Open Up! The Best Butterfly Safety Razor: Winners, Losers, Also-Rans
Butterfly razors, aka twist-to-open razors, aka TTO razors, aka “Let’s do the twist” razors, are a unique entry into the world of safeties. They’re a little bit more mechanical than most other models—and perhaps a little more engineered in their design—but they make it just a tad easier to change up your razor when you’re ready for your next blade. More than anything else, they’re fun little tools, and they’re an excellent addition to a growing safety razor collection.
But, as we usually do on this site, we must ask: what’s the best butterfly safety razor?
If you’d like to join the ranks of those who shave with a butterfly razor, here are some of our favorites. We’ve included butterflies for every experience level and beard type, so hopefully you won’t have trouble finding one that’ll suit you. Then, as we usually do, we’ve included some usage and maintenance tips so you can get the most out of your brand-new item.
Let’s dive in:
Summaries: The Best Butterfly Safety Razor
We examined a lot of butterfly razors, and we determined these to be the best of the best of the bunch. Here’s a quick rundown:
Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Razor: This is the most beginner-friendly butterfly razor on our list. It’s mild and gentle, but with a nice bit of heft, so it’s great to learn with. It’s also an excellent option for those with sensitive skin.
VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Double Edge Safety Razor: This is a slightly more aggressive razor that gives a very close shave. It’s an excellent choice for anyone with a bit more wet shaving experience or a coarser beard.
Parker 99R Long Handle Heavyweight Butterfly Razor: This incredible butterfly razor is impressively made, but it’s also aggressive and heavy. We recommend it for those with experience who want a heftier tool that’ll put more power behind their shave.
Feather Popular Double Edge Safety Razor: Despite being so light and gentle, this entry-level butterfly razor is exceptionally well-made. Don’t let the plastic fool you—this razor gives a great shave, and is a great spare or vacation razor.
Weishi Nostalgic Handle Butterfly Razor: This is another great entry-level razor with a low-medium level of aggression. It has a shorter handle and deeper knurling, which offers a comfortable grip.
Alright! Now let’s dive a little deeper, and tell you…
Everything We Like and Don’t Like About These Butterflies
Here’s where we go into detail:
Pick #1: Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Razor
This ultra-mild safety razor is probably the best beginner butterfly safety razor, and if you’re new to using safeties, the Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Razor can be a great pick. It can be incredibly gentle on the skin, making it a nice razor for those with sensitive skin or anyone who’s a little nervous about accidentally cutting themselves. If you’re after a smooth, gentle shave, we think you’ll be happy with it.
Despite being gentle, this is not a light or flimsy razor—it’s actually quite hefty with a long handle that’s great for guys with big hands. We find that it puts just the right amount of force behind every stroke for a classically great shave.
It comes with 5 Wilkinson Sword blades, which are very smooth but not too sharp (in our most humble opinion, anyway). This results in a comfortable shave, but as your skill progresses, you’ll probably want to level up to something sharper. Even with a Feather blade, though, this won’t give the smoothest shave—that said, many wet shavers don’t mind a hint of a shadow when it comes with an even, gentle shave.
The twist-to-open mechanism is quite reliable for the most part—just be careful not to accidentally twist the bottom while trying to maneuver around hard-to-reach areas.
Pick #2: VIKINGS BLADE The Chieftain Double Edge Safety Razor
This is a fantastic “medium-aggressive” blade in stunning packaging. Viking Blade is a brand that puts a lot of thought into its sets, and this a solidly-made, heavy-duty butterfly razor that comes in a gorgeous storage box fitted with a mirror (a nice touch), as well as 5 mild razor blades.
The VIKINGS BLADE Chieftain—great name!—is a little heavier than the average butterfly safety razor, weighing just over 3 ounces. This, paired with the slightly wider gap between the blade and the base plate, make for a razor that cuts easily even through coarse hair and gives a very close shave.
