DE Selection Guide

DE, DE, which one for me?


This is the tune nearly all of us have hummed at one point--so many options, so little information, and such a price difference! Who wants to buy a well built implement that will last generations, only to find out they over/under bought, or just plumb purchased the wrong razor for their wants, needs, and desired effect? Well, this page aims to clear up some confusion, and give you the knowledge to venture forward with the purchase of the RIGHT double edge razor for your wants and needs.

First off, What are your needs, desires, and end goals? Some of you may be fighting a horrid ingrown hair problem, where as others might be getting severe irritation from conventional products/methods, or the last group wanting the closest possible shave. Before you read any further stop and truly think about what your desired goal is. ANYONE can get a perfectly baby butt smooth face, the distinction is how long it will take them to do so, and how torn up their face will be. There must be a balance between closeness and comfort/irritation. Also, keep the size of the razor in mind. If you are a very large individual, a tiny razor is not going to be as effective, as it will be hard to hold and control and you will inadvertently apply too much pressure, and have miserable shaves. Conversely, if you are a smaller individual, a large razor will be a bit too unwieldy, be too large for you hands/face and be a bit laborious.

Adjustable or Fixed head?

There is no real NEED for an adjustable razor, however with an adjustable razor you are armed with the ability to essentially make the razor "mimic" other razors. If you wish for an incredibly close, aggressive shave, you can dial the razor in accordingly; just as you can dial it down and have an incredibly comfortable, smooth (yet not baby's butt smooth) shave. Many of us do not want to fumble with adjustments, and typically end up sticking to one "medium" not so aggressive setting on an adjustable anyways so adjustable, at least for me is not a major selling point in my eyes. Fixed head razors tend to be a bit more rigid and provide a more consistent shave. They are far less prone to break or "loosen up" and are far less expensive. It boils down to the type of person you are. If you truly feel you would get so involved as to change settings on different passes, etc. then the adjustable razor might be your ticket! Remember, the best is NOT always the most expensive.

Razor by Razor Review/Comparison

So you know you want a DE, but are still not sure which one? Here are several examples of DEs that are currently in production, and can be readily purchased at specialty stores or via the internet.

Fixed Headed Razors


Let's have a look a the fixed headed razors first.

Merkur Classic HD


This razor is recommend for EVERYONE. Aggressive enough to get a superb shave, but delicate enough to make it difficult to really make hamburger out of your face. A wonderfully comfortable, balanced and easy to use tool. This razor is perfect for those who have normal to sensitive skin, and a light to moderate beard. It can and will work well for those with tougher beards, but there are better solutions out there for you tougher bearded fellas, so keep reading. This razor is also quite reasonably priced, and will provide you with generations of use. Only complaint: The razor is a bit small. The long handle might be a better option for some of us bigger guys.

Razor Stats

  • Handle Length: 2.65in
  • Beard: Light to Medium
  • Skin Type: Sensitive to Normal
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Level of aggression (1-5): 2

Merkur Slant Bar


If the HD or Classic won't cut it, this ugly beast is your ticket. This is one of the most effective shaving device (save for a straight razor) and happens to be a favorite Safety Razor. Baby butt smooth shaves with zero irritation, but it does come at a cost. This razor has quite an aggressive stance, and if used improperly, or by an unskilled hand, will cause TREMENDOUS damage to your face. So, long as you keep it slow, steady and apply ZERO pressure, you should be fine. If you do NOT have an incredibly thick, tough beard, this is not needed, and a Merkur Classic/HD should do the trick just fine. If used correctly this is an incredibly effective tool, and CAN be incredibly easy on the skin. Great size and weight, but a bit small for those of us with large hands.

Razor Stats

  • Handle Length: 2.65in
  • Beard: Heavy to Werewolf
  • Skin Type: Normal to Leather Tough
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Level of aggression (1-5): 5

Adjustable Razors


Let's now have a look at the adjustable razors.

Merkur Progress


The Progress is just one of those all around fantastic tools, and is highly recommend for beginners. Good size, weight, adjustments, built well, bulletproof. This is the "Honda" of razors, just gets the job done, does not make any lofty claims or excuses. It isn't the closest shaving razor, it isn't the best looking razor, and it isn't the most comfortable or luxurious, but it is superb, and it is a fantastic deal. This razor can be dialed down to work wonders for those with a light to medium-tough beard, and sensitive to normal skin. The handle is a touch on the short side, but it is large enough to work acceptably for those with large hands.

Razor Stats

  • Handle Length: 3in
  • Beard: Light to Medium/heavy
  • Skin Type: Sensitive to Normal
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Level of aggression (1-5): 2-4

Merkur Futur


The Futur is an interesting tool. It has an incredibly heavy handle, with a light head. Very awkward and prone to slip when gripped with a wet hand. This razor sports an impressive range of adjustments and is highly effective, but it is strange to use, and not much entertainment or elegance to it. The blade loading and unloading mechanism is TERRIBLE, as it is cheap, and quite dangerous. Some are quite fond of the Merkur Futur, but others would qualify the Merkur Progress as a much better razor, and is less costly. So, the Merkur Futur is NOT recommended.

Razor Stats

  • Handle Length: 3.5in
  • Beard: Light to Heavy
  • Skin Type: Sensitive to Tough as leather
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Level of aggression (1-5): 3-4

Merkur Vision


The "bad boy" of the Merkur adjustable line. This thing is a monster, and provides the widest array of adjustments, the greatest handle size, the best weight distribution and the coolest "look". Although it is quite pricey, I feel it is a superb razor, and with its lifetime warranty, it is more of an "investment" compared to the aforementioned razors. This razor is superb for both the beginner (with the ability to REALLY dial it down) and for the advanced "baby face" junkie as this thing can be opened up to REALLY and I mean REALLY get serious. A vision opened to its widest setting is an incredibly fearsome force. This is a fantastic razor as it give you "growing room" so a beginner never has to worry about needing more firepower.

Razor Stats

  • Handle Length: 4in
  • Beard: Light to werewolf
  • Skin Type: Sensitive to Tough As Leather
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Level of aggression (1-5): 1-5

Overall

No one razor is truly perfect for everyone. Choose wisely, but the suggestion is to start with a Merkur Classic HD, and if you ever feel the need for a closer, more aggressive shave, upgrade to a Merkur Slant Bar.

Just remember... take your time and buy the right razor.... just look at the size difference of the two "bad boys"

Big difference from razor to razor... if you have any questions feel free to discuss them onto this page or start a thread in the Safety Razor Forum!