Parker Variant Adjustable Review: Is this the best adjustable razor?

Last updated on December 5th, 2018 by Garrick Dee

For many years, only one brand manufacturers adjustable razors – Merkur. But that has changed with the release of the Parker Variant Adjustable.

Special thanks to JerryW for giving me the heads up. It’s not actually a new product since it’s been on the market since 2016.

This razor addresses some of the issue that the Merkur Progress had, one of which is the slippery handle.

Instead of a smooth chrome finish, the Parker Variant has a similar knurling design with another Merkur ironically the 34C.

Unlike the Merkur Vision that has the twist to open mechanism, both these products are 2-piece razors so maintenance wouldn’t be too hard.

This razor is has an all-metal construction with a chrome finish. It does not have the plastic adjustable knob that the Merkur Progress had which a lot of enthusiasts consider as an eyesore.

There are actually three finishes – Graphite, Rose Gold and Chrome. All have the same cross-cross knurling that adds prevents this from slipping of soapy fingers.

A quick look at the features

  • A true adjustable razor with 10 different settings
  • 2-piece design is simple to clean and will last for years
  • 4 inch long handle
  • Weight: 110 grams
  • Comes with 5 parker doubled edged blades
  • 1 year warranty
  • Has a genuine brass frame

Pros

  • This adjustable razor will allow to you shave mild or aggressive depending on the need
  • All metal finish including the adjustment knob
  • Handle has excellent grip so it’ll not slip
  • Great auditory feedback for a safety razor

Cons

  • Fairly expensive for a safety razor
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners

What to expect from the Parker Variant Adjustable and how is it different from the Merkur Progress?

Some enthusiasts say that this razor is a replica of the Merkur Progress. Both have two piece design and an adjustable knob at the bottom.

However, the Parker Variant does address some of the issues that the Progress had.

Most obvious would be the adjustment knob that is metal versus the plastic knob on the Progress. For purists this is a nagging annoyance that’s an expensive upgrade.

Next improvement is the handle that has a knurling design similar to the Merkur Classic 2-Piece (or the 34C).

Having the knurled handle makes will prevent this from slipping off your fingers. There are ways to counteract this issue like adjusting your gripo but it can be an annoying dealing with it on a daily basis.

Parker’s handle is a tad bit longer than the Progress.

Adjustable setting

Like the Merkur Progress, this razor is continuously adjustable through the range. It doesn’t use click stops. However, Manic59 says that the mild setting of the Parker Variant isn’t as mild as the Merkur.

This could be an issue if you’re looking for something really mild. On the aggressive side, you can go as high as 11 for an extremely close shave.

Some quirks

There will be a steeper learning curve if you’re transitioning from a cartridge razor. Since this razor is heavy, you’ll need to slightly tweak the way you hold the razor.

Avoid putting any weight and let the blade do the work for you.

Another quick would be the way you load the blade. On one side of the shaving head are notches that you need to line up for the blade to load properly.

If you don’t put two pieces in the right order, you’ll screw up the alignment and have a bad shave.

Is it easy to load the blade?

The two piece design makes loading easy. To load the blade, just turn the knob at the bottom until the top cap comes off.

Line up the DE blade on the posts then put back the handle.

Make sure to double check that the indicators are the same side. Tighten up the knob until it lines up with the lowest setting.

Length

This razor is around an inch longer than the short version of the Merkur Progress. Handle length is approximately 4 inches with a crisscross grooves for better grip.

Razor specifications

ModelParker Variant Adjustable
Overall Length4"
Weight110 grams
MaterialMetal
FinishChrome plated
TypeAdjustable
Adjustable
Knurled handle
Blade included5
Manufactured inIndia

What do consumers say?

Reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the Parker Variant. A lot of men were happy with how this adjustable shaved their beards.

Some went as far as saying that this is the “best damned razor” they’ve used. Bold claim but that’s what the reviews say.

Mark, who’s the man behind the Sharpologist also likes this razor, saying that this is his new “you’’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers” razor.

Others said it was better than the Merkur Progress because it’s easier to clean.

Longtime Merkur fans however still prefer the Progress over this because it shaves better. But always remember that Your Mileage May Vary so it’s just a preference thing.

One thing going for the Variant would be availability and price. If you’ll buy the upgraded Merkur Progress (or the Mergress) with the metal knob, it’ll cost over $130.

There are some complaints about quality such as the chrome chipping, uneven blade exposure, etc.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this adjustable safety razor in Amazon for $58 and it’ll be eligible to their free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.

Other sites also sell this razor like West Cost Shaving.

To wrap up

The Parker Variant Adjustable is a very good alternative to the Merkur Progress. Both are actually in the same price range with Parker offering up some design improvements.

It has longer handle with a metal knob that’ll not slip off your fingers even if it’s full of shave cream.

Even if this is a heavy razor, balance is excellent so you don’t have to worry about hand or finger fatigue.

I’d say this is a better option compared to the Megress that’s a Progress with a metal knob that’ll cost way over $100.

Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.

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