Open comb safety razors can be a great addition to your lineup. Many guys regard them as too aggressive but you shouldn’t be scared to give one of these efficient razors a try. With so many options, what is the Best Open Comb Razor?
The aggressiveness really comes from the blade gap which can have a wide range just like a closed comb razor.
There are dozens of different types of open comb razors out there but these six are consistently some of the best sellers.
Recommendations for the Best Open Comb Razor
What Is An Open Comb Razor?
If you are new to wet shaving you might have gotten yourself a closed combed safety razor, they are more forgiving and there is also more of a variety to choose from.
If everything else is the same the only difference between an open comb and closed comb razor is the base plate.
Closed comb safety razors have a solid bar that runs across the entire length of the base plate. It can be scalloped with indentions that act like mini-teeth.
The open comb base plate has teeth where there are definitive gaps in the bar that would normally touch your skin.
These gaps can allow more blade exposure which can lead to a more aggressive shave.
Why Are Open Comb’s Considered Aggressive?
While there is some debate about an open comb’s performance, there is definitely less friction than a closed comb safety razor.
When the razor it pulled across the skin it creates skin friction, which is a resisting force between your skin and the razor itself.
Basically, the more stuff between your skin and the blade the more resistance there will be.
With a solid, closed comb on the base plate there is just a lot more metal and this also may remove some of the shaving cream before the blade has time to cut the hair.
With open comb razors, there is considerably less metal which is going to help the razor slide over your skin easier and will leave more shaving cream on your skin to lubricate the blade.
Less friction equals a smoother shave and a more efficient shave.
So, while the open comb safety razor can look intimidating at first you might actually come to really prefer them.
Who Is The Best Open Comb Razor Good For?
Since open comb razors can cut your beard more efficiently they may be better for those of you with thick beards or coarse hair.
Some guys feel like the teeth on these razors pull the hair into the blade, helping them cut better.
Open comb razors are probably not great for beginners since they can be more aggressive this can open you up to more nicks.
However, these could potentially be good for those of you with sensitive skin.
Now I know you might be thinking this sounds crazy but stay with me for a minute.
Skin irritation is caused when you have to apply too much pressure and take too many passes to get your smooth shave.
Since these open comb razors can be more efficient, you could potentially be taking less passes to complete your shave.
And you most certainly should not be applying pressure!
With some lighter razors that have small blade gaps you sometimes need to apply a little pressure to get a decent shave.
However, with most safety razors you will want to let the weight of the razor do the work.
These types of razors could also be good for guys that don’t like to shave every day, they may be able to better handle a couple days’ worth of beard growth.
Recommendations For Best Open Comb Razor In 2017
There are obviously dozens of different types of open comb razors out there.
However, after hours of research these we found over and over again these 6 tend to be the most popular with the most satisfied customers.
Of course, no beard is the same so you may not really know how these will perform until you give them a go but there is good chance you will be happy with these.
Don’t forget about the blade as well.
If you open one of these up and decide it’s on the aggressive side, tone it down with a smoother blade that isn’t as sharp.
MÜHLE R41 Open Tooth Comb Double Edge
The Muhle R41 is widely considered one of the most aggressive open comb razors out there.
However, when you look at it you can’t help but get an overwhelming impression of quality.
Muhle is also known for its impeccable chrome plating which is obvious when you see the way this razor shines.
This model was actually revised in 2013 to have a wider base plate and cap to give it less blade exposure than the previous 2011 version.
So, if you are looking for a more aggressive version you can try to find the 2011 however, the one you will find in most places should be the 2013.
There is nothing fancy about this razor, it is simply well made and knows how to cut hair!
It comes highly rated and you can see the guys who love this razor really talked about great it is.
This razor will definitely make you feel like a man when you are shaving.
There are not many complaints but they seem to mainly be from guys who just didn’t like the razor.
Surprisingly some said it wasn’t aggressive enough!
Others say anything after the first pass causes irritation.
Remember tread lightly!
Merkur 1904 Classic Safety Razor
Another popular, yet highly rated best open comb razor is the Merkur 1904 Classic. With a 4.4-star rating and over 300 reviews guys really seem to like this razor as well.
It has a unique looking handle, not the typical knurling you see on many chrome razors.
Merkur also even advertises that it is better for thicker beard because of its open design.
The 1904 classic is on the shorter side of safety razors but comes with a solid weight so it should still be able to do the work for you when shaving.
The good thing about the length is it should offer more control than other longer handle razors.
You will see man and women alike raving about this razor in the reviews on Amazon.
While it has a short handle, many feel it offers a great balance for your shave.
This may not be considered the most aggressive open comb; however, you will probably still find yourself requiring one or two less passes to get the smooth shave you are looking for.
There were a couple people who received the 1906 which is the closed comb version of this instead of the 1904 so you may want to contact the seller to confirm before buying.
Parker 24C -Three Piece OPEN COMB Double
If you have larger hands the Parker 24C may be a better choice for you as the whole razor itself is almost 4.5 inches long.
This also comes with a nice weight at 3.3 ounces and will fell sturdy in your grip.
This is another well-built razor with a nice chrome finish that will get the job done.
It is a three-piece razor and the handle has quality knurling and a little knob at the bottom to help you firmly grip this razor while shaving.
The three separate pieces allows you to really take good care of the razor by cleaning it thoroughly.
This will not stick or jump on your skin as you shave like other closed comb models. The open teeth really help reduce friction and allow the razor to slide over your skin.
