I have been conducting every razor blade sharpness test using the Merkur 34C, and every Merkur Safety Razor comes with one Merkur Razor Blade. Now since I only had singles I unfortunately did not have the actual package to take my usual picture for this review, but I was lucky enough that the good people at Kent of Inglewood hooked me up with a free pack of Merkur Razor Blades.
I was pretty excited to try the Merkur Razor Blades because there are extreme views online about the performance. I had a little bit of a surprise when I opened the first blade (notice the top edge):
I wasn’t sure if it was mechanically damaged or if was a build up of coating. As I squinted and stared I realized I had 10 more blades so I would just wipe it. It turns out it was just a build up of coating and the edge looked okay. The blade itself is likely fine, but since it is not recommended to wipe blades I grabbed a fresh one for testing. The new one looked normal as can be seen in the main picture.
Fresh out of the pack the sharpness measured 53, which is not very sharp. For information on what this means check out Razor Blade Sharpness Testing. You can click this link to see a Razor Blade Sharpness Comparison Chart with the other blades tested so far.
The first shave was not bad, but the Merkur razor blade definitely shaved like a blade that is not very sharp. I do not like to use the term dull as we are still talking about razor blades and they’re all sharp, but comparatively it is on the bottom end of sharpness compared to the other 20 blades tested to date.
I can usually tell when a razor blade is around the 50 mark as I have trouble getting a close smooth shave around my goatee area. Although it was not a very close shave in this area, I did not get any irritation or nicks anywhere which is always the top priority for my shaves.
Note that I shave my head as well as my face and have a pretty thick growth – except for the top of my head. This means that one of my shaves might equal two of someone that just shaves their face, or even more if they have a thinner beard.
After the first shave, the sharpness increased slightly to 51. This made perfect sense to me as I finish with my goatee area and felt like it wasn’t very sharp when I was ending my shave.
The second shave was actually better than the first. I had a pretty decent shave with no nicks, cuts or irritation, but it did not feel as smooth as many of the other blades that I prefer.
After the second shave the sharpness increased again to 46. What’s interesting, especially based on the first blade I attempted to use, is the fact that there is clearly a very thick coating on the Merkur blades that is being worn away with use and exposing a sharper edge.
Initial Sharpness = 53
Average Sharpness = 50
Edge Retention = 0.87
Smoothness = 3/5
Overall Subjective Rating = 3/5
Platinum Coated. Made in Germany.
When I first released my plan for testing razor blades and that I would be using each blade for 2 shaves, I had a very interesting comment from one person online. They mentioned that 2 shaves (although note this may be 4-6 shaves of just your face) is not enough as some blades take at least a few shaves to “break in”.
To me personally it does not make sense to “get through” a few poor quality shaves when I have many favorite razor blades that I can have one or two great shaves with for 10 – 20 cents. For this reason, I was not a huge fan of the Merkur Razor Blade.
That said, it might do better in a more aggressive razor and based on the consistency I can see why some people might like it. The fact that it is just starting to sharpen up it may suggest the potential of good longevity which may be tested at a later time.
I still recommend everyone try as many blades as you can as your experience may vary, the purpose of this review is to confirm how sharp the Merkur razor blade is relative to other DE razor blades (not very).
Have you tried Merkur Razor Blades? Be sure to leave your overall rating, the community appreciates your vote!