The best wet shave razor for men 2017

Remove stubble and beards the old-fashioned way with the pick of battery-aided and fully manual razors

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If you favour the feel of cold steel of a morning, this is our current pick of the best manual razors.

The current cutting-edge – ho ho! – of wet shave tech is the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Flexball Power

As that ludicrously elongated name suggests, there are all manner of technologies packed into this miracle of modern science, and they all seem to work, giving the smoothest shave available.

The best way to buy the best razors

Razors come in a bewildering array of special packs, limited edition packs, multi-packs and… just packs. 

The obvious thing to do is to buy the cheapest version of any given razor – usually just the shaver and one blade – when you're trialling a new one. 

Once you've established what your favourite is, scour the deals at Boots, Amazon et al to find the best price on blades. Half the time you'll find the very cheapest option is actually to buy a pack with a new razor and a stack of blades. Economies of scale and all that. 

You can also Subscribe and Save on razor blades at Amazon so you get new blades through the post at regular intervals. 

The best razors to buy today, in order

1. Gillette ProGlide Flexball Power

'The best a man can get' actually is

Reasons to buy
+Astonishingly smooth shave+Perfect ergonomics
Reasons to avoid
-Blades need regular replacement
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Gillette's ever-growing range of razors reached its most recent peak with this powered, flex-headed , quintuple-bladed work of art. 

The 'Power' part is provided by a AAA battery and makes the razor vibrate as you use it. This may sound like a terrible idea but there is no doubt it improves shaving performance on this razor. 

The big leap forward here is the way the head pivots on a ball. This makes minimal difference to shaving your face but when you get to your neck there is a very noticeable improvement over rival razors and previous Gillettes.

Meanwhile, the elongated lubricated strip complete with mineral oil improves the moisturising element Gillette has used for a while now and the blades are incredibly narrow and perfectly sharp.

As such, you need to replace blades far more often than on something like the old Mach 3. That aside, it's pretty much perfect.  

2. Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5

A great shave, though more old-fashioned

Reasons to buy
+Five blades give rapid shaving
Reasons to avoid
-Less technically advanced than Flexball
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This five-blade stack is easy to handle, and undeniably gives great results. The flip trimmer on the back is another nice touch and a 'hydrating gel reservoir' lube-strip should last as long as the blade does.

However, with its more rigid head, this does feel a step behind the Flexball Power. 

As with the GiIlette, there is a battery version of this (with variable power control, although that control is of dubious usefulness in my opinion). It is weirdly over-chunky, so you're arguably better off with the cheaper, non-powered version.

3. Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Power Select

Bionic version of the Hydro 5

Reasons to buy
+Great shaving performance
Reasons to avoid
-Overly chunky 
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This is another excellent option, again with a handy little flip-up clipper to do fiddly, sub-nose-type areas.

It is a tad chunky – unlike Gillette's powered Flexball, which is barely different from its non-powered sibling, visually – and I don't quite know why you'd want three levels of power control. But hey, it's there if you want it…

4. Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler 3-in-1

Handy jack of all shaving trades

Reasons to buy
+Versatile+Cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Not amazing at 2 of its 3 functions
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Lacking a Flexball, this is a step down for facial shaving from the ProGlide at #1, but it's still a very good performer, with a handy single blade on the rear for edging.

The Styler also comes with little plastic combs for beard trimming, and a little tiny powered foil thing which I think is for doing your downstairs. It is not amazing for these purposes but it's still a versatile thing for the price.

5. Gillette Fusion ProShield Flexball

One for those with irritable skin

Reasons to buy
+Extremely smooth to use
Reasons to avoid
-Lube strips and blades wear out pretty quick-Less effective than ProGlide
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A further development of the ProGlide, this is essentially the same razor, but the blades have lubricating strips both before and after the blades.

The result is that it glides even more smoothly and safely over your dermis. 

The only down side of that is, I find it glides so smoothly, it actually shaves less effectively, possibly because the blades are fractionally further away from your skin, or because it is contact with the hairs for fractionally less time.

There's not a lot in it, but the ProGlide appears the better buy, although this is worth a try if you have very sensitive skin, or it's on special offer.