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B&B Modern Razor Aggressiveness Scale?

This is something that I've been wanting to do for perhaps a year now. Our Wiki includes a great reference for blade gaps, but the "Double-Edged Safety Razors Ranked by Aggressiveness" has never actually included a list of razors....

The goal of this list was well explained by GBinOZ, below:
"A chart that someone could look at and say " I have razor X and want something more aggressive", and be able to locate his razor X on the chart and see which razors are more aggressive and by how much more than his razor, all based on other members impressions rather than on measurements."

Part of why I haven't tried to get this going yet is that I keep wanting to make it perfect (and complicated). So, to get it actually finally going, I'm just going to throw something out to you guys and hope something useful can evolve from our discussion.


First some notes:
  1. To start, I'd like to limit this list to current production models. This will help to keep the list shorter and more manageable. Perhaps later we can also create a ranked list of vintage razors.
  2. I have come to accept that this is definitely a YMMV subject ... but I still think a general consensus should be obtainable with a degree of quality that will provide a useful reference.
  3. I'd like to define aggressiveness loosely and subjectively. Those higher on the list will have some combination of larger blade gaps, greater blade exposure (which is hard to accurately measure), and/or position the blade at a steeper angle against the skin. Aggressive razors will also likely be heavier, and may be balanced differently between handle and head. Longer handles (independent of weight and balance) may also increase aggressiveness for some (likely depending on technique).

    On the flip side, precise tolerances, precise blade alignment between the base bar and head, and an even blade gap (consistent on both ends of the razor head), coupled with good quality control by the manufacture may help to make a razor feel more mild than it might otherwise be.

    It would be too easy for us to get permanently stuck on debating what aggressiveness is ... I'd like to just to give it our best shot for now. I realize that some shavers will get a less-harsh (on the skin) shave from a carefully handled Muhle R41 (2011) that they would from many passes with a Feather AS-D1 ... and I will explain that if this ever evolves into a wiki-worthy page, but my hope is that we can still come up with a sort of public opinion poll, qualitative list ... that while scientifically less-rigorous will be useful as a rough guide.

  4. Blades are for many a critical part of this equation, but this thread isn't focusing on the blade/razor combo.


Legend:
10 = Most aggressive DE on the market

Numbers between are a compilation of (mostly) experience-based opinions of the relative differences between razors. These numbers are not based on any objective measurements, but are a compilation of subjective and qualitative best guesses from member's replies below in this thread.

1 = Least aggressive

~ indicates a razor that is seeing some variance in opinions ... please reply with your vote so we can get a better average
? indicates a razor that is seeing a lot of variance in opinions ... PLEASE REPLY WITH YOUR VOTE!


List as updated on 6/11/2014 at around 1pm CST:
10.0 Muhle R41 (2011) (out of production, but included as the most-aggressive reference point)
10.0 Merkur Futur on 6.5
9.5 Muhle R41 (2013)
9.0 ATT H2
8.5 ATT H1
8.5 Joris
8.5 FaTip
8.0 Cadet OC / RazoRock OC
~7.0 RazoRock SLAB
7.0 I Kon SB
6.5 ATT R2
6.5 RazoRock Slant
6.5 RazoRock Jaws
5.5 ATT R1
~5.0 Merkur 37C/39C Slant
?5.0 I Kon Slant
5.0 ATT M2
4.0 I Kon Shave Craft 101
4.0 ATT M1
4.0 Weber Polished Head (PH)
4.0 I Kon OC
3.5 Merkur 34C HD
3.5 Merkur 38C Barber pole
3.5 Muhle or Edwin Jagger 89
3.0 Utopia Long Handle
3.0 RazoRock Mission
3.0 SS Pils 101
3.0 I Kon OSS (OC side is 2.0?)
3.0 Giesen and Forsthoff Timor
2.5 Merkur 1904
2.5 RiMei
2.0 Feather Popular
2.0 Feather AS-D2
1.5 Weishi / Micro Touch One
1.0 Feather AS-D1 (out of production, but included as the least aggressive reference point)

