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For decades, multi-blade razors have been the most popular razor, with commercials and advertising flooding the men’s grooming market with promises of ultra-glide shaves without nicks or cuts. While these advertising buzzwords might prove true for men who have fine, straight facial hair, multi-blade cartridge razors just don’t have the same positive effect on guys with coarse or curly beards. Enter: The old-school safety razor.
Crafted with a permanent handle and head with a slot specially made for universal disposable razor blades, safety razors are designed to sit comfortably in the hand. They also provide a clean, smooth shave when used with fluid, slow strokes. The weight of these safety razors, combined with the insertion of a new blade every shave, makes for an altogether luxurious shaving experience compared to a cartridge razor.
So, if you’ve ever thought about making the switch, why not now, and why not with one of these tested and trusted safety razors?
Here are the best safety razors in 2021:
Hefty, handsome, and crafted to last a lifetime, the Aluminum Series razor from Standard Razors takes the top spot.
Pros: Great weight, nice hand-feel, easy to clean.
Cons: Matte black coating requires wiping with a dry cloth to prevent water spots.
Our favorite safety razor has everything you want and nothing you don’t. Crafted and machined from aircraft-grade aluminum, both the handle and head of this razor have a surprising heft with an excellent hand-feel. The handle itself quickly unscrews from the head mount, which allows you to quickly insert a new blade. Plus, this safety razor is compatible with all brands of double razor blades, meaning you’ll never have to search for the “right blade” again. The anodized coating does double-duty as a minimalist aesthetic choice and a slightly textured surface, great for a wet hand grip. The Aluminum Series Razor comes in both matte black and raw silver, both of which would look great on anyone’s counter.
Merkur Futur Safety Razor Matte Chrome
With a matte aluminum coating and sci-fi design, the Merkur Futur razor is a functional and futuristic grooming game changer.
Pros: Looks cool on the counter, shaves well, easy adjustment for blade gap.
Cons: Take time to clean due to its inset lip below the blade.
A major player in the razor game, Merkur is making its modernist mark with its stunningly designed Futur safety razor. Chrome-plated with a matte finish offering a performance grip, this futuristic-looking safety razor is as utilitarian as it is aesthetically pleasing. To key in on the perfect angle for closest shave possible, twist the handle to narrow or widen the gap between the blade and the bar. Adjusting the aggressiveness of your gap provides the right amount of nuance customized to each user. The Futur also sports a good weight, making it a solid choice for guys with butter fingers.
Vikings Blade The Chieftain Jr.
Long and slim with a hint of retro-styling, the Vikings Blade Chieftain Jr. safety razor is an attractive and adept grooming companion.
Pros: The long handle is good for precise shaves, great grip, low cost.
Cons: Some men might find this one too light in weight.
At first sight, the Chieftain Jr. looks a touch too delicate. But this razor’s slim, long handle is designed with crosshatched channels machined into its shaft, which makes for a robust grip —even the biggest and clumsiest of hands. The razor’s classic double-flapped opening functions beautifully as an easy-to-access cradle for a double-blade razor.
Bevel Safety Razor
Created specifically for curly and textured facial hair, the Bevel safety razor leaves skin smooth and helps prevent ingrown hairs.
Pros: Gentle shave thanks to special razor head, attractive shape.
Cons: With a shorter length and lighter feel, this razor can feel toy-like at times.
At four inches long, this razor hews toward the middle of the pack in size — and at 3.2 ounces, it’s also surprisingly light. The highly angular razor head and the slim gap between blade and bar make for an extremely close, yet gentle, shave. Plus, the single blade prevents the snagging found with multi-blade cartridge razors, making it a much better option for those with especially coarse, curly facial hair.
Baxter of California Safety Razor
A design piece that functions as well as it looks, the Baxter of California Safety Razor is a safe choice for the guy who likes the finer things in life.
Pros: Old-school aesthetic, comes with blades.
Cons: Chrome plating requires wiping after use to prevent water spots.
The Safety Razor from Baxter of California evokes the feel of a classic, old-school barbershop, thanks to the engraving on its handle that mimics the red, blue, and white barber poles. The chrome plating may require a little extra polishing before you put it away, but the extra work is worth it. This razor also starts you off with five double-blades for a week’s worth of shaves.
Rockwell Razors 6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor
The Rockwell Razors 6S scores high marks for its heft and its ability to precisely fine-tune the blade gap to suit your face.
Pros: Visually appealing, excellent grip, precise blade gap adjustment.
Cons: Can feel a bit clunky and chunky for guys with smaller hands.
The textured shaft of this razor makes this safety razor a striking addition to your medicine cabinet. Aside from its good looks, the texture holds your grip — even while shaving in the shower. The 6S sports a precision blade gap adjustment, which is as easy to use as turning a screw. The razor itself is made from robust 316L stainless steel, meaning it’ll last through decades of future clean shaves.
The Art of Shaving R106 Short
The shortest safety razor of the group, the R106 Short fits precisely in the palm of your hand, affording users a surprising amount of control.
Pros: Closed-comb head offer gentle shave and prevents nicks.
Cons: Small size doesn’t work for guys with big hands and big faces.
Featuring a handle of just 3.75 inches, this black matte, closed-comb safety razor from The Art of Shaving works great for guys with smaller hands or who struggle with coordination. Its short stature offers a sturdier grip and a more precise movement. The closed-comb nature of the head makes for a safer, gentler shave, and prevents knicks, cuts, and razor burn.
Maapilim Safety Razor
A faux-bronze coating on this simple safety razor makes it an irresistible shaving assistant.
Pros: Comb straightens and aligns hair for a clean shave every time.
Cons: Like others, the shiny plating on this razor requires extra care.
The Maapilim Safety Razor lives up to even the highest of standards. It utilizes a fine-toothed comb to straighten facial hair before cutting, which provides a much closer shave. The easy-to-remove head makes changing your blade a snap, and the weighted handle feels great in your hand. Combined with the can’t-look-away color, this razor makes is a solid buy for anyone.
Supply The Single Edge 2.0
Standing out for more than just its single-edge design, The Single Edge 2.0 is a unique take on the traditional safety razor.
Pros: Easy to replace blades, an innovative design offers ultra-close shave.
Cons: The razor’s single-edged blades are often more difficult to find.
While this option might look like a disposable cartridge razor, that’s as far as the similarities go. Crafted from stainless steel and engineered to offer three shave styles — sensitive, comfortable, and ultra-close — this safety razor takes single blades that can be replaced swiftly and safely with an accompanying insertion mechanism.
MÜHLE Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor
The sleek look of MÜHLE Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor belies a perfectly functional grooming tool underneath.
Pros: Bold, artsy look, hefty weight, easy grip.
Cons: Polished razor head, as with several others, requires a post-shave wipe down to prevent spots.
Bold is an understatement when it comes to the look and feel of this hexagonal-handle safety razor. The handle is properly weighted, easily gripped, and offers ease-of-use as well as visual appeal. The head, held aloft by a polished silver neck, features a standard double-blade razor bed and screw-on cap.