Top 5 Best Safety Razors for Jan. 2017 – Explored and Discussed
The Safety Razor – A Short History & Introduction
You don’t see many people driving around in a horse and buggy anymore, because technological advances usually render old-fashioned contraptions obsolete. Once Henry Ford and his compatriots led the way into the world of 20th century transportation, people wanted cars, not horse-drawn carriages.
The safety razor was first patented in 1880 and quickly became the tool that all men (at least, those who weren’t brave enough to stick with a straight razor) shaved with. Some 50 years later the electric razor was introduced to great fanfare, and remains extremely popular. Yet safety razors are still very much with us, as the shaving implement of choice for hundreds of millions of men.
Some choose safety razors for their convenience (with no cords or batteries, they can be taken and used anywhere) or their price (many lesser models are inexpensive and use replaceable blades which cost well under a dollar). But the number-one attraction for most men is the superior, close, safe shave that the best safety razors can deliver.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Safety Razor
It’s important to note that in our reviews of the top 5 best safety razors GroomNStyle won’t be looking at the multi-blade cartridge models which are cheap, quick and easy to use – but in most cases, don’t come close to delivering the same quality of shave and are more likely to cause razor burn and irritation, nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs. We’re also not focusing on very inexpensive safety razors which may be very good, but usually aren’t great. Our top 5 are the best of the best.
When judging safety razors, several criteria were most important to us; the ones the GroomNStyle review team looked at first were the razors’ weight, balance and handle. The weight of a safety razor can be a double-edged (pardon the pun) sword; too light, and the natural tendency is to shave too quickly or press down too hard. Too heavy, and the razor itself may bear down too strongly. Either way, you end up with nicks and cuts. The razor’s natural balance plays into the equation as well because a lightweight head and heavy handle, or vice versa, can lead to unnatural pressure on your face. The length of the handle is also important to balance and pressure, but that’s more of a personal preference since the “right” length will depend on the size of your hand.
Adjustable Safety Razor or Not?
There are two schools of thought about whether the head of a safety razor should be adjustable. Some users feel that it’s crucial to finding the perfect gap between the blade and the safety bar, while others find it a distraction and unnecessary and prefer to purchase a razor that is built “properly” to begin with. GroomNStyle happen to like adjustable razors because they let you decide how aggressive a shave you want, but most models aren’t adjustable and we didn’t consider that a vital factor in our rankings. Similarly, you can find comb-shaped (either open or closed), slanted or straight safety bars; each provides a different level of sharpness to a shave (mild, medium or aggressive) and that’s again a matter of personal preference.
For those reasons, we’ll detail the type of shave you get from each model in our top 5 best safety razor reviews without passing judgment. GroomNStyle will focus more on their quality and comfort in determining which razor ranks where.
These razors make an ideal gift for your partner or even as part of a kit when you decide to teach your son to shave!
If you are looking for safety razors on a budget, then head straight to under $100 section at the bottom.
1. Seki Edge Feather AS-D2 Double Edge Safety Razor – All Stainless Steel
Our first three selections are what many people would consider very expensive for a manual razor, over the $100 price point (see futher down for a list of safety razors under $100), and the Japanese-made Seki Edge Feather is unquestionably pricey. But it’s a wonderful double-edge safety razor, particularly suited to those taking the plunge for the first time because of its narrow cutting angle and small gap between blade and safety bar. That leads to a mild shave – and very little chance of nicks and cuts.
Those more experienced with safety razors might find that the Seki AS-D2 isn’t aggressive enough for them, and that’s a fair criticism. But as we said at the start, aggressiveness is mostly a matter of personal preference which can largely be overcome by changing the angle at which you shave – and doesn’t detract from the wonderful build of this model. (The Edge Feather is designed to be used at a 45° degree angle rather than the more common 30° angle for most safety razors, so shifting your hand position isn’t just an academic point.)
The key to this three-piece razor are the smaller Feather blades that Seki is well-known for. They are perhaps the sharpest blades you can purchase, built to be extremely efficient and effective. There’s no reason to worry about using blades that are so sharp, though, because the precision construction of the AS-D2, including the narrow gap, is meant to ensure that the end product is an extremely gentle shave.
