Open Comb vs Closed Comb Razors – Which is Better?




Open Comb vs Closed Comb Razors

Whenever searching for the most efficient safety razor, you may come across open and closed comb razors. What differentiates these razors, and which one do you need?

Closed comb razors have a bar along the bottom of the razor that helps with a smooth shave and reduces the possibility of any knicks or cuts. They are less aggressive and are great for daily shaving. On the other hand, open comb razors do not have a bar to prevent scratches or knicks. They are aggressive but allow a cleaner and closer shave.

Read on for more detailed information.

Open vs Closed Comb Razors

Open and closed comb razors consist of a bottom plate, top, and handle. The comb indicates the bottom plate’s design.

Closed Comb Razors

A closed comb razor’s bottom plate has a flat edge that typically features grooves. The term ‘closed’ refers to the fact the safety edge lacks teeth or gaps.

Closed Comb Razors

The purpose of the bottom plates’ flat edge is to keep your skin stretched tightly across the bar. So, it guarantees you a smooth shave. The razors also reduce the chances of cuts. However, if your hair is thick and stubborn, it can take some passes.

Who Should Use Closed Comb Razors?

Who should use closed comb razors? These razors are ideal for most wet shavers. Beginners may also find it easiest to use.

The extra safety ensures that a novice can get the same results as an experienced user. So, this razor is less aggressive and suitable for daily use.

However, for the best result, you should properly prepare your beard and face before shaving.

This is the best way to reduce the risk of cuts. You can use high-quality shaving soap and pre shave oil to create the required protective shaving lather.

Pros of Closed Comb

• Guarantee a smooth shave
• Reduce the chances of cuts
• Great for sensitive skin
• Easy to use
• Best for daily shaving
• Little less aggressive

Cons of Closed Comb

• Can take some passes if the facial hair is too thick or stubborn

Open Comb Razors

Open comb razor comes with distinctive ‘teeth’ that go all the way through. Moreover, unlike the closed comb safety razors, it has no bar left designed to touch the shaver’s face. So, the ‘teeth’ effectively channels the hair to the blade.

Open Comb Razors

At the same time, it allows more lather to stay on the face for a longer period. However, since it lacks the bar to protect you from anything that can give you a scratch, you need to be extra careful when shaving. Remember, shaving cuts can be dangerous.

The good news is that as long as you pay close attention to what you are doing, this razor will get you a closer shave.

Again, please note that these razors are more aggressive because you don’t have the bar to prevent anything that could give you a scratch or knick. Of course, on the plus side, an open comb razor will be able to get you a closer shave.

Check out our article on the best open comb razors if these type of razors appeals to you.

Who Should Use Open Comb Razors?

Who should use the open comb razor? Since these razors are slightly more aggressive than the closed options, they are best for experienced wet shavers.

Nonetheless, with some practice, a beginner can use them with ease. The secret is to spend some time using the razor and use short strokes. What’s more, as always, remember to prepare your face before shaving properly.

The preparation process is almost always the same. With the right pre-shave oil or soap and the best quality shaving cream or soap, you can create the desired, rich shaving lather without difficulty.

Pros of Open Comb 

• More aggressive shave
• Close shave
• ‘Teeth’ allow lots of lather to remain on the beard and face

Cons of Open Comb 

• More aggressive
• Best for experienced wet shavers

Should I Use Closed Comb or Open Comb Razor?

If you are like many beginners, you are concerned about the aggressiveness of the open comb razor.

Should I Use Closed Comb or Open Comb Razor

However, please note that many modern ones are milder and more forgiving. Here are a few other factors that can affect your comb razor’s aggressiveness:

• Razorblade used
• Blade exposure
• Blade gap

So, consider the impact of these factors before you consider using either closed or open comb razors.

Since modern open comb razors are milder and more forgiving today, one may see no major difference between these razors.

That is partly true, so you should not assume that they are the same in every aspect. The most important thing to note is that your ultimate choice should come down to your personal preference and level of expertise.

Closed Comb or Open Comb Razors For Beginners?

We recommend that beginners start with closed comb razors since they feel safer to start with.

Closed Comb or Open Comb Razors For Beginners

After gaining confidence and some experience, you can shift to open comb razors.
Either way, a good shave starts with adequate preparation. You need to use plenty of water at this stage.

You can wash your beard or shower before the save. Moreover, it would be best to have pre-shave oil or soap and the best quality shaving cream or soap.

Best Closed and Open Comb Razors

There are plenty of closed comb razors, and some of them are:

1. Best Overall: Merkur 34C Classic Razor

This comb razor has mild aggression and is suited for beginners. It is made from Solingen steel and is relatively heavy.

The extra weight helps to reduce the pressure you need to apply to get a close shave.


• Outstanding build quality
• Solid grip
• Great shaves


• Not ideal for too coarse and thick coarse facial hair

2. Best Performance: Feather All Stainless Steel

This is the premium of safety razors, given their excellent shave performance. However, outstanding service comes at a cost.

Like other closed comb razors, it serves beginners best, especially if the hair is not too thick or coarse. The razor’s aggression is also mild.

Given that the razor is made of stainless steel, it can never rust.


• Premium materials
• Good balance and weight
• Excellent line shave quality


• Pricey

3. Honorable Mention: Edwin Jagger DE89Ibl Razor

Edwin Jagger is a renowned and trusted shaving tools brand in Sheffield, England. The razor’s aggression is moderate.

It is also long and has medium weight. The highly attractive razor protects the skin against cuts and nicks.


• Designed to last
• Aesthetically pleasing
• Moderately aggressive


• Some users think that the grip is not optimal

Here is the most common and moderately aggressive open comb razor:

4. Best Open Comb: Merkur 1904 Classic Safety Razor

Merkur 1904 Classic is fun to use and is great looking. It is a replica of Gillette’s original 1904 razor design.

Moreover, it is medium in weight and short. The razor’s aggression is also moderate. However, like other open comb razors, it serves experts best.


• Good price
• Classic aesthetic appearance
• Sturdy design


• Some users think that the handle is too short.

Which Is Better Open Comb Or Close Comb?

Open combs are generally built to guide stubble against the blade to be able to cut through the longer and thicker hair more easily. Also, if you do shave on a regular basis, we recommend using a closed comb razor.

Are Open Comb Razors More Aggressive?

Generally, open comb safety razors tend to be more aggressive compared to closed comb razors. Also, open comb heads tend to expose more razor blades by the teeth, which allows more shaving lather to enter the cutting area. This lubricates and protects your skin.

Best Open Comb Safety Razor

1.       Best overall: Viking’s blade the chieftain ODIN

This razor has a head that leans towards the shave and delivers medium aggression. Good for first-time users of safety razors and shaving veterans looking for general-purpose razors.


  • Anti-misalignment mechanism
  • Gorgeous appearance


  • Slightly heavier than normal

2.       Runner Up: Muhle Traditional Open Comb Safety Razor

This is an exceptional razor made from chrome-plated brass. It is corrosion-resistant and tough, making it a long-lasting razor.


  • Aggressive shave
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Flexible


  • The handle knurls

Wrap Up

With so many open and closed comb shaving razors in the market, it might be difficult to find the best option.

It can also be more complex since every person has a unique combination of experiences, budget, hair type, and razor aggressiveness preferences.

Take your time to try both types if you are still unconvinced about the best option for you. Just be careful so you avoid cutting yourself.

About the author