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Best Open Comb Safety Razors

Adam Williams

A subset of safety razors, open comb razors lessen pressure on the skin resulting in a significantly more aggressive shaving experience. However, despite having a similar build, not all open comb safety razors are the same.

Today we’ll review and rate several of the market’s most popular safety razors. This includes reviews from brands such as Merkur, Parker, Muhle, and more.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Open Comb Safety Razors Compared


Safety Razor
Weight (oz)Weight (g)Length (in)Length (cm)AggressionCompositionGripCombTypePrice
Muhle R413.17904.2110.7Extremely AggressiveBrassKnurledOpenSafety Razor$56
Parker 26C3.4963.759.5Moderate AggressionBrassKnurledOpenSafety Razor$32
FaTip Nichelato Piccolo2.47703.158.0Very AggressiveBrassDeeply Engraved Vertical LinesOpenSafety Razor$39
Merkur 25C2.01574.010.3Moderate AggressionZamakKnurledOpenSafety Razor$40
West Coast Shaving 175BL6.171754.010.3Moderate AggressionStainless SteelKnurledOpenSafety Razor$24
Plisson Joris2.0564.512.0Very AggressiveBrassResinOpenSafety Razor$200

Best Open Comb Safety Razors

Here is our list of some of the finest open comb safety razors on the market.

Muhle R41 Open Comb Safety Razor

Rating

95 / 100

MÜHLE TRADITIONAL R41 Double Edge Safety Razor (Open Comb) For Men - Perfect for Every Day Use, Barbershop Quality Close Smooth Shave

What We Think:

Perhaps there is no other safety razor model that is more synonymous with the open comb design than the Muhle R41. The R41 provides an aggressive shave while also featuring great balance and control.

Pros

Provides a clean, close shave

A reputable brand that has been around for decades

Cons

It will likely receive a few nicks or cuts when learning how to shave with this razor

Features:

Safety RazorMuhle R41
CombOpen
Safety BarNone
CompositionBrass
GripKnurled
PlatingChrome
Country of OriginGermany
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceVery aggressive
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)3.17
Weight (g)90
Length (in)4.21
Length (cm)10.69
Price$56

Shave Experience:

One pass of the Muhle R41 is all it takes to get a close shave. The razor is very aggressive. If you ever wanted a razor that can reliably give you a clean shave, then the Muhle R41 is the razor for you. Of course, you must be careful when learning how to shave with this razor. Due to the increased aggressiveness, you must ensure your technique is on point. If you are not careful, you can easily cut yourself. However, you’ll be happy with the results once you get the hang of it.

Length: 

At 4.21″ (10.69 cm), the Muhle R41 is a medium to long razor. We think this is great for most men. The only exception would be men with smaller hands, in which the R41 could feel unwieldy.

Weight: 

With a weight of 3.17oz (90g), the Muhle R41 has enough heft to slice through even the thickest of facial hair without adding extra pressure with your own hands. Unlike some of the lighter safety razors, especially those made from aluminum, the extra weight helps to provide stability and control. This is especially important when shaving with an open comb razor.

Note: If you want a slightly smaller razor, you may want to consider the Muhle R101. It is 3.15″ in length and weighs 2.5oz (70g).

Build Quality: 

The Muhle receives good, but not great, marks regarding build quality. The razor relies on a brass frame, which is good, but stainless steel would have been better. The body is then chrome-plated and features a unique knurled grip. The knurling is a nice touch but is not as pronounced as we would have liked.

One detail to keep in mind when using the R41, if you drop it, the chrome plating may crack. This could quickly lead to rusting. If you are concerned about this, you can always purchase a stainless steel razor. However, if you are careful, you should be fine.

Warranty: 

Muhle offers a one-year limited warranty on the R41. While this may not protect against drops or other accidents, it provides some peace of mind regarding manufacturing defects.

Rich History: 

Founded in Stützengrün, Germany, in 1947, Muhle has a rich history of producing high-quality shaving products. The precision and craftsmanship is evident in the Muhle R41.

Related: Muhle R41 Review

FaTip Nichelato Piccolo Double Edge Safety Razor

Rating

92 / 100

FaTip Nichelato Piccolo Double Edge Safety Razor

What We Think:

While Germany, Japan, and the USA often take the spotlight regarding safety razors, Italy also has a rich history of producing high-quality shaving products. The FaTip Nichelato Piccolo is a great example of this. This well-crafted yet extremely affordable safety razor has a lot to offer.

