There’s something about going back to your cultural roots that can take even the simplest and most straight forward of tasks and make it special. Whether you’re looking for a superior shave, or remember your grandfather’s morning shave routine, there’s something about straight razors that stands out.
Straight razors take care, attention to detail, and precision. They exemplify some of the best traits we want to have in ourselves. More than that, a good shave with a straight razor takes time. It forces you to slow down and take some time for yourself.
They teach you to slow down. They teach you to be patient. They teach you to approach yourself and the world with care.
Don’t believe us?
Think back to barbershop days and the simple pleasure of getting a professional shave. Think about the men who used straight razors for generations. Think about the difference in lifestyle.
No, a straight razor won’t transport you into Mad Men or the life of a Victorian English Lord, but you can bring a little of that mentality into your modern day-to-day.
|Straight Razor with Unique Acrylic Handle|
|Material: Stainless blades, acrylic handle|
|Perfect for beginners and learners, easy to clean and replace blades.|
|Parker SRW Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor|
|Material: Stainless Steel|
|Fully stainless-steel construction for easy cleaning, blades are sharp and reasonably durable.|
|A.P. Donovan – 7/8″ Straight Razor|
|Style: Traditional straight razor|
|Material: Stainless Steel, mahogany handle|
|High-quality steel, enough weight to improve maneuverability.|
Straight Razor Buying Guide
There is a wide selection of straight razors available right now. But, it’s not as difficult as it may seem to figure out which one is right for you.
These quick buying tips will help narrow the field to not just the best straight razors, but the ones that are best suited to your shaving preferences and budget.
Traditional Razor vs. Shavette
There are two main types of razors that are both called straight razors. Traditional razors are a single, well-crafted blade that needs regular maintenance but generally doesn’t need to be replaced. Shavettes, on the other hand, use replaceable razor blades in the shape and style of a traditional razor.
From a shave quality perspective, both can offer a similar kind of shave. If you opt to go with a shavette, it’s important to buy high-quality blades, clean them, and replace them as soon as they start to dull.
Traditional blades, on the other hand, require stropping every time you shave and take a little more upkeep to stay sharp. But you’ll be able to shave for years with a single blade. They also are potentially a little easier to use, since shavettes can suffer from poor blade attachment if you don’t do it just right.
Ultimately, which one you choose depends on whether you would prefer virtually no maintenance, but some ongoing costs, or a razor with virtually no ongoing costs, but some maintenance.
To Strop or Not to Strop
This is also a debate between traditional razors and shavettes. Stropping, the action of refining your straight razor’s blade on a leather strop, is required for traditional straight razors. It’s not optional.
Stropping is the main thing you’ll do to keep your razor sharp. It is possible to sharpen a razor yourself if you have the skill. You can also get them professionally sharpened if you prefer. But stropping will mean you don’t need to sharpen your straight razor very often.
If you don’t want to keep a strop in your bathroom and don’t want to have that extra step before you shave, a shavette might be a better idea.
Carbon vs. Stainless
There are really only two metal types that are used for the blades themselves, whether you go for a shavette or a traditional straight razor. Carbon steel and stainless steel.
Carbon isn’t quite as durable as stainless steel. It needs to be sharpened a little more often, and the blade itself may not last as long. However, Carbon steel can be sharpened to a much finer blade. That means you’ll get a closer shave.
Carbon steel may be a better choice if you have sensitive skin, hate shaving the save section of your face twice, and don’t mind sharpening or replacing your blade a little more often.
Stainless, on the other hand, will produce a slightly duller blade. That may mean it’s a little more irritating for your skin, and that you may have to touch up some parts of your face as you shave.
However, stainless will need sharpening much more rarely since it’s harder and will hold the blade’s edge longer. This is a good option for men who don’t have sensitive skin. Men who prefer tools that get the job done consistently and continuously, over tools that need maintenance, but do the best possible job.
