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Best Safety Razor

Wet shaving is undergoing something of a renaissance these days – more and more men are throwing away their disposable razors and investing in a well-made product that gives a much cleaner shave and doesn’t cut you all over like those ten-for-a-dollar products. That’s why we’ve written this article: to show you some of the best safety razors around so that you can skip the legwork, safe in the knowledge that you have the best of the best.

You don’t have to take our word for it though – classic clean-cut men like Cary Grant and Jon Hamm achieve their looks by using a safety razor, and with such a wide selection, there’s never been a better time to give it a try. You might even enjoy shaving for once, and if you turn your chores into something you enjoy, are they really chores at all?

Best Safety Razor 2018 – Handpicked By Shaving Experts & Barbers

Below, you’ll find a table with some really basic details on each razor. This isn’t as deep as we’re going, though, it’s just to give you a basic understanding of the range of products we’ll be reviewing today.

RazorsHead TypeLengthWeight
WEISHI Safety RazorStable4.3”2.5 ounces
Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor (MK 23C)Stable4”3.95 ounces
VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Safety RazorStable3.74”2.45 ounces
Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety RazorAdjustable3.74”4.2 ounces
Merkur ProgressAdjustable4”4 ounces
Feather All Model AS-D2Stable3.5”3.1 ounces

Now that you’ve taken a look at all of the different safety razors we’re recommending, let’s take a closer look at each of them. We’ll be looking for the areas in which each product excels, where it might need some work, and who it would be the best fit for. So, without further ado, let’s begin with the WEISHI Safety Razor.

1

WEISHI Safety Razor – Best Budget Safety Razor

A lot of people think that it costs a lot of money to get started with wet shaving, but thankfully, that’s not true. The WEISHI Safety Razor costs less than $20, not that you’d be able to tell from its appearance.

It’s made of brass but has a gunmetal silver chrome coating which really helps give it a high-end appearance. The handle is 4” long and textured to provide a better grip – this makes it ideal for use in the shower, especially since the razor itself doesn’t rust easily. The long handle also allows for more precise, fine movements for those hard to reach spots.

The razor comes with 5 starter blades which are of a decent quality, although if you’re serious about using a safety razor, you might want to consider upgrading these to something of a bit higher quality since there are definitely better alternatives out there. To start with, though, they’ll do just fine.

The top of the razor has a butterfly action head. This means that the razor is held down by two doors, which lift and open up when the handle base is twisted. This system is great for a couple of reasons – firstly, it makes it very simple to change blades without hurting yourself and secondly, it contains the sides of the blade so you don’t have to worry about catching them on your cheek. The only issue we encountered was that sometimes it was possible to accidentally unscrew the handle whilst shaving, which was annoying, to say the least.

This razor is very mild, meaning that not very much of the blade is visible (there’s just 0.022” of space between the blade and the razor head). This means that it doesn’t cut you unless you’re doing something wrong and is much less harsh on your skin than your standard cartridge razor. As a result, it’s great for people with sensitive skin or who are prone to razor burn.

At 2.5 ounces, it’s one of the lightest razors in this list, but it’s still heavy enough that you don’t have to press down hard to see the results. With such a low weight, this razor is fantastic for taking on the road with you and since it’s so small, you can fit it into any old travel bag with no problems whatsoever.

In short, the WEISHI offers a fantastic shave but isn’t too hard on your skin. It’s attractive, lightweight and even comes with some blades to tide you over, so for under $20, you can get started immediately with no additional investment. As with all safety razors, it will take a bit of time to get used to, but once you have, you’ll never go back.

PROS
  • Very inexpensive
  • Includes five blades
  • Very mild shave - great for sensitive skin
  • Butterfly action
CONS
  • Pretty light, so some pressure needed
  • Handle can be unscrewed while in use
2

Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor (MK 23C) – Best Safety Razor for Novices

The Merkur MK 23C has long been viewed as the gold standard for budget safety razors. It’s an attractive, German made model that is as precise and novice-friendly as they come, and as a bonus, it’s very inexpensive, with a price tag under $30. 