Pros

A small body is great for those with smaller hands

Very affordable

Cons

The aggressiveness will be too much for those who are new to open comb razors

Nickel plating may cause allergic reactions

Features:


Safety Razor
Fatip Nichelato Piccolo
CombOpen
Safety BarNone
CompositionBrass
GripDeeply Engraved Vertical Lines
PlatingNickel
Country of OriginItaly
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceVery aggressive
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)2.47
Weight (g)70
Length (in)3.15
Length (cm)8.0
Price$39

Shave Experience:

Based on testing and reading customer reviews, the FaTip Nichelato Piccolo is a very aggressive razor – even more pronounced than some of the other open comb razors on this list. Given the high level of aggressiveness, we only recommend this razor to those who have experience shaving with open comb razors.

Given the higher aggressiveness, consider “softer” blades such as Derby, Personna, or Astra. These blades will help to reduce the risk of nicks and cuts. Of course, if you want to use sharper blades, you can. However, you will need to be extra careful when shaving with this razor.

Length:

At 3.15″ (8cm) in length, the Nichelato Piccolo is short. Not only that, but the handle is also quite small in diameter – with some reviewers pointing out that it feels as though you are holding the “inset” of a razor. This is great for those with smaller hands but maybe a bit uncomfortable for those with larger hands.

Weight: 

With a smaller frame, the weight is proportionally lighter as well. At 2.47oz (70g), the lighter weight lessens fatigue. However, a slight bit of pressure may be required to remove all the whiskers in one pass.

Build Quality: 

The FaTip Nichelato Piccolo is a well-crafted razor. The razor is made from brass and then nickel-plated. You may want to consider a different razor if you have a nickel allergy.

The handle features deeply engraved vertical lines to provide a bit of grip. While it works well, some may find it a bit slick, especially when wet.

Warranty:

FaTip offers a standard one-year warranty on the Nichelato Piccolo.

Price:

Retailing anywhere between $20 and $39 (it goes on sale often), the FaTip Nichelato Piccolo is one of the most affordable open comb safety razors on the market.

Parker 26C Open Comb Safety Razor

Rating

90 / 100

Parker 26C –Black Handle Three Piece Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor & 5 Premium Platinum Double Edge Razor Blades

What We Think:

Parker is beloved by the wet shaving community for putting together quality shaving products. This open comb razor is good for those who are looking for a razor that is both affordable and effective.

Pros

A much milder razor than other open combs makes this suitable for beginners

Low price point

Cons

Razor likely won’t last nearly as long

No warranty

Features:


Safety Razor
Parker 26C
CombOpen
Safety BarNone
CompositionBrass
GripKnurled
PlatingGraphite, Chrome
Country of OriginIndia
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceMild to moderate aggression
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)3.4
Weight (g)96
Length (in)3.75
Length (cm)9.5
Price$32

Shave Experience:

Whether you are normally clean-shaven or have thick stubble, the Parker 26C can provide results that will make your skin feel soft and smooth.

The aggressiveness is fairly mild, yet enough to remove all the whiskers in one pass. In short, we think the Parker 26C is an excellent option for beginners.

Length: 

At 3.75″ (9.5cm) in length, the Parker 26C is a bit longer than some of the other open comb razors on this list. If you are used to using a cartridge razor or even longer closed comb razors, the 26C should feel familiar.

Related: Safety Razors vs. Cartridge Razors

Weight: 

Across the lineup of Parker razors, you’ll find that brass is a common material used for the underlying frame. At 3.4oz (96g), the Parker 26C provides enough weight to give stability without being too heavy.

Build Quality: 

The biggest sticking point with many Parker razors is the build quality. Despite the anodized brass frame, the Parker 26C is prone to breaking. The underlying complaint appears to be that the razors are made in India rather than in Germany, Japan, or the USA.

Of course, given that this razor retails for $32, it is hard to complain about the value here for the money. However, if you are looking for a razor built to last, you may want to look elsewhere.

Warranty: 

Surprisingly, Parker doesn’t offer a warranty on the 26C. Therefore if you decide to go with this razor, we recommend purchasing from a reputable retailer with a good return policy.

