Made in Germany by DOVO Solingen, the Merkur 34C is the first safety razor that a lot of men purchase when exploring the world of traditional wet shaving due to its performance and design.
In this article, you will get a detailed look at the key features along with a demonstration of how this safety razor performs.
Key Specs About The Merkur 34C
Objectively, the Merkur 34C is the quintessential safety razor in every way possible. In fact, it has been in existence for over 80 years and remains one of Merkur’s most popular safety razors to date.
Here’s how it measures up:
When compared to a cartridge razor, this safety razor is tiny! At only 3.25″ (8.25cm) in total length, it will take some getting used to:
However, one key advantage to this length is that the 34C provides you with greater control and precision while shaving – this is important, especially if you are using a safety razor for the very first time.
Like most safety razors, this one is rather heavy at 2.68oz (76g) – for comparison, most cartridge razors weigh in under 50g.
Despite the smaller size, this safety razor makes up the weight through the composition of materials. Under the chrome plating, the Merkur 34C is made from a brass handle along with a die-casted zinc head.
One thing to quickly note: The 34C is also known as the Merkur 34C Heavy Duty Safety Razor or simply the Merkur 34C HD given how much it weighs.
Unlike the Merkur 38C that has a swooping ribbed barber pole design on the handle, the 34C features a classic diamond knurled grip. When using the 34C, you can expect to have a nice, firm grip on the handle even if the slick shaving cream has coated your hands.
Related: Merkur 34C vs Merkur 38C
There are a few components of this safety razor head that we wanted to call attention to:
The cap features three prongs:
This design allows you to safely slide on/off your preferred razor blades. In the picture above, we are using the provided Merkur blade for demonstration but you can use any double edge safety razor replacement blades thanks to the universal fitting.
Related: Best Double Edge Safety Razor Blades
As you can see in the picture below, the Merkur 34C features a closed comb safety bar:
Secondly, you can see that the safety bar is of a scalloped variety. This makes it ideal for feeding the facial hair into the beard and slightly increasing blade exposure. Most men with sensitive skin will find this feature beneficial.
We talk about all comb types in our detailed overview of double edge safety razors.
The blade gap for the Merkur 34C is rather modest:
As you will see in the demonstration in just a moment, the aggressiveness of the razor is rather mild, further lending as to why this razor is so often recommended to beginners.
Safety razors come in three main varieties: one, two, and three-piece systems. The Merkur 34C is a two-piece safety razor:
The blade mount is attached to the handle and only the cap comes loose.
Shaving with the Merkur 34C
While the Merkur 34C may be a fine piece of German engineering, the most important question is how this safety razor actually performs.
So to give you a better idea of 34C’s performance, here’s what you can expect when using this razor.
Before we begin, here are a few important details about this shave:
- Facial Prep: Warm water applied liberally onto the face.
- Beard Length: One day (light stubble).
- Pre Shave Prep: Applied a light layer of the Proraso Pre Shave Cream – reviewed here.
- Razor Blade: Using the Merkur Platinum blade that was included.
For the shave cream lather, I am using the Body Shop Maca Root & Aloe Softening Shaving Cream in tandem with a Maggard’s synthetic shaving brush (reviewed here):
Here’s how the razor looked when making the passes:
Here is how my face and skin looked afterwards (only a single pass):
Here are the important notes for you:
- The overall shave with the 34C was comfortable. I didn’t find that it caused any irritation nor was it overly aggressive – mildly aggressive, in fact. As evident in the pictures above, the razor caused no redness on my face or neck area.
- Given that I usually use the Merkur 38C, the 34C does feel quite small. I can only imagine that men with large hands may find this razor quite a bit difficult to control.
- When shaving the tighter contours, particularly around the mustache, the razor head was small enough to make precise cuts without any issue.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the Merkur 34C is a wonderful little razor that is perfect for men looking to get into traditional wet shaving. Even if you have been using safety razors for years, you are sure to enjoy the nice, smooth shave that this razor can deliver.
If you are a guy with large hands, perhaps you should consider the Merkur 38C. It provides the same comfortable shave as the 34C but is a bit longer and heavier.
How much does the Merkur 34C cost?
Presently, the Merkur 34C retails for about $40 at most online merchants. This puts it at a significantly higher price point when compared to a starter shaving kit and cheap no-name safety razors.
However, given the quality of the shave coupled with the fine craftsmanship, I think you are going to get a much more pleasant experience with your shave should you decide to go with the Merkur 34C.
What’s included with the 34C?
Should you order this safety razor, you will find that the packaging is fairly simple:
The safety razor rests inside the cardboard box along with just a single replacement razor blade:
On the back of the box, it states that the razor was “Made in Germany.”
What are the alternatives to the 34C?
Common alternatives to the Merkur 34C that you may want to consider include the following:
- Edwin Jagger DE89: Available in a variety of handle materials including faux ivory, rubber, etc. The Edwin Jagger DE89 double edge razor is slightly longer but weighs the same as the 34C. The grip varies across this line.
- Merkur 38C: Heavier and longer than the 34C. Good for men with larger hands or prefer a bigger safety razor – also beginner friendly.
- Merkur 23C: Longer and lighter when compared to the 34C. Good for men coming from a cartridge. Has the same knurled grip.
Where can you buy the Merkur 34C?
It can be a bit tough to find this safety razor (or any safety razor for that matter) locally. Unless you live in a large city, your best bet is to order online. Specialty shave shops such as Maggard’s and West Coast Shaving carry the 34C. Of course, you can also find this razor available on Amazon:
Compatible Safety Razor Blades
While the 34C comes with a single blade to get you started, just about any safety razor blade can work with this system.
We recommend picking up a cheap variety pack of blades so you can find the one that works best for your skin and facial hair type so you can get a smooth shave.
Final Thoughts on our Merkur 34C Review
The Merkur 34C is a special little razor. Not only is it the introductory razor for a lot of men, but the performance is top-notch and it’s easy to see why it’s such a fan favorite.
If you are on the fence about getting a safety razor and want one that will give you a nice, close shave, then we fully recommend you consider the 34C.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.