Which Double Edge Safety Razor Should You Use?

As difficult as it may be to believe at first, changing from a standard cartridge razor or electric shaver to a double edge safety razor can help turn the entire process of shaving from a nasty and uncomfortable chore to a pleasant, almost meditative experience and a welcome part of a man's daily routine.

Although they're not as common as other types of razors, there are still quite a few choices available when it comes to safety razors. In order to determine which one is best for your purposes, there are a few factors that are worth considering first.

Things to Consider

The first and most obvious thing you'll want to decide on is your budget. While there are some very affordable low-end models available, most adjustable safety razors are more expensive than typical "modern" razors, and you may find that some are priced outside of your budget.

Even if you might not consider yourself the type to invest in one of the expensive safety razors at first, though, there are a couple of big reasons why these can be well worth the purchase. Safety razor blades are not only more durable than cartridge blades, they're also much cheaper to replace, with 10-packs of double edged blades retailing for less than $10. This adds up to huge savings over the long run. Also, the razors themselves are usually higher in quality than cartridge razors, and can often last a lifetime. A quality safety razor is definitely a good investment. (You can use this rationale to justify the purchase to the wife, too.)

Your beard and skin type may also affect which type of safety razor is best. Men with very sensitive skin or very thick beards might be best served by going with an adjustable razor, such as those made by Merkur, as these allow you to change to a blade exposure that goes smoothly through even the thickest growths. If you have average to light thickness, the mild shave offered by some non-adjustable razors may provide you with the optimal experience.

Finally, your level of experience may also dictate which razors you might want to look at. If you're just making the jump for the first time, you probably don't want to go with one of the more expensive or obscure models, while more experienced users may find that certain razors allow them to get the best possible shave with a somewhat higher degree of difficulty. Here are some suggested safety razors, based on the user's level of experience.

For beginners: the Parker 22R

Great value and ease of use make the Parker 22R an excellent choice for men who are new to the world of safety razors. The 22R retails in the $30 range and features a classic 3-ounce nickel-plated design. Its twist-to-open design makes it easy to clean and maintain, if not quite as versatile as an adjustable-head razor. The 22R isn't as durable or as pretty as some of those high-end models, but it's a great "gateway" safety razor.

For experienced shavers: the Merkur Futur

The Merkur Futur is a step up in price and quality. This is an adjustable, with six settings, so you're all but guaranteed to find a setting that provides you with a perfect shave. With chrome and gold plating options available, the Futur is also a distinguished choice.

For true safety razor enthusiasts: the Gillette Fatboy

If you are the "old-school" type, the Gillette Fatboy is the definitive vintage safety razor. First appearing in 1958, the Fatboy is no longer available at retail, but can often be found on eBay, and its classic, durable design has ensured that, 50 years later, these razors can still provide a superior experience.