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Best razor for men 2023: Cutting-edge shaving kit for men who want to stay smooth

Show your skin some love with our roundup of the sharpest, smartest men’s razor options available

Full beards as a fashion statement come and go but, unless you’re a hardcore Hoxton hipster whose hirsute stylings are here to stay, one look for the male chin that will always be en vogue is that of the cleanly shaven, and achieving that look is going to involve employing some precision equipment – the best razor you can find.

Naturally, there are differing types of wet-shave razor on offer to the dapper chap about town, namely disposable, cartridge, double edge safety and the straight. Each is quite different to the other and designed to do the job of rendering you safely sheared of stubble, so which one is right for your rugged contours? Let’s find out…

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Best razors for men: At a glance

How to choose the best men’s razor for you

Cartridge vs safety vs disposable vs cut-throat: what’s the difference?

Let’s kick off with the cartridge razor, as this is the most popular these days among those who want a decent shave without much fuss. Comprising a good-quality handle and replaceable, multi-bladed cartridge heads, the cartridge razor can deliver a devilishly close shave due to the manner in which blades lift and cut the bristles close to your face.

They also tend to have a pivoting head that follows the shape of your face for a smoother, safer shave, some form of lubrication strip and, sometimes, an extra trimmer blade on the rear.

The double edge safety razor is the kind of old-school shaver you may recall seeing in your grandad’s bathroom back in the day; in truth, though, this style is making quite the comeback.

Using replaceable double-edged, one-piece, flat blades, these razors require more skill to use without cutting yourself but, once you’ve polished your skills, they provide as close a shave as any cartridge razor and can reduce skin irritation thanks to the fact that only one blade is in contact with your skin at any time. Also, since no plastic is used in the manufacture of the metal blades, and they generally come packaged in paper, there’s less ecologically damaging waste.

Then we come to the disposable razor, the cheapest option available. Disposables are of an off-shoot of the cartridge razor, except you throw the whole thing away when the blades are blunt, not just the head. Once very popular, the hugely negative impact of plastic pollution now has people thinking twice. Plus, in our experience, disposables deliver the lowest possible quality of shave and the highest likelihood of nicks and skin irritation.

Finally for our wet shave razors, we have the straight razor. Commonly known as the ‘cut-throat’, these decidedly dangerous devices are expensive and require skill to wield, but deliver a close shave with next to no waste.

Are shaving subscription services worth it?

Subscription services are becoming popular these days, with men looking to get quality shaving kit without the perceived rip-off prices of the big-name razors.

The most famous is Harry’s, which offers a high-quality cartridge-style razor, relatively cheap refills and assorted shaving paraphernalia. The idea is you pay a set fee every two, three or five months – based on how frequently you shave – and blades are then delivered to your door so you never run out. This usually proves cheaper than simply buying top-ups in the supermarket.

Harry’s isn’t the only subscription service around, however. Shaving giant Gillette also has its own subs service, although it’s more expensive, and you can have blades delivered regularly via Amazon, too. If you’re really concerned about price, however, check out the price of double edge safety razors, which can cost as little as £5.99 for 100 blades.

How we test men’s razors 

We follow the same approach with each and every razor we test: we shave just after a shower and use the same shave cream each time to keep test conditions as similar as possible. Each razor is tested on one-day-old stubble and again on two-day-old growth to see how it performs on longer facial hair.

We take into account the closeness of the shave, but also how the razor feels in the hand, how easy it is to use, whether it causes any irritation and also whether it has any beneficial extras or design features which make for a better or easier shave.

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The best razors for men you can buy in 2023

1. Daimon Barber Precision Razor System: The best men’s razor for a shave second to none

Price: £21 | Buy now from Amazon

This cartridge razor comes in perfectly minimalist matt black paperboard packaging that ticks all the eco-boxes. The razor handle itself is a gleaming gloss black, with matt black rubberised grips that sit above and below a pleasingly ergonomic body.

With a high-quality, well-weighted feel in the hand, the Daimon Barber uses a pivoting, six-blade head system consisting of five platinum-coated blades, a precision trimmer blade and an aloe and vitamin E lubrication strip.

In use, the Daimon Barber razor is comfortable and inspires confidence. The pivoting head follows the contours of the face perfectly, and the blades scythe through even coarse facial hair with ease.

With no sensation of pulling or snagging, I found the Daimon Barber a delight to use, and the end result, post shave and balm, was a deep, nick-free shave that left my skin super-smooth and irritation-free.

Key specs – Type: Cartridge; Number of blades: 6; Lubrication strip: Yes; Handle materials: Plastic; Blades included: 3; Colour options: 1

2. Merkur 34C: The best men’s razor for an old-school shave

Price: £32 | Buy it now from Amazon

The Merkur 34C is a dual-blade, closed-comb safety razor and an all-time classic design. It’s the best razor of its type for those considering a move to this style of shaving.

