Since before the Bronze Age, men have used straight razors to shave. While our technological capability in the realm of shaving has increased, the most time-tested and effective of all shaving technology remains the straight razor.
Beyond simple effectiveness, learning the art of shaving, partaking in the ritual of billions of men who have lived before, provides a personal satisfaction beyond anything that can be found by using manufactured modern electric razors. Although mastering the skill of shaving with a straight razor may take effort, time, and a small blood toll, it will slowly become an irreplaceable and gratifying part of your daily routine.
- 1 Getting the Ideal Straight Razor
- 2 The 7 Best Straight Razors of 2017
- 3 The Construction of a High Quality Straight Razor
Getting the Ideal Straight Razor
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cut throat razors on the market, although only a select few are capable of reliably providing a high quality shave. A top notch straight razor can last many years, if not a lifetime, if taken care of correctly.
Although buying a high quality straight razor can at first be more costly than purchasing disposable or cheap razors, they are an investment which will save you money for the rest of your life.
There are a variety of cheap razors on the market, and though they may at first seem appealing, long-term use always prove them to be a poor choice. The poor construction of these straight razors can waste money and, in some cases, even be dangerous.
The 7 Best Straight Razors of 2017
Through personal experience as well as the reviews and testimonials of others, we feel confident in providing you some of the most effective and reliable straight razors on the market. Keep reading through these straight razor reviews, and you’ll find an ideal blade for you.
Dovo Diamant Straight Razor, 5/8″
The Dovo Diamant is one of the most exceptional razors that we have yet encountered. This razor includes a hardened black carbon steel blade, and a classic ebonywood handle. Of all the straight razors we reviewed, this is by far one of our favorites, and if treated well, can easily last a lifetime.
- Strong carbon steel blade
- Holds edge for a long time
- Strong ebonywood scales
- Well Balanced
- Sharp out of the box
- Beautiful asthetics
- Higher cost
One of the most notable and entertaining of the straight razor reviews we have read about this product stated, “… it’s the best one I’ve ever used, it’s like a BMW for your face.” Of those we have polled about this straight razor, not one has been dissatisfied.
Boker King Cutter, 5/8″
For those who want a high quality straight razor without the high price tag, the Boker King Cutter (140521) is an ideal choice. This product is made with Boker’s patented high quality alloy blade, which contains silver for improved edge and resistance to rust. Although the handle is plastic, it is made well, and can last for a long time.
- High quality blade & construction
- Easy to sharpen
- Low cost
- Light & Maneuverable
- Not Shave-ready out of the box
- Non-decorative design & construction
This razor is a highly effective alternative to some of the higher priced options available, and with good care can last many years. One reviewer stated, “What can I say … German engineering at its finest.”
Boker Elite Carbon Steel, 6/8″
Although not as decorative as some of the other great straight razors, the Boker Elite (140614) is definitely one of the best. It has the durability and quality of construction you can expect from Boker and comes with a carbon blade, and an exceptionally strong carbon fiber handle.
- Strong carbon steel
- Sharpens easily
- Holds edge well
- Extremely durable scales
- High stability
- Shave-ready out of the box
- Minimalist design
For those who don’t mind the minimal design and are just looking for an extremely well-constructed razor that gets the job done reliably and effectively, this is the best razor for you.
Thiers-Issard Blond Horned Eagle, 6/8”
Those who have been using straight razors for some time know that Thiers-Issard has been one of the most coveted brands since 1884, and their eagle straight razor is second to none. This model has been continually rated one of the best rated straight razors.. Although not a cheap straight razor, if you want a high quality and stylish straight razor that will last you for a lifetime, this is it.
- Hardened Eagle Carbonsong Blade
- Highest quality construction, dependable
- Resilient blonde horn scales (handle)
- Beautiful etching
- Easy to hone
- Holds sharpness for a long time
- Resistant to damage
- Calfskin pouch included
- Relatively high cost
This cut throat razor is one that will easily last and provide reliable, close shaves for a lifetime.
Dovo Gold Ebony Handle Carbon Steel, 5/8″
Like the Dovo straight razor mentioned above, this razor is a highly effective and low-cost alternative. Due to the resilient ebony handle and aesthetics, this razor is a few steps above the norm, and is quite unbeatable for its price.
- High quality carbon steel blade
- Beautiful etching and design
- Strong and dependable ebony scales
- Shave-ready out of the box
- Very Low cost per the quality
- Second to Dovo’s Diamant Razer
Despite being a step below the Diamant, for the price, this is one of the best razors available. For those who are looking for a low-cost alternative to a higher quality razor, or are looking for the best straight razor for beginners, this is it.
