Is The Adjustable Safety Razor Finally Catching On?
The Merkur Progress adjustable safety razor design has been around since 1955 and is largely unchanged, at least visually, though there are a few minor internal technology tweaks over the years. It was my first adjustable safety razor and in fact became my pry-it-out-of-my-cold-dead-hands favored for many decades. You can find many reviews with a very simple query of your favorite search engine.
I have some troubles with the design, however. The untextured handle may make holding the razor uncomfortable. The razor’s large(-ish) mind can make getting into tight areas like under the nose a challenge. And the window” of the adjustment range is biased
That was about it.
The history of this adjustable safety razor is interesting, but finally regarded as a minor facet of the over-all sector. There have been very few cases of an adjustable safety razor over recent years. Gillette had an adjustable razor that morphed into different models over time. Schick (and afterwards PAL) had a single adjustable model for the Injector blade at the 1960’s and 1970’s. Merkur produced the Progress beginning from the 1950’s, the Futur beginning in the 1980’s (more on those two below), and also the ridiculously over-engineered (yet amazingly delicate) Vision for a brief time around the year 2000.
The blade difference disagrees with the blade exposure to create a milder or even a more competitive shave.
What does a flexible safety razor adjust? An adjustable safety razor may vary the blade difference to some degree:
However, more recently there has been renewed interest in the adjustable safety razor. You will find new razors that may be constantly adjusted within a variety of configurations, and a few others that I consider semi flexible” by virtue of multiple foundation plates or by taking advantage of subtle design attributes. Let’s take a look at razors you can buy right now (notice that Amazon and West Coast Shaving links are affiliate).
The Merkur Futur elastic safety razor premiered in 1985. It boasts a sleek, contemporary look and also an unusual pop ” head design. As for me, I feel a good deal of the Futur’s popularity stems from the fact that it’s (fairly ) widely available and it seems cool. This is another razor you are able to discover many reviews of with a very simple search engine query.
Recent Continuously Adjustable Safety Razors
The Progress has its quirks: the handle is too smooth for my taste and also the look of the modification dial seems incongruous to many. But the razor’s functionality far outweighed the ugly duckling seems for me.
The availability of the adjustable safety razor, once relegated to a niche’ within a niche’, has recently expanded, using a number of new products coming in a fairly brief time. How can they work, who’s making them, and how do they function? I bought a lot to find out which one is best.
How Does An Adjustable Safety Razor Work?
However it is well constructed and lots of Futur users find it gives them several years of great shaves.
Introduced in 2016, the Parker Variant elastic razor addressed the ergonomic shortcomings that many (like myself) found at the Merkur Progress. But essentially the Variant has a slightly longer, much better-textured manage, and a better-looking modification dial.
But what’s more, I think it also opened the heads of different artisans and producers to the possibility that the elastic safety razor market was one worth contemplating.
Viking’s Blade Crusader
The Parthenon, Viking’s Blade Crusader, and Weishi Nostalgic razors (see the Crusader and Nostalgic remarks below), all started in 2018, appear to be based on the same standard twist-to-open (TTO) head design. However each has their own character.” The Parthenon’s differentiation is its own aggressiveness. At its mildest (HA! ) ) Placing the Parthenon is very aggressive in my opinion. At the high end it is positively ludicrous.
A bit high for me personally: I wish the very low end of the range was lower/milder.
There’s a chrome/black variant as well) is a different creature altogether…a dangerous, fanged animal.
A year after the Parker Variant premiered, Far-East manufacturer Ming Shi launched the Ming Shi 2000S adjustable safety razor. Qshave re-branded the 2000S since the Qshave Adjustable, which makes it a replica of a copy. The Ming Shi/Qshave certainly takes its inspiration in the Merkur Futur:
However, my experience with all the Qshave is really very positive-I believe it shaves me greater than the Futur! Though the handle remains smooth its smaller diameter seems to help me keep a more secure grip. And while the razor’s head is still relatively big, the wider adjustment range (vs. the Futur, especially at the mild end) provides it better functionality for me. The razor’s standard control standing remains a cause for concern to me though. Pay a bit more for your Qshave variant which as gone through some additional QC checks if build quality is a concern; purchase the Ming Shi variant for a lesser cost.
The Variant altered the Progress as my preferred adjustable razor.
Although visually quite similar there are a few aspects of this 2000S that set it apart from the Futur. The major one in my view is a wider range of adjustment in comparison with the Futur, particularly at the low end. And as you may expect at the purchase price point, the Ming Shi/Qshave does cut a few corners” in production. By way of instance, the dial markings are painted on instead of etched in such as the Futur. I have read a few reports of dial amounts wearing off after prolonged use.
As I mentioned previously, the Viking’s Blade Crusader adjustable safety razor appears to me to be predicated on the exact same general design as the Parthenon and the Nostalgic, but each has their own tweak. The Crusader’s distinction is an asymmetrical head” using a standard safety bar on one side and a scalloped security bar on the other. The
Following a multi-year wait by a crowdfunding effort, the Rockwell Model T adjustable safety razor is just making its way into backer’s palms (I did manage to try out a prototype several years back ). Initial reviews are quite variable. I shall update this article when I can get you to attempt myself.
