The best straight razor kit can be a minefield with the top choices hidden amongst cheap knockoffs. Let us help you uncover which kits offer the best components for the money.
One of the great pitfalls of shaving with a straight razor is the amount of straight razor kit required. The strop for sharpening the straight razor, travel case. shaving brush, shaving soap and more.
This is certainly more than is required with a safety razor shaving kit.
However, perhaps this is an opportunity. You didn’t choose to shave with a straight razor out of convenience – otherwise you would definitely have gone with a safety razor.
You chose to use the best straight razor because of the opportunity to create a sensational ritual out of shaving, rather than just a daily chore.
Which straight razor kit therefore offers the best experience? The best straight razor should be included, along with other luxuries. There’s a good chance you’re a straight razor beginner if you’re looking for the best straight razor kit so you need to give yourself the best chances of getting into the hobby and not getting frustrated with a poor experience casued by sub-par products.
- Best Straight Razor Kits
- Straight Razor Kit Contents
Best Straight Razor Kits
Dovo is legendary among razor enthusiasts. Not only do they produce some of the best straight razors as they are also the parent company behind Merkur who make some of the best safety razors.
This straight razor kit is a great entry to wet shaving. It seems a bit of a mashup of products as the Dovo razor is accompanied by a Van der Hagen shaving brush, shaving soap and bowl. However, this is a very functional kit.
Nearly 75% of the price of the kit is in the Dovo straight razor (see how much it is on its own) which is as it should be. The strop included is also of good quality so it does seem likely that if you added up the prices of all these products the kit would come out cheaper.
Van der Hagen was declared by Artisan Shaving our best budget shaving soap. Like the Van der Hagen safety razor (read review), Van der Hagen products tend to be basic but effective, making them very good for beginners.
The shaving bowl included is an indulgence as while it’s great for lathering shave soap you can always use your face or hand to lather as detailed in our ultimate guide on how to shave. However this is a nice extra which means this shaving set comes with a decent number of pieces.
In terms of presentation there doesn’t seem to be much uniting this straight razor kit as a shaving set but a presentation box is quickly discarded after use, which doesn’t hold well with our eco-friendly preferences.
The Naked Armor straight razor kits are beautiful. These are easily some of the best shaving gift sets around. The presentation box elegantly displays the good quality shaving products with an impeccable straight razor.
After a lot of research into Naked Armor’s manufacturers one prominent theory is that they are rebranded Titan straight razors. Titan razors are made in Asia and constitute more of a budget straight razor but their performance is still good.
Bearing in mind the best straight razors cost hundreds of dollars a Titan will deliver an excellent shave for a good price and many shaving enthusiasts find they use them more regularly than their premium razors because they don’t need to worry about damaging them.
The shaving brush included is synthetic but of a good quality. The strop also seems an excellent entry-level piece. Overall it is clear that while Naked Armor are a brand and not a manufacturer, their straight razor kit provides excellent value. While a good razor is essential, the rest of the kit is only as good as its weakest component.
What Naked Armor offer is a universal standard of good quality for a reasonable price and they clearly care about their products.
Parker have had a great run as a more bugget-friendly brand of traditional safety razors. Previous quality control issues have gone and the Parker Variant adjustable safety razor is one of the best adjustable safety razors on the market.
But how does this translate to straight razors? The Parker SR1 is a shavette – a kind of straight razor that uses disposable safety razor blades.
You can use either the half blades such as those supplied or simply (and carefully) break a standard double edge razor blade in half. This takes away all the hassle of honing and stropping a straight razor as well as the longer term maintenance. That makes it a great straight razor for beginners. The 100 blades provided are quite mild which is exactly what you want for an introductory straight razor kit.
This straight razor kit comes with a matching beautiful stand and shaving brush. You’ll need to buy your own shaving soap but that means you can have your choice of the best shave soaps around.
Both the straight razor and shaving brush are from Parker’s Deluxe range. The high quality straight razor seems a little heavy because of the stainless steel handle but it’s still only 48 grams and balances beautifully.
Try the Parker SR1 today and you won’t be disappointed.
Straight Razor Kit Contents
It goes without saying that a straight razor shaving kit should include a straight razor! The size of the beginner blade should be 5/8 inches as it is more comfortable and easy to hold while learning the basics of the art.
It is probably best to ensure the majority of the spend goes on the straight razor as while a cheaper shaving soap isn’t going to change your experience a poor quality straight razor will. See if you can find out exactly what brand of straight razor you are getting in the kit and not a mass-produced import with a label on it.
Make sure the straight razor is “shave ready”. That means it has already been honed ready to shave with no more than a quick strop. A straight razor that requires sharpening will require some work by someone experienced and is more trouble than its worth when you can get one shave ready.
The best beginner straight razor is arguably a shavette – a straight razor that uses disposable safety razor blades. That takes out a lot of the hassle of learning to shave with a straight razor but you still want a good balance. The scales (handle) should balance nicely with the blade and the pivot should perform well.
If you go for a traditional straight razor then make sure the straight razor kit comes with a strop. You want one side of leather and the other of linen. The strop performs something between polishing and sharpening. It doesn’t grind the blade as such but makes sure the cutting edge is as clean and sharp as it can be.
Many starter kits supply cheap strops when a good quality strop can be expensive. A good razor strop is almost as important as the straight razor itself as without it your straight razor will go blunt and stop performing very quickly.
Part of the whole skill in straight razor shaving is stropping so your razor stays sharp. Another consideration could be a straight razor sharpening kit for when you need more than just a strop.
There are strops of three types: paddle strops, loom, and hanging strops. Hanging strops are the most popular though they had to be fixed to an immovable object and stretched out tight when in use.
Strops come in two sizes: 3” and 2” each with its pros and cons. In the case of a 2” strop you will need to sweep the blade across horizontally as well as vertically in an X formation to make sure you cover the full blade. A 3″ strop should be able to sharpen the whole blade with just a simple back and forth motion.
The shaving brush is probably less of a priority than a good razor and strop. That said, it is still a big contributor to the wet shaving experience.
The best shaving brushes tend to be silvertip badger – unless you have one of these best synthetic shaving brushes – and can hold lots of hot water in their knot. This means you lather your shaving soap across your face with a hot brush that feels great, softens your beard and exfoliates your skin.
Not every straight razor kit comes with shaving soap so this might be something to buy seperately. That means you can indulge in some of the most tempting shaving soaps with a scent to suit you. Some shaving kits still come with the shaving bowl so you can add your favourite.