Best Safety Razors for 2023 (Ultimate Guide)
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Here is a list of the best safety razors for every type of beard. No matter if you grow 10 hairs on your face or if people mistake you for the sasquatch after a week of no shaving, you will find a razor in this list that will suit your needs.
Safety razors have made a strong comeback as of late. With men realizing the expense of cartridge razors is unjustified and the resurgence of traditional methods of men’s grooming, safety razors are becoming more and more popular.
Note: Most of the razors I have included in this list are either manufactured by Merkur or Edwin Jagger. The reason for this is that when you are purchasing any product, you want to get the best value. Best value entails a product with a track record of quality, durability and effectiveness. In this regard, you cannot beat Merkur and Edwin Jagger.
Merkur has been producing safety razors for over 100 years while Edwin Jagger has been at it since 1988. Sure, there are plenty of small vendors and production houses producing decently made if not great razors but their products have not stood the test of time, unlike those from Merkur and Edwin Jagger.
Think of it this way, if you are interested in buying a car that will serve you reliably, you naturally go for the reputable brand like Toyota or Honda. You don’t choose a Zonda or Bugatti.
The same idea applies to safety razors. You want to get a quality made razor from a brand known for reliability and service. Once your preferences change and you have the means, then sure, buy as many new and unique safety razors as you want.
The Best Safety Razor for Beginners
The best safety razor for a beginner needs to be affordable, well-built, efficient and safe. It needs to be affordable because just like with any hobby, you don’t want to spend a fortune when starting out because you don’t know where your preferences will take you. It needs to be well-built because you are transferring from a cartridge razor and considering a safety razor costs considerably more upfront, you want to make a wise investment that will last a few years if not more. Finally, since you are a beginner, the razor needs to be safe but still cut hair efficiently. So, its best to go for a mild aggression razor.
The Merkur 34C is arguably the most recommended safety razor on forums for beginners. This is no surprise considering many if not all wet-shavers have used this razor one time or another. The Merkur 34C is a well-built German razor with mild aggression. It’s short handle allows for great maneuverability during the shave while its balanced weight provides an excellent shave.
Edwin Jagger DE89
After the 34C, the Edwin Jagger DE89 is one of the most popular beginner safety razors. Similar to the 34C, the DE89 is a mid-aggression razor with good build quality and a stunning chrome finish. The DE89 is made in Sheffield England by Edwin Jagger. The DE89 comes in a variety of different handle colors, patterns and styles.
The Best Safety Razors for Sensitive Skin
Some men are blessed with a lot of facial hair. Combine this with the fact that they may also have sensitive skin which becomes irritated during and after the shave. In this case they need an aggressive and efficient razor which can get things done as quickly as possible with little to no irritation.
This is where slant razors come in. Unlike traditional safety razors where the blade is held in a straight line, a slant razor is designed to give the blade an angle which slices the hair at a curved angle. Many men swear by a slant razor and state that it slices the hair effortlessly thereby giving them a close shave with only 1 or 2 passes. Less passes means a lesser chance of irritation.
The Merkur 37C is the slant version of the 34C. It is a 2 piece razor just like the 34C and shares the same build quality and finish. The 37C is one of the most popular slant razors on the market and is great for men who want to transfer from a 34C into a razor with more efficiency yet similar weight and build quality.
The Merkur 39C is affectionally referred to as the sledge hammer by wet-shaving enthusiasts. The 39C is a longer handled and heavier version of the 37C. As such, it is a great razor for men with larger hands wanting to transition to a slant razor but who find the handle on the 37C too short.
Best Razor for Heavy Beard
Let me make this clear; the Muhle R41 is not a beginner safety razor. Those men who started off their wet-shaving journey with the Muhle R41 were permanently put off from wet-shaving altogether.
With that out of the way, let’s get into why the Muhle R41 made this list. The R41 is an open comb razor with a good amount of blade exposure. This means that it is very aggressive and efficient.
Let me try to explain its aggression and efficiency in cutting hair as simply as possible. There are videos of men on YouTube who easily shave off months if not years of beard growth with the Muhle R41. Yes, not stubble, a full beard.
And this is where the R41 shows its magic. If you are interested in shaving once a week or maybe even more infrequently, the R41 is a perfect razor for this job. Just make sure you use proper technique or you might loose a few layers of skin as well. But with proper technique, the Muhle R41 really is in a league of its own.
