11 Best Safety Razors for Beginners [2020]

11 Best Safety Razors for Beginners 2020

Safety razors can shave extremely close and do so smoothly and without nicks or cuts. A safety razor is more than just a razor though, it’s a machined tool from the past. It feels different. It’s heavy and massive. It’s a work of art.

Shaving with a safety razor is different than shaving with anything else. It’s a much more enjoyable experience. It involves lathering your face up with warm scented shaving soap. The feel of a badger hair brush on your face, applying a thick and foamy potion. The soap smell makes your mid drift away into another world. Your face is cleansed and moistened. You take the safety razor and gently place the head against one side of your face. The weight of the razor pulls it downward, cutting hair without a hitch…it is quite the experience.

Best Safety Razors

Merkur 34C, Edwin Jagger DE89, Parker 69CR Razors

Features of Safety Razors

There are several types of safety razors that make them work differently. I’m going to educate you on these features/types so you know what you want or don’t want.

Closed Comb Safety Razors – are ideal for beginners. These razors have either a grooved or straight safety bar on the head. This safety bar runs under the razor blade and tightens the skin right before the blade cuts the hair. This provides a very easy shaving experience with little risk of cutting your skin. The safety bar ensures a smoother and flatter shaving surface and keeps the skin out of the way. The Merkur 34C is a perfect example of a closed comb safety razor.

The closed comb safety razor is the most popular for wet shavers, both beginners and professional barbers alike. You can’t go wrong with the closed comb.

Open Comb Safety Razors – these do not have a solid safety bar underneath the blade, instead open comb razors have a row of teeth that guide hair closer to the razor blade for a close cut. This guide bar system provides a very close shave. The open comb safety razor head also allows hair and shaving soap or creme to flow through the blades without clogging. There is more space to prevent clogging. More razor blade is exposed and gives a more aggressive shave. Because more blade is exposed, it is better lubricated and will shave smoother.

Open comb safety razors tend to shave closer on the first pass while closed comb may need several passes. There is less chance of irritation with a open comb because you only need a single pass.

Open comb safety razors are most often used by experienced wet shavers. Beginners can learn to use a open comb with time and practice. The key is to take your time and use short strokes. Always prepare your skin and face before shaving. Use a good shaving soap or creme.

Adjustable Safety Razors – allows you to adjust the amount of aggressiveness of the shave. Usually there are 5 settings from mild to aggressive. These are great. You have the option of choosing the setting. Try mild to start with and then go more aggressive until you find the setting that works best for you. It’s 2 safety razors in one.

Here are some adjustable safety razors

  • Merkur Progress
  • Merkur Futur
  • Parker Variant
  • Rockwell 6S
  • Vikings Blade The Crusader
  • Feather Adjustable Safety Razor

Slant Head Safety Razors – slant head safety razors have a unique feature and are only available by a few manufacturers. The unique feature is the head and blade are curved. Typical safety razors have straight double edge blades.  if you lay one on the counter, they are flat while slant head razor blades are bowed or curved. The reason for this is to cut hair easier. The curved blade is claimed to cut cleaner and faster. Some examples are the Merkur 37C, Above the Tie and Parker Semi-Slant Safety Razor.

Butterfly Safety Razors – these are razors with special head designs. Typical safety razors have a screw-on head. You unscrew the top of the head in order to replace the blade. Butterfly safety razors have a mechanical head that opens or unfolds when you turn the handle, like butterfly wings when spread. It’s faster to replace blades with a butterfly. It’s also a very neat mechanical design. They shave the same as a traditional screw on head safety razor. It’s just a little fancier.

Here are some butterfly safety razors

  • Parker 99R
  • Parker 76R
  • Rockwell Razors R1

Safety Razor Handle Length – different handle lengths work better for different areas. Short handles work really well on faces. It’s short and easy to maneuver around facial contours. Short handles are very nimble or agile. Longer handles are more suited to other body parts like body and legs. These areas require more reach and this is where long handles shine. But it is always best to try each and determine which handle length feels better. I prefer short handles but I only use safety razors on my face.

Safety Razor Handle Weight – the weight of a safety razor is strictly a personal preference. It doesn’t affect how a razor shaves. Heavier razors allow you to let gravity do the work for you. You don’t have to pull the razor. You let the weight of the razor pull it down your face or other area. It’s virtually effortless. Light razors may work better for some people because they feel more maneuverable and agile. I prefer heavier razors for my face.

Merkur 34C Safety Razor

I have a Merkur 34C safety razor. The 34C is a closed comb, short handle, heavy safety razor. It is all steel and plated with chromium to provide a shiny and smooth surface which makes it slide over skin easily. It is the most popular safety razor today.

