If you’ve ever been to a barber, you’ve probably wondered how barbers are able to achieve a close shave with no hassle.
Apart from being professionals, one of the main reasons is because they use the best straight razors. Unlike other kinds of razors, a straight razor or a shavette provides more control.
Since it is a single fixed razor, you can control the angle and pressure of the blade, to achieve the closest shave possible.
In this article, we’ll be looking at one of the most misunderstood grooming products on the market – the straight razor also ominously called cut-throat razor!
We’ll try to set right a few wrongs and tell you just why this “cut-throat” razor could actually be the best razor design out there.
To achieve this, we’ve selected our best straight razors list based on the following:
- Their pros and cons
- The cost of purchase
- The length and width of the blades
- The type of material used for the blade (carbon vs. stainless steel)
- Whether they’re traditional (honed) or shavette (replaceable) razors
Let’s dive right in and learn about the art of shaving!
What is a Straight Razor?
A straight razor is a type of razor with a single shaving blade that is sharpened on one side and a handle with a blade guard that can be folded easily.
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These barber razors are made from different materials ranging from stainless steel to artisanal Damascus and are attached to a handle known as the scale.
On the scale, there are small pivot points that hold the blade and grip together. As a result, the knives will fold inside the handles similarly to a pocket knife.
Every blade is unique and they vary based on the length, handle material, blade width, tip shape, and body materials.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Best Straight Razors
OUR TOP PICK
Sigma Grooming Straight Razor
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Dovo “Dovo Special” Straight Razor
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Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor
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Feather Artist Club DX Folding Razor
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DOVO Inox Straight Razor
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Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor
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A.P Donovan Straight Razor Set
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Classic Samurai CS-102 Stainless Steel Barber Straight Edge Razor
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Just in case we do convince you, we’ll also take a look at the best straight razors your money can buy.
Use the table of contents below to jump to the sections most important to you.
The Best Straight Razors of 2023 Reviewed
1. Sigma Grooming Straight Razor
To start off, we have a classic shavette straight razor sometimes called a barber razor on our list of top picks.
We chose this razor as the top of the best straight razors for its solid combination of affordability, ease of use, and sleek aesthetics.
Who Is It Best For?
Men who want the benefits of shaving with a straight razor without the hassle of honing and sharpening.
You may want to sit down for this news, but barber razors, otherwise known as shavette straight razors, were invented for barbers.
Barbers will see many different people men each day, and if they used a traditional straight razor they would have to disinfect and hone it after every client.
In short, it would be a hassle and delay for them.
Straight razor grinds make up one-fourth of the entire blade surface area.
The straight razor shave barber technique is employed for a seamless shave.
We all have busy lives, so this can also be a hassle for many men – especially those that shave very often.
Now enter this razor from Sigma Grooming.
It is the best version of a shavette we’ve used to date.
It has all the benefits of a straight razor in terms of weight, size, and how it feels in your hand.
It combines all of that with the ease of use and convenience of a disposable blade.
Another great thing about this razor, and one of the reasons we placed it on top, is the price.
You can get a fantastic razor for under 30 bucks.
You will have to continue buying blades, though, but rest easy because those are less than a few cents each.
This straight razor for barbers is made of stainless steel which may make it a little heavier.
It gives it a good heft in the hand which helps you maintain precision and weight balance.
That also makes it corrosion-proof and extremely strong.
The matte black metal looks sleek and manly and will look great in any man’s collection of grooming tools.
With this shavette-style razor, you get the ability to use any single edge razor blade.
Furthermore, this Sigma Grooming razor comes bundled with fifty free ones to get you started.
You can also use any other company’s blades, which means you can shave with more or less aggressive blades.
- Durable stainless steel
- Low price point
- Compatible with other types of blades
- The latch can be a little finicky. To avoid this, be sure to close it completely to lock in the blade.
2. Dovo “Dovo Special” Straight Razor
Another premium vintage straight razor from premium manufacture is the Dovo “Dovo Special” Straight Razor.
Who Is It Best For?
Anyone who wants a premium straight razor that’s ready to use straight out the box.
Founded in Solingen, Germany, way back in 1906, DOVO is among razor brands that is known for straight razors.
