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Badger is better than boar

There seems to be much hype about boar brushes being better than badger as of late around here. I say, it's called "Badger and Blade" for a reason. I have a two fold purpose for this thread. First, I think new DE shavers are done a dis-service when this trend occurs. Money spent on boars is just delaying the inevitable jump to the better shaving brush. Second, I want to encourage others posting to this thread to honestly disclose what they are comparing boars to in the badger camp. There is no way a boar compares to one of the high end badgers.

Here is why I think badgers are better:

Soaps load faster.
Lather builds quicker.
The density of the badger makes it more efficiently distribute lather, providing more passes.
Shorter loft provides more massage, and an overall better exfoliation process thereby preparing the beard for a better shave.

Boars lack in these areas:

Typically have a high loft. I believe this is to hold more product, as it releases so much more lather you run out sooner.
Longer loading time
Less density results in the lather being spent in 1 to 2 passes
Splay out everywhere, not tidy at all.

Boars I have tried:

Omega 81052
Omega Professional
Omega turnback travel boar
Omega 10066
VDH Boar

Admittedly I have not tried a Semogue, but is it worth it? Not only would it have to be better than the Omega's, it would also have to leapfrog the badgers.

Badgers I have tried:

Omega Pure badger
Omega 636 Silvertip
Morris & Forndran Blonde Badger Style 1 Small
B&B Essential
Vintage Made Rite 650 with the original knot (50+ years old, NOS)
TGN Silvertip Grade A
Franks Shaving Finest (as bad as this was, still better than a boar)
8 restored brushes all with TGN finest lofts in various lofts and knot diameters

The Omega Professional boar was my first brush, and I still use it about three times per year. It is the only one that lets me do 3.5 passes without reloading. After it, I went to the Omega Pure badger, and saw a huge increase in performance. Then came the B&B Essential. Another improvement. I have since purchased the other Boars, mostly based on all the chatter on this forum, thinking I may be missing something and have not given boar a fair shot, but have always been let down.

Sorry if I upset the boar fans, but someone had to say it: They are not better than badgers. I think this could be proven categorically and objectively, not just subjectively.
 
There seems to be much hype about boar brushes being better than badger as of late around here. I say, it's called "Badger and Blade" for a reason. I have a two fold purpose for this thread. First, I think new DE shavers are done a dis-service when this trend occurs.
It takes a lot of misreading and selective memory to conclude that. It is constantly pointed out that that "better" is a YMMV/subjective matter in every thread I've seen where such any claim is made that one type is better than another. If you do see that sentiment then, as always, consider the source.

New shavers are done a disservice any time any one thing is proclaimed as best for all. If anything, new shavers need to be encouraged to try the various options and to decide for themselves based on actual experience what is best for them. This is precisely why blade samplers are commonly suggested on the topic of blades. The same reasoning applies to the DE (or even SE or straight), the brush, the soap/cream, AS, alum, witch hazel, what techniques to use beyond the basics, whether to go XTG/ATG, etc, etc. We are not all identical clones. We do not all have the same beard. We do not have the same beard growth patterns. We do not have the same skin. We do not have the same allergies. We do not have the same preferences. Nothing here is one-size-fits-all and every discussion clearly reflects that.

There is no way a boar compares to one of the high end badgers.
There absolutely is. Again, it's a matter of preference. No matter what the topic -- brushes, shaving or even anything not shave related -- better is always a highly subjective matter. You don't find them comparable based on your priorities. A boar fan won't find them comparable based on that person's priorities either.

Admittedly I have not tried a Semogue, but is it worth it?
Worth is also always highly subjective, regardless of topic. You'd have to try to definitively answer the question for yourself. However, if you find that you prefer the qualities of badgers then probably not.

I think this could be proven categorically and objectively, not just subjectively.
You can objectively compare on specific points but the importance of the various points is always subjective. It's effectively subjective in the end even if you want to compare objectively. Find what works best for you and stop worrying over proclaiming a universal best. There's no such thing. Every B&B user should understand what YMMV means and why it applies to everything here. Hype is irrelevant. Regardless of hype it's up to each to determine what works best for the individual. Anything that doesn't work well for the individual and is popular will seem overhyped. Anything that works well and isn't popular will seem underhyped. If you're going to fixate then fixate on what works for you. What's popular is something else entirely. I can understand why many would use popularity as a starting point on what to try but the differences need to be kept in mind.

If you think the boar hype threads are a problem then don't attempt to "fix" it by hyping badgers. You've also completely overlooked synthetics (no vegan will ever find any of the other options to be best), horse, etc.

