Merkur 23C Review (AKA Merkur 180 Long Handled Safety Razor) – Buying Guide
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In today’s review and buying guide, I take a look at the Merkur 23c – also known as Merkur 180 or Merkur long-handled safety razor.
At the risk of sounding more like a biased salesman, I must mention the fact that this classic 3-piece double edge safety razor is made in Germany by Merkur Dovo Solingen, and the company has been operational and provides high-quality products such as german engineered razor blades, double edge safety razors, top-notch shaving brushes and cut-throat razors (also classic straight edge razor kits) for more than 100 years.
The experience of the manufacturing company shines through in the high quality and the numerous positive reviews the unit receives on online markets (currently more than 6.500 reviews on Amazon.
Merkur 23C AKA Merkur 180 (Summary)
Now the question you are probably asking yourself is why we are making such a big fuss about this product. Is it one of the best safety razors?
A better question is what makes it so popular with so many men? Well, let us dive into the subject of what men all over the world love and dislike about this product.
Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor Features
- German made
- Measures 4” (105 mm) in length
- Handle diameter 11 mm
- 3 piece razor
- Sports a chrome plated finish
Overall Length: 4 inches/ 105 mm
Handle Length: 3.8 inches/ 98 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.4 inches/ 11 mm
Weight: 2 ounces/ 58 grams
Finish: Chrome Plated
Type: 3 piece
Knurled handle: Yes
Blade included: 1
Please note that the star ratings below are our ratings – it has nothing to do with how the product is rated on sites like Amazon.
We understand that finding the best traditional safety razor can be a bit of a hassle, if not impossible – been there – done that. Either they have imbalanced handles resulting in uneven shaving or just do not get as close as you would like them to.
Some even feature very short handles making them seem as though their creators thought kids grow beards. However, amidst all that confusion, there is some hope, some good news.
There are a few safety razors that are of high quality and that provide a decent shave featuring almost perfect balance and great handles.
The Merkur 23c long handle safety razor is an old style razor designed to save the day and keep razor burns at bay.
What You Should Expect From the Classic 3-Piece Double Edge Merkur 180 Razor
First, let’s talk about construction.
The designers settled on an old school safety razor style, all-metal design complemented with a chrome finish. The chrome finish gives the unit a shiny manly look. It, however, does more than simply add to the unit’s aesthetics.
Its chrome acts as a protective layer for the metal construction, preventing it from rusting. This feature and its ability to slow corrosion are most important given that the usage and storage of the razor take place in the humid environment of the bathroom.
However, while the chrome plating plays a big role in protecting the unit from rust and adding to its beauty, you should be warned that the plating could chip with time. This is an almost inevitable process.
Chrome plating is not as durable as the finishing of stainless steel razors. However, the stainless steel units have price tags that are through the roof.
In addition, if you are the kind of man who enjoys taking hot showers and shaving at the same time, you just might have to exercise a little more caution with this unit. The metal construction causes it to retain heat, which might end up feeling very hot on your face while shaving.
You will be pleased with the weight of this safety razor. At only 30 grams, Merkur MK-23C will provide you with ample control. Additionally, this weight will have you not straining to put on additional pressure on the razor while shaving.
It is also important to note the fact that the unit does not come with an adjustable design. This is to mean that after replacing the razor and tightening the screw, you cannot adjust the positioning of the blade.
As such, you will have to make do with the 30-degree blade inclination that comes pre-built in the unit. This angle is perfect for newbies to wet shaving but is slightly restraining for those who have been wet shaving for some time and love tinkering with the razor for a perfect shave.
Is Loading the Blade Easy on Merkur 23c?
Now, being well balanced and attractive to the eye is only one part of the equation. A perfect safety razor also has to be easy to load the blade. The blade replacement frequency will depend on how often you use the razor.
Overall, whether you replace it every week or every fortnight, it is great to have a razor that makes the loading process a breeze even for a newbie to the art of wet shaving. By purchasing the Merkur 180 (23c) long handle safety razor, you also get 1 stainless steel blade to start you off.
The blade is smooth and last for a long time. In addition to this, the blade comes with a warning. You should only rinse it after use. Wiping it puts you at the risk of cutting yourself.
With that said, watch the video below for a brief overview of the contents of the box when you make a purchase. The video will also take you through the assembly, disassembly, and attachment of the blade. You will be pleased to note that the process is simple.
While handling the blade for mounting on the safety razor, make sure that you hold it by the sides. This will ensure that you do not cut yourself. The Merkur 180 long handle safety razor is a 3-piece design which means that it is constructed with three major parts; the base, guard, and handle.
A single screw holds these parts together. This screw, though playing a vital role in holding the safety razor together becomes the weak point and is most susceptible to rusting over time.
The aggressiveness of the Merkur 23c Long-handled Safety Razor
This is yet another feature that is most important to put into consideration when choosing your best safety razor. The aggressiveness of a razor for men determines the margin of error it affords the user and consequently the required wet shaving skill to use the razor.
The Merkur long handle safety razor is designed with minimal blade exposure, a closed comb design, and is relatively lightweight. All these features together make it a mild safety razor perfect for beginners learning the best techniques of wet shaving.
