Merkur Progress Review (500 Standard and 510 Long Handle) – Classic Adjustable Safety Razor
In todays review we tak a look at a long time classic – the Merkur Progress – also known as Merkur 500 (standard) and the 510 version (Long Handle).
A while back I reviewed the Merkur Futur. This is the razor that looks like it popped in from the future. While many gave it a big thumbs up, there are those who did not quite take to it. If you are one of those who thought that it was too big for your comfort or you just prefer classic-styled safety razors, you may fall in love with the Merkur Progress.
Lets get some of the basics out of the way first:
- Sports a chrome finishing
- Have 5 adjustable settings
- Comes in two variants – the standard version (500) and the long handled version (510)
- Standard version: 3.35″
- Long handle version: 4.14″
Long version specs inside the (Parentheses)
Overall Length: 3.35 inches/ 85 mm (4.14 inches/ 105 mm)
Handle Length: 3 inches/ 76 mm (3.75 inches/ 95 mm)
Handle Diameter: 0.4 inches/ 12 mm
Weight: 3.17 ounces/ 90 grams (3.6 ounces/ 102 grams)
Finish: Chrome Plated
Type: 2 Piece
Knurled handle: No
Blade included: 1
Merkur Progress is an adjustable razor from the German manufacturer that has many experienced wet shavers drooling for both their safety razors, but also for their shaving brushes and their straight razor line called Dovo.
Unlike the Vision and Futur from the same brand that is futuristic, the Progress is classic and bears a two-piece design, sports a smooth handle and comes with a plastic knob at its base which allows setting adjusting.
While there are some features that may make this safety razor not the friendliest for newbies, it only takes a little effort to learn and perfect your wet shaving skill to get the best from the Merkur Progress. This razor can be as aggressive or as mild and is as versatile as other safety razors available on the market. It all depends on the razor settings you tune it to.
The beauty of having an adjustable razor like the Merkur Progress is that the aggressiveness of the safety razor can be altered via a knob. As such, if you have sensitive skin around your neck, you can shave the hair around your neck while on a low setting and dial it up a notch when shaving your chin, cheeks, and mustache.
With that brief introduction, let’s delve deeper into the review of the Merkur Progress.
Last update on 2018-08-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What Should You Expect From The Merkur Progress Adjustable Safety Razor?
Many of the non-adjustable 2-piece safety razors on the market are usually pretty straightforward to piece together. The Merkur Progress, however, is slightly different. It features some special quirks. As such, to avoid any disappointments as a result of improper assembly, you should ensure that you read this review to the end before you get your own and start wet shaving.
First and foremost, before you attach the top of the plate, you should look at both sides of its top. On one of the sides is a small marking engraved on the body. This marking is meant to line up with a tiny triangle engraving made on the base plate on the head.
Failure to line these up will result in an uneven blade exposure and consequently a bad shaving experience.
Secondly, it is important that you tighten the knob properly. Place your index finger on the razor head and ensure that the blades have a symmetrical exposure.
Merkur Progress provides a maximum of 5 aggressiveness settings. Changing the settings is easy. All you have to do is adjust the knob. Yes, the knob holds the blades in place and still is used in adjusting the aggressiveness levels.
This adjustability feature makes this razor one of the most popular in the market. It affords wet shavers the luxury of determining the level of aggressiveness they are comfortable with. However, on the flip side, it is this adjustable feature that gives many a bit of bother.
The Merkur Progress comes with two variants, the long-handled version, and the short handled version.
Both of these variants feature a similar shaving head. The only difference noticeable is the length of the handle. If you have large hands, the long handle version will accommodate you better and will feel more comfortable.
Like all other Merkur safety razors, the Merkur Progress features a chrome finish. This finish is attractive to many. I should point out that not all parts feature a chrome finish though. The hidden parts are unpolished but this neither affect the finish and beauty of the product nor the shaving efficiency of the razor.