This razor is four inches long and has a stunning chrome finish which really makes it look more expensive than it is. The handle is 3.75” long and has a textured, non-slip surface so you don’t have to worry about dropping it if it gets wet, although if this happens, we’d advise drying it off once you’re done since it has a tendency to rust. The long handle allows for a very precise shave and helps to get those otherwise awkward areas.

This razor weighs 3.95 ounces, so it’s heavier than most. This has its advantages, though: firstly, a heavier razor requires less pressure to cut hair, so you can just let the weight do the work for you, and secondly, it just feels better to hold if the razor has some heft to it. Unfortunately, if you have a heavy razor and gravity isn’t on your side (for example, when you’re shaving under the chin), your results will be a little sloppy until you get the hang of using it properly, at which point, this problem disappears.

This is what’s called a “three-piece” razor, meaning it consists of a handle, removable head and of course, the blade. To replace the blade, you have to unscrew the top and insert it into the head. Unlike the butterfly system, this is a little more involved and you have to pay attention to what you’re doing if you don’t want to hurt yourself. This method does tend to hold the razor blade more securely than a butterfly head would, however.

The blades used in this model are double sided, so they last twice as long, and with each side good for up to 5 shaves, that’s a week and a half per blade, if you shave every day. The MK 23C only comes with one Merkur razor blade, so we recommend buying some more with your purchase, especially since they’re often far, far less expensive to buy online than in a supermarket or drugstore.

The MK 23C is a stable headed (or non-adjustable) razor. This means that the blade is fixed in place and can’t be moved for a more aggressive shave, and while this might seem like a disadvantage, it’s not, for a couple of reasons. Primarily, this is a beginner’s safety razor – it’s inexpensive and is intended to help ease you into the world of wet shaving, and for that reason, the simpler the construction, the better. What’s worse than a product that cuts your face? One that gives you the option to cut it more efficiently.

The second reason is that since the blade is fixed in place, you get the exact shave that the manufacturers intended. It’s a pretty mild razor, so it’s not prone to tugging or scraping and as a result, is great for people with sensitive skin or an unsteady hand. Sure, it takes some time to get used to the weight and find the perfect shaving angle, but once you get it, it’s like riding a bike – you’ll never forget.

PROS
  • Very inexpensive
  • Almost no pressure required
  • Mild razor - great for sensitive skin
  • Perfect for beginners
CONS
  • Only one blade included
  • Non-adjustable
3

VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Safety Razor – Best Intermediate Safety Razor

If you can look past the overly macho branding and marketing hype, you’ll find that The Chieftain safety razor by VIKINGS BLADE is actually a pretty good product. Retailing at just under $40, it’s a high-quality, butterfly action razor that won’t let you down.

It’s made of an alloy made from Swedish bronze and brass, coated with stainless steel. Practically, this means it’s very shiny, although you’d do well to dry it off after use if you’d like to keep it this way, since stainless steel does tend to rust. Maybe consider investing in a razor stand instead of leaving it in the shower – it is a pretty expensive razor, after all, so if you treat it well, it’ll do the same for you.

VIKINGS BLADE claim that their butterfly system allows for a 5-second blade change, and, in theory, that’s entirely possible if you approach shaving the same way a pit crew approach a racing car. We’d recommend taking your time to minimise the risk of injuring yourself, but also because it helps to reinforce the idea that you’re taking a few minutes out of your day to do something nice for yourself. The butterfly is opened by twisting the end of the handle and holds the blades firmly, with no wiggling, which is great.

The blades which this model use are double-edged, so you can use them twice as much before they need to be replaced. This razor is considered semi-aggressive, so if you learn to control it, it can provide a closer shave than the models above can manage, although there will be a little more finesse required. There’s also a micro-comb system that helps guide hairs to the blade for minimal resistance when shaving.

As this is a fixed head razor, the blade distance cannot be adjusted. This means that you’ll get a consistent shave from week to week as long as you replace the blades regularly. Whilst it may take you a while to fully adjust to using a semi-aggressive razor, it’s the perfect way to bridge the gap between a mild razor and an adjustable one, if that’s something you’d like to try down the line.

