If there is one safety razor that experts recommend to both newbies and experienced wet shavers, the Merkur 34C would be their first option.
The closed comb design makes this mild but put in a sharp blade like a razor, and it’ll give you a close shave even on a 3-day growth.
And if you put in a less aggressive blade like a Dorco, this turns into a great beginner’s razor.
This makes it one of the most versatile options available.
The best part is you don’t have to spend a whole lot. This DE razor will cost just around $40. You’ll get a good quality razor that’ll last a long time.
One of the significant advantages of a safety razor like this over a cartridge would be the cost savings long term. I’m talking about decades here.
A quick look at the features of the Merkur 34C
- This is a two-piece razor (not adjustable)
- Comes with one blade
- Chrome plated finish
- Weighs around 80.5 grams or 2.83 ounces
- Handle length: 3 inches
- Aggressiveness: 5/10
- Blades included: 1
- Excellent craftsmanship and build quality
- The two-piece design makes it easier to adjust the blade so that it is even on both sides.
- Chrome finish is smooth and won’t scratch your face.
- Knurling is well made and won’t slip your hands (even when it’s covered with shaving cream)
- Not the most aggressive razor out there
- If you have a coarse beard or sensitive, you may want to try something more aggressive like the Merkur Slant.
- Parts of this razor does not have a smooth finish (non-visible parts), but it shouldn’t affect performance.
The first thing you will notice when you get this out of the box is the craftsmanship.
Chrome plating is smooth, and finish is what you’d expect from something made from Germany.
But underneath the top cap, you’ll notice that it isn’t smooth, unlike the other visible parts.
This really is a subjective call, some people may like everything smooth, but the majority don’t mind. It doesn’t affect shave quality, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Here’s a video from Nick Shaves showing the different features of the 34C…
Even with the closed comb design, you can use this to shave a multi-day beard growth. But a very sharp razor such as the Feather is a must.
Great for beginners
This is just an example of the versatility of this product. It will work for beginners who may need something mild. And it will also work for seasoned shavers who would want a good razor that will handle even thick beard growth.
Of course, you will need 2 to 3 passes if you want a close shave. But my point is this will still be able to do the job.
Go Slant if you want something aggressive.
Again, if you want something that will do the job with fewer passes, then try the Merkur Slant – just make sure to have your technique ironed out.
Geofatboy from ShaveNation.com demos the Merkur 34C (along with the Futur) on his 5-day old beard.
With this being a two-piece razor, which means the base plate and the handle are one piece, loading up a blade is a bit easier when you compare it to a three-piece razor.
To load the blade, just twist the knob at the bottom to loosen up the top plate then carefully place the blade in-between the posts.
When you tighten this, make sure that you hold both sides of the razor head to ensure even blade exposure.
In the aggressiveness spectrum, the 34C can be classified as a “mild” razor, but when you pair it with a sharp blade like the Feather, it will be able to handle any type of beard growth.
However, you’ll need two to three passes to get a BBS (or baby butt smooth) shave.
If you look closely at the 34’s handle, it has crisscrossed knurling that forms hundreds of small diamond shapes that provide equally good grip for both the right-handed and left-handed consumer.
If you look closely at the Merkur 34C handle, it has a crisscrossed knurling design that will provide a decent grip. Since it goes both directions, it’ll give excellent traction for either right or left-handed individuals.
The knob at the bottom is slightly wider than the handle, so this helps you know where the edge is without looking.
This further prevents any further slippage and allows more control.
This is a short razor at less than 4 inches – handle length is around 3 inches, not for men with large hands.
|Handle Length||3" (approx.)|
Consumers had a lot of good things to say about 34C.
A lot of them came from shaving with cartridge razors all their lives and transitioned to wet shaving.
Great even on a tough, wiry beard
Some of them have coarse beards. One of them was African-American that described compared his beard to a wire.
Another also had sensitive skin in addition to the tough beard. And still, this razor did an excellent job mowing down wiry facial hair without irritation.
All of those men said that this razor was able to cut of facial hair without leaving any razor burn or any irritation.