So when they come out with a model and name it the “DOVO-Special,” you know it’s definitely a good product.
This Dovo straight razor comes with premium features – one of which is the fact it comes ready to shave straight out the box.
In fact, no first grind or hone is required here.
You can open the packet with one hand whilst applying shaving cream with the other and be shaving two minutes after the box arrives.
And what about the shave you are going to get?
This is a carbon steel razor blade of the finest German quality.
It is built with just about the best blade material you can find on a straight razor.
It is high temper too – this means less sharpening required over the long lifespan of the blade.
Employing a whetstone for a straight razor is an ideal practice to ease the stress of sharpening the blades over time.
What DOVO did is apply that quality material to a 5/8” sized blade with a round point.
That smaller size makes it ideal for getting into every nook and cranny on your face, whilst the rounded edge means you won’t accidentally cut yourself when working in crucial angles.
However, we’re not huge fans of the imitation tortoiseshell.
There are far nicer materials that will feel better than the imitation tortoiseshell, in our opinion at least.
Still, it’s a small gripe against what is a quality razor.
3. Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor
Next up, we have another very impressive blade manufacturer.
This one hails from Japan and is a very interesting razor blade in the market.
Who Is It Best For?
Anyone looking for the best balance between a disposable razor and a quality barber razor (or barber straight razor).
While this isn’t the only shavette style design we’ll be looking at today, this is undoubtedly one of the unique styles.
Feather has proven to know a lot about making super sharp razors and has been doing just that since 1932.
This straight edge razor is one of their best models.
Design and Performance
The first, is the blade. Yes, it’s stainless steel, but since it’s disposable, that doesn’t matter so much.
Each blade will come perfectly sharpened by Feather, ready for you to use.
Replacing the blade is very easy and a lot safer than some other shavette models. Simply pinch the blade out of the spring-mounted housing to remove it. Then, snap a new blade into place with very little force required, and you’re good to go.
The handle is coated with a silicone-like substance which feels nice on the hand and also has an excellent non-slip surface to minimize accidents during shaving.
Of course, the downside is that you are tied into buying replacement blades.
But when the best straight razors only cost about a quarter per blade, you’re hardly going to bankrupt yourself.
Bottom line, if you want the quality shave of the best straight razor combined with the ease of use of a disposable one, then this could be the right razor for you.
4. Feather Artist Club DX Folding Razor
Feather is back again (we told you they were good), with yet another straight razor that combines a top-quality shave experience with a truly eye-catching design.
Who Is It Best For?
Anyone looking for a razor that looks and feels incredible while still delivering a superb shave.
Oh, and it’s low maintenance too.
What more can we say about Feather?
They already took a starring role in our guide to safety razors, and now they’re threatening to run away with our straight razor guide too.
We cannot deny the fact that these guys make quality razors, some of which are being used by professional barbers all around the world.
This is another razor that uses disposable blades which means that you don’t need to worry about honing or sharpening your blade.
Just take it out and replace it.
As we already said above, Feather blades are of outstanding quality anyway, so you have no worries about the blade itself.
But it is how this straight razor holds and deploys that cutting edge that truly impressed us.
First of all, the blade locks in place with a simple but effective mechanism. This mechanism includes an internally mounted tension screw.
The screw locks the blade with a solid horizontal force, creating a shavette that looks and feels as good as any traditional straight razor.
Speaking of feel, that teak wood handle has incredible ergonomics on the hand.
It is clearly a quality construction but is also highly practical.
It’s non-slip in wet conditions and has enough heat tolerance on the entire razor and is easily disinfected in boiling water.
The handle also contributes to the excellent balance of the razor.
It has been designed to operate with the blade and handle working in unity.
That makes for a razor that just feels so intuitive in your hand and gives you the confidence to really go for a close shave.
It’s not cheap – not by a long shot!
But for those people who are not put off by the high price, this razor is an incredible investment that will pay you back many, many times over with close and professional quality shaves.
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5. DOVO Inox Straight Razor
Here is another entry for DOVO Solingen straight razors.
While the last two products have come with innovative designs, this is a back-to-basics model and is all about cutting power.
Who Is It Best For?
Anyone looking for a traditional straight razor design with the power to give the closest shave possible.