This razor measures 3.74” long, making it the smallest we’ve reviewed so far. Some people prefer the finer control that a long handled razor provides, but others prefer the more comfortable alternatives. If you have small hands or find that long handles are too awkward to use, a short handled razor might be what you need, and the Chieftain is a great place to start. It weighs just 2.45 ounces, so it’s the lightest razor in this list, which really drives home the message that this is intended to be taken with you as you travel. To this end, there are a couple of added extras that come free when you purchase this razor.

As well as the razor, VIKINGS BLADE has added five blades to get you started and a leatherette suede case that opens up to reveal a travel sized mirror. Whilst you’ll want to avoid shaving using this mirror for feedback due to its small size, it’ll do in a pinch. The case, like the razor, is pretty small and can be easily fit into a toiletry bag (just don’t forget your shaving foam).

PROS
  • Short handle is very comfortable to use
  • Includes blades and travel case
  • Quick blade change
  • Very lightweight
CONS
  • Macho branding might put some people off
  • Non-adjustable
4

Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor – Best Adjustable Safety Razor for Experienced Users

Take one look at the Merkur Futur and there’s a good chance you’ll immediately love it or hate it. The space-age inspired design is a throwback to the late 50’s and 60’s where chrome was king and sleek, smooth edges were the order of the day. For what it’s worth, we found the design to be attractive, although certain aspects of this razor make us suspect that Merkur has forgotten the old adage “form follows function”.  

Firstly, the grip leaves a lot to be desired – whilst its competitors rely on textured surfaces to increase friction, the Futur has a chrome finish and is smooth all over, with a small indent for your thumb. This makes the razor prone to slipping, especially when wet, so it’s important to really take your time when using this to shave and even more so in the shower.

This razor does have an adjustable blade, so it’s more versatile than any of the others we’ve seen so far. There are six settings to choose from (adjusted by twisting the top of the handle), with the lower settings exposing less of the blade and changing the angle. The lowest setting is more aggressive than most other safety razors, however, so you’d do well to familiarise yourself with it before taking it for a spin.  

To change the blade, you have to unclip the top part in order to gain access. We can’t stress this enough – be careful, this part can be dangerous if you don’t keep a close eye on the blade at all times. We’d really have preferred a safer option like a butterfly or even a screw off system, but this is why it’s so important to stress that this is not a beginner’s razor. It’s intended for experienced users, ideally, those who’ve used various different safety razors in the past, and so we can’t recommend it for a novice. 

The Merkur Futur is the exact same length as the VIKINGS BLADE Chieftain at 3.74”, and as such, it offers the same level of comfort and precision that model does, however it is considerably heavier at 4.2 ounces, meaning that a lot less pressure is needed – if you press as hard as you would with the Chieftain, you’ll likely cut yourself, so just use the lightest touch possible and let the weight of the razor do the work for you. The head of the razor is quite wide though, so initially, it can be a little difficult to get the right angle in tight spaces, for example, when shaving under your nose. Give it time, though, and you’ll get it.

At first glance, it looks like there are a lot of criticisms for this model, but actually, whilst it can be tough to get the hang of and unforgiving to novice wet shavers, these features are what make it so valuable. The adjustable head and heavy frame make it a powerful and versatile razor that will grow as you do, ensuring you never need to upgrade to something more substantial. Ultimately, it’s a high-quality tool that requires skill to use – we don’t blame the hammer when we miss the nail, right? If we did have to single out a main issue, however, it’d be the price. It’s not super expensive and is actually pretty low-cost for an adjustable razor, but for around $60, we’d have loved to have seen a decent grip included, at least.

PROS
  • Short handle for maximum comfort
  • Adjustable
  • Attractive, futuristic design
  • Very little pressure needed
CONS
  • More aggressive than most
  • Has a steep learning curve
5

Merkur Progress – Best Budget Adjustable Safety Razor

Another entry from Merkur, the Progress seeks to remedy some of the criticisms levelled at the Futur, specifically the blade replacement method which was annoying at best and the level of aggression which has been significantly toned down in this model, at least on the lower settings.

Like the Futur, the Progress is an adjustable safety razor with five different settings to choose from. The lower settings provide a much milder shave than the higher ones and as a result, this razor is much more beginner friendly than the previous model was, whilst managing to satisfy the needs of people who are looking for a closer shave.

