Today’s review is on the Parker 26C, a beautiful open-comb safety razor.
Adding more aggression than its closed comb counterparts, the Parker 26C makes it easy to remove dense facial hair in only a single pass. However, the Parker 26C is not for the faint of heart. It is a razor that requires a bit of experience to use correctly.
In this review, you will learn how the Parker 26C stacks up to others in design and shave quality.
What We Think:
If you are on the fence about getting an open comb razor, the Parker 26C is a milder yet still aggressive option. It is an excellent razor for those who want to try an open-comb razor but don’t want to go all out with a Muhle R41. It makes short work of even the thickest beards and is a breeze to clean and maintain.
Black and chrome plated for a sleek look
Knurled handle provides good grip
Open-comb is not overly aggressive
Not the greatest build quality
No warranty offered
Key Stats & Score
|Country of Origin||India|
|Blade Compatibility||All double-edge safety razor blades|
|Number of Pieces||3|
Weighing in at 3.4 ounces, the Parker 26C weight is about average. It isn’t too heavy nor too light and provides ample stability when shaving. In addition, you’ll find that it doesn’t require any extra pressure to get a close shave.
For comparison, here’s how the 26C stacks up to other razors:
At 3.75″ in length, the Parker 26C falls in the middle of the pack compared to most other safety razors. However, compared to a few other equally aggressive safety razors, it is modest in size. For example, the Muhle R41 is 4.21″ in length. Whereas the aggressive, adjustable razor, Merkur Futur, stands at 4.25″.
We think the 26C works best for men with average to smaller hands. However, if you have larger hands, you may want to consider some of the longer razors mentioned above.
Here how the 26C stacks up to the alternatives:
Like all Parker’s, the 26C is made from a brass frame treated with a chrome and black coating. The result is a two-tone finish that looks amazing – it’s an instant bathroom countertop showpiece.
Along the handle is a diamond knurling pattern that provides a secure grip. We (and many others) prefer this over knurling patterns (e.g., crosshatch or swirling) because it is easier to hold onto even if your hands are coated in shaving cream. The knurling pattern also provides a nice tactile feel.
The downside is that the knurling can feel a bit rough, especially if held for a long period.
Country of Origin
The Parker 26C is made in India. While not a country is typically known for its precision engineering or craftsmanship, the Parker 26C is a great razor nonetheless. In addition, it is a budget-friendly option, costing significantly less than similar razors made in Germany or Japan.
Number of Pieces
Crafted from three pieces, the 26C is a breeze to disassemble and clean. If you have ever used a safety razor before, you’ll enjoy that you can get into all the cracks and crevices to remove any residual hair or gunk that may have accumulated over time.
Of course, changing the razor blade once every week or so may not be as convenient as, say, a butterfly safety razor, but it still is relatively effortless. However, with no moving parts, there is no need to worry about it breaking down over time.
No Safety Bar
Unlike a close-comb safety razor with a bar that sits flush with the top of the razor, the Parker 26C doesn’t have a solid or scalloped safety bar. Instead, the base cap has a comb (like a rake) that exposes the blade. This is what makes the 26C an open-comb safety razor. This design exposes the blade and provides a much more aggressive shave.
When using the Parker 26C, you’ll find it an aggressive razor compared to other Parker models (but not overly aggressive). This is due to the open-comb design, as discussed previously.
Expect close results in only a single pass. If it’s your first time with an open comb razor, we recommend only making with the grain passes before experimenting with across and against the grain passes. This will help you get a feel for the razor and how it performs.
Related: Learn About The Shaving Grain
Compatible Facial Hair Types
One advantage of open-comb razors over closed-comb razors is that they work exceptionally well with dense facial hair. So if you have a thick beard, you’ll likely enjoy what Parker has in store.
Razor Bumps & Burns
As with any razor, razor bumps and burns are always a top concern for many men. The Parker 26C, like most safety razors, is designed to minimize the risk of razor bumps.
We explain more here:
- Razor Bumps: When the 26C passes over the skin, the blade cuts the hair to skin level (never beneath the skin like a cartridge razor). Therefore, when the hair begins to grow to a stubble length, it will not grow back into the skin. This is why razor bumps are less likely to occur.
- Razor Burn: This may not always be an issue with the razor itself, but rather the technique and other shaving supplies used. Follow a proper shaving routine and use a quality shaving cream or soap. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube that can also help you learn how to properly shave with a safety razor.
While the 26C includes five starter blades, it is compatible with all standard double-edge blades. This allows you to choose from various brands, including the more popular ones like Feather, Astra, and Personna. You can also try out the more exotic brands like Kai, Derby, and Merkur. However, you may need to experiment with the blade to find the best setting for your skin and facial hair type.
Aside from our analysis, we always like to see what the community says about a product. So, after reviewing feedback from various sources, including other men’s grooming publications, forums (Reddit, Badger & Blade, etc.), YouTube videos, and more, we’ve compiled a list of the most common pros and cons.
What Others Liked About the Parker 26C
Overall, reviewers seem to enjoy the Parker 26C razor. The main praises are for the razor’s smoothness, grip, and weight. Most notably, many wet shaving experts enjoyed that it wasn’t as aggressive as some other open comb razors. This makes it a great beginner-friendly option for those looking to try an open-comb razor.
What Others Didn’t Like About the Parker 26C
Some reviewers found the razor to be too gentle and not aggressive enough. Additionally, a few reviewers experienced some burning after using the razor, although it is unclear if this is due to the razor or the blades being used.
Note: When reading any review about a razor, it is important to remember that the reviewer’s experience may differ from yours. This is because everyone’s skin and facial hair types are different. Therefore, trying out a razor for yourself before making a purchase is important.
Like Parker, but not sold on the 26C? Here are a few other options that you may want to consider:
- Parker 96R: A bit milder of a razor than the Parker 26C. It has a closed comb, making it more difficult to nick yourself, and a straight safety bar, less aggressive than the 26C’s.
- Parker 99R: Shorter yet heavier than the 26C, this closed-comb butterfly razor is another viable option. It is a bit more aggressive than the 96R but not as aggressive as the 26C – resting somewhere in the middle.
- Parker Variant: Not sure how aggressive you want your shave? Worry no more with the Parker Variant. This is an adjustable safety razor so you can fine-tune the aggressiveness of your shave. It is also a closed-comb razor, making it more forgiving than the 26C.
- Muhle R41: This is the gold standard for open comb shaving. Made in Germany, the R41 is a high-quality razor that is a bit more aggressive than the 26C. But expect to pay a bit more for it.
- Merkur 39C: Rather than an open comb, the 39C features a slanted head. This cuts the hair at an angle, lessening irritation and providing a closer shave. Like the Muhl R41, the 39C is made in Germany.
Other Important Information
There were a few other details we thought you should know:
Surprisingly, Parker doesn’t offer a warranty on their razors. We recommend purchasing through a reputable retailer that provides a gracious return policy should the razor not meet your expectations.
The Parker 26C is priced at $30 – making it one of the cheapest safety razors on the market.
Here’s how it compares to other open-comb razors:
Where to Buy
The Parker 26C is available at online shave shops like West Coast Shaving, Super Safety Razors, and Maggard Razors. You can also find it at larger online retailers like Amazon.