Straight razors are the ultimate tool for creating that precise look. They are ultra-sharp and with a bit of practice, simple to use. After the initial outlay, buying a straight razor is also considerably cheaper than using disposable safety razors.

We look at four straight razors to see how effective they are, crowning our favorite, the Black Widow Straight-Edge Razor, as our HowToHome pick for its balance, 1.5 mm blade exposure for a more precise shave, and the thumb rest with notched grips. 

Still want to hear about the other blades we considered? Read our in-depth review to see which razors made the cut.

  • Balanced weight and comfort grip
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Armature swing lock
  • Thumb notch for better grip
  • Rustproof

  • Ergonomic design for comfort and grip
  • Japanese high-grade stainless steel
  • 100 free replacement blades
  • Rustproof

  • Mahogany wood handle
  • High-carbon steel blade
  • Pre-honed blade
  • 61 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale

  • Complete set includes strop, razor, soap, and brush
  • Japanese steel blade
  • 65 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • Includes leather travel case
  • Rustproof

What we like about this Black Widow straight-edge razor is that it has an exposed blade (1.5mm to be precise), enabling the user to get an extremely fine shave. The razor is constructed from stainless steel for rigidity, and it is double-coated in a matt black finish for added durability. The thumb rests are notched for extra control and to prevent your fingers from slipping, especially when they are wet, and because this razor is light to hold at 2.6 oz, it won’t strain your hands. 

Black Widow has balanced this tool perfectly, so it doesn’t feel heavy or drag across the surface of your skin. It is guaranteed to be rustproof, and the stainless steel blades are replaceable and slot into place via a folding clip. 

On the downside, some people report that the razor is a little on the small side, so if you have larger hands, you might find using it a bit awkward. That said, the blade is rust-resistant, super-sharp, and delivers a close shave. This, coupled with the balance and quality of the materials make this our top HowToHome pick.


  • Lightweight
  • Great for precision shaving
  • Ridged thumb rests
  • Armature swing lock to secure the blade


  • Some might find it too lightweight
  • On the small side

What this razor lacks in looks, quality of materials, and build quality, it more than makes up for with it’s low cost (at under half the price of the Black Widow Straight-Edge Razor). It even comes with 100 free Derby blades, which means you won’t be shelling out for replacements for some time. It seems that many like this razor as a starter model and then if they like it they graduate to a more expensive model like the Black Widow.

This razor is slightly heavier than the HowToHome pick, at 3.2 oz, but not heavy enough to cause you any problems while using it. It also lacks the 1.5 mm exposed blade of the Black Widow, so getting those same precise lines may be a challenge. Some also report that the balance is slightly off. This means that they might overcompensate by applying more pressure with the blade, which could lead to an increase in cuts and nicks. Furthermore, the housing where the blade sits allows for some movement, meaning the blade can be difficult to control. 

That said, for the price, the fact that it is constructed of high-grade, rustproof Japanese stainless steel, and that it comes with free blades that should see you through six months to a year of shaving makes this razor our budget pick. 


  • Great price
  • 100 free blades
  • Great starter straight razor


  • Slightly off balance
  • The blade moves in the clip housing

This Zertone vintage style razor looks good. Its handmade mahogany wood handle gives it the appearance of a classic straight razor, enhancing the style. That’s why we made it our HowToHome style choice. 

The blade is made of Japanese high-carbon steel, so it is durable, won’t corrode, and stays super-sharp. It also scores a respectable 61 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. This test determines the hardness by applying downward pressure on the blade, causing an indent in the surface material it sits on. Then, after a slight pause to allow the indent to settle, they release the pressure and measure the indent to determine the score. 

It must be noted that, since this is a straight razor and not a disposable blade variety, you will need to invest in the aftercare of the razor to keep it working at its best. It requires a strop, a sharpening stone, lubricating oil for the blade, and a little education on the sharpening techniques on your part. Once you master the art of straight shaving and caring for this razor, however, the benefit is that you will have a lifetime of shaving without the expense of replacement blades.


  • Japanese high-carbon steel
  • Natural wood handle
  • Stylish 
  • 61 on the hardness scale


  • Blade needs honing
  •  May not be suitable for beginners (complex sharpening techniques must be learned)

If you are looking for a one-stop-shop, with everything you need to maintain and prolong the life of your straight edge razor, then this Naked Armor kit is the perfect choice. Not only does it include a high-quality Japanese steel razor blade, but the handle is made from algum, a rare wood once used to make musical instruments in the temple of King Solomon.

