If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best straight razor for beginners is, then we recommend the Feather SS Folding Handle Razor as the best one.
Are you bored with shaving with cartridge or safety razors and are looking for a challenge? Then you might want to try a straight razor, like the kind you see men use in movies set over 100 years ago.
But before you rush out and buy the first one you see, you might want to read this guide featuring my top picks for the best straight razor for beginners.
In this article, we are going to review the following straight razors
- Equinox Professional Straight Edge Razor
- Dovo Straight Razor Carbon
- Feather SS Folding Handle Razor
- Parker SRX Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor
- Feather Black SS Japanese Straight Razor
What Is a Straight Razor?
Also referred to as an open razor or cut-throat razor, a straight razor is simply a long blade that is attached to a handle that folds in on itself for safety.
They’ve been around in some form for thousands of years, but the first steel-edged safety razors were produced in Sheffield, England, in the 17th century.
What Are the Benefits of Straight Razors?
Now, why would you want to use a straight razor? I mean, they look intimidating, right? Well, for shaving aficionados, there really isn’t a better tool for getting a clean, close shave.
They Provide the Best Shave
If you’ve ever had the luxury of a barber shave your face with an open blade, you know there’s nothing like it. Cartridge and disposable razors do not give the same level of a shave as an open razor. Safety razors are a close second.
Straight razors also are an excellent choice for men with sensitive skin or who suffer from ingrown hairs, like a lot of black men do thanks to our curly and coarse beard hair.
And last but not least, they are versatile. You don’t have to worry about buying a safety razor with the correct aggression level or electric shaver that doesn’t do the job. Instead, it depends on your technique, which you must learn.
They tackle even the densest growth with ease, but they also are an excellent tool for guys who have lighter growth.
They Save You Money
Yes, they are more expensive than cartridge and safety razors. But, without the need to replace cartridges and blades after they dull over time, or handles as they break, you will save money in the long run with a straight razor.
You will need to purchase things like strops and whetstones for regular maintenance, but again, they last a long time in comparison to cartridges and double-edged blades.
But if the thought of all that sharpening seems cumbersome to you, you’ll be happy to know that there are open razors called “shavettes” that use disposable straight razor blades. Shavettes are often the first type of straight razor beginners decide to purchase for this reason.
They Are Eco-Friendly
Out of all the different types of razors, the open razor is the best for the planet.
There are no blades or handles to dispose of. You can buy a straight razor and sharpen it yourself or send it off for a professional sharpening.
Of course, over time, a straight razor will dull. But it can take years as opposed to weeks as with cartridge or safety razor blades.
What to Look for in a Straight Razor
There are a few things to look for when buying a straight razor such as the handle materials, the length of the handle, the type of blades if purchasing a shavette-style straight razor, the grind type, the weight, and the price.
Straight razors come with many different styles and handle materials. You can find straight razors with handles made out of wood, chrome, resin, and even bone.
While you might think that it’s all personal preference, the materials can make a difference. They can affect the weight and, therefore, the overall balance of the blade.
And as a beginner, you’ll want to make sure you don’t buy an open razor that’s too heavy. Your hands will get tired faster, leading to a frustrating shaving experience.
However, you will want to steer away from plastic-only handles that are usually flimsy and break easily. I like enamel handles with resin covers that offer enough weight for balance but are durable.
Stainless steel handles are also a great choice because they are sturdy and easy to clean. If you buy a straight razor with stainless steel, make sure it’s lightweight.
If you go for a shavette, you’ll want to take a look at the different types of blades. If you tend to have thick or dense hair, then a sharper blade is better. Men with sensitive skin, like mine, should steer toward smooth blades.
For straight razors with fixed blades, you’ll want to pay attention to the razor’s grinding process.
If you see a lot of material at the top of the blade, it’s a wedge grind, which has a learning curve. It’s the type of grind that can lead to severe cuts if you don’t know what you’re doing. They’re also harder to maintain.
Beginners should look for the hollow grind, which is more forgiving, easier to maneuver, and faster to clean.
There’s also the blade tip to consider. You’ll find that blades have one of four different styles: square, round, French, and Spanish. Beginners will want to use a round style because there is less of a chance of accidentally poking yourself with a pointy end.
Open razors are more expensive than their cousins, the safety razor, and the cartridge razor. However, I have recommendations for all types of budgets, so don’t worry that they are all super expensive.
The Five Best Straight Razors for Beginners
Now that you know the basics of choosing an open razor, here comes the fun part! Here are my five top picks for the best straight razors for beginners.
I’m starting off with a shavette-style of straight razor because they are a great way to test out this style of razor without investing in a fixed-blade razor.
Out of the box, you get 100 single-edge Derby blades, giving you almost a year’s worth of shaves (your mileage may vary). Derby is a famous manufacturer of high-quality blades, so this is a big bonus in my book.
The handle is lightweight stainless steel, making it resistant to rust and corrosion as long as you clean it and dry it after each use. Some users report that it will start rusting without proper maintenance.
You’ll notice the ergonomic design and evenly distributed weight when you start your shave. It’s easy to figure out how to hold the razor, even for beginners.
Switching out the blade is almost effortless due to the pop-up style blade guard. When opening the blade guard, two arms pull apart to allow you to drop the blade into place.
As far as price, the Equinox is less expensive than some cartridge razors and all types of safety razors. Considering you get about 200 shaves out of one purchase, it’s a steal.