Feather DX Folding Wood Handle Razor
Although not considered a true straight razor by many purists, the Feather DX is by far the highest quality disposable blade straight razor we have tried. This barber straight razor is ideal for those who want some of the benefits of a straight razor without having to strop and hone their blade to perfection. This is by far, one of the best Japanese straight razors one can buy.
- Highly resilient stainless steel body
- No sharpening necessary
- Always exceptionally sharp – quick and close shave
- High quality resonated wood handle
- Well-balanced design
- Extremely durable
- Cost (individual blades & body)
Although not often considered a true straight razor, the Feather DX has some big perks that can make it worthwhile for many users. Just be careful, as their Feather razor blades are exceptionally sharp.
The Construction of a High Quality Straight Razor
Each straight razor is built of a specific set components parts, all composed of varying materials. A dysfunction in any of these parts can leave the straight razor completely ineffective for use. When buying a straight razor, be sure to examine and learn about each of these components in order to buy the best straight razors.
The blade is one of the most important components of any straight razor. A high quality blade will be able to be stropped and honed to a long-lasting sharp edge, as well as be rust and water-spot resistant.
High quality straight razor blades are composed primarily of two metals: carbon steel or stainless steel. There are exceptions to this rule, in the case of high quality steel/silver alloys. There are, however, disposable straight razors, though it is still important to pay attention to metal quality.
Carbon steel has become much more popular over the past decade, and can provide a very sharp and high quality shave. The benefit of carbon steel is that it can be hardened to a large extent, and is very easy to hone to an extremely sharp edge. Additionally, they tend to be slightly cheaper than their stainless steel brothers.
One of the biggest benefits of carbon steel is that the metal is more flexible than stainless, and conforms to your face more easily, allowing a closer shave. Although it depends on the hardness of the carbon steel, the sharp edge wears away slightly faster than stainless steel. However, they are less resistant to damage than stainless steel alternatives.
Stainless steel has been the golden standard of straight razor blade for many years. The biggest benefit of owning a stainless steel blade is that they are incredibly resistant to rust, water spots and other damage if taken care of correctly. Although they typically take longer to hone to a sharp edge, the sharp edge tends to last a bit longer than carbon steel.
For those who live in humid regions, a stainless steel blade is ideal for long-term usage, whereas in dry regions, a carbon steel blade can be very competitive alternative. Neither is necessarily better than the other in all areas, and is a personal choice you need to make depending upon your preference.
Although these metals can be highly effective, the forging and tempering of these metals must be done with great care in order to create a high quality blade, which quickly eliminates many of the cheaper blades.
Any straight razor that is not composed of a high quality steel, or a high quality patented alloy, such as what Boker uses in many of their blades, will not stand the test of time, and will cause more difficulty than it is worth. Anyone serious about their shaving should also check out these high quality shaving brushes.
One of the most important factors when buying a blade is the width. For new users, you shouldn’t go with anything below 5/8” – 6/8” is ideal. The reason for this, is that they are much easier to start with and give a dramatically reduced chance of cutting yourself.
After you have gained a bit of experience with these widths, moving down to a 9/16” or a 4/8” is practical, as they are highly maneuverable and can provide a close shave with very consistent results.
The Handle (Scales)
Another very important portion of any straight razor is the handle. Even if taken care of correctly, a broken handle can occur if the material quality is not up to par. For this reason, always take care to make sure the scales are of the highest quality before purchasing any straight razor.
Wood handles are some of the most common. If you choose a wood handle, it should have a high quality finish (resinated) and be a harder type of wood, such as ebony or mahogany. Otherwise, the wood may swell, snap or splinter, ruining the efficacy of the whole straight razor.
Typically, a scale of this type will last a lifetime, as long as it is crafted well. With this type of handle, it is hard to determine its strength without feeling it. For this reason, I suggest only buying straight razors with this type of handle from reputable companies such as Thiers-Issard, who commonly uses this type of handle.
Like celluloid, bone and horn, plastic is typically to be avoided, with the exception of some of the best straight razor brands such as Dovo, which use a strong, high quality, rustproof polymer. However, buying a straight razor with a plastic scale from disreputable brands can be a disaster.
There are a few other important components, such as the pivot, which attach the blade to the handle. A strong pivot is essential, and a malfunction can cause both damage to the blade, and you.
Most other components, such as the tang, are not exceptionally important, but can help provide a good grip for your straight razor.
The list above was compiled from many hours of work in order to give you a full picture of different straight razors. I know that any of these razors will satisfy the most difficult customers and the most difficult shaves.