This razor is coated almost entirely with a chrome finish, except for a small beige/cream coloured knob at the end of the handle which is made of hardened plastic. This is what you turn in order to change the amount of blade showing and if you turn it all the way to the left, the top of the razor head comes away from the handle allowing for quick, simple and most importantly, safe blade replacement. This is a mechanically simple system and as a result, it should last for a very long time, plus the hard plastic/chrome body ensure that the razor will survive a drop, even onto a hard surface.

An interesting and useful aspect of this razor is the inclusion of blade alignment notches on the head. These let you know if you’ve inserted the blade properly and help ensure a symmetrical and even level of blade exposure. This way, you’ll have an even shave all over, which is all you can really ask for. Unfortunately, there’s no kind of grip on the handle at all, so it’s important to make sure that you have a firm grasp of it whilst shaving – you could attach a piece of anti-slip tape, but this does sort of ruin the overall aesthetic of the razor.

The weight has been slightly reduced too, at 4 ounces vs the Futur’s 4.2. Practically, this doesn’t really make much of a difference – it’s still a heavy razor and so you only need to apply a light touch. It’s also a tiny bit longer, at 4”. We feel that this razor strikes the perfect balance between weight and length – it offers precise control and feels great in your hand, and the fact that it costs less than $80 is an added bonus.

When you purchase this razor, Merkur also throw in ten blades and a carry case. Ten blades is a pretty decent amount and given that they’re double sided, that means that up to 100 shaves which are provided at no added cost. Think about it, that’s three months if you shave every day and almost a year if you shave once every three days. The carry case is pretty basic though – it’s made of clear plastic and resembles the kind of case a screwdriver set would arrive in. It does the job though, even if it’s not great looking.

Overall, we really like this razor. It’s a marked step up from the Futur and is a lot more forgiving to novices thanks to its milder shave on lower settings and safer blade replacement system. It even includes a way to make sure you’ve inserted the new blade properly, so you can make sure the blade is evenly exposed. Whilst it is slightly more expensive, the included blades save you money in the short term, and we’re confident that this product will pay for itself in the long term since once you have this, you’ll never go back to disposable razors.

PROS
  • Mild shave on low settings
  • Strikes the perfect balance between length and weight
  • Includes ten replacement blades
  • Alignment notches are very useful to novices
CONS
  • No handle grip
  • Slightly expensive
6

Feather All Model AS-D2 – Best Luxury Safety Razor

Sometimes you want more than just a really good razor. All of the models we’ve discussed above are great, but share a common attribute: a low-cost construction. The Feather All Model AS-D2 is a more expensive safety razor, and for good reason – it’s precision machined and designed to last for decades if you treat it half as well as it treats you.

The body is made entirely of polished stainless steel and measures at just 3.5”, making it the smallest razor in this list. The short handle might take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll notice that this model is pretty well balanced, in no small part due to its reasonable heft. The AS-D2 weighs 3.1 ounces, so it’s heavier than most razors this size, which means that it requires less pressure than its competitors. The handle has an attractive textured surface for increased grip and stability, so there’s less chance of dropping it mid-shave, even when wet.

This razor uses double edged blades and Feather has included five of their own high-quality ones to tide you over for a little while. This lets you see what a premium razor blade feels like before you go to the store and pick up the same budget replacement razors you always have. Plus, if you prefer the less expensive blades, at least you can say you gave the Feather blades a shot.

Construction-wise, this is a three piece razor. When the handle is unscrewed, the top of the razor head comes apart to reveal the blade, minimising the amount of time your fingers need to be near an exposed razor, which is great.

This is a stable headed razor, so it’s not adjustable. We know that this can seem like a bitter pill to swallow, given the price, but think of it this way: would you rather have a slightly higher than average quality adjustable razor, or the best stable razor around? This razor is Japanese made and Feather really seem to have paid attention to both aesthetics and functionality when creating it – because there are no moving parts, maintenance is as simple as wiping it down when you’re finished with it to prevent rusting. To keep it clean, you might want to invest in a razor stand, but if not, even putting it in a simple mug will keep it free from soap scum.

