How to Find the Best Safety Razor
First developed at the end of the 19th century, safety razors were created for us, the average men who wanted to shave our own beards without nicking and cutting ourselves along the way. With the protective device strategically positioned in between the blade and the skin, the best safety razors were the first to make injury-free shaving possible outside the barber shop.
Though today we have cartridge razors and electric razors that make it practically possible to shave while, say, on a moving vehicle, the best safety razor still provides a far closer shave than their more convenient alternatives. With a single blade, safety razors give you more control over your shave, and they’re far less likely to get clogged with hair, oil, and shaving cream.
Better yet, they’re gentler on your skin and less likely to leave you with red, irritated razor bumps. While you should still use an aftershave (Prosaro is my personal favorite!), once you learn to use safety razors properly, you’ll never want to go back to paying hundreds of dollars for your Gillette cartridges
- Vikings Blade Chieftan Safety Razor
- Swedish Platinum Blades With Heavy Handle & Butterfly Door System
- Razor Head
- Price: $$
- Edwin Jagger
- Double-Edge Chrome-Plated Safety Razor With Rubberized Grip Handles
- Razor Head:
- Price: $$
- Parker 99R
- Heavyweight Double Edge Safety Razor With Butterfly Door and Long Handle-Perfect for Coarse Hair
- Razor Head:
- Price: $
In this article, we’ll discuss the best safety razors available on the market and what criteria you should consider when purchasing yours. So here goes!
Best Safety Razor for Elegance: Vikings Blade
The Chieftain Safety Razor from Viking Blade has a heavy handle made of a sleek, shiny chrome that comes with an elegant suede and leather box. This safety razor will look classy on any vanity, and while the chrome handle does occasionally get slippery when wet, no other blade can compare.
The handle pops out easily, and the single blade is very easy to clean. If you’re a low-maintenance man looking for a safety razor that won’t give you any issues, this is your choice. You might want to replace the sample razor blades with ones that are slightly sharper, but otherwise, the device should be self-explanatory.
Because it’s made with higher quality materials, the handle is considerably heavier than those on most safety razor. It’s designed to give you more control while shaving. Lastly, this is the best safety razor for those quick 30 degree angle passes. It will feel balanced in your hand so that you’ll be able to easily manipulate it and turn it with your fingers without ever accidently nicking yourself even on mornings when you’re pressed for time.
Best Safety Razor for a Close Shave: Edwin Jagger
Edwin Jagger is a British company that has been setting the standards for men’s grooming products for nearly three decades. Master craftsmen, the men at Edwin Jagger strive to marry innovation and inspiration to give you the best safety razor available.
This safety razor is made from a polished chrome-plated brass with the company’s name embossed at the base of the handle. The handles come in rubberized grips in either ebony or ivory or die-cast, hand-polished chrome either lined or plain.
The Edwin Jagger safety razor will accommodate sensitive to normal skin and very coarse beards. The blades are extremely sharp, and if you’re a beginner, you’ll have to exercise caution and refrain from pushing down too hard on the handle when shaving. It will mercilessly slice through any whiskers that stand in its way providing an extremely close shave.
The handle is somewhat shorter and lighter than I expected originally. It could be a bit heavier and more evenly balanced. I also found that the screw portion was vulnerable and could break if dropped. If dropped, the entire set up would become a bit wobbly.
Thankfully though, the handles provide a comfortable, easy grip even when wet, so you shouldn’t have any issues dropping them.
Best Safety Razor for Coarse Hair: Parker 99R
The Parker 99R has a durable brass frame rendering it one of the heavier safety razors you’ll find. It sits firmly in the hand, and it’s perfect for slicing through thick, coarse hair. It’s long handle is suitable for men with larger hands, and the textured grip makes it easy to hold on to even in the shower.
This safety razor blade is uniquely designed to make changing blades as quick and easy as possible. Though changing double-edged blades can be tricky if you’re not careful, the butterfly mechanism streamlines the process. You simply twist the knob on the bottom of the handle, and the two razor head doors open outward (hence the butterfly), revealing a space for you to drop in the new blade.
Some customers complained that the knob was slippery and difficult to turn when wet, but usually you should change the razor blade before you get into the shower. So, this shouldn’t really be a huge issue. Overall, the butterfly mechanism is very intuitive and safe. If you find you usually nick yourself when changing your blade, the Parker 99R might be the best safety razor for you.
Best Luxury Safety Razor: Merkur Futur MK 23C
The Merkur Futur 23C is one of, if not the, world’s best safety razor. It’s very well-made and is comparable in style to the Edwin Jagger razor. However, you’ll find that the Merkur 23C has a longer handle and a smaller blade gap. The blade gap on the Merkur 23C safety razor blade is .025” where the Edwin Jagger blade gap is .03”.
Though the difference may seem minimal, blade gap helps to determine how aggressive a razor is. The larger the blade gap, the closer the shave is. Because the blade gap on the Merkur 23C is just slightly smaller, the shave is a bit more comfortable.
Changing the blade on this safety razor blade is a bit tricky though. Since there’s no butterfly clasp, you’ll have to disassemble the razor into three separate pieces. The razor head screws into the handle, and you have to remove the head’s base plate before plopping a razor into the tabs on the top plate. Disassembling and reassembling the blade in the shower is quite difficult.
That all being said, the Merkur Futur is an exceptional safety razor with a well-earned reputation.
Anatomy of a Safety Razor
Types of Safety Razors:
There are two types of safety razors: single-edge razors and double-edge razors. Single-edge razors were very popular in the first half of the twentieth-century. While they’re relatively rare these days, many still claim they provide a superior shave because the cap enables you to shave at the perfect angle.
Double-edge razors became popular because they were cheaper to manufacture. Manufacturers now no longer have to put finish on one of the edges. However, they also happen to be more practical because you can use both sides of one blade to shave. When one gets sudsy, you can simply flip the razor around to continue.
You’ll change the blades differently on your safety razor depending on its build. If the blade is a two-piece or three-piece razor, you’ll have to unscrew the handle from the head to insert the blade. If there are only two pieces, you simply slip the blade onto the posts on the top cap. With a three-piece razor, you’ll also have the mounting piece, which screws onto the handle.
One-piece razors use what we call a butterfly mechanism. A butterfly mechanism refers to two flaps which open outward on the top of the razor to hold the blade. You can open these doors by turning the knob on the bottom of the razor. Alternatively, these knobs sometimes adjust the blade exposure on the razor head. An adjustable razor allows you to change the aggressiveness of the blade based on your own needs.
The razor head comes with a safety bar in front to protect the skin from the open blade. However, on many razors, this safety bar comes with gaps or slants that expose more of the blade. Whether the blade has a scalloped, combed, or slanted edge, the teeth on the safety bar guide hair into the blades and generally attack the hair more aggressively.
Your Best Safety Razor?
Safety razors are back in vogue because today’s men are slowly realizing that the blades their fathers used are not only far cheaper but also considerably more effective. Though you’ll have to experiment a bit to make sure you’re shaving at that ideal 30º angle, the effort will be worth it.
Not all safety razors are made equally though. You’ll want to check out these four to see which one might work for you depending on the thickness of your hair and your personal shaving preferences. Regardless of which one you choose though, we guarantee that all of these will give you that magazine-quality shave you’ve been searching for.