Best Straight Razor Kits For Beginners

Straight razor. The latest sensation. They may have been the main method of manual shaving for ages, but the arrival of the safety razor with disposable blades meant the latter quickly took over the market.

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However, like all good things in life, straight razors are making a bit of a comeback, growing in popularity with each passing year. Helped no doubt by the fact that they provide greater control and superior shaves. Not to mention the cost savings a well-kept straight razor provides.

That said, choosing the best straight razor kit is not an easy task.

If anything, it can be very tricky, and a bit stressful for beginners — considering the initial investment needed, the choice of makes and models, the variety of blades, and other elements like honing. The aim of this guide is to help you make informed decisions when buying a straight razor kit.

But before we get to the fun part, and review the various kits, a brief little primer.

Retro revival

One thing that we can all agree on is that razors have somehow become complicated. What was once a simple tool, is now rife with high-technology and an assortment of attachments. Nothing wrong with using a triple-blade safety razor, or even the electric razors, but there is something that can be said of doing things the old fashioned way, the simpler way, so to speak.

Although interest in straight razors had been high since the turn of the century, things really took off after 2012. Sales started increasing since ever the product was featured in Skyfall, the James Bond film that released that year. And they have remained high ever since, so much so that many manufacturers are still having difficulty satisfying the global demand.

And while you may be attracted to the nostalgia of using this old and traditional method of shaving, there are several inherent benefits to a straight razor than just the novelty of the experience.

The straight advantage

The most notable advantage of this sort of a razor (apart from savings) is that it gives you total control of the shaving angle. You can also mow down your beard without trimming it first, and the shave itself is closer with less razor burn — particularly when comparing it with safety razors with multiple blades, as these have a tendency to irritate the skin with their multi-blade action.

Straight razors are also much easier to clean, as unlike multi-blade safety razors, they do not trap shaving debris in their tightly packed blades. No fear of clogging, in other words. On top of that, they do not have to be rinsed as often either.

They also have the least overall cost, because once you buy one, and get a good strop for sharpening, all you need to shave would be a little soap or foam. This also ties into straight razors being environmentally friendly, as there usually is little to nothing to throw away.

All this without even talking about the satisfaction of maintaining the blades themselves. A nicely built straight razor carries with it a sense of craftsmanship and ownership, which is something that razors with disposable blade cartridges cannot offer.

Not all is milk and honey

But, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. In this case, there are a number of factors that you will need to be aware of, not only when shaving with a straight razor, but also on how to maintain your kit.

The most important consideration, for people new to this, is that accidents will usually happen when learning your way around using or honing your razor. Stropping or honing it incorrectly can actually dull the shaving edge of the razor, requiring you to send it for professional honing.

Not only is this inconvenient, but also costs money.

Accidently dropping or dinging your straight razor can, in fact, ruin it beyond repair, or in some cases make the cost or repair so high that you are better off investing in a new kit altogether. Long story short, you have to be really careful not to break stuff.

The actual shave is also somewhat hard to master. If anything, the cuts are harder than a safety razor, and some say that you need at least 100 shaves to get a decent hold of it. But then again, if you’re willing to go this road, you better be prepared for the long miles. Here in lies all the fun and enjoyment, the satisfaction and gratification of owning a straight razor kit.

Buyers guide

If you’re reading this, chances are that you familiar with straight razors, and interested in owning one in the near future. This short little buyers guide should help point you in the right direction.

You will need a number of pieces to truly make a complete straight razor kit for beginners. Do keep in mind that it all comes down to personal preference, but recommend options include a good single blade razor, a brush, bowl and strop. These are the key parts, the minimum, most would say, and what is included in the majority of beginner kits.

Of course, there are other items that are sometimes added, and you may be inclined to include for yourself. These range from paste, stand, an osma bloc and a leather storage case to complete the deal.

Worth a mention that there are many inferior products that are not actually suitable for shaving, but are marketed as straight razors. Ideally you are looking at a minimum of $150 for a brand new straight razor setup, and the higher you go the better the buy. It may seem a tad expensive for something that you may well just end up only using once. But the best part is that once you have the whole setup, you will not have to buy anything else — unless you break something!

With all that out of the way, let’s talk turkey.

Below is a selection of the best straight razor kits for beginners that you can buy. A short review is followed by the pros and cos of each one, as well as its affordability and overall quality.

The best straight razor kits for beginners

While a truly smashing straight razor kit can set you back hundreds of dollars, the growing interest in the product means that there is no shortage of variety for people on all sorts of budgets. As mentioned above, $150 gets you a really good kit. Anything below, and you are inviting compromises on quality, form or function. Plus, not all of them are shave ready, meaning if you buy such a product, you may have to take it to a professional to get it in shape.

With all that said, there are plenty of choices and a wide assortment to select from. And if you’re on the fence about which set to buy, then this small selection of straight razor kits is perfect for you to help with the decision.

Rating
Product
Our Rating
Price

1

A.P. Donovan - Excellent straight razor 7/8 " cut throat Razor Set

2

Dovo 5/8" Half Hollow Best Quality Straight Razor Shaving Set

3

Dovo Straight Razor with Wood Shave Set and accessories

4

ZEVA Men's Best Wooden Straight Razor Shaving Set Kit

5

A.P. Donovan - Excellent 7/8" straight razor

6

7 Wood Pc Straight Razor Strop Soap Dovo Paste Brush Shaving Set

7

9 Piece Deluxe Straight Razor Shaving Set

8

Straight Razor Beginner's Shaving Set

Straight Razor Beginner's Shaving Set

Straight razor beginners shaving set

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This one is about as basic as it gets. Designed for people that are starting out, and don’t quite know if they are going to stick with straight razor shaving, this generic looking kit provides all the basic necessities. Namely, a brush, strop, soap, and a few maintenance items. It’s not the most spectacular straight razor you can buy, but at least it’s stainless steel and comes ready to shave out the box. The strop is made of cow hide, and gets the job done. But again, this set only serves as a good intro to the whole deal, and a neat starting point, nothing else.

