Merkur 42C Review and Buying Guide (A.K.A Merkur 1904)
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Today we do a Merkur 42c review and buying guide.
The Merkur 42c is an open comb double-edge safety razor – it is also known as Merkur 1904 (and on some sites also as Merkur 1906).
Anyway, let’s see if we can enlighten you during this article.
Merkur 42C (Summary)
If you have a thick beard, then you know the agony of maintaining a clean and presentable look.
Shaving your thick beard with a closed comb can be a challenge. You’ll have to make more than 3 passes to achieve a clean shave.
But here’s the thing: 3 passes are way too many.
They will negatively affect the skin. If this is a problem that you often face (no pun intended…) – you should check out our best razors for sensitive skin article. You could opt for an aggressive razor like the Merkur 37C slant bar or go for the classic Merkur 42c open design comb.
In this piece, I’ll guide you through the details of the Merkur 1904 – what it has to offer and why experts recommend it.
With that said, let’s get cracking.
Not Ideal for Beginners
The Merkur 42c has an open comb design.
This means that the blade has much more exposure compared to closed comb razors.
Beginners are possibly clumsy and certainly haven’t mastered the art of shaving. As such, with open comb safety razors such as the Merkur 1904 or Mühle R41, there are higher chances of nicking and cutting the skin.
As you learn to master shaving techniques, experts recommend you use closed combs razors like the Merkur 42C.
These offer extra room for error. Once you get comfortable with wet shaving with a beginner safety razor such as the sibling Merkur 23c, you can progress to the Merkur 42C.
Because of its open comb design, experts are overly cautious in recommending it to their followers.
However, for those who have mastered the art of wet shaving, the Merkur 1904 helps them to easily achieve a close and smooth shave free of nicks and cuts.
This might sound like a contradiction, but it’s not. Though the open comb design exposes more of the blade, the Merkur 1904 isn’t an aggressive slant razor.
With that said, let’s pause for a moment and have a quick run-down over the features, pros, and cons of the Merkur 42c AKA Merkur 1904.
Merkur 42c Features
- Sports an open comb design (though it also has a closed comb design variation)
- The general design borrows from the Gillette 1904 safety razor
- Has a 3 piece design
- Has an even chrome finish
- It is sufficiently aggressive
- It comes with 1 blade
- It measures 3.2 inches long from its tip to the base
Overall Length: 3.2 inches/ 83 mm
Handle Length: 3.0 inches/ 77 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.5 inches (13mm)
Weight: 2.3 ounces/ 65 grams
Finish: Chrom Plated
Type: 3 Piece Open Comb
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.
What Should You Expect from the Merkur Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor?
Right off the bat, you will feel more of the blade’s surface on your skin.
But despite its blade exposure, experts insist that it is not the most aggressive razor on the market. Out of 10, its aggressiveness is rated 6.
Perfect for Beard 5 Days Old
The blade exposure allows the safety razor to cut through beard growth that’s 5 days old.
In comparison to the closed comb design, the open comb design will have minimal drag.
The Blade Dulls Fast
But the open comb design has a downside – the blades get dull fast.
But before you write it off, this is not such a big deal since blade replacements are cheap.
Get this: for a pack of 100 blades, you part with only $12. That translates to only 12 cents for each blade.
Even if you were to replace your blades after a single shave, the total cost will still be lower than that of a Gillette refill.
It’s Not Advisable to Use It Daily
Yes, I know I said this blade is not as aggressive as other safety razors.
But still, it’s not advisable to use the razor daily. Why?
Well, with the increased blade exposure you run the risk of irritating your skin or nicking yourself.
If you read online reviews, you’ll notice that some men claim to use the safety razor daily without experiencing any of the above repercussions.
Related reading: Merkur 38C Review
However, other men report some irritations. For this reason, you might have to test it out yourself. But generally, a 5-day old beard is best for open comb design safety razors. The shave will be clean and without irritations and nicks.
Designed for Small Hands
If you have large hands you’ll experience some discomfort when handling this safety razor.
The Merkur MK-41c’s traditional double edge safety razor design borrows greatly from the Gillette classic. The handle is not long or thick. It has more or less the same dimensions as the very popular Merkur 34c HD.
It is therefore perfect for individuals with small hands.
Is Blade Loading Easy?
In comparison to the 2-piece razor design, a 3-piece design has slightly more blade loading processes.
But regardless of the steps, the loading process is easy. Furthermore, you can interchange the handles with one from another variant if you please.
Though rated a 6/10 for aggressiveness, the Merkur 42c is not recommended for beginners.
