Merkur 34c vs 38c – A Detailed Comparison

The Merkur 34c vs 38c, which one is better? Arm yourself with the information here. Then, make your own call!

Everyone should have a pair of wet-shaving, safety razors in their travel and home kit. There are plenty of options in the market to consider. For example, there is the Merkur 43c and 38c. These are top-quality products from Merkur.

But because they are from the same lineup within the same brand, it can be a bit tricky to weigh between them.

Below, we have a detailed comparison; you can use it to decide on the razor model that suits you. Read on!

Merkur 34c vs 38c: Overview 

Merkur is a German company that has a reputation for quality. It has offered exceptionally innovative products ever since it was founded in 1906.

Among its top-selling models are the 34c and 38c, which are both safety razors designed for wet shaving. Here is a summary of their specs side by side:

The Merkur 34c The Merkur 38c
Handle Composition  Brass Brass
Head Composition  Die-Casted Zinc Die-Casted Zinc
Plate Composition  Chrome Chrome
Pieces Two Two
Comb & Safety Bar  Closed Scallop Closed Scallop
Razor Length  81 mm (3.18 inches) 101 mm (3.98 inches)
Handle Length  75 mm 95 mm
Weight 78 grams 113 grams
Handle Design  Diamond Knurled Ribbed Barber Pole

Merkur 34c vs 38c: Similarities 

Composition 

The Merkur 34c and 38c share the same composition. Their heads are constructed of die-casted zinc, their handles are of brass, and their platings are chrome. You can expect them to be durable and solid, accompanying you for a long time. Zinc, brass, and chrome all have excellent corrosion and rust resistance!

Lee's Razors
Lee's Razors

Pieces 

Both Merkur models are two-piece razors. This means that each includes a cutting head that can unscrew from the rest so users can switch old blades with new ones. The cutting head has a bar that comes with a screw bottom, which can be inserted into the handle.

Compared to three-piece razors, the 34c and 38c are easier to load any double edge blades. You just need to twist the bottom screw, which loosens the cap, then insert your blade between the posts, and re-tighten the screw to finish.

But the two-piece design makes a razor more prone to breaking. The risk is higher for the 38c, as it is longer. At the same though, it is necessary to note that the longer handle makes it difficult to drop.

Cap

Here are the caps of both razors side by side. The 34c is on the right and the 38c is on the left.

The caps of the Merkur 34c (left) and 38c (right)
The caps of the Merkur 34c (left) and 38c (right)

As in the picture, the 34c and 38c are exactly the same.

Their center posts are the same (in length), and you can even screw the 34C onto the 38C.

The identical cap means that the Merkur 34c and 38c’s aggressiveness are similar. You can expect a mild shaving experience from both.

The cap is the same for either Merkur model
The cap is the same for either Merkur model

There are three prongs on the cap. You can easily and safely slide your razor blades on and off. It is possible to use any double edge safety razors, though the image above shows a Merkur blade.

Comb & Safety Bar 

Both the Merkur 34c and 38c have a closed scalloped comb safety bar, which looks like this:

The Merkur 34c and 38c both have a closed scalloped comb safety bar
The Merkur 34c and 38c both have a closed scalloped comb safety bar

Compared to other combs, this type feeds hair into the razor blade more easily and increased the blade exposure, so shaving is mild but efficient. In particular, users with sensitive skin appreciate this feature.

Blade Replacement 

As the 34c and 38c are both two-piece safety razors, blade replacement is the same for both. The steps are as follows:

  1. Grab the body with one hand.
  2. Using your other hand, turn the screw at the bottom counterclockwise about 4-5 times.
  3. The head should now be loosened. Grab it from the side and take it out.
  4. Remove the blade from the head and safely dispose of it.
  5. Grab your new blade and insert it into the head.
  6. Grab the body and place it downwards, letting the center post slide in its slot.
  7. Turn the whole razor right side up.
  8. Turn the screw at the bottom clockwise. Do this until it cannot be turned anymore.

Merkur 34c vs 38c: Differences 

Length 

The first, most noticeable difference between the Merkur 34c and 38c is the size. When you look at them side by side, you will see that the 38c is longer.

The Merkur 34c’s razor measures 81mm. while the 38c is 101mm, while the handle length is 75mm and 95mm, respectively.