The last thing you should be considering is the cost of your shaving tool. Either way, you should expect a straight razor to cost a decent amount of money upfront, and to have very low maintenance costs for years thereafter.
A shavette is usually going to be a slightly cheaper option. Since the blades are replaceable, the manufacturer doesn’t have to worry about creating a really durable solid blade. That cuts down on costs significantly and makes them the more affordable option of the two.
That said, a shavette will probably cost as much as a traditional razor in its lifetime, because of the cost of blade replacements.
A traditional razor will usually cost a bit more. While there are cheaper blades out there, most traditional razors will start at about $100, and go up from there.
You’ll also want to consider the aesthetics of your razor. Exotic wooden handles are more costly than plastic and acrylic handles, but they also generally look and feel better than the plastic kind.
Additional items, like a storage case, included strop, or the other items you need for an effective shaving kit, will also increase the price of your razor.
You should plan on having at least some of those items, namely the strop before you start shaving. Even if you can’t get them all at the same time.
6 Best Straight Razors Comparison Table
|A.P. Donovan – 7/8 ” Straight Razor||Stainless Steel, mahogany handle||7/8”||Traditional straight razor||Check Price|
|Feather Artist Club DX Folding Wood Handle Razor||Stainless Steel, Wooden handle||5/8”||Traditional folding straight razor||Check Price|
|Parker SRW Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor||Stainless Steel||5/8”||Shavette||Check Price|
|Straight Razor with Unique Acrylic Handle by Sawtooth Shave Co||Stainless blades, acrylic handle||5/8”||Shavette||Check Price|
|Feather SS Folding Handle Razor||Stainless blade, heat resistant gum handle||5/8”||Traditional folding straight razor||Check Price|
|DOVO Full Hollow Carbon Steel 5/8″ Straight Razor||Carbon Steel, heat resistant gum handle||5/8th||Traditional folding straight razor||Check Price|
6 Best Straight Razors: Detailed Reviews
Now that you know the basics and have some tools to figure out which razor will work best for you, it’s time to look at the razors themselves.
We’ll go over the pros and cons of each razor, and also try to highlight the most important features in our summary of each. We’ll also provide an editor’s rating for every product. Some editor’s ratings may receive additional comment if there’s a reason for the razor to be rated higher or lower than it normal.
Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5.0
The A.P. Donovan straight razor is a good option for men experienced with straight razors and men who are just getting started alike.
It comes in a beautiful mahogany storage box. The box works as a bathroom decoration and a protective case for travel. We’ve chosen the matching mahogany handle, but there are other handle types available if the wood isn’t to your taste.
The 7/8th size is a little larger than the average for the straight razor, 5/8th. That means it takes a little more getting used to, the smaller size is preferred because it’s a little more maneuverable.
However, in this case, it doesn’t seem to be a hindrance in the case of this razor. The handle is well-designed for comfort. It’s got a good weight, good hand-feel, and quickly removes even the thickest stubble.
Overall, this made our top pick designation for a handful of reasons. It’s high-quality stainless steel, at an affordable price. The fact that you also get a box to hold your razor is just a bonus.
|Length: 7/8” size|
|Material: Stainless steel blade, mahogany handle|
|Includes: Mahogany decorative box|
|Holds a fine edge|
|Comes with its own box|
|Comfortable in your hand|
|Enough weight to improve maneuverability|
|Some users mention that it doesn’t arrive shave ready (a common complaint for all straight razors)|
|Box sometimes damaged in transit|
Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5.0
Feather is a well-known name when it comes to straight razors at almost any price range. Their products are reliable, durable, and designed to perform. Don’t be surprised when you see this name coming up again later on our list.
This traditional straight razor is made from stainless steel. It’s in the standard 5/8th size, small enough to be maneuverable and easy to use, large enough to quickly clean up your stubble.
The blade on this straight razor holds a good edge and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. A few stroked on a strop and you’re good to go.
