Buying the Best Straight Razor: A Guide for the Real and Straightforward Men

Straight razors have been around for quite a few centuries now. Though disposables and electric ones have eaten up a large part of their market share, straight razors still have great acceptance among men who are perfectionists by nature. Some of the world’s oldest razor manufacturers manufacture straight razors to this date. This is only testified with the high demand for shaving creams for straight razors.

Some designs and patterns have gone outdated, while some old patterns continue to be relevant. Leading hairstylists and barbers have agreed that straight razors (with some help from a straight razor strop) have no match when it comes to getting a closer shave. There are reasons why straight razors are still high in demand. Here’s taking a closer look at the technical sides along with reviews of top five products in this category.

Straight recommendation : Feather SS Japanese

What is straight razor?

A straight men’s razor comes with a fold able blade and a handle that holds the blade. Straight razors are also known as cut-throat razors or open razors. Straight razor brands might have lost their battle to their safer and younger cousins, the safe razors and electric razors, but they still have a sizable market share. If you are a man who always wants to shave the old school way, choose straight razors. There are manufacturers of straight razors across Europe, North America and Asia. You can also find antique straight men’s razors in auction markets. If you are going to buy a straight razor, keep in mind that you need to take utmost care while shaving.

A brief history of straight razor

Narrow blade straight razors were first manufactured by some unnamed manufacturer in Sheffield, England somewhere around 1680. Benjamin Huntsman made straight razors with decorated handles and cast steel blades during 1740 using a manufacturing process that he had the sole rights on. The French manufacturers adopted the process later. The English manufacturers also reluctantly adopted the process once they saw its huge success in the Gallic land. Sheffield steel was a kind of polished steel that was in use widely during this time in the making of straight razors. The steel is still in use. Straight razors started to lose popularity during 1950s.

Different parts of straight razor

The different parts of straight razors are butt pin, butt space, tip or point, scales, long tail or tang, blade heel, blade edge, blade spine and pivot pin. If you know what the different parts of a blade razor or a straight razor are, you can take an educated buying decision.

The breakdown

Based on the types of materials are used in a straight razor, the prices of these razors may vary widely. Therefore, you need to know about the different types of materials that used in these razors to take a wise buying decision.

  • Types of metal construction

1. Carbon steel: Carbon steel straight razors are cheaper and more readily available alternatives of the stainless steel razors. If you are buying a carbon steel razor, you will get a wider selection of handle materials to choose from. Carbon steel razors are more flexible and easily contour to the user’s cheek. However, these razors rust too soon if not cleaned and maintained regularly.

2. Stainless steel: Stainless steel straight razors are rust resistant; hence you need not to worry about your razor rusting away with time. These razors are stiffer than the carbon steel razors and pricier too. If you have thick beard, you can choose stainless steel razors as they will not just contour to your face. Instead, you can get a good shave and a good value for money.

  • Type of straight razor grinds

1. Full wedge grind: Full wedge grind razors are also known as flat razors. It’s a flat ground razor with zero concave shape in the blade bevel. These razors were highly popular during 18th century and early 19th century. However, these blades lost their popularity to the hollow grinding razors as soon as they emerged as an alternative. True full wedge razors are rare these days.

2. Quarter hollow grinds: Quarter grind, as the name implies, has just one fourth of the blade ground in a concave shape. Identifying these razors is quite a job. These razors are in general recommended for gentlemen with heavy beards. There are many custom razor manufacturers these days that manufacture this type of razors.

3. Half hollow grind: A half-hollow grind blade is concave right in the middle of the blade. Though these razors are quite forgiving, identifying these blades can be very challenging. Compared to quarter hollow grinds, honing these blades is quite easy. If you want a heavy razor that has still great manoeuvrability, choosing a half-hollow blade razor would be a wise decision.

4. Full hollow grind: During the last hundred years or so, full-hollow grind blade razors are probably the most manufactured and most commonplace type. It’s a fully concaved grind razor that can get the sharpest edge. These razors are quite less forgiving compared to the other three types described above and shaving requires both precision and caution. “Extra hollow” grind razors are also available.

