavettes were a natural evolution to the straight razor.

Found typically in barbershops, the shavette offers an injectable (swappable) blade that is changed between clients.

This offers a predictably sharp and clean shave.

In addition to the practical nature of the shavette, this unique tool doesn’t need to be honed or stropped – making it a much more efficient option for barbers who work with clients on any given day.

Shavettes do tend to carry a much lower price tag when compared to straight razors.

Safety Razors

Bridging the divide between straight razors and modern cartridge razors will be safety razors.

While still relying on a single blade like a shavette or straight razor but in a form-factor like a cartridge razor, the safety razor is a great pick for those men that don’t want all the labor or technique that is required when using a straight razor.

Equipped with a scalloped safety bar (how it originally got its name), the safety razor gently presses down the skin to provide a relatively safer, easier and more efficient shave.

While still having a learning curve when using this razor variety (especially when compared to a cartridge razor), it is a great option for men looking to save money and avoid costly cartridge refills.

Unlike straight razors where there are only a few notable manufacturers, safety razors have grown in popularity over the recent years and have quickly become an indispensable grooming tool.

How We Chose the Best Straight Razor

Choosing the best straight razor of 2019 was tough. When you look at each razor from an objective standpoint such as the blade material, width, blade type, grind of the metal and countless other factors, you inevitably have to weed through a lot of junk and cheap knockoffs in order to find a razor made of quality.

However, after carefully reading reviews, researching popular forums and seeing what other men had to say, we feel confident that each one of the straight razors reviewed in this guide will deliver exceptional performance.

We hope that you found this guide both helpful and useful in finding the perfect straight razor to meet your needs.

About The Author

Shawn Burns

Shawn is the founder and senior editor at Tools of Men, the leading style and grooming source trusted by men in 187 countries. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. He is an expert in all things men's grooming related. His work has been mentioned on countless sites including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, AskMen, Vice, WikiHow, and the New York Times.

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