You need to have mastered basic wet shaving techniques to effectively and safely use this safety razor. But how does a beginner gain basic wet shaving skills?
Simple – by practicing with less aggressive razors first and watching videos of wet shaving experts explaining the techniques.
The internet is flooded with such YouTube videos.
Now back to the Merkur 1904.
Its open design is perfect for tough bearded men. If you need a tool to mow down that thick beard with minimal passes, the Merkur 1904 is the razor for the job.
But on the downside, ready yourself to replace the blades often. Fortunately (as pointed out before), the cost of DE blades is not a huge expense.
Related reading: Merkur 39C Review
On this site, I’ve reviewed quite a several safety razors.
However, none of these safety razors feature a grip like that of the Merkur 42c. The safety razor has a whopping 6 sides to it. Some people call it an antique design with a hexagonal shape and diagonal knurling.
I guess the correct term would be Art Deco – anyway – it looks classic. If the idea is to shave like great-grandpa and even look the part, the Merkur 1904 will hack it for you.
Unfortunately, the knurling design on the handle does not provide a superior grip to most of the best Merkur razors reviewed.
This is because its grooves are shallow. And when you add a relatively flat bottom into the picture the handle becomes extremely slippery in wet hands.
Also, it’s worth noting that, unlike other safety razors, the handle is not round – it’s hexagonal.
This means that the handle has 6 faces. The hexagonal design elicits mixed reactions from men. Some find it attractive while others couldn’t care much about it.
The Merkur measures 3.2 inches in length. At this length, it is not the longest razor on the market.
However, what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in balance and weight.
What Are Other Reviews and Consumers Saying?
Consumers and sites that have done a Merkur 42c review are generally happy with the design and the results of this safety razor.
Its ease of cutting through their thick beards and effortlessly achieving a smooth shave is impressive. What’s more, wet shaving newbies reported their success in using this “aggressive” razor without sustaining nicks or skin irritations.
Can It Be Used for Manscaping?
Some consumers have suggested using the Merkur razor for manscaping, especially in the chestal area.
Well, while it’s a great idea, the skin on the chest is much thinner than that on the face. Extra caution should be taken when shaving.
If you are a newbie, you should learn the basics of wet shaving first before manscaping with this safety razor.
Doesn’t Have Enough Bite
One consumer has gone on record to state that the razor doesn’t provide enough bite for experienced wet shavers.
Additionally, for most experts, the Merkur 42c’s weight is a concern. The safety razor is light. This in itself is a good thing. However, the light design causes some users to push down on it.
This may result in some cuts and nicks.
And also, though the handle is short, consumers do not have a problem censuring a firm grip when shaving. Most consumers state that longer handles present them with handling problems in terms of balancing the weight of the blade.
Mix and Match
Three-piece designs though bulkier in comparison to two-piece razors have major benefits.
They allow users to mix and match the handles. This is to mean that the razor can be removed from one razor head and attached to another razor head for a custom feel.
Also, you should note that the hidden parts of Merkur 1904 are not smoothened out. This is an intentional design “flaw” by Merkur engineers. The rugged look of the inside parts is intended to reduce production costs. All Merkur safety razors share in this.
However, the Merkur Futur razor and the Vision are exceptions to the rule.
If every nook and cranny was to be polished, the safety razor will cost more with no significant improvement in performance and appearance. Additionally, while the knurling design on the handle has a beautiful effect, the resulting grooves aren’t quite as deep.
For this reason, the grip isn’t as secure as you would expect and there is a higher risk of slipping. Unfortunately, while the hexagonal design is unique and attractive, it complicates the learning process.
Overall, the Merkur 42c is an affordable razor perfect for men with thick stubs. Though it’s not exactly a beginner-level razor, it passes for intermediate-level.
Where Can You Get the Merkur 1904 Razor?
You can get the Merkur 1904 from several online stores such as Amazon, Maggard Razors, or West Coast Shaving.
I hope that you have found our Merkur 42c review useful – happy shaving!
Today's review and buying guide, we take a look at Merkur 42c open comb safety razor - also known as Merkur 1904 (on some sites also as Merkur 1906).
Product Brand: Merkur Safety Razors
Product In-Stock: InStock
- Perfect for shaving thick beards
- Very reasonably priced
- Achieves a smooth and close shave in minimal passes
- It's shorter compared to the Merkur 34C. It’s perfect for individuals with small hands
- It has superior German quality
- The grip isn’t impressive
- The blade dull fast
- It’s not ideal for beginners
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.