The razor scores an impressive 65 on the Rockwell Scale – so it’s even harder than the Zertone Vintage Straight Razor – and this set also comes with a strop, sharpening paste, organic shaving soap, a shaving brush, and a leather travel case. This means that once you get this kit, you need never pay out for any more accessories to keep your razor looking and working at its best. 

Just as with the Zertone, straight razors require a degree of dedication and knowledge if you are to get the best from them. They don’t have the same convenience associated with replaceable blade straight razors, so, you are going to have to learn the techniques and skills. In addition, the price tag for this complete kit is eye-watering when you compare it to other prices on the list. This is to be expected, though,considering the accessories included. Setting price aside, if you want a quality straight razor that comes with the complete set to care for your purchase, then this is one of the best we’ve seen.


  • Complete set
  • High-qualityJapanese steel razor
  • 65 on the hardness scale
  • Algum wood handle


  • Expensive to buy
  • Skills are needed to master the care of this razor

Comparison Chart

Black Widow Straight Edge-RazorUtopia Care Professional Straight RazorZertone Vintage Straight RazorNaked Armor Straight Razor Grooming Kit
Stainless steel blades
Rockwell hardness scaleXX6165
Ergonomic design
Weight2.6 oz3.2 oz2.4 oz2.9 oz
Dimensions7.6 x 3.5 x 0.66 x 4 x 0.76.5 x 1 x 0.6X
Safety features************

Buyer’s Guide:

Straight Razors

Straight razors give a close shave, much like a safety razor but with much greater precision. Many professional barbers swear by these razors because they give them the ability to style and create lines and designs that a safety razor couldn’t. With a little practice, you can get a barber-shop quality shave at home. 

Straight razors can also be more cost-effective. Once you’ve purchased the razor, all you need to do is replace the blades or hone the blade if it is a non-replaceable variety; meanwhile, safety razors can be expensive to continually replace. You could definitely say that straight razors are also better for the environment, as they eliminate the need for disposable razors that inevitably end up being tossed into the landfill.

Balance Without the correct balance, you are going to have a painful shaving experience. The balance is what gives you better control, both over the blade and the handle. 

Weight – Second only to balance, having a straight razor that is weighted correctly ensures that you don’t put any strain on your hand and that the blade has enough weight behind to not vibrate against the bristles as it cuts. This reduces the irritation on the skin and minimizes the risk of cuts and nicks.

Thumb Rests – Having a thumb rest gives you a better grip, which translates into better control. Remember that you will most likely be using the razor with wet hands, so having a notched thumb rest, like the Black Widow Straight-Edge Razor, ensures that even with soapy hands, there is very little chance of them slipping and causing an injury.

Permanent Blades – You can buy straight-edged razors that don’t require replaceable blades, but they do dull over time and need stropping to bring the blade back to total sharpness, like the Zertone Vintage Straight Razor. The advantage of this type of razor is that you need never buy replacement blades.

Replaceable Blades – if you prefer, you can purchase a straight razor with replaceable blades, like two of the four we have featured. When the blade dulls, simply pop it out and replace it. It does mean, though, that you have an ongoing cost to consider, but it is negligible when you compare it to the time and effort needed to learn the stropping techniques.

Rustproof – Stainless steel is the most common material for straight razors in both the construction and for the replaceable blades. They are constantly immersed in water, so the ability to be rustproof seems essential if you want to prolong the life of your razor.

We know that there are two schools of thought when it comes to wet shaving: those who prefer straight razors and those in the safety razor camp, but there are pros and cons to each method.

Straight Razor Pros

  • Better precision – If you want the straightest lines and the neatest finish, a straight razor is the tool to use
  • Less wastage – It’s a fact that throwing away a pack of safety razors is more wasteful than replacing a single blade.
  • Cheaper in the long run – The cost of buying disposable safety razors is higher than the price of purchasing a straight razor.

