In this segment, we are going to compare Merkur 34c against Edwin Jagger DE89, two top-of-the-line double edge safety razors with a cult fan following. I mean, these two safety razors have been used and loved by generations of men. If it’s your first foray into safety razors, choosing the right model can be very tricky.
The two products you have narrowed down to share many common features, which is mainly why most people struggle to choose one over the other.
To help you choose the right weapon for your shaving style and needs, I have compared and contrasted the key features of these two models side by side.
I have divided this post into 3 sections, sparing no detail. We will start off with the individual reviews of these two models to help you understand the unique benefits and possible downsides of each razor.
Then we’ll move onto highlighting the main similarities and differences. Let’s hope that at the end of this long discussion, we will have a clear winner for you.
So let’s get down to the business:
Table Of Contents
In-Depth Review of Merkur 34c
Made in Germany, Merkur 34C is a chrome-plated razor with a heavy-duty head and short handle. While the short length of the handle might raise a few eyebrows, it actually enhances the shaving ease and efficiency manifold.
You see, with a short handle, you will be naturally inclined to put minimal pressure on your skin while shaving. The weight of the head will do the job for you. The well-knurled short handle is superbly grippy which significantly adds to the maneuverability.
All these factors simply result in a buttery smooth and clean shave with minimal nicking or razor burn.
Having said that, if it’s your first safety razor purchase, you could possibly nick your skin a few times in the beginning. Shaving with a double-edge safety razor takes practice and patience. The key is to take it slow, put light strokes, allowing the weight of the equipment to do the job.
A couple of shaving sesh will be enough to make you realize that your plastic disposable razors are no match for the phenomenal shaving experience delivered by a top-notch safety razor like this. Yes, it’s going to take a couple of extra minutes but it’s totally worth it.
The only downside of using an ultra-sharp DE razor is that you can’t be careless, even for a moment. You got to pay attention to detail, keep your working handle steady, and avoid putting unnecessary pressure. Failing to do so will have consequences that will involve blood and band-aids.
The 2020’s upgraded unit comes with two sets of Merkur Platinum blades, which, in my opinion, is your safest bet if you have a sensitive or injured skin. The blades have the right amount of aggressiveness for someone who is still adapting to the cut-throat sharpness of safety razor blades.
Gillette 7 o’clock Super Platinum Blades also a great blade choice, especially for men having long, dense and coarse growth to take down. And if you are ready to fully commit to the art of shaving and are confident about your shaving skills, don’t think twice and go for Feather blades.
Cleaning the razor is as easy as it gets. If you shave regularly, you just have to wash the head under running tap water and let it dry. For weekly or bi-monthly thorough cleaning, gently remove the top part of the head, sweep off the debris with a small brush and clean the insides with water.
That’s all it takes. The razor doesn’t require any additional lubrication to keep the moving parts in good condition. While lubing up the tool won’t hurt, it’s not at all necessary.
- Perfectly weighted design with a heavy top and short handle.
- Ensures great balance, the weight alone takes care of the shaving task.
- Cuts extremely close to the skin, resulting in baby-bottom smooth cheeks.
- Even women can use it to keep their lady bits hair-free and velvety-smooth.
- Takes practice to learn the nuances of properly shaving with a DE razor like this.
- The knob at the bottom loosens up occasionally. Not a big deal but still worth pointing out.
In-Depth Review of Edwin Jagger DE89
You have probably seen your father, grandpa or that uncle with gorgeous beard using Edwin Jagger DE89 for years. Now that you are also planning to switch to a safety razor, why not start with this classic? Its 3-piece design comprises a top cap, base plate, and a handle.
Fine chrome finishing gives a plush, vintage vibe while the long handle makes maneuvering the razor a breeze for the rookies. Just like Merkur 34C, it’s an extremely well-weighted safety razor, where the weight of the head does the job for you.
The long, solid and smooth brass handle is lighter than I expected. But it nicely complements the hefty top, creating a great balance point to minimize the risk of nicking and rashes. DE89 also offers a shorter and a regular-size handle. While my personal favorite is the old school, exquisite chrome plated silver color razor, you get 21 more handle color options to choose from. The faux-ivory version has a very sophisticated and vintage feel to it.
Its old-fashioned closed combed head has a fixed angle and gap (of about 1 mm). The blade alignment is spot-on, enabling the blades to cut very close to the skin. Great weight distribution, blade alignment and moderate aggressiveness of the blades make it a perfect starter kit for beginners.
I won’t say the razor is too mild, especially if you mostly shave short and fine beard. It’s just not as aggressive as Merkur, that’s it. Moderate aggressiveness is actually an advantage for people with razor-bump and rash-prone skin. However, if you have thick and coarse facial hair, you will need something more aggressive.
