Best Merkur Razor for a Beginner

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by e.w, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. e.w

    e.w New Member

    What would be the best Merkur for a total beginner?

    And what's all this about open comb and safety bar? Which is better?

    Also, what blades would you recommend for a beginner ?

  2. Teacher

    Teacher New Member

    While I don't own it, the 34C (heavy duty) gets a lot of love. It has a safety bar. In general, open comb razors CAN be more aggressive, but that certainly isn't always true. I don't really know if the Merkur 11C is more aggressive than the 34C or not. Others with more experience will fill you in on this.

    Another one you might want to consider is the Edwin Jagger DE89L. It's beautifully made (most say better than Merkurs) and can be had for a similar price online. It's a smooth, fairly mild shaver, and I have yet to hear of anybody who dislikes it. I have the Muehle R89, which is the exact same head as the DE89L but on a different handle. I think the Muehle handle is nicer handle (it's nicely knurled), but the razor is more expensive. Look them both up to see which one you'd rather have.
  3. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Member

    Better than a Merkur, I think would be the Jagger 86/87 or 89 (same head, different handles) which are about $28 at:

    The fit and finish is heads and shoulders over a Merkur, and it is mild and easy to handle.

    Blades? Get a sampler. I use Feather or Kai, which are the two sharpest blades available; many here find them too sharp...

    Enjoy your new DE!

  4. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    If you want a brand new three piece razor and you think you want a Merkur, I think the EJ89 is a better buy. I have a Merkur 23C that is good, but I reach for my EJ89 or my Muhle R106 more than the Merkur.

    As far as 3 piece razors go, I reach for my Feather Portable more than any of the other 3 piece razors I have, and it only cost me $12.00.

    TTO razors are a completely different story.

  5. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I'm partial to my 34C a.k.a. the HD (Heavy Duty).

    Check this out. Click on the fourth link.

    Keep this one thing in mind - not everyone likes the same razor or blade or soap or cream or brush or way of lathering or...

    You get the idea. Take the opinions and suggestions here (there are some excellent ones) and try them yourself. Only you can tell what you like and what works or doesn't work for you. Make sure you report back and tell us about it. You may come up with something I haven't tried and might like :D!
  6. Medic_Coop

    Medic_Coop New Member

    I didn't like Merkur....but I LOVE my iKon Deluxe/Bull razor! I do feel that the best starter DE razor IMHO is the Gillette Ball-End Tech. YMMV.
  7. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Yeah, Ball End Tech fer shere ya'll. They can be had here on TSD for $5.00.
  8. NoobShaver

    NoobShaver BGDAAA

    Answers, in order asked:

    +1. I know you asked about Merkur, but Gillette techs are plentiful and cheap. They're a good starting place. That said, the Merkur HD (34c) is a popular choice. Never used one myself.

    Open comb vs. safety bar- they're both good. Pick a razor you like and go with it. Open combs are sometimes described as being more aggressive. That's not necessarily true. I like open combs but they don't shave any better than safety bars, in my opinion. I like the way they look.

    Blades- sharp ones with no nicks. Seriously, get a sampler pack and go through many different brands. That's the only way to figure out what will work for you. To see the range of opinion on this topic, search for "best blade" on this board.
  9. e.w

    e.w New Member

  10. Tony_B

    Tony_B New Member

  11. e.w

    e.w New Member

  12. Shaver X

    Shaver X Well-Known Member

    I started wetshaving with a Merkur 34C, a fine razor indeed, but recently got a DE89L. I have read that the DE89 can be a rather slippery if one has soapy paws. The lines on the DE89L supposedly give a better grip.

    While the handle on the DE89L is a wee bit slippery when held with soapy hands, it is still quite usable. The Merkur 34C has an excellent, knurled grip that can be securely held under nearly any circumstances. The DE89L gives shaves that are both smoother and less irritating than the 34C, however. The DE89L also has the best fit and finish I have ever seen on a razor, noticeably better than the Merkur's. IMHO all things considered, the DE89L is the better of the two.

    Muhle also makes some nice looking razors, such as the R89, that use the same head as the DE89 and DE89L. I don't own one of these, but assume that it is similar to the DE89's.

    You might consider a vintage razor. My Gillette Slim shaves as well as the DE89L and has a handle every bit as grippable as the Merkur's. A stellar razor if ever there was one! Fit and finish is top-notch.
  13. e.w

    e.w New Member

  14. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I have never personally used, seen or held either of these razors, so I am unqualified to comment of the difference.

    What I do want to comment on is the word "better". Only you will be able to decide that after you use them. I can say it's better, someone else could say it's garbage. Who are you going to believe? If you've spent any time at all on this forum, you know one's man trash is another man's treasure.
  15. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    The DE89L does not have an open comb. I hold mine in a pinch grip just below the head and never have any slippage issues.
  16. over5feet

    over5feet Active Member

    I have a Merkur progress and don't get along with it got it 4 weeks ago and had -1 shaves each time when I allowed to trade this will be up for offer then,
  17. Teacher

    Teacher New Member

    The only difference -- and it's hard to see in the pictures -- is the the L has raised lines along the handle, supposedly helping with grip. The regular 89 is smooth. That's why I bought the Muehle R89: same head, nice knurled grip. Here's where I bought mine (notice that this price includes shipping).
  18. Strohman

    Strohman Member

    Merkur Razor

    I'm a new guy too. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures and reading descriptions, but finally bought the Merkur 38C. I love it! It has a nice long handle, so it's easy to grip and it has some weight to it. It's easy to just let the razor glide across your face without any pressure from you while you hold it.
    Seems like an easy razor to learn on.
  19. ThePossum

    ThePossum Member

    I got a Merkur HD when I switched back to DE shaving a few years ago. A fine razor for sure. I did sell it after about 6 months of regular use because I got the RAD for vintage DE razors. Don't know about the EJ that the guys are touting but I am sure that so many of them can't be wrong about it. I would also recommend a safety bar DE rather than an Open Comb. While the technique is the same an OC can be a bit intimidating to some guys. At this point I like the OC much better than the safety bar DEs.

    My advice, don't be in a hurry. Take your time with the razor acquisition and learn to make good lather and the technique for getting good shaves as taught by mantic59 in his various videos.

    Then look around in the BST forums for one of the razors shown in the link that Steve posted above. I think you will be happier with one of those. You might also look at the razors at I have purchased a couple from Joe and he is a straight shooter and does not overcharge for his razors.

    As for blades I suggest you go to an online store such as Bullgoose shaving Buy the largest sampler pack you can afford and give them a try. You might also go to this post on SMF for more detailed info on the various blades. After a lot of testing I settled on the Gillette 7 O'clock Sharp Edge blades but would also recommend Iridium Super Stainless blades. I have also had pretty good shaves from the Derby Extra blades.

    But blades are more a personal thing and what I use may not work for you. That is why I suggest getting the blade sampler packs.

    Good luck and happy razor and blade shopping.
  20. California Cajun

    California Cajun Active Member

    Without a doubt I'd recommend the Merkur 34C, and for blades the Personna Prep Blades (used in hospitals, haven't used a bad one yet). For soap, I'd take Poraso, and start with a Robert Becker Scuttle (because they are inexpensive and effective) to experience warm lather. I'd top it off with some quality Musgo Real aftershave because it smells classy and has the least burn sensation.

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