If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best safety razor for beginners is, then we recommend the Merkur 34C Safety Razor as the best.
Like most men, I either shave with a cartridge razor or electric razor. But did you know that there’s another option? The straight razor your grandfather probably used in his youth is making a comeback.
As someone who loves trying out the latest grooming trends, I had to find out for myself what all the fuss is about and try to find the best safety razor for beginners.
What Is a Safety Razor?
A man whose name you might know, King C. Gillette, patented the first safety razor design in the early 20th-century. Much more convenient to use and care for, safety razors took off in popularity around the time of World War I.
Simply put, a safety razor consists of a housing for double-edged blades you can swap out as they get dull. The housing also provides some protection against the cuts you can inflict on yourself with a straight razor and is attached to a handle.
The 5 Best Safety Razors for Beginners
So now that you know what to look for when choosing a safety razor, let’s talk about my top five recommendations. I admit it was hard to choose because there are so many to choose from, but here goes.
1. Merkur 34C Heavy Duty Safety Razor
First up on our list is the Merkur 34c. It takes the top spot for the best safety razor for beginners for a reason. And you do want the best, right? Don’t settle for anything less.
Here’s a fun fact about this safety razor. The Merkur 34C is manufactured by DOVO Solingen, a company located in a German city referred to as The City of Blades, known for its reputation for producing high-quality knives, swords, and razors.
The level of craftsmanship is apparent in the Merkur 34C safety razor, and is perfect for beginners and veteran safety razor enthusiasts alike. This two-piece razor sports a short stainless steel handle that at 2.4 ounces is more substantial than it looks.
But it’s light enough that it offers excellent control and comfort for men who don’t need to spend a lot of time shaving. It is also on the short side, at only 3 inches in length.
The mild-to-moderate aggression level, closed-comb style, fixed blade gap, and straight cut blade all work together to provide a close shave with minimal irritation and risk of cutting yourself.
It also works with all types of double-edge blades, so you aren’t locked into one manufacturer’s blades. Billed as a “no nonsense” safety razor, it only comes with a starter pack of replacement blades. There’s no case provided, so you’ll need to provide your own.
2. Vikings Blade – The Chieftain Safety Razor
Liked by beginners and experts alike, you can’t go wrong with the Chieftain made by Vikings Blade. It comes with a short, textured chrome handle at 3.9 inches in length, suitable for beginners who need more control over the blade.
Weighing 2.9 ounces, you’ll notice that this weight is evenly distributed as well with a perfectly placed balance point, making it effortless to hold and operate. The head is butterfly style, making placing the blade into the head a snap.
Just twist it open, and put the blade in. Speaking of the blades, they are made of high-quality Swedish Sandvik steel, which other companies try to copy but can’t match
Don’t be tempted to buy knockoffs, in other words. As far as aggression, The Chieftain is rated as medium, which might present some issues for beginners. But, that will come in handy as you get better at using safety razors.
It’s a closed-comb style head, which still guides hair but is more forgiving to your skin than the open-comb style. And it comes with a decent accessories package including a premium leather pouch, a mirror, and a set of five starter blades.
3. Edwin Jagger DE89
The Edwin Jagger DE89 is another fantastic find for men who want to take a test run with safety razors. I can’t tell you how many good reviews I read from men who had tried other brands of safety razors and had terrible experiences until they tried the Edwin Jagger DE89.
Manufactured in Sheffield, UK, another European city with a history of producing high-quality blades, this two-piece safety razor features a short handle, an elegant chrome finish with the Edwin Jagger name engraved on the handle, and a straight-bar head.
The handle is 3.3 inches in length, which is a good length for beginners. It’s not too long, and it’s not too short. The whole thing feels perfectly balanced when you start shaving, which is a big plus if you’re a beginner.
Combined with a closed-comb design, mild aggression, and unique blade angle, you get a close shave without cuts or irritation. Packaged with a starter set of five double-edged blades, the Edwin Jagger DE89 does work with all standard double-edged blades.
So, you can test out different types of blades to suit your hair and skin type. There is no case provided, so you will need to provide your own if you travel or shave in the gym.
4. Parker 91R
This three-piece safety razor is another excellent find for men who want to give safety razors a try. It’s made from chrome-plated brass, which doesn’t look as elegant as the Jagger or Merkur, but it still gets the job done.
As for the handle, it is longer in comparison to the others listed in this review at 4 inches. However, don’t worry about it if you think you must have a shorter handle as a beginner. It’s still well-balanced and easy to use, weighing only 3.0 ounces.
Plus, the unique texture design on the handle gives you an excellent grip, which prevents it from slipping out of your hands while shaving.
Rated as medium aggression, the Parker 91R provides a close shave without needing to worry about cuts and irritation thanks to the closed-comb design. It also makes this razor versatile and a superb choice for men who will want to stick with safety razors as they get better at using them.
