Recently, we’ve been asked more and more by customers about butterfly razors – what they are and how they’re different from other razors. To understand butterfly razors you have to understand the way a razor is constructed.
Safety razors come as one, two, or three pieces. The following breaks down the pros and cons of all three types of safety razors to help you find your match.
Butterfly razors, also known as Twist to Open razors (TTO), are one-piece razors with a twist mechanism that opens the top (which consists of two hinged plates) for changing the blades. This twist-to-open mechanism allows blades to be changed quickly and easily, which is a huge draw for many wet shavers. They’re also cheaper compared to two-piece and three-piece razors.
But because there are lots of moving parts, butterfly razors are the most fragile and prone to damage. They’re also harder to keep clean, since small hinges can collect shaving soap if not properly rinsed and dried.
Popular One-Piece Razors:
- Parker 22R Butterfly Brass Safety Razor, Gunmetal Finish
- Parker 99R Barber Pole Butterfly Safety Razor
- Taylor of Old Bond Street Butterfly Safety Razor
Two-piece razors feature a plate on the cutting head that unscrews for you to change a blade. This plate usually has a long screw that fixes into the threading inside the handle (although the Merkur Futur has a snap-on head). Changing a blade requires turning the release knob until the razor unscrews, tilting the blade out, and dropping a new blade in. Wet shavers who use two-piece razors like that there’s not too much blade handling.
Similar to one-piece razors, two-piece razors can be hard to clean due to tight spaces on the cutting head.
Popular Two-Piece Razors:
- PILS Stainless Steel Double Edge Razor, 101NE
- Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor with Satin Finish
- Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor
Three-piece razors have the fewest moving parts so they are also the sturdiest. The top of the cutting head, base of the cutting head, and handle are three separate pieces. Three-piece razors are the easiest to pack for travel because everything can be disassembled and lie flat. However, they require more direct handling of the razor blade.
When changing blades, you must hold the top and bottom cutting heads while reattaching the handle, so you have to be extra careful about not accidentally touching the blade.
Tip: The scalloped side should be on the top side of the base plate, facing the cap.
Be careful not to screw the razor together with the base plate facing down, since this will result in either the razor not shaving or a whole lot of blood.
Popular Three-Piece Razors:
- Merkur 33C Classic Safety Razor
- Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle
- Feather AS-D2 Stainless Steel Safety Razor
If you want to spend less time cleaning, the three-piece construction might suit you best; however, if the idea of handling the blade is not that appealing, you might want to consider the butterfly razor or a two-piece razor.