Our Top Pick for 2018: Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor
Read our full review.
Double edge (DE) safety razors are not a new invention; they have been around for decades and were the most popular shaving method for much of that time. King C. Gillette invented the modern version of the DE safety razor. He learned that a disposable product was the key to repeat sales and built his empire on selling blades to be used in his razors. Razor marketing has evolved considerably since then. Today, the most heavily marketed products consist of ever-increasing numbers of blades in disposable cartridges that are accompanied by a variety of gimmicks. These gimmicks are designed to appeal to the consumer but do not necessarily improve the quality of the shave they get.
More recently, men have been moving back to the old ways of wet shaving. They have found that one of the most valuable tools is the same DE safety razor that our grandfathers probably used.
The DE safety razor uses a single disposable razorblade that has two sharp edges, hence the “double edge.” There is a guard to protect your skin from all but the very edge of the blade, hence the “safety” in the name.
Quick View of Our Best Safety Razors:
#1. Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor
Merkur Solingen is a German company that has built a reputation for making quality shaving equipment. The company has been around since 1896 and is known for producing many different types of safety razors. Their products range from razors that have traditional heads to adjustable versions and those with butterfly heads. There are many who believe Merkur safety razors to be the best on the market.
The MLHSR model is also known as the Merkur 180 and is made in Germany. The long-handled 180 model has a very simple design. It is a basic three-piece razor that is simple to disassemble and reassemble. The MLHSR consists of a handle, a guard and a top. The blade is positioned between the unit’s guard and the head and you can unscrew the head to clean it. The ability to take it apart quickly and easily is important if the unit becomes clogged with hair. Note: To do this safely, it is best to place the razor upside down on a towel in order to unscrew it. Trying to grip the head can mean coming into contact with the blades.
This razor’s handle is one of its best features. As its name implies, the handle is a long one at almost four inches in length. It is therefore perfect for users with larger hands or those who just want to be able to get the best angle possible for each pass. Most safety razors have handles that measure three inches or less. A shorter razor handle can make shaving an ordeal for men with large hands or long fingers.
As with many of Merkur’s other razors, the handle on the MLHSR has knurling to make it easier to maintain your grip. The knurling means that there is less chance of the razor slipping from your grasp and causing nicks. If you have little experience with wet shaving, the last thing you want to worry about is having your razor slip from your grasp. The knurled handle also gives the razor a vintage and masculine look.
Because the MLHSR is a three-piece razor, blade replacement is simple when compared to a one- or two-piece razor. In addition, there are no moving parts and therefore there is less potential for the razor to become damaged and unusable over time. As with all other Merkur razors, the blade stays fixed within the head once you fully tighten it.
Weight is important when using a safety razor and this razor feels solid in the hand at 60 grams. The MLHSR has just the right amount of weight to keep you from having to do all of the work yourself. The length of the handle can also help with the razor’s performance.
Many users find the razor’s weight and ergonomics to make for an easy, comfortable shave. As with most safety razors, it will be important to learn the correct angle at which to hold the blade. Once you figure this part out, the rest should be simple.
• The Merkur 180 razor is easy to assemble. Simply unscrew the head from the handle and insert the blade between the top and the guard.
• It clogs less often than the typical disposable.
• The MLHSR’s aggressiveness allows it to cut through even a few days worth of beard quickly.
• It is constructed from machined steel which makes it feel sturdy.
• The long, knurled handle makes it easy to maintain a solid grip.
• This razor is aggressive in that the guard is positioned further away from the blade when compared to some other razors. The result is a closer shave but also a higher risk of cuts.
• Some users find it to be particularly unforgiving with lower quality blades.
• It is necessary to properly align your blades in the MLHSR to minimize the risk of nicks.
#2. WEISHI Long Handle Version Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor
Weishi razors are made in China and the brand has come to be associated with both quality and affordability when it comes to shaving tools. The Weishi razors offered on Amazon have all been rated four stars and above. It is considered an excellent budget option for newcomers to the world of wet shaving.
Like all of Weishi’s razors, this long handled version uses a butterfly head to make replacing and cleaning the blade easy. A cleaning brush is included along with the razor.
This razor comes with a handle that measures 4.33 inches which makes it perfect if you have larger hands. The length also allows you to use the razor without accidentally turning the twist-to-open (TTO) knob at the base, which is a problem some users face with the shorter handled versions. If you accidentally turn this knob, the doors will loosen and the blade will not be securely seated. This can result in nicks and cuts.
