You deserve to have a shaving razor that not only shaves clean but one that is easy to use, safe and does not result in the ugly bumps on your skin. Merkur 34c is one of the popular razors out there that has some of these characteristics. Here is a quick Merkur 34c review.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Shaving Razor
Your Shaving Skill Level
If you have a skill in shaving, you can go for high-quality safety razors and straight ones. Although they are good choices, these types of razors are likely to cause cuts and bumps if not used well. When getting started, go for easy to use razors and buy advanced ones as you improve your skill. Luckily, you will find various medium-priced safety razors that are good for beginners.
Double or Single Edge?
If you have thick facial hair, consider going for a double-edged razor. It helps achieve a good shave without requiring repeat runs. You can also go for double edge razors if you need a smooth shave. However, most men will do with a single edge and achieve a clean shave. Always start with a single razor and change if necessary.
The razor should feel comfortable when using it. When the razor is not easy to grip, you are likely to have a rough shave. If you tend to have oily, wet hands, pick a razor whose handle has deep ridges for good grip.
In the same breath, if you have a big hand, go for razors with long, heavy handles. When using a razor that is too small for your hands, there is a chance that you may apply too much pressure and cut your skin or cause skin irritation.
Some people have problems shaving with really stiff razors. If you are one of such, go for flexible edges. They allow for a much closer shave without the ugly bumps. The handle also plays a part in the flexibility of your razor. Therefore, pick an ergonomically-designed handle so that you are able to shave with ease.
Presenting the Product
Merkur 34c safety razor looks like the silver-plated J. A Henckels Zwillingswerk. However, the latter is straight and not a safety razor. Merkur has a wide range of razors, including double edge safety razors, slant bar razors. The 34c model is the first of four premium models that include the gold plated 34G, brass handle 38C and the straight bar 43C.
- Excellent build quality and craftsmanship
- A smooth chrome finish that will not scratch your face
- The handle is well-built and will not slip off your hand even if it is wet
- It is not too heavy and may work with people with small to medium hands
- The razor is not very aggressive
- If you have a sensitive beard, go for a more aggressive razor
- Parts that are not easily visible are not smooth (this does not affect its performance)
Features & Benefits
Weight and Balance
The Merkur 34c weighs about 2.4 ounces, which about the standard weight for many safety razors. It is a two-piece safety razor that comes with a mechanical knob for separating the two pieces. Due to the knob, the razor is slightly heavier than many single and three-piece razors. The weight is distributed across a rather short handle, thereby making it feel dense and heavy. The even distribution of weight ensures that you do not slant the blade unintentionally due to the heavy top as it can lead to bumpy shaves. If you do not have huge arms, you should use the razor without discomfort as it does not feel too light on your hands.
This is the area that Merkur has beaten competing brands. Much of the handle has a gritty metal texture. There are vertical grooves that extend up to the very bottom of the blade to allow you to hold the razor at any point of its entire length. You can comfortably shave your beard even if your hands are wet with soap or shaving cream. While the grip takes away some style points in the model, I believe the added grip is worth the effort. I have used really slippery brands in the past and ended up with a cut, bump or dropped the razor in the course of shaving.
Length of the Handle
I believe that length is one of the most significant shortfalls of this model. Merkur 34c is one of the shortest razors for starters as it is only 3.3 inches. People like me who have large hands would feel uneasy when using the razor. However, if you have a small or medium hand, you may as well try the blade. Well, I have been able to manage, largely because of the grip as the short handle does not slip off my fingers. However, were the hands two inches longer, it would be a perfect blade for all hand sizes.
If you would like to have a razor with a long handle, you may go for Merkur 23C or 38C. The former is made of stainless steel and, therefore, cheaper than the 34C.
Merkur is by far a mild aggressive razor. On a scale of one to ten, this razor gets a four. Aggressiveness is calculated with how close the blade is to the safety bar. Highly aggressive razors have a long gap between the two. Mild aggressive razors like the Merkur 34c are excellent for men who are prone to razor burns. This is because they limit the pressure that you apply on the double edge blade. It is excellent if you are starting out as you are less likely to cut your face.
While that is an advantage, you may have a problem if you have thick hair as it tends to clog the blade. In such a case, you will need to keep cleaning the gap after a few strokes so that the blade can work effectively. If you are looking for aggressive blades, you may go for their Merkur slant bar. The Slant Bar model also comes with an open comb that creates large grooves on the safety bar that reduce that force you place on the safety bar. This results in a lot of contact with your skin.
It is quite easy to replace the Merkur 34c blade. Given that it is a two-piece razor, all you are required to do is unscrew the knob that is located at the bottom of the razor’s handle. You move the knob on a clockwise motion and the top opens up. Then, just pick the used blade by lifting it and replacing with the new blade in the same action. Once done, turn the knob in an anticlockwise motion to close the top.
Despite saying that the grip takes away some style points, the razor remains stylish, which is something that you can use at any location. It has a chrome-plated body and a smooth top. Merkur has crafted the razor meticulously to appeal to chrome lovers like myself without necessarily charging a fortune. However, if style is your biggest worry, you may check their gold-coated 34G, but be prepared to pay more for the razor.
Its two-piece design makes it durable. When compared to butterfly open razors, there is little likelihood that it would break or fail to work. One of the biggest problems with butterfly-open razors is breaking at the hinges or hinges that stop opening.
The razor supports double-edged blades. Two blades help create a smoother shave without having to do several razor runs on your face. This, in turn, lowers the instances of razor burns or bumps as you do not keep irritating the skin. The razor is compatible with the most popular double-edged blades in the market. Therefore, you should not have any problems replacing the blade.
Several of the starter razors are made with cheap materials. Most feature plastic parts that break under any pressure. With the 34c, Merkur has built a sturdy razor that will last long. The chrome build ensures that it is not damaged by water and takes a significant amount of mishandling. Given that most of the men shave while having a shower, a quality build is not debatable.
Merkur 34c is priced expensively compared to other entry-level blades with a similar build. Therefore, if you are a value hunter, this may not be the blade for you. On the other hand, if you are buying a razor based on quality and its build, the higher price tag is worth the value that you get.
There are other comparable brands out there that you can try instead of Merkur 34c. Here are the three best alternatives.
Wilkinson Sword Classic
Wilkinson Sword Classic is a double edge safety razor that has an elegant design. It comes with double edge technology for a closer shave. There is also PTE coating on each blade, which helps reduce friction and create a smooth shave. The coating also enhances the longevity of the blade and reduces skin irritation from razor burns. The package comes with 5 double edge blades. This razor has vertical grooves like those of the 34c, which enhances grip when shaving in wet conditions. Also, the razor uses a butterfly opening mechanism.
Differences with Merkur 34C :
• Comes with 5 blades
• PTE coating enhances the blades lifetime
• Butterfly opening mechanism
MÜHLE Chrome Safety Razor
MÜHLE Chrome Safety Razor is known for its ergonomic design, which allows for closer shaves by adjusting the angle of contact. This makes it good for thick beard hair. Besides, the entire body of the razor is chrome-plated to create a durable and elegant razor. It also has a closed comb, which reduces the pressure placed on the bar while shaving, which increases its aggressiveness. The length of the handle is 9.5cm and comes with intertwined groves to enhance its grip. A combination of long handle and aggressiveness makes it suitable for those with large hands.
Differences with Merkur 34C :
• Longer handle
• Closed comb
• Better grip
If you are looking for a durable, safety razor, Merkur 34C is your best choice. Its chrome-plated body ensures that you use it for a long time. I also love the top detaching mechanism as it has a low chance of getting stuck or damaged. Besides, the double blade offers a smooth finish without several reruns.