by Garrick Dee
Updated March 12th, 2019
One of the tools that old school shavers use is a shaving bowl.
At first glance, it looks like a coffee mug to mix lather in from a shaving soap.
Back in the day before shaving creams were invented, a shaving bowl is a must-have.
To give you context, shaving soaps in the time of our great, great grandfathers came in a box just like bar soap.
There were no fancy bowls or pucks that you see most shaving soaps and shaving creams have.
So with all the fancy packaging, is this tool really essential for wet shaving?
It really depends on your preference.
We will be having a close tool at the best shaving bowls, scuttles and mugs available, why you need one or not, how to choose one and much more.
Are you ready?
Comparison of the best shaving bowls
Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Bowl
Schöne Stainless Steel Shaving Bowl with Lid
Crown King Porcelain Shave Scuttle
Miusco Shaving Bowl Set with Brush and Razor Stand
RoyalShave Ceramic Shaving Bowl
Fine Lather Shave Ceramic Bowl with StaticHole Technology
x 4" x 2.25"
3.9" x 3.9" x 5.1"
3.5" x 2"
7.1" x 5.1" x 2.1"
Before I start explaining why you should use a shaving bowl, let me show you why you need to wet shave.
However, if you’re already familiar with it, you can skip this part.
If you really want a close shave minus the irritation, then wet shaving is the way to go.
Not only will wet shaving minimize irritation, but it also helps save you a lot of money. Merely switching to from a cartridge razor to a safety razor will save you thousands of dollars in the next 5 to 10 years.
Ask men who’ve tried wet shaving and see for yourself the results.
And to do the job right, you’ll need the right tools.
This minimizes irritation five-fold. And the beauty of the safety razor or DE razor would be the option of switching blades.
Use a sharp blade if you have sensitive skin or want to mow down a 4-day beard growth. Then switch to a less aggressive blade for areas like the next.
Next, would be the shaving brush. This tool helps create lather if you’re using a traditional shaving soap or cream. But it will not be a need if you use a latherless soap.
Shave cream or soap
Both of these products provide lubrication and protect skin from direct blade contact.
What I like about shave soaps and cream is the natural content. Unlike products like Barbasol, these don’t contain alcohol and propellants that can dry skin.
It contains natural lubrication and other ingredients that will benefit the skin.
It also protects the skin post-shave from potential infection by leaving a protective barrier.
In the past, nearly all men own shaving bowls, scuttles, and mugs. Before latherless creams or aerosol gels were around, men only had one option – the shaving soap.
And it didn’t come in a hard plastic container. Instead, it came in a box. You’ll need something to soak the soap in. Hence it was a necessity.
Fast forward today, with the advent of latherless creams, shaving creams and shaving gels, a shaving bowl isn’t a need anymore.
It will all boil down to personal preference. If you prefer using a latherless cream because of time constraints, this will be useless.
But if you prefer to use shaving soap and would want something other than your hands to lather, then this is a great tool to have.
There are three different options to choose from – a scuttle, bowl, and mug.
You only need one of the three to be perfectly honest. All three have the same purpose which is to build up a lather. The difference would be material and shape.
Men who use shaving soaps will benefit most from a shaving bowl because it’s deep and wide. You can use it to soak shaving soaps with.
A scuttle and bowl will be most beneficial to men who use shaving cream.
Bowls and mugs have better heat retention and will create a warm lather – if that’s your preference.
Scuttles, in terms of design, is similar to a mug but it comes with a separate spout to hold the shaving brush. You can also use that spout to dip the brush into, just in case you need more water.
Have I convinced you to get one? I hope I did.
If so here are some guidelines in buying a bowl, scuttle or mug.
You may ask, Garrick what works best for wet shaving?
I’m sorry to say that the answer to that question will depend on your preference which we’ll be looking at below.
If your preference is using shaving soap, then I’m afraid that a scuttle or mugs as these don’t have enough depth and width to accommodate such. But there are always exceptions.
Warm vs. cold lather
Do you want a warm lather on your face throughout shave cycle or are you okay with a little bit of warmth that dissipates as you go along?
If it’s the former, then you’ll have to go with a scuttle. For the latter, a shaving bowl will do just fine.
A mug is a hybrid of both scuttle and bowl and will fall right smack in the middle.
It has better heat retention than a bowl, but it won’t hold it as long as a scuttle. Though, it’s deep and wide enough to soak shaving soaps in.
Size of bowl
Again, this is a preference play. Some men would prefer something larger with enough room to swirl the brush without touching the sides. If that’s your preference, then a shaving bowl or scuttle would be the ideal option.
A mug is generally smaller in terms of width and would be ideal for face lathering.
Manufacturers use various types of materials in the production process.