Pros: Good value for beginners, affordable price, complete set
Cons: Baseline quality, generic look and feel
By: Haryali Fashion London


9 Piece Deluxe Straight Razor Shaving Set

9 piece deluxe straight razor shaving set

Quality

Price

Our Rating

This is the kit that is a bit more stylish, a bit more polished than the one above. It also comes with all the essentials, and on top of that, the company also offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase. But there is much to like about this straight razor set, starting with the wooden shaving bowl that can fit up to a 4oz soap. An ocean driftwood scented soap is also included in the kit, which is great for whipping up some fine lather. A standard strop with one end handle come in the package, along with a nice wooden brush stand. But the main highlight is the 5/8" straight razor that is up to the task for beginners and novice shavers.

Pros: Excellent design, great value, decent blade
Cons: Baseline quality, generic look and feel
By: GBS


7 Wood Pc Straight Razor Strop Soap Dovo Paste Brush Shaving Set

7 wood pc straight razor shaving se

Quality

Price

Our Rating

A nice beginning setup for novices, this complete set comes under the three figure mark, but still delivers on quality and style. You get 7 individual items, including a ZEVA razor with high quality carbon steel that is easy to sharpen. The leather strop is a standard affair, and a matching black and brown soap box, brush, and stand complete the deal. Handcrafted, and an excellent choice for both personal use and giving away as a gift.

Pros: Nice dark design, quality razor, sturdily built set
Cons: Not as heavy as it should be
By: Hector Beauty Supply


A.P. Donovan - Excellent 7/8" straight razor

A.P.Donovan Excellent 7:8 straight razor

Quality

Price

Our Rating

If you would rather just get a straight razor separately, with strop and wax, flanked by and some nice woodwork, then it’s hard to go wrong with this A.P. Donovan 7/8" piece of work. Priced at midrange levels, this handmade professional tool delivers perfect shaves, thanks to its high quality Japanese steel. The mahogany wood of the handle comes from Madagascar, and gives the razor a premium look. Beautifully crafted, with the weight of the razor on the heavier side, making for a very sturdy and balanced feel in the hand. You will need other elements to complete your kit, a separate brush, for example, but what you get here, at what price, can’t be beat.

Pros: Excellent presentation, great first choice, top quality razor
Cons: Strop a little too narrow and short, not a complete set
By: A.P. Donovan


ZEVA Men's Best Wooden Straight Razor Shaving Set Kit

Zeva men's straight razor shaving kit

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Coming in a chic black look, this wet shave straight razor kit packs in a pure bristle shaving brush, along with a wooden shaving mug to make for good quality package. It’s not the most affordable, touching the highs of more premium creations, but the ZEVA carbon steel blade is perfect for beginners, intermediate or experienced shavers. The included strop is one side pure brown leather, the other side canvas. The wood on the razor gives it a stable feel, making for a great upgrade from an absolute beginner kit. Equally ideal as a gift set.

Pros: Stylish, good quality cowhide leather strop, excellent blade
Cons: Somewhat expensive for the quality on offer
By: Liberty Supply


Dovo Straight Razor with Wood Shave Set and accessories

Dovo straight razor with wood shave set

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Dovo is one of the Big Three when it comes straight razors, with Böker and Thiers-Issard the other two names in this elite list. And true to its stature, this set is still a quality Dovo straight razor kit, but one designed for beginners — with a very high quality could actually last you a lifetime! All the standard items are included in the pack, from a strop, to a shave bowl, soap, brush, stand, alum block, and of course, the top of the line Dovo Straight Razor, which comes shave ready. This is an excellent choice for a gift, of if you want to stick with a razor that will last you the long stretch.

Pros: Premium build, excellent quality razor, brush stand is a nice touch
Cons: High price, strop could be better
By: Dovo


Dovo 5/8" Half Hollow Best Quality Straight Razor Shaving Set

Dovo 5:8 Half Hollow Best Quality Straight Razor Shaving Set

Quality

Price

Our Rating

If you want to splurge, then this premium set is worth a look. It comes with almost everything you need to start, including a nice stand and a neat badger brush. The German made 5/8" half hollow straight razor delivers near perfect shaves, and is cut throat sharp. You will need to get it shave ready, though. But if you’re willing to break the bank, and put in the time to sharpen the blade before each use, this high quality creation will last forever.

Pros: A luxurious set, designed for the more adventurous novice wet shaver
Cons: Expensive, short strop width
By: Dovo


A.P. Donovan - Excellent straight razor 7/8 " cut throat Razor Set

A.P. Donovan - Excellent straight razor 7:8 cut throat Razor Set

Quality

Price

Our Rating

There are only a few straight razor sets better than this one, and perhaps no blade sharper. This impressive looking mahogany grip razor feels perfectly well balanced. Coming in a decorative real wood box, ideal as a gift set, it comes with everything you need to get a great shave. The steel is what matters, and in this case, you are looking at an extremely precise Japanese alloy that makes for enormously sharp blades. Although high priced, you can find this at discounts that make it a great buy.

Pros: Beautiful and extremely well crafted, near perfect
Cons: Strap somewhat short
By: A.P. Donovan

Image Credit: Portland Shave Shop

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Alex Palmer
 

The editor here on The Shaveyard, loving life and all things shaving.

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