The shave you get from this model is pretty mild, so it’s simple for a novice to pick up and get started with – this makes the AS-D2 a fantastic gift since you don’t need years of wet shaving experience to use it safely. It is, of course, possible to get a more aggressive shave by changing the angle of contact, so if you find it a little too mild for your liking, you just have to find the sweet spot for your beard.

All things considered, the Feather All Model AS-D2 is an amazing, travel sized safety razor. Whilst we realise that not everyone can commit this much money to a razor, but if you can, you’ll find it to be both forgiving and indispensable. It’s a high-quality, well-built razor that looks fantastic and provides a shave that most other stable headed models just can’t rival – this isn’t an expensive trinket, it’s an investment in yourself.

PROS
  • Very mild shave
  • Gorgeous appearance
  • Includes five high-end replacement blades
  • Exceptional build quality
CONS
  • Expensive

Best Safety Razor - Buyer's Guide

Safety razors can be pretty intimidating, right? Luckily, they’re actually pretty simple to compare when you know what to look for, which is why we’ve created a brief guide to the most important specifications to compare when shopping for a new one. This should give you a pretty good idea as to which is the best razor for your needs and prevent buyer’s regret down the line.

Head type

There are two types of safety razor heads: adjustable and stable. A stable head is the type you’ll find on a standard cartridge razor – a small amount of the blade is showing and this cannot be changed. Often these are aimed at beginners, since it’s less likely that you’ll cut yourself with a stable head, however, experienced wet shavers may find their lack of versatility annoying.

These people will likely prefer an adjustable head – these allow you to change the amount of blade which is exposed for a more aggressive shave. This means that, in theory, you can tame even the most persistent stubble, however, care must be taken to avoid problems like nicks or razor burn.

Essentially, there are three kinds of blade replacement systems. The first is the butterfly top – this uses two doors to secure the blade in place. These doors can be opened outwards (like a butterfly’s wings) to release the blade, ensuring that you don’t have to grab the razor to replace it.

The second kind is a clip system. This requires you to pry the top of the razor off, which can be dangerous if you aren’t paying full attention. These tend to be on razors more targeted towards expert users, so we’d recommend avoiding them if you’re just starting out.

The third type is the most common and is similar to the clip system, but more novice-friendly. The top screws off when you turn the handle a certain way, offering the same benefits as the butterfly system but with less moving parts and a tighter grip on the blade.

Length and weight

Long handles offer a more precise shave, but some people just find short handled razors to be easier to use and more comfortable to hold. Really, there’s no right or wrong length and in time, you’ll likely find one which you prefer. Many safety razors have interchangeable handles too, so you can always switch it out for one that’s more to your liking.

Weight is more important though, at least in the short term. A very little razor is going to rely mostly on the pressure that you apply in order to cut hair, whereas a heavy one requires a much softer touch – almost no pressure at all, in fact. The weight of the razor head does most of the work for you. The first time you use a new razor, it’s important to take the weight into account and use the lightest possible touch, increasing pressure until you find the sweet spot.

Aggression

You’ll often hear people talk about mild or aggressive razors. Simply put, a mild razor is one which is easy on your skin – often because there isn’t a lot of blade showing, or because the blade is almost flat, whereas an aggressive razor either has more blade exposed or a steeper angle. An aggressive razor can provide a smoother shave in the hands of an expert, but also increases the risk of razor burn and cuts if you aren’t used to it yet.

These are just a couple of factors, of course, and blade aggression has a number of variables. If you’re interested in reading more about this, there’s a fantastic little article here.

Conclusion


Every razor we’ve shown you today is great in its own way, however, there’s one which we find particularly outstanding. The Merkur Progress is a very beginner-friendly razor that not only looks great but offers a shave tailored to your exact specifications. It’s a great little razor that only grows more versatile as you gain experience.

We hope that this article has helped demystify wet shaving a little bit, and with a bit of luck, you might even have found a safety razor that you like. We appreciate your feedback too, so if you’ve found this list helpful, we’d ask you to consider leaving a rating or a comment since it’d really help us out. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and have a great day.

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