The WLHVB DE razor is easy to grip due to the deep horizontal and vertical grooves cut into the handle. These grooves create raised rectangles along most of the length of the handle. They allow you to get a good grip and to maintain full control of the razor even if your hands are wet. The TTO knob is clearly indicated and has a different texture and appearance from the rest of the handle.
The butterfly head on this razor means that you do not need to unscrew the head to replace the blade the way you would with a three-piece razor. Instead, you replace the blade by twisting the handle and this causes the hinged sides of the razor to open up. It is important to note that TTO razors are prone to being clogged by soap scum. To ensure that this razor lasts for a long time, it will be necessary to clean it thoroughly after each use.
The WLHVB razor weighs in at 72 grams, which makes it 12 grams heavier than the Merkur 180. This extra weight helps to make it easier to use and to control.
Many Amazon reviewers consider this razor to be very forgiving, which is one of the factors that makes it ideal for the newcomer to wet shaving. The blade gap is less than other razors, which makes it much less aggressive. Along with its relative mildness, its weight and the ease of gripping the handle are two more factors that help it to provide a consistently good shave.
• Most users find this razor’s length and weight helpful when it comes to getting a comfortable, nick-free shave.
• This razor comes in at a low price point, making it affordable for those who want to try wet shaving on a budget.
• The grid pattern of the knurling on the grip is not pronounced enough to make a solid grip on the razor uncomfortable.
• This razor comes with a set of Ying Jili blades, a travel case and a cleaning brush at no additional cost.
• Some users find the butterfly head hard to clean.
• Because the razor is relatively mild, you may need to make more passes if you want a particularly smooth shave.
• Some users have found that the butterfly head loosens on its own, resulting in a loose blade.
#3. Parker 96R Long Handle Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor
Parker Safety Razor has been in business for over 40 years and is widely considered to be one of top brands when it comes to shaving tools. According to the company’s website, their razors are hand crafted, precisely engineered and rigorously quality tested. Along with Gillette, Parker Safety Razor was one of the pioneers of DE razors in the US. Parker safety razors are manufactured in India.
This is another one-piece TTO razor that is both affordable and easy to use. It has a stylish black handle and a butterfly head. This might be the perfect razor for you if you want to avoid the additional steps in changing blades that you have to take with a three-piece razor. The Parker 96R is all-metal and can thus provide you with many years of service before you need to replace it.
The P96R measures four inches exactly, which is shorter than the Merkur and the WEISHI but still longer than the standard three-inch handle. It is long enough to be usable by people with long hands but still compact enough for those with small hands to maintain full control. It could be seen as the perfect middle ground between long and short handled razors.
The grip it provides is one of this razor’s strong points. The handle is made from brass and has a knurled finish that allows you to grasp it firmly. In addition to being functional, the black knurling gives the razor a stylish and distinctive look.
As with most of the TTO butterfly opening razors, changing blades is very easy. Unlike the WEISHI, there is no knob at the base of the handle. With the P96R, you open it by holding onto the turn screw below the head and twisting the handle to open the butterfly doors. The TTO mechanism on this razor is extremely smooth and easy to operate.
At 65 grams, the P96R is on the light side when it comes to DE safety razors. This is despite the fact that it is constructed entirely from brass. However, the head is the heaviest part due to all its moving parts. The weight of the head does make it well balanced.
The combination of the ease with which you can replace the blades, the grip and the low cost make this an excellent razor for anyone who wants to get into wet shaving without a large upfront investment. The newly redesigned head is nickel-plated and contains a guard bar to protect your skin. The blade gaps have also been made even, which means that you can get a close shave without any irritation. While this razor may not be as aggressive as some other Parker razors, it is still fairly aggressive and will deliver close shaves but with a lower risk of nicks.
• The butterfly head makes it easy to replace blades and to clean the razor.
• The TTO mechanism is smooth and easy to operate.
• The black knurled grip is both stylish and functional.
• It is a mild enough razor for new wet-shavers but still aggressive enough for more experienced ones to find it effective.
• The weight of the head makes it easy to get a clean shave without applying much pressure.
• Because of the weight of the head, some users find that this razor feels top-heavy and awkward to use.