It’s solidly made, with a heft and build that cartridge razors just don’t have. The short handle makes it feel a little unusual to start with, but it’s comfortable in the hand, with a textured finish that provides a secure grip. It’s also excellent at getting into more awkward areas such as under the nose.

While you may find you need to run the razor over the same area several times to get the smoothest shave possible, once you get into the swing of how a closed comb safety razor works, you’re guaranteed to be impressed by the results and may find yourself a quick convert.

As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”, so take your time with the Merkur 34C rather than rushing, follow full pre- and post-shave skincare preparations and this lovely little razor will not let you down.

Key specs – Type: Closed comb safety; Number of blades: 1 (double-edge); Lubrication strip: No; Handle material: Stainless steel; Blades included: 0; Colour options: 1

3. Grüum Precision Razor Set: The best men’s razor for silky smooth skin

Price: £20 | Buy from Grüum

Embracing Scandinavian ideals in its approach to bringing wet shaving into the 21st century, the grüum razor is the most unusual-looking razor we’ve ever come across.

But, by George, does it work. The wide, smoothly contoured handle is super comfortable in the hand, and its five platinum-coated blades and pivoting head hug the lines of your face, making short work of even excessive stubble.

Add to this the grüum’s patented “glyda rollbar”, which sits at the base of the blades to smooth skin and raise hair, and the top-mounted lubricating strip to soothe irritation, and your face will thank you for one of the smoothest shaving experiences available.

Compared with my control razor, there was no competition. The grüum left my skin as smooth as silk, earning a double thumbs-up from my stubble-despising five-year-old daughter.

Key specs – Type: Cartridge; Number of blades: 6; Lubrication strip: Yes; Handle materials: Metal; Blades included: 2; Colour options: 5

Buy from Grüum

4. Bulldog Skincare Original Bamboo Razor: The best men’s razor for a sustainable shave

Price: £12 | Buy now from Bulldog Skincare

An obvious choice for those looking for a more sustainable way to shave is the Original Bamboo Razor from Bulldog Skincare for Men. As the name suggests, the razor’s ergonomic handle is made from bamboo and, boosting the company’s green credentials still further, the blades are forged from recycled, un-chromed steel. Even the recyclable packaging is made from recycled paper stock.

With five tempered-steel blades, a precision trimmer, an aloe-infused lubricating strip and a pivoting head, the Bulldog Bamboo simply sliced through the three days’ worth of stubble growth I’d accumulated for the test.

Free from any of the skin tugging associated with several of the big brand options in this price bracket, the Bamboo easily outperformed my control razor, leaving one side of my face noticeably smoother than the other.

A comfortable, clean shave with no razor burn, nicks or skin irritation, the Bulldog Bamboo offers excellent value for money.

Key specs – Type: Cartridge; Number of blades: 5; Lubrication strip: Yes; Handle materials: Bamboo; Blades included: 2; Colour options: 1

Buy now from Bulldog Skincare

5. Wilkinson Sword Xtreme 3 Sensitive: The best men’s razor for quick convenience

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Disposable razors are frowned upon these days due to the fact that they’re generally only good for a few shaves before ultimately ending up as plastic pollution. However, if you do need an emergency razor, the Xtreme 3 Sensitive from Wilkinson Sword is the one to choose.

A three-blade system with an aloe and vitamin E lubricating strip, the Extreme 3 Sensitive’s unique selling point is that the blades are flexible, which when added to the pivoting head leads to a surprisingly close shave.

A beaver tail-style handle makes this disposable very comfortable in the hand – another plus point over most rivals – and the Extreme 3 feels reasonably sturdy.

Although it wasn’t as competent at handling the lumps and bumps of my face evenly – I had to go over some areas a few times – the Wilkinson Sword gave a decent shave with very little skin irritation, and the blades are usable for three to four shaves before losing their edge.

Key specs – Type: Disposable; Number of blades: 3; Lubrication strip: Yes; Handle materials: Plastic; Blades included: 4; Colour options: 1

6. Bulldog Skincare Sensitive Glass Razor: The best men’s razor for avoiding irritation

Price: £15 | Buy now from Bulldog Skincare

Another sustainable effort from Bulldog, every element of this handsome razor has been made from recycled materials, from the tempered steel blades to the glass handle and the steel and plastic stand.

The glass handle sits both comfortably and securely in the hand, even when wet. And as for the quality of the shave, the Sensitive’s five-blade head cut through my stubble like a knife through butter, the pivoting head gliding down the contours of my face, cutting closely and evenly on the first stroke with not a hint of pulling.

The Bulldog Glass gives an impressive all-round shave, the baobab oil-infused lubricating strip working wonders to avoid irritation and the precision trimmer helping tidy up trickier areas. If you have sensitive skin that reacts badly to other razors, I heartily recommend giving the Sensitive Glass a go – you’ll feel the difference to your skin from the first shave.

Key specs – Type: Cartridge; Number of blades: 5; Lubrication strip: Yes; Handle materials: Glass; Blades included: 1; Colour options: 1

Buy now from Bulldog Skincare

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