Straight razors are pretty impressive, but before you can use one, you’ll need a few other accessories, like a strop and shaving brush. With one of these best straight razor kits, you’ll have everything you need to start shaving with a straight razor.
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DOVO Olivewood Scales Set (Our Top Pick)
This is one of the best straight razor kits for anyone who’s planning to take straight razor shaving seriously. You can’t beat a German-made Dovo razor for quality and longevity. Plus, all of the other add-ons in this kit are excellent, as well.
Let’s start with the razor, which is Dovo’s Inox – a durable, balanced, and well-made razor that could easily last you for life. This beginner-friendly razor has a light olivewood handle that allows you to really control your pressure and keep things mild. The blade has a full-hollow grind, which keeps the shave smooth and flexible. It’s made of stainless steel, which doesn’t achieve as sharp a point as a carbon steel razor, but will require much less maintenance.
The only drawback is that the razor will probably require proper sharpening with a whetstone when it first comes to you since Dovo rarely sends out shave-ready pieces.
The set comes with literally every other accessory a person could need, including an excellent leather and canvas strop for honing, a very decent shave soap from Van Der Hagen, and an equally serviceable badger brush. There is also a bowl for creating a lather and a stand. The only thing you’d need to supply is the running water!
- Durable, long-lasting, balanced, and well-made razor – the level of quality one expects from a German brand like Dovo.
- Razor is made of durable stainless steel which won’t require frequent sharpening.
- Full-hollow grind guarantees a smooth shave.
- Additional accessories are all excellent and guaranteed to set you on the right path for shaving with a straight razor.
- Razor does not arrive shave-ready, so you’ll have to have it professionally sharpened before using.
From G.B.S., this is an excellent budget kit for those who are curious about shaving with a straight razor. Despite the low cost, the kit is quite large and includes both essentials and bonus accessories.
The razor, which is the most important component, is a decent choice. It’s made of durable stainless steel, which is quite rust-resistant and doesn’t require frequent sharpening.
However, contrary to what G.B.S advertises, the razor does not come sharp or shave-ready – this is pretty standard with razors sold online, so it’s unfortunate that the brand decided to misrepresent itself. That said, once sharpened, you can expect this light, comfortable razor to provide a nice shave.
The quality control with this razor can be a little spotty, so inspect your razor carefully once it arrives to check for bent edges.
As for the rest of the kit, the brush is a real stand-out. It’s made of real badger hair, so it’s gentle on the skin and able to create an excellent lather. The soap is also decent, with a vegan formula that foams up easily and creates a cushioning lather.
The strop isn’t great, even when used in conjunction with the strop paste, so you will probably want to upgrade it once you get a handle on stropping technique.
While the kit doesn’t include an aftershave, it does contain an alum block, which can be very helpful for beginners. If you end up with a few cuts, you can use the alum block to constrict the skin and stop the bleeding.
In addition to the expected items, the kit also includes a lathering mug, stropping paste, and a drying stand for the brush. None of these accessories are must-haves, but they’re nice to have.
- Nice kit for anyone on a budget wanting to trial a straight razor.
- Large kit contains a lot of useful and well-made bonus accessories.
- Lightweight razor provides a comfortable shave.
- Excellent badger hair brush included.
- Razor is advertised as “shave-ready” when it certainly isn’t.
- You’ll have to check your razor thoroughly since this brand can have quality control issues.
This is another budget-friendly set on this list of best straight razor kits, but with a carbon steel razor instead of a stainless steel one. The razor is a Gold Dollar, which is made by a Chinese manufacturer that actually has a very solid reputation for construction – it’s no German Dovo, but it’s a nice choice if you’re on a budget.
It’s then sharpened and refined by The Shave Network, who put it into this lovely kit. This is the only razor on this list that’s likely to arrive shave-ready, although keep in mind that all razors can lose some of their edge during storage and shipping.
Carbon steel razors are favored by most die-hard straight razor shavers because they can be sharpened to a much finer point. They can provide a very close, very easy shave, especially for men with very coarse beards.
Carbon steel also has its drawbacks, though. It loses its sharpness more easily than stainless steel, which means you’ll have to sharpen and hone it much more frequently. If you settle on carbon steel, it’ll be a good idea to learn how to sharpen your straight razor or to become good friends with your local honemeister.
As for the other products in this kit – the shave soap and synthetic brush are both quite nice, if not remarkable. The strop is a little too small and often arrives with quality assurance flaws, so you’ll probably want to purchase one separately.
- Kit includes a carbon-steel razor, which is able to obtain a much sharper edge than stainless steel.
- This razor is more likely to arrive properly sharpened and ready to shave.
- Very decent brush and soap.
- Carbon steel blades require more maintenance than stainless.
- Strop quality is poor, so you will likely need to buy one separately.
If you’re interested in straight razors primarily for the aesthetic, this is a great kit to consider. The actual products in it aren’t quite at the same caliber as Dovo, but it’s a much more cohesive and stylish set that will probably make for a more attractive display. It comes in an impressive box that makes it extremely giftable.