• There is no knob at the base of the handle. The location of the turn screw under the head and at the top of the handle can cause some users to open the head accidentally while shaving.
• The head on this razor is big which may be seen as an advantage to some but a disadvantage to others. Some users find that the thickness of the head makes it difficult to shave the area between the nose and the upper lip as well as below the jaw.
#4. Perfecto Double Edge Long Handled Safety Razor
Perfecto razors are made in China and are affordably priced. They are also very well reviewed on Amazon with their entire lineup getting above four stars. The company’s website states that their shaving products are made with quality construction to ensure the best shaving experience.
The PDELHSE has a three-piece design and is chrome plated for that classic safety razor look. It comes in at a low price-point, making it perfect for wet-shaving newbies and for those who are moving away from cartridges. They will be able to experiment with DE razors without spending a lot. The three-piece design pioneered by King C. Gillette is less expensive to produce which is one of the reasons for the low cost. Along with being cheaper to produce, the three-piece design can be cleaned more thoroughly than butterfly opening razors.
The handle is 3.5 inches long, which makes it the shortest on this list of long handled razor. This is just half an inch longer than the standard length for short handled razors. However, that length makes the PDELHSE ideal if you have average or smaller-sized hands.
The handle is properly knurled over most of its length, which makes it easy to grip during use or when you are unscrewing it for cleaning or to change blades.
As with any three-piece razor, the process of removing the blade involves unscrewing the handle from the head. This allows the head to come completely apart and for the blade to be inserted easily. It is also useful for thorough cleaning of the razor.
This razor is considered to be very aggressive, which means that it provides a much closer shave than other DE safety razors. The aggressiveness is due to the angle of the blade. Because of this, new users will have to be extra careful until they gain some experience using the PDELHSE.
At just over 45 grams the PDELHSE is on the light side and is in fact the lightest of the razors on this list. However, the handle is noticeably lighter than the head section allowing it to still provide a consistently close shave.
• Most reviewers on Amazon find this razor to be of good quality for its price.
• It is constructed of metal which means that it has the potential to last for a long time.
• He knurling on the handle ensures that you will be able to grip it firmly.
• It has an easy-to-clean three-piece design.
• It is relatively inexpensive.
• The chrome plating can chip.
• Some reviewers on Amazon have had the screw that connects the handle to the head break.
• Some users find it to be overly aggressive.
• The handle is relatively short when compared to other long handled razors.
You use the handle to grip and control your razor. The length of the handle is one of the factors can affect the quality of your shave and your shaving experience. For example, a longer handle can make it easier for individuals with larger hands to use the razor; however, a razor with longer handle may be more difficult for those with average-sized or smaller hands to use.
The texture of the handle also plays a major role in how easy it is to use. A razor that slips from your grasp easily is frustrating to use but that it not the only problem. Slippery razors are also more likely to cause nicks and cuts. The fact that your hands will be wet as you shave can make this more likely. The knurling or texture on the grip is therefore one of the factors you should consider.
Ease of Blade Replacement
The task changing blades varies depending on the style of DE razor you choose and your level of experience. While butterfly opening razors are considered to be simpler, you will be able to change blades on a three-piece razor almost as quickly with a little practice.
The weight of your shaving tool is important because it helps you to shave without placing a lot of pressure on the razor. Remember, it is easy to nick yourself if you are inexperienced and this is likely to happen if you have to force the blade against your skin for it to be effective. Pressing the razor into your skin can also increase the likelihood of razor burn and other forms of skin irritation.
How well does the razor actually shave? Looking at features is one thing, but how well do they all work together? It is important to look at the experiences of people who own the razor to determine how well it functions in the real world.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
The benefits of DE safety razors include a reduction in clogging since a razor with just one blade is less likely to clog than one with multiple blades. They will also cut the hair at skin level with each pass thus making ingrown hairs and irritation less likely. Along with those benefits, blades for a DE safety razor are also much less expensive when compared to multi-blade cartridges. Higher quality blades for DE razors can go for as little 15 cents per blade online if you buy them in bulk. This means that you can shave for a whole month with a new blade each day for about $4.50. If you use a blade more than once, you will be paying a fraction of that cost. All of the razors above will save you money, if you are presently buying cartridges. They are all capable of lasting for a long time. It is up to you to decide which features are most useful and will help provide a quality shave.