Merkur Futur (700 series) Review – Is This the Best Adjustable DE?
Looking for an adjustable DE razor that you can count on? Well, look no further than Merkur Futur! The famed German Merkur Solingen Company has been manufacturing top quality safety razors, affordable shaving brushes and straight cut razors with their Dovo brand as well as top-notch safety razor blades since 1906 introducing adjustable safety razors in the 1980s. This adjustable razor is considered an industry leader featuring innovative design, a wide range of adjustment provided and superior craftsmanship of production.
The Merkur Futur’s range of adjustment is divided into six increments of blade angle; 1 being the mildest with the least exposure of the blade and up to 6 providing a shave that is considered by most as certainly aggressive enough for all but the nastiest growth.
This great functionality comes with a simple twist of the top part of the handle, slightly below the head.
While probably not necessary for men with mild beards, experienced shavers with thicker growth could find this adjustability to be just what they have been looking for.
The design team at Merkur pulled out all the stops in coming out with a manly, ultra-modern looking product. They have come up with an innovative blade loading procedure, long handle, large head and a smooth, silky finish. Nice!
Please note that there are 3 versions of this razor: A classic Matte Chrome (referred to as 700), a Polished Chrome version (701) and a Gold-plated finish (702).
An adjustable razor isn’t usually considered a beginner’s item. That said, for the adventurous with more than a mild beard, by reviewing shaving tips and available videos, time and money can certainly be saved by learning the ropes of wet shaving.
Merkur Futur – Features of This Futuristic Masterpiece
- Adjustable – easy selection of 6 different settings of blade exposure
- Choice of three different, smooth finishes: classic gold plated, shiny chrome and satin chrome
- Smooth handle well shaped to provide a good grip and ease of blade adjustment
- Total length is 98 mm (3.9 inches)
- German made
- Overall length of 4.3” (11 cm) and a hefty 4.4 ounces (126 grams)
Overall Length: 4.3 inches/ 11 cm
Handle Length: 4.1 inches/ 95 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.51 inches/ 13mm
Weight: 4.4 ounces/ 126 grams
Material: Stainless Steel
Finish: Matte Stainless Steel/ Polished Chrome Stainless Steel/ Gold-plated
Type: 2 Piece Closed Comb
Knurled handle: No
Blade included: 1
Expectations From Merkur 700 Series Adjustable
True to its name, this razor looks like something you would see in a futuristic Sci-Fi movie. The chrome finish and wide handle add to the beauty of the design. They are both smooth and the handle comes with a tiny indentation close to the top handle.
Now, it goes without saying that this product is a real beauty, and with a quick glance its way you will surely agree. But looks are not the only thing that the razor has got going for it. The adjustable razor has also been made to be highly functional. Speaking of which, it might not seem like it but adjustable’s have been in the industry for quite some time now. As a matter of fact, Merkur has been manufacturing these functional pieces of art for decades now. Over the years, it has established itself as the leader in the market.
The Futur functionality comes in its versatility; this beauty is as versatile as they come. While I would not recommend it for beginners, newbies to the art of wet shaving can still use it, but with a bit of caution and practice. If you are a newbie, be sure not to get carried away. Do not turn it to the third setting as you will surely nick yourself. As a matter of fact, if you are a just getting into wet shaving, you should make sure you read through this particular guide – it will be a great help in keeping nicks to a minimum.
Now, in the event that you have not yet made it to a newbie, in that you have never touched a safety razor in your life, I recommend that you start with a more forgiving one, such as it’s sibling Merkur 34c. As you get a hang of wet shaving, gain confidence, and know this style of shaving is for you, an upgrade to the Futur is a logical next step. Nothing wrong with learning to walk before you run! In case you really want to jump right in, my best piece of advice is sure to set the Futur to its 1st or 2nd setting.
Before you get a hang of your technique, you should not be tempted to dial up the aggressiveness to see what it is all about. The goal is to find the setting that fits your preferences, rather than reaching the highest setting. The razor, though safe, can bite. Why wakes the sleeping lion? That said, if you are a skilled wet shaver, you will soon love the close shave presented by the Futur. It will leave your skin feeling as smooth as a baby’s butt.
Is Loading The Blade Easy?
Most of the safety razors by Merkur have been designed with a screw that holds the blade in place. The Futur is one of the exceptions that is designed with a clip. This innovative design is unique and improves in the process of loading blades onto the safety razor. You, however, ought to be careful as the same design can be dangerous if you are not paying proper attention during the change.
Here is why.
The process is simple, no question about that. All that you need to do to remove the blade is pop the side of the top plate. The top plate features a notch on its side. You will use this notch to pop open the top plate. Once opened, you will load the blade on the razor head or on the inside of the top plate – whichever you prefer. The last step is popping the top plate back into place. As we pointed out simple right?
Now the dangerous part comes when the safety razor is handled improperly during the process.
You should at all times have it in the back of your head that you are handling an extremely sharp blade. It may not be sharp enough to give you the desired results when wet shaving hence the need for a change, but do not be mistaken, it can and will cut your skin even with the slightest improper touch.
To help you load the blade onto the Futur in the proper and safe way, I have taken the liberty of searching the internet and providing you with a step-by-step guide I feel details all you need to know.
The steps according to the guide are detailed below (of course these are super simplified).
