This post is premised on a few things: 1. B and I travel. 2. B and I are proponents of shaving. You might not agree with #2, and that’s just fine. Do whatever makes you feel free. However, if you are on board with these two assertions, read on to see how we’ve reviewed different products for shaving and have come up with what is (IMHO) the best travel razor.
Criteria for evaluating travel razors
There are many different aspects of what makes a good razor. I’ve narrowed it down here to a few key points that we can compare our offerings against:
- Effective: This one is real important because it measures how good of a job a razor is doing. I can’t think of a single person I know who really enjoys shaving. It is time consuming and a means to a smooth end. We need a razor to perform its best to make the best of an unpleasant situation. For our purposes, this criterion will measure how successfully the razor shaves for you.
- Duration: You know how you’re supposed to only use mascara for a month or two? Well, you’re only supposed to use razors for a few shaves. Pshaw, I say to both of those rules. (“I call that being tricked by a bizzniss,” as Macklemore would say.) This stuff can be expensive and I need my products to work with me well past their sell-by date. This is especially critical for travel because, seriously, who wants to pack around multiple razors for one trip? And speaking of travel…
- Travel-friendly: Like I mentioned above, the best travel razor needs to be travel friendly. This means it needs to go the distance, be easy to pack around and efficient, if at all possible. It also needs to not set off any alarms that you are packing a weapon as you go through airport security.
- Ease of use: When I’m on a trip I don’t want to spend lots of time shaving my legs. I’ve got better things to do. So the best travel razor is going to be easy and quick to use. Sorry, fancy straight edge razor scary barbers use. You don’t make the list.
Travel razor contenders
To make things simple, we narrowed down this list to four different razors-types. Each razor gets ranked 1-3 for each of the criteria I discussed above (1 is best and 3 is worst). Oh, and I should offer up a disclaimer: while B and I don’t agree on everything, we do agree on what makes the best travel razor. So each review below carries the weight of two seasoned travelers+shavers.
Option #1: plastic disposable razor
This is the razor that you will find in a multi-pack at your local grocery store or heck, even your local dollar store. That makes them about $.10, by far the cheapest option reviewed.
This guy is no good at shaving. Worse than that, it’s dangerous for people who always seem to cut their knees. You’ll have to go over an area multiple times to get a smooth shave and hopefully won’t knick yourself along the way.
To make matters worse, the blades in this razor don’t last long. It is not the worst razor we’ll discuss, though, because sometimes these razors have two blades and the second blade makes it seem like it will last longer.
Travel friendly: 3
These razors are travel friendly, in that they are highly disposable. There is nothing to them, just a little T shape of plastic so they won’t take up much space. You will need to bring a few if you are going on a long trip, though, so that would knock them down a notch. Also detracting points is our opinion that there is already too much yucky disposable plastic items in the world.
Ease of use: 3
This razor is bare boned. It is not meant to be sleek nor is it ergonomic. There is no give or flex.
Final score: 12
Option #2: quality store-bought razor
This razor comes in a variety of brands. Sure, I’m lumping together a bunch of razors, but essentially, if you go into a store and spend between $7 and $10 on a razor with one or two cartridges, you’re going to end up with about the same product. Sorry, Gillette, Venus, etc. Unless you come up with something novel, this product is just about all the same.
There’s a reason why this razor costs a lot. It does a good job. The handle fits nicely in your hand, there are at least three blades on each razor.
There’s a reason why I can use this thing over and over. It lasts a really long time. When I’m at home, I will probably only bother to change a razor blade every 6-8 weeks. (Is that bad? I’m second guessing myself now.) Anyhow, these blades will stay sharp a long time and you only have to shoot off the end and put a new cartridge on, rather than replacing the whole kit and caboodle.
Travel friendly: 3
There is some bulk to these razors, if you want to travel with them and not cut yourself when you reach into your toiletry bag. I’ve read about a travel hack where you take a binder clip and put that around the business end of a razor. It didn’t work for me. The style and width of the razors need to be just right for this to work. Also, because the handles are more substantial, they take up more room in your bag.
