Skip to content

What Is The Most Aggressive DE Razor (Updated)?

Listen to this article
turn it up to 11

Some shavers like gentle razors.  Some shavers want to “turn it up to 11” with a very aggressive razor.  Which double edge razors are the most aggressive? This is an update to this article!

What Is The Most Aggressive Double Edge Safety Razor?

[Note: Amazon and links are affiliate.]

So what are the most aggressive double edge safety razors?  Based on my own experiences and a wide range of reviews and manufacturing data, consider (currently in stock, in alphabetical order):

  • Above The Tie With SSRH2 Head
  • Fatip Grande
  • Karve With Plate G
  • Merkur 39C
  • Muhle r41
  • RazoRock Lupo 95 (+OC)
  • Rockwell 6S With Plate 6

Above The Tie With H2 Head

The Above The Tie (ATT) “Heavy” (SSRH2) head has a 0.80mm blade gap, which is considerable.  Some reviews mention that the audio feedback to the shaver is very good.  Paired with an ATT handle many reviewers say the balance of the razor as a unit is excellent. 

Fatip Grande

Perhaps less well-known than others on this list, the Fatip Grande from Italy is less expensive but still good quality for the money.  It is a (relatively) light-weight but still well-balanced open comb razor.

Karve Christopher Bradley (“G” Plate)

The Karve Christopher Bradley line of razors (available in stainless steel, aluminum, and brass) is available with a number of base plates with different aggression levels. The “G” plate is extremely aggressive with a blade gap of 1.36mm and a blade exposure of +0.25mm.

The “fit and finish” and ergonomics of this razor excellent.  The handle’s slightly-larger-than-usual diameter combined with it’s weight, balance, and mild texturing make it easy to hold in my hand. 

Merkur 39C Slant Bar

merkur 39c barberpole slant

The Merkur 39C is a slant-bar razor–a double-edged (DE) safety razor whose blade is mounted to strike the stubble at a an angle instead of a straight-on cut (kind of like the slanted blade of the guillotine and of many kitchen mandolines). The 39C is a longer, heavier version of the Merkur 37C.

Slant bar razors as a group are generally considered to be aggressive razors (though the Parker Semi-Slant bucks that trend).

Muhle R41

The “poster child” for aggressive razors: when shave-nerds discuss aggressive razors, the R41 always comes up.  The razor has gone through several revisions over the years (pre-2011, 2011-2013, 2013+) but they all have a reputation.  The latest version seems to be a bit more comfortable for many shavers but it is still a razor to be treated with respect (if not fear). 

RazoRock Lupo 95 (+ Open Comb)

RazoRock’s Lupo razor is available in a number of versions. The “Lupo 95” with an open comb is considered to be very aggressive.

Rockwell 6S (Plate 6)

Sharpologist readers are well-acquainted with the Rockwell 6S razor, pioneering the concept of multiple base plate availability for different levels of aggressiveness. Plate 6 is considered very aggressive.

The Rockwell 6C is a lower-cost version but still available with multiple base plates.

What About Adjustable Razors?

While these razors are known as “aggressive,” what if it is not quite what you want?   My answer is…try an adjustable razor!  Although they are not as commonly available as the set-gap razors mentioned above, they are certainly not rare and not overly expensive either.  With an adjustable razor you can set the blade gap to your liking, whether it’s an “11” or something a bit less. 

Fully adjustable razors like the Parker Variant and the Merkur Progress are designed such that they can be adjusted well beyond their printed maximum setting.

Other fully adjustable razors offer different designs and specifications, with some of them having an adjustment range “biased” to a more aggressive level. Some of those include:

What Makes For An Aggressive Razor?

There are a number of engineering variables that go into making a razor “aggressive” or “gentle.”  Some avoid those terms, preferring terminology like “comfortable and efficient.”

But, razor design-wise, I think there are some engineering specifications that lend themselves to determining whether a razor is aggressive in relative terms.  Consider:

  • Blade Gap: the distance between the blade and base plate of the razor
  • Blade Exposure: the blade sticking out and touching the skin from the top cap of the razor (some consider this another way of specifying razor angle)
  • Weight
  • Balance

Most shavers consider the blade gap specification as the determining factor of razor “aggressiveness” but I don’t think that is a reliable indicator: there’s both science and art (some might say “dark art”) to determine the feel of a razor.

The razor blade is a wildcard here too, as different blades have their own specifications (grind, bevel, coating, etc.) that affect how the razor performs.  For example, most shavers would consider using a Feather double edge blade as a factor in making a razor–any razor–more aggressive!

What do you think is the most “aggressive” razor?  Leave a comment below!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

7 thoughts on “What Is The Most Aggressive DE Razor (Updated)?”

  1. Where does the Timeless Safety Razor (.95 blade gap) fit in the above analysis of aggressive safety razors?

  2. Try a RazoRock Hawk V2 with Captain Kai Blades I’m having to let my face go so it can heal I think I need to include a pre-shave as well as a different blade

  3. I can get a blood free shave out of the R41 but I have to conclude that it’s not worth the effort. Generally even while exercising great care, I finish feeling burned even if I don’t appear red. The Fatip provides a much more comfortable shave (if you can get one with a quids worth of quality control). I believe the R41 supports it’s exposed blade poorly – which vibrates (hence the audible feedback) and scrapes rather than cuts.

  4. I have an Ikon Tech and boy is it aggressive. It gets very limited use because it clogs on long hair (let’s say a month of beard growth) so I only really use it if I’ve skipped shaving for several days in a row. With the Ikon Tech, I only shave with the grain.

  5. Mark, although not a traditional DE razor – that lightweight Russian ‘double bladed/DE’ you recently reviewed. Like an R41 in efficiency but way smoother and much easier on the skin. (In your review, you didn’t mention the Caúbep – travel version. Has an added small piece that threads on the cap threads after assembly, you then screw the 2 piece handle on after that. Both are safety bar instead of open comb/safety bar of their other model). After your review, I shaved with the one you reviewed. Had a box of Shark 1/2 blades for shavettes used 2 plus a Shark Stainless. What a shave! Your suggested technique is the answer. Thank you for activating a decommissioned razor.

  6. Excellent Article! I’d also recommend adding the Fatip Piccolo DE Safety Razor. Yes, the Piccolo has the same head as the Grande, but has a solid handle vs. the hollow handle on the Grande. I like the weight and balance of the Piccolo which, IMHO, adds to the aggressiveness. Again, great article, keep them coming!

  7. Good article! Regarding razor aggressiveness, I find that it all depends on the experience you are seeking. If you enjoy the feeling of having mastered the technique needed to tame an aggressive razor go for it. The downside is that a moment of inattention will result in a nick, or a weeper, and some irritation.
    My experience leads me to conclude that a gentle razor will shave as close as an aggressive one providing (1) you have good technique, (2) you select a blade that is suitable to your skin and beard, and (3) the blade is in proper contact with your skin. Finally, the geometry of the razor — mild or aggressive — must work for you. Razor design is indeed a black art. If it weren’t any razor would work for all of us. Although I favor very mild shavers I cannot get a decent shave from the very popular Muhle R89 regardless of the blade.
    I have a tough dense beard and have settled on two very mild razors for my ideal shave — a Feather AS-D2 with a Feather blade, and an Above-the-Tie M1 with an Astra or Gillette Platinum blade. For me a mild razor means close, efficient, no cuts, and no irritation.

Comments are closed.