Merkur Progress Review: Classic Adjustable Safety Razor

In this Merkur Progress review we’ll turn our focus to the classic adjustable safety razor.

The Merkur Progress features a plastic dial at the base of its handle to both secure the head assembly and alter the blade exposure for a variety of aggression levels. That means it’s a great razor for anyone with sensitive skin, or with areas of skin that are more sensitive than others such as the neck.

It is often compared to its fellow Merkur adjustable razor the Merkur Futur, and we’ve provided a comparison here, but the two are very different and the Progress has a number of features that stand out.

Overall the Merkur Progress offers a good choice of safety razor that is sure to save you money compared to plastic cartridge razors and help cut down the huge amount of plastic waste that modern shaving needlessly creates.

Merkur Progress Review

Pros
  • Adjustable dial
  • Lightweight
  • Classic look
Cons
  • Head must be aligned properly
  • Difficult to grip

How Adjustable Safety Razors Work

The aggression of a safety razor is largely defined by the angle of the blade and the blade gap. The blade gap is the amount of razor blade that is exposed above the comb-guard of the base plate.

Adjustable safety razors work by bending the razor blade with a screw mechanism so that less blade is exposed and the angle becomes sharper. That means the blade bends closer to the safety guard, thus reducing the blade gap.

Whatever your preference, another way to change the aggresiveness of your razor is your choice of safety razor blades. Feather are renowned for producing the sharpest razor blades for this purpose.

There are other benefits to adjustable safey razors besides the closeness of the shave. If you don’t shave very regularly then a wider blade gap can prevent your razor from getting clogged as easily.

Merkur Progress Review – The Handle

On the face of it the Merkur Progress very much resembles a traditional safety razor, which is a pro for many wet shavers as opposed to the more modern design of the Futur. Afterall, the first adjustable safety razor was the Gillette Fatboy in the 1950s.

The plastic dial matches this utilitarian aesthetic. However for many this is a frequent complaint. It looks unsightly and doesn’t match the premium engineered look of most Merkur razors.

The handle also features a fluted design that doesn’t offer much grip. The way around this is to utilise the dial as part of the handle and adjust your grip. Alternatively, you can get the long-handled version the Merkur 51 (pictured).

The Mekur Progress is nice and light at only 93 grams. That’s partly because of its hollow handle and also the small size.

Head Assembly

It is important that you use the correct head alignment with the Progress. This is indicated with an arrow and a corresponding notch on one end of the base plate and top plate which need to line up.

To assemble the safety razor the top plate carries the screw which goes through the captive blade and into the handle where it is tightened by twisting the adjustor knob.

The razor is a two-piece design as the base plate is attached to the handle.

Unlike the Futur, the head is nice and small so its very nimble and able to reach difficult places like under the nose. The small and light design means you get great feedback throughout so you are very aware of how you’re shaving.

Conclusion

For us in this Merkur Progress review, the Merkur Futur seems a superior adjustable safety razor. Howevre, many prefer the more retro look and lighter weight of the Progress which makes it a nice and nimble razor to use. See our more detailed comparison of Progress vs Futur here.

Alternatively, see our favourite adjustable safety razors here.

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