The Merkur 23 and 34c are very closely related but the key difference is length. Otherwise these are both exceptional razors and you won’t be disappointed whichever you choose.
Both are quite mild closed-comb razors that can still pack a punch with good technique and a Feather razor blade. However, the 23C has an open comb variant the Merkur 25c that can provide a little more aggression.
In reviewing the Merkur 34c vs 23c the defining difference is always going to be length. The Merkur 23C is 4″ overall while the 34c is 3.28″. While that might not seem much there is a difference of almost 25%, although the difference seems greater because the 23c has a thinner handle.
That means you can do a pass of the face quickly and easily, including difficult rounded areas like the chin and Adam’s apple. You feel the cutting edge against the bristles through your fingertips, meaning an efficient, nick-free shave.
On the other hand, short razor handles may not offer you much in the way of grip. You may have to daintilly hold the razor in your fingertips like a teacup, which is perfectly acceptable but not everyone’s cup of tea.
If you are more comfortable with a firmer grasp then a Merkur 23c long handled safety razor might be for you.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a long handled safety razor?
An obvious perk is reach. If you are shaving somewhere other than your face – like shaving your head or shaving your legs – just an extra inch of handle can make a big difference. Besides the physical reach, the extra handle also provides more grip.
In particular this is one of the best safety razors for women because not only do you have to reach far down to shave your legs but you then need to find the right cutting angle, which involves levering the razor so it is roughly 30 – 45 degree to the skin. A longer handle can definitely help with this.
Another perk of the Merkur 23c is the handle is actually much slimmer which makes it easier to hold, especially with lots of knurling texture along its full length. The 34c only has a small amount of its handle covered with knurling.
The Merkur 33c offers a great compromise of Merkur 23c vs 34c with a length of 3.33″ and a weight of 1.98 oz with the same closed comb head as the 23C. The handle design is very similar to the 23c with a knurled texture throughout its length.
Merkur 15C – Open Comb And Short Handle
The Merkur 180 features a slim long handle with a total weight for the razor of just 2.3 oz.
We’ve struggled with where to place them in our list of the best safety razors as they could equally be better for you depending on your preferences.
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