All that said, I prefer badger and I don't use boars or other brushes at all. That doesn't mean that badger is objectively best. It doesn't mean that badger is best for the next person. It doesn't even mean that I like all badger brushes. All that means is that my own preferences and priories align with those badger brushes that I prefer.

Don't let your tunnel vision fool you into thinking that what you prefer is the absolute best -- no matter what the topic.
 
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I agree that badger is better overall but I still think boar will always have a place in my shave den. Right now I have four brushes:
Semogue 620 boar
Semogue 2000 boar
Simpson Duke 2 badger
AoS travel in best badger

I think you did a good job of outlining the advantages of badger but Boar has some good factors too. The tips on my semogue 620 have gotten so soft that the face feel is heavenly. The length of my Semogue 2000's loft makes bowl lathering a dream while still maintaining all of its backbone. Of course my Simpson outperforms all of my other brushes but I got it as a gift and would never have spent that much on my own. I think that boars can provide similar results as badger once properly broken in for a fraction of the cost.

As I said, boar will always have a place in my routine. If for no other reason, isn't variety the spice of life? Now if we are playing one of those "you can only have one brush because the world is ending and the shave police demand it" games then of course my Simpson Duke 2 gets the nod!

nrv216
 
I have two badger and nine Semogue boars. Enough said.

Not saying boar is better than badger, they are just better for me.
 
Have to say that I don't like straight badger brushes in general. Why is this?--because I find they have too much bloom. Okay, everyone rants about what they prefer: badger, boar, and horse--or even synthetics. Stick to a brush and learn to use it IMO. Personally, my favorite is a horse-and-badger (or badger-and-horse) blend. Again, this is because the horse hairs bring the badger bloom down a notch. Beyond this, my order of preference might be horse, boar, synthetic, badger--although I recognize that each has its respective merits.
 
I have several high end badgers, including a custom Simpson Eagle G3 in Best. The last three brushes that I've purchased have been Semogue boars. I have to admit that I use them more than half the time. I don't find the badger brushes better. The boars are great for face lathering soaps. They pick up soap easily, are very soft, and hold plenty of lather. Last month, I went through the SOTD thread, and found that over a third of the shaves were with boar brushes. These were usually members who have been here a while. There is a reason so many experienced members are reaching for boars this much.

Mike
 
I do think you may be right in some ways and in a lot of ways Badger does have it's pros.

However, not only do I like low-grade (Pure) badger over the higher-grades I've actually tried, I think my bowl lathering is what makes me lean towards boars/cheap Badgers.
I just feel like they require less work to pick up/lather anything and therefore it is "better" to me. Were I looking for the softest, best heat-containing brush that was built the best, I would go for an expensive Badger brush.


You also are ignoring the fact that someone like me (not a ton of disposable income) can have fun with very usable and nice brushes (Boars) and not break the bank, whereas obtaining and trying that many Badgers would completely kill me financially. Plus I feel like sticking with cheaper brushes, I've been able to see what kind of knot/loft I like which is helping me formulate a better decision when I buy a nicer Badger. My finest 2-band is too floppy for me to do much with and I actually prefer a scritchier Pure Badger to it for now.
 
What a strange thread. I'd have thought that someone who's been in the game as long as you would have learned "YMMV" by now. I don't think my Simpsons Rover holds a candle to my Semogue 1305 (based on personal preferences), and I don't see how anyone could say that one is objectively better than the other. Your assertion that badgers are better because "soaps load faster" and "shorter loft provides more massage, and an overall better exfoliation process" is obviously based on a lack of experience with short boars. I think short boars exceed any badger in both of these areas, and they're also extremely soft-tipped once broken in.

My first boar was an Omega 31064, and I don't really like it much at all. If I hadn't tried a Semogue 1305 (and kept with it until it broke in nicely), I'm sure I'd have stuck with badgers.

I think the big disservice to new shavers is to tell them that a $300 badger will be objectively better than a $30 boar. Some of us have found the opposite to be true (subjectively, based on personal preference).
However, I agree that telling new shavers that boars are objectively better than badgers is equally wrong. You can't tell someone what they will prefer, especially when they have no idea what their preferences are yet.
 
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It takes a lot of misreading and selective memory to conclude that. It is constantly pointed out that that "better" is a YMMV/subjective matter in every thread I've seen where such any claim is made that one type is better than another. If you do see that sentiment then, as always, consider the source.

This was my intent in posting this thread. Not many of the threads extolling the virtues of Boar brushes go into much detail as to what other lather producing mediums are being compared to.