But being a mild safety razor does not mean that experienced wet shavers cannot achieve smooth shaves with this razor. Combined with an extremely sharp safety razor blade such as the Feather will ensure that the razor provides a close and smooth shave. Using very sharp blades, however, requires you to exercise great caution and practice wet shaving techniques properly to get the perfect shave.
Try a variety of sampler packs to find your perfect fit. Manufacturing razor blades is an art in itself, and what works for some, does not work for others.
This Merkur reusable razor, given its mild shaving feature, provides a greater margin of error than aggressive razors such as Muhle R41 and the Merkur 37c. The latter products are best for experienced users who have already honed their wet shaving technique.
Merkur has been producing quality safety razors for the longest time. Their consistency in quality has earned them respect in the industry and popularity. All the razors the company manufacturers, including the Merkur 180 feature a cross knurl grip.
This grip pattern has almost become the trademark of the company. The cross knurling pattern is preferred and loved by many since it provides a decent grip courtesy of the depth of the knurls. The grip provided by this Merkur unit might arguably even be better than that of the Muhle R89 safety razor.
Towards the end of the razor’s handle is an engraving of the Merkur company name and where the product is manufactured. Below this part is a protruding bit, which adds to the uniqueness of the razor.
This bulged unit still features the cross knurl design pattern but with the addition of two grooves running horizontally on the handle. These grooves add to the already decent grip provided by the unit. This way, even if the unit slides in your hand while shaving, you will be able to catch it at its bottom.
From the name, you understand that the razor is long. The handle measures about 3.8 inches. Adding the length of the head, the length comes to 4 inches, which is perfect for men with large hands.
But as mentioned before – the handle is slim – only 0.4 inches/ 11 mm in diameter and for some men, this will be a drawback. If so, then you should consider the siblings like the Merkur 39c slant bar or the barber pole handle Merkur 38C which has a similar length (as does the Merkur 20c), but a thicker handle. But despite its length, the unit is surprisingly light weighing only 58 grams.
What Are Consumers and Other Reviews Saying?
The general feeling of users towards this old razor style is that of love. They like the solid build, quality, and affordable price tag.
Many who have proceeded to buy and use this product are newbies to wet shaving. Most of them are transitioning from the use of cartridge razors to the big leagues of safety razors. Most of them are happy with the results they have gotten and proceed to add that the unit made the transition a breeze. The high-quality razor and its mild shaving feature made it perfect for them.
Another reason that made users who have taken the time to review this product happy was the fact that they saved hundreds of dollars with the razor vs cartridge razors. Cartridges are expensive and need constant replacements that are just as expensive as the complete razor we have reviewed. Purchasing this razor has proven to be of great value.
Women who also used cartridges were impressed by the money-saving prospects and made the switch. They have gone on record to detail just how much they have saved by using the Merkur long-handle safety razor. Now you probably are wondering what women use this product for.
Well, it is not for the beard that they do not have. They use them to share their pubic hair, under the arms and legs to look all feminine and attractive. But aside from the monetary gain experienced, most women loved the fact that they did not get any razor burns and that the shaving was smoother with this safety razor.
There is a lady who described the smooth shave as butter-soft. Is it the best safety razor for sensitive skin? Sensitive skin and ingrown hairs have special needs, so I would say probably not, but it is pretty good, especially when paired with a DE blade like Astra.
As for the learning curve, it is short even for an individual who has never tried wet shaving before. The guard on the blade is designed and positioned at 30 degrees. It forces users to shave at this angle.
But even as it does the blade positioning for you, you still have to be careful to apply just the right amount of pressure. Applying too much will have you nicking yourself and having a few drops of blood in your sink.
The Merkur 23c long handle unit is great but it is not perfect. It has some shortcomings.
Some individuals complained about the bolt that held the three pieces together. They recorded that the bolt broke after several months of use. Another complained that the chrome started chipping off after some time of use. But aside from these two complaints, the reviewers pointed out that the razor is generally of very high quality and a bargain at its price.
As pointed out above, this unit comes at a very affordable price. The only downside to it is that it is not available in many stores, but there are some great deals on it on Amazon. In the event you have not made any blade purchase, you should start with the sampler pack.
The sampler pack contains blades from different manufacturers. This pack is best as it allows you to test out different brands without having to throw out a pack of blades considered unsuitable.
As mentioned in our summary in the introduction – there are many good reasons why this has become a bestseller. It has many good features – and a very fair price. Merkur 23c long-handled safety razor is a great choice – one of the most safe razors both for men and women.
In addition to “normal shaving”, it is also a great choice if you want to shave your head as well as shave your legs. It is a good alternative to the best bald head shaver if you don’t want to go for an electric shaver. Another option if you like the length of the handle, but prefer a thicker and heavier razor there is the Merkur 38C. It is important to note that the unit comes with a 3-piece design.
This design makes it very easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean. It is unfortunately not adjustable and as such, you will have to use the blade at its pre-positioned 30-degree angle. With the right technique, you can get a smooth, close shave.
Last but not least, the double edged safety razor is insanely cheap and affordable for all and will serve you for a reasonably long time. As our Merkur 23c (180) review has shown, this is a good option if you want to get into wet-shaving.
My name is Don and welcome to Luxury Shaving Razors! The idea behind the site was born in 2016 after trying to find a decent safety razor for my own personal use. I decided to document my journey.