Safety razors - Edwin Jagger DE89, Merkur 34c and the Rockwell 6C
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The Best Safety Razor for Beginners (2021)

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What is the best safety razor for beginners? Also, why should you shave with a safety razor? You’ll find the answer to both these questions in this detailed article!

Wet-shaving has seen quite a dramatic resurgence as of late. There are multiple YouTube channels solely dedicated to all things wet-shaving. Moreover, wet-shaving enthusiasts have at their disposal countless options when it comes to safety razors, shaving soap/creams and brushes.

This can all get overwhelming for someone who wants to start wet shaving but does not know where to start and which products to buy. Central to this dilemma is choosing which razor to start off with. So here you’ll find our opinion on the best safety razor for beginners.

Does a Safety Razor Give a Better Shave?

Many men swear by safety razors as giving a better shave especially those who have transferred over from cartridge razors. They site smoothness, cutting efficiency, lack of ingrown hairs, redness, irritation among other things that safety razor shaving has improved. Want to know how to look your best? Check out The Best Skin Care Routine for Men.

Moreover, cost is also a huge component in deciding to switch over to safety razors because a safety razor is more or less a one time investment (you buy it once, take care of it, and use it for the rest of your life).

You probably have heard horror stories of beginners starting off with the wrong razor (Muhle R41 is quite notorious) and having such a horrid experience that it completely turned them off from wet-shaving.  Well, fret not! In this article I will go over 3 razors that are excellent for beginners and that provide a great stepping stone into the world of wet-shaving without the unintended consequences.

Note: I was lucky to have 3 safety razors at my disposal when I began wet-shaving. I purchased an Edwin Jagger DE89 myself and was gifted a Rockwell 6C and a Merkur 34C from my wife and a close relative respectively.

All 3 razors fall within the $35-$50 price range depending on where you purchase them. As such, price should not be a deciding factor between them. I have used all 3 of these razors extensively over the past 2 years and the reviews that follow are based on my own experiences. The Merkur 34C and the Edwin Jagger DE89 are famous in the wet-shaving community as wonderful starter razors, and have been for decades now. So let’s start off with them.

Edwin Jagger DE89

The Edwin Jagger DE89 comes in various handle configurations but all of them share the same head (the part that holds the blade) which makes them similar when it comes to the mildness of the shave. The razor is made in Sheffield England and comes in an impeccable chrome finish which is absolutely stunning to look at. The head is mild, yet efficient and the moderate weight and size of the razor allows for great mobility in the hands. The razor works well with many different blades (from Astra SP to Feather) and is great for mild to moderate beard growth.

The DE89 however, struggles with longer and denser hair owing to its mild nature. Considering that all DE89 heads’ are the same, the different models/versions differ only in the shapes/colors of the handles. Some versions have a smooth handle, while others have either a lined or knurled handle. I would strongly recommend purchasing the knurled handle version since it offers great grip while shaving. The lined and the smooth handled versions can get slippery which is not something you want while shaving.

Pros:

  • Great for mild to moderate stubble
  • Stunning color and finish

Cons:

  • Struggles with denser hair growth. No option to increase aggressiveness
  • Handle can get slippery (knurled handle option available)

Buy the Edwin Jagger DE89 from Amazon (link)

Buy the Edwin Jagger DE89 from Edwin Jagger (link)

Merkur 34C

The Merkur 34c, similar to the DE89, offers a mild shave yet in a more compact size. The razor is notably shorter than the DE89 yet has a similar weight. Moreover, unlike the DE89 which is a 3 piece razor, the Merkur 34c is a 2 piece non-adjustable razor. It is built in Solingen Germany and is a quality razor. The chrome finish is not as elegant as on the DE89 yet it is still well done.

Read our indepth Review of the Merkur 34C.

Unlike the DE89 which comes in multiple versions, the Merkur 34 only comes in 2 models, one in chrome (34C), and the other in gold (34G). Both versions have knurled handles which provides excellent grip. The color and price are the only differences between both versions. The gold version costs substantially more, and for a beginner, is not a wise purchasing option. The 34C shaves very similar to the DE89 and ranks quite close to the DE89 on the mild to aggressive scale. Considering it’s shorter length, the Merkur 34C can be a great option for those with smaller than average hands.

Pros:

  • Efficient, mild shaver for those with average to moderate hair growth
  • Very good build quality

Cons:

  • Mild shaver with no option to increase aggressiveness
  • Note: Shorter length might annoy those with larger hands, but could be a great option for those with smaller hands

Buy the Merkur 34C from Amazon (link)

Buy the Merkur 34C from West Coast Shaving (link)

Winner: The Rockwell 6C (The Best Safety Razor for Beginners)

The Rockwell 6C is the newest of these razors and in my opinion is the best safety razor for beginners. Let me explain why. Unlike the 34C and the DE89, the Rockwell 6C does not have a fixed setting for mildness or aggressiveness. Instead it comes with 3 base plates which each have 2 settings.

Source: Rockwell Razors

These range from the mildest setting of 1 all the way up to 6, the most aggressive setting. The 1 and 2 base plates are great for beginners and those who want to avoid cutting themselves while they work on their shaving technique. The 3 and 4 base plates are most similar to how the DE89 and the 34C shave and offer a great blend of comfort and efficiency. The 5 and 6 base plates offer enhanced efficiency for those looking to shave longer and denser stubble.

Rockwell 6C safety razor
Rockwell 6C

It is this interchangeability and adjustability which makes the Rockwell 6C the best safety razor for beginners since the razor will serve you well from your early days of shaving with safer base plates all the way to when you become more proficient with a DE razor and start using more advanced base plates. As far as the build quality of the 6C is concerned, it is solid and comes in beautiful white chrome or a stunning gunmetal finish.

The 6C is made in China unlike its European made counterparts; however the build quality is very good and quite similar to the DE89 and the Merkur 34c.  

The Rockwell 6C has a stainless steel older brother the 6S, however it is twice the price and offers nothing more than what the 6C offers with respect to base plates and shaving experience.

Being made from stainless steel, the Rockwell 6S is more durable and will easily last a lifetime. So if price is not an issue, and you want to buy a razor once and use if for the rest of your life, then the Rockwell 6S can be good choice.

If you are interested in the Rockwell 6S, then definitely read ‘Review: Rockwell 6C vs 6S’ where we go over both razors in detail, discuss their pros and cons, and help you decide which one is best for you.

Pros:

  • Very good build quality
  • Interchangeable base plates which will serve you well throughout your wet shaving journey

Cons:

  • Some have reported quality control issues with their Rockwell Razors, but have also praised the customer service they have received

Buy the Rockwell 6C from Rockwell Razors (link)

Buy the Rockwell 6C from Amazon (link)

What is the Best Safety Razor for a Beginner?

All in all, either the Edwin Jagger DE89, Merkur 34C and Rockwell 6C razors can be considered the best safety razor for beginners. All three offer a great value and starting point for a new wet shaver. The Rockwell 6C merely beats the other two due to its versatility as a beginner all the way to a more advanced razor.