The 34c is more suitable for those who want to shave with a shorter handle.

The 38c’s longer length will be easier to get used to for those who typically use a cartridge razor. It is preferable for specific purposes like shaving hair on the head. Moreover, it is seen as the best safety razor for women.

However, compared to the 34c, it may not provide as maneuverability, and in turn, precision and convenience, for users while shaving. It may also be inconvenient for those with large hands.

Weight 

The Merkur 34c weighs 78 grams, which is 34 grams lighter than the 38c at 113 grams. So, the 38c can be a bit more tiring to handle. if you have weak wrists or are prone to hand fatigue, then you will probably be better off with the 34c.

Another downside, as mentioned briefly earlier, it is more difficult to maneuver to different hand positions while shaving.

Still, regarding the 38c’s heavier weight, there is a benefit worth recognizing – you do not have to apply pressure and can just let the razor do most of the cutting itself. Simply rest it on your face, steer it, and rely on the weight. In addition, it is no doubt a heavy-duty razor!

The 34c is lighter but it still comes with a traditional length handle so, in terms of the overall unit weight, it is slightly unbalanced. This is especially noticeable when you are holding it.

On the other hand, when you hold the 38c, you will feel like it is more balanced. So, if this feeling of balance matters to you, go with the 38c.

Handle Design & Grip 

The Merkur 34c and 38c also have different handle designs, which affect their grip.

The 34c has a classic diamond knurled design. This allows users to hold it firmly even with hands that are coated with shaving cream.

The Merkur 34c’s classic diamond knurled handle design
The Merkur 34c’s classic diamond knurled handle design

Meanwhile, the 38c has knurled etching across the length and spiraling down from the top of the handle in a counterclockwise manner. This makes it a better grip for left-handed wet shavers, as their thumb will be perpendicular to the etching (grooves) rather than parallel for a right-handed shaver.

But, on the whole, it still helps the users protrude from the handle significantly, and this enables them to control the position of the razor better.

Fun Fact: It resembles a barber pole, so it is also referred to as a ribbed barber pole design. 

The Merkur 38c’s ribbed barber pole design
The Merkur 38c’s ribbed barber pole design

Both designs are sleek and modern. Therefore, aesthetic-wise, they are equally fantastic. But do note that the Merkur 34c has a gold version, while the 38c is only available in chrome.

The diamond knurled design may be the better choice, as it is already found on most other safety razors, you will not have to spend time getting used to a new design, and therefore, your grip will be more confident and steady.

Aggressiveness 

Both the 34c and 38c have mild aggressiveness. However, the 34c is not as aggressive as the 38c. So, it is less likely to cut or nick the skin and thus, cause skin rashes or skin irritation. The 38c is longer and heavier, so it will offer slightly more aggressiveness.

So, assess your preference and needs for aggressiveness, then decide between the 34c and 38c. If you need more aggressiveness, choose the 38c. Otherwise, go with the 34c.

Price 

The Merkur 34c is $30 while the 38c is $60, so the latter is twice as expensive as the former. That said, if you are on a tight budget, the 34c is a better option.

Merkur 34c vs 38c: Which Should You Choose?

Now that you have gone through the different aspects of both Merkur models, you can make the final call. Recapping briefly:

The Merkur 34c is the one for you if: 

  • You prefer having a longer razor
  • You need a longer razor for a specific shaving purpose
  • Maneuverability matters to you
  • You do not have large hands
  • You have weak wrists and easily get hand fatigue
  • You are already used to the traditional diamond knurled grip
  • You are on a tight budget

The Merkur 38c is the one for you if: 

  • You do not mind having a shorter razor
  • You do not mind sacrificing a bit of maneuverability
  • You have large hands
  • You want to put less effort in applying pressure to cut
  • The new ribbed barber pole grip design appeals to you
  • You do not have to commit to a tight budget

Both the 34c and 38c are high-quality safety razors that can easily be the best (of the best) in the market. So, you do not have to worry about them not being up-to-par. Just weigh your needs and preferences to choose the one that suits you!

Conclusion 

Hopefully, by now, you have made your call. The Merkur 34c vs 38c? Which one are you adding to your cart and taking home? Let us know in the comments below.

If you know someone who is also weighing between these two Merkur razors, share our article with them! Also, leave any follow-up questions and thoughts in the comments.

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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