A Semi Adjustable” Safety Razor?
Weishi Nostalgic Adaptive
The Weishi Nostalgic Adaptive safety razor would be the third of the triplets mentioned here, and readily my favorite among the 3 . (notice that there is a non-adjustable Weishi Nostalgic” too, so make sure you read product descriptions carefully). It appears to me that much more thought was put into the design details that this razor features.
All the razors above are completely flexible safety razor layouts . They are continuously variable to a wide level. There are also some razors that I prefer to call semi elastic” in that they might offer flexible elements without a continuously variable design or into some thinner degree.
The Feather Adjustable
The Rex Ambassador adjustable safety razor is a premium, artisan-made razor. Although physically a bit smaller than another razors in this roundup, it’s a high end , stainless steel, individually serial-numbered (following the old Gillette manufacturing code, no less) razor. View my review of the Rex Ambassador on Sharpologist for much more detail.
Optimist in me believes the different head side design could provide additional, subtle variables in the shave in addition to simply adjusting the blade gap. The cynic in me believes the design could cover up” uneven blade alignment due to poor engineering or production.
I’ve found that the Weishi’s head may clog somewhat when used with a thick lather. Along with the razor’s permanent durability is an issue to me…time will tell. However, my shaves with all the Weishi have been very good-about equivalent that of the other flexible razors I use regularly that cost much more.
However, despite these details I didn’t personally care for, I found the general shave encounter to be great.
And unlike other flexible safety razor adjustment dials, the Crusader doesn’t have some numerical markings. Just arrows pointing’this manner for more gap’.
Failure to do this may torque the razor head, leading to an uneven shave, or perhaps damage to the mind mechanism.
Within my own use, this deficiency of numerical’signposts’ makes it more difficult for me to dial in the very best settings for my shave compared to additional adjustable razors. I don’t notice any difference in the shave dependent on the asymmetrical head” The low end of this adjustment razor wasn’t low enough for my personal preference (however it is probably fine for most people).
While the Weishi is the exact same general size as the Qshave and the Viking’s, I think it is the most user friendly design, using a grippier” handle, contrasting colour scheme (for higher-visibility numbers on the adjustment dial), better balance, along with also a broader variety of adjustment (especially at the low end of the scale-this razor could become quite light indeed).
Rockwell Model T
Obviously everyone has their tastes, but I’ve used a number of razors in my time and I certainly have any favorites for greatest” adjustable safety razor.
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements recently introduced their Ascension Twist” razor line, including the original aluminum version, an open comb aluminum version, and a stainless steel version. The Ascension razors adjust by marginally turning the handle (less than one-quarter turn), which subtly changes the blade’s angle at the razor mind.
For pure functionality, regardless of price, I have to go with the Rex Ambassador. As you ought to expect from an artisan-made, premium-priced razor the Ambassador is extremely well engineered, well-built, and well-balanced.
Rockwell began the semi flexible” razor fashion with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2014 by providing a set of foundation plates, each with a different blade gap layout. The 6S is stainless steel whereas the 6C is the common and lower-cost chrome” (pot metal). This is my review of this Rockwell 6S I wrote for Sharpologist a couple years back.
For a lower-cost flexible safety razor which still gives good performance I would consider the Weishi Nostalgic Adjustable the one to consider.
However notice any DE razor having a head that blows off the blade enough, with a long threaded head screwthread, can operate this way. The all-plastic, very inexpensive Dorco PL-602 razor.
Other razor producers have implemented Rockwell’s multi-plate concept by offering additional base plates for their razors. Above The Tie has offered different plates for the majority of their razors. The Karve Christopher Bradley razor could be bought with one or more plates made for that razor (check out my latest article about the Christopher Bradley razor for much more detail). Italian Barber provides their MJ90 Speciale” razor with two base plates. I am sure you will find more examples !
For the best price/performance ratio, I’d give the nod to the Parker Variant.
The best semi adjustable” is going to be a tie between the Rockwell 6S and the Provide Single Edge to get me-they’re both exceptional but each one has a different vibe” in the Rockwell is a DE and the Supply is a single edge Injector.
Supply took the mulit-base plate concept of this Rockwell and applied it to an Injector-style single edge razor. Read my article about the most recent model Provide Single Edge razor on Sharpologist for more detail. It is my favorite Injector razor.
Is new to the marketplace (and currently difficult to find. I bought one from Amazon but they are currently out of stock. It’s a relatively inexpensive razor with 2 settings, 1″ and 2.” Placing 1″ is very mild whilst setting two” is more middle-of-the-road. Like the Feather Popular and Feather AS-D2 razors, I discover the Feather Adjustable pairs very nicely with a Feather blade: the very gentle setting needs a high-efficiency blade to perform well.
What Is The Best Adjustable Safety Razor?
What do you believe about flexible razors? Be sure to share this article and leave a comment below!
I’ve got the original Ascension. After a little experimentation to find the perfect twist point (such as the Crusader above, there are no markings on the razor to act as an adjustment signpost) this razor gives me surprisingly good shaves.