If there’s ever been a safety razor designed for both beginners and experienced wet shavers, this is definitely the Merkur 34c HD.
It’s been around for so long and so many men who wet shave swear by it, that it’s impossible to miss when you go shopping for your first safety razor.
In fact, because it’s so ubiquitous, the Merkur ends up being the default razor for a lot of men who start out on the traditional wet shaving and they are looking for reliability and great performance.
That’s where I’m at with this razor. It was the first one I had ever used and it’s been the razor I default to after every brief flirtation with other brands.
The Merkur 34C HD suits me just fine and I stick to it with loyalty.
Let me start by introducing you to the brand.
Merkur is quintessentially German. They’ve been making razors since 1906. That means they have over a century’s experience.
The company is owned by DOVO Steelworks in Solingen, Germany. The brand was initially just a small, local fixture, but since 2013 DOVO has been pushing the well-made, finely crafted razors abroad.
So far, they’ve been massively successful with the international expansion. All the razors and devices are still made in this German town, So the authentic manufacturing process is preserved over the generations.
Pure German engineering underpins the classic and efficient design. It’s an easy to use, rust-resistant, good-looking razor that’s reasonably well priced in most parts of the world.
It’s normally priced around $40 in the US, but I guess it would be a lot cheaper if you bought it in Europe. In fact, I bought mine for just over than £20. But it’s well worth the price.
The Merkur 34C HD is a two piece double edged safety razor with brass plating on the body and a magnificent chrome finish.
The difference between this and other safety razors is the thicker and more sturdy grip running along the length of the handle. This makes it easier to grip and maneuver around your face. The handle is 3 inches or 7.6 cm long, which I find is the ideal length for something like this.
I also own the Merkur 180 (long handle) which is the same safety razor but with longer and a bit heavier handle. The razor head though remains the same.
If you’ve used a few safety razors already, you must have noticed that they’re made from one, two or three pieces. As far as this Merkur is concerned, it’s made from two – the handle and the razor head pieces.
The two sides of the head pieces sandwich the blade in between. This design nearly flawless and I never head any issues with either installing the razor blade or any uneven edges while you secure the blade. It doesn’t leave too much room for accidental mistakes really.
It happened to me with other brands that the two head pieces were too loose, which lets the blade move around while you drag it along your skin. A shaky blade could be dangerous and usually results in razor burns and ingrown hair.
But again, this is something that you need to pay attention to whenever you want to use a safety razor, not just the Merkur one.
But let’s talk a little bit more about one of the pieces that consists the particular safety razor.
And here’s why the 34C HD is so popular – the head.
The two-piece razor head is designed to leverage the handle and scrape through hair comfortably.
The top of the head fits onto a single metal handle body. When it’s locked securely, this leaves no space for the blade to move around and the whole thing is tightly held in place as you shave. What this means is the razor can easily get to the hard-to-reach spots on your face.
The blade you use is also able to cut hair without pulling it. This prevents ingrown hair or irritation down the line.
If you’ve ever wet shaved before, you know avoiding ingrown hairs is absolutely top priority. This razor just makes it a lot easier to shave without having to worry.
There’s one I can surely use to describe the feeling of shaving with a Merkur 34C HD – silky. The blade glides over your face effortlessly and the hair is as easy to slice as butter with a hot knife.
That comfortable shave should encourage even seasoned wet shavers to try the Merkur 34C HD. It’s a safety razor that is relatively beginner friendly, but impossibly good for everyone who shaves.
Merkur 34c HD’s Performance
In terms of the performance the Merkur 34C HD lives up to expectations. It’s a lightweight razor that easily fits into the hand and moves around the face with relative ease. The entire body is just 80.5 grams or 2.83 ounces, which means you’ll barely feel it in your hands.
The close shave is nearly perfect with this tool. It’s got a grip made to stick to your palms.
The body is actually thick enough to feel substantial, which means you are forced to carefully move the blade around. This is, of course, a double-edged razor, so you can switch between different ends of the same blade, simply by rolling the blade around.
I find that this sort of design is easier to use when you want to shave over a spot multiple times. Like when you have to move around in all different directions while shaving under the chin and over the neck.
The blade seems to find its way to the root regardless of how lightly I brush over it the first time. That gives you a really close shave with minimal effort.
For most wet shavers, two passes with the Merkur should be enough. For me, to get a close shave, I probably need three passes maximum. Yet, many men who wet shave might be happy with even one pass, especially if you shave on daily basis.
Again, depending on your shaving routine, set up and preparation, these figures may alter.
There is an attractive level of precision and finesse in this design.
It might seem like a premium razor, but I have no doubt it is worth every cent. That’s because the safety razor is one of the best in its class. It offers a great shave and the design is such a classic it’s hard to dismiss.
The metal plating is of top-notch quality and you can expect this razor to last the better part of a decade. In that sense, this is not a purchase but an investment. The Merkur 34C HD is an investment in good-looks and premium grooming for years to come.
I’m not the only one who’s infatuated with this razor. If it makes any difference, About.com actually voted this the ‘World’s Best Razor’ twice in 2011 and 2013.
It is still very much the most popular safety razor on the planet.