The Best Straight Razors
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
- Ergonomic design for comfort and grip
- Japanese high-grade stainless steel
- 100 free replacement blades
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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
|Black Widow Straight Edge-Razor||Utopia Care Professional Straight Razor||Zertone Vintage Straight Razor||Naked Armor Straight Razor Grooming Kit|
|Stainless steel blades||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Rockwell hardness scale||X||X||61||65|
|Weight||2.6 oz||3.2 oz||2.4 oz||2.9 oz|
|Dimensions||7.6 x 3.5 x 0.6||6 x 4 x 0.7||6.5 x 1 x 0.6||X|
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.