Looking for any initial votes on:
?? Merkur Vision (used at settings other than the max at 6.5)
?? Merkur Futur (either at max and lowest settings, or a complete listing of settings?)
?? Merkur Progress (either at max and lowest settings, or a complete listing of settings?)
?? Any other Merkurs in current (focusing on distinct heads ... with the assumption that heavier handles yield more aggression)
?? Any Parker razors (focusing on distinct heads ... with the assumption that heavier handles yield more aggression)




Please cast your votes to help us build a better list:


  1. List your suggested rankings in the #.# brand and model fashion
  2. If any of these razors are out of production, please let us know
  3. If I've misspelled or labeled anything incorrectly, please point it out
  4. If you have experience with currently-in-production models not on the list ... please attach a number to it and vote
  5. Please specify if your votes come from personal experience OR from what you've heard/read. A vote from personal experience will be given a lot more weight.
  6. Feel free to explain qualifiers or caveats underneath your votes
  7. In about a week I'll throw our current rough-consensus up on the wiki page ... and then we can cast more specific votes to move relative rankings up or down
  8. If you have time, I'd love your help. Please feel free to create and edit the wiki page at any time



Thank you!
Shawnsel
 
Last edited:
I am pretty sure most people consider the R41 2013 more aggressive than the Joris and ATT H2. This is what I read at least.




EDIT: Sorry, I should have read more carefully. That is YOUR list. Ok then, nothing to add.
 
Last edited:
I am pretty sure most people consider the R41 2013 more aggressive than the Joris and ATT H2. This is what I read at least.
EDIT: Sorry, I should have read more carefully. That is YOUR list. Ok then, nothing to add.

No, no ... I really want to encourage people to post their feedback and make this OUR list ... and NOT my list :)

EDIT:
From your readings, what numbers would you attach to those three razors?
 
I have been wondering about a list like this but there are a lot of opinions. But I also can say that most people would say the r41 is more aggressive than the EJ 89. I think this is a great staring point and users can use this not as a bible but as a reference point when buying a new razor. Here's my vote. Merkur 1904 closed comb gets a 2.5. From my personal experience it is a little milder than my EJ89. I have not tried anything with lower ranking to know if it should be lower than 2.5.
 
I don't have any on your list, but I've heard the RazoRock Mission is near the same as an EJ89, so call that a 3.0. I would then give my RazoRock Jaws a 6.5, not sure how it compares to the SLAB though. Lets put the Utopia Long Handle at 3.0 as well. Then the Mirco Touch One would fall around 1.5.
 
First of all: what a great idea and many thanks for doing this - I have been waiting for this information a long time!

I know this might cause some controversy (and more work for you) - but as a trained scientist I would suggest to have 2 numbers in your scale to be more fact driven?

smoothness: how does it feel on your skin - while this is subjective you can get a good result by comparing razors with each other

effectiveness: how many passes do you need for the same result (using the same/similar blade) - again you can only compare razors - but this should yield some very good and usable results

For me the 2nd one is by far the more important one - as it is more fact driven. You state above, smoothness can be very different - but if you need 2 passes for a BBS with razor 1 and 4 passes with razor 2 (both with them same blade) - that's far less subjective

Both numbers could then be combined to get the overall aggressiveness - if you want - but I still would love to see them both in the WIKI

I suggest this, because it would make the comparison for "middle" razors easier.

Example: a lot of people agree on the R41 - that's easy - and also on the Feather - but what about lets say the 34C, Weber and EJ89? And I think this is the most interesting part of such a WIKI - especially for newbie's.

But just looking at one number I think it would be very hard to compare them - but by comparing smoothness vs.effectiveness (and having some guidelines how to rate those) - you might get a clearer picture?

Another example would be the new RR Slant: I would rate the smoothness as 1-2 (super smooth) and the effectiveness as a 8-9 (very effective) - but how should I rank it on the combined aggressiveness scale?

Hope I don't cause too much trouble with this post
 
Interesting. And thanx for your effort!

I would only add that in my experience using Personna Lab Blues on my coarse beard, the Merkur HD 34C and the Merkur Slant 37C are comparable in cutting efficiency and comfort. I would rate them each as about a 7.5 on a scale of 10 with 5 being average on your scale. It is important to establish what "average" is.

