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The Merkur 34C is one of the most popular safety razors in the wet-shaving community. It is loved by both beginners and more advanced wet shavers alike due to ease of use, very good build quality, and affordability. This is a Merkur 34C Review where we cover the design, quality of shave and build quality of this iconic safety razor.
Merkur 34C Review
Unlike most safety razors sold today which are 3 piece razors, the Merkur 34C is a classic 2 piece design. The design consists of a head plate that screws into the base handle plate.
There is knurling on the handle which increases the amount of grip while shaving. This is especially important when your hands are wet and covered with shaving soap or cream.
The razor itself is quite short coming in at around 3.25 inches while the razor weighs about 77g or 2.7 ounces. When holding the razor, it feels quite substantial and due to its nickname the Merkur HD (Heavy duty), many men consider it to be a heavier then average razor. However, this is not the case as its weight is similar to an Edwin Jagger DE89 (which is considered an average weight razor). In fact, the impression of the 34C being heavy is because of its short length.
The shape of the razor head is similar to an Edwin Jagger DE89 which means similar aggressiveness and shaving experience. The Merkur 34C is regarded as a great beginner safety razor since it offers a safe, comfortable and effective shave.
Quality of Shave
The Merkur 34C is regarded as a mild shaver. That is, it is neither too aggressive nor too mild. As such, it suits most men with light to modest beard growth. Since it is a mild razor, you can confidently experiment by choosing a different blade. For example, you can make the 34C more efficient by going with a feather blade. If you want to make it more mild try using a derby blade or another mild blade. This is one of the benefits of a mild razor since it allows you to experiment with a host of different blades.
However, for men with a more robust beard, the 34C might be too mild of a shaver. Compound this with the fact that the 34C is a non-adjustable razor, which means it’s blade gap cannot be changed which limits its aggressiveness simply based on the blade you are using.
If you are interested in an adjustable razor where you can tune the aggressiveness up or down, try the Merkur Progress Safety Razor. It costs slightly more at around $60 to $70 but offers greater versatility.
Many blogs mistakenly state that the Merkur 34C is made from stainless steel, however this is not the case. The 34C’s handle is made from chrome plated brass while the head plate is made from a chrome plated zinc alloy. As such, the 34C is not as durable as a traditional stainless steel safety razor such as the Rockwell 6S.
Read our Review of the Rockwell 6C and 6S.
That being said, the Merkur 34C has very good build quality with tight tolerances and good chrome plating. With decent care and maintenance, the 34C can easily last for many years if not decades.
Depending on where you purchase the 34C, the price can vary somewhat but it is typically between $40 and $50. Considering that you are getting a German made razor, with very good build quality and a strong reputation, I consider the 34C a good value safety razor.
- Excellent mild razor for beginners transitioning into wet-shaving
- Very good build quality with tight tolerances
- Excellent weight and balance which enhances shaving experience
- Easy to use 2-piece design
- Great for those with smaller hands
- Might be too mild for those with more dense hair growth
- Made from chrome plated brass and zinc alloy which is not as durable as stainless steel
Merkur 34C vs 38C
The Merkur 38C is a longer and heavier version of the 34C. The head of the razor (the part which holds the blade), for both the 38C and 34C is the same, which makes both razors identical with respect to their aggressiveness. Moreover, both are 2 piece razors.
The only difference between both these razors has to do with their handles. The 38C features a longer and heavier barber pole handle which is great for men who find the handle on the 34C to be too short.
The Merkur 34C is an excellent safety razor for both beginners and advanced shavers alike. The 34C’s reputation in the wet shaving community is well deserved since it is a quality built razor with very good shaving characteristics.
If you enjoyed this Merkur 34C review, make sure to check out our article on ‘The Best Safety Razor for Beginners’.