If you are interested in getting into straight razor shaving, then you may be wondering why some straight razors are so expensive. Is there a more affordable option to try out first?
Traditional straight razors are expensive because they are usually handmade by artisans who use their expertise and skills to manufacture the razor. They are also made to be extremely durable and can last a lifetime if cared for correctly, both of which significantly increase their price. There are now more affordable options commercially available.
Keep reading to learn what goes into making a straight razor and why they can be so expensive, plus some more affordable options.
Why are straight edge razors so expensive?
The most expensive straight razors will be handcrafted and use high-quality materials like stainless steel and durable wood, bone, or antler for the handle. Cheaper straight razors will be made from less durable materials like alloy steel and cheap wood and be manufactured in a mass production facility.
Straight razors are often more expensive because they are handcrafted by someone with expertise and skills in making a razor. Unlike mass-produced cartridge razors or something similar, there is a lengthier, more skilled process involved in making a single straight razor.
With straight razors, the less amount of money you are willing to pay, the less flexibility there is in the style you can choose from, and you will get lower-quality materials.
How are straight razors made?
Straight razors are manufactured in a specific order starting with forging the blade, usually with steel ingots.
The blade is then hardened, tempered, ground, and finished. The final stage of straight razor manufacturing is sharpening which is done against a grinding wheel.
There are many different parts to a straight razor, so here is a diagram that goes into detail about each part.
One important aspect of straight razors to keep in mind when you are choosing which style to go with is the point type which is the nose of the blade.
There are four main blade point types:
- Square – This type of blade is generally used for shaving small areas precisely but requires more experience when handled as it could easily pinch the skin.
- Barber’s notch – This is a common type of blade used among barbers and is similar to the following blade types.
- Round – This type of blade does not have any sharp end points making it a more forgiving blade than the other types, although it does lack accuracy at the toe of the blade. This type of blade is recommended for more inexperienced users.
- French – This style of blade is much like the round one although it is spiked at the end which helps to shave more difficult areas of the face such as under the nose.
Another aspect to keep in mind when searching for a straight razor is the width of the blade.
The most common widths for straight razors are 4/8, 5/6, 6/8, and 7/8 of an inch. The wider the blade is, the more lather it can carry and allows the user more shaving strokes and minimizes how many times you need to rinse the blade.
A wider blade will not be as maneuverable as a narrow blade and a narrower blade will allow for easier access to tighter areas of the face when shaving.
The weight of the blade is also important because the heavier the blade is, the lighter the pressure you need to apply when shaving.
Straight razors often weigh between 1.4 and 3.2oz.
Are straight razors better than disposable razors?
While most guys learn to shave on disposable or cartridge razors, many men actually prefer a straight razor.
Compared to modern disposable razors, straight razors are a great option because all the costs are upfront, and you won’t need to buy replacement cartridges or blades. They are also one of the most eco-friendly shaving options as there is far less waste produced compared to disposable razors.
One thing to keep in mind about straight razors is that they will require regular maintenance to work properly. This involves stropping and honing the razor. Stropping should be done after every 3 or 4 shaves and honing should be done at least once a year minimum.
If this maintenance sounds a bit too much for your taste, consider a shavette which is a disposable straight razor and does not require maintenance at all!
How much should you pay for a straight razor?
Depending on how much experience you have with straight razor shaving, you probably have specific preferences for what you want in a straight razor. Generally, the razor will be made from high-quality materials, last longer, and be easier to care for the more money you are willing to spend.
Decent quality straight razors start at about $40. Shavettes are even cheaper starting at about $20 up to $50. High-quality stainless steel straight razors range from about $50 to $175. Used vintage straight razors can range anywhere from around $25 to $250.
Before buying a straight razor, it is important to take into consideration which option is best suited for you. Do you want a single straight razor that you will learn to strop and hone and will last a lifetime, or do you want a disposable shavette that still gives you that classic straight razor shave feel without the hassle of maintenance?
The best budget straight razors
When it comes to buying a budget straight razor, you are going to want it to be made from the best materials possible at the lowest price.
All straight razors on our recommended list are made from stainless steel to make your life easier as they tend to be easier to maintain. The only material that will vary from razor to razor is the handle which can be made of metal, bone, or wood.
Parker SRX Shavette
First on our list is the heavy-duty Parker SRX stainless steel shavette for $25.
This is the best shavette for the price and is commonly used by barbers and professionals. It is silver in color and made completely from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about pesky rust. All it comes with is the straight razor and five extra blades to start you off with.
Each shavette weighs 2.3 ounces, so it is slightly on the heavier side. It is made from highly durable and quality materials with a design that allows for precision and accuracy when shaving tighter areas of the face.
This is a great option for people just getting started in straight razor shaving as you will not have to do all the maintenance needed to properly care for a straight razor and you still get that classic shave feel.
Zertone Straight Razor
Second on our list is the Zertone Straight Razor. This $50 straight razor is made from stainless steel and has a mahogany wood handle.
The great thing about this straight razor is that it comes with tools you need to start with which includes a shaving brush, a cowhide sheath, and a razor strop.
This straight razor weighs 3.53 ounces, so it is on the heavy side. It is a vintage-style straight razor with a rounded edge and a blade width of 5/8 of an inch. Overall, it is a straight razor made from high quality and durable materials that is sure to last you a long time. Some of the reviews do complain about the blade breaking or the wood handle splintering, but the good reviews still greatly outweigh the bad, and at this price point it is hard to beat the value you get out of this razor.
This option may not be for someone who is just getting started off with a straight razor as it will be a bit of a learning curve, but if you are committed to learning the technique and how to properly maintain the razor then go for it! If you’ve never done maintenance on a straight razor before, then be sure to watch some videos on how to properly care for it before buying so you will know what to expect.
Athy Love Straight Razor
Last on our list is the $40 Athy Love stainless steel straight razor. This razor is made from stainless steel and has an ox bone handle.
The straight razor only comes with one small metal box to store the razor in, so you will need extra materials like a strop on hand to care for this blade properly.
This straight razor is 3.73 ounces which makes it quite heavy-duty. It has a barber’s notch edge and a design that looks great and is hard to beat for this price point. This razor is made from high-quality materials, and I prefer the bone handle over the wood handle personally. The good reviews greatly outweigh the bad with this razor and people are generally happy with their purchase.
This option is similar to the previous one as there will be a learning curve to be able to properly use and maintain this razor. For someone just starting off who doesn’t want to break the bank and has the commitment to learn how to use it properly, I would look no further than this straight razor.
How to find cheaper used and vintage straight razors
If you are looking for a used straight razor that is high quality then there are definitely some options available for that, but it will surely need some thorough searching. You can find a well-maintained straight razor at a great price point if you know where to look.
Sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or forums like Badger and Blade are great places to look for used/vintage straight razors. Thrift stores are also an option, but you will need to know how to select a blade that is safe to use which may require some research.
To find a high-quality straight razor at a cheaper price, go ahead and search for it on a site like eBay and filter by “used” results.
It will take some searching, but you can surely find a good used straight razor under $50 that is made from high quality, durable materials, and will still last you a long time. Before buying, be sure to check the condition of the blade and search the brand to make sure it is a good value for the price.
On eBay, you can also search by sold listing to get an idea of what other people have been buying. Here is a good example of a decent used vintage straight razor that is only $25.