5. Flat or straight grind: Straight grind razors are the most difficult to make, hence are the most expensive of all grinds too. A shavette is somewhat an example of a straight grind. This type of blade sharpens from the spine till the edge on both sides. Since a great amount of metal is removed from the blade, it is very difficult and cost and time-consuming to procude this type of blade commercially.

  • Types of straight razor Tip/Point

1. Spike: Spike point razors are widely regarded as the most dangerous ones. The tip of the razor looks like a prickly spike that is bound to hurt you the moment you lose your attention. However, spike pointed razors are arguably the best shaving tools if master the art of shaving. These razors reach the tightest corners of your face at ease.

2. Round: Rounded point straight razors are rather safe razors and you won’t find any spiky point at the toe. This type of razor is easily manoeuvrable. Rounded tip straight razors are ideal for both experts and beginners. However, if you are trying to line a goatee or a beard with a rounded tip straight razor, you are probably using the wrong type.

3. Spanish point: Spanish point straight razors too have more or less rounded tips that make them look like barber’s notches, except with more subtlety. There are many razor connoisseurs who argue that the Spanish point straight razors are the best-looking of all razor types. However, when sharpening these blades, take caution as these blades may cut off and damage the strop.

4. Barber’s notch: Barber’s notch has great manoeuvrability, especially between the ears and the nose. Some users have also opined that these razors are great at removing warts and pimples. However, the greatest purpose a barber’s notch serves is to allow the user to effortlessly open the razor. Straight razors for barber are extremely popular among collectors.

5. French/Irish point: The French point combines the best of both worlds, namely the manoeuvrability that Spanish ones offer and the round point’s features. Shaving is a real fun if you have a French (or Irish) point straight razor with you. The point has a relatively small diameter, which facilitates tapering off the facial hair, whereas the rounded tip reduces chances of accidental cuts.

6. “Ooblong” point or oblique: An ooblong point or oblique point straight razors has a point that is about quarter of a full circle, but comes with a sharp-angled curve. This type of razor has many similarities with the Spanish point and French/Irish point razors. Oblique point razors are helpful in shaving tight spots.

  • Blade size: The blade size is measured by the blade width and is represented in fraction such as 4/8, 5/8 or 13/16. The fraction actually represents the blade size in inch. For example, 4/8 blade width equals to .5 inch, 13/16 to .813 inch and so on. In general, larger blade widths are considered great straight razors blades. On the other hand, if you are using a fairly wide blade, you may face problems in reaching the tighter areas such as under your nose.

Our recommended top 5 straight razor reviews

Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor, Black 

Our impression

Feather SS

Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor is a ‘replaceable-blade’ straight razor which is designed for comfortable straight razor shaving. The blade is made of superior grade stainless steel which is heat resistant and chemical resistant and also provides a smooth shave every time. It has a round shaving tip along with maximum blade exposure facilitating smooth and soft shaving, making it one of the top Japanese straight razors around.The handle is made of silicone resin which has great anti-grip quality. The handle can also resist heat up to 135 degree.

Since the head of the blade is spring mounted, you can easily dismantle it for cleaning and then reassemble. The razor has also antimicrobial qualities. It is highly recommended to use Feather Artist Club blades only for replacing the factory-set blades. You can just pinch the head of the razor to dismantle the razor. You can also disinfect the blades by using ethanol or by boiling. The blade is recommended for use is professional beauty salons and barber shops.

Best deals >>Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor at Amazon<< 

Pros

  • Four different types of replacement blades.
  • Sturdy and well designed.
  • Sharpest straight razors.
  • Anti-grip handle with high heat resistance.
  • Easy to dismantle.

Cons

  • Initial cost is very high, considering other products in same category.
  • Replacement parts and accessories are costly too.

