Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the best straight razor to learn with and not some cheap knockoff that leaves the beginner shaver frustrated and upset with their purchase.
Best Straight razor for beginners
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for have never been more true. It’s easy to get suckered into a cheap straight razor that looks great, but you’ll end up frustrated with the shave and may never really get to experience the true enjoyment of a quality straight razor.
Searching for a straight razor on Amazon will return many razors starting at only $5, but buyer beware.
Buying one of these cheap versions is a waste of your money and you’ll end up with just a cool bathroom knick knack, but not something that you can rely on for a good shave.
Look closely at the razors and read about each. Many times there are razors that look like straights but aren’t. These imitation straight razors are called shavettes and are essentially straight razors and have disposable blades instead of a solid piece of metal for the blade.
Some people like starting out with these, but the serious shavers refuse to accept them as a legitimate option.
Sprinkled in with the shavette’s are plenty of straight razors in the $5-$50 range. Most of these razors are cheap razors that come dull, are not built very well, and most of the time have a difficult time taking an edge if you do have the proper hone.
If you don’t want to spend more than $50 I would recommend going with a shavette although not technically a straight, but please don’t waste your money on the garbage that you’ll get in the same price range because it will just lead to disappointment.
When you get to the $100 price point you’re starting to get into quality straight razors such as Dovo and Feather models. Razors at this price should arrive sharp and only require a leather strop to keep the edge nice and sharp between shaves.
Buying a vintage straight razor
I purchased my first straight razor at an antique mall for $17.50, which was a 19th century razor in decent condition. The price sounds quite reasonable, but I would not recommend buying a used razor for your first one.
An antique straight razor typically needs a lot of work to be done before it is considered shave ready. You’ll likely need to thoroughly clean the razor and hone it, which is a skill in itself.
I think vintages straight razors are awesome and really want to learn how to restore them, but if you are looking to just get started with straight razor shaving it really makes sense just to buy a razor that works.
Once you learn more about them you can get more adventurous buying old razors and restoring them.
Custom straight razors
If you have some extra cash in your pocket you might want to consider custom straight razors. These come in both fixed blade and folding styles and are usually hand made from raw metal and forged into a beautiful razor that will arrive ready to shave and have an amazing story attached to it.
Most razor smiths provide the ability to custom order the razor the way you want it and they will bring your design to life.
Custom straights usually start in the $200-$300 range and go up from there. It’s a high price tag, but these razors will last forever.
Straight razor shaving
Shaving with a straight razor can be a very enjoyable experience, but starting with a cheap piece of metal will only lead to poor shaves and frustration.
Getting a good shave requires the following 3 things:
1.) Good technique
2.) A proper honed and stropped straight razor
3.) Properly prepared skin with lathered up shaving soap and a bit of pre-shave oil for additional protection
You should now be armed with the basic knowledge required to get your first straight razor. Expect to spend in the ballpark of $100 for your first quality straight razor and stick with a major brand with years of experience creating professional quality cut throat razors.
Here are two excellent straight razors that will provide an amazing shave at a price point less than $100
Dovo Best 5/8” straight hollow razor- less than $100
The Dovo company has been creating razors since 1906. Located in Germany near Solingen, which is known for high end cutlery and steel used in the razor and other industries utilizing sharp blades
Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Straight Razor Full Hollow
Boker Straight razor – king cutter black handle – less than $100
Boker is another German company located in the same region as Dovo. Boker has been in business since 1869 creating high end razors.
Both companies are over 100 years old and focus on creating top quality shaving products.
Checkout ShaveSmith.com for custom straight razors if your bank account and wife allow you 🙂