I know that a few of my readers may thumb their nose at me for the sentiments expressed above, but the Merkur 34C is, in my opinion, is not the best safety razor that Merkur makes. for a newbie. I have never liked mine, although I have tried, and I cannot see what all the fuss is about.
In fact there are two other Merkur models that I find bring much more satisfaction to a newbie. There are also still others in their line up that will also do better than the 34C as a first razor, but right now let’s focus on just two.
A blog is a great place for debate, and the free expression of ideas. So let me present to you what I think are Merkur’s two best beginner razors…….
In Second Place – The Merkur 33C – AKA “The Classic.”
I have several reasons to support my claim. Let’s take a look at the two razors side by side.
|ITEM||33C Classic||34C HD (Heavy Duty)|
|Weight||2.0 ounces||2.7 ounces|
|Handle Length||3.0 inches||2.75 inches|
|Overall Length||3.5 inches||3.25 inches|
|Aggressiveness||2.5 / 5 virtually identical |
blade gap between models.
|2.5 / 5 virtually identical |
blade gap between models.
|Efficiency||4 / 5||2.5 / 5|
|Balance||25% down the handle from the head||40% down the handle from the head.|
The first comparison that comes to light is the marked efficiency between the two razors. Although the rating is subjective, simply put, efficiency refers to the ability of the razor to cut your whiskers at various different angles to your face. What it implies is that the 34C is in fact more difficult to use than the 33C. Also the 34C will use a lot more effort to shave with.
Ctually the blade gap between the two razors, though slighly different, with the 34C being infinitesmally more aggressive, you would never notice the small difference when shaving.
As far as balance is concerned, a balance point about 1/3 of the way down the handle is considered by many to be ideal. To its advantage for a newbie, the 33C Classic is head heavy in comparison to the 34C HD. Why this makes a difference is because we have found as a manufacturer, through a controlled study, that both experienced and newbie shavers will have less of a desire to press down on the head (the biggest sin of wet shaving….) on a head heavy razor.
As far as comfort goes, both razors have great knurling and won’t slide oiut of wet, soapy hands.
I have proven it to myself time and again, the Merkur 33C Classic, is a damn fine first razor. If you like to get your arms tired by shaving your face off, then choose the 34C, which incidentally is a razor that I never could get into.
But there is one that is better than the 42C.
The Merkur 42C is Perhaps Merkur’s Best and Most Affordable Beginner Razor.
|ITEM||42C||34C HD (Heavy Duty)|
|Weight||2.4 ounces||2.7 ounces|
|3.0 inches||2.75 inches|
|3.25 inches||3.25 inches|
|Aggressiveness||2.25 / 5 very slightly milder |
than the 34C
|2.5 / 5 slightly more |
|Efficiency||5 / 5||2.5 / 5|
|Balance||33% down the handle from the head. (Ideal.)||40% down the handle from the head.|
The Merkur 42C (and its open comb brother the 41C) are super efficient. The “angle” just sort of happens. Although the blade gap is even narrower than its two brothers, the 42C’s efficiency more than makes up for it. The 42C is perhaps the easiest razor for a beginner to use, and the fact that it is only a touch milder than the 34C, but so much more efficient, will mean better shaves, less nicks, cuts, and weepers.
Simply put, although Merkur’s 34C is perhaps Merkur’s best seller, a new shaver will have to put in a lot more effort to use it.
The 42C’s balance point is spot on! Yet it is still head heavy, which I maintain is a very good thing in the quest for a great, close shave, by a newbie wet shaver.
When it comes to ergonomics, the 42C’s handle is hexagonal, providing a flat surface to grip. The handle is cross hatched to further aid the grip, and has a faux “ball end.” Some people prefer the handle, some people do not. I do. The handle is actually a copy of a vintage Gillette razor of the 1930’s. Now everyone has different tastes, skin types, beard types, prep habits etc., but for me if you asked the question which Merkur razor is best for beginners, I would have to say the Merkur 1904 AKA the 42C!
We sell the Merkur 42C near cost. Only $38.00, shipping included. (For a limited time….)