We’re going to kick off this ‘barbers knife’ review by diving straight into the quality of the blade on this model.
DOVO has made a solid effort across the entirety of this design.
The handle, for example, is of exceptionally high-quality olive wood.
Just as with the handle on the last razor from Feather, this wooden handle looks and feels the part.
It is comfortable to hold, clearly tough, and long-lasting, and adds a nice weight and balance to the square point razor.
The tang – the piece of metal that connects the blade and handle – is also a little thicker than you will see on some other models of razors.
So, all in all, it’s a really well-designed straight razor with a great feel on the hand.
But we know you’re here for the blades, so let’s get to that.
It has a full hollow grind on the blade.
A straight razor hollow ground is done to make the blades super sharp.
This results in a blade that is finely honed to a very narrow point, providing an outstanding cutting area.
Due to the wide area of the grind, it is a little easier to hone compared to some of the other blades.
That itself is a great little advantage to this design, resulting in a blade that is not only razor-sharp (no pun intended) but is also pretty easy to keep it that sharp too.
Whilst full hollow blades are great, extra hollow ground straight razor blades have a bit deeper grind which puts them up there amongst the sharpest.
If we’re going to throw any negatives at this razor, it would merely be a warning that this is not a blade suitable for people new to straight razor shaving.
Again, I repeat, this is not the best beginner straight razor
It is just too sharp to be used as a learning tool, with an aggressive and pretty unforgiving blade.
If you have been using a straight razor for a while and have your technique down, then that is a different story.
In that case, it could be well worth your time to check this bad boy out if you are looking for one of the sharpest blades on the market right now, with the power to deliver a closer shave than almost any other razor out there.
6. Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Barber Razor
Next up, we have got a solid example of what is often called a classic shavette straight razor or sometimes called a barber old-fashioned razor.
Parker straight razors are classic, to say the least.
Who Is It Best For?
Any man looking for the ease of use and adaptability of a shavette razor.
Prepare to have your minds blown, but barber (shavette) razors were invented for barbers shaving.
These classic razors were invented as a fast and hygienic way for barbers to use the best straight razors in their shops.
Think about it, a typical barber will see dozens of people every day.
If he is using a traditional straight razor, he has to keep disinfecting it after every use, as well as honing it before every customer gets on the chair.
With the best straight razors, of which this model from Parker is a great example, the hassle is reduced.
It has all the benefits of the best straight in terms of weight, size, and hand feels.
It combines all of that with the ease of use of a disposable blade.
This makes it a great tool for personal as well as professional grooming.
It provides a perfect balance between a traditional straight razor and a safety razor – though if anything, it is leaning more toward the straight razor style of design.
The arm that holds the blade is stainless steel, not aluminium.
However, it’s also an extremely strong and corrosion-proof shaving knife.
The metal handle is… not that best – we won’t lie.
However, it’s not that bad, either, it’s perfectly functional, just a little bit boring.
One sure thing is that the cash outlay here is small, we’re talking of just a few bucks here to get the tool.
Of course, have to keep buying the blades too, but they are literally a few cents each.
Finally, it should be noted this tool has terrific compatibility with a huge range of single edge blades.
This tool comes bundled with some free ones from Shark, so, you can try those out first.
But you can also pick up blades to fit this machine from just about any manufacturer in the world of razor blades.
That’s really cool, as it means you can easily adapt your razor to give the kind of a shave you want by selecting more or less aggressive blades.
That adaptability is certainly one of the big plus points of this razor blade design.
7. A.P Donovan Straight Razor Set
Our next product is this, a complete straight razor shaving kit.
This straight razor kit brings with it everything you need to start shaving straight out the box, but the key question has to be, how good is this razor?
Who Is It Best For?
Anyone who is a complete newcomer to straight razor shaving and seeks all the tools in one convenient package.
This is arguably the best straight razor of premium craftsmanship for beginners – at least it comes fully kitted.
So far, all the products we’ve looked at assume that you have other products already – or at least are happy to invest in them separately.
The fact is, for the best shaving experience, the best straight razors cannot work alone.
To get the most out of them, they need quality shaving creams and well-made shave brushes, amongst other tools and items.
However, if you are new to straight razor use, there is a good chance you don’t have any – or at least some – of the extra items you need.