- You get a ton of blades at an affordable price.
- The stainless steel handle is lightweight and ergonomic.
- Changing the blades out is simple.
- It will rust and corrode if not cleaned and dried after each use.
- Some users report the blade guard is flimsy.
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For those of you with a bigger budget or are ready to switch to a fixed-style straight razor, you should definitely consider the Dovo Straight Razor Carbon.
The three-inch carbon steel blade has a full hollow grind and a round tip, making it a good option for beginners who need to learn the correct straight-razor technique. The hollow grind is also easier to clean and maintain.
As far as blade quality, it is phenomenal, providing a close shave with only one to two passes, at most. For those who appreciate luxury, you’ll also appreciate the etched words, “Prima Silver Steel” on the blade.
The blade itself is not overly aggressive, making it an excellent choice for men with sensitive skin.
The entire razor is lightweight, making it easy to maneuver over the face without any nicks or cuts when using the correct technique. However, it’s not so light that it adversely affects the closeness of the shave.
You will need to purchase a strop and whetstone to maintain the blade, so keep that in mind if you aren’t a big fan of high-maintenance grooming tools.
- It is high-quality in almost every aspect.
- The round tip and hollow grind are perfect for beginners.
- It is stylish yet functional.
- It is expensive.
- The blade may need to be sharpened before first use.
- You will need to purchase a whetstone and strop for maintenance.
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Another shavette-style straight razor I recommend is the Feather SS Folding Handle Razor. It’s more affordable than the Dovo, but it performs just as well.
Feather is a Japanese company that’s known for manufacturing some of the best razor blades on the market.
They developed a razor with a stainless steel body that is highly resistant to damage from heat and chemicals. It is also highly rust-resistant, but you should still clean and dry the blade to prolong its life.
The rounded shaving head is perfect for beginners, and the blade provides a smooth shaving experience.
You’ll also appreciate the enamel handle that is crafted using a resin that resists heat up to 135c.
The handle provides an excellent level of grip and control and also makes applying the correct amount of pressure a breeze. Accidentally nicking or cutting yourself is minimized thanks to the superior build of the handle and quality of the blade.
Removing the blade is simple thanks to the spring-mounted blade head. Disinfecting it by boiling it or applying alcohol won’t damage it at all. So if you’re someone who prefers sterilizing his razor, go for it. Just don’t use sodium hypochlorite because that will damage the razor, according to the manufacturer.
And when the blade gets dull, you can pop it out and replace it with a new one — no need to get out the whetstone and strop or send it off for a professional sharpening.
- You can swap out the blade when it gets dull.
- The overall construction makes learning straight razor shaving easy.
- Cleaning it is a breeze.
- The stainless steel is of the highest quality and won’t rust.
- The replacement blades are expensive.
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While some might say the Parker SRX shavette-style straight-edge is not a the best choice for beginners, I beg to differ. I think they are intimidated by the fact it has the word “barber” in the name, but they shouldn’t be.
The blade is made from premium-grade stainless steel. It is heavier than some of the other razors on this list, but it doesn’t impede the performance. The weight helps beginners shave close to the skin without needing a lot of pressure, lessening the chance for accidental cuts.
I should note the handle is not made from stainless steel, even though it’s made to look like it is. It is plastic, so if that is a deal-breaker for you, you have been warned.
You’ll also appreciate the rounded head, which again minimizes accidental cuts and nicks blades with square or pointed ends.
When a blade gets dull, replacing it with one of the five sample replacement blades is simple to do. Once the blade is in place, the Clip/Lock system keeps the blade locked down while in use.
As far as price, it is affordable. It’s not as expensive as the Dovo, but it’s more costly than the Equinox.
- The weight allows beginners to get a close shave.
- The Parker blades are of high quality.
- The blades are easy to swap out when they get dull.
- It is affordable.
- The handle is plastic.
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Last but not least is another replaceable-style straight razor, the Feather Black SS Japanese Straight Razor.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that it doesn’t fold like the other straight razors on this list. It is a fixed straight-head razor, and some users prefer this style over the folding design.
The body of the razor is made from stainless steel, with the same heat- and chemical-resistant silicone resin handle as the Feather SS Folding Handle razor. You also get the same fantastic level of control and grip, which is vital for beginners.
And, if you like disinfecting your straight razors, the Feather SS can take being boiled and exposed to alcohol.
As far as blades go, you get a rounded shaving head with just the right amount of blade exposure, resulting in a smooth and pleasant shave.
Once a blade gets dull, replacing it is easy thanks to the spring-loaded mechanism. All you need to do is pinch the blade holder at the top to release the old blade and then add a new one.
I should note you cannot use other brands of blades as replacements. Feather blades aren’t cheap, so if that’s a big deal, take a look at the other brands I have reviewed.
- Feather blades are known for being high-quality.
- The resin handle provides exceptional grip and control.
- You can swap out the blades as they get dull.
- You cannot use other brands of straight blades.
- It is on the expensive side, especially since you can’t use other brands of blades.
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Now for the moment of truth, my pick for the best straight razor for beginners. It was a hard decision, but I have to say that the Feather SS Folding Handle Razor is my favorite.
You really get a high-quality straight razor for a reasonable price. I also like the ability to replace the blades, because I don’t really have the time or interest in sharpening the blades myself.
I chose this over the Feather Black SS Japanese Straight Razor because I prefer the folding-blade style. It seems like a safer design overall, but you might feel differently.