Is The Blade Easy to Load?
As pointed out above, the Merkur Progress comes with a 2-piece design. With this design, loading the razor blade should not be a challenge even for newbies. The loading process does, however, require some getting used to.
While loading the blade onto the razor, you will have to remember to align the markings on the side of the top plate and that on the side of the base. If you do not align these marking, the knob meant for adjusting the blade’s aggressiveness will not work as it is meant to.
Aside from aligning the marking, you also will have to get the index finger on the top as you tighten the knob. This is also imperative for alignment purposes.
This video demonstrates the process of loading the blade.
The Merkur Progress is an adjustable safety razor. The razor comes with a whopping 5 adjustment settings. These settings are designed to make the razor more versatile. The razor can tackle all kinds of beards from regular to coarse.
Just like on the Vision(no longer in production) and Futur models, Merkur Progress has an adjustable system that allows you to adjust the angle of the blade in five different levels. Start at Level 1 and when you have learned the technique (it takes at least 1-2 months), you can proceed to the next step and so on. The idea is not that you need to reach the highest level, but that you find just the setting that gives you a tight but still comfortable shave.
The adjustment settings of the Merkur Progress are varied by a knob on the end of the handle. Please note that all adjustable razors vary slightly in the aggressiveness of the individual knob settings. This is courtesy of their manufacturing tolerances.
What this means is that the number one setting on one Merkur Progress does not deliver the same cut as that of another Progress razor. However, the cutting performance is the same in all of the safety razors.
This might rub some wet shavers the wrong way, but it is definitely not a downgrade in performance.
Another factor that you should take note of is the angle in which the razor is held. Most fixed head razors that are made to hold the blade perpendicular to the handle. But the Progress adjustable razor is different. The blade bends significantly. This bending, as a result, changes the angle of the blade when you are shaving. The angle is shallower with the Merkur Progress.
Most Merkur classic razors feature some sort of knurling. The Progress comes with a smooth handle. The only feature that helps improve the grip is the protruding adjustment knob on the side of the head.
Many first time users of the blade have gone on record to complain about the lack of knurling. They experienced more slippage when using the razor. Nonetheless, simple tweaks to the grip when shaving seems to solve the problem.
For a firmer grip, most experienced wet shavers recommend resting the pinkie finger on the adjustment knob’s base. This helps to improve the grip and reduce slippage while shaving.
When shaving in an upward motion, you should hold the knob with your middle, pinkie and index finger. This technique provides an even better grip and reduces the chances of the Progress of slipping in your hand.
The long handle version (Merkur 510) of this safety razor measures 4.14-inches while the short handled version (Merkur 500) measures about 3.35-inches.
What Are Consumers Saying?
Overall, the consumers are quite happy with the Merkur Progress. Even newbie wet shavers (those who have done their homework and research prior to purchasing the unit) state that the safety razor is a great choice.
Here is GeoFatBoys take on it:
What most love about this safety shaver is the fact that it is adjustable. As such, if they need a close shave, they do not have to get a separate razor to meet their need. A simple knob adjustment will work the magic.
There were some complaints that the handle has no knurling and as such slipped a lot. But there is a workaround to this. Position your finger in the right places and this problem is solved.
With regards to the quality of shaving, the Merkur certainly does perform. It will work on coarse facial hair and normal hair too. You, however, have to follow the tips shared in this article.
The perfect place to make a purchase of this safety razor is Amazon. The price varies from $55 to $70.
Accessories and Kits
Merkur Progress 500 is also available as a perfect gift or starter set. It comes with a Progress 500, Chrome bowl, Badger brush and Pedestal stand, GBS Natural Ocean Driftwood Shaving soap and 10 Double-edge blades. Get it here .
There is also a nice travel case that can hold the Merkur Progress 500 (and other short models such as Merkur 11, 15, 30, 33, 34 and 37 ) and 10 blades.
Last update on 2018-08-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API