Razor Brands To Avoid

#1
This list has been compiled in response to the ever-growing number of con-artists and scammers, mostly from the East, that are currently infesting the market place with what they describe as 'straight razors' but which are either incapable of taking a good edge, made of poor quality steel, are poorly made and assembled and which do not shave well if at all - usually due to a combination of all these things. They are usually to be had for £30 or less, although brand new. Be aware that you need to pay at least double for a new entry-level razor by a reputable maker (and even then some of these have very lax quality control which leave them with defects like warps, poor grinding, etc that render them sometimes unusable).

It is high time we, as consumers, fought back. These are not old, vintage or collectable items - they are brand new and they are intended to shave with. Clearly in most cases they cannot, and this must be some sort of infringement of the Trades Descriptions Act. In short, they are not suitable for their stated purpose. These people need stamping out - if you are unlucky enough to have been hood-winked by one of these re-sellers, then report them - eg to Ebay, to Amazon, to your local council Trading Standards Officer.

This list has not been compiled lightly - the brands listed have been seen first hand and evaluated, both in this country and in America, where there is a similar 'Razor Brands To Avoid' list on several shaving forums.

The list of Brands to Avoid:

Artamis
Beauty & Barber
"Best Brand" (£5.59! Distributed by D.A.CH.S Deutschland)
G. B. Buckingham & Sons (include Damascus Steel razors in their line-up - they are not damascus, they just have an applied pattern)
Burbig
Enzo
Enzo England
Gold Arrow
Gold Dollar (can sometimes be OK after a lot of remedial work, but best avoided if you don't want to buy five to get one half decent razor)
Golden Barber (Hawk, Sovereign and Enzo make these)
Golden Salon (Enzo)
Hawk
Haryali (several lines, have an 'H' on the scales)
Hen & Rooster
Imperial
Edwin Jagger (very high rejection rate, some are OK)
Jico
Kedake
Kriegar
Master
Master Barbers
Master USA (the last three are all made by Master USA - in China. Poorly made, and described as a 'folding straight razor knife' they can be had for as little as $7.95 on some US sites)
Menrock - poor steel, very utilitarian scales
Path-Finder
Razoor (usually in awful, chunky, one-piece wooden scales, vary in price between £40 and £70 - an expensive mistake)
Reproduction Freemason/Masonic razors (these are brand new, originate in the east, have plastic handles and cannot shave)
Cyril J Salter (very high rejection rate - some are OK)
Sanguine
Sanguine Scissors Ltd
Sovereign
Sovereign Razors
Sweeney Todd
Titanium (rainbow coloured blade)
Timor (only the new Timors, not the vintage ones - manufacturer is still the same: Giesen & Forsthoff. Some make decent shavers, but there is a high rejection rate).
Traditional Barbers Straight Razor (from Sanguine Scissors Ltd and others)
Venus
Zeepk

Anything with no makers mark on tang or blade.
Anything with a multi-coloured, rainbow hued blade.
Anything made from Damascus (pattern-welded) steel that has not been made by a known, reputable maker (examples of good makers are Zowada, Livi, Buddel, etc).
Anything called a 'Razor Knife' or 'Razor Shave Knife' or 'Shaving Knife.'
Anything from Pakistan or China.
Razors with compound wood/stainless steel handles, usually marked 'China' on back of tang.
Anything described as 'German Style' or 'German Made' without the 'Solingen' stamp on the tang, but see below.
Anything brand new marked as 'buy one get one free' that is under £30.
In fact, any brand new so-called razor that costs under £30.

Notes
'Solingen' stamped on the tang of a razor is usually a sign of good quality - BUT - unscrupulous makers sometimes send their inferior goods from countries like China to Germany, to be assembled in Solingen. This is a legal-loophole. Usually the 'Solingen' mark is not stamped but very poorly etched or laser-etched. If in doubt - avoid.

Most of the high-volume sellers listed above lurk on auction sites like Ebay, but there is a trend for them to appear on other market sites like Amazon.

Most of the high volume sellers listed above bundle their useless razors with useless strops, strop dressings, shaving brushes and bowls, etc - all at a remarkably low price.

Keep in the mind the old adage - 'if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!' (ie - its worthless).

Regards,
Neil
 
#7
Thanks guys. It really annoys me (that's easy though!) when good people get taken for a ride. It's daunting enough learning how to use a razor - you don't need to add being conned into the equation.

Regards, Neil
[hr]
Spartacus said:
You could add Imperial, they're god-awful.
Done, Steve - thanks for reminding me - I have had personal experience of this particular flavour of junk, too!

Regards,
Neil
 
#11
I wish I'd found this before my intial ebay foray! Might want to add Burbig to the list after someone competent has tested them - sells itself as german stainless steel but is about as sharp as a butter knife and I can't get it to take an edge (although I must stress that I have no idea what I'm doing!)
 