Merkur 34C Safety Razor

The Merkur 34C handle is short at 3″ and thick enough to provide a secure grip. The knurling texture on the handle provides a sure grip, even when wet. It’s a very easy razor to control. It has a really nice weight and feels good in your hand. The weight pulls the razor down your face with no effort. I prefer heavier safety razors. It weighs 78 grams or 2.8 ounces.

The 34C offers a medium aggressive shave that works for beginners like me and more experienced shavers. It does shave really close with comfort. It shaves as close as my Gillette Mach 3 and BIC Flex 4 disposable razors. It’s as close as you can get.

The Merkur 34C is a 2 piece razor with a handle bottom screw that allows you to remove the head top plate to replace the double edge razor blade. It’s easy to work and holds blades securely. It’s not as fast as a butterfly razor but how often do you change blades?

Edwin Jagger DE89 Safety Razor

Edwin Jagger is a British manufacturing company that prides itself for making high end luxury shaving equipment and accessories. They are located in Sheffield, England. The Brits make some really nice stuff!!

Edwin Jagger Safety Razor

The DE89 is a closed comb safety razor with a 3.2″ long handle and a weight of 68 grams. It’s not a short handle and not a long handle. The same goes for the weight. It’s not light and not heavy. It’s right in the middle which makes it good for most shavers.

The closed comb on the DE89 makes it ideal for new safety razor shavers. It has a steel bar under the blade to pull the skin tight. This gives the blade a flat surface to ride on and helps cut hair close without nicking skin. Closed comb razors are the most popular and the Edwin Jagger is very popular.

The DE89 is all steel and chrome plated to assist with corrosion resistance and friction reduction. Chrome is really smooth and makes the razor head glide over skin. It’s also easy to clean and looks great.

The DE89 handle is a beauty. It is well machined, beefy and has an excellent knurling texture for non-slip shaving. It’s just the right thickness to offer a solid grip but not too big. It gives you great control and is easy to maneuver around the jawline and neck. At first when I opened the Edwin Jagger from it’s box, I notice the handle knurling was very shallow and not aggressive at all. Initially I thought it was going to be hard to hold when wet. But it actually proved to be very non-slip. The handle is fantastic.

The DE89 head is a typical plate design where you unscrew it via the handle knob. The head and plate are thick steel and nicely machined. It looks and feels “quality” all around. It accepts all standard double edge safety razor blades.

The Edwin Jagger DE89 is a real “sleeper”. It’s not fancy or a new high-tech design. It looks very similar to other safety razors. BUT is shaves really nice. Maybe because of the Feather blade that comes with the razor. But wow. I really like this razor. It cuts really smooth and handles well. I like the longer handle. I have been using the Merkur 34C which has a short 2.8″ handle. I like the Jagger handle much better. Other wise the DE89 is very similar to the 34C. Both are very well made and very nice razors.

Merkur 38C Safety Razor

Merkur is a German shaving company that is well known for quality. They have been around since 1896. Merkur razors are well made and will last a lifetime. They offer traditional safety razors as well as some futuristic designs.

The 38C is the “Barber Pole” safety razor featuring a long handle ,heavy weight brass core and a closed comb. It’s a 2 piece design consisting of the head plate and the handle. The brass core and head are chrome plated for durability and friction reduction. Nothing slides easier than polished chrome.

The 38C handle is long and measures 3.79 inches. It’s a great length for body and leg shaving and possibly facial too. I prefer a shorter handle for facial shaving but you might find this handle to work for you. You never know until you try. The knurling on the handle is excellent. It provides a sure grip even when wet. The thickness of the handle is good. It’s not too thick [0.46 inches] and not too thin. It will work for most people.

The 38C is a heavy razor which is good in most cases. The weight of a razor helps with cutting. You let the weight do the work. It weighs 3.92 ounces which is almost 1/4 lb. It’s a nice beefy razor.

The 2 piece design is simple. You unscrew the head plate via the bottom of the handle, change blades and then screw it back on.

Parker 69CR Convertible Safety Razor

Parker makes some really fantastic safety razors. They have been making shaving products for over 40 years. They make very high quality products and strive to please. Parker is a family owned and operated business. I like that. But they are manufactured in India.

Edwin Jagger Safety Razor

The Parker 69CR Convertible is all brass construction with electroplated brass finish and chrome ascents. It’s a beauty to behold for sure. It is a beefy razor with lots of metal. It weighs in at 3.3 ounces. That’s a heavy weight. The handle is about 3.4 inches long which makes it a medium length. The real beauty of this razor is that it’s a convertible. It has both Open and Closed comb plates. You choose which plate you want. It’s 2 razors in 1. You can start with the closed comb and then work into the open comb plate. You now have options.

