Do You Need a Shaving Cream Warmer? [With a Free Alternative]

The idea of warming shaving cream may seem a bit over-the-top or antiquated, but it’s a simple pleasure that’s actually easier than ever to achieve. Is it actually worth it?

Using a shaving cream warmer gets you one step closer to a barber-shop quality shave. The heated cream can help you achieve a closer shave and open pores, making your skin feel softer and more refreshed afterward. However, take care not to overheat the cream, or you may scald your skin. Many people enjoy having access to this small luxury at home.

If you want to know more about shaving cream warmers, including what to consider when buying one, keep reading!

Is a shaving cream warmer worth it?

Chances are you’re already shaving with warm water and a warmed razor, right? Then why rub cold shaving cream all over your face? But is buying a shaving cream warmer actually worth it?

If you are only interested in a closer shave, you should consider options you can try before or buy a shaving cream warmer. Some cheap, low-tech solutions include keeping your shaving tools warm or increasing the lubrication of your skin. Unfortunately, nothing quite matches the feeling of thick warmed lather on the face.

While a shaving cream warmer is not the only way to heat your shaving cream, it is the one that requires the least additional work on your part.

shaving cream on a boar brush near shaving bowl and straight razor

There are two main tricks people use to heat up their shaving materials. The first is to presoak your razor and brush in hot water. Alternatively, if you build up your lather in a bowl, you can partially immerse that in a sink filled with an inch or two of hot water.

Here is a video from the Art of Manliness that explains the concept:

If you want to circumvent any form of extra heating, then you can focus on making your skin less prone to razor cuts. This means focusing on the hydration of the skin. You can regularly apply moisturizer, leave your shaving cream or gel applied for extra time (about three minutes straight), or shave after a hot shower.

How to choose the best shaving cream warmer

There are many shaving cream warmers out there for you to choose from. It can get hard to make an informed decision, even with hundreds of user reviews.

When choosing a shaving cream warmer, you should consider:

  • Heating efficiency
  • Counter space
  • Expense
  • Cream consistency
  • Temperature control

Keep reading and we’ll look at each of these factors, then make some recommendations for good warmers that may meet your specific needs.

man getting a hot shave in a barbershop using a shaving cream warmer

Heating efficiency

Heating efficiency deals with how quickly the warmer can bring your shaving cream to the desired temperature, not how warm that temperature is (we’ll get to that one in a minute).

Depending on your lifestyle and grooming routine, you may need a machine that can heat your cream in five minutes flat. Most devices don’t do this, but some do.

Product listings will usually state the amount of time needed to heat the cream. But if you cannot find that information, look for what the reviews say, or compare the wattage of the model you’re considering to the wattage of a cream warmer that does state its time for warming (higher wattage should correlate with shorter time).

Counter space

This may not be applicable to everybody, but finding the space in the bathroom to dedicate to an extra device can be tricky, especially if you’re sharing the bathroom with someone else.

Determine how much counter space can reasonably be dedicated to your warmer since it’s not the sort of appliance you’re likely to put away between uses. You should also consider whether or not it will need to be plugged into an outlet at all times to function.

The size of a cream warmer may be a deal breaker for you. There is also the possibility of getting a water-proof, in-shower hot cream dispenser, but these also tend to be more costly.


The most obvious differing factor between models is often how expensive they are.

In this sector of the male grooming industry, large differences in price are usually good indicators of who the device is meant for. If the price rounds up to two hundred dollars, then you’re probably looking at a model better suited for a barbershop than your bathroom.

That being said, going for the cheapest option is likely to come back to haunt you later on when it needs to be replaced regularly. A good quality personal warmer will probably run you about $70-100.

Cream consistency

If a certain shaving cream doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t matter how warm it is.

The most easily distinguishable feature between creams is their thickness. This usually correlates with how lubricating they are, which determines how likely you’ll be to cut or nick your skin. However, too thick of cream can clog your razor and even your sink.

Warmers almost always come with a canister of shaving cream included, and they only work with refills from the same company. This increases the importance is reading through reviews to find out about the qualities of the cream itself.

hot shaving cream sitting on a counter with razor and brush

Temperature control

Are you looking for a slightly warmer-than-room-temperature shave or a skin’s-still-hot-from-the-shower shave? This may make the difference in which warmer you choose.

Different machines vary over how much control they give you over the heating of the cream, either by extremes (how low or high can it go) or nuance (can you dial in to the exact temperature you want).

The maximum temperature for anything applied to your skin for an extended period of time should not exceed 120°F. From a safety and utility standpoint, as long as a device is not malfunctioning, any temperature control will do, but many shavers prefer more control and hotter cream.

The best shaving cream warmer

Now that you know what you’re personally looking for in a warmer, maybe we can help you narrow down which ones to start looking at.

Here are some of the most-liked shaving cream warmers that people have rated online:

  • Wahl Professional ’19 Hot Lather
  • LTHR’s Hot Lather Machine
  • QSHAVE Shaving Scuttle Mug

Wahl Professional ’19 Hot Lather

The ’19 Hot Lather Machine from Wahl is a real crowd-pleaser that both barbers and home shavers can make the most of. While on the more expensive end of an at-home warmer, it’s quite affordable for a professional-grade appliance.

The liquid lather is reasonably priced when bought in bulk and provides you with a thick lather that reviewers love. It takes about 50 minutes to warm a full container.

These models are built to last, but the price tag may be excessive if it’s only going to be used once daily.

LTHR Hot Lather Machine

The most expensive explicitly consumer model on this hotlist, LTHR’s Hot Lather Machine boasts multiple technological innovations

This warmer can do things lower-priced options can’t even dream of, such as being wireless and usable in the shower. LTHR also reaches higher temperatures. 

If you’re looking for a great gift or planning to splurge on yourself, you can’t go wrong with this one!

QSHAVE Shaving Scuttle Mug

If you’re looking for the experience of a shaving cream warmer without the expense, the QSHAVE Shaving Scuttle Mug might be for you.

The good ol’ fashioned hot water from your sink powers this warmer. Fill it with hot water (less than 120°F!) and drop in a bit of your favorite bar of shaving soap. The heat will keep your lather warm without any mess.

The reviews are mixed as to whether this one works with shaving cream, but it’s a good excuse to really up your shaving routine with a brush and bowl!

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