New shavers are done a "disservice" any time any one thing is proclaimed as best for all. If anything, new shavers need to be encouraged to try the various options and to decide for themselves based on actual experience what is best for them. This is precisely why blade samplers are commonly suggested on the topic of blades. The same reasoning applies to the DE, the brush, the soap/cream, AS, alum, witch hazel, what techniques to use beyond the basics, whether to go XTG/ATG, etc, etc. We are not all identical clones. We do not all have the same beard. We do not have the same beard growth patterns. We do not have the same skin. We do not have the same allergies. We do not have the same preferences. Nothing here is one-size-fits-all and every discussion clearly reflects that.

I never said Badger is the best. It is my belief that they perform the job (creating lather and delivering it to one's face) in a faster, more efficient manner. I simplify this by saying "better". Please notice in my original post I made no discussion of Scritch, softness or other areas I consider subjective.


There absolutely is. Again, it's a matter of preference. No matter what the topic -- brushes, shaving or even anything not shave related -- better is always a highly subjective matter.

So if I say a 286 was better than an XT, that is subjective? What if I say a Pentium is better than a 386? If I say "intel is better than amd" then it becomes subjective. Let's take it a step further. Say you need to roto-till one acre of land to re-sod your lawn. You can rent a front tine tiller, and complete the job in approx 6 hours at a rental price of 120 dollars, since after four hours you pay for the whole day. Alternately, you could rent a self propelled rear tine tiller for $160 for the day, but this one gets the job done in only 4 hours allowing you to pay the half day rate of 60 dollars. Isn't the rear tine tiller the "better" choice by quantifiable measurements? Both time and cost?


Worth is also always highly subjective, regardless of topic. You'd have to try to definitively answer the question for yourself. However, if you find that you prefer the qualities of badgers then probably not.

Worth has more to do with timing than anything else. If you are about to sign the deal of a lifetime and don't have a pen, a Bic is infinitely more valuable than a Montblanc at that precise moment.


You can objectively compare on specific points but the importance of the various points is always subjective. It's effectively subjective in the end even if you want to compare objectively. Find what works best for you and stop worrying over proclaiming a universal best. There's no such thing. Every B&B user should understand what YMMV means and why it applies to everything here. Hype is irrelevant. Regardless of hype it's up to each to determine what works best for the individual. Anything that doesn't work well for the individual and is popular will seem overhyped. Anything that works well and isn't popular will seem underhyped. If you're going to fixate then fixate on what works for you. What's popular is something else entirely.

I think you can get more specific than that based on the purpose. My thoughts were that looking at elements such as lather building performance, distribution of lather efficiently could provide this level set.

Not fixating, just trying to provide a balanced view on the forums that is a little more timely.

If you think the boar hype threads are a problem then don't attempt to "fix" it by hyping badgers. You've also completely overlooked synthetics (no vegan will ever find any of the other options to be best), horse, etc.

I did not think I was hyping badgers. I was trying to provide a more balanced view of the badger vs boar comparison. I intentionally left out synthetics and horse because I have never used them. Commenting on those brushes would be disingenuous at best, bordering on irresponsible.

All that said, I prefer badger and I don't use boars or other brushes at all. That doesn't mean that badger is objectively best. It doesn't mean that badger is best for the next person. It doesn't even mean that I like all badger brushes. All that means is that my own preferences and priories align with those badger brushes that I prefer.

Do you have a boar at all, or have you ever had one? If you do, try using it in a subsequent shave after a badger. Use the same soap, water, prep, etc...Maybe it's been so long, you forgot the qualities of the boar. I can send you one, as mine get little use.

Don't let your tunnel vision fool you into thinking that what you prefer is the absolute best -- no matter what the topic.

I think I have the opposite of tunnel vision. I've given the boar brushes many tries. Bought them after thinking I had found the "best" badger brush. Their performance seems to be lacking in the areas I mentioned above. I never said badger is the absolute best. It is just better suited to the job at hand.
 
Phil, what's best for you may not be best for me. I don't care for boar myself. Heck, my D01 brush is almost too scritchy for me.
I do know that I could have bought 24 of the Omega brushes that I have for the same price as my one D01.
 
Another badger guy here. Only 2 of the 17 brushes I've owned have been boar and most of my badgers were in the $75-$100 range. I first tried a boar a couple of years ago and sold it pretty quickly, just as the ends were starting to split. Thinking I didn't give it enough of a chance, I purchased another about 2 months ago. Before using it I gave it at least 15 test lathers (wet/dry cycles) so the ends would split before I put it to use. So far I've used it twice and both times have had sub-par shaves. Maybe that's coincidence, but my biggest problem with boar is that I just don't like the feel of it on my face. It's soft, but clumpy and clumpy feels weird. I know I should give it more time, but I haven't been able to bring myself to use it over my favorite badgers. I'm definitely a creature of habit and I'm afraid my badger habit wins out.
 