#14
Cpfoxhunt said:
I wish I'd found this before my intial ebay foray! Might want to add Burbig to the list after someone competent has tested them - sells itself as german stainless steel but is about as sharp as a butter knife and I can't get it to take an edge (although I must stress that I have no idea what I'm doing!)
They are the same generic blanks as the Razoor crap razor uses, and the wooden scales on some of the Burbigs are also the same, so consider it added! At £4.99 'Buy It Now' it's got to be a bargain - for a letter-opener!

Regards,
Neil
 
#16
jaycey said:
UKRob said:
Dubl Ducks are back in favour again - a few months ago a decent condition Goldedge was fetching $200, just lately the Wonderedges have been going for $500. Not directly comparable I know, but a hugh increase in any event.

Agreed, add Dubl Ducks too :icon_razz:
Consider this an episode of Room 101 - Frank Skinner would say that he cannot condemn Filarmonicas and Duble Ducks on the grounds that they are excellent razors and give many people a lot of pleasure - sorry, Jaycey and Rob!

Regards,
Neil
 
#17
I've got a question about this bit: 'Anything brand new marked as 'buy one get one free' that is under £30.'

I've got a razor that was my great grandad's, he was a barber and I've had it restored and it's a great shaver. The scales are plastic but it did look as thought it had some age to it. There is a picture here from before it was restored. Is there anything to look out to indicate that an unmarked razor might be okay if you don't know where it's from?

 
#18
The Mackem Shaver said:
I've got a question about this bit: 'Anything brand new marked as 'buy one get one free' that is under £30.'

I've got a razor that was my great grandad's, he was a barber and I've had it restored and it's a great shaver. The scales are plastic but it did look as thought it had some age to it. There is a picture here from before it was restored. Is there anything to look out to indicate that an unmarked razor might be okay if you don't know where it's from?

I think you have answered your own question - I said 'anything new' - and your grandfathers razor patently is not new.

There may be many reasons why an old razor is unmarked. If dating from WW2 or shortly after, it usually means that the razor was of german origin Understandably, they were not too popular for a while at that time, and the merchant/importer needed to make his money back.

Then there is the case of so-called 'wash stamps' - marks that were put on a razor that looked the part but were really just printed on with some sort of pigment and gum. The marks could be washed off with a solvent. The object here was to get around import taxes and the like.

Obviously, a tempered bit of steel is a fragile and brittle thing - you cannot stamp a mark into it without the risk of it shattering or cracking. You could possibly risk re-stamping with much older razors, where it is not unusual to find that both the spine and the tang are of a much softer temper than the blade. However, I have seen 1940s and 50s razors where the original (german) tang mark has been ground off - often quite crudely done, and a generic mark like 'foreign made' substituted. Either the tangs were soft to begin with which is unlikely, or they were selectively heated to overcome the hard temper.

A similar thing is done today, as in the case of razors originating in China, etc, the parts including the heat treated tempered blade are sent to Solingen for assembly. The manufacturer then lightly laser etches 'Solingen' on tang.

Of course, your grandfathers razor predates this, so I have no doubt that it is a quality piece.

It just has no place in discussion of brand new razors, though.

Regards,
Neil
 
#19
Hi thanks for the great post. I started straight shaving in January and have gotten reasonably competent. I definitely get a closer shave than with my old DE safety razor, so figure I must be getting the hang of it.

I was therefore quite surprised to see Artamis on your list, as that is the razor I got myself for a reasonable £18.95. Was useless out of the box, but a good pass on a strop made the world of difference and although I have never managed a completely successful HHT, the blade seems to perform pretty well. That said, I have absolutely no basis for comparison, as I've never used anything else! Would really like to know therefore that, if say I drop £80 on one of the Solingen blades from TOBS, will I have an even better shave than I am now?

Would really love any feedback, esp if anyone has used an Artamis blade and progressed to something more respected?

Thanks in advance :)
 
#20
ANDYJR81 said:
Hi thanks for the great post. I started straight shaving in January and have gotten reasonably competent. I definitely get a closer shave than with my old DE safety razor, so figure I must be getting the hang of it.

I was therefore quite surprised to see Artamis on your list, as that is the razor I got myself for a reasonable £18.95. Was useless out of the box, but a good pass on a strop made the world of difference and although I have never managed a completely successful HHT, the blade seems to perform pretty well. That said, I have absolutely no basis for comparison, as I've never used anything else! Would really like to know therefore that, if say I drop £80 on one of the Solingen blades from TOBS, will I have an even better shave than I am now?

Would really love any feedback, esp if anyone has used an Artamis blade and progressed to something more respected?

Thanks in advance :)
I can't comment on the Artamis but regarding TOBS - they are not manufacturers therefore they will be buying them in and adding a retail margin which may be as high as a 100% mark-up on cost. Take into account 20% VAT and you soon get back to somehere around what you paid. I'm pretty sure Neil Miller will know who makes them and what the quality is.

If I were you, I'd ask around to see if anyone ahas a definite shave ready razor in whatever price bracket you have - that way you have a good benchmark.
 
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