How To Choose & Buy Safety Razors? - Japan Scissors

How To Choose & Buy Safety Razors?

We have applied our extensive wet shaving expertise along with countless hours of research and testing to compile this list of the best safety razors of 2020.

With so many safety shaving razors out there, it is practically impossible to find the best, but don’t worry, we have done all the work for you. 😉

I know everyone has a different combination of experience level, budget, size & weight preferences, razor aggressiveness needs, etc.

For this reason, I have provided you with a list that will meet everyone’s specific needs so you will be sure to find the best double edge razor for you.

I have also provided a guide on what you should consider determining which are the top double-edge razors for you.

6 Things to Consider When Buying a Safety Razor

1. Price

Probably the first thing you should think about when buying double edge razors is how much money you’re willing to spend, as they can range anywhere from $10 to over $200.

There are some excellent products in pretty much any price range, so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a quality razor.

This is especially important for first-time users who don’t want to fork over a ton of cash before they know if shaving with double edge razors is right for them.

Still, for the pros, you may want to invest in one of the higher-end models as you’ll be more likely to notice the difference between cheap and expensive razors.

We’ve labelled each model with the appropriate price level so you can better sift through the list to find one that fits your budget.

  • $ = Basic Entry Level
  • $$ = Intermediate Level
  • $$$ = Professional Safety Razor

2. Angle Of The Blade: Aggressiveness 

When discussing safety razors, aggressiveness can be taken to mean the “efficiency” of the razor but also can be viewed as how easy (or difficult) it is to cut yourself with one.

Multiple factors affect a razor’s aggressiveness, including the angle of the blade, the blade gap and how much of the blade is exposed.

Adjustable Blade vs Fixed

Nearly all the razors you’ll find have a fixed blade, meaning the amount of the razor blade that is exposed is set.

However, companies such as Merkur and Rockwell are now producing a few safety shaving razors in which you can adjust the angle of the blade (a determinant of aggressiveness) by turning a dial or interchanging the base plates.

Beginner’s Recommendation: Beginners are recommended to go with a mild to a medium aggressive shave razor.

We have appropriately categorised all of the safety shaving razors on the list below with the level of aggressiveness and experience level required so you will be able to select the right one for your needs.

2. Head Type (Closed vs Open vs Slant)

Closed Comb

The next thing to think about is whether you want a closed bar, slant bar, or open comb safety razor.

The more traditional of the designs.

A closed comb will be characterised by having a continuous straight bar along the edge of the head.

It may have a few divots or waves in the bar, but it is, in essence, one straight edge.

The Benefits Of A Closed Comb:

  • Offers more protection between the face and the blade, so less chance of nicks and cuts if your technique isn’t perfect
  • A more traditional, old-school look
  • Offers a more stable and controlled shave, as the bar offers stability and guidance

Open Comb

That same bar on an open comb razor contains teeth that give the bar a distinct ‘comb’ look.

The Benefits Of An Open Comb:

These are generally regarded as the more aggressive design as it offers less protection between the blade, beard and face.

Removes less lather from the face as you shave

Hairs are better lifted from the face and guided on to the blade behind.

Slant Comb

As the name suggests, that bar on the front is slanted. Slant Razors Will Be Best For Men With SENSITIVE Skin

Any man with sensitive skin or an unusually coarse or thick beard hair will agree that regular shaving, particularly along the neck area can cause unwanted irritation.

Slant style heads on safety razors feature a closed comb design and cut in a much different manner than many of the other safety razors on the market.

Instead of cutting hairs straight on as you would with any other razor blade, the slant head attacks the hair at an angle (like a scythe). This makes for a much cleaner cut on the follicle while reducing the pulling on the hair follicle as its being cut.

After using a slant head razor for just a couple of times, you will never EVER look back to your existing razor system.

Beginner’s Recommendation: For beginners, we’d recommend a closed safety bar razor, but more experienced men may enjoy the freedom of the open comb.

3. Length of the Handle

This is one of those areas where it’s a matter of personal preference, as it depends on which type of handle fits more comfortably in your hand.

If you have bigger hands or feel like you need a bit more control, we’d recommend a longer handle, also known as a barber’s pole safety razor.

Still, some people find the long handle to be more awkward to use.

We have categorized each of the double edge razors as either short, medium or long.

4. Weight

The mid to high-end range generally come in two weights, classic and heavy-duty.

The weight of the razor also varies from brand to brand and model to model.

Some men feel that the heavier razors give them more control, but this is again a matter of what feels most comfortable.

We have categorized each of the safety razor’s weights as either light, medium, or heavy.

5. Number of Pieces (Butterfly vs 2 Piece vs 3 Piece)

Butterfly Razors

While this isn’t a primary factor in the quality, some men prefer a particular type of razor, such as a twist to open.

