Parker Variant Review (Adjustable DE Safety Razor) Buying Guide
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In today’s article we have a Parker Variant review and buying guide, a classic looking adjustable safety razor.
For the longest time, Merkur was the sole manufacturer of adjustable razors. But its monopoly was broken by the debut of this model. The company has also made other innovative razor solutions such as the Parker 99R that has a TTO design.
Well, writing this in 2018, the razor is no longer a ‘new product’ as it has been on the market now for 2 years. But for a product that has so much to offer, one has to wonder why it hasn’t caught on yet. As our review will show, this is one of the best safety razors on the market.
Parker Variant (Summary)
The razor is designed to address issues the Merkur Progress had including a slippery handle and a bit funky choice of material of the adjustment knob. Instead of the boring smooth chrome finish, the manufacturer went with a knurled handle design similar to the one the classic Merkur 34C and the acclaimed Feather razors AS-D2 sports.
Additionally, the Parker razor features a 2 piece design which makes maintenance a walk in the park compared to other adjustable’s with 3-piece designs.
By the way – did you know that this company makes great shaving brushes as well?
What’s more, underneath the shiny chrome finish is an all-metal construction. Its quality construction is a plus. And I guess they learned from the mistakes made on the Merkur Progress of incorporating a plastic adjustable knob. Many Merkur enthusiasts confessed it was an eyesore.
We have done a review of Rockwell 6S and 6C that has addressed this from a different angle as well.
Despite the different finishes, all razors sport criss-cross knurling on the handle designed to prevent slippage even when handled with soapy fingers.
But before we dive in head first into the review, let’s have a look at some of the features this adjustable razor sports.
Its features include:
- A simple 2-piece design which makes it easy to clean and maintain
- A handle 4 inches long
- Solid brass frame
- True adjustability courtesy of its 10 settings
- It comes inclusive of 5 double-edged blades
- Weighs 110 grams
- Has a 1-year warranty
Overall Length: 4.0 inches/ 103 mm
Handle Length: 3.5 inches/ 90 mm
Handle Diameter: 0.4 inches (12mm) at the grip/ 0.53 inches (13.7mm) on the adjustment knob
Weight: 3.8 ounces/ 110 grams
Material: Solid Brass
Finish: 3 Versions: Satin Chrome/ Metallic Graphite/ Rose Gold
Type: 2 Piece Closed Comb
Adjustable: 10 Settings
Knurled handle: Yes
Blade included: 5
What the Parker Variant Razor Offers and How it Differs from Merkur Progress
It’s understandable why they would say this.
After all, they each feature an adjustable knob located at their bottom and have a 2-piece design.
But in truth, they are certainly different.
As a matter of fact, as this test shows, this razor seems to address some of Merkur Progress’s shortcomings.
As such it’s more accurate to say that this is in a way, an upgrade of the Progress.
The most obvious issue is the plastic knob the Merkur adjustable featured.
On this adjustable razor, it is metallic.
For purists, this improvement is almost a must-have.
Next is the new knurled handle design which resembles that on the Merkur 34C.
But why is the handle design such a big deal?
Well, a smooth handle is bearable and feels so good in the hand.
However, it gets annoying really fast when you have to constantly adjust your grip on the handle due to slippage.
The experience takes away the fun in shaving and might actually affect the quality of smooth shave achieved.
Additionally, note that it features a slightly longer handle compared to the Merkur Progress 500.
Last update on 2021-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Adjustability is the one thing that these two razors share.
They each feature a wide adjusting range.
But here is where the difference comes in.
The Variant doesn’t feature click stops.
Moreover, it isn’t nearly as mild as the Progress is.
If you have sensitive skin and need a really mild razor, this could be a problem.
However, on aggressiveness, the razor can be adjusted up to 11 for a super close shave free of nicks and cuts.
For beginners moving from using cartridge razors to this razor, there is a steep learning curve.
Well, for one, it is heavier than most cartridge razors.
As such, to achieve a close shave free of nicks and cuts, you will have to tweak your shaving technique and how you hold and move the razor over your skin.
With this one, you should not exert any pressure.
Instead, let the weight of the razor do all the work.
In addition to the learning curve, new users also have to learn how to properly disassemble and load the razor with new blades.
On the shaving head side, the razor has some notches which you need to line up so that the blade is loaded properly.
In the event you’re in a hurry and not keen on lining up the notches, you’ll end up having a bad shaving experience.
Is Blade Loading Easy on it?
Yes, it is. With the 2 piece design, blade loading could not be easier. Here are basic instructions:
- To load a new blade, simply turn the knob located at the bottom of the razor until the cap comes off
- Afterward, line up your DE blade right on the posts and replace the handle
- Be sure to confirm that the indicators are on one side
- If they are, tighten the knob until it is aligned with the lowest adjustment setting
What is the Length of the Razor?
Compared to the Merkur Progress 500, the Variant is about 1-inch longer.
Please note that there is a long handle version of the Progress available as well – called Merkur Progress 510.
The handle adorned with crisscrossing grooves measures about 4-inches.
What Do Other Consumers & Reviews Say About the Parker Adjustable Safety Razor?
Well, with all that this one offers, it is expected that users will have nothing but gleaming reviews for it.
Many men, both beginners, and experts are happy and impressed by the shaving results it yields.
Actually, this razor will be a very strong candidate for our best razor for men list this year.
Some men even said that it was by far the best razor they have used.
Admittedly, this is a pretty bold claim.
Luckily, Parker lives up to the praise.
Some men loved this razor simply because it’s easier to clean.
But even with all the praises and positive comments about it, this one lets users down on quality.
The chrome finish chips over time and the blade has a slightly uneven exposure.
Where Can I Buy it?
You can get this adjustable razor on Amazon .
If you join Amazon Prime, you’ll also be eligible for free shipping.
You also can get the razor on other e-commerce sites such as West Coast Shaving.
I will also say that the it is a better pick than the modified Merkur Progress named Mergress that will set you back $125 – $200.
I hope that our Parker Variant review has helped you in your search for the perfect razor for your needs!