Second, I want to encourage others posting to this thread to honestly disclose what they are comparing boars to in the badger camp.

I guess this is a really hard thing to do since only one person mentioned their stable of brushes.

I agree that badger is better overall but I still think boar will always have a place in my shave den. Right now I have four brushes:
Semogue 620 boar
Semogue 2000 boar
Simpson Duke 2 badger
AoS travel in best badger

I think you did a good job of outlining the advantages of badger but Boar has some good factors too. The tips on my semogue 620 have gotten so soft that the face feel is heavenly. The length of my Semogue 2000's loft makes bowl lathering a dream while still maintaining all of its backbone. Of course my Simpson outperforms all of my other brushes but I got it as a gift and would never have spent that much on my own. I think that boars can provide similar results as badger once properly broken in for a fraction of the cost.

As I said, boar will always have a place in my routine. If for no other reason, isn't variety the spice of life? Now if we are playing one of those "you can only have one brush because the world is ending and the shave police demand it" games then of course my Simpson Duke 2 gets the nod!

nrv216

Wow. Kudos to nrv216 for actually reading post the title and crafting an intelligent response relative to the topic. Notice how he gave us the benchmark of what he has tried, both in boar and badger.

I usually say there's a reason it isn't called "Boar & Blade".

I knew I could count on you. But wait, you've only been around these parts for six years, surely your opinion doesn't count.:lol:

My Unicorn is better than your Badger.

And my Mom can beat up your Mom.

My mother is too much of a lady to get in a fight with your mom.

Not for eatin' they ain't.

True. There's nothing like a nice pork shoulder.

I do think you may be right in some ways and in a lot of ways Badger does have it's pros.

However, not only do I like low-grade (Pure) badger over the higher-grades I've actually tried, I think my bowl lathering is what makes me lean towards boars/cheap Badgers.
I just feel like they require less work to pick up/lather anything and therefore it is "better" to me. Were I looking for the softest, best heat-containing brush that was built the best, I would go for an expensive Badger brush.


You also are ignoring the fact that someone like me (not a ton of disposable income) can have fun with very usable and nice brushes (Boars) and not break the bank, whereas obtaining and trying that many Badgers would completely kill me financially. Plus I feel like sticking with cheaper brushes, I've been able to see what kind of knot/loft I like which is helping me formulate a better decision when I buy a nicer Badger. My finest 2-band is too floppy for me to do much with and I actually prefer a scritchier Pure Badger to it for now.

Is that a TGN finest? Curious, as they tend to have great backbone when set at the right loft.

What a strange thread. I'd have thought that someone who's been in the game as long as you would have learned "YMMV" by now. I don't think my Simpsons Rover holds a candle to my Semogue 1305 (based on personal preferences), and I don't see how anyone could say that one is objectively better than the other. Your assertion that badgers are better because "soaps load faster" and "shorter loft provides more massage, and an overall better exfoliation process" is obviously based on a lack of experience with short boars. I think short boars exceed any badger in both of these areas, and they're also extremely soft-tipped once broken in.

My first boar was an Omega 31064, and I don't really like it much at all. If I hadn't tried a Semogue 1305 (and kept with it until it broke in nicely), I'm sure I'd have stuck with badgers.

I think the big disservice to new shavers is to tell them that a $300 badger will be objectively better than a $30 boar. Some of us have found the opposite to be true (subjectively, based on personal preference).
However, I agree that telling new shavers that boars are objectively better than badgers is equally wrong. You can't tell someone what they will prefer, especially when they have no idea what their preferences are yet.

I get YMMV. I was trying to bring up elements about brushes that are less YMMV and more performance based. I mean we all seek backbone and density, there is a reason for that. I have a friend that had used a boar brush for years. This is a guy that still uses a fusion and thinks I have an odd obsession with shaving. Even he said, "wow, that brush you made me is so much better than my old brush, thanks".

I never mentioned a price point. My most expensive brush is the M&F, and I think I paid about $110 shipped. Just the opposite, I think for a very reasonable amount you can build your own badger brush that rivals the big makers.

Agree with your last point. They have to try the badger in order to realize they like it better. :wink2: If they stop at boars because they are the flavor of the day, that will never happen.
 
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