Merkur razors are widely accessible and offer several different shaving experiences unmatched by virtually any other safety razor brand on today’s market. From the beginner-friendly 34C to the much more advanced Futur, chances are you can find a Merkur razor to meet your needs.
Below is a list of the best Merkur razors based on intent and skill level. Additionally, many reviews feature a complimentary in-depth article should you want to learn more about a specific razor.
Comparing Merkur Razors
Here are the differences between all the popular Merkur razors:
|Razor||Weight (g)||Weight (oz)||Length (in)||Skill Level (Suggested)||Comb||Price|
|Merkur 37C||77||2.72||3.3||Intermediate +||Slant||$50|
|Merkur 39C||111||3.92||4||Intermediate +||Slant||$64|
|Merkur Futur||126||4.44||4.25||Intermediate +||Closed||$86|
|Merkur Progress||93||3.28||3.5||Intermediate +||Closed||$68|
Best Merkur Razors of 2023
Here’s our list of the best Merkur razors, based on our research and our own experience:
Best Overall: Merkur 34C
What We Think:
The 34C is one of the most popular safety razors for a reason. It’s a great starter razor that provides a close, comfortable shave.
If there is any razor that is most associated with Merkur, it would be the 34C. This 80-year old safety razor provides a classic wet shaving experience that many desire. While this razor is short, the increased control allows for easy and measured passes. The 34C’s aggressiveness is very similar to the 23C and 38C. You can expect close yet comfortable results.
Like many other Merkur razors, the knurling on the 34C handle provides additional grip.
Consider the 34C if this is your first safety razor.
What customers are saying: Many customers praise the razor for its well-made construction, easy maneuvering, and smooth shaving experience. They find it to be an excellent product that provides close shaves without irritation. However, a few customers report difficulty achieving a close shave or issues with durability.
- Classic wet shaving experience
- Increased control
- Close yet comfortable results
- Short razor
For Larger Hands: Merkur 38C
What We Think:
The Merkur 38C is a great choice for those who are looking for an upgrade from the 23C. The added weight and length make it a good choice for those with large hands.
The 38C, also known as the Barberpole due to the distinct swirling etching on the handle, is a heavy and well-designed safety razor. Generally, the Merkur 38C provides a pleasant shaving experience. You will find that the added weight in the 38C allows it to cut through even thick and dense facial hair with no additional pressure required.
Unlike the Futur, the 38C is very mild in terms of aggressiveness, making it beginner-friendly. Consider this if you are looking for an upgrade pick to the 23C, especially if you have large hands.
What customers are saying: Customers enjoy the solid weight and design of this razor, making it a great shaving tool, although some complain about threads wearing out over time.
- Heavy and well-designed
- Pleasant shaving experience
- Handle can be slick at times.
Cartridge-Like Form: Merkur 23C
What We Think:
The 23C is a great razor for those who are looking for a milder shave. It’s also a good choice for those with larger hands.
At 4.2″ in length and weighing a relatively light 2.08oz (59g), the Merkur 23C is a close equivalent to a modern cartridge razor. By providing a mild shave, the 23C should help prevent razor bumps and razor burn.
After a single pass with the grain, you can expect a stubble-like texture to remain. For closer results, consider shaving across and against the grain.
Additionally, men with larger hands will find the 23C easier to control, given the longer handle.
What customers are saying: Customers enjoy the close shaves and ease of blade changing with this razor, while some find it not as effective and mention the potential for issues with the chrome finish. Overall, it is considered a decent product for those looking to switch from disposable razors.
- Mild shave
- Prevents razor bumps and razor burn
- Easier to control
- Not as close of a shave
Slant Bar: Merkur 37C
What We Think:
If you have sensitive skin, then you should give the Merkur 37C a try. This razor is also a good choice for experienced wet shavers.
Also known as the slant bar, the Merkur 37C is mechanically different from the other Merkur razors reviewed. The 37C cuts facial hair at an angle akin to a scythe. A cutting blade set at an angle reduces both tugging and pulling on the hair follicle. Ultimately, this design helps to reduce irritation during and post-shave.
By all other measures, including length, weight, and grip, the Merkur 37C is identical to the 34C. The Merkur 37C is a top consideration for those men with sensitive skin. This razor is best-suited for experienced wet shavers.
What customers are saying: Customers rave about the smooth and efficient shave provided by this razor, with many mentioning it as their favorite. Some customers with larger hands find the short handle uncomfortable, but overall, the razor receives high praise for its performance.
- Reduced tugging and pulling
- Reduced irritation
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- Requires some experience
Aggressive Adjustable: Merkur Futur
What We Think:
The Merkur Futur is a great choice for those who want a close shave and are experienced with using a safety razor. The weight and length of the razor may be a bit much for some, however.
Well-designed and minimalist, the Merkur Futur is a beautiful-looking safety razor. However, appearance aside, the Futur is also exceedingly heavy and long. The Futur weighs an impressive 4.44oz (126g) and stands at 4.2″ in length.
The Merkur Futur, like the Merkur Progress, is an adjustable safety razor. You can increase or decrease the blade gap by turning the handle, impacting the shave’s aggressiveness. When tuned to the lowest setting, the Merkur Futur is still quite aggressive. This razor is best considered for those men who like close results and are experienced using a safety razor.
What customers are saying: Customers praise this razor for its adjustable shave strength, excellent quality, and long-lasting durability. However, some find it heavy and difficult to handle, and not suitable for beginners due to its aggressiveness.
See the Merkur Futur in action.
