Merkur Safety Razor
Merkur safety razors, made in Germany, are considered some of the best double edge adjustable safety razors in production today. Here's a look at Merkur's current offerings...
The Merkur Safety Razor, made in Solingen, Germany, are some of the finest double edged safety razors made today. If the old Gillette Adjustables are the '57 Chevy of the wet shaving world, then the Merkur safety razors are most certainly the Porsche. The fit and finish is quite good and reviews are generally positive from the less expensive classic non-adjustables up to the more expensive adjustable Vision models.
Merkur makes two kinds of safety razors: adjustable and non-adjustable.
The classic non-adjustable Merkur razors include the Heavy Duty DE Safety Razor, the Heay Duty Slant Safety Razor and the Long Handle Heavy Duty Safety Razor (38C). Each of these razors has a "heavy" feel, a true precision shaving instrument opposed to a plastic disposable. The Heavy Slant Safety Razor is especially adept at shaving thick, coarse beards with its slanted shave head. Each of these razors use quality double edge blades.
Merkur's adjustable safety razor line features the Progress, Futur and Vision. The adjustables begin at around $50 and go into the $150 range for the upper end models. The difference between adjustables and non-adjustables is that the adjustables, well, adjust! You can change the blade angle from shallow to more agressive depending on how close a shave you want. As a rule of thumb, you should generally start out with a shallower setting, then work your way up. The following offerings by Merkur all are adjustable.
At the $50 range Merkur offers the Progress Adjustable Safety Razor. This is an excellent choice for someone new to wet shaving, or even for old hands searching for a replacement double edge razor. The Progress is a true workhorse and made with the Merkur quality. The reviews for the Progress are quite good. Most commenting that shave quality is excellent, time between shaves in the 36 hour range, and most reported having saved money because the double edge razor blades are far cheaper than disposable cartridge type blades.
The Merkur Futur adjustable safety razor has a very nice, clean, polished look. It is adjustable via a twist knob at the bottom of the handle and changing blades is literally a snap. The top blade guard comes off with a push of the thumb, making blade changes quick and painless.
The Vision is the high-end Merkur safety razor. This model is a bit expensive: starting at $120 and up to $150. It is quite beautiful. While most wet shavers will opt for the less expensive Progress or Futur models, the Vision stands in a class by itself. The blades can be changed via a butterfly mechanism at the top. The razor itself is quite hefty and does take some getting used to if this is your first venture into the world of wet shaving.
With all of the Merkur safety razors, and with any double edge razor for that matter, proper wet shaving technique must be employed: nice hot, wet face, quality shaving soap applied with a quality (badger) brush, and (especially for newbies) a very shallow adjustment setting at first, with gentle strokes. Note that you don't want to press down like you would with a disposable, just gently glide the razor over your skin with little to no pressure at all.