My search for the world’s greatest razor has been years in the making. My mottled beard occupies a dozen places on a Pantone chart between salmon and banana. I prefer it not exist.
So after testing countless razors, interviewing multiple barbers and repeatedly slicing up my face, I’ve pinpointed the crème de la crème or razors. Results herein are adjusted for myriad hair types and divided by blade genre.
5 Blades: Harry’s Winston
Harry’s is German-engineered steel heated to 2000 °F, cooled, reheated, then coated in rust-proof potion. Plus, there’s a precision blade on the back for crannies, and a heavy, chromed zinc handle that just feels expensive...but isn’t.
Hair type: Thick and coarse
Price: $20/handle, $1.56/cartridge
3 Blades: Dorco’s Pace 3
Compared to Gillette’s Mach 3—the most popular three-blade—Dorco’s Pace 3 is more versatile, cheaper and offers just as good a shave. The same handle allows upgrades to four or six blades, and each cartridge is over a dollar cheaper than Gillette’s.
Hair type: Medium to thick
Price: $14.99/handle + 10 cartridges
2 Blades: Dollar Shave Club’s Humble Twin
DSC’s cheapest razor is perfect for guys thin of beard and wallet. It’s detachable flex head and aloe strip are standard cartridge accouterments—sans standard pricing— plus it has the convenience of home delivery. What it lacks in Harry’s handle quality and elegance, DSC makes up for affordability.
Hair type: Thin
Price: $3/handle, $.20/cartridge
Head Razor: HeadBlade ATX
Balding gents, take note. This John Deere-Jet Ski lovechild shaves craniums like nothing else. With a grip that slips onto fingers like brass knuckles for fixed blade positioning, HeadBlade’s knack for aggression is exceeded only by its convenience. Shaving the back of your head has never been easier—or more likely to make you say, “Vroom!”
Hair type: Head
Price: $15/handle, $2.49/cartridge
Disposable: Bump Fighter
The few men who swear by disposables do so because their sensitive skin requires a single-blade shave that isn’t too close. For disposable sparsely beared users prone to razor burn, BF’s pivoting head and “Bump Guard” technology should land a decent, inexpensive shave—though there is a better choice for extremely sensitive types (see below).
Hair type: Sparse with sensitive skin
For sensitive types: Schick Hydro 5 Sensitive
For he whose skin is highly irritable but whose hair is too much for Bump Fighter. Schick’s surface area is massive, true, but justified by a flip trimmer and a gel reservoir so smooth it feels like you’re shaving with slice of cantaloupe.
Hair type: Thick and coarse with sensitive skin
Price: $8.52/handle, $3.08/cartridge
Because Skarp’s laser razor delayed production for another year, nerds must settle for a techy shave that actually works. Gillette’s ambitious FPSPRWFT features five ultra-fine blades with low-resistance coating and a stabilizer, plus a precision trimmer and flexible ball bearing for seamless angle transitions.
Hair type: Thick and coarse
Price: $12.59/handle, $3.23/cartridge
Safety Razor: WEISHI’s Long Handle Butterfly
Safety razors have countless looks — fat, classic, contemporary, Trumpian — but just a few opening methods. Butterfly-open razors are easiest. WEISHI’s comes with a .022" blade gap, which offers middle-of-the-road aggression. Brass tacks: This razor’s handsome, simple and cheap, with a long heavy handle that does the work for you. Using Feather blades, I achieved Samurai success, but beginners should test a variety pack.
Hair type: Thin to medium