With the a twist of the handle you can go from close comb to open comb. Closed comb’s are all around great but especially good for beginners. The closed comb has a steel bar under the blade that pulls your skin tight to prevent cuts. It also makes hair stand up for easy cutting. Closed combs are hard to beat unless you have longer hair to cut. For longer, coarser or unruly hair, choose an open comb safety razor. It will cut much better and closer. Open combs have more blade exposure and will cut closer without clogging. They also leave more shaving foam on your skin for lubrication.

I used this safety razor with the Parker razor blades that come with it. The Parker blades are about average and will give you a close cut but you do feel the razor cutting hair. There is some resistance when letting the razor slide down your skin. I switched blades to Feather and WOW. The Feather blades are much sharper. The razor now slides down my face with very little sensation of cutting hair. It’s very smooth and cuts very close.

Vikings Blade The Chieftain Butterfly Safety Razor

Vikings Blade is a family owned and operated business that was originally a high end shaving products designer and manufacturer for some very well-known brands under a NDA agreement. This was until 2015 when they were approached by a consulting firm that suggested Vikings Blade establish an online presence and retail their products directly to the public. In 2017 Vikings Blade was acquired by Vullion Group out of Australia.

Vikings Blade does not design new safety razors but manufactures high quality proven designs of the past.

Vikings Blade Chieftain Safety Razor

The Chieftain is a twist to open butterfly double edge razor with a closed comb. It is ideal for the beginner and novice shaver. It’s a heavy razor with a medium length handle and made from top quality Swedish materials.

The Chieftain has a medium length but thick handle. I like a bigger handle to hold onto. The knurling on the handle is very good and provides a sure grip in water or shaving creme. It’s attractively designed. Eye candy for sure. The handle twists to open the butterfly head so you can replace the blades. It takes just 5 seconds. But who’s in a hurry?

The Chieftain is a moderately aggressive razor, sort of a closed comb. Beginners can easily use this razor without bloodshed. Just joking. It is a fantastic razor…no doubt about it.

Vikings Blade safety razors are first class and well made. I love the name. It adds a little visual to the razor. I ordered one. They are bargain priced at about $25+

Muhle R89 Safety Razor

Johannes Muller started with high quality shaving brushes in 1945 after the war ended. He lead the market with his shaving brushes using the best badger hair and then high end synthetic hair, Black Fibre and Silvertip Fibre. He succeeded and expanded to where he is today after 65 years of ups and downs. It’s quite a story. Muhle USA History

The Muhle R89 safety razor is yet another luxury top end product built like a bank vault. There’s lots of heavy machined brass and chrome plating. It’s attractive and functional. At first glance, I’d buy it.

The R89 is a closed comb safety razor that is great for the beginner or the advanced. It offers a close shave that is comfortable and effortless. The closed comb keeps skin out of the blade by pulling it tight which essentially flattens it for a close cut. The high quality chrome plating and polish make this razor GLIDE.

The R89 handle is brass with chrome plating. Wow…the chrome plating is really nice. It’s very smooth and shiny. The handle is heavy and thick in diameter to accommodate most size hands. It gives you something to grip easily. The handle knurling is moderately aggressive to prevent slippage when wet. It’s not too aggressive where it hurts your hand or cuts into your skin. It’s just right.

The R89 is a 3 piece safety razor consisting of the handle, head and top plate. It has a good weight of 65 grams which is a medium weight for safety razors. The weight helps the razor cut without any effort from the user. Heavy is good.

The Muhle R89 Safety Razor retails for $44.00

Merkur Progress 510 Adjustable Safety Razor

Adjustable razors are becoming more popular because it allows people to select the amount of blade exposure for the perfect shave. The Merkur Progress 510 is one of the best.

Adjustable safety razors allow you to adjust the aggressiveness of the shave. You can dial in mild to very aggressive for coarse or unruly hair. You get multiple razors in one.

The Progress 510 is the long handle version while the 500 is the standard or short handle. The longer handle is ideal for larger hands.The handle measures 3.70 inches and is nicely ribbed and does provide a non-slip grip even when wet. I prefer knurling but the ribs are nice. The creme colored handle knob is the adjustment feature. Just turn it to adjust the blade gap.

The 510 is a heavy beast at 90 grams. I love it. It feels great and maneuvers easily despite it’s size and weight. It’s ideal for body shaving where you need a long handle to get extra reach but it also works well on the face.

