When you’re looking for the best straight razor strop, one often overlooked aspect of the process is getting the right one. The unfortunate reality here is that without a strop, it can be very difficult to keep your razor sharp and performing at its highest level. A strop is a long strip of leather, denim fabric, canvas, balsa wood, or another soft material to help straighten and polish the blade of the straight razor. The strop performs such an essential role that no serious barber should be caught without one. Your straight razor might be sharp now, but it’s only a matter of time until that tool needs sharpening.
What makes a good strop?
A good strop is one that keeps your blade edge aligned and properly sharpened. Any type of strop will do, but there are three different types of strop that you can choose from. The most common type of strop is the hanging strop since it’s the easiest one to use.
It’s a simple leather strip that you can loop to an immobile object and then run your straight razor over. The loom and the paddle strop are just as effective, and they have a more solid design without any hanging parts. These are more if you want to go with a traditional strop and are looking to geek out.
The Top 5 Straight Razor Strops
Each strop has its own set of pros and cons. In this section, we’re going to take a look at five different strops that are ahead of the pack.
RoyalShave 3″ Red Latigo Leather Straight Razor Strop
This item is made of high-quality Latigo leather and is a straight razor sharpening strop that is marked by its slightly higher price. While you do have to dish out more for this particular strop, you will be getting what you paid for.
One of the benefits here is that you receive a twin strop with the item. One con is possible shipping mistakes. Users have reported damage to the strop in transit, so watch out for this. Overall, this strop comes well recommended based on user reviews alone.
Straight Razor Strop Leather Sharpening Strap 20″ Barber Strop
The first thing you’ll notice about this strop is its extremely low price. At about $11, this is the cheapest strop on our list. This one has all leather construction and boasts two sharpening sides, one made from leather and the other from suede. This one is 20″ by 2″ and has a hanging eyelet attached at the top of it.
The reviews for this piece are largely positive, with only one reviewer noting that the package came smelling heavily of smoke. Other than this, reviews trended toward the positive side, with many reviewers noting that despite its cheap price, this particular strop packs a heavy punch. One reviewer recommends that you swipe slowly when using this strop in order to get the best results for smoothing the edge of your straight razor.
Parker’s Handmade 3″ x 27″ Red Latigo Leather Straight Razor Strop – Made in USA – New for Spring 2016
This piece has a nice stropping area, boasting a 17″ by 3″ area to work with. This strop is made with a durable Chicago Screw hardware. It has genuine brass screws to facilitate the easy replacement of them should that be necessary.
The reverse side of the strop is made of an actual webbed polypropylene fabric that can dry your razor after shaving. The paddle handles on this piece make it very easy for you to set the amount of tension that you want. Also, all of these strops are made right here in the US.
This strop doesn’t have many reviews, but the ones it does have are largely positive. The one issue that seemed to crop up was a problem with the webbed polypropylene fabric.
Thiers-Issard Paddle Straight Razor Shaving Strop, Double Sided Suede, XL
This strop paddle is a bit on the expensive side, but it has a perfect five star rating out of the seven reviews it’s garnered so far. This piece is double sided and extra large, and it has a buff and black suede for a medium and heavy draw. It has slots for a springy and gentle action, and it fits in carry-on luggage, which is a real benefit for those who are on the go often.
One of the positive aspects noted in the reviews is the fact that one doesn’t have to hold the handle and apply tension to the strop in order to get a good stropping experience. Simply hold the handle and run the straight razor blade over the strop and you have a simple way to keep your straight razor straight and sharpened.
Professional Quality Sharpening Strop Made of Real Leather 2″ Wide And 22″ long Macs-2012
At around $16, we have another strop that you can get on a budget. This is a professional quality strop for a good quality straight razor sharpening experience. It measures 24″ by 2″ and has a comfortable handle that will make it easier to sharpen and smooth your blade. This is a traditional leather strop that has one side made of high quality leather and the other made of canvas. It also has a strong hanging and movable hook.
This one has only a few customer reviews on Amazon, but the majority of them are largely positive. Buyers brought up the fact that this strop is high quality and surprisingly effective for the price. The one negative that was brought up is that it takes time to learn, but it’s to be assumed that this would be the case for a high quality strop.
It’s really all about getting the best straight razor strop for you. There are many factors that go into which would be the right choice for you, such as the type of strop, the price, user reviews on the overall quality of the strop, and several other factors. You might be inclined to just go with the first strop you find, regardless of price or quality. But let it be known that this is the wrong approach. All strops were not created equal, and you really do get what you paid for. It’s much better in a situation like this to be safe rather than sorry.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should definitely get you well on your way toward finding the right strop for you. So get out there, do some homework of your own, and purchase a strop!