I am relatively new to double-edged (DE) razor shaving, so I did a little bit of research before deciding upon the Merkur HD #34C. As with most guys, I started out with the cartridge razors that include three or more blades and some other gimmicks that claim to give you a closer shave than anything out there. I still have my Mach3 for emergencies and traveling, but the Merkur has now become my razor of choice at home.
To start off, the 34C is a short razor. The handle is shorter and fatter than a traditional DE safety razor, and the HD in the name indicates that it is heavy as well. The 34C has a good heft while in hand and lets you take advantage of gravity while shaving by allowing the razor to glide with little pressure. This is advantageous for the novice like me because it lessens the chance of applying too much pressure and causing needless nicks and cuts. The short handle allows for good maneuverability and allows for shorter, quicker strokes.
The only moving parts in this razor are the end screw-cap and the top plate. The screw-cap twists and releases the top plate, allowing you to replace the razor blade easily and safely. With this simplicity, it’s no wonder DE safety razors have been such a staple for almost a century. I can imagine the 34C lasting for a lifetime with occasional maintenance.
The grip on the razor is very good as well. The metal is cut into a diamond pattern and doesn’t slip at all with wet hands.
The angle of the cut is not so aggressive and allows for easy shaving. It takes a few passes to get to a level that I’m really satisfied with, but that might be something better resolved with sharper blades.
Overall, the Merkur 34C is a great little razor and can be had for an extremely reasonable price ~$35. Match it up with a whole routine of pre-shave, cream, and post-shave, and you’re looking at great value-for money. Check it out if you want to get into DE shaving and are on a budget.