Just by holding the 510, you know it’s quality. Everything about it is first class. Made in Germany like Porsche…Nice razor!!!

Rex Supply Company, Rex Envoy Safety Razor

OK, this is the ultimate machined/handmade, high precision safety razor. I’m buying one. Oh, and it’s manufactured/machined in the USA. This is the most precise safety razor I’ve seen. It’s expensive too…$125. You get what you pay for right?

Rex Supply Company Envoy Safety Razor

The Rex Envoy looks like no other safety razor and that’s because it’s not made like the others. The Envoy is 100% Marine-grade stainless steel and is handmade. There is also a serial number on it. Wow. It’s a heavy weight at 106 grams. That’s the heaviest safety razor I’ve used so far but I’m not complaining.

The Envoy is a somewhat closed comb head [moderately aggressive] which appeals to most safety razor enthusiasts. It will cut very close without nicking your skin. The actual blade gap is 0.025 inch. That’s impressive. This close of blade gap should work well protecting skin from the blades while cutting hair very closely.

The Envoy handle is moderately short at 3.5″ and has a good diameter. The knurling is quite unique to say the least. It’s machined into the handle and not pressed like regular knurling. It’s knurling with a ring pattern. It’s striking and totally non-slip in water, shaving creme, Crisco vegetable shortening and axle grease…just kidding. This thing is not coming out of your hand.

If you’re looking for the absolute best quality safety razor, get the Rex Envoy.

Feather AS-D2 Stainless Steel Safety Razor

Feather safety razors are super high quality right out of Japan. It’s right up there with the Rex Envoy razor. Feather was the very first Japanese company to make razors with replaceable blades. Feather Safety Razor Co LTD is dedicated to sharpness, durability and functionality of consumer grooming products. They strive to be the best.

Feather AS-D2 Safety Razor

The Feather AS-D2 is a work of art to say the least. It is a very precision made razor not cast like most other razors. It’s a closed comb design that is ideal for new safety razor shavers. The blade gap is very tight and will shave close without cutting your skin. It’s an easy razor to use for newbies. It is considered a “mild” razor.

The AS-D2 is all stainless steel and not brass cored like other razors. The weight is 90 grams which makes it a heavy razor which is a good thing. I like the weight. It feels like a $150 razor. The handle is 3.5 inches long which is not too long but not short. It’s an ideal length for facial and body shaving. The knurling on the handle is excellent and eye appealing. It will prevent any type of slippage while shaving. Nice job!

The AS-D2 is a 3 piece safety razor that is easy to take down and replace blades. It’s also easy to clean and dry.

So how does it shave?

With the right blades, Feather Hi Stainless DE Blades, it is a dream to shave with. There is no sensation of cutting hair. It glides over your skin and shaves very close. It’s as good as it gets. Blades make all the difference in the world. Try several brands and then decide which shaves the best. The high end blades do cut better.

Is it worth $150? Well, that depends. If you just want a safety razor for shaving, then no. You can buy a very good safety razor like a Merkur 34C for $40.  If you want a work of art, a precision made tool from the past, then YES. It is a Beauty

Parker 99R Butterfly Safety Razor

The Parker 99R is a very popular safety razor. And it’s not because of its appearance. It’s because of how it shaves and it’s cost. It looks like any other safety razor, nothing special. It retails for $30.00.

The 99R is a butterfly razor which means is has a mechanism in the head that opens like butterfly wings to allow blade replacement. You twist the bottom of the handle to open the head. It’s a neat device.

The 99R has a brass framed handle that is chrome plated for durability and friction reduction. Polished chrome glides over skin with little resistance. The handle is swirl knurled for non-slip grip and is attractively done. I prefer the entire handle be knurled unlike the 99R’s. The top and bottom are polished smooth. The top of the handle is where my finger and thumb are and need non-slip traction for complete control.

The 99R comes off the scale at 4.0 ounces or 113.4 grams. It’s pretty heavy but is well balanced.

The 99R is a great choice in safety razors and with the right blades will shave as close as most.

Rockwell Razors 6S Stainless Steel Adjustable Safety Razor

Rockwell Razors’ purpose is to provide an alternative to high priced disposable razors. Rockwell razors are designed to make it easy for disposable razor shavers to switch to safety razors. Their razors are Mild.

The Rockwell 6S is available in some striking colors; stainless, blue, red and black.

Rockwell 6S Safety Razor

The Rockwell 6S is unique in manufacturing. It is a metal injection molded product with a bead blasted matte finish. It’s very attractive and functional. The matte finish is appealing and adds a high end look to the 6S.

At $100 retail, it is sort of high end in price. Average cost of a good safety razor is about $50.