The unit box includes 5 Derby blades to help you get started right away. You can fit just about any DE blade into it. It’s a no-brainer that you should opt for a premium, ultra-sharp blade if you want to get the most out of this razor. However, if you are still learning the ropes, stick to the Derby blades for a few months
Cleaning the accumulated foam, gunk and trimmed hair bits is as easy as it gets. Just wash the head under tap water. You don’t have to take apart the blades every time for cleaning. However, for a thorough periodic cleaning, you can easily take apart the head cap and base plate and clean the insides under running tap water. It will easily flush out all the dirt and debris.
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- Provides a clean-cut shave, irrespective of the hair length.
- Does a fine job of neating up the neckline and sideburns as well.
- Perfect weight distribution for an amazing balance.
- The handle comes in three different sizes and 22 different colors/finishing.
- Moderately aggressive, perfect for beginners and people with sensitive skin.
- The handle is not knurled, meaning it can be slippery if you shave with wet hands.
Merkur 34c vs Edwin Jagger DE89: Head-to-Head Comparison
This is the section where I clearly mark the basic similarities and important differences between these two models. Let’s call it the battle royale of razors where both will eventually emerge victorious. Then why are we even doing this, you ask?
Because the user experience could widely vary from person to person. It’s hard to tell whether Merkur or Edwin Jagger will suit your shaving style and hair type the best without comparing them side by side.
I don’t think I have to emphasize the point that both Merkur 34c and Edwin Jagger DE89 cuts like a hot knife through room temperature butter. Both will leave your face baby-bottom smooth with just a couple of feather-light strokes. Both models utilize the weight of their heads to maximize skin contact to improve shaving closeness and efficiency.
Having said that, Merkur 34C is heftier than Edwin, which is why the former has a more tangible blade feel. It is more suited for extremely thick and coarse facial hair type. DE89 is comparatively less aggressive and thus, more geared towards thin and fine-textured beard.
One thing to keep in mind here is that more aggressive razor blades come with more responsibilities. You can nick yourself very easily with Merkur if you put a wee bit extra force or rush it up. Edwin Jagger is way more forgiving, making it an ideal safety razor for beginners as well as for people with extremely sensitive skin.
Bottom line, in this round of Edwin Jagger vs. Merkur, both are winners for different user groups. Edwin Jagger is a safer option for newbies and people with sensitive skin issues. Merkur is a classic bare-bones shaver, ideal for people with extra thick and coarse hair and solid shaving skills. As simple as that.
While both models come equipped with a heavy-duty head, Merkur 34C is a two-piece design where the bottom plate of the head is permanently attached to the handle. Jagger DE89, on the contrary, is the three-piece design which lets you take apart the top cap and bottom plate of the head. It doesn’t add much to the shaving performance but definitely makes cleaning easier.
So the winner of this round is Edwin Jagger DE89.
Design and Ergonomics
Edwin Jagger, with its smooth chrome, finished brass handles have a very visually-pleasing appearance. The surface has no grooves, knurling or criss-cross lines which lends it a more refined and classy look.
Merkur is known for its no-nonsense, robust and superbly functional design. The ruggedly knurled handle on 34C allows for a firmer grip which not only enhances maneuverability but also reduces the risk of nicking.
The men in my house and many other houses I am familiar with prefer grooved handles on their razor because it’s more practical. However, this doesn’t mean Edwin Jagger’s handle doesn’t ensure a good grip and control. The chrome finish and perfect size to weight ratio make the handle feel great in hands. It’s just that you got to be careful not to use wet hands while shaving with Edwin Jagger, otherwise, it could slip and leave behind a nasty cut on your skin.
I would say Merkur 34c wins this round by a small margin.
Size of the Razor
Merkur 34 is particularly noted for its short handle which works as an advantage by ensuring a stronger grip and balance. If you want a longer handle, you can always go for the Merkur Barberpole handle.
Edwin Jagger comes in three different handle sizes. The long handle version I am reviewing here is a better option for people with large hands. It’s really a personal preference, which is why I will give one point to each model.
It’s a tie, folks.
Closed Comb Design
Both models sport a closed comb design, meaning the blade edge is a straight bar with a couple of grooves on it. The straight bar comes in direct contact with the face, allowing smoother strokes with a lesser risk of injury. Merkur razor has more grooves along the bar than Edwin Jagger which allows for a little extra precision.
Honestly, it doesn’t make a huge difference. But still, Merkur 34C has an edge over DE89 in this round.
I’m sure you have read what I am about to say in other articles, that both are very capable safety razors and we can’t go wrong with either of them. It’s a cliched line because it’s true.
Shaving is a very personal experience. Merkur 34C has always worked better for me because I have a thick and coarse stubble. I love the feeling of its rugged, barber-style handle with criss-cross lines in my hand. I have been shaving with DE razors since forever, so the aggressiveness of Merkur doesn’t bother me.
But if you are transitioning from disposable razors or electric shavers, you better start with a more forgiving Edwin Jagger DE89. It will deliver a uniform, clean-cut shave on fine-textured beard. And when it comes to aesthetics, Edwin Jagger is impossible to beat.