# Dovo Silver Shavette Satin Finish Straight Razor

Our impression

Dovo Silver Shavette

This one is a classic shavette style straight razor which comes with disposable blades. Dovo has been manufacturing razors for over a century and this one is arguably one of their best straight razor of this time. You can find a textured grip right beneath the blade and the grip will just mould to your fingers. Compared to many popular straight razors that just offer a bridge of metal for resting fingers, Dovo Silver Shavette Satin Finish razor has an entire pocket for better comfort.

The Germany made frame is durable and you can choose between long blades and standard sized ones to use. The straight razor is quite lightweight and easy to carry and has got a stainless steel body, which adds to the durability factor. You may find the aluminium-made blade holder tad flimsy, but that’s almost a non-issue. The best part is, you can use all brands of standard sized and double edged blades with the holder.

Best deal I found on the Dovo Silver Shavette Straight Razor

Pros

  • Sharp razor with good grip.
  • Portable and ideal for travellers.
  • High quality stainless steel used.
  • Frame is highly durable.
  • Ergonomic design.

Cons

  • Quite unforgiving as a beginner’s straight razor.
  • Due to extra lightness, can cause problems to some users.

# Velvet Forge Shave Ready Quality Stainless Steel(cool Straight Razor for beginners)

Our impression

Velvet Forge

The Velvet Forge straight razor is a razor designed for both beginners and pros. This is a 6/8 round-pointed razor that has been in use since World War I. The Tactical Black is made of authentic stainless steel, and the razor looks extremely stylish as well. It has a comfortable grip that never slips off your hand. Due to the round end, you will get minimum nicks while shaving. However, the razor itself has great sharpness and you need to be extra cautious if you are a beginner.

The razor is made of ACRM-2 stainless steel, which is a Japanese invention that has great anti-corrosion properties. If you were looking for a classic straight razor, this one’s is definitely for you. The 4 inch stainless steel blade lets you shave dense beard quite effortlessly. What’s more, you will get it delivered in a nice leather case when ordered from Amazon.

Buy at Amazon.com

Pros

  • Made of authentic stainless steel.
  • Rounded blade head minimizes nicks and cuts.
  • Ideal for dense and coarse beards.
  • Stylish and portable.

Cons

  • Handle is very heavy, not ideal for beginner.
  • Not a shave-ready straight razor.

# Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Straight Razor Full Hollow

Our Impression

Dovo Best

The Dovo straight razor has a 5/8 full-hollow grind blade which is made of carbon steel. The blade comes paired with a plastic handle. Bearing the legacy of Dovo’s century-old craftsmanship and metalworking finesse, the full hollow razor is nearly faultless. The fascinating part is that the machineries Dovo used to use decades ago are no longer manufactured. Therefore, Dovo has chosen to manufacture these razors the old-fashioned way.

The Solingen, Germany made razor is great for beginners. The Dovo straight razor is one of the cheapest in their product line. The blade is scary sharp, does its job perfectly well and is almost as good as a stainless steel blade. The razor is also very forgiving and getting nicks and cuts with this razor is a rarity in itself. At this price point, you will have hard times finding any other razor that matches its quality. This straight razor is also highly durable.

Click to see pricing Here!

Pros

  • Quality cut.
  • Clean craftsmanship.
  • Great convenience due to the anti-grip handle.
  • Really long lasting edge.
  • One of the cheapest straight razors.

Cons

  • Accessories are quite expensive.
  • Not really shave-ready right out of the box.
  • Cheap plastic.

# Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor and 5 Shark Super Stainless blades

Our Impression 

Parker SR1

Parker SR1 Stainless Steel razor is a barbershop quality straight razor that requires no sharpening or stropping. It has got an authentic stainless steel blade which is of superior quality. The straight razor comes with a snap lock for securing the blade in place. It has many other features that are only found in many expensive models. The razor comes paired with five Shark ½ blades. However, if you need to replace the blades, you can replace them with double edge blades.

The straight razor is specially designed for barbershop use and is not really suitable for beginners. However, if you are used to straight razors, you can get close shaves by using this straight razor at your home. It has a rounded exposure that reduces snicks and cuts to a great extent. The product weighs more or less 1.6 ounces, which makes it quite easy to carry and use. This is arguably a better replacement for disposable razors.

