When it comes to evaluating what will be the best safety razor, one things that stands out is the overwhelming feeling you get because of just how many great choices there are. For us to sit down at the end of our testing process and deliberate for hours upon which 5 should make this review almost gave us gray hairs from the level of difficulty.
This guide will focus on the best double edged safety razors because in our opinion, and according to many others, they are the elite way for getting an incredibly close shave.
There are other types of safety razors, and your normal disposable and cartridge razors are actually in this genre. So this is actually a guide on the top DE razors for wet shaving. The truth is that, unlike many other products, there are just so many high quality double edged razors on the market that you really can’t go wrong.
But how does this happen?
That is what we were pondering and we came with the conclusion that the makers of these DE razors are really dedicated and passionate about this art. Passion definitely breeds success and that is the case for what you are going to read about here today. We will cover these 5 razors and try to make it as user friendly as possible so that you can decide on which one will be ideal for your own personal needs; after all that is what we are here to do.
Since King Camp Gillette had invented the double-edge blade in 1901, the razor design hasn’t changed much. However, the existing types are still confusing to many users out there. Performance definitely stays consistent with all of these designs, but there are other details that you will make a difference in terms of usability and durability. So to begin, let’s compare the type of safety razors that are manufactured as you will need to know this before making a choice.
There Are 4 Types of DE Safety Razors:
This one-piece design has no removable or detachable parts, but rather it has moving parts instead. While still in use today, it is mostly a vintage model. There multiple reasons for this, and mainly because it has become obsolete. To place a blade inside, you have to action a knob. This makes the two plates open, allowing you to put the blade in. This very handy design is so easy to handle, as well as to replace the used blades.
The big disadvantage is that you cannot clean it thoroughly. Hair residue tends to get stuck inside the mechanism and all those small hinges will eventually wear out. Not to mention that it is very easy to mishandle this razor and cause irreparable damage to it.
The two piece is the most popular design today. You just need to simply unscrew the cap (the top) to detach it and insert a blade. It will be held very well in place thanks to the small dents and the general design of the piece. It’s not hard at all to have it align properly. The base of the shaving head and the handle work in unison to create one solid piece. As with the previous design, you have to be careful with this and avoid excessive tightening of the two parts which would otherwise cause it to break. The main disadvantage is that it is hard to clean it after shaving.
This is the classic design and it is actually increasing in popularity nowadays as most companies have at least one model in their arsenal. There are (obviously) three pieces in it: the handle, the base and the top of the cutting head, all connected by screws and made of highly resistant metal most of the time.
There are no hinges or other difficult parts to clean. The actual simplicity of this model makes it very convenient to use since you can wash each piece separately, so that is why it is one of the most common. The best part of the three piece design is that it is built to last a very long time with proper care.
Butterfly Heads (TTO, Silo):
The butterfly or silo design is the newest type and it is simply a one-piece safety razor that requires a twisting move to open and insert the blade in. (think of a butterfly that flaps its wings). You simply turn the handle so that the plates expose the blade and it makes for easy attaching and detaching. You’ll never risk losing any parts with this type of razor, and the durability is great as well.All of these razors come with either a closed comb or an open comb. A closed comb razor has either a straight or scalloped bar for safety, and it is the most common type in modern razors. An open comb razor has ridge-like teeth instead of just a straight bar. People say that a closed comb gives a less aggressive shave than that of an open comb.
However, the truth about aggressiveness is that what matters most depends on the gap of the blade and how exposed it is from the head, and this was very clear from our tests with different types of DE razors. There are plenty of aggressive closed comb razors and not so aggressive open comb razors.
Speaking of aggressiveness, most of the razors that we reviewed, aside from the Merkur Progress, come with a set gap. This means that the space that the blade is exposed to the skin is fixed, and not adjustable. The Merkur Progress is the only one on the list that has an adjustable gap that you can manually change, making it custom in terms of how aggressive or gentle you desire ( and it can be really aggressive ).
Now that you have seen and understand the different types of safety razors, let’s move onto the very reason why you are here in the first place, to find out which safety razor is the best as of today.