Also known as a butterfly safety razor, it consists of one solid piece, where a knob is twisted that opens up the top plates and exposes the cutting head.

This makes blade replacement extremely easy, but due to the additional moving parts, longevity can become a problem.

2-Piece Razors

For 2-piece safety razors, the top of the cutting head usually unscrews from the base and handle to allow you to change the blade.

This makes blade replacement more difficult than the butterfly design but slightly easier than the 3-piece design.

3-Piece Razors

There are also 3-piece razors where the top of the head, the base of the head, and handle all come apart.

These razors often last longer than the other two types, as they are easier to clean and have no moving parts, but may be slightly more cumbersome to switch out the DE blades.

What Are The Downsides Or Negatives With Safety Razors?

Compared to the positives, the negatives are minor.

I am a fan of them, but I’m not going to pretend they achieve absolute perfection.

They simply nearly achieve it. 😉

Over the years we have spoken to a lot of men about their shaving habits and preferences, and discovered that the two main ‘negatives’ to safety razors are;

Safety Razors Take Longer To Shave

Because of the shorter, more careful strokes, you may feel that shaving with a safety razor takes longer than you are used to.

If you have been using a cartridge razor, you are

  • a) a fool, and
  • b) going to be used to shaving in quick double time.

But you are also used to shaving with a massively inferior product!

So with the upgrade in your shaving routine comes an extra bit of time needed to perform it.

But to my mind, the pros here MASSIVELY outweighs this con.

You Can’t Take Safety Razors On Planes (Air Travel)

Because of their design, you aren’t going to be able to fly with a safety razor in your hand luggage.

Which makes perfect sense, I’m not questioning the rules.

But it does mean you can’t be taking it with you for a quick overnight stay if you’ve got to fly there.

Conclusion: How Do I Choose The Best Safety Razors?

Simply put, the benefits of using a safety razor are so numerous that it makes me start to wonder why so many men are still subjecting their faces to the pain and irritation that comes along with using disposable or cartridge razors.

Sure they may be quick and easy, but the quality of the shave they provide doesn’t even come close to the best double edge razor.

No matter how many blades they put in a cartridge, they still can’t compete with a sharp double edge safety razor blade.

Much of the reason that safety razors are so great has to do with the double edge safety razor blade themselves, as not only are they relatively inexpensive (even the best ones typically cost less than 50 cents apiece), but they are also generally made of much higher quality steel than the blades found in disposable ones.

The higher quality steel allows the double edge safety razor blade to be ground to a much sharper edge and also hold their sharpness for longer.

Of course, this doesn’t hold for all double edge safety razor blades as some brands are much better than others, which is why we’d recommend investing in the best double edge safety razor blades you can get.

While the quality of the razor blades you use will be a significant determining factor in the closeness and quality of your shave, choosing a decent double edge safety razor blade is also essential.

Still, determining which is the best DE model is somewhat a matter of personal preference, as it comes down to how comfortable it feels in your hand and how much you’re willing to spend.

As you can see, the selection of a quality double edge safety razor blade is so vast that it can be tough to decide on one.

With so many options, you could go on forever comparing all of the various brands and models, but it’s not worth that much effort.

All of the products on our list can do a decent job, and I would say all of the medium to higher-end razors we’ve listed are outstanding for one reason or another.

However, the only way you’re going to know whether a particular razor is right for you is to try it out.

So don’t spend too much time stressing over which to buy; pick one and give it a shot.

After all, you can always buy another new or even a vintage model down the road if you’re not completely satisfied.

Plus, no matter what you end up buying, it will be way better than using a disposable.

History Of Safety Razors

In the 18th century, razor blades were finally made thin and sharp pieces of metal. Till this time, everybody presumed shaving could only be done by professionals and would employ daily barbers for the facial and personal grooming. French inventor Jean-Jacques Perret invented a safety razor by adding a wood guard to a regular blade thereby allowing men and women to shave without the help of a barber. 

The modern Sheffield razor is an evolved design version of this razor with a rotating guard. In 1880 the Kampfe brothers patented a design for the world’s first safety razors which had a wire guard along the edge and lather-catching head.

In 1895, Gillette, a travelling salesman, combined the hoe-shaped razor (invented by William Henson) with a disposable double-edged blade. With design assistance from MIT Prof. William Nickerson, Gillette marketed this new disposable razor in 1903 and made an empire out of safety razors.

By the 1920s, electric razors started coming into being, and by 1960, engineers had successfully perfected the production and use of stainless steel in safety razors for clean and close shaves.

Now safety razors come in all shapes and varieties and are often charged by Li-ion batteries that can be used for smoother, cleaner shaves with rotating heads, linear cutters, and stainless-steel blades.


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