Though you still have to learn how to properly use a safety razor and, of course, prep your face to maximize the benefits of wet shaving.
Get a close shave with an aggressive blade.
While most people will consider this razor as mild, you can still get a close shave when you pair it with a sharp blade like the Feather, as Nick will demonstrate…
If you’re curious what aftershave he used, it is the Thayer’s Cucumber Witch Hazel (remember it’s the alcohol-free version). After applying aftershave, he used the Palm Mall Barbers Sandalwood & Clove.
I’m just sharing all of this with you to give you an idea of what these experts use, and you can try them and see if it works for your skin.
Say goodbye to razor burn.
The most significant benefit aside from having a razor-burn-free close shave is the savings they get. Since they’re not buying expensive refills, consumers say that they save hundreds of dollars.
To give you an idea of how long short the handle, take a look at a side by side photo between the 34C and Gillette.
The Gillette’s handle is around an inch or so long, so if you’re used to razors with long handles, you can try the Merkur Long Handled razor.
I also noticed shavers compare this to the Edwin Jagger DE89 and say that Edwin Jagger is a better product.
Some potential issues
But you have to remember razor is just one part of the equation. You’ll also have to take into account the blade used and technique.
Others complained about the short handle. If you need something longer, you can opt for the Merkur 23C or 38C. The former is slightly cheaper, while the latter is more aggressive because it’s heavier.
To conclude the reviews section, it’s all a matter of personal preference.
It’s hard to compare a Chrome platted razor to stainless steel because of the costs involved. A good quality SS razor will cost well over $100 while this product only costs just over $30, so it’s like comparing apples and oranges.
As for shave quality, it will depend on the type of facial hair you have. This may not work well when shaving very coarse beards. And you’ll need something more aggressive like a Merkur Slant to get the job done. But for someone who’s starting out, it’s a great option.
You’ll only need to find the right type of blade that will suit your face and hair type.
You can buy this razor from Amazon. And it is eligible for the free 2-day shipping if you join Prime!
Forty bucks sound a lot for a razor, but that’s just the upfront cost if you consider the price difference of a DE razor and cartridge refill, the difference is night and day, and over time it adds up. You’ll literally save thousands of dollars over 10 years, depending on how often you shave and change refills.
This is a great all-around razor for both beginners and seasoned wet shavers, depending on what blade you put in.
Expert shavers like Nick Shaves and ShaveBusta highly recommend this because it isn’t overly aggressive that you have to stay focused 100% of the time, or you’ll nick yourself, but it allows you to relax while you shave.
The two-piece design makes it easier to assemble compared to its three-piece counterparts. This razor is not stainless steel but made from brass. So if water seeps through the chrome shell, there is a possibility of the brass frame corroding.
But if you take care of it, you’ll be able to pass this along to your children and even their children.
Parker 99R Review: A Throwback Of A Gillette Classic
The Parker 99R is Parker's version of the late 1940s Gillette Super Speed Razor. Measuring over 4 inches long this razor is massive. How does it perform?
The Clean Shave Razor Review: A Basic Safety Razor
The Clean Shave is a brand new player in the market, find out if this razor has what it takes to beat the likes of Merkur and Edwin Jagger.
Merkur Futur Review: Is This The Best Adjustable Razor?
The Merkur Futur is one of three adjustable's in the Merkur product line that gives you 6 adjustable setting. How does it perform? Learn more in this review
Feather Stainless Steel DE Razor Review (AS-D2): A Rust Proof Beauty
The Feather AS-D2 is a safety razor that will last for decades thanks to its stainless steel body, but how does it shave? Let's find out that and more here.
Merkur HD Slant 37C Review: Great Option for Sensitive Skin
The Merkur 37C slant has a reputation of being a very aggressive razor but in the hands of an experienced wet shaver this can be a time saver. Find out why.
Best Safety Razor Blades: Reviews & Comparison
Here are the best safety razors blades used by a lot of wet shavers. A few of these are manufactured by Gillette and there some surprises. Learn more here.