Merkur 34c Heavy Duty (HD) has been around since the 1930s and for a good reason. For many, it is the best DE razor available. It performs well, looks nice and is priced just right. Loved by experienced wet shavers as well by those that are just venturing into the realm of real shaving. It’s a classic – also known as Merkur HD, Merkur Heavy Duty, and a Merkur classic.
+ Good grip
+ Easy to assemble
+ Mild efficient shaver
– Short handle
– Because of the mild nature of this razor, it is not suitable for a course and thick beard
- The small standard handle can be uncomfortable in bigger hands
- Comes in chrome and gold finish. The same two-piece head design is also used in models 38C and 43S but because of the added weight and handle design they act and feel differently in your hand
- Merkur 34C is a two-piece safety razor. This makes switching of the razor blade very smooth and easy
- It is considered to be a moderately aggressive razor. This translates into reduced risk getting cuts while shaving
- Good quality/price ratio. For the money you pay for it you get very good safety razor
Dovo Merkur safety razors are all packed into a very dull looking yet practical box. Nothing exciting about it but it does what it is supposed to. Razor sits snuggly inside the package protecting it while being transported. But I wouldn’t consider the original package as something to give as a present if you are looking to impress someone
The standard Merkur 34C HD model is a small yet sturdy razor. While I enjoy the weight, I am not very fond of the handle length. You can get used to pretty much everything, but the question is, should you? Especially if there are myriad of safety razors out there. If you are concerned about this issue, also read the comparison section.
Weight: 2.7 oz (77 g)
Length: 3.3″ (8.3 cm)
Made in Germany
How Does It Feel In Your Hand
Merkur 34c handle is relatively short meaning it is somewhat cumbersome to use in my experience when you have big hands. This is, of course, arbitrary as many have found that the small handle is more natural to work with. My own glove size is 8.5 – 9 and I find it a tad too short. Yet for most, I think the size is just perfect. But if you are not as agile with your big hands or have a condition like rheumatoid arthritis or some other disability, I do recommend ordering a long handled version. Or alternatively check out also: Merkur 23C, Parker 91R and Edwin Jagger 89L
The weight and balance of the Merkur Classic are excellent. Too much weight and you start to assert too much pressure on your precious skin hence nicks and cuts become more common. Too little and you don’t feel the blade gliding over your skin giving you a lousy shave in the end. But 34c is perfect.
The knurling of the handle is terse. Simple yet elegant and whats best – highly functional. You get a solid grip even when your hands are wet and covered with lather. But to be on a safe side, I still wouldn’t recommend using it while showering.
What About The Design
Merkur 34c is a two piece double edge razor meaning the base is attached to the handle. It has closed comb head. The cap has a long screw that goes through the razor blade into the handle fixing the blade neatly. All in all this design is very easy to use and sturdy. To switch the razor blade just unscrew the cap, drop it on your palm screw upward, pop in the new blade and screw back the handle.
Merkur 34C HD as already mentioned comes in one standard handle length either in chrome or gold finish. The same two-piece head design can also be found on the long handled Merkur 38C model which is 30 g heavier. And on the 43S which is almost 150 g and has a stainless steel handle. Because of the added weight and handle designs (38C has barber-pole for example), I would consider them to be separate razors.
Will It Shave?
Merkur 34c comes with one default Merkur razor blade. Though it is sharp, it is not Feather or Astra sharp, both being the best razor blades around in my humble opinion. So don’t be disappointed if you get less than satisfactory shave the first time you use your razor.
The blade gap of the Merkur 34c DE razor is narrow giving you a mild, smooth shave. Its closed comb design and modestly aggressive built makes it more suitable for softer-less coarse whisker
If you are looking something more aggressive, then I recommend also reading the following reviews: Merkur 37c, Merkur 39c or Muhle R41
Comparison: Merkur 34C vs 23C vs 38C
These razors are all similar the way they shave. All three are considered mild shavers. Thus less chance to nick yourself when shaving. But what makes them different from one another is the size and length.
Merkur 23C and 38C both are longer. Both are 2 cm / 0.8 in longer than the 34C. This makes it more suitable for those that have bigger hands or prefer longer handles. 23c is a three-piece safety razor, so switching razor blades is somewhat more bothersome. It is also 17 g lighter. It has knurled handle with the same quality knurling as the Merkur 34C. And just like the smaller and sturdier HD, it provides mild shave.
Merkur 38C is heavier. It weighs 111g or 3.9 oz and has a barber-pole handle. The head is the same two-piece design as Merkur 34C. The added weight makes it a little more aggressive but it still quite mild. It mostly comes down to what you prefer. Some men don’t enjoy heavy razors and then again some do.
If you are looking for a safety razor with a mild profile yet want to get a longer handle then read the full review by clicking on the name of the model. There is also another safety razor that is considered to be an excellent option for a beginner wet shaver. This razor is called Edwin Jagger 89L (EJ89L), at the end of that review, I also summarize the key differences between EJ89L and 34C.
To summarize the key differences:
- Merkur 38C is heavier by 30 g / 1 oz and longer by 2 cm / 0.8″ compared to the 34C
- Merkur 23C weighs 17 g / 0.6 oz less and is longer by 2 cm / 0.8″ compared to the 34C
- 23C has a three-piece design which makes it little less user-friendly
- Both 34C and 38C have identical razor head design
- All three razors are mild and suitable for beginners.
- Because of the longer handles 38C and 23C are also suitable for leg and head shaving
With its simple industrial design and high performance it reminds me of another design icon iPhone. Steve Jobs was all about delivering you a great user experience with matching aesthetics. I find Merkur 34c very much doing the same in the field of wet shaving.
This is a great razor and highly recommended for beginners and experienced wet shavers alike. If you happen to be for any reason hesitant because of the short handle, then consider also the models we discussed under comparison. Remember also to try different razor blade once you get your new razor. Some blades perform better than other for each individual.