Related: Parker 26C Review

Merkur 25C Open Comb Safety Razor

Rating

86 / 100

Merkur Razor Double Edge Safety Razor, MK-25C

What We Think:

Carrying the Merkur name, the 25C is a great option for those who are looking for a razor that is both affordable and effective. Expect a familiar grip and a reliable shave.

Pros

Moderate aggression makes this razor suitable for thin to medium beards

The three-piece design makes it easy to clean

Cons

Composition isn’t heirloom quality

Weight may be too light for some

DOVO Solingen is a German company that has been producing high-quality shaving tools since 1906. The Merkur 25C is a great example of this. While they are most well-known for their 34C closed comb razor, the 25C features many of the same qualities but with an open comb.

Here is what you need to know about the Merkur 25C:

Features:


Safety Razor
Merkur 25C
CombOpen
Safety BarNone
CompositionZamak
GripKnurled Grip
PlatingChrome
Country of OriginGermany
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceModerate aggression
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)2.01
Weight (g)57
Length (in)4.0
Length (cm)10.3
Price$40

Shave Experience:

For an open comb, the 23C is fairly mild. The razor is aggressive enough to remove hair in a single pass without the risk of irritation. Men have reported that it can go across and against the grain without any issues, particularly on the neck. While the scope of our testing is on facial hair use only, women have also reported that the 25C is a great razor for shaving their legs.

Length:

At 4.0″ (10.3cm) in length, the Merkur 25C is a touch shorter than the R41. However, it is still a bit longer than the others we have reviewed – making it a good middle-of-the-road option.

Weight: 

The 25C is fairly light at 2.01oz (57g). Given that additional pressure will be required to cleanly cut thicker facial hair, we recommend this razor for wet shavers who have a medium to light beard.

Build Quality: 

Merkur is known for producing reliable safety razors. However, one common complaint many wet shaving enthusiasts have is that the 25C is made from Zamak. Zamak is a zinc alloy that is used to make inexpensive metal products. It is often referred to as “pot metal.” While this razor should last you for years, it isn’t an heirloom-quality razor.

Aside from the composition, the 25C features chrome plating.

Warranty: 

Merkur offers a two-year limited warranty on the 25C. Notably excluded from coverage in their warranty are accidental damage, drops, misuse, and normal wear and tear.

Easy Cleaning: 

With a three-piece design, which includes the cap, handle, and base plate, the 25C is easy to take apart and clean. Simply unscrew the handle and base plate and rinse with warm water. This ensures that the razor is free of gunk, bacteria, and other debris.

West Coast Shaving 175BL Open Comb Safety Razor

Rating

84 / 100

West Coast Shaving 175BL Open Comb Safety Razor

What We Think:

The 175BL is a beast that will make short work of any facial hair type. Just be sure not to apply any additional pressure or you may end up with a cut.

Pros

The heavyweight will have no problem cutting through dense or thick beards

The open comb is aggressive enough to remove hair in a single pass

Cons

While the weight can be a pro, we could see it makes it difficult to get the proper cutting angle without causing fatigue

Shave retailer West Coast Shaving has a wide array of shaving products for people anywhere in their traditional wet shaving journey. It would only make sense that they would offer up their line of safety razors. The 175BL is a great razor in its own right.

Crafted from stainless steel and priced at a modest $24, it’s a steal.

Features:


Safety Razor
West Coast Shaving 175BL
CombOpen And Closed
Safety BarVaries
CompositionStainless Steel
GripKnurled Grip
PlatingAnodized Finish
Country of OriginUnknown
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceModerate aggression
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)6.17
Weight (g)175
Length (in)4.0
Length (cm)10.3
Price$24

Shave Experience:

It is safe to say that shaving with the 175BL is unlike any other razor you have used. The hefty weight of this razor requires no additional pressure. In fact, you may need to pull it away from the skin as too much pressure could lead to minor nicks or cuts.

Note: While it goes outside the scope of this review, WCS makes a close comb head for the 175BL. So it may be worth considering if you want to swap plates but keep the same razor handle.

Length:

The 4.0-inch length rests in the middle of the pack. It is slightly longer than the R41 and 25C but shorter than the Parker 26C. This is a safe pick if you are uncertain about the length of the razor you want.

Weight:

As we eluded to previously, the 175BL is a heavy razor. At 6.17oz (175g), it is the heaviest razor we have ever reviewed. The weight could be too much if you have thin facial hair or sensitive skin. However, if you have a thick beard, steer the razor in the direction you want to go and let the weight do the work.

