The Parker Variant is an adjustable safety razor that offers a lot of versatility in terms of blade exposure. With a simple twist of the knob, you can change the blade gap to your personal shaving preference.
In this review, we will review the Parker Variant’s design, construction, and performance.
What We Think:
The Parker Variant remains a viable option for those who want to try an adjustable razor. It is a heavy razor that provides stability and precision when shaving. The vast range of aggressiveness was also a big plus for many people, making it the go-to razor for both beginners and experienced shavers. It does have some quality issues, but it remains a top consideration.
Adjustable blade exposure
Fits all double-edge blades
Ample weight cuts through all facial hair types
The welding of the base and handle can break if the razor is dropped
The adjustment mechanism can stop working after a while, rendering the razor useless
Key Stats & Score
|Plating||Graphite, Chrome, Rose Gold|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Blade Compatibility||All double-edge safety razor blades|
|Number of Pieces||2|
The Parker Variant is a safety razor that weighs 3.87 ounces. The Variant is a bit heavier than the Merkur Progress (3.63 ounces) but not as heavy as the Parker 99R (4 ounces). The extra weight of the Variant provides more stability when shaving.
Making the Variant so heavy is its reliance on a solid brass frame rather than Zamak, aluminum, or another lighter material (more on this later).
One of the key advantages of this increased weight is that when you make a pass with the razor, it will slice through the hair without any extra pressure needing to be applied.
When holding the razor, the weight is evenly distributed between the handle and the head.
Curious to see how the Variant compares to other safety razors? Check out our safety razor weight comparison chart below:
The Parker Variant has a length of 4.0 “, which is fairly average. So you can expect this to work well for most people without feeling too long or too short.
In the chart below, we have compared the length of the Parker Variant to other safety razors.
As we touched on briefly above, the Parker Variant is made of solid brass. This is a significant advantage over other safety razors, as brass is a much more durable material. Aside from the brass body, the Parker Variant features a chrome plating finish (graphite and rose gold are also available).
Along the length of the handle is a diamond knurling pattern. This provides an excellent grip and makes it easy to hold the razor while giving you better control and precision when shaving.
Compared to a swirl or crosshatch pattern, the knurling pattern is easier to hold if your hands are soapy or wet. This helps ensure you don’t accidentally drop and crack the satin chrome finish.
Country of Origin
As with most Parker razors, the Variant is made in India. While India is not known for its precision engineering or craftsmanship, its razors are of acceptable quality. In addition, due to the low labor cost in India, Parker can keep the price of its razors relatively affordable.
Number of Pieces
The Parker Variant is a two-piece safety razor. The blade mount is attached to the handle. This makes changing out the blades fairly easy and quick.
As you may have noticed in the pictures, the Parker Variant has an adjustment knob at the bottom of the razor. With settings between 1-5, you can fine-tune the blade gap to your personal shaving preferences.
Note: The adjustment mechanism is continuous, so you can do half-turns to dial in the blade gap.
When shaving with the Parker Variant, I found it to be a heavy razor compared to others. The aggressiveness depends on the adjustment setting so that it can be very mild or aggressive. Changing the blade gap was effortless; once dialed in, you could get reliably close results.
Of course, if you want a smoother or more aggressive shave, simply change the gap just a bit, and you can get the desired results.
The weight worked well for me as I could get a very close shave without applying too much pressure – even with thick stubble. The Parker Variant is a versatile razor that can be used for both beginners and experienced shavers.
Facial Hair Type
The Parker Variant is an excellent razor for all types of facial hair. It can handle both thick and thin hair with ease. You should have no problem getting a good shave after a single pass.
If you are susceptible to ingrown hairs or razor bumps, you can expect this safety razor to cut the hair follicle to skin level (never below skin level), which will help to prevent these from occurring.
On its most mild setting, the Parker Variant is rather gentle. This makes it a great razor for those with sensitive skin. Just be sure only to do a single pass (with the grain).
Like all safety razors, the Parker Variant is compatible with all double-edge blades. So have some fun testing different blades to see which works best for you. Some great options to try out are the Feather, Krona, Kai, and Personna blades.
Note: The Parker Variant includes five blades in the box.
Whenever we review a new razor, we always love to see what other people have to say about it. So after reading feedback from others on popular forums, online retailers, and YouTube, we have compiled a list of the most common pros and cons.
What People Liked
Most people loved the weight of the Parker Variant. It is a heavy razor that provides stability and precision when shaving. The vast range of aggressiveness was also a big plus for many people, making it the go-to razor for both beginners and experienced shavers.
What People Didn’t Like
As with most Parker razors, the biggest complaint (and most consistent) was the poor build quality. Since you can’t fully disassemble the razor to clean it properly, soap scum can build up in places that you can’t reach. Additionally, the adjustment mechanism may stop working after a while, which renders the razor useless.
Despite the complaints around the build quality, you can still expect the Parker Variant to last you several years with proper care. In addition, this razor’s degree of aggressiveness is unmatched for this price point.
Parker makes a wide range of safety razors; here are a few of their most popular models:
- Parker 96R: is a great beginner-friendly razor that provides a smooth shave with good performance. It has a butterfly opening that makes it easy to rotate the blades. No adjustment, though.
- Parker 99R is a heavier razor that is good for beginners. It is milder in aggressiveness than the 96R but still provides a smooth shave. The knurled grip provides good control, and the chrome plating gives it a sleek look.
- Parker 26C: is an open comb razor perfect for intermediate wet shavers. It is not as aggressive as other open-comb razors (i.e., the Muhle R41) but still provides a nice bite. In addition, this razor can cut through thick beards without ever clogging.
Here are a few other adjustable razors that compete head-to-head with the Parker Variant:
- Merkur Progress: One of Merkur’s most beloved adjustable safety razors, the progress strikes a perfect balance of form and shave experience. A great all-around razor for anyone.
- Merkur Futur: While sexy looking, the Futur is incredibly heavy and aggressive (even in the mildest setting). We only recommend this for the wet shaving experts reading.
- Rockwell Razors: Changing the blade gap on the Rockwell Razors isn’t nearly as convenient as the Parker Variant. However, once you find your preferred level of aggressiveness, you will be able to shave with this razor for years to come. Plus, they offer a stainless steel version (6S) that is much more durable than the Parker Variant.
There were a few other things we wanted to mention about the Parker Variant:
Given Parker’s popularity within the wet shaving community, we were surprised that they don’t offer a warranty on their razors. We recommend purchasing their products through a trusted retailer with a return policy should you need to return the razor.
Retailing for $57, the Parker Variant is a great value for the money. For context, the Merkur Progress retails for $70, and the Rockwell Razors 6S retails for $120. You can purchase the Variant from specialty online shave shops like Maggard Razors, Shave Nation, and West Coast Shaving or from Amazon.
Like other safety razors, the Parker Variant is best for facial hair use only. It is not recommended for use on head shaving or manscaping.