I would rate a Muhle R89 as a 6, with 5 considered to be average.
 
My knowledge of New production razors is Nil, except for one. I have in my possesion from the pass-around a Cadet OC that I find to be one of the most aggressive razors that I've used. It's aggressivness rivals any vintage Gillette in my opinion. And yet it is a wonderfull shaver.
 
I am pretty sure most people consider the R41 2013 more aggressive than the Joris and ATT H2. This is what I read at least.




EDIT: Sorry, I should have read more carefully. That is YOUR list. Ok then, nothing to add.

Hi

I would have thought that the Ikon SB would be higher on the list, I would bet that it is more aggressive than the Ikon or Merkur Slant razors, I know mine is very aggressive
 
You asked for us to supply our own rankings, so here are my thoughts:
11.0 R41-2011 (not in production, so I felt entitled to cheat)
10.0 R41-2013
9.5 ATT H-2
8.5 Joris
8.0 Cadet / RazoRock OC
5.0 Merkur 37C slant
3.0 EJ 89 / Merkur 34C HD
1.0 Feather AS-D1
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
This is just my personal opinion but I have concerns on how to rank a razor based on a number that I made up. I mean, how could I grade a razor 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 (or 3.1) if no measurements, weight, etc is used? I can rank my razors 1-2-3 sure but I'm not sure how it translate back into the list that you already have. If I add a razor in between, my whole ranking will change.

If there would be some kind of formula where the blade gap, weight of the razor, blade angle, etc would give points and you then bring that back on 100 or something, you would then have something to work on.

There will always be the YMMV thing that comes in the other way. But with factual numbers, it will be accurate to say that a razor got score X because of it's characteristics. Now, how to translate that into aggressiveness well, it would need to be something like a table where you get all your variables and the result at the end.

As an example. If the total weight of a razor is 50 grams, that would give it X points on the scale. Usually a light razor is less aggressive than a heavy razor. That's where the other items, measurements, will re-balance everything. As an example, I had an open comb Hoffritz. It was very light but, to my knowledge, aggressive. So the gap and blade angle would probably balance the whole thing.

The big challenge will be on the scoring system. What makes a razor mild based on the blade gap? What's medium (a score of 5)? An aggressive blade gap between x and y is a 10?

Anyways, just my thoughts...
 
Good points, Luc.

Honestly, and I mean no disrespect to the OP, I don't think this can be done reliably.
Sure we can measure blade gaps, weights, etc ... but correct me if I am wrong, it would be hard to accurately measure blade exposure. Then we would also have to consider the heads's geometry.
Also the YMMV thing and so on ...
 
Please specify if your votes come from personal experience OR from what you've heard/read. A vote from personal experience will be given greater weight.

I would go further than this and say that hearsay votes are basically worthless, and that people should really only submit opinions from their own firsthand experience.

As such, I probably won't be of great help to this discussion as only a small handful of my razors are current production, but I'll be very interested to see where this leads. Of the ones that I do have I would tend to agree with your placement, although I would probably put the Merkur 34C below the EJ/Mühle DE8x head -- more of a 3.0 than a 3.5. That may or may not be an accurate current comparison, though, since my Merk is a pseudo-vintage one from the '80s or '90s rather than a truly modern one.

Honestly, I'd be more interested in assembling a unified list of modern and vintage examples than just separate lists of either. But I can see how that would quickly become a chaotic mess, and starting with a smaller bite is probably wise.

The only thing I would take slight issue with, without dragging this thread too far off course is this:

I'm going to define aggressiveness loosely, as a rough-consensus mix of efficiency and harshness. This is an easy area to get stuck on ... I'd like to just to give it our best shot for now. I realize that some shavers will get a less-harsh (on the skin) shave from a carefully handled Muhle R41 (2011) that they would from many passes with a Feather D2 ... and we can explain that on the wiki page, but my hope is that we can still come up with a consensus-based list.