Ease of use: 2
This razor is made for comfort. The handle has grippy rubber stuff so you don’t drop it (newsflash, I probably still will). It feels substantial in your hand since it is made of thick plastic or metal. This is a pro in this category but a bit of a minus in the travel category.
Final score: 7
Option #3: shave club razor
B has joined the shave club bandwagon. After loads of research, she signed up with Harry’s and has never looked back. She feels the quality is as good or better than most store-bought razors. But what she really likes is the price: she pays less than $2 per blade. In addition to Harry’s, popular options include the Dollar Shave Club and Gillette Shave Club. (The following criteria will focus on Harry’s since that is the only shave club razor we have tried.)
Razors contain five blades with a flex hinge. This razor works and works well. End of story.
This razor also lasts a long time. The website claims their blades are “engineered in our German factory from the highest quality Swedish steel.” Yes, that is a lot of marketing speak. But B’s real-life application has been positive so far.
Travel friendly: 2
Like the store-bought razors, there is some bulk to a shave club razor. However, Harry’s specifically comes with a great travel blade cover. Assuming you have the room, this razor + cover travels nicely.
Ease of use: 2
Again, like the store-bought razor, this razor is comfortable and easy to use. The rubberized handle is easy to hold onto, even wet. (B hasn’t dropped it yet!) It also has some heft, which feels great while shaving at home, but is not ideal when trying to pack light.
Final score: 6
Option #4: frankensteined [best travel] razor
Alright, the name might give away what we recommend for the best travel razor. And I should say, we cheated a bit because you can’t go out and buy this razor; you have to buy two razors and merge them into one. This makes it more expensive, but since all the parts of the two razors are good quality, you aren’t really out any money. You’ll just use the other pieces while you are at home instead of on a trip.
To make this razor, you will need to purchase:
The beauty of the mix is that you reap the benefits of the small circular handle of the Snap and the built-in shaving lotion aspect of the Breeze.
Again, if you drop some coin on buying a razor, you are going to get an effective shave. This thing is going to give you a nice, smooth leg.
This razor will go the distance for you on a trip. The built-in shaving lotion stuff usually dries out and falls off for me after three weeks or so. I like to turn mine over and make sure the gooey stuff isn’t touching anything while it dries. This means pulling it out of the shower after you use it. If you shave at night, it will be dry by the next morning.
Travel friendly: 1
This thing is made for travel. The handle is really small and the self lathering means you don’t have bring along shaving cream. Win win!!! (Note, in the picture above the traveling size shaving cream is for artistic purposes and because I found it whilst digging around my travel gear. I wouldn’t bring it on a trip with this razor.)
Ease of use: 1
I love this little handle. It fits right into my hand I can maneuver it easily.
Final score: 4
Waterless by Venus
We were excited when we saw this since it sounds great and looks like the other travel razor handle we like. That’s where the similarities ended. The gel didn’t coat that well so I felt like my skin wasn’t as protected from cuts. There is only one blade so it got dull very quickly and was not good after a use or two. Lastly, I couldn’t reseal the gel so it was messy for packing up.
This one is the same concept as the one we like, but it is bulky! Maybe you’re okay with that in your home shower, but our shared shower is tiny and this clunky thing would take up needed real estate. The razor also does a weird hide-and-sink thing where it falls into the soap ring and doesn’t come out. Lastly, I don’t put even pressure on the shaving because the bottom soap ran out way before the top.
The razor that you use at home doesn’t have to be the razor you take on a trip. Instead, you can piece your own best travel razor using the best bits from other razors.
Bonus tip: I recently read an article about the best way to shave your armpits. I have been pleasantly surprised when trying it out so I wanted to share it. Instead of pulling the razor up and down, try making an X shape. Since armpit hair grows in all directions (gross) an X swipe can go against the grain more. This results in fewer passes and fewer ingrown hairs.