Best razor 2019: the finest wet shave razors for men

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 that you buy in shops, the old fashioned way, that nature intended.

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.

If you have sensitive skin, however, you may find the FPFP a bit harsh. However, Gillette has your back (and face) again, with the SkinGuard Sensitive.

A lot of men are now getting very keen on more classic, less tech-packed razors, often bought on a subscription basis. So just for them, we have a guide to the best razor subscriptions, as well.

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. 

We also do a guide to the best moisturisers, too.

The best razors to buy today, in order

=1. Gillette ProGlide Flexball Power

The best razor for men

Reasons to buy
+Astonishingly smooth shave+Perfect ergonomics
Reasons to avoid
-Blades need regular replacement

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.  

Best razor: Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive

=1. Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive

Best razor for sensitive skin

Reasons to buy
+Very hard to be irritated by+Great for body shaving too
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for longer stubble growth

With this razor, Gillette has called a ceasefire in the 'how many blades can we stuff into a razor casing?' war that has raged since the Mach 3. The SkinGuard has a mere two blades, separated by a 'SkinGuard Bar' that flattens the skin so the blades can do their business. 

More importantly, a lubricating strip surrounds the blades so the razor really glides. The result is a shave that's close without causing redness or irritation,  which is good news for the 33% of men who say they suffer from sensitive skin. 

Because of the way it cuts, I wouldn't recommend trying to use this on more than a couple of days' growth – you'll be there for hours. However, for daily use it's very hard to fault. Store it somewhere dry, mind, or that lubricating strip will degrade even faster than it usually does.

3. 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

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.

4. Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Power Select

Bionic version of the Hydro 5

Reasons to buy
+Great shaving performance
Reasons to avoid
-Overly chunky 

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…

5. 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

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.

6. Gillette Fusion ProShield Flexball

Sort of like a cross between the FlexBall and the SkinGuard Sensitive

Reasons to buy
+Extremely smooth to use
Reasons to avoid
-Lube strips and blades wear out pretty quick-Less effective than ProGlide

Another version of the ProGlide, this takes the SkinGuard approach, with lubricating strips positioned both before and after the blades. The result is that it glides even more smoothly and safely over your dermis

Again, the down side here is that I find it glides so smoothly, it actually shaves less effectively, because the blades are fractionally further away from your skin, and in contact with the hairs for fractionally less time.

More to the point, the SkinGuard takes a similar approach but is even more comfortable, due to only having two blades, leaving this older razor as a rather niche product.