This is overly muddy, and I don't really understand why there seems to be this overwhelming desire to equate aggressiveness with efficiency or harshness, which are both end products rather than primary characteristics. Aggressiveness should be taken to mean the amount of blade exposure a given razor provides, and the fact that we intuit that characteristic by feel rather than measure it directly doesn't change the fact that we're attempting to describe a physical characteristic of the razor, not what the razor does for us or how it makes us feel emotionally.

Yes, we won't all agree on exactly where a razor should be slotted, but we still should be trying to feel for how much blade the razor gives us to work with rather than attempting to characterize the quality of the experience as efficient or not, or harsh or not.
 
Over my lunch hour, I've updated the list, and I've also updated my description of what I'm trying to list:

I'd like to define aggressiveness loosely and subjectively. Those higher on the list will have some combination of larger blade gaps, greater blade exposure (which is hard to accurately measure), and/or position the blade at a steeper angle against the skin. Aggressive razors will also likely be heavier, and may be balanced differently between handle and head. Longer handles (independent of weight and balance) may also increase aggressiveness for some (likely depending on technique).

On the flip side, precise tolerances, precise blade alignment between the base bar and head, and an even blade gap (on both ends of the razor head), coupled with good quality control by the manufacture may help to make a razor feel more mild than it might otherwise be.

It's easy to get stuck on what aggressiveness is ... I'd like to just to give it our best shot for now. I realize that some shavers will get a less-harsh (on the skin) shave from a carefully handled Muhle R41 (2011) that they would from many passes with a Feather D2 ... and we can explain that on the wiki page, but my hope is that we can still come up with a consensus-based list that will be useful as a rough guide.
 
as a trained scientist I would suggest to have 2 numbers in your scale to be more fact driven?

smoothness: how does it feel on your skin - while this is subjective you can get a good result by comparing razors with each other

effectiveness: how many passes do you need for the same result (using the same/similar blade) - again you can only compare razors - but this should yield some very good and usable results


At some point I think this would be great, but at this time it seems challenging to just assign one rough-consensus number to a razor ... much less two :)

Perhaps we can work towards this in a second version of the list some day?
 
This could be a whole book!

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO MODERN RAZOR AGGRESSIVENESS by shawnsel.
Published by B&B Press 2014.

:001_smile
 
This is just my personal opinion but I have concerns on how to rank a razor based on a number that I made up. I mean, how could I grade a razor 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 (or 3.1) if no measurements, weight, etc is used? I can rank my razors 1-2-3 sure but I'm not sure how it translate back into the list that you already have. If I add a razor in between, my whole ranking will change.

If there would be some kind of formula where the blade gap, weight of the razor, blade angle, etc would give points and you then bring that back on 100 or something, you would then have something to work on.

There will always be the YMMV thing that comes in the other way. But with factual numbers, it will be accurate to say that a razor got score X because of it's characteristics. Now, how to translate that into aggressiveness well, it would need to be something like a table where you get all your variables and the result at the end.

As an example. If the total weight of a razor is 50 grams, that would give it X points on the scale. Usually a light razor is less aggressive than a heavy razor. That's where the other items, measurements, will re-balance everything. As an example, I had an open comb Hoffritz. It was very light but, to my knowledge, aggressive. So the gap and blade angle would probably balance the whole thing.

The big challenge will be on the scoring system. What makes a razor mild based on the blade gap? What's medium (a score of 5)? An aggressive blade gap between x and y is a 10?

Anyways, just my thoughts...

I'd love to have a formula to calculate aggressiveness, but I see some challenges with this:
1. It's difficult to measure blade exposure accurately
2. We'd likely have to test many razors from a given make over time to account for QC variances in blade gap and blade exposure
3. I suspect the ideal formula would still depend upon blades, technique, and skin/beard of the individual ... so a rough consensus might still be required.

As such ... and toward just trying to get a list on our wiki (that is better than no list at all) ... I've decided to simply poll people on their subjective opinions, relative between razors.


Also, if you're having problems fitting your whole list together with mine ... just scrap my list and post your own as a large collective vote ... using some high-point reference as a 10, and another low-point reference as a 1 ... and try to fit everything else in between depending on how they feel/work.

It's imperfect I know ... but I hope that our resulting list will still be useful and better than no list at all :)
 
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