The Edge Feather’s head and handle are made completely of stainless steel which we believe is perfectly balanced and feels just right in the hand; it’s not heavy, but it’s not so light that you can get careless with it, either. The blades fit in perfectly without any movement once they’re seated, and removing them is a piece of cake. The handle length is just under four inches, which most people will find comfortable.
You’ll pay “a lot” for this Seki work of shaving art – but you’ll get a lot for your money. It’s a fabulous safety razor for most men’s needs.
Facts and figures on the Seki Edge Feather AS-D2 Double Edge Safety Razor:
2. Jack Black Double Edge Safety Razor
No, not that Jack Black. This is a German-engineered, handcrafted safety razor that was made in cooperation with the revered manufacturer Muhle (more about them later), and it’s a sleek and modern shaver that provides a relatively non-aggressive shave.
The Jack Black isn’t quite as expensive as the Seki, but you wouldn’t know it when you handle it. This model has the look and feel of luxury, with a chrome-plated head and a heavy, thick cobalt-blue handle that is longer than average and perfect for those with bigger hands. The one drawback is that the smooth handle can get a bit slippery if you get gel or even water on it. Even so, the balance of this safety razor is nearly perfect when you use it.
And when you use it, you’ll get a very close shave. Since it’s manufactured to be mild rather than aggressive with a narrow gap between blade and safety bar, there’s very little worry about cuts or razor burn. But unlike cheaper non-aggressive models that require you to go over and over an area, one or two passes with this razor and you’re done unless you really let your beard grow for a while between shaves. The Jack Black is designed to be used at the traditional 30° shaving angle.
Blades sit well in the head, although it’s a little tricky to insert and remove them so it may take a few tries before you’re comfortable switching them out. That’s the only downside to this great safety razor, though, except for the $100+ price tag.
More detail on the Jack Black Double Edge Safety Razor:
3. Above The Tie Atlas S2 Open Comb Slant Bar Safety Razor
This is the most expensive option on our list of the top 5 best safety razors, and those who are experienced manual shavers who want the ultimate control over their razor will love it. The S2, as its name suggests, is an open comb model; that means the safety bar is in the shape of a comb, exposing more of the blade to the skin for a moderately aggressive shave. The bar is slanted, and that also adds to the sharpness and closeness – but for those used to shaving with open comb models, using the Atlas S2 will be an extremely comfortable experience thanks to the .61mm blade gap.
Above the Tie handcrafts each of these razors in America from solid 303 stainless steel, machined to tight tolerances for what GroomNStyle think is pretty close to the ultimate shave. The one negative we found was the handle is a little short for our liking at three inches; it’s balanced perfectly with the head and the barberpole design provides a terrific grip, but those with larger hands who are accustomed to larger handles may find themselves struggling a bit to adjust.
If you’re a “pro shaver” with smaller hands, this is your pro shaver.
Looking closer at the Above The Tie Atlas S2 Open Comb Slant Bar Safety Razor:
4. Muhle R41 Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor
We’ve already mentioned Muhle, and the German company is one of the most highly-regarded manufacturer of shaving equipment in the world. They’ve used that expertise to create the reasonably-priced three-piece R41, often called the most aggressive safety razor on the market and often referred to as “the beast.” (Interestingly enough, the R41 was redesigned with a wider top cap a few years ago to tone the shave down a bit, since it used to be even more aggressive.) It’s the first razor on our list to come in under $100 but it is still precision-crafted, ergonomically-designed and features a beautiful engraved chrome-plated finish.
This Muhle is an open-comb model with a scalloped safety bar, so while it may sound a bit threatening from our description, those with experience handling safety razors shouldn’t be put off. You’ll get a very close, satisfying shave but you won’t be cutting your face to ribbons, or even nicking it up – as long as you’re not a novice attacking your shave like you’re wielding an electric razor. For most beards, one or two passes will do the job completely.
This is a lightweight razor with a medium-length handle (3.7 inches), and it feels perfectly as balanced as you’d expect from Muhle; in the right hands it delivers a shave that, quite frankly, can compete favorably with a straight razor. There are two other versions of the R41 with longer handles that you might want to try if you have large hands, the Grande with a 3.8 inch handle, and the two-piece Twist with a 4.2 inch handle that extends a bit from the bottom for an even better grip.