Buying all the extra stuff can quickly add up.
Let’s face it as well, the straight razor itself isn’t exactly cheap.
If this is ringing bells with you, then perhaps you could consider investing in this kit from A.P. Donovan.
What you get here is a quality shaving brush, a decent shave soap, and – most importantly – a honing strap.
That is pretty much ticking off all of the most important tools to get started with your best straight razors.
You’ll also need a straight razor by itself, and thankfully, you are getting one of good quality here.
The blade is a Japanese Alloy, essentially carbon steel, which is a superb material for blade construction.
It’s also a bigger blade than we’ve seen so far, with a 7/8” width and a nice traditional style of razor.
It has a well-designed and built wooden handle, providing a good balance on the hand.
This kit also comes in a very nice wooden storage box, making it a great gift for men.
One issue is that the razor is not shave-ready straight out of the box.
To us, this is a bit of a shame as this kit is ideal for beginners.
It would be helpful to them to have the blade shave-ready so that they can practice maintaining that cutting-edge with the honing strap, rather than having to sharpen the edge of the blade themselves.
Do note – the blade has been ground, so you don’t need to take it to a sharpening shop.
But it is not quite sharp enough to shave with straight away, so you need to work on it with the honing strap first.
Still, this is a quality razor, backed up with a good array of essential tools, all delivered in one convenient package.
8. Classic Samurai CS-102 Stainless Steel Barber Straight Edge Razor
We’ll finish up with this barber razor-style tool from Classic Samurai.
It is the cheapest tool on our list.
Well, is it bringing anything else other than a bargain price tag?
Read on to find out.
Spoiler: It is.
Who Is It Best For?
Any man who wants a straight razor shave with a tool that he can buy with loose change found down the back of the sofa.
If you were to take a straight razor and strip it back to its absolute base components, then you may end up with something a little like this razor from Classic Samurai.
It looks like it’s made of bits that fell off of the Terminator’s arm.
First of all, great company name, Classic Samurai, great job!
Secondly, that stripped-back design brings several benefits to this razor.
As we alluded to above, this is a crazy cheap razor.
It has such a low price tag that we actually had to double-check it with the supplier – we thought they had made a mistake!
You are also getting the best straight razors that are very simple but also effective.
The full construction is stainless steel – no plastic handle here, which gives a product that feels great on the hand with a decent weight.
It is also strong, tough, and corrosion-resistant.
That all-metal construction makes it super easy to disinfect as well.
This is a shavette straight razor too and that means that you can pop in a blade from just about any manufacturer that you can find.
This allows you to find a bespoke shave with a razor blade that best suits you, your face, and your facial hair.
You also get a pack of free blades from Derby bundled in here, so you can give them a try.
We should point out that the mechanism that holds the blade is not as good here as you will find on some other shavette style razors.
It does the job, and it does hold the blade in place effectively, but it is not quite the quality of more premium razors.
There is no tension screw, for example.
Still, this product will provide a quality shave for a very, very low price.
Other Straight Razors
Apart from the best straight razors we have mentioned above, you may want to consider other straight razors that can be used for a good shave below:
- Hart straight razor
- Lynn abrams straight razor
- Harry’s straight razor
If you are going to get the best out of your shaving straight razor, then you are not only going to know how to strop a straight razor but also use it properly.
Some of the best strop for straight razors are made by renowned straight razor manufacturers that know the nitty-gritty of razors and appropriate maintenance.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Straight Razors
Buying a straight razor is not like any other purchase.
After our straight razor reviews, in the first section, we’ll highlight the features and design points that make each design unique.
Remember these, and they will help you to find the right razor to suit your needs.
1. Blade Width
Blade width is going to come as either 5/8” or 7/8” and sometimes 8/8”.
Spoiler alert there is only one 7/8” blade on the list below and no 8/8” width blade at all.
That actually came as a surprise to us because, back in the day, there was a much broader range of razor widths on the market.
This blade width will also affect the blade holder size that you buy.
However, the trend these days seems to be the 5/8” – it is the standard, and that does make sense.
A 5/8” blade is a little shorter in terms of width.
That means it is easier to manoeuvre around your face, and it is a blade that can get into the smaller parts of your face more easily.