The most durable and least fragile would be stainless steel.
Stainless steel shaving bowls will not crack or break if you drop it.
If you feed that you’re clumsy and don’t mind the lack of heat retention, then stainless would be the way to go.
Other materials manufacturers use are porcelain, wood, and ceramic. Porcelain provides the best heat retention at the cost but is the most fragile. You’ll have to be careful handling porcelain mugs as these will crack easily if you’re not careful.
Ceramic comes next in terms of heat retention and won’t be as fragile. Wood will retain heat better than steel, but it may not last as long in a highly humid environment inside a bathroom.
Price will vary between $2 to $30++ at least in Amazon. Retail stores will be probably more expensive. The cheapest shave bowls are typically made from low-grade stainless steel. While the most expensive ones are porcelain.
You can buy a good quality shaving bowl in the middle of the range – between $11 and $25.
These products will have the same purpose, the difference lies in the design, material, and price.
Edwin Jagger has a reputation for manufacturing high-quality wet shaving products. And their shaving bowl is no different. This product is made from porcelain so it will have excellent heat retention.
The handle is a nice touch that makes it easy to move this around. But if you have large hands, this handle may be too small.
Reviews say that smaller 2.3-ounce soaps will fit perfectly inside this mug. But larger ones won’t fit in.
The biggest downside would be the price. At close to $20, this bowl is on the high end of the price range. But if you’re willing to spend for something with quality, this will be worth it.
If you want something that’ll last for a really long time, then look no further than the Schöne Stainless Steel Shaving Bowl. The design is as basic as it gets. This bowl is excellent for soaking shave soaps and creating lather.
The cover really isn’t a need unless you want to store your soap in it.
Built quality is excellent with Schöne having the reputation of using only high-grade stainless steel.
This bowl measures 3.5″ at the top, 4″ at the bottom and 2.25″ deep so soaps of all sizes will fit in here.
Unfortunately, steel does not have good heat retention, so this bowl will not create a warm lather.
Price wise, this is right smack in the middle, so it’s not too expensive.
If it’s warm lather, you want then look no further than the Crown King Porcelain scuttle. This product is unique when you compare it to the other products on this list because it has storage for hot water.
Remove the rubber stopper and fill it with hot water that’ll keep the lather warm.
On the scuttle itself, there are deep vertical and horizontal grooves that Crown King says will result in a thicker lather. He calls it “vertical digs.” The more resistance, the better he says.
Porcelain has better heat retention than stainless. And with hot water keep it warm, expect warm lather from this.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use this product to soak shaving soaps with. The opening measures 4” wide and is 2.25” deep. But it tapers as it goes down, so this scuttle is meant for creating lather only.
At around $22, this bowl isn’t cheap, but it’ll last a long time as long as you take good care of it.
In terms of looks, this shaving bowl is similar to Schöne in that it’s stainless steel. But this product does not come with a cover.
Instead, it’s a set that includes a shaving bowl and brush/razor stand where you can store your safety razor and shaving brush.
This product is more of a convenience play for men looking for something to store their tools in.
The shave bowl itself has a pretty basic design and great for soaking shave soaps in and creating lather.
Since it is stainless steel, don’t expect a lot of heat retention.
For the price, you’ll get a lot for your dollar. This would be an excellent option for beginners because you have the opportunity to get it with a shaving brush and save some $$$.
Men looking to save a few $$$ can opt for the RoyalShave Ceramic.
This shaving bowl is compact with only a 3.5” opening and 2” deep. The small size will fit snugly on the palm of your hand.
At the bottom of the bowl is a textured finish that will aid in creating rich lather faster.
This will work best for small shaving soaps or shaving creams.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time creating a rich lather, this shaving bowl will help. The ridges at the bottom will cut lathering time.
Wrapping up this list is the Fine Lather Shave Bowl with StaticHole technology. I’m not sure what StaticHole is, but from the reviews, this bowl is a great tool to create a rich lather.
If you look inside the bowl, there are vertical ridges that provide friction for faster lathering.
This bowl is great to use with shaving brushes loaded with shave cream or soap. The narrow bottom does mean you won’t be able to soak shaving soaps with it.
My only gripe aside from the price would be how fragile this is. If you have granite countertops, be careful not to bang this, or it’ll crack.
Choosing between a shaving bowl, scuttle and mug will all boil down to personal preference.
If you want something that’ll produce a warm lather, then go with Crown King Porcelain bowl.
You can store hot water in it so it’ll produce the warmest lather any of the products on the list.
For those who want something durable without worrying about the fragility then any of the stainless steel bowls would do.
Men who want to shave time with creating lather should pick any of the textured bowls or scuttles. This adds friction which in turn will create lather faster.
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