Sometimes you want the closest shave possible, and other times your skin just isn’t up for it. Once you own any of the best adjustable safety razors for your needs, you’ll be able to customize your shave on the daily.
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Supply Single Edge Pro (Our Top Pick)
The Supply Single Edge Pro is a remarkable safety razor for a bunch of reasons, so it easily sits at the top of the list. This unique safety razor has a single edge design, so for those new to wet shaving, it won’t seem like much of a departure when compared to double-edge razors.
The design was first showcased on Shark Tank, and then it was developed even further with a few models released over the years. The result is a comfortable, stylish razor that provides a very smooth shave.
Adjusting this razor is a breeze – you just spin the small dial that sits directly under the head. The settings go from 1, which is a very mild, non-irritating shave, all the way up to 6 which is a very close, more aggressive shave. You can also adjust it between settings if you’re particularly discerning. No matter the setting, the overall design allows the razor to glide easily over the skin, with just enough weight so that you won’t have to apply any pressure as you shave.
Since it’s a single-edge razor, it only works with single-edge injector blades. The process of replacing these blades is safe and easy. You never have to actually touch the blades yourself, since they come with a special dispenser. Unlike other single-edge brands, Supply razors will work with single-edge blades from just about any brand. Even so, injector blades are a little pricier than regular double edge ones.
- The single edge design is a little less jarring for new wet shavers.
- Exceptional design glides smoothly over the skin.
- Easy to adjust with a comprehensive range of blade exposure options.
- Blades are safer and easier to replace.
- Single edge blades are a little more expensive.
If you’re more into double-edge razors, the Merkur Progress is the best adjustable safety razor to try. Some even consider it Merkur’s best safety razor, period, which is very high praise considering this brand’s incredible reputation in the wet shaving community.
It’s a vintage two-piece design with a plastic dial at the bottom of the handle rather than under the head. When I say vintage, I really mean it – this razor has been around since 1956, with only minor changes over the decades.
It has six shave settings, although since you adjust it with a twist of the large bottom dial, it’s also pretty easy to turn it to a half-setting. Once again, the lower numbers correspond with a milder, less close shave while the higher ones provide a more aggressive shave. In general, even the higher settings aren’t too aggressive, thanks to a closed-comb design that keeps the skin protected.
When actually shaving, be careful not to jostle the dial, or else you may not notice a sudden change in aggression level.
The main benefit of choosing a double edge razor over a single edge is that replacement blades are a lot cheaper and more accessible, so while the price of this razor is comparable to the Supply Pro, the long-term costs are a little lower. You can check out my single-edge vs double-edge razor comparison for a more thorough analysis.
If you do buy it, just be careful when replacing blades. The top part of the head can only fit into the base plate in one direction, so look out for the orientation marks on the side and make sure they line up. Otherwise, the blade won’t fit in securely and the settings will be unpredictable.
- The mild range of settings is excellent for those with sensitive skin.
- A cool vintage design that has withstood the test of time.
- Replacement blades are affordable and easy to find.
- Re-assembling it after replacing the blade is a little finicky.
The Futur is Merkur’s more aggressive adjustable safety razor. If you’re looking for a range of cutting options that will lean largely to the close-cutting side, it’s a fantastic option.
Like the Progress, the Futur also has 6 shave settings, but the #1 setting on the Futur is actually more aggressive than the #6 setting on the Progress. It’s also a much heavier razor, which allows it to shave with a little more force.
If your skin isn’t sensitive, you may enjoy the closer shave the Futur can provide. The increased blade exposure works especially well for those with very coarse beards or anyone who doesn’t like to shave too often.
It’s also a more modern-looking tool, which you may prefer if you don’t like the vintage aesthetic of the Progress. Replacing the blades is much easier thanks to a magnetic component in the head. The top piece snaps onto the base plate very easily! That said, it’s also a bulkier razor with a larger head, so it can be a little more difficult to use it over tricky areas.
- The aggressive cutting range is great for close shaves and coarse beards.
- Has a sleek and very modern aesthetic.
- Magnetic component in the head makes blade replacement a breeze.
- The bulkier head can be tough to maneuver over tricky areas.
- High level of aggression isn’t appropriate for beginners or those with sensitive skin.
Now here’s something a little different – an adjustable butterfly safety razor. Instead of the typical two-piece construction, this razor has a mechanism for opening the head with a twist, which makes popping in the blade a little easier.
It’s also a damn stylish razor, with a thick black handle and a gold-colored top plate. The plating is really attractive, but it also flakes off easily if your leave the razor damp for too long – keep it dry and it should stay looking fresh for a long time. Alternatively, you can purchase the chrome-plated version which has a more classic aesthetic and a more durable coating.