The Parker 91R comes with a set of five starter blades, and it works with any standard double-edged razor blades allowing you to try out different types.
The butterfly design on the head makes replacing the blades a snap, too. It does not come with a case, so again, you’ll need to provide your own if you do a lot of traveling or shave at the gym.
5. Seki Edge Feather AS-D2
While the price tag may be a little steep on the Seki Edge Feather AS-D2, it is worth it if you can afford it. It is durable, stylish, and gives an exceptional shave for beginners or men with super sensitive skin.
Manufactured by the Feather brand in Seki, Japan, another city known for producing high-quality blades, this safety razor is made from surgical-grade stainless steel with a matte finish.
The matte stainless steel design with textured grip gives it a distinctive look in comparison to the chrome-plated safety razors I’ve covered in this article. It’s also less prone to rust and chipping than chrome-plated safety razors.
I also like the fact you can sterilize this razor without worrying about chrome plating wearing off. The handle is 3.9 inches in length, making it on the longer side. However, it’s perfectly balanced, making it easy to use for beginners.
It has a three-piece design, a closed comb, and is rated as very mild, making it suitable for beginners or men who have thinner hair or extremely sensitive skin.
Note that you may outgrow the very mild rating as you get better at using double-edged safety razors. So, if the price is a significant factor for you, I recommend trying another safety razor from this list.
The razor is packaged with five starter Feather blades, but it works with any type of double-edged blades. You can try out different blades to see if they can overcome the very mild aggression rating as you get better with using safety razors.
Benefits of a Safety Razor
So, why would you want to use a safety razor when there are cartridge razors with five and even six blades and electric shavers that are also safer to use?
Save Your Skin
First, if you have sensitive skin, using a single blade may reduce irritation. Cartridge razors with five and six blades can be too much for sensitive skin because they end up shaving below the skin’s surface. Ouch!
With safety razors, there is only one blade that makes contact with the skin, meaning less irritation and fewer chances for painful ingrown hairs. And, you still get a close shave, despite what the companies that manufacture cartridge razors tell you.
Note that you will need to hold a safety razor at about a 30-degree angle because these are straight-edge blades, unlike angled blades in cartridge razors.
Save Your Money
While safety blades are more expensive upfront than cartridge and disposable blades, they can save you money in the long run. One safety razor blade can last up to three months. When the time comes to replace the blade, they are much less expensive than cartridge razor refills.
Save the Planet
Okay, while you won’t save the planet by using a safety razor, you can help reduce landfill waste a bit by opting to use a safety razor. Because the blades last longer, and because you can sharpen them yourself, there’s no need to toss them in the trash when they get dull.
What to Look for in a Safety Razor
The main things to look for in the best safety razor for beginners are the handle as well as the head type, and the blades.
First, there’s the handle length to consider. As a beginner, you’ll want to choose a short handle to be able to control the pressure better as they are lighter and almost effortless to wield.
Long handles are better suited to experienced safety razor users and men with very dense and coarse facial hair. They are heavier and apply more pressure to your skin.
There is also the grip. Some safety razors are totally smooth, which might look nice, but can easily slip out of your hands. You’ll want to buy a safety razor with a ridged handle for better grip.
There are three main head types, the open comb, the closed comb, and the straight bar. The comb style guides the hair through to the blades, providing a closer shave for men with thick beards or dense growth.
However, open comb heads are less forgiving to the skin than the straight bar style, which reduces friction and provides more protection against nicks and cuts. Therefore, you’ll want to try this style or the closed comb style as a beginner.
There are also two-piece and butterfly styles to choose from. The two-piece head consists of plates that encase the blade.
The butterfly head is just as it sounds. You open it by twisting the handle and place the blade in between the two sides of the housing, like a butterfly opening its wings. This style is more accessible in terms of replacing the blades and is excellent for beginners for this reason.
The Aggression Level
Before you think your razor will attack you when not looking, all aggression refers to is how easy it is to cut yourself with the razor. Razors rated as mild are less likely to cut you than high-rated ones.
Aggression is determined by the angle of the blade when loaded into the head, the size of the gap between the blade and the bar, and how much blade exposure your skin gets. If you have thick hair and are a beginner, you may want to stick with a medium level of aggression.
If your hair is thinner, then you will probably want to stick with a mild level. You can also swap out the blades to counteract the aggression level, so keep that in mind if you think a medium level of aggression is too much.
If you’re used to cartridge razors, then you’ll want to purchase blades that are more forgiving than the ones that may come with the handle. Look for ones that are coated and sharp, but not too sharp.
So, What’s the Best Safety Razor for Beginners?
After much deliberation, I have to say that my top pick for the best safety razor for beginners is the Merkur 34c Safety Razor. It is very forgiving for a newbie like myself.
And I’ve gotten nothing but close, smooth shaves from this model, despite the mild aggression rating. My sensitive skin is much happier, too, and I’ve noticed that ingrown hairs are a thing of the past.