The straight razor in the set is Naked Armor’s Solomon straight razor. It has a stylish wooden handle with gold details. The blade is made of undisclosed Japanese steel, and as with most razors, doesn’t come shave-ready. With a bit of sharpening, it can become useful, and it also makes for an impressive decorative piece. However, the quality of the steel is suspect, so this is definitely a razor you’ll want to upgrade after you get the hang of shaving with a straight razor.
It also comes with a strop, but note – a strop isn’t enough to sharpen a blade, it’s just enough to prepare it for shaving. This strop is a nice surprise, though, with a double-sided construction with both canvas and leather. It comes with a stropping paste, which gives a more aggressive hone. In a pinch, you could probably strop the razor with the paste and get it sharp enough to shave, but it wouldn’t be a great shave -we’d still recommend taking it for professional sharpening.
The synthetic shave brush is less impressive – it does the trick, but it’s not the softest on the skin, and it can shed a little after a few uses. The final item in the kit is a perfectly serviceable, nice-smelling soap.
- Very attractive, giftable kit with a cohesive aesthetic.
- Excellent strop with both leather and canvas sides for polishing the blade.
- Comes with a strop paste that makes up for some of the blade flaws.
- The razor isn’t very promising, and you’ll likely want to replace it once you get the hang of shaving with a straight razor.
- The shaving brush can shed, which will take away from the shaving experience.
Technically, this is a shavette set rather than a straight razor kit. However, if you’re interested in straight razor shaving, you may still want to consider a shavette like the Parker SR1. Parker is known for making durable, consistent products, and this set is no different.
Because it’s a shavette, the SR1 doesn’t have a built-in blade. Instead, it has a head that accepts single-edge razors. Like a straight razor, the entire edge of the blade is exposed. However, the single-edge blades are even slimmer, so it tends to be a closer but also much more aggressive shave. Learning to use it will be a little more difficult, and you can expect a few cuts for your effort.
The main benefit of using a shavette like the Parker SR1 is that you don’t need to worry about maintaining the blade – you just change out the single-edge blade once it gets dull. Down the line, that will be a small on-going cost, but this kit comes with 100 blades, so that’s going to be a long way away.
For more information on this style of razor, check out my shavette vs straight razor comparison.
As for the rest of the kit: The badger hair brush is phenomenal – it’s well-constructed and durable, with a soft touch. It also fits nicely with the aesthetic of the razor and the matching stand. You will have to buy your grooming products like a soap and lather mug separately.
- Kit from Parker, a brand with exceptional, consistent construction that leads to durable items.
- Shavette does not require the same level of maintenance as a regular straight razor.
- Excellent badger hair brush is soft on the skin yet very durable.
- Shavettes tend to be very aggressive, so it can be a little more difficult to learn to use them.
- You’ll have to replace the blades regularly, which is a long-term albeit not high ongoing cost.
- Not many bonus accessories in the kit.
What To Look For In A Straight Razor Kit
You have to keep a lot of different items in mind when shopping for any of the best straight razor kits, so here’s what you should be looking for with each item.
The quality of the razor you get is the most important factor to consider when looking for the best straight razor kits online. That’s the high ticket item in any set you purchase.
While most razors will not arrive sharp enough to shave (despite what most brands advertise), the basic construction should be good enough that it’ll be possible to sharpen them correctly. A poorly-made razor blade will never hold an edge, which renders it totally useless.
There are a few other factors that might influence your buying decision, like whether the razor is made of stainless or carbon steel, its overall aesthetic, and the size of the blade. I discuss these in more detail in my guide to the best straight razors.
A shaving brush is the next important factor. A great shaving brush shouldn’t shed. It should have enough firmness to build up a nice lather, but it shouldn’t be scratchy when you apply the lather to your skin. I generally prefer badger hair brushes, but nowadays, there are also some excellent synthetic brushes even in the best straight razor kits.
A strop is a long strip of fabric (usually leather on one side and canvas on the other), that’s used to refine your blade right before you shave. A strop removes burrs and helps to align your blade, which will make your razor feel a little sharper and smoother.
A good strop will be made of quality leather. It should be fairly wide, to accommodate the length of your razor, with a sturdy, durable feel.
Stropping is a mandatory step before you shave, but good strops are quite affordable, so if you don’t like the strop in your set, it should be easy and cheap to replace.
Almost all of the best straight razor kits will include a few more accessories, but more isn’t always better. An over-inflated kit is probably not going to be of as high a caliber as a more minimal or well-curated kit.
It can certainly be nice to receive a stand to hold your razor or a lather bowl, but the presence of those items in a kit should not be your main deciding factor. They’re not mandatory, and they’re pretty affordable to buy separately.
Grooming items, like soaps or pre-shave oils, aren’t make-or-break either since you’ll have to replace them in the future, anyway.