Battle of the Budget Razors – Gold Dollar v. Dovo v. Fromm

Having extensive experience sharpening all of these razors, I’ve decided to give the consumer a very thorough breakdown of how each razor rates against the other. The Dovo Best is the gold standard of budget straight razors. Excluding vintage razors, it represents the pinnacle of low cost, great quality straight razor. This post will compare the Dovo Best to the top 3 razors from Gold Dollar and the Fromm straight razor. Click here for a more extensive review of the Fromm straight razor.

The rating system is based on a rating of 1-5. 1 being awful, 2 being bad, 3 is acceptable, 4 is good, 5 is excellent.

Dovo Best Fromm GD208 GD300 GD200/800
Steel Quality 5 4 5 5 5
Master Grind 5 3 4 5 5
Scales 3 2 3 2 2
Fit & Finish 4 3 2 3 3

The steel quality used in the Dovo is very good. Not terribly much room for improvement. So too the steel used by Gold Dollar. Including the stainless steel used in the 200/800 model. Not so with Fromm. The steel they use is carbon steel and can take an edge. It just doesn’t take a very good one, nor does it hold it for long. The shave from a Fromm is “adequate” in my view.

The master grind is the most important grind. It determines the evenness of the faces of the razor. It must be perfect to ensure ease of honing and can cause severe problems if it is off. Gold Dollar does not suffer in this department. Fromm however, does not do a very good job. Every single Fromm straight razor I have sharpened has had uneven spine wear and bevels. However, it is not so bad as to be, well, bad.

The scales on each of these razors is made from plastic. Fromm & Gold Dollar use ABS plastic, and I’m fairly certain Dovo does too. There really isn’t much difference. Dovo’s scales are pretty thick, but the new 208 scales are more than adequate. The scales on Fromm, the 300, & the 200 are kind of thin. The 300 has purple scales which is a minus.

The fit & finish of these razors is where a lot of the difference lies. The Dovo represents the gold standard, but has some room for improvement. The Fromm does very well in presenting a polished looking razor from the factory. However, not as good a job as Dovo. Specifically, the Fromm does not present a very polished and uniform tip across a batch. Other than that, it’s actually not bad, and could be classified as good.

The GD208 represents a budget razor and the fit & finish is nothing to write home about. The blade is stamped from a machine and little to no effort is made to hide this fact. The tip is ground to a round-ish point. Very little attention is paid to this area. The spine is left alone, the tang is left alone, only the master grind is milled. That and the jimps. The GD300 & GD200/800 represent a huge step up from the GD208. The tang is milled flat on both sides, the tail tapers to a nice end, and the spine is actually milled as well. Finally, the tips are even and uniform across batches. Check out these five 800’s I pulled from my stock. Therefore, I give the high end GD’s a solid 4. They are very nice. Dressed up in nice scales, they could make a very decent heirloom piece. The only part that could use some work is the jimps. They are done by machine and could be done better.

One thought on “Battle of the Budget Razors – Gold Dollar v. Dovo v. Fromm

  1. Ken Kowalsky

    I’m so tired of reading how horrible the Gold Dollar razors are in some of the straight razor forums. I have shaved with many different straight razors including Gold Dollars. They are excellent shavers and are a logical choice for a beginner in straight razor shaving. I’m not sure why some people feel they need to elevate themselves above these razors. Maybe to just justify the larger amount of money they spent on their razor. The Dovo best and Gold Dollar are far apart in price, but are very close in shave quality.


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