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The Best Straight Razors for a Barbershop-Quality Shave at Home

These sharp devices are a cut above your cartridges.

The Best Straight Razors for a Barbershop-Quality Shave at Home Classic Edge Shave

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Most of us learn how to shave with a cartridge razor, which has a pretty simple learning curve—call it the “automatic transmission” of the best razors. From there, many guys level up to the safety razor, which requires a bit more intuition and practice. And almost every guy has an electric razor in his arsenal for those days he just needs a quick cleanup, or if he’s prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps.

That leaves one other key razor type on the table: The straight razor. You know it as the long blade that some barbers use on customers during a hot towel shave. It looks a lot more intimidating than the other options, which only further contributes to the blade’s appeal. Read on for our roundup of the best straight razors for at-home use, if you want to bring that barbershop experience to your shaving routine. But first, some insight on straight razors, with expertise from barber Herson Rodriguez at Blind Barber Chicago

The Different Types of Straight Razors

There are a few ways to classify straight razors. Read on for the various classifications to consider.

Handle Design: First of all, some will fold into themselves for easy carrying and storage—these are called traditional or cut-throat razors, for better or for worse. The straight-across razors (that look more knife-like) are called kamisori razors

Disposable: Within these two categories, you can find options with fixed blades as well as disposable/replaceable blades. 

Detailing: There are many “miniature” style straight razors that are devised for small cleanups and finessing, especially between barbershop appointments. You will often find them sold as eyebrow or dermaplane razors. “These detailing blades are not intended for full shaves and they can also not work too well on thick facial hair,” Rodriguez says. They might be a good addition to your regimen, though, even if you prefer using cartridges, safety, or electric razors as your primary device.

Blade Grind: There are different types of blades, too, and we’ll spare you too much detail on this one; just know that the terms blade grind and blade ground refer to how quickly the blade graduates from its wide top to the sharp base. If you’re new to this practice, then stick with those whose blade is relatively thin all the way from top to bottom when you point the razor at your face (known as full hollow or extra hollow ground). Most that are sold to everyday consumers are going to fit this bill, especially disposable blades since these are all going to have a fixed thinness. 

Blade Points: You can also find a bunch of different angles at the end of the blade, known as the point. Leave any complexity here to the pros, and stick with a rounded point to minimize any accidents when shaving yourself. The pros will have an easier time with the sharper/more advanced points, especially because they’ve got a more full perspective of your face, whereas you’re working with a mirror and limited visuals.

Blade Width: Don’t confuse this with blade grind (which speaks of the width when you look at the blade when it is pointed at your face). The technical blade width refers to the perceived height of the blade when you lay it flat down, horizontally. Chances are, you’ll be looking for a 4/8-inch or 5/8-inch blade as a DIY shaver (with 5/8 being the most common). Guys with coarser hair might want to graduate up to a slightly bigger 6/8-inches.

The Benefits of Straight Razor Shaving

In terms of shaving proximity and hygiene, straight razors rank atop the list of blades, alongside safety razors, says Rodriguez. However, that can only be said for straight razors whose blades are replaceable—as opposed to those that require routine sharpening and cleaning. Yes, those are easy to sterilize in the grand scheme of things, but you really can’t compare with the fact that a disposable blade stays sharp throughout its short lifespan, and doesn’t have time to accumulate debris, germs, and rust. Furthermore, these blades are so inexpensive that it’s easy to part with them after one or a few shaves. 

Rodriguez adds that general safety is another benefit of straight razors with disposable blades (as opposed to those with permanent blades) since you aren’t wielding a knife-life object every time you go to shave. (Has anybody seen Sweeney Todd?) We’ll still recommend multiple non-replaceable options below, but his note is especially important for less experienced shavers.

That single, sharp blade—when applied with proper pressure and angling, will shave your hairs even closer than any 5- or 6-blade cartridge razor, and with minimal razor dragging across the skin. Again, it’s comparable to the benefits of a safety razor; less debris collection, smoother strokes, fewer ingrown hairs… the list goes on. 

Despite all these benefits, proceed with caution. “There are many benefits to having a professional barber perform it instead,” Rodriguez notes. “A barber can perform these tasks in a fraction of the time it would take to do at home. Plus, professional shaves can be very relaxing at a barber shop.” (Hot towel and all!)

The Best Straight Razors for At-Home Use

If you aren’t sure where to start when buying a straight razor, there are three primary sites to browse. First, of course, is Amazon, but you have to do a lot of weeding through low-quality options and noise to land at something. Plus, as a newbie, you won’t get a lot of context from Amazon. So, look to Classic Edge, Fendrihan, and Shave Nation for the best-quality brands and blade options in the field, especially when it comes to fixed-blade, trophy-like straight razors (we’re talking the best in the world, often with Japanese-, Swedish- or German-made steel). Amazon might be a better bet for disposable and replaceable picks, as well as Fendrihan.

The Straight Razor for Beginners

Parker SRX Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Handle Clip Type Barber Straight Razor

Parker SRX Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Handle Clip Type Barber Straight Razor

If you’re new to this, then it’s smart to enter at the entry level, with a one-size-fits-all type pick. This straight razor from Parker allows you to insert halved double-edge safety razor blades (which are easy to snap in half), and also suits Rodriguez’s advice—that most people should be using straight razors with replaceable blades for both hygienic and simplistic reasons. Don’t forget to stock up with a double-edge safety blade sampler pack, in order to find the blades that you like best.

Buy Now on Fendrihan: $25

The Best Cut-Throat Straight Razor (aka Foldable)

Dovo 5/8 Full Hollow Straight Razor

Dovo 5/8 Full Hollow Straight Razor
Classic Edge Shaving

This traditional razor comes from one of the best names in the straight razor game, the Germany-based Dovo Solingen (aka Dovo; Solingen is a German city known for its sharp-steel items, like knives, razors, nail clippers, etc). This razor is a great entry-level pick for anyone who insists on using a fixed blade as opposed to replaceable ones, and a universal one at that: It has a 5/8 width, rounded point, and a full hollow ground. (All of these variables check the “most universal use” boxes.)

Buy Now on Classic Edge Shaving: $140

The Best Kamisori Straight Razor

Iwasaki Japanese Kamisori Straight Razor

Iwasaki Japanese Kamisori Straight Razor

Kamisori blades are a lot less common than you might think, but their rarity makes them all the more precious. This Swedish-steel, Japanese-made blade is not for novices—but if you’ve got a great barber, you might ask him or her to wield this each time you come in; s/he’ll clean you up with all the more pleasure.


Buy Now on Fendrihan: $395

The Best Straight Razor for Thick Whiskers

Dovo Carre 6/8 Straight Razor

Dovo Carre 6/8 Straight Razor
Classic Edge Shaving

If you’re prone to ingrown hairs and shaving bumps—namely if you’ve got especially thick, coarse whiskers—then make sure to upgrade your straight razor from the standard 5/8 width to one with a 6/8-inch width, like this one from Dovo. 

Buy Now on Classic Edge Shaving: $280

The Most Coveted Straight Razor 

Nos Jacob Miller B.S.Co Supreme 5/8 Straight Razor

Nos Jacob Miller B.S.Co Supreme 5/8 Straight Razor
Classic Edge Shaving

If you’re into collectibles—or just like to own a piece of grooming history—then here’s a razor and blade some 70-years young. Now, it goes against the conventional advice that “replaceable blades are more hygienic”, but if you pony up over $1,000 for a straight razor, we assume you’ll invest in its proper upkeep, storage, and cleaning, too.  

Buy Now on Classic Edge Shaving: $1,350

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