All Muhle razors are great. The R41 is exceptional, as long as you have a little experience to handle its aggressiveness.
Specifications for the Muhle R41 Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor:
5. Merkur Futur 70 Adjustable Safety Razor
GroomNStyle close our look at the top 5 best safety razors with an option that differs in two ways: it’s the only two-piece razor on our list, and it’s the only one with an adjustable head. Just turn the blade exposure dial, and the gap between the blade and the safety bar is changed so you can choose exactly how aggressive your shave will be. That’s an unusual feature but is particularly useful if you’re a newbie getting used to safety razors, if you have skin which breaks out at times, or if you’re the type of guy who likes to regularly switch between corporate and lumberjack looks.
Merkur is another well-respected razor manufacturer and the company’s typical design and manufacturing skills went into creating the Futur (the “70” simply refers to the razor’s finish). It’s well-balanced and feels good in the hand, with a moderate-length handle (which quite honestly, can get a bit slippery). There is an oversized head so the razor is a little heavier than the others on our list, and the process of changing the blade is tricky because a clip holds the blade, rather than the screw used on most Merkur models.
The shave itself is very satisfying, and at under $100 the Futur is a beautiful and effective shaver that lets you determine just how aggressive it will be. Just don’t get cocky and set the gap too high until you’re ready.
Digging deeper on the Merkur Futur 70 Adjustable Safety Razor:
That is it for our updated list of the top 5 best straight razors for Jan. 2017 – if you are curious about our choices from previous years then continue reading.
Muhle Sophist Double Edge Safety Razor
High Grade Resin, Black: Muhle is a leading producer of some of the finest shaving equipment. Since its inception in the year 1945 the Muller family was keen on maintaining innovation without compromising on the traditional craftsmanship. This product is a perfect combination of expert craftsmanship, aesthetically pleasing design and avant-garde technology to assure a smooth and satisfactory shaving experience. The Muhle Sophist double edge safety razor incorporates a unique design that features a conventional form with a beautifully crafted handle to fit perfectly into your hand. This beautifully engineered luxury safety razor from Muhle is equipped with a polished head and an ergonomic handle that features a black superior grade scratch resistant resin. It is also much longer and heavier than most safety razors with a chrome knob at the bottom to balance the razor perfectly. This product will definitely remind you that shaving was once upon a time considered as an art and not just an everyday morning chore.
Ikon B1 Open Comb OSS Safety Razor
Ikon safety razors are precision engineered shaving implements. With tremendous attention to detail the Ikon safety razors are beautifully machined and exquisitely crafted for a life-time use. This safety razor is a unique innovation as it combines an open comb and safety bar in one razor. The dual action features allows you to have a truly customized shaving experience. No wonder it is touted as one of the best safety shavers which is a must-have for the most discriminating user. Most of all it provides exceptional value for money. The dual head versatility and innovative design is an added advantage as it promises a comfortable shaving experience.
Merkur Progress Adjustable Safety Razor
Merkur is a reliable and reputable name in the world of shaving equipment. Precision engineered in Germany this is one of the top-notch traditional razors that offers the flexibility of blade adjustment to give you the closest and most convenient shave. The Merkur Progress combines traditional shaving with modern engineering to optimize shaving performance, comfort and results. The design is aesthetically pleasing as it combines high quality stainless steel with an extremely attractive chrome finish. This exceptionally sturdy, finely crafted and beautiful piece of engineering stands out amongst its peers in the world of safety razors. With adjustability built in, it certainly is a one-of-a-kind safety razor. No wonder it is hailed as a reliable work of art.
Top 5 Best Safety Razors Under $100
When it comes to shaving, you always want to get the best deal for your money. The trouble is that most razors have a price tag that goes far beyond what most of us consider conservative. A man can easily spend over a hundred dollars or more just on purchasing a razor. Unfortunately, razors are necessary for those guys who are interested in continuing to shave their faces. Have you ever tried to craft your own razor? That’s because it’s impossible. Good luck harnessing that technology to save a couple bucks.