- Well-designed and minimalist
- Heavy and long
- Adjustable blade gap
- Weight and length may be too much for some
Slant for Large Hands: Merkur 39C
What We Think:
The Merkur 39C is a great choice for those who find the 37C too small to control or the 38C too aggressive.
The Merkur 39C is a blend between the 37C and 38C, and perhaps why it is called the 39C! With a slant bar head like the 37C and a swirling weighted handle like the 38C, it delivers an irritation-free shave with extra weight.
The 39C is a top consideration for those men who may find the Merkur 37C too small to control. Likewise, the 39C is also a good choice for those who find the 38C too aggressive.
What customers are saying: The 39C is praised for its high-quality build and long-lasting performance, providing a close and comfortable shave.
- Slant bar head
- Swirling weighted handle
- Irritation-free shave
- Like the 37C requires some experience
- Not everyone will like the swirling handle
Vintage Look: Merkur 42C
What We Think:
The Merkur 42C provides a milder shaving experience than the 34C. The slicker handle may lead to a less confident grip, however.
Also known as 1904, the Merkur 42C has a vintage look that matches its traditional wet shaving intent. With an identical head to the 34C, the 42C provides a mild shaving experience suitable for beginners.
Where the 42C differs from the 34C is the handle. With a hexagon barrel, the 42C is slicker – leading to a potentially less confident grip. This is especially prevalent when compared to a diamond-knurled handle. Additionally, the 42C is a touch lighter at just 2.5oz (70g).
What customers are saying: Some customers find the Merkur razor to be of good quality and easy to maneuver, while others report issues with the shave performance and grip. The product is recommended for beginners, but not all experienced users are satisfied with the razor.
- Vintage look
- Mild shaving experience
- Hexagon barrel handle
- Slicker handle may lead to less confident grip
Adjustable Excellence: Merkur Progress
What We Think:
The Merkur Progress can provide a mild shave on the lowest setting and has a wide range, making it easy to grow into.
Like the Futur, the Merkur Progress is an adjustable safety razor. However, the Progress differs in both design and aggressiveness when compared to the Futur. For design, the Progress allows you to change the blade by twisting the handle, whereas the Futur requires you to manually pop off the razor cap, which may be dangerous if done carelessly.
For aggressiveness, the Merkur Progress has a better range when compared to Futur. The Progress can provide a mild shave on the lowest setting, whereas the Futur is still quite aggressive. In addition, the wide range allows you to grow into the razor more easily.
Merkur makes the Progress in both a short and long handle.
What customers are saying: This adjustable razor receives mixed reviews, with some praising its precision and quality construction, while others experience difficulty in adjusting settings and concerns with handle length and grip. Customers who have a satisfactory experience often consider it as an excellent option for wet shaving. Some also mention a lack of instructions, which can be found through online tutorials.
- Change blade gap by twisting handle
- Mild shave on lowest setting
- Wide range
- Some may prefer the Futur’s design
Other Merkur Razors
The list of Merkur razors doesn’t end here. Many other Merkur razors are available, which includes the following:
- Merkur 24C: At 5″ in length, the 24C is designed for leg shaving and is primarily marketed towards women. You can find the 24C available in chrome or gold.
- Merkur 20C: Clad in a polished chrome and black aluminum finish, the 20C is a beautiful yet traditional safety razor. The black handle offers a swirling knurl.
- Merkur 15C: An open comb razor that offers an aggressive shave, the 15C is intended for thick and long facial hair types as the head will never clog. The 25C is the long handle variant of the 15C.
- Merkur 907: The 907 is a detailing razor that is best for edges, mustaches, eyebrows, and other minor manscaping needs. This razor has a trapezoid head and relies on specially made blades.
- Merkur 933: This four-piece safety razor is designed for travel. A small pouch is included which you can easily store in your Dopp kit or gym bag.
Merkur Off Brands
Years ago, Merkur made razors for many different private brands, including Hoffritz, Coles, Lunawerk, Pomco, and perhaps many more (source). Identical in every way to their Merkur branded counterparts, these vintage razor brands can be found at estate sales, eBay, antique stores, etc.
These off-brands can be an excellent addition to your shave den if you want to try out a razor from several decades ago. Additionally, modern safety razor blades should have no problem fitting into these old razors.
At the time of publication, Merkur does not sell a wet shaving kit that includes shaving cream, brush, stand, and razor. Therefore, if you are getting into traditional wet shaving for the first time, you will need to purchase each product separately.
Consider reading our detailed reviews on shave brushes, shave creams, pre-shave oils, and aftershaves for further guidance.
Merkur razors do not contain the highest quality metals. Many include a brass-weighted handle and a die-casted zinc alloy head. Both of these metals are chrome-plated to provide them with a shiny exterior.
In wet shaving forums such as TheShaveDen or Badger & Blade, many members state that Merkur razors are made from Zamak or pot metal and may have some durability issues. A suitable alternative to the metals above would be stainless steel.
Should a Merkur razor fall on hard ceramic tile, the chrome plating may crack. If a crack develops, you should replace the razor immediately.
Ultimately, this is a minor concern but one you should be made aware of. You should still expect your Merkur razor to last you several years before replacing it.
Merkur does offer a 2-year warranty on all safety razors from manufacturing defects. The warranty excludes damage, abuse, and accidental drops of the razor.
Compatible Razor Blades
Except for the Merkur 907, all Merkur razors feature a universal blade fitting. The universal fitting allows you to test across many different razor blade brands to discover which performs best for your facial hair density and skin type.
We hope that the above review and summary helped you discover which Merkur razor fits your preference and skill level. Be sure to check out our other detailed shaving articles on the site for further guidance.