If you’re new to shaving with a double-edged razor, we recommend starting with something milder like Wilkinson or Feather. If you’re looking to level up your shaving game, however, then the Chieftain can be a wonderful upgrade.
It’s worth quickly addressing that this razor has undergone some manufacturing and design changes in the last few years (following some controversy). Older reviews reflect the change in quality over the years, but nowadays, we consider this the best butterfly safety razor for anyone who wants a close shave with a hefty, slightly more aggressive razor.
Pick #3: Parker 99R Long Handle Heavyweight Butterfly
For those with a coarse beard but light grip, we don’t think there’s a better butterfly razor than the Parker 99R Long Handle Butterfly. We absolutely love this model (and it’s the pic we’ve got below). This is a heavyweight design that can be a pleasure to use when your beard tends to resist a blade.
It’s also the most aggressive razor on our list, only in part because of its weight. It has an open comb design that collects hair and leaves more of the blade exposed, and while that’s not for everybody, a lot of men absolutely adore that feature. If you’re the guy who hated shaving with disposables, and then when you found safety razors, you couldn’t believe how much you loved shaving, this can be a great pick.
There’s also a big gap between the blade and the base plate, which is another factor that contributes to this razor’s aggression. The handle on this razor is about medium—neither too long nor too short, for our tastes.
This razor comes from Parker, which is a reputable, consistent brand with a reputation for excellent durability. We do find that to be the case with this razor as all of the parts feel well-constructed and the twist-to-open mechanism is quite clean.
While we like this razor A LOT, we definitely don’t recommend it to everyone. It’s not really suitable for beginners (and it might even be overkill for a lot of experienced wet shavers!). However, for those with some experience, we think this can be a phenomenal option, and we recommend it fully.
Pick #4: Feather Popular Double Edge Safety Razor
From Feather, the Popular Double Edge Safety Razor is a lightweight and accessible safety razor we’re happy to recommend to beginners or anyone who needs a spare, lightweight razor. Most Feather razors are quite high-end, but it’s nice to see the brand shift its attention towards making some more accessible offerings.
Unlike the other razors on this list, the Feather Popular has a black handle made of plastic. It’s not as fancy-looking as an all-metal razor, but the design is still thoughtful and we think it has a ruggedly handsome appearance.
More importantly, the plastic is the reason why this razor is fairly light. You won’t have as much power behind your shave, but it’ll give you more control, which can be nice if you’re the kind of person who tends to apply more pressure when he shaves.
The razor also has a fairly long handle, which is great for men with large hands. It can also be convenient if you don’t only shave your face but other body parts as well.
It’s not as durable as an all-metal razor, and with twist-to-open mechanisms, that can be an issue. It’s not necessarily flimsy or easy to break, but you will need to be a little more careful about dropping it.
Finally, we love that this razor comes with a pack of Feather Hi Stainless blades. These blades are well-known for their sharpness, so you may also want to pick up some milder blades—we like Astra Superior—if this is your first safety razor. Once you gain just a bit of experience, the Feather razor and blade combination ends up being well-balanced.
Pick #5: Weishi Nostalgic Handle Butterfly Razor
Weishi is an extremely popular entry-level razor blade manufacturer. They’re known for their butterfly razors, in particular, as well as for having offerings in a wide range of shades. We decided to go with the classic, however.
The Weishi Nostalgic Handle Butterfly Razor is a nice, medium-mild option. It’s about comparable to Feather, but it’s a touch heavier thanks to an all-metal body, and it has a shorter handle. This can make it a more comfortable choice for shaving smaller areas like the neck.
We’d recommend it especially for beginners with a coarser beard, who don’t want to use anything too mild but also don’t need something as aggressive as the Parker 99R.
One standout detail is the handle of this razor, which has some deep knurling (i.e., the three-dimensional pattern on the razor’s handle). This allows for a really easy grip, even when your hands are covered in soapy lather.
The main issue with Weishi razors is that there have been some inconsistencies with quality control. We haven’t had that problem, but we have heard a few problems in that regard. That’s true for a lot of things these days, though.