The 6S adjustable safety razor is an all 316L stainless steel razor with an adjustable blade gap. This makes this razor a great choice for beginners or experienced shavers. You can select one of 3 blade heads/6 settings [R1 – R6] to get the closest and most comfortable shave. Adjustable razors are fantastic.

The 6S is a heavy weight at 118 grams. This helps with cutting hair without effort. The weight pulls the razor down your face. Heavy razors always seem to cut better. The handle is a 3.34 inch and about the average of any safety razor. I like a 3-3.5″ handle. It makes it ideal for facial and body shaving. The handle diameter is a healthy 1/2″. It”s certainly big enough to grip well and makes maneuvering easy. The knurling is quite aggressive and does prevent a slippery handle when wet or covered with shaving creme. You won’t ever loose this razor in the sink.

Select the better safety razor blades to get the best from the 6S. Rockwell recommends the Premium Swedish DE blades. Cheaper blades will make the 6S look bad.

Best Safety Razor Blades

Blades can make a good razor look bad and a cheap razor look good. Make no mistake about it…razor quality is critical.

DE Razor Blades can cost $0.05 each or as much as $1.00 each. The better quality blades cost about $0.50 each.

Feather Hi-Stainless Steel Double Edge Blades

Feather has a reputation for super sharp premium blades. They are made in Japan and are platinum coated stainless steel. The platinum coating is super hard and wear resistant.

My first experience with Feather blades was with my Edwin Jagger DE89. It came with one Feather DE razor blade. All I have to say is WOW. It’s very sharp. It shaved very smoothly and cut very close. It’s a much better razor blade than the expensive Merkur blades. I’m going to buy some of these and try them in the Merkur 34C.

A 30 blade box retails for $15.00. That’s $0.50 per blade and 8-12 shaves. That’s pretty inexpensive shaving compared to disposable razors.

Derby Extra Double Edge Razor Blades

Derby DE razor blades are made in Turkey. They have been manufacturing DE blades since 1940 and that’s all they do. They are unique in the coating they use. The Swedish stainless steel blades are coated with chromium-ceramic-platinum-tungsten and a polymer. Wow, that’s pretty complex. I have to try these. I know ceramic coatings are super hard and smooth. This should reduce wear and keep its sharpness.

20 boxes of 5 blades costs about $11.00. That’s $0.11 per blade. That’s really cheap for good blades. They should last for 10 shaves or more.

Astra Superior Platinum Double Edge Razor Blades

Astra is a Gillette/Proctor and Gamble owned company. Astra was originally a Czech Republic company but now is located in Russia. They only manufacture double edge razor blades.

These are extremely popular sales wise. They are made from stainless steel and then coated with platinum for durability and edge retention. Astra blades are not as aggressive as the Feather blades but are very sharp and can produce a close shave without pulling. They are individually packed for sterility and safety.

100 Astra Superior Platinum DE blades retail for $7.00. That’s $0.07 per blade. Pretty cheap.

Merkur MK-911 Super Platinum Razor Blades

OK, these are the blades I’m currently using. They are pricey at $1.00 each BUT it’s still cheaper than disposable razors. They are very good.

Merkur razor blades are made in Germany. They are stainless steel with a platinum coating. They are very sharp and cut effortlessly without nicks. I get about 6 or 7 shaves from one blade. They fit any safety razor whether its a 2 or 3 piece or a butterfly razor. I use them in my Merkur 34C razor.

A box of 10 blades retails for $9.00 – $10.00. They are individually packaged for safety and sterility.

Vikings Blade DE Stainless Steel Razor Blades

Vikings Blade DE blades are Swedish Sandvik steel with a premium platinum coating. These blades are rated as Mild and not aggressive like Feather and Astra. They are great for beginners and extra safe for sensitive skin but not recommended for coarse hair. They will last about 5-7 shaves.

Vikings Blade DE razor blades are double wrapped and stacked in boxes of 50 blades. They retail for $15.00 for a box of 50. That’s $0.30 per blade.

If you are wanting to convert from a disposable razor to a safety razor, you should try these blades. They will make it a comfortable shave and very close without nicks.

Parker Premium Platinum Razor Blades

I like Parker safety razors because they are quality razors with good features. Their razor blades are along the same line. Good quality and function well.

Parker DE razor blades are made from Sandvik Swedish steel and are coated with a Platinum-Tungsten-Chromium Polymer to ensure a sharp and long lasting edge. The blades are honed several times on German machinery. The special coating makes a super slick surface on the blade. The blades should last for 7-10 shaves.

A box of 100 blades retails for $12.00. That’s $0.12 per blade.