Best deal –  Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor

Pros

  • Cheaper razor than all other competitors.
  • Providing nice and close shave.
  • Vintage look.
  • Adding replacement blades is easy.
  • Great for pros and barbershops.

Cons

  • Not easily manoeuvrable.
  • You need to learn how to use it.
  • Unsafe for beginners.

Things to consider when buying straight razor?

  • Suitable point style: The round tipped versus square tip (or spike tip) debate is here to stay. If you are a beginner, choosing a rounded tip straight razor would be a wise decision. You can avoid nicks easily if you use a round tipped one. However, spike tip or square tip razors have more precision, especially when it comes to shaving around the tighter corners.
  • Best scale material: Various scale materials are available on the market and each of them has different set of pros and cons. For example, Bocote wood is often chosen as a scale material as it is neither too heavy nor too light. Plastic scales, on the other hand, hold moisture perfectly well. In general, try to avoid overweight scales.
  • Shaver with quality steel: Many vintage razors are made of carbon steel. It is true that you can put a finer edge on carbon steel razors. Carbon steel razors are cheaper and more readily available. Carbon steel razors also contour to the face quite easily. Stainless steel razors are long-lasting and are considered ideal for men with denser beards.
  • Straight razor with a hollow: If you are a beginner, you can start with a half hollow or full hollow razor. Keep in mind that the greater the hollow is, the more flexibility you will get from the razor. Half hollow blades, full hollow blades and extra hollow blades – all three are easily available, with the extra hollow considered as the most flexible of all.
  • Sharpness of the blade: The sharpness and stability of a blade are inversely proportional. Take the case of a full hollow grind blade that can keep a sharp edge, but tends to bend because of its thinness. Therefore, if you are choosing an extra-sharp blade, it’s a given that it will bend too soon. Try to find a blade which is neither too sharp, nor too blunt.
  • Cost effectiveness: The price of the straight razors very much depends on the price of the materials used in making. Buyers who are on a shoestring budget can always find great deals on Amazon and other shopping sites. However, you need to identify your needs before going to buy a straight razor.

Faq (frequently asked questions)

  • Straight razor Vs safety razor

They say straight razors are for the real straightforward men while safety razors are for those who do not want to take risks in life. Leaving aside all notions, it can safely be said that safety razors are successors to the straight razors. Buying a straight razor simply means that you will get to know a completely new shaving method. Straight razors are more expensive than the safety razors if you consider the initial investments, but have lower recurring costs. With a straight razor, you can gain highest freedom and control on how you shave, while you can avoid those cuts and nicks by using a safety razor.

  • Shavette Vs straight razor

To put it in a nutshell, straight razors have higher forgiveness than shavettes. Shavettes need a smaller angle than straight razors (an average straight razor requires about 30 degree angle). Also, if you want to apply less pressure while shaving, a shavette is what you should go for. Also, shavettes are more space-saving than straight razors. If you want out advice, start with a straight and then buy a shavette if you want. Straight razors are quite easy to use. Especially if you are a beginner, shaving with a shavette can turn to be a disaster. Straight razors are way safer than shavettes.

  • Straight razor Vs disposable

The beauty of using a straight razor is that you can constantly keep changing the angle for reaching those areas of your face, something that becomes quite a Royal Pain with a disposable. It is true that there are disposable shavers on the market, readily available and very cheap, that contour to your face. But nothing else gives you the precision and perfection of a straight razor. With a straight razor, you will get the closest shave possible. Disposables are those widely advertised ones that can definitely give you a safer shave, but not a closer one than a  straight razor.

Wrap up

Straight razors are for real men. No matter how outdated it might seem, shaving with a straight razor can be a breeze. However, you need to know how exactly straight razors work. We suggest you watch a few tutorial videos, join forums and read user reviews on Amazon  to how things work.

Bottom line

If you are trying to buy your first ever straight razor, do not forget to read expert reviews and user reviews before you come to a decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Real Time Analytics