Straight Razor Cons

  • Harder to master – Learning how to use a straight razor is more time-consuming and tricky to master.
  • Not as safe – straight razors lack the safety features of safety razors.
  • Takes longer to shave – Not everyone has the time to execute a two-stage shave with a straight razor. First, you should shave with the grain of the hair follicles and dry your face, then repeat the process going against the follicles for the closest shave. 

Disposable Safety Razor Pros

  • Safer to use There is less chance of cuts and nicks with a safety razor.
  • More convenient – They are the quickest way of achieving a close wet shave in the shortest possible time.
  • Safer to store –  Childproofing your home is easier if you opt for safety razors. There is less opportunity for children to come to harm with a safety razor, but with a straight razor, those blades are always going to be a threat. 

Disposable Safety Razor Cons

  • Expensive – Purchasing a pack of disposable safety razors every week can be costly.
  • More waste – Throwing away all those plastic safety razors is terrible for the planet.
  • Not as precise – You are not going to achieve the sharp look you want with a safety razor. They aren’t designed to give you those sharp lines in your beard.
Straight razor
  • Better results
  • Less waste
  • Cheaper in the long run
  • Hard to master
  • Less safe to use
  • Shave takes longer
Disposable safety razor
  • Safer to use
  • More convenient
  • Safer to store
  • Expensive 
  • More waste
  • Not as precise

  • Is shaving with a straight razor difficult?
  • Many people avoid shaving with a straight razor because they think it will be difficult to master, but we think with a little practice it should become second nature.

    First, you have to prepare your skin and the hairs you want to shave. Often, you’ll see a barber place a heated wet towel on the face to open the pores and soften the hairs for a smoother shave. One quick tip is to jump in a hot shower and allow the water to cover your face. Second, apply a pre-shave oil and then apply the shaving foam or gel. 

    Third, hold the razor at a 30-degree angle, and make sure your skin is taut by pulling your neck. This will reduce the risk of cuts and nicks on your face. Always start at the sideburn and with a downward stroke, run the razor over your skin and stubble. Repeat this process across the entire surface of one side of your face, and then swap to the other side. 

    Fourth, the neck is tricky, so always follow the grain of the hair to reduce irritation. 

    Fifth, practice stretching your mouth to pull the skin taut and then allow the razor to follow the contours of your skin, working towards the chin, and never start a stroke on a prominent part of your face. As you reach the chin, lift the razor slightly and make gentler strokes with the center of the blade. When you are satisfied, splash your face clean with cold water to close your pores and wash away the shave gel. Wrap up by applying a good moisturizer.

  • Is shaving with a straight razor better for your skin?
  • A straight razor typically shaves closer to your skin which may mean the frequency with which you need to shave is reduced; using a safety razor may mean that you need to shave more often, so the chances of skin irritation could increase. The other thing to consider is that using a straight razor takes practice, so as you are learning, nicks and cuts will occur.

  • What is the best straight razor for beginners?
  • Look for something light and easy to control.  You should also consider the cost of a straight razor and whether you are going to like it. It’s better to spend a little to discover whether a straight razor is for you before investing in a more expensive model.

Final Thoughts

Owning a straight razor is a simple choice between wanting precision over the convenience of a safety razor. If you are the sort of person who desires that sharp, freshly groomed look from a straight razor, you can’t go wrong with the Black Widow Straight-Edge Razor. We liked it so much we named it our HowToHome pick. It has the balance, lightweight construction, and safety features like the notched thumb rest to ensure safe use even with slippery hands. In addition, the exposed blade means that you get better precision and a sharper finish.

For those looking at the budget-end, then choose the Utopia Care Professional Straight Razor. It is constructed of Japanese stainless steel and comes with 100 free replaceable blades. 

For something with a little panache and style, try this Zertone Vintage Straight Razor. It has a tactile mahogany wood handle and a high-carbon Japanese stainless steel blade to ensure good looks and longevity. It all adds up to a classic vintage style straight razor.

For those looking to spend significantly more to invest in an entire shaving kit, complete with a high-quality Japanese steel straight razor with an algum wood handle, as well as all the accessories you need to keep your razor in tip-top condition, then this Naked Armor Straight Razor Grooming Kit is the one for you. 

Whichever straight razor you choose, remember that balance and weight are as important as the quality of the blades and that it will take some time to master if you are a beginner, but perseverance will lead to a close and precise shave.

Further Reading