- Pop the top plate using your thumb
- Separate the popped plate with the safety razor body and remove the blade
- Load the new blade
- Pop the plate back into place
Last update on 2018-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Futur is truly one unique Merkur razor. Why? Well, it comes with 6 adjustable settings that reveal more of the blade as the settings are increased. The first setting will provide you with a mild shave. It is however not exactly a number 1 shave.
Let’s put things into perspective. On a scale of 1 to 10, how aggressive is the lowest Futur setting? Well, it is at about 3 or 4.
Some professionals who have been practicing the art of shaving for a long time will set it at about 3 or4 and will perform a 3 pass shave. Believe it or not, this is more than enough to provide the professionals with baby butt smoothness.
Here is a video from GeoFatBoy where he reviews the Merkur Futur.
You might notice that during the third pass, GeoFatboy, a professional wet shaver testing out the Futur in this video – lowered the Futur setting to 1 and shave against the grain. This technique is useful especially for those who have sensitive skin on the neck. Using a less aggressive setting translates to lesser irritation.
Now, when you are changing the settings, you should ensure that your hands are dry to avoid any slippage and cutting yourself. Also, always hold the razor by the sides of the razor head away from the sharp edges of the blade.
Non-adjustable Merkur razors feature knurling on their handles. Some of these include the bestseller Merkur 34C and the long handle Merkur 23C. Futur however, makes use of a smooth handle. The only source of the grip is the indentation close to the top.
The indentation is designed to guide users to the exact sweet spot to hold the razor while shaving. This indentation provides both a firm grip and the correct balance point.
This Merkur razor is at the top end of size and weight in its class. In comparison to its counterparts, the Futur is more like a man than a boy of a safety razor. In length, it measures 4.3 inches long. The handle is beefy. This adds some weight to the razor and makes it perfect for men with large hands.
The long handle does, however, provide the user with greater control. There is more surface to hold onto and greater leverage reduces chances of slippage.
What Consumers Have to Say
In most online platforms including Amazon, the Futur has garnered high ratings. The reasons for these are obvious and well deserved. Truth be told, Merkur has a well-earned reputation that precedes itself – one of providing top quality products to its consumers with no exception.
Combined with its adjustability feature, the Futur has won over the hearts of many men.
However, it is important to point out that if you are just starting out on wet shaving and have not mastered the wet shaving techniques – the proper techniques, you may well be better to choose a less aggressive tool to learn with. Sorry to say but it is not designed with novices specifically in mind.
On the other hand, if you have sensitive skin or a thick beard or both, the Futur is perfect for you. It will allow you the luxury of exposing more of the blade without being overly aggressive. In this regard, it is reputably better than the open comb Muhle R41.
There are some consumers who have gone on record to complain about the size of the razor head. It proves to be bulky and makes it harder to reach the mustache area. For this, however, there are some consumers who have come to the rescue and stated that pulling the nose to the side does help in reaching the nose area.
Despite all the complains, one thing is for sure, this is a quality product and provides a high-quality shave for those with a solid wet shaving technique.
Merkur Futur vs Other Adjustable Safety Razors
Merkur has a firm grip on this particular segment of the market with their Futur, Vision (discontinued) and the classic Progress – coming from the same company, how do they stack up against each other?
- On the Merkur Futur, the cutting edge is just a little bit behind the safety bar – this gives protection and smooth shaves. On Merkur Progress, the cutting edge reaches slightly beyond the safety bar, making the shave less smooth and a tad more aggressive
- The handle on Futur is more slippery than on the Progress – Pro tip: Rub a bit of Alum block on your fingers to prevent this
- The longer handle on Futur (4.1″/104 mm) vs the standard Merkur Progress (3″/ 76 mm) makes it a better choice for a person with larger hands. Please note – there is also a version of the Merkur Progress with a long handle available that measures 3.75″/ 95 mm
- Most users that have tried both reports that it is a bit easier to load the blade on the Futur
- Progress is easier to adjust due to a better grip
- Design-wise, Merkur Futur is a beauty while Merkur Progress is a bit more basic or classic
At the end of the day – both are great performers capable of smooth, irritation-free and close shaves but not recommended for beginners. It comes down to personal preferences which one to pick. Actually, a lot of experienced wet shavers have both and love them equally!
The Merkur Futur is available on several online e-commerce sites. But to get the best deal, Amazon is a safe bet as the best platform to make your purchase.
There are several options on Amazon for a complete kit, there is a 4 piece set that has a matching Silvertip badger shaving brush (this is why the set is a bit expensive), a frosted glass shaving bowl and a matching stand to hold all the components. Available as a classic matte or polished chrome. Very stylish!
There is also a gift set that is very reasonably priced and comes with a Merkur Futur Safety Razor, Bowl, GBS Shaving Soap, Badger Brush, Stand and Amber Col Conk Aftershave .
Since this razor has become a very popular choice among wet-shavers, several add-ons has become available, some made by Merkur and some by 3-party manufacturers. In addition to the kits mentioned above, there is a stand and cases and travel bags available.
Merkur 700 is a great choice for the intermediate or experienced wet shaver. It is a great pick if you have sensitive skin – and/ or slightly bigger hands.
The adjustable Merkur Futur double edge razor is perfect for experienced wet shavers looking for flexibility and versatility with regards to the aggressiveness of the blade. That is also why it is one of our top picks for best safety razors overall as well as a great choice for sensitive skin.
When in a high setting, the razor provides a smooth, close shave.