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″
- Aggressiveness: 5/10
- Blades included: 1
- Great 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 like a 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 reliable 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 good 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 huge 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 a good job mowing down tough 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 Sandlewood & Clove.
I’m just sharing all of this to you to give you an idea 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 longer 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
There are some terrible reviews. Some complained about the chrome chipping. Others complained about it not giving them a close shave.
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.
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 where it sells for roughly $40. 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.