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Merkur 39C Review

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The Merkur 39C is a slant bar safety razor known for being both aggressive and extremely heavy.

So, if you are looking for a very close shave, this might be your razor.

However, if you are new to wet shaving or have sensitive skin, this probably is not the best razor for you. So, let’s take a closer look at the design and performance of the Merkur 39C.

Highlights

Safety RazorMerkur 39C
CombClosed
Safety BarSlant
CompositionDie-Cast Zinc Alloy
GripSwirling
PlatingChrome
Country of OriginGermany
Blade CompatibilityDouble Edge Safety Razor Blades
Number of Pieces2
Weight (oz)4.23
Weight (g)120
Length (in)4.13
Length (cm)10.5

Weight

The Merkur 39C is one of the heaviest safety razors on the market, weighing in at 4.23 ounces – only the Merkur Futur beats it at 4.44 ounces.

The extra weight of the razor provides stability while shaving. However, it is important to note that the razor’s weight can also be a drawback. If you are used to a lighter razor, the Merkur 39C can feel bulky and cause fatigue. In addition, it takes some getting used to avoid nicks and cuts.

Our guidance is to apply very little pressure when shaving with the Merkur 39C, as the razor’s weight cut your whiskers for you.

When holding the razor, you’ll find that it strikes a nice weight and balance throughout the length of the handle.

Here’s how it compares to other safety razors:

Merkur 39C weight vs other safety razors
close up of the 39c head

Employing a unique slant bar design, the Merkur 39C cuts hair at an angle rather than straight like a scythe cutting through grass. This reduces tugging on the hair follicle and provides a smoother shave.

The slant bar design also allows the razor to cut hair very close to the skin, great if you are looking for that baby-butt smooth finish to your skin after shaving.

Length

The Merkur 39C is one of the longest safety razors on the market, measuring 4.13 inches. This makes it a good choice for men with larger hands.

The longer length makes it much easier to hold on to. However, the bulky size can be more challenging to maneuver in tight spaces, such as around the nose and mouth.

Here’s how the Merkur 39C compares to other safety razors:

Merkur 39C length vs other safety razors

Composition

The Merkur 39C is a heavy-duty safety razor built to last. Instead of brass found on Parker razors, the 39C features a die-cast zinc alloy body that is chrome-plated for a bright finish.

The handle is an elegant swirl grip that looks great but can be a bit more slippery when compared to other handle types (i.e., diamond knurled).

So be sure to have a small towel nearby to keep your hands nice and dry when shaving.

Note: Readers with a sharp eye may have noticed that this barber pole etching is also found on the Merkur 38C, which is a similar razor but with a different head.

Country of Origin

DOVO Solingen makes the Merkur 39C in Germany, a country known for its high-quality craftsmanship.

Number of Pieces

39c taken apart

The Merkur 39C is a two-piece safety razor. The blade is mounted on a metal plate screwed into the handle. When changing the blades, give the bottom knob of the handle barrel a few turns, and the cap will screw off. Then, remove the old blade and replace it with a new one.

Unlike butterfly or three-piece razors, the design of the two-piece razor is excellent for those who want a razor with a slimmer head yet still easy to clean and maintain.

Related: Reviews of Butterfly Safety Razors

Shave Performance

The Merkur 39C is a versatile razor that provides a mild to aggressive shave. The long handle offers reasonable control but can be clumsy at times. We found that the razor worked well for cross and against the grain shaving without irritation.

Facial Hair Types

The Merkur 39C performs best on a coarse, thick beard. The reason is that the angled setting of the head allows the razor to cut hair fairly effortlessly. So even if you have a several-day stubble, the 39C should be able to handle it.

Like when using any safety razor, razor bumps shouldn’t be a problem since the razor is designed to cut hair at the skin’s surface (not below it like a cartridge razor). But, of course, if you are susceptible to razor bumps, we recommend making passes with the grain.

Dive Deeper: Shaving Grain Explained

Irritation

Of course, the razor will still work for those men with thinner facial hair; be sure not to apply any pressure as too much could cause irritation. This can be especially tricky since the razor is so heavy.

Blade Compatibility

The Merkur 39C can take just about any blade you throw at it. It’s compatible with all standard double-edge safety razor blades, so you can experiment to find the perfect blade for your individual needs.

If you’re looking for an aggressive shave, try a sharp blade like the Astra, Feather, Kai, or Personna. If you want something milder, try a Derby.

Using the Merkur 39C

When using the Merkur 39C, it is important to apply very little pressure and have the razor set to the right cutting angle. Too shallow or too deep of an angle will result in poor shaving and irritation. Ideally, you’ll want to have the razor blade cutting the hair at a 30 to a 40-degree angle.

Aside from technique, good shaving cream and a shaving brush can help you achieve a close shave. We recommend the Taylor of Old Bond Street, Proraso, or Body Shop shaving creams. A shaving brush can help prep the skin and lift the hair for a closer shave. Personally, we are fond of the Omega 10049 brush.

Peer Reviews

As the name suggests, the Merkur 39C (The Sledgehammer) is a unique safety razor. It is designed for those used to traditional wet shaving and wants close results.

Reviewers generally liked the close shave that the 39C provided. However, many found the razor too aggressive, causing razor burn and irritation. Additionally, some reviewers found that the razor did not provide smoother results compared to less aggressive razors, notably the Parker 99R.

Ultimately, the consensus was positive, with most people happy with their purchase.

Brand Alternatives

While the 39C is a great razor, here are a few other Merkur models worth taking a look at:

  • Merkur 37C: With a distinct slant head, the 37C cuts facial hair at an angle, lessening the tug or pulling on the root of the hair. Go with this one if you want a smaller body and lighter weight than the 39C but a similar shaving experience. Here’s an in-depth comparison between the 37C and 39C.
  • Merkur Futur: While this razor looks slick and modern, it is more aggressive than the 39C. We recommend this razor if you’re looking for something with a bit more bite. Also, the extra heft (it weighs a whole ounce more than the Merkur Progress) is almost too much. Plus, the larger head makes maneuvering around tighter spots like under your nose difficult.
  • Merkur 34C: This is a great razor for beginners. It isn’t aggressive and has a beginner-friendly form factor. The small body and lightweight design make it easy to maneuver around your face, and the close comb design provides a comfortable shave.

Related: Best Merkur Razors

Pros

Provides a reliably close shave

The heavy weight cuts through thick facial hair easily

Cons

It can be a bit too aggressive for some

Niche product makes it hard to find

Other Notes About the Merkur 39C

During our research, we came across a few other common questions and concerns about the Merkur 39C.

Does the 39C work well for both hands?

Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, the design works well for both. There should be no issues for you here.

Does Merkur offer a warranty?

Yes, Merkur offers a 2-year warranty on all of its products that covers any defects in materials or workmanship. However, Merkur explicitly states that the warranty does not cover damage due to dropping or misuse.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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