The best razor for you might not be the best razor for the next guy. Sure, most of us grew up learning how to shave with cartridge blades—thinking more blades is better for everyone—but what about the guys whose hair is too thick and coarse to get a smooth shave from those crowded blades? Those guys would benefit from a safety razor shave, with a single, sturdy blade that can mow through the thickest patches of hair.
That’s not to vilify cartridge razors, though. Not at all: But, among cartridge razors, which one is the best option for you? Read on for that, and to learn about the best razors for men in all the main razor categories.
The Best Double-Edge Safety Razor: King C. Gillette Safety Razor
Safety razors are far easier to use than you might think; there’s a slight learning curve, and you have to find the right angle and pressure for your face, but then it’s off to the (slow and steady) races. Safety razors are universally friendly because they minimize razor burn and ingrown hairs, and because they slice swiftly through thick, coarse and curly hair.
Double-edged razors are especially optimal for sensitive skin, and King C. Gillette’s razor reigns atop the pack of this category—after all, it’s made by the same company that invented this style of razor over a century ago. This device has a chrome-plated, stainless steel, textured handle and an ideal weight for this build (3.68 oz). Those features make it easy to get the hang of shaving with a safety razor, so if you’ve never used one before, this is a good option for getting started.
The Best Single-Edge Safety Razor: Supply The Single Edge Pro
If you’ve got thick, coarse hair, a single sharp blade might be preferable to flipping back and forth between the sides of a double-edged safety razor. This one is easy to load and offers unmatched customization in the safety-razor category, thanks to a dial that adjusts how much of the blade peeks beyond the head of the razor, sort of like a set of clippers at the barbershop. (More of the blade means a closer shave.) And in terms of learning curves, this one has none. You shave as you otherwise would with a cartridge razor, thanks to the design of the razor that fixes the blade at -15 degrees.
The Best Cartridge Razor: Schick Hydro Sensitive Razor
The best cartridge razor should prioritize comfort above all. If it’s going to put as many as five or six blades against your face, then it had better promise to work for even the most sensitive of skin—otherwise, it’s just boasting muscle at the expense of its customers. Schick’s Hydro 5 Sense covers its bases with an ergonomically balanced handle that ensures even a heavy grip doesn’t inversely impact the results. As for cartridge design, these ones have seven gel pools packed with aloe and panthenol to comfort the skin both before and after the five blades glide across it. A rear-side flip trimmer helps with precision detailing and harder-to-reach fuzz.
The Best Disposable Cartridge Razor: Gillette Sensor3 Comfort
Somehow, the disposable razor remains popular, even with all of the razor blade replenishment programs available to consumers from brands including Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. That’s in large part thanks to the many low-cost, high-performance options available to travelers, gym-goers and infrequent shavers—those people who wouldn’t otherwise need or want a permanent razor. Gillette’s excellent triple-blade Sensor3 makes sense in these instances. In place of the usual cooling gel pools are microfins that cushion the skin from cuts, while a lubricated strip chases the blades for a calming finish. You can use the razor up to 10 times before tossing it, though you won’t hesitate to toss it after using it just once, either, if all you need is a one-and-done cleanup on the go.
The Best Detailing Razor: The Rich Barber Straight Edge Razor
You know those long, intimidating straight razors you see barbers use? Yeah, let them wield those weapons. But if you want to draw the same clean lines—for straight edges around your hairline, cheek line, sideburns or neckline, then get a smaller straight razor like The Rich Barber’s. It’s got a rust-resistant matte-grip handle that can maneuver every angle and curve of your dome. It delivers a barber-caliber line-up, and because of this, the tool practically pays for itself after one shave. Just be sure to buy some blades to go along with the razor so you’ll have them when you need them.
The Best Bald-Head Razor: HeadBlade Moto Head and Skull Shaving Razor
If you insist on shaving your head with a manual razor (instead of, say, an electric one), then you need to prioritize ergonomics and choose a tool that can get around the contours of your dome. You want that ease of control and comfort for something that’s shaving through your biggest blind spots. HeadBlade more or less dominates this category, and its Moto razor is the company’s hero product. Its head and body both swivel and pivot with the movement of your hand or the curves of the head, and its finger-hold grip makes handling a breeze.
The Best Electric Razor: Micro Touch SOLO Full Body Hair Trimmer
Electric shavers are an obvious choice for guys who want to avoid razor burn, ingrown hairs and all other irritations that come with a manual razor shave. (And for guys who want a fast, nearly-perfect shave without any of the slow, steady preparation and process.) However, the design across the electric shaver category varies vastly. If you want something that closely resembles a manual razor shave in terms of handling and detailing, then pick Micro Touch. It’s designed to handle hair almost anywhere on your body, so it’s especially popular for guys who want to draw clean edges or even full-body manscaping. Its blades won’t break the surface of the skin, and you can attach the guards for a slightly stubbled look, or keep them off for a smooth shave.