What many people don’t know about safety razors is that they are actually a great way to shave and can save you a bundle because they are customarily much more affordable, over the long run, than disposable razors. They’re great for travel and actually less wasteful and better for the environment. Not only that, they are more difficult to dull down (meaning you’ll have them for longer and have to deal with replacement hassles a lot less, saving you money), and they’re going to give you a closer shave than you ever imagined. These double edged razors are the perfect way to shave.
So how to get your hands on one of these monsters? GroomNStyle are about to show you. Because the best safety razor for you might be an effective and affordable safety razor. Here are out top 5 safety Razors Under $100.
The Merkur 180 Long Handled Safety Razor
Silver colored and seductive, the Merkur 180 Long Handled Safety Razor looks like something pulled from the past and the future at the same time. Merkur makes some great razors, and this 180 long handled model is a huge stand out among many top quality razors produced by the company. It’s not very expensive, so it will not break the bank, but it looks expensive– always a plus, right? This is a great razor for guys who prefer a long handled razor or have larger hands (which is a larger percentage of the male population than you might think, and a specialty niche that Merkur is catering to perfectly). For all of its heavy metallic appearance, this is a razor that is relatively light, great if you’re used to using those cheap plastic disposables. The Merkur 180 Long Handled Safety Razor has a chrome finish that is shiny but affordable, a great grip, and is well worth the money. Don’t take our word for it– get your hands on a sample pack and truly discover what sets the Merkur 180 apart.
The Edwin Jagger DE89 Safety Razor
This is a shiny little number that sounds like it was patented by Mick Jagger’s cousin (which it wasn’t). What it is, however, is a razor that will give your face as soft and clean shaven as a baby’s bottom. It’s designed like a professional razor in that it leaves all the others behind in a class all their own while soaring triumphantly above. Okay, we’re getting a little enthusiastic. But that’s just because this razor just gets the job done so well– it’s hard not to get carried away about it while waxing sentimental. So what makes the Edwin Jagger so great? Well, it’s incredibly easy to use successfully — it will shave easily but will not make you pay for any missteps when it comes to strokes. It’s also got a great balance due to the razor being weighted at both ends. This means that you are less likely to have an accident and more likely to get a great shave. The model the GroomNStyle team reviewed had a smooth handle so we had to have dry hands to use it. One of our readers (see comment section below) confirmed the shaver comes with a variety of different handles, so please choose a grippy handle if you are likely to utilise the shaver in the shower. Overall this is one of the best safety razors in its class.
Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar Safety Razor
Ar, matey! One of the best safety razors in the land, what more could a pirate want? This razor comes complete with a skull and crossbones engraved onto it. In terms of design and just overall coolness, this razor actually ranks surprisingly high for a topic that is more often than not favored by five year olds. This Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar safety razor basically just looks awesome. The real treasure, however, is in the alignment of this razor that gives the user an extremely close shave. The blades on the Scimitar has a blade that will not slip or cut easily at all. While you need a level of experience in safety razors to use the Scimitar razor to its full effect, this razor is steady and reliable and will give you one of the closest and best quality shaves of your life. Don’t be thrown off by the pirate theme– the Revenge razor will make you look dead handsome.
Parker 99R Safety Razor
First of all, let us start by saying that this razor is 3.4 ounces in weight and features a four inch long handle. The heaviness and girth of the Parker 99R must be what gives it such excellent maneuverability and responsiveness. The 99R uses a butterfly open, where you can twist it in order to access the blade. This is so easy to do that you can do it with one hand! It’s a sleek and well put together safety razor with no extra parts that gives you great control for a good shave every time. Like the Scimitar, this razor is high quality brass that’s covered in chrome with a textured handle that allows for shaving in the shower without threat of imminent throat-opening. Give it a wipe down after you use it and take good care, because while this is one of the best safety razors out there, it also takes a lot of maintenance. Put it in a carrying case and treat her well.
Top 5 Best Safety Razor Review Conclusion
Whether you shave daily or just when you feel like, a good razor is a must. If you are looking for a clean, close, consistently smooth nick-free shave then you will be very satisfied if you invest in any one of the safety razors discussed above. There is no doubt the old fashioned safety razors are making a significant comeback!
Another alternative you might want to consider, as a gift or for yourself, is a straight razor – they are certainly worth investigating! GroomNStyle discusses the differences between straight and safety in the following article – straight razor vs safety razor.