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The 10 Best Straight/Cut Throat Razors – Accept No Junk

best cut throat razors

Straight razors are having a resurgence lately and you might be considering jumping on board. If you’re not one hundred percent sure what exactly a straight razor is, let this introduction be your guide. You can learn further down the page what the best straight razors are.

You might also have heard of them called open razors or cut throat razors. This refers to the way the blade has no protection, and is “open” to your skin. For a very long time, these were the only means known to man, and a visit to the local barbers would often incorporate a shave.

The blades are NOT disposable, but rather need stropping and sometimes honing.

Even though they declined and were eventually replaced by safety razors (thanks to King C. Gillette), and then cartridge razors, they are still being manufactured. You can find companies in Europe (mostly Solingen, Germany but also France and United Kingdom), Asia (mostly Japan), and North America.

There’s also a big antique razor market.

Our Top Straight Razor Pick: Dovo Classic

Out of all the straight razors on this page, our favorite is the Dovo Classic. It provides a very close shave, is high quality, will last a lifetime, and is excellent for beginners. It's a truly 5-star blade.

Straight Razor Quality

Buying anything but the best straight razors is madness. The right razor is a very important thing.  You might not want to read that and might be hoping that the cheap brands you’ve come across on Amazon or elsewhere are worth buying. You’d be wrong.

When you are using a piece of steel that is supposed to last you a very long time (perhaps even forever), you want to make sure it is top quality. There are many knock-off, cheap, or even junk razors out there marketed as top quality cut throat razors, but most of them are not worth your time. Anything under $50 is definitely going to be more trouble than it’s worth.

The best steel is often cited as being from Solingen, Germany, or Sheffield, United Kingdom. Sheffield Steel is known as a hallmark worldwide.

What Do You Actually Need?

This video should really help you figure out what you actually need when it comes to buying a straight razor. Further down the page we’ve got a list of some of the best.

Parts Of Straight Razors

It’s important to be aware of the various parts of a straight razor. You’re not going to need to know them and select them, but understanding how intricately they are put together will help you know why to avoid buying badly crafted blades.

Pivot

This is the “pin” that the narrow end of the blade rotates on. If this is badly put together, the blade could slip mid-shave. As you can imagine, this isn’t going to end well for your face.

Scales (Handle)

This is the part that you hold and is often badly made in cheaper models. It’s easy for the scales to crack, so even though some of them are very nicely decorated, you want to avoid something that feels lacking in quality.

That said, even the popular brands like Dovo sometimes have plastic handles, so it doesn’t have to be particularly weighty in order to be a sign of quality.

Other Parts

You might also see references to things like the shank, the tang, the stabiliser, or the heel. These are more important for hobbyists or those who want to do repair work.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the details of these right now.

Construction

Straight razors are made from a process of forging, hardening (tempering), grinding, and then finishing. They’re not something that can be readily mass-produced, although the bigger manufacturers still do manage to produce a large amount every year.

I’m telling you this because if you find a blade on Amazon for $25, you should ask yourself what kind of quality compromises were made.

This is an artisan craft with a lot of steps, so you really ought to be prepared to pay a higher price.

Blade Width

There are lots of different widths of blade. The most common/preferred and best for beginners is the 6/8 inch. You can also find some 5/8 blades that will be fine for you to use.

If a blade is not at one of these angles, it’s much more likely that you’ll end up cutting yourself.

Check the image below.

Straight razor sizes and best widths

Choosing Your Razor

There really are a lot of razors to choose from though, and many of them are more than acceptable, so it is difficult for me to list them all. Instead, I’ll list my “top three” brands, and then give you some more information at the bottom of the page to help you identify whether a brand you come across is good or not.

 

Best Cut Throat Razors

My top three brands are Dovo, Fromm, and Giesen & Forsthoff. This is based on personal opinion and experience/research, so it is not conclusive. I’ll explain below why they make it into my top three.

Dovo

I would be surprised if they didn’t make it into every top three lists, because they are the Apple of straight razors. The most well known, the easiest to get hold of, great quality and great value.

Dovo are manufactured in surprisingly high numbers given the decreased popularity of this type of razor, which shows how high their demand is within the reduced market.

What’s more, they are great for beginners and veterans alike, with a wide range of blades available.

Read My Dovo Review

Fromm

There are a lot of good things said about Fromm across the Internet. While the more experienced straight razor users among us might feel they are not the best quality, there are many who use them daily without issue.

I would agree they are definitely more of an “entry-level” razor or a backup razor for when your top quality one needs maintenance, but that is part of the appeal.

If you want a razor which is affordable, yet still provides a very good shave and stays sharp, Fromm is most likely for you.

Read My Fromm Review

Giesen & Forsthoff

If you would prefer to go for something higher quality than Fromm, but still in the affordable price range, this is your top choice. G & F blades are a lot cheaper than Dovo, but are not too far behind in quality. The company has a long history of producing good quality blades.

Boker

Boker also make great razors that offer value for money. They are not as cheap as Fromm, but they are very high quality steel blades. I’ve written a review here, or you can check them out on Amazon.

Other Notable Brands

Feather SS Review
Parker Straight Razor Review
Kamisori Straight Razor Review

Selection Criteria

I assumed when making this post that a lot of people searching for this topic would be beginners looking to buy their first blade. Therefore, when I selected my three recommendations, I based them on a criteria of affordability, quality, availability, and ease of use/maintenance.

If you wanted to search for something more “executive” or higher end, then you would be able to find them, and others might not agree with my list either. I stand by my selections though. None of the three brands mentioned above will be a bad purchase by any means, and that is what matters the most.

