Merkur 38c Review – The Big Brother of the 34C

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: August 5, 2018
  • Weight
    Editor: 100%
  • Grip
    Editor: 70%
  • Length
    Editor: 100%
  • Aggressiveness
    Editor: 40%
  • Blade Replacement
    Editor: 80%
  • Shave Quality
    Editor: 90%
  • Affordability
    Editor: 80%

Review Summary:


  • The weight of the razor does all the work for you
  • The handle has great length
  • Great craftsmanship, fit and finish
  • Produces great shaves


  • The grip could be better

Hello everybody and welcome to another Prim and Prep safety razor review. Today we’re going to be talking about the Merkur 38c otherwise known as the merkur barber pole. I call this safety razor the older brother of the Merkur 34c because they have a lot of aspects that are similar. The main difference is that the 38c has a longer handle, is slightly heavier and has a different style grip on the handle. That is why I call the 38c the older brother as opposed to the other way around.  This is a beautifully crafted two-piece, chrome finished safety razor. Let’s jump right into the review so you can find out what I like about this safety razor as well as the areas I think it could improve upon.


Weight and Balance


The Merkur 38c weighs in at 4.0 ounces. This posted on the heavier and compared to other safety razors on the market. Heavier safety razors have their positive and negative aspects to them. I like using heavy safety razors because there is very little force needed in order to shave. The weight of the safety razor alone will be enough to cut through the hairs on your face. One of the downfalls with heavier safety razors is that it is slightly more difficult to maneuver to different hand positions while shaving. If you are coming from a lighter safety razor, this might seem a bit more aggressive just because of the added weight. Sometimes people feel the need to apply additional force on top of the weight of the razor which can results in cutting yourself while shaving. The balance on the Merkur 38c is slightly lower on the handle than I would’ve expected from looking at it, but overall it has a great balance point and I have had no trouble maneuvering it. It also helps that I have larger hands though.


The grip on the Merkur 38c is decent. It has a barber pole styled spirals that winds down in a counterclockwise fashion from the top of the handle. This is similar to the handle of the Parker 99R except the spirals move down in a counterclockwise fashion instead of a clockwise fashion. This makes the grip slightly better for left-handed wet shavers because thier thumb will be positioned perpendicular to the grooves instead of parallel for a right-handed person. In all honesty I wish the grooves were a little bit deeper, I feel this would make the grip a lot better. Because the razor is so heavy I have had times where I didn’t feel like I had the best hold on the handle. Although the barber pole style grip looks slightly better than the gritty metal grip found on the 34c, I wish they would have used the latter. Besides the grip on the main part of the handle I do like the barber pole knob at the bottom. It doesn’t have the best grip and feel but it protrudes from the handle substantially and that helps me control the position of my safety razor.



The Merkur 38c measures 4.0 inches in length. For me, this is a perfect length because it allows me to use multiple different types of grips while shaving. I can’t do this with shorter safety razors due to the fact that my hands are larger than most peoples. This long handle is also what adds the majority of the weight to the safety razor. Most people that have average or smaller hands prefer the 34c.


Overall this safety razor is on the mild side of my aggressiveness scale. Since the head, blade angle and gap between the safety bar are the exact same as the 34c ( which I rated a 3/10), I am writing this safety razor a 4/10. It is slightly more aggressive due to the fact that it is much heavier. I think that this level of aggressiveness is perfect for anyone just starting out with wet shaving. It allows you to choose from a wide variety of blades compared to more aggressive safety razors.

Blade Replacement

Blade replacement on the Merkur 38c is extremely easy. Two-piece safety razors are much easier to use than their three-piece safety razor counterpart. Merkur has amazing craftsmanship when it comes to their safety razors. The knob at the bottom is extremely smooth when opening and closing the headpiece. I have had no trouble with blade alignment when it comes to this safety razor. I feel that two-piece safety razors do a better job in general at aligning the blade right off the bat.  But just like any other safety razor, you need to be careful when handling the blades while replacing them. Be sure to check out our article on the best safety razor blades on the market today!



Overall this is an incredibly well-crafted tool for wet shaving. For people with larger hands or for people that love heavy safety razors, this would be an excellent addition to your collection. This is also a great beginners safety razor because of how mild it is. This safety razor will truly last you a lifetime based