The little patch under your nose, for example, is easier to get to with a blade with a shorter 5/8” width.
2. Traditional or Shavette
One of the big decisions to make is whether you want a traditional blade or a shavette straight razor for a smooth shave.
Both of them are bringing different advantages, and both can provide a good shave.
You will find examples of both razors on our list below, so you can easily compare the two types.
To put it in simple terms…
A traditional blade is exactly what you think it is – a straight razor blade on a hinge with a handle and a solid, very sharp blade.
A shavette is more like a hybrid.
It has the shape of a straight razor but uses replaceable blades just like safety razors.
It may not give quite the same standard of shave, but it also requires far less maintenance.
This is very simple!
Do you want a traditional straight blade razor?
Then get ready to drop about 150 bucks minimum.
That sound like a lot of money?
Well, the best shavette razor is more like 50 or 60 bucks maximum.
That is why some people suggest that if you are new to straight razor shaving, try starting with a shavette.
Once you’re certain of this style of shaving, you should invest the bucks and upgrade to a traditional cut-throat straight razor.
4. Hone or Replace Blade
Another simple consideration.
Are you happy to hone your blade on a leather strap before every shave?
If you are, then a straight razor (or barber blade) is fine.
If not, then a shavette razor with replaceable professional straight blades that don’t need honing or sharpening may be the better tool for you.
5. Carbon or Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is tougher and will need less sharpening over the lifespan of the blade.
Carbon steel, on the other hand, can be ground to an incredibly sharp point.
That makes it able to deliver an incredibly close shave although it is unable to hold the blade edge for long.
This means it requires better honing and more occasional sharpening than the stainless steel model.
Stainless steel is also cheaper, so you will find that almost all replaceable blades are made of stainless steel.
Because of that, if you really want a premium carbon steel blade on your razor, then you’ll almost certainly need to be looking for a traditional style of razor.
How to Strop a Straight Razor
So you bought one of the best straight razors and you’re now ready to use it but like other razors in the market, straight razors will eventually get blunt.
A strop is a wide strap, mostly made from leather with a handle on its ends and hanging hardware. This leather strop for straight razor is used to give the razor a sharp edge that is ready to shave.
Here is how to sharpen a straight razor using a leather strop;
How to Shave with a Straight Razor
Many of us are not taught how to shave properly, are we?
Well, let’s see how to use a straight razor.
With cartridge razors, you can almost get away with a poor technique with the aid of a roll of toilet paper, but this is not going to be good enough with a straight razor.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to shave with a straight razor.
Let’s look at some informative FAQs below.
10 thoughts on “8 Best Straight Razors of 2023 Reviewed (Ultimate Buyer’s Guide)”
I really like and prefer a straight razor. I find dovo to be the best quality of the ones I’ve tried. The cost savings really add up over the long term, provided you care for it properly
Just started shaving with a safety razor, I use the Parker SRX. This thing is all stainless and heavy duty, I love it. But it has shark blade which after two shaves the blades start to nick a lot.
Check out the Feather Blades. I have found them to be the best and longest lasting
I love the Dovo. I tend to get all of my Dovo razors from West Coast Shaving – they have a great selection. The Feather blades are also pretty good. One that is not on this list that I enjoy is the Artist Club straight razor, one of the best I have had.
risk close to decapitation from cheaper razors? That sounds a little over the top don’t you think? lol
I can’t see getting more than a cut worthy of stitches at the most from bad razors.
Hahahaha, good point Tony. I guess we get a little over dramatic and graphic on our comparisons 😉
I use the Feather Artist Club SS (Folding Style). This is the Absolute best ergonomic feel, weight, and shave I’ve ever had as far as Shavettes. The construction has been thoroughly thought out and beautifully designed and crafted. Uses very high grade materials! Gets a 10 out of 10 from me.
Thanks for the suggestion Aaron!
Good article but I would like to add couple words. I used straight razor more than 30 years and tried a lot of SRs. For my opinion the best SRs I ever used were Waker (Old Sheffild for example) and Boker. Dovo I should say goes to the bottom somewhere in my list.
Thanks for your personal insight. Always appreciated. 🙂
They are multi-purpose : straight razors are fit for both personal use at home and for professional barbers.