It’s the heaviest razor on our list, which is nice if you like hefty tools that apply pressure all on their own. The actual aggression settings go from 1 to ten, and you can also adjust it between settings.
The range is much wider than on some of the other razors on this list – the mild setting is genuinely quite mild (although not as mild as the low settings on the Merkur Progress), while the aggressive settings from 6 and above are on par with the Futur (and maybe even surpass it). It’s excellent if you want as much variety as possible.
The head itself has two different combs on each side. One side has divots that feed the hair towards the blades, while the other side is smooth, which shaves a little more smoothly. Personally, I’m not a fan of this feature. I prefer that both sides of the blade shave consistently so I can just flip the razor without having to think about it. If you’ve been curious about smooth vs textured combs, you may like having both.
As for the blade changing process – it’s easier because this razor is a butterfly, but you’ll need to make sure the razor is set to 1 when you do it, or else you’ll have trouble closing the head.
- Changing blades on this butterfly-style adjustable razor is much faster than with other models.
- Ultra-stylish, luxurious black and gold design.
- Very heavy, which puts a lot of force behind every stroke.
- A very wide range of settings makes for a very versatile razor.
- The plating can flake off easily.
- Dual-comb design is more gimmicky than it is functional, and actually hurts shave consistency.
Last, but actually not least, is the Rockwell C6, which is a unique 3-piece razor. This isn’t your typical adjustable razor with dials. Instead, you change the aggression level by changing the base plate. The base plates are reversible, so in total, you have 6 different aggression levels. It’s almost like owning 6 razors in one.
It can be a little confusing to understand at first. The aggression levels are noted on the bottom of each plate. When your razor is assembled, you’ll be able to tell what “setting” it’s on just by glancing at the bottom of the head, which doesn’t necessarily make sense during assembly but is very useful after. As always, lower numbers are milder and higher numbers are more aggressive.
Compared to switching up a dial, this adjustment process takes a lot more effort. You have to disassemble the head, remove the blade, and then attach the new base plate. It’s not convenient to do mid-shave, which is unfortunate if you’re the kind of guy who likes to change things up from pass to pass.
However, if you would prefer a more stable and consistent shave, and you’re just not sure which aggression level is right for you, it’s a nice way to go about things. With the other adjustable razors (especially the Merkur Progress), sometimes you can accidentally twist the adjustment dial without noticing, which can be an issue.
Overall, this razor is well constructed, so no matter the plate, you’ll experience a smooth, consistent shave. As a little bonus, it comes with a pack of 5 Rockwell blades.
- Plate-replacing approach to adjustable razors leads to a more stable, consistent razor.
- Very durable and well-constructed razor with fewer mechanisms that can fail.
- Comes with a pack of 5 complementary blades.
- The plate-changing process can be a little confusing at first.
- Plates cannot be comfortably replaced mid-shave.
What Does An Adjustable Safety Razor Do?
At this point, it’s probably clear – an adjustable safety razor lets you change the level of blade exposure, which impacts the shave closeness and overall gentleness.
The lower settings are milder with less blade exposure. They don’t give a very close shave, but they’re much less likely to irritate or cut the skin. The higher settings are more aggressive with more blade exposure, so they give a closer shave that’s a little more likely to irritate.
Are Adjustable Safety Razors Better?
If you’re the kind of guy who really likes to change things up, an adjustable safety razor is definitely better. It offers a level of versatility you won’t find with other safety razors.
In general, these are the types of shoppers who’ll benefit from an adjustable safety razor over a regular one:
- Those who are new to wet shaving, and aren’t sure which aggression level will be best for them. An adjustable razor will allow you to experiment and find your sweet spot.
- Those who want different aggression levels for different parts of your face and body. In particular, a lot of men like to use higher settings on their face and lower settings on their more sensitive neck.
- Men who don’t shave consistently and may need more blade exposure if they’ve gone without shaving for a while, and then need less blade exposure when they shave for a few days in a row.
- Men who like to change their direction of shaving from pass to pass. The more aggressive settings are appropriate for a with-the-grain pass, while the milder settings will be more gentle for cross-grain or against-the-grain passes.
However, if you like to shave the same way every day and you prefer just one aggression level for all over, then any quality safety razor that matches your blade exposure preference will do.
How Much Does An Adjustable Safety Razor Cost?
As you can see from my list, the prices for adjustable safety razors can fluctuate between $50 at the lowest and around $90 for the more expensive options, especially the ones on this list of best adjustable safety razors.
They are generally just a little higher than non-adjustable safety razors made of the same material since the adjustment components require slightly more complex equipment and labor time. There are also more high-end adjustable razors made of stainless steel, which can cost upwards of $100.