This brand also has an adjustable butterfly razor (WEISHI Butterfly Double Edge Nostalgic Adjustable), should you want to control the level of aggression.
Alright! There you have it—our favorite butterfly razors. TTO razors are a lot of fun to use, they’re a nice blend of grace and engineering, and they’re a fantastic new toy if you’re got a bunch of safeties you already love. We hope something here has helped you!
Before we wrap things up, let’s jump into the “tips and tricks” part of the post, where we give some guidance on how to choose a twist-to-open razor, how to use it, and how to keep it in mint condition:
How to Choose the Right Butterfly Safety Razor
There are a few things to consider when deciding on the best butterfly razor for your face:
Mechanism and construction. The quality of construction should always be a top priority, which is why we focused on selecting durable, well-made, and easy-to-operate butterfly safety razors. Butterflies, in general, tend to be a little more delicate, so buying one from a disreputable brand with poor quality or build will always cost more in the long run.
Your experience level. When you’re new to wet shaving, it’s important to pick a gentle razor that won’t teach you any bad habits. Look for butterfly razors described as being mild or not too aggressive and with a bit (but not too much) heft.
Once you gain more experience, you get a license to break the rules. You may want to buy a more aggressive razor (although you can also get great results by putting sharper blades in your mild razor). Additionally, you’ll want to start to consider extenuating personal needs, like if you need something lighter for trips or something more aggressive for a closer shave.
Your beard type. While we generally recommend erring on the side of mild, you may want to pick up a slightly more aggressive razor if you happen to have a very coarse beard. Those with a soft beard can get away with a mild razor.
Your skin type. If your skin is sensitive or easily irritated, that will be a good reason to avoid aggressive razors and to find happiness in a not-so-close shave. If your skin is thick and hearty, you don’t need to worry as much.
Tips for Using a Butterfly Razor
Butterfly safety razors, for the most part, aren’t too different from other types of double-edge razors. Even so, aside from our general advice about wet shaving, we do have a few specialized tips worth keeping in mind should you pick one up.
Be Careful. It’s easier to change the blade in a butterfly razor than a three-piece razor, but sometimes, that can make wet shavers overconfident. However, the risk of accidentally fumbling and running your finger over the blade’s edge is still there, please be careful when changing your blades. Hold the blades along the short, non-blade sides, and take your time.
Watch The Bottom. While you shave, watch your grip and avoid grasping the handle too close to the bottom. There’s a risk that you’ll accidentally trigger the knob to open the head, which can jostle the blade and lead to cuts.
Keep Your Pressure Low. Butterfly safety razors are often a little heavier than regular ones (with the exception of our pick from Feather). Remember to shave with minimal pressure—instead, let the weight of the blade guide you. You’ll still have an excellent shave, and your skin will thank you.
Hot Rinse. Once you finish shaving, make sure to rinse your razor head under very hot water. Butterfly razors tend to get more clogged up than other designs, and while you don’t have to open yours to clean it every time, just rinsing it under very hot water should do a decent job of melting down soap residue.
Keep a Brush Around. And no, we’re not talking about shaving brushes this time. An old toothbrush or a small plastic cleaning brush is the best tool for deep cleaning your butterfly razor. When you do give it a deeper clean (hopefully at least once or twice a month), focus on the bottom of the head, where debris tends to get stuck.
Do Not Drop. Double-edge razors are normally pretty durable, but butterfly razors are a little less so. The complex twist-to-open mechanism is quite delicate, so be careful and try to avoid dropping your butterfly razor, or it’ll fall apart more quickly than its two- or three-piece counterparts.
Shaving on the Fly
Butterfly safety razors have a pleasant, mechanical twist that makes them a lovely part of any safety razor collection. Whether you’re new to wet shaving or you’ve been at it a while, we hope you’ll find the right butterfly safety razor for your beard type and experience level. No matter what you choose, have fun shaving!