Best Adjustable Safety Razors
Adjustable safety razors provide the best of both worlds when it comes to shaving. They can be dialed down to a more mild setting for someone who is a beginner or with sensitive skin. They can also just as easily be tuned up in aggression for someone looking for a more efficient and aggressive shave.
The Rockwell 6C and 6S
These are the new kids on the blocks when it comes to adjustable safety razors. The Rockwell 6C and 6S use a patented system which increases the aggressiveness of the shave by altering the blade gap. When there is more blade gap, the razor becomes more aggressive while a smaller blade gap leads to a more milder shave.
Unlike traditional adjustable razors where the razor can be tuned up or down in aggression without disassembly, the 6C and 6C need to be disassembled and then reassembled with the base plate of choice. This makes it quite a hassle mid-shave. Regardless, the Rockwell 6C and 6S are great razors that can serve you throughout your wet-shaving journey from an amatuer up to a more advanced shaver.
Read our full review of the Rockwell 6C vs 6S.
The Merkur Progress is an excellent do it all razor. It is a true adjustable razor in the sense that you can easily change its aggressiveness mid-shave without having to disassemble anything. The Progress comes in 2 variations with a shorter and longer handle. It’s shaving characteristics change depending on the blade exposure which is adjusted for by the numerical settings. Lower numbers correspond to a milder shave while higher numbers result in more blade exposure leading to a more aggressive shave.
The Merkur Futur looks like something out of a sci-fi movie or novel. It is a true adjustable razor with settings ranging from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most mild while setting 6 being the most aggressive.
The Futur relies on the same mechanism to change its shaving characteristics (i.e. aggressiveness). When you tune up the razor to a higher setting, the blade gap increases which increases the aggressiveness of the shave.
It’s heft and adjustability make it a smooth shaver. However it’s bulbous razor head can cause some difficulty while shaving. If you have mustache hair that grows close under your nose, you may experience difficulty maneuvering the Futur in that area.
Some wet-shaving enthusiasts purchase the Futur, shave with it once or twice, and then realize it looks better on a display than in their hands while shaving. And who could blame them? The Futur looks incredibly unique! It also comes in multiple finishes ranging from a satin finish to even a gold plated version.
Best Affordable Safety Razors
For some men, switching over to a safety razor has more to do with affordability than anything else. As such, some men find even $50 safety razors overly expensive. These men have probably tried incredibly cheap safety razors but realized that those razors last no more than a few weeks due to their poor build quality.
So the goal is to find a safety razor in the $30 range that blends both affordability and durability. This is a list of quality made and affordable safety razors that you can find below or within the $30 range.
Gillette Heritage Safety Razor
After the resurgence of wet-shaving, Gillette finally realized the market potential of re-introducing their safety razors. Their first safety razor in decades is the Gillette Heritage Safety Razor.
Don’t think that this is some cheaply made mass produced razor. In fact, it is a quality made razor which is on par with the Merkur 34C and Edwin Jagger DE89 in terms of build quality and finish. The razor head is made in Germany while the handle is made in the United States. It is a chrome plated alloy razor just like the 34C and DE89.
In fact, this close similarity in both build quality and shave experience has led some wet shavers to conjecture that this razor shares the razor head with the Edwin Jagger DE89 and Muhle R89. Either way, this is a well-built razor that will last just as long as a Merkur 34C or an Edwin Jagger DE89. It also comes in an awesome looking vintage case with some Gillette blades.
The Merkur 23C is a 3 piece non-adjustable safety razor similar to the Merkur 34C. In fact, it’s shaving dynamics are also pretty much identical with it being quite mild. Unlike the 34C however, the 23C is a bit lighter and has a longer handle which is great for those who prefer a long handled razor. This is a great everyday shaver with the same robust build quality as the Merkur 34C.
Edwin Jagger DE89 (certain models)
The Edwin Jagger DE89 comes in plenty of handle variations. There are multiple handle designs, lengths and colors to choose from. The razor head however, remains the same.
This means you get the same mild quality shave that you come to expect from a DE89 regardless of which handle you choose. Certain DE89 models are priced cheaper than others and some come in at under $30 which is an extraordinary value for such a quality made razor.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best safety razors. I tried to include quality made razors that would suit every type of wet-shaver from beginners to more advanced shavers, as well as those with a heavy or light beard. Let me know in the comments which safety razor you use and why it is your favorite!