If you find another brand that you are unsure of, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does the price compare with other blades? If it is significantly cheaper, something is probably wrong.
  • Are there many reviews/mentions of it online? If you can’t find information about it here, something is probably wrong!
  • Is the source trustworthy? This part should be self explanatory.

If you can, inspect the steel/blade and the handles/hinges. If something looks cheap or poorly made, don’t buy it. You don’t want “cut throat” to become a literal name because you’ve shredded your skin to pieces due to a faulty razor.

Why Use A Straight?

Maintenance And Honing

Despite what a lot of people say, a straight razor that is freshly bought does NOT need to be sent off to a professional honer. I had this information directly from Dovo themselves.

Their suggestion is that a user “wears-in” a straight razor, slowly stropping it every couple of days. As you grow in skill, you will also get better at sharpening your blade. It’s also a good idea to let the blade “sit” and only shave every 48 hours.

In other words, get a razor, get a strop, and then learn how to use them together.

You are always welcome to post a comment below to add your own best cut throat razors, or ask questions about other brands.

Fromm

Best Budget Razor.

  • Solingen Steel
  • Wallet Friendly

Dovo Classic

Best Bang For Buck.

  •  Solingen Steel
  • Well Made
  • Closest Shave

Feather SS

Second Best.

  • Japanese Steel
  • Stylish
  • Easy
 

15 Comments

  1. Thanks for the skinny (no pun intended) on the best razors available. Still not quite sure why they want to call them ‘cut throat’. Wouldn’t that be like buying a car from Crash Happy Motors? Anyway, I did a Google search on ‘cut throat razors’, and there was your clean-shaven face, Dom, sitting smartly in the fifth position. Good job! 🙂

    • Dominic Wells says:

      I guess the official names are straight razor or straight edge razor, cut throat is more of a nickname given to them by others. Like I call safety razors wussy razors. 😀

  2. I would love to get started with ‘cut through’ razors. Lol, it’s the first time I’m hearing it called this as well. I’ve always heard straight razor. Either way, they’re awesome. I like the idea of working up some old fashioned lather, sharpening my blade on a leather strap, then slicing away!

    Two problems I’ve faced with this:

    One, I have sensitive skin. Safety razors tear up my skin. I use an electric razor because of this. Do you know how cut throat razors do on sensitive skin?

    Two, I’m lazy. Does using a razor like this take much longer than a electric/safety shave?

    • Dominic Wells says:

      Do you not find an electric razor causes razor burn/rashes for sensitive skin? From what I’ve experienced, it is mostly the type of shaving cream used which affects sensitivity.

      Using a good quality shaving soap and a good badger hair brush is recommended for people for sensitive skin, so it’s not the blade as such that you need to worry about.

      In one sense, yes a “real” shave takes longer than using an electric or safety razor, because you will take your time and work up the lather, then slowly shave. However, the shave is so close and smooth, that you will most likely only need to shave once every second day, so if you do the math, it works out fine.

      • LOL. Math never was my strong suit. I have never heard that shaving cream would be the culprit for irritated skin, so I might give this a try in the near future. I also like the idea of a close, smooth shave. It’s funny that as a kid I couldn’t wait to get a beard, and as an adult, I’m always trying to chop it off.

        My electric razor doesn’t give me razor burn actually. It doesn’t get very close with only a few swipes though. The more I go over an area though (if I really want a close shave), it does get a bit irritated. It’s not a terrible way to shave, but there’s definitely room for improvement, which is why I’m considering these blades.

        • Dominic Wells says:

          I had an electric when I was a teenager (and just had a little bit of fluff around my upper lip) but I soon moved on. Maybe I used a cheap electric, but I just found the whole thing not very good. If I went a few days without shaving, then trying to trim it down again afterwards was a pain. I preferred wet razors when I made the switch, and when I eventually gave the straight edged razors a try, I thought “oooh” wow.

          It’s like switching a light bulb on. Imagine washing your hands with mud all your life then one day using soap.

  3. Hey, thanks for the info on these but do you know of any executive straight razors because I am looking to get one and want to invest in one that will hopefully last a life time. I would really appreciate if you can point me in the right direction. Thanks

    • Dominic Wells says:

      Hey Bruce,

      The best straight razors out there right now that are readily available are the Dovos or the Bokers. You can probably find some great vintage blades on eBay, but it’s hard to verify the quality or authenticity. If it were me, I’d chose a Dovo or Boker from Amazon.

  4. Hi,

    In the choosing a razor section, what made you give the dovo carbon steal a perfect 5.0 rating that the Dovo best didn’t have?

  5. andrew jackson says:

    Bro shark razors on dovos is something like heaven

  6. I’m thinking of actually giving straight razors a shot because I’m not satisfied with my electric and my safety razors will wear down soon enough. Once I decide to buy one I’ll do it through you site. Question 1) do you have a safety guide? 2) I imagine that even a straight razor requires sharpening from time to time?

    • Dominic Wells says:

      We don’t have a safety guide but it’s not hard to find some basic usage guides on this site or other sites. All razors need sharpening yeah, straights included.

  7. How the hell do you come up with 4\8 and 6\8 these are not real fractions ! Keep dividing and get back to me . I.e. 1\2 and 3\4 wtf !

    • Dominic Wells says:

      Those fractions are the ones used and stated by the manufacturers, it’s widely known to be done this way. Some are 5/8 for example, so they likely keep them all to be /8 even though you’re right, fractions should always be rounded down.

      Not sure why it’s such a big deal to you though.

  8. I’m guessing we are talking inches. There are 8/8ths in an inch 4/8ths being half inch. Just a guess.

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