This razor could be a great second razor or tenth, there are several veteran wet shavers who speak highly of this razor saying it could be the best out of the box razor to own.
It has also been mentioned this razor is more aggressive that the Merkur 1904 but not as much as the R41.
There are not many complaints, mainly men who just didn’t like the razor.
Parker 26C – Black Handle Three Piece OPEN
If you like Parker’s 24C but maybe want a different look the 26C could be a great option.
It has the exact same head with a black handle that is slightly heavier.
The handle still has a nice texture so that if you are covered with shaving soap you can still grip this razor.
Parker has been producing quality safety razors for over 40 years however, their open comb models have only been around since 2013 but have quickly grown in popularity.
Recently Parker’s quality has been regarded on the same level as other well-known brands like Merkur or Muhle.
As you can imagine there are similar comments to the 24c guys just loving the efficient shave they get with this razor.
Out of the few complaints they are not very helpful.
Some may have had the wrong expectations as they cut themselves too much so felt like they needed to return the razor.
You really shouldn’t fear these open comb razors though, just take your time like you would with any other new adventure you take on.
Above The Tie Kronos R2 Open Comb Safety Razor
Above The Tie creates well-crafted stainless steel safety razors right here in the US.
They offer a few different handles and heads so you can really customize the look, feel and performance of your safety razor.
Any of the base plates that end with the number 2 will be an open comb razor.
Now, this is definitely the most expensive razor on this list and out of most razors. However, this is one of the razors your son can pass down to his son.
The stainless-steel resists corrosion better than all of the chrome plated razors that are the most popular, however this is why it is the most expensive as well.
The R2 head has a moderately aggressive blade gap at .58mm and with the Kronos handle it is almost 4 ounces in weight.
So, this razor will definitely be on the aggressive side so please don’t apply pressure when using it!
There are not many reviews of these razors as most people don’t want to pony up the money for them but you really need to think of this as a lifetime investment.
Also, ATT, offers a 30-day return policy where you can return the product if you are not satisfied.
Merkur 25C Long Handle Safety Razor, Open Tooth
Last but not least we have the Merkur 25C, if it looks familiar to you that is because this is the same handle and cap as the popular 23C but with an open comb base plate.
This is one of the longest handles you will find on any safety razor at almost 4.5 inches however it is not the lightest with its slim profile.
Out of the open comb razors on this list, the 25C is probably the least aggressive so it could be a good second razor if the other razors seem too intimidating.
However, like we mentioned earlier the aggressiveness really relies upon the blade gap so you will find other closed comb razors that can be more aggressive than this one.
The head has a slim profile that will help you reach the hairs under your nose a little easier which can sometimes be tough to reach if the head has a larger profile.
Most of the complaints seem to be from new wet shavers who were left with a bloody mess after using this razor for the first time.
It is important to do your homework before you dive into wet shaving so you can learn the proper technique.
Overall, most people seem to really love this razor!
Best Open Comb Razor Conclusion
If you are looking for the next step in your wet shaving journey an open comb safety razor could be a great addition to go along with your other accessories.
Which one is best for you will depend on your beard type and your individual wants and needs so be sure to take the time and really look into the one you are considering.
Again, just a reminder to also consider which blade you will use with one of these as that will also play a big role in its performance.
Thank you for telling me about Open Comb Razors. I have thought about getting one of those but I was really afraid it would be too aggressive and not suit me. Now I will probably try it out.
Just wondering, which is your favorite Open Comb in terms of quality and cost? I am new to this, will you still recommend Muhle R41 (which is aggressive)?
I would recommend the Merkur if you are new as it is probably the least aggressive and may be more forgiving as you are learning the skill of wet shaving.
This is very interesting information to me! I am a 59 year old female who learned to shave my legs with a double edge razor. My first experience resulted in a rather severe wound. What is interesting to me is I have never heard of a single edge safety razor. I guess once I started using disposables I never paid attention any longer. I like the short handled models as they would definitely provide more control. I remember the days of the “bloody mess” when my father would come out of the bathroom with 5 or 6 pieces of toilet paper stuck to his face. I think I may give one a try. Just one question: which model with a short handle would be best for shaving legs?
Thank you for such great research.
Hello Carole, it really depends on your preferences and your skin type to determine the best razor for you. I would recommend looking at either the R41 or the Merkur 1904 to start.
Thank you for the recommendation!!
Carole I don’t know if you have used it but alum is a good way to treat your skin after a shave.
It comes in a block form and is applied after shaving and before any after shave balm.
It also stops any small cuts (bigger ones can be stopped with a stypic pencil rather than toilet paper).
Another shaver type that you can try are adjustable razors. You could start with a vintage Gillette which is pretty mild or try one of the newer ones like Merkur Progress or Parker Variant.
A very cheap one is available on ALiExpress and is a copy of the Merkur Futur. (Patent expired)
Of all of these I prefer the Merkur Progress.
If you are going to all this trouble to shave your legs I would also suggest a good shaving soap and not the canned/pressurised variety.
I own the Merkur 25C. It is not very aggressive; but with a nice, sharp Feather blade, it does reasonably well enough where I can take it when I travel. The three piece design means it breaks down more and takes up less space in my travel kit. And since the Feather blades come in plastic cases that doubles as a blade vault, I don’t have to be concerned about disposal of the used blade.
Yes the plastic case is a nice touch from Feather. Thanks for stopping by Paul!