Top 6 Best Double Edged Safety Razors of 2018
How Does It Perform?
We start our list with the Parker 99R, a decently priced closed straight bar razor that gives a great shave. It is a heavyweight razor that is made for a company that is gaining traction the DE razor scene. This is definitely their top razor over the 96R and 22R, and the way it shaves is slightly comparable to the popular Merkur 38C.
Regarding the shave, it is more on the aggressive side and the grooved textured handle fits very well onto your hand. With a beautifully chrome plated brass frame, the Parker 99R is definitely a solid choice and one that you will enjoy using. Just 2 passes on this razor is enough to get a super close DFS shave. Here are the full details of the 99R:
Highlights of the Parker 99R:
|Comb:||Closed straight bar.|
|Length:||4 inches long.|
|Weight:||Heavy at 3.4 ounces.|
|Rating:||9.1 / 10|
How Does It Perform?
Edwin Jagger is a great manufacturer and they take pride in their showmanship. The DE89Lbl highlights that with its pristine chrome finish, and the way it fits and feels on your hand is marvelous even for the fact that the handle is not grooved, but smooth instead. You can tell they spent a lot of time testing their products out to find the perfect balance and weight, which the DE89Lbl has.
This is a versatile and overall great safety razor for beginners because it is not as aggressive as the rest, yet it still gets you a very close shave the standard 2 passes. Furthermore, for the price it is truly a value pick and you will not find better quality out there for a lower price.
You can press down a little bit while shaving if you want it to be more aggressive, but just know that it is not really necessary. It is also one of the shorter razors of the bunch, so keep that in mind when deciding on what fits your needs the best. Lastly, if you have sensitive skin, this is the ideal choice to get in our opinion but you need to be careful while shaving.
Highlights of the EJ DE89Lbl
|Comb:||Closed scalloped bar.|
|Length:||3.8 inches long.|
|Weight:||Moderate at 2.1 ounces.|
|Rating:||9.3 / 10.|
How Does It Perform?
The Merkur “barber pole” as the 38Hd is known as, has become an instant classic in the wet shaving world. Every wet shavers needs to own a 38Hd as it is one of the finest double edged safety razors that have ever been made.
Keep in mind that the Merkur 34C is also a great razor that belongs on this list, however we chose to leave it out because of the 38HD.
The barber pole look is wonderfully made, and the nickel chrome plating just sparkles in the light. The way it fits is unlike any other razor with the contours and it is sure to never slip from your grasp, something that is pretty important in this field.
It comes with a closed comb so it is easy to completely remove and shape unwanted hairs from your beard if you don’t want to use your beard trimmer, and the extra length of the handle at 3 and 3/4″ makes for a heavy duty shave.
This is certainly not the most aggressive razor with the closed comb, however the extra long handle can be a bit difficult to handle for beginners, especially during the first 4-5 shaves. It is definitely worth practicing on though and is one of the funnest razors to use!
Highlights of the Merkur 38Hd:
|Comb:||Closed, scalloped bar.|
|Length:||4.1 inches long.|
|Weight:||Heavy at just over 4 ounces.|
|Rating:||9.5 / 10.|
How Does It Perform?
It was very hard to put this ahead of the Merkur 38Hd. They are so very close, but in the end the Muhle R41 wins the #3 spot by a very narrow margin.
The design is sleek with the chrome plating and the curves that it has, and it also feels great on your hand while using. This is a pretty darn aggressive razor, and some people say that it cuts through their hair like a wood chip grinder so you need to be extra careful when using it.
This is not our most aggressive razor on the list however, so do not be so intimidated by this razor, except for the fact that you should only make 1 pass to achieve a BBS (barber shop shave), and 2 passes to get a baby smooth shave. It is for sure one of the closest shaves that you can get with a double edged safety razor because of the open comb design and the angle of the blade.
Furthermore, a nice plus is that the open comb does not clog like the closed comb does, so you do not have to clean the hair and lather residue off after every shave. Overall, it definitely belongs in the top 3 and in the discussion for the top DE razors on the market.
