A week ago, I wrote about the Merkur Futur that looks like a razor from the 21st century.
If that is too big for you or if you prefer a classic safety razor design, here’s another product from Merkur that experienced wet shavers love – the Merkur Progress.
Unlike the Futur and Vision, the Progress screams classic with its two-piece design, smooth handle, and the plastic knob at the bottom that allows you to adjust the settings.
There, however, are some quirks that may not make this suitable for a newbie, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a very versatile tool that can be as aggressive or as mild as you want it to be depending on the setting.
The beauty of an adjustable razor like this is that you can adjust the aggressiveness setting min-shave.
If your neck is sensitive, you can shave at a low setting on your neck area and a high setting for the rest of your face.
A quick look at the features
- Chrome finish
- Adjustable up to 5 settings
- Available in two variants – the long-handled and the standard version
- Standard: 3.35 inches
- Long handle: 4.14 inches
- Aggressiveness: 9/10
- Blades included: 1
- This adjustable razor can go from mild to aggressive depending on your needs
- You can go from a 3 pass shave to a 2 pass shave and still get a BBS results
- Simple construction = will last a long time
- Slippery handle
- There are a learning curve and quirks that may not make this an excellent choice for beginners
- Assembling this razor requires a slight learning curve
Unlike non-adjustable two-piece razors that are pretty straightforward to put together, the Merkur Progress has its quirks, and to avoid any disappointments due to improper assembly, make sure to read the following before you shave with this.
First, before attaching the top plate look at both sides, one side should have a small engraved marking that should line up with the engraved triangle marking located on the side of the bottom plate.
If you don’t line these up, the result will be an uneven blade exposure and a lousy shave.
Second, as you tighten the knob, rest your index finger on the razor head to make sure that the blades have symmetrical exposure.
The Progress will give you 5 aggressiveness settings that you can change by adjusting the knob – yup it’s the same knob that holds the top plate and body together.
It’s this adjustability that makes this razor one of the more popular adjustable in the market, but also it’s this same feature that gives wet shavers trouble (more on that later).
The Progress comes in two variants…
- Short handled version
- Long-handled version
Both variants have the same shaving head. The most significant difference would be the length of the handle.
Obviously, if you have large hands, you will opt for the long handle.
As with all Merkur safety razors, the Progress has a chrome finish.
The hidden parts aren’t polished, but it will not affect how this product shaves. It will just look as good.
Is it easy to load the blade?
The Progress utilizes a two-piece design, so loading the blade shouldn’t be an issue. But you’ll have to remember there are some nuances to loading that I’ll share with you below.
On the side of the base and top plate are markings that have to align. If you don’t point the top plate in the right direction, the knob will not function properly.
Also, you will need to rest your index finger on top as you tighten – again for alignment purposes.
See this demonstration…
As you tighten the knob, the one in the adjustment scale should line up with the dot. After aligning both notches, you’re ready to go.
The Progress comes with 5 different adjustment settings that range from mild to very aggressive, which make it one of the more versatile safety razors in the market that can tackle a variety of beards from very coarse to regular.
One thing to note is that the adjustment knob setting isn’t the same in all Merkur Progress razors because of manufacturing tolerances.
This means that setting 1 in one Progress isn’t the same as another, but the cutting performance remains the same.
Definitely a quirk, but it does not degrade the performance at all.
Another quirk to take note of is the angle of which you hold the razor.
Unlike fixed head razors that hold the blade perpendicular with the handle, the Progress bends the blade dramatically, and this bending will change the angle on which you are to hold it – to a shallower angle.
Unlike other classic Merkur razors that have some sort of knurling, the Progress has a smooth handle with only the protruding adjustment knob providing any kind of grip.
First-time users have complained that this lack of knurling has caused slippage, but a simple tweak with the grip will solve this issue.
The Sharpologist recommends resting your pinkie or last two fingers on the base of the adjustment knob to prevent this from happening.
When going on an upward motion hold that same knob with the index, pinkie, and middle finger, this technique makes it less likely for the Progress to slip out of your fingers.
The short-handled version measures in at around 3.35″ long from top to bottom while the long-handled version measures in at 4.13″. Picking between these two will all boil down to personal preference and the size of your hands.
|Overall Length||Standard - 3.35"|
Long handle - 4.14"
|Weight||Standard - 3.17 ounces|
Long handle - 3.6 ounces
Consumers are quite happy with the Merkur Progress, even newbie shavers who really did their homework and did a lot of research before purchasing this.
What they love about this adjustable is well, it’s adjustable. It has the functionality of a mild and aggressive razor. The ability to twist the knob to change aggressiveness makes it very popular.
The price is a bit steep – between $65 and $80++ depending on where you buy it, but when you consider that you will save in the long term because you don’t need to purchase another razor – unless you’re a connoisseur who wants to try different shavers.
One complaint was the handle that didn’t have any sort of knurling. A workaround would be altering the grip.
Another complaint would be the one in the adjustment knob not lining up with the dot. These are manufacturing tolerances found in all Merkur razors, and it shouldn’t affect the quality of the shave.
One workaround suggested by the Sharpologist would be twisting the handle itself to line everything up, but I’m not sure if that will void the warranty. It worked for him, but it’s not something that I’d recommend.
Here’s the video on the different quirks of the Progress and how to address them…
In terms of the actual shaving, this razor performs period. It does not matter if you have a coarse facial hair or normal facial hair, it will give you a close shave if you dial it up. Just make sure to follow the tips I shared with you.
Where can I buy this?
You can buy this adjustable razor in Amazon. And it’ll be eligible for their free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.
This adjustable razor by Merkur is a favorite by a lot of experienced wet shavers because of the versatility it brings to the table. It has 5 adjustable settings that range from mild to very aggressive, this allows them to get a close or a relaxing shave as they’d like.
Among all the adjustable razors in the market, this is mechanically the simplest, so it bodes well in terms of longevity, just make sure to clean it thoroughly at least once a week.
Beginners may want to stay away from this because of the learning curved involved. But this is an excellent investment for those who’ve mastered the proper technique.
Since you can control blade exposure, you can shave aggressive or mild depending on the need.
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