It doesn’t get better than a Merkur. I’ve always admired this German brand. Not just for the trademark looks and typical German efficiency of the design, but also for the reasonable prices.
Merkur makes it a point to deliver great quality are great prices every time.
The Merkur 180 is no different. In fact, it’s so similar to the Merkur 34C you have to check twice to see if you get the right model. There are some clear differences between the two though, which we’ll get into later.
For now, let’s take a look at how far this brand has come.
Merkur – The company
Merkur Solingen is made in a German factory. They’re the sort of subtle manufacturing you’d expect from this part of the world. Never flashy and never overstated, the brand has quietly captured the hearts of millions with the help of one very special razor – The Merkur 34C.
You see, the Merkur 34C is the one of the best beginner’s safety razor. Millions of men got their first taste of wet shaving with the help of the Merkur 34C. That’s because the razor was made to be light and easy to handle. The whole metal body is easy to fix up and use at all sorts of angles around the face.
Merkur proved itself a worthy brand when this razor hit the market and men started wet shaving without the fear commonly associated with it.
But what really made a difference was not the metal body, German design, or the dimensions. It was the price.
Apart from the traditional wet shaving experience that you get with a safety razor, the affordability is what convinced wet shavers to pick it up and give it a go for the first time.
Safety Razors from Europe used to be a luxury item only the elite used before the Merkur came onto the scene. That’s probably the reason the brand commands such loyalty with its fan base today.
But they didn’t rest on their laurels and keep cashing in checks for the rest of the century.
Merkur has been constantly innovating and bringing new products to the market. They have an ultra-futuristic Merkur Futur and a range of other men’s grooming products marketed from their German branch. One of the popular models they’ve come up with is the Merkur 180.
The Merkur 180 safety razor
The Merkur 180 is light and easy to use, just like the 34C before it. The best way to tell them apart is from the length. The 180 is a lot longer.
This length has an impact on the way the razor handles, to be fair. Not everyone will be a fan of the way the razor feels in the hand. It’s got a great grip, but I would say that it’s not as well balanced as its smaller brother, the 34c.
The Merkur 180 weighs around 2.15 ounces. If you know a thing or two about razors, you probably understand that this is heavier than many safety razors in the category. However, that doesn’t it make it seriously heavy. It felt fairly light in my hands and I suspect that’s because of the longer handle.
The handle, like all Merkur handles, is thin and light. If you take the top off, the rest of the body is barely noticeable in your hands.
My favorite part of the Merkur is always the grip. They like to toss in cross-sectional indentations that spiral right across the body. This texture is nice to touch and offers a seriously high level of grip. The gritty exterior is nice to look at and almost impossible to slip in your hands.
Now, some wet shavers may complain about the length of the 180, but the 4.125 inches doesn’t bother me. Yes, it is longer than most razors, but it’s not impossible to use.
Some men prefer longer, thinner and lighter razors, This is designed for that niche market of wet shavers.
Besides, if you don’t like the length of the particular razor, there’s always the option of the Merkur 34c HD, which is almost the same razor but shorter than the 180.
That being said, the Merkur 180 and 34C have similar levels of aggressiveness.
I felt the same way shaving with both razors as the heads on both are nearly identical. What makes the 180 different is that it’s got three pieces that need to be carefully removed and replaced to get the blade clamped down properly rather than the two pieces of the 34c HD. But the added weight and longer handle on the 180 make the shave a lot less aggressive. That’s probably good for those with sensitive skin.
To sum up, Merkur have outdone themselves again with the Merkur 180. They’ve taken a great model – the 34C – and modified it to suit people on a budget and those who prefer longer handles.
Speaking of value, the price of the Merkur 180 is less expensive than the heavy-duty 34C. That means it’s a better choice for beginners on a budget. This is probably the best DE razor you can get for the price. It’s surely great value for money and for that reason alone it’s worth recommending to those new to wet shaving.
If I had to pick between the two razors I would still pick the Merkur 34C. Mostly because I’m used to it and I appreciate the short and well balanced handle. But if I had to recommend a new razor for a friend on a budget, the Merkur 180 would be top of the list.
It’s a great razor with a solid body and a reasonable price.