Highlights of the Muhle R41:
|Length:||3.7 inches long.|
|Weight:||Moderate at 2.3 ounces.|
|Rating:||9.7 / 10.|
How Does It Perform?
Ah, the beautiful “Merkgress”. This model comes in two versions: either the short handle 500 or the long handle 510.
This is the definitely the best adjustable safety razor and is highlighted by the 5 settings that you control from the handle, altering the gap from less aggressive ( 1 ) to most aggressive ( 5 ).
This is by no means an easy DE razor for beginners, so avoid this one unless you have at least some prior experience with wet shaving. At setting 5, this is probably one of the most aggressive DE razors out there, topping the Muhle R41.
The chrome finish is beautiful and we prefer this long handle version as opposed to the regular one because it gives more control and therefore comfort while shaving. The design is done so very well and the fact that the shaft is not rounded helps a lot with the handle of this razor, which should not slip from your hand unless you really make an error.
As stated previously, this is for experienced users and even the lower settings are pretty aggressive, so this is ideal for people who have owned DE razors in the past and are ready to take that next step. You will need to test out different blades and settings on the razor to find that perfect match, however it is extremely worth it once you do.
Lastly, the price makes it a great purchase and our #2 choice if you don’t want to spend a lot like you would with our next and final razor.
Highlights of the Merkur Progress 510:
|Length:||5.1 inches long.|
|Weight:||Heavy at around 3.4 ounces.|
How Does It Perform?
The Feather AS-D2 is a testament to the majestic craftsmanship of the Japanese. We all know that the best swords and knives come from Japan, so why not your razor too?
The design is exquisite and brilliant, and actually a bit overkill depending on who you ask. As if the super durable 316 surgical stainless steel wasn’t enough, they also chrome plated this bad boy and gave it a matte finish. Talk about craftsmanship…
Regarding the aggressiveness of this razor, it is definitely not the most aggressive and it may surprise you given the price tag. This is due to the solid bar baseplate that is native to the Feather AS-D2, however there is something that you can do that will drastically change the aggressiveness.
This workaround involves the iKon B1 Open Comb Deluxe, a truly super aggressive DE razor that comes with the “Blem DLC Open Comb Base Plate”, which you can interchange with the stock Feather. This will make your AS-D2 a cutting machine and this is only recommended to the most diehard wet shavers.
You don’t NEED to do this and most likely shouldn’t, because the razor shreds hair with the best of them. However, if you want to have the ultimate DE razor, you know exactly what to do.
Simply said, if you are both not frugal and can afford this expensive AS-D2 model, you should buy it because it truly is the best double edged safety razor of 2018. And lastly, you should only pair this with Feather blades for superior performance.
Highlights of the Feather AS-D2:
|Length:||4 inches long.|
|Weight:||Heavy at around 3.2 ounces.|
Conclusion: Why We Chose These Razors?
While this guide features some terrific DE razors, there is just so many out there that are great in their own way that we can not simply pick all of the them to make this list. We believe that these 6 are of the upper echelon, and one’s that are designed to last a long time with a decent amount of use.
There are so many other DE razors that definitely belong on this list, and many wet shaving virtuosos will have their own pick that they think should belong here. You have to keep in mind that we only feature products that are readily and easily available on the market. Some others, like the marvelous Above The Tie 7, have either disappeared completely or are very hard to find new ( or being sold by unreliable vendors ).
There are also some products, like the Merkur 34C and the Edwin Jagger Kelvin, that definitely belong to be in the top 5 but are left out because they are too similar to other products on the list.
Furthermore, we are always updating this list and testing out new razors so there might be a few gems that we haven’t tested yet. With that said, keep checking back and if you have any suggestions let us know from the contact us page.
Lastly, the type of DE blade you use can impact your shave strongly. If you want a more aggressive shave, you would look towards Feather blades for example. Keep testing different blades and seeing how they react to your skin because we are not just all unique but also have different expectations from our shaving experience.
After reading this and buying the best safety razor, the next step would be to get familiar with the different types of shaving brushes.[Last Updated: January 2018]