Open Comb vs Closed Comb Razor: Which Is Better?

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When searching for the right safety razor for you you’ll probably come across the question of open comb vs closed comb razor.

What does this mean and which is right for you?

Open Comb vs Closed Comb Razor

The concept is quite simple. Safety razors have a base plate which has a “comb” or guard beneath the razor blade edge that tightens the skin before it is shaved.

This limits how much of the skin is exposed to the blade, thus making the safety razor much safer. Closed comb safety razors are pretty standard and tend to be the best choice for beginners. Closed comb razors are therefore very common and form such popular models as the iconic Merkur 34c.


Open comb razors instead have a comb where the guard is made out of teeth. The gaps between these teeth funnel the bristles towards the blade for a more efficient cut.

That means these razors tend to be more aggressive, although in truth the comb still keeps the skin tight and separate from the blade. Some shavers also find that while a closed comb safety razor removes a lot of shaving soap lather where it is needed most an open comb safety razor lets more lather into the shaving area.

In terms of open comb vs closed comb razors in terms of availability, closed comb razors tend to be rarer than open comb razors. However, the most popular model of open comb safety razor tends to be the Muhler R41 open comb razor.

Overall the choice is yours. As ever many other factors come into play like sensitive skin, the blades you use and exactly how aggressive a shave you like. However, closed comb safety razors tend to be the best safety razors for beginners as they offer a slightly more gentle introduction.

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