Merkur 23c or 180 as it is also known for is another timeless Merkur safety razor. For a long time, Merkur 23C was one the few long handled safety razors out there. It took Merkur and other companies some time to realize that many men prefer longer handles on their safety razors. And that women also use safety razors when they shave legs – something that physically is hard to do if you use shorter handled razors like Merkur 34C.
+ Long handle
+ Easy to assemble
– Not very aggressive *
* This thin handled lightweight razor is very mild making it more suitable for men with soft whiskers. Or for women who wish to shave legs with a safety razor
- Long handle. If you have bigger hands, I find the longer handle to be more comfortable in your hand
- Is a three-piece safety razor. Cap, base plate and handle are all separate pieces making the razor blade switching somewhat more bothersome compared to a two-piece razor
- Very mild razor. I wouldn’t recommend this for men with thick and coarse beard
- Good price. Like all Merkur products, the average quality is high. So the ROI (return on investment) and Price/Quality ratio are good
- Knurled handle. This razor has a good grip, but you should still take care as there is no such thing as a slip-proof safety razor
Merkur 23C is delivered to you in a very practical and boring looking package. While it keeps the razor safe when being transported it doesn’t cause curiosity nor anticipation when you hold it. This is just something to consider should you think gifting this to someone.
Merkur 23C is a long-handled light built safety razor. There used to be only a few options before if you wished long handled safety razor. That’s why 23C has enjoyed considerable popularity. But now there are many new competitors out there that produce heavier razors with long handles. To read more about some of the competitors click here
Weight: 2.1 oz (60 g)
Length: 4.1″ (10.5 cm)
Made in Germany
How Does It Feel In Your Hand
Merkur 23C has a long knurled handle which is great if you have bigger hands. As mentioned earlier the smaller handle can feel quite uncomfortable. Especially if you are not used to safety razors and feel somewhat insecure anyway when using it. It is also rather light when compared to many other popular razors. I personally enjoy heftier razors because I appreciate the more pronounced tactile feel I get from them.
It has a nice knurled handle providing a good grip even with soapy hands. Shaving under the shower is still not recommended though. Metal, unlike rubber, can get slippery no matter the quality of the knurling.
Where long handle and lightweight build comes handy is when you are considering shaving your legs or head with it. You want that extra reach coupled with mild shave and comfortable grip.
What About The Design
Merkur 23c is a three-piece double edge razor meaning the base, cap and handle are all separate pieces contrary to two-piece razors where the cap is attached to the base-handle piece. The blade is placed between a cap and base which in turn is screwed to the handle. The switching of the razor blade in a two-piece is slightly quicker and more intuitive. It is still a solid working design if somewhat clumsier than the two-piece model.
The razor is made out of zamak and covered with chrome. Just like most razors in this price range made by DOVO Merkur and other companies.
Merkur 23C comes only in the chrome-plated finish. The head and the handle are also combined with other parts from other models. So in a way, they are not exactly Merkur 23C anymore but hybrids. E.g., Merkur 25C has the same long handle but uses an open comb head design. This means it is more aggressive hence more prone to cut you if you get sloppy while shaving. Then there is also Merkur 33C which has the same head as the 25C but more traditional shorter handle.
Will It Shave?
Merkur 23C comes with one default razor blade. I would recommend to try out other blades as well. Not all blades work for everyone. Feather, Astra, Personna – to name a few that I would recommend to try out.
The blade gap of the Merkur 23C DE razor is narrow giving you a mild, smooth shave. Some say that 23C and Merkur HD 34C both share the same head and only difference is the handle. One is, of course, two- and the other three-piece so they are certainly not identical. But it is true that both are located in the middle of the aggressiveness scale and provide mild efficient shave. 23C is maybe even little less aggressive because of its weight and narrow blade gap.
Increase the quality of the shave with a right razor blade and remember not to palm the head while shaving and you will get an excellent shave. If you happen to have a coarser and thicker beard, then you might be better off with a more aggressive razor though.
Comparison: Merkur 23C vs Parker 99R vs Vikings Blade The Vulcan
I made this comparison between razors that have comparable handle lengths and same aggression profile. So they should feel in your hand and on your skin similarly. Just click on the name to read a more detailed review about these items.
Parker 99R is 9.6 cm / 3.8” so it is almost 1 cm / 0.4” shorter. The Vulcan is longer by 1 cm / 0.4” compared to Merkur 23C, being 11.8 cm / 4.6” . Both 99R and The Vulcan are heavier than 23C. 99R is almost twice the weight with 113 g / 4 oz while the Vulcan is 70 g / 2.5 oz.
While all three razors are considered mild, I would rank 23C the least aggressive among them. 99R and The Vulcan are a tad more aggressive.
What separates Parker 99R and Vikings Blade The Vulcan from Merkur 23C is the way how the razor blade is loaded. Both 99R and The Vulcan have butterfly doors which are a very convenient way how to switch the blades. Just turn the knob at the tip of the handle, and the butterfly doors will open. And insert a new blade. Close the doors, and you are ready to go.
There is also a price difference. Both 23C and 99R are priced similarly, but The Vulcan is more expensive. I highly recommend you to read my in-depth reviews to get a more detailed overview from these items.
To summarize the key differences:
- Parker 99R is almost twice as heavy making it a rather bulky razor
- Parker 99R is 9.6 cm / 3.8” but it still feels comfortable if you have bigger hands. Less so if you are considering this for leg shaving. There you want all the extra length you can get.
- The Vulcan is 10 g / 0.4 oz heavier. While the difference is noticeable, it doesn’t affect your shaving
- The Vulcan is 1 cm / 0.4” longer than Merkur 23C, so you have all this extra length making it great if you want to shave your legs or head with it. Or you have mighty bear paws and anything smaller feels unnatural in your hands
- All three give you mild shave, but Merkur 23C is least aggressive of these
This is a great razor and highly recommended for beginners. The long handle and forgiving nature make it comfortable to use while you learn the art of wet shaving. Keep in mind that this is by no means very aggressive razor. But if you happen to have sensitive skin and/or soft beard or you just are not overly compulsive over the quality of the shave, then this razor might suit you