A Dovo straight razor is a joy to behold and it’s no wonder it is such a world-renowned brand, enhanced by its ownership of Merkur safety razors. In general they are more popular among beginners than straight razor experts as there are some geometry issues with Dovo.
They are also suited to a wide array of beard styles – which again is great for most people but not so much for a connoisseur. As such it is important to find the best Dovo straight razor and avoid their more mainstream lines.
You may be tempted by a Dovo “Best Quality” straight razor – especially given the grand title stamped on the blade and the price tag under $100. However, there are quite a few reports in the straight razor shaving community about the occasional warped blade or the cheap handle. That said, many shavers buy these every year and have no problems.
Dovo’s Bismarck (review) and Inox razors are the legendary Solingen brand’s flagship products and don’t seem to have these problems. They are twice the price though, so if you don’t mind a cheaper looking handle and the possibility of negotiating with customer services if you get an off blade then the budget Dovo could be the best Dovo straight razor.
Best Dovo Straight Razor
The Dovo Bismarck 6/8″ – often mispelled as Dovo Bismark – is made from premium hollow-ground Swedish carbon steel which means it is so thin it flexes as you use it. The size is 6/8″, referring to the depth of the blade from cutting edge to spine. The Bismarck is easily one of the best straight razors to buy today.
However, what stands the Dovo Bismarck out as one of the most hallowed straight razors is its hand-filled 24k gold decoration on the blade.
Like all Dovo straight razors, the Bismarck arrives factory-honed and so it’s not quite shave ready, although plenty of shavers manage alright with a good strop. In theory it should be properly honed before use but you can decide this when your Bismarck arrives.
The scales – or handle – have a variety of options but our favourite is the ebony wood with inlaid gold.
The Dovo Inox comes in fully hollow ground stainless steel, which is unusual given most high quality straight razors are carbon steel. Stainless steel means it is much more forgiving of moisture and acid than carbon steel. Plus, while you may intend to take great care of your razor the microscopic level of the cutting edge is far more sensitive.
In terms of performance it is certainly better than the “best quality” line but not quite a match for the Bismarck.
The Inox can be a little hit and miss. In principle it is certainly a good quality straight razor and the blade rings perfectly. However, plenty of customers experience issues with the edge – either poorly sharpened or completely blunt and requiring further honing.
Often though it does arrive shave ready. Meanwhile the olive wood scales are absolutely divine.
This is much more of an entry-level straight razor for beginners, but then that could be exactly what you’re looking for in the best straight razor for the money.
The rounded point means chances of injury are reduced. Dovo themselves pitch this blade as a great entry-level. Nevertheless we see frequent reports of warped or otherwise ineffective blades which suggests this low-priced straight razor under $100 does not receive the same level of quality control as more expensive Dovo razors.
Generally the feedback on these are very good – although most people do end by saying “for the money.”
Like, “the handle looks a bit cheap but overall its a good razor for the money”
Of course a classic Dovo product is the Shavette. The Shavette name has now become synonymous with every disposable blade straight razor despite originating from Dovo. It features a useful grip at the thumb notch for extra comfort and control.
While it is no longer the favourite compared to designs like the Feather DX, it is certainly a classic and fairly-priced. Of course a Shavette does not offer much comparison with a fixed blade straight razor. Shaving with a shavette and a straight razor are very different experiences.
However, with the shavette you never need to strop or worry about blade metallurgy and geometry. Even factory-sharpened straight razors still need extra honing and stropping to be truly shave ready. With a shavette all you need is the blades from the box.