Build Quality:

With a stainless steel body with an anodized finish, the 175BL is virtually indestructible. While this isn’t an heirloom razor per se, we wouldn’t be surprised if you passed it down to your children.

Good Grip:

The 175BL has a deep knurled grip to provide a secure hold. So even if your hands are coated with a slick lather, you won’t have to worry about dropping the razor.

Plisson Joris Palladium-Coated Open Comb Safety Razor

Rating

81 / 100

plisson safety razor

What We Think:

Tracing its roots back to 1808, Plisson is a French company that has been making shaving products for over 200 years. In 1999, they partnered with Joris to create a line of safety razors. The Joris is a great example of their work.

Pros

Elegant designs and luxurious materials make this razor a great choice for collectors

Cons

At $200, the Joris is a luxury razor that is out of reach for most people (go with the FaTip if you want the same shave experience)

Features:


Safety Razor
Plisson Joris
CombOpen
Safety BarNone
CompositionBrass
GripResin
PlatingPalladium
Country of OriginFrance
Blade CompatibilityAll double-edge safety razor blades
Shave PerformanceVery aggressive
Number of Pieces3
Weight (oz)2.0
Weight (g)56
Length (in)4.5
Length (cm)12
Price$200

Shave Experience:

Often compared to the FaTip open comb, thanks to the identical head, the Joris is a top consideration for those who want a very aggressive shave and ultimately close and clean results. With an elegant design and a luxury price point to match ($200), the Joris is a razor you will be proud to put on display in your bathroom.

Your skin will be feeling tender after just a single with the grain pass.

Length:

The length of the Joris is a touch longer at 4.5″. Given that most men who consider this razor are likely to have some experience in wet shaving, we don’t think the length will be an issue. However, if you are new to wet shaving, we recommend using a shorter razor.

Weight:

The body is light on this razor at only 2.0oz (56g). However, given the increased aggression, you will likely not need to apply much (if any) pressure to get a close shave. The light weight also makes it easy to dial the proper cutting angle for each pass.

Build Quality: 

Plisson relies on a brass frame for the Joris. However the trims can vary, but the handle will often be made of one of the following: gold, horn, lacquer, or resin. For the head and neck of the razor, Plisson plates the brass with palladium. This is a very durable plating that will last for years to come.

While the handles appear nice, they are more about form than function. The resin handle is very slick and can be difficult to hold onto. So always keep a hand towel nearby to dry your hands before you pick up the razor.

Rich History: 

No other shaving brand on our list has lasted as long as Plisson. They have been making men’s grooming products for over 200 years. The Joris is a great choice if you want an heirloom razor that will last for generations.

Considerations When Buying an Open Comb Safety Razor

There are a few things to consider when buying a new safety razor. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:

Weight

Safety razors can range between 1.3 and 4.4oz, typically around 3 to 3.5oz. The weight of a razor is important because it can affect how the razor feels in your hand, lessens the pressure required for a clean pass, and adds a touch of stability.

For example, a heavier razor will require less pressure to cut hair. On the other hand, a lighter razor will require more pressure to cut hair. If you are new to wet shaving, consider your facial hair type in tandem with the razor’s weight. A lighter razor may be a better option if you have thinner facial hair. However, if you have a thicker beard, you’ll be better off with a heavier razor.

Here are all the weights of the open comb safety razors we reviewed:


Name
Weight (g)Weight (oz)
Plisson Joris562
Merkur 25C572.01
FaTip Nichelato Piccolo702.47
Muhle R41903.17
Parker 26C963.4
West Coast Shaving 175BL1756.17

Length

Like weight, length is key to both control and comfort. The length of a razor is measured from the tip of the razor head to the end of the handle.

In short, longer razors are suitable for men with larger hands. Conversely, shorter razors are better for those with smaller hands. A shorter razor is easier to control. However, this advantage quickly diminishes as the razor gets too short.

As a general guide, razors that are 4 inches (10.2cm) and longer are suitable for larger hands. Razors 3.5 inches (8.9cm) and shorter are good for smaller hands. Anywhere between 3.5 and 4 inches (8.9 – 10.2cm) is a good middle-of-the-road option for those with average-sized hands.

Here’s a look at the length of all the open comb safety razors:


Safety Razor
Length (in)Length (cm)
FaTip Nichelato Piccolo3.158
Parker 26C3.759.5
Merkur 25C410.3
West Coast Shaving 175BL410.3
Muhle R414.2110.7
Plisson Joris4.512

Composition

As you research safety razors, you’ll find they are often made from aluminum, zinc alloy, brass, plastic, or stainless steel. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Aluminum: A lightweight metal that is rust-proof but not corrosive resistant. Only a few brands make aluminum safety razors, the most prominent being Henson.
  • Zinc-Alloy: Commonly found in Merkur’s line of safety razors, this metal is cheap and provides substantial weight.
  • Brass: Brands such as Parker, Edwin Jagger, and Muhle use brass to make their safety razors. Brass’ weight by volume is greater than aluminum and zinc alloy (8.4g/cm^3).
  • Plastic: While plastic is a common material used to make razors, it is not recommended. Plastic razors are typically cheap and are not as durable as their metal counterparts. Plus, they are not environmentally friendly.
  • Stainless Steel: Most safety razors used to be made from stainless steel as it is a metal that is both rust and corrosion-resistant.

Grip

You’ll find that safety razor brands make the grip of their razors in a variety of ways. For example, some brands use knurling, while others use a smooth grip. Knurling, ridged, and other textured grips provide better control when shaving while also reducing the chance that you drop the razor.

Country of Origin

Certain countries are known for their fine metallurgy. For example, Germany, Japan, and the USA are revered for their precision engineering and craftsmanship. So if you want a safety razor to last you for more than 20 years, you’ll want to consider a razor made in one of these countries.

Price

Just like standard double-edge safety razors, open comb safety razors can range anywhere from $20 to $100. A razor’s price is determined by various factors, including the country of origin, composition, and brand.

Pieces

Safety razors can be made in a variety of ways. Some are made in a single piece, while others are made in two or three pieces. While we didn’t review any butterfly or single-piece razors, we did review a few two and three-piece razors.

NOTE:

Want a butterfly safety razor instead? Check out our roundup of reviews here.

In general, three-piece razors are easier to clean and maintain as you can take them apart and really scrub all the little nooks and crannies. Two-piece razors are slightly more difficult to clean as the baseplate and handle are welded together.

Warranty

While nine times out of 10, you’ll likely never need to use a warranty, it is still nice to see a company stand behind its product. Most safety razor brands offer a 1-2 year warranty on their products.

Shaving Tips

When people pick up an open comb safety razor for the first time, they often cut themselves by accident – even if they have been wet shaving for years. The open comb design is more aggressive than a standard double-edge safety razor.

As a result, you’ll need to take extra care when shaving with an open comb razor. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your open- comb razor:

  1. The Right Shaving Cream or Soap: The better the lather, the better the shave. If you are new to wet shaving, we recommend using well-known shaving soaps or creams such as Taylor of Old Bond Street, Proraso, etc. These brands can deliver a reliably rich lather that provides plenty of cushion and lubrication so the blade will glide smoothly across your skin.
  2. Badger Hair Shaving Brush: A good quality shaving brush will help you create a rich lather that will protect your skin from the blade. We recommend using a badger hair shaving brush as they are the most effective in retaining heat and water – the key ingredients for a rich lather.
  3. Variety Pack of Blades: What blade may work for one person may not work well for another. Plenty of sampler packs are available on Amazon that will allow you to try out a variety of blades from different brands. This way, you can find the blade that works best for your skin and facial hair type.
  4. The Proper Angle: When shaving with an open comb razor, your technique must be near perfect as to narrow or open an angle can result in a cut. We recommend starting with a 30-degree angle and then adjusting from there. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube demonstrating how to shave with an open comb razor (we recommend those by Mantic59, Geofatboy, or Nick Shaves).
  5. Shave Slowly: Take your time and shave slowly. If you aren’t fully confident in your abilities, just shave flat areas (cheeks and sideburns) and avoid the more difficult areas (chin and neck).
  6. Map the Grain: When shaving with any type of razor (cartridge, disposable, safety, etc.), always shave with the grain. This will help reduce irritation and razor burn. Closer results can be achieved by going across and against the grain. However, this is not recommended for beginners as it can result in severe irritation.
  7. Styptic Pencils or Alum Block: If you happen to cut yourself, a styptic pencil or alum block can help quickly stop the bleeding.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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