The folding design adds a little extra challenge to shaving, but it also makes it easier to store the razor. It also helps keep it safer if you prefer to keep your blade next to the bathroom sink. It also helps to keep the razor itself cleaner, so long as you occasionally clean the hollowed area in your handle.
|Length: 5/8th size|
|Material: Stainless steel, Resin treated wooden handle|
|Easy to use|
|Easy to store|
|Keeps a sharp edge|
|Good size for maneuverability|
|No cases or traveling box|
|Not as sharp as carbon steel|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0
Parker’s stainless steel shavette offers a good balance between cost and effectiveness. While you do need to get additional blades occasionally, the start-up cost and long-term costs of this shavette are low.
The replaceable razors are of high quality. Sharp and durable enough to see you through several grooming sessions without needing replacement.
The folding design makes it easy to store and transport the shavette while being made entirely of stainless steel means that this design is easy to clean.
While it doesn’t have the long-term durability of a traditional straight razor, we’d recommend this option to any man looking to explore shaving with a straight razor. It comes with the quality, but without the high cost of entry that comes with traditional shaving tools.
|Length: Takes standard 5/8” replacement razors|
|Material: Stainless steel|
|Includes: Comes with 100 replacement blades|
|Blades are sharp and reasonably durable|
|Replacement is easy|
|Fully stainless-steel construction for easy cleaning|
|Maintenance is minimal|
|Requires replacement blades|
|Needs cleaning every time the blades are replaced|
Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5.0
Sometimes you aren’t looking for the highest-quality tool, but the one that gets the job done without breaking the bank. In this case, that’s the Sawtooth Shave Co acrylic handled straight razor.
This shavette is designed for beginners in the straight razor game, but that isn’t a bad thing. While you’ll probably eventually want an upgrade, beginner quality tools are meant to get you hooked without a higher cost of entry.
That’s exactly what this razor does. It delivers a superior shave for a fraction of the cost. The blades do need replacement fairly quickly, lasting an average of 3-4 shaves each. But it comes with a starter set of 10 blades, enough to get you through a month or two of shaving depending on how often you have to shave.
The acrylic handle is light, but it’s shaped well for your hand and cleans easily.
All in all, this straight razor gets our best bargain rating not simply because it’s the most affordable option on the list, but because it performs like it’s a far more expensive tool.
|Material: Stainless steel blade construction (replaceable), Acrylic handle|
|Easy to use|
|Perfect for beginners and learners|
|Easy to clean and replace blades|
|Needs replacement blades|
|Not as durable or long-lasting as more expensive designs|
Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5.0
We mentioned that Feather would be back on our list later. This is a more economical version of their straight razors, designed for men who are willing to pay a little more for a good tool, but who don’t want to break the bank on a perfect one.
This little 5/8th stainless blade is designed to be a performance machine. The gum handle is comfortable in texture and weight. It’s effective, shaves quickly and cleaning, and holds a durable edge.
Overall, while this isn’t a flashy razor, it’s a workhorse and well-deserving of being considered one of the best straight razors.
|Length: 5/8″ size|
|Material: Stainless steel,|
|Includes: Hardened, heat resistant gum handle|
|Stainless steel is easy to clean and maintain|
|Heat resistant blade and handle|
|Holds an edge longer than some competition|
|Not very aesthetically pleasing|
|Doesn’t come with any accessories, including no storage or travel case|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0
No straight razor list would be complete without talking about DOVO. They’ve put out an incredibly wide range of straight razors, from high-performance models like this one to their starter lines and premium razors.
While they didn’t make the Top Pick or other higher designations on this round, there are a few DOVO creations we can think of that might come close, or, frankly, deserve those titles outright. This is one of them.
Designed as a middle of the road option, neither the most nor the least expensive version of a DOVO razor, this model is a good value between cost and function.
It’s also the only razor on our list that’s made from carbon steel. While carbon steel is a little less durable than stainless, it also supports a better blade edge. Able to cut through even the thickest stubble like butter, it’s gentle enough to work well for even the most sensitive skin.
|Length: 5/8”, 4.8” handle|
|Material: Carbon Steel|
|A good mid-range straight razor|
|Suitable for beginners and experts|
|Carbon steel blade for a superior edge|
|Works on all hair types|
|Perfect for sensitive skin|
|The whole razor can be boiled for cleaning|
|Carbon blade is a little more delicate|
|Needs more frequent stropping to maintain the edge|
Benefits of a Straight Razor
Of course, connecting to the past is a pretty ephemeral benefit of using a straight razor. It may contribute to your aesthetic, your perception of yourself. But there are a lot of other, more concrete, reasons to make the switch.
A good straight razor represents one up-front cost with very little maintenance costs. As opposed to other shaving methods, using cartridge razors, electric shavers, and even the closest comparison, safety razors, a straight razor comes out on top almost every time.
That’s because a well-maintained straight razor can literally last lifetimes. You might even have a straight razor or two already, hidden in the boxes your grandfather and great grandfather passed down.
Once you have the basic equipment, you’re basically set.
Now, we will talk about the cost differences between a traditional straight razor and the new kid on the block, a shavette, a little later.
People usually don’t think of straight razors as being one of the best options for sensitive skin, but they are.
There are two main reasons. First, shaving will irritate your skin. No matter what you do, you’ll cause some degree of skin irritation while you shave. But a single very sharp blade is much gentler than multiple blades.
Cartridge blades drag an average of 3-5 very thin, but not necessarily very sharp, blades across your skin, causing much more irritation.
Safety razors are better but often aren’t as sharp as a well-maintained straight razor.
And electric shavers, while somewhat gentler than cartridge razors, are still more irritating than their safety or straight razors thanks to their many blades and cutting actions.
The second reason is cleanliness. It’s easy to keep a straight razor clean and sanitary. But most other razor types are harder to maintain. Cartridge razors in particular trap dead skin cells and all the bacteria that feed on it.
Those bacteria are spread over your face, causing fresh acne, every time you shave with a less than sanitary tool.
The last is that a straight razor is an investment in you. Self-care isn’t just for women, or about eating junk food and chocolate or playing your favorite video game. Self-care is about taking responsibility for yourself and your needs and doing the things you need to create your best self.
A proper shave is certainly part of that.
Not only will a good shave give you a more professional appearance, taking a little extra time with our shaving routine will protect your skin and help you look healthier as well.
It’s also about giving yourself some time and mental space in the day. Shaving with a straight razor, especially with a warm lather, takes a few minutes. You can use that time to think, to listen to your favorite music, to catch up on the day’s news. Whatever gets you going and ready to get on with your day.
We’ve tried to select from a wide range of different razor manufacturers and designs. But, if you’re looking for something a little different than what we’ve presented here, we recommend using the buying guide and your own preferences to find something that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Both Feather and DOVO have wide selections of razors, so they might be a good place to start. But, each of the brands we’ve listed also has at least one other straight razor to choose from.
While there isn’t any one perfect razor for everyone, we are confident that we’ve selected a range that at least one razor will suit most users.
Remember, a good straight razor is about more than getting a close shave, it’s an investment in yourself. In your appearance. And in your history.
- Straight Razor Buying Guide
- 6 Best Straight Razors Comparison Table
- 6 Best Straight Razors: Detailed Reviews
- 1. A.P. Donovan – 7/8″ Straight Razor (Top Pick)
- 2. Feather Artist Club DX Folding Wood Handle Razor
- 3. Parker SRW Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor (Best Value)
- 4. Straight Razor with Unique Acrylic Handle by Sawtooth Shave Co (Best Budget)
- 5. Feather SS Folding Handle Razor
- 6. DOVO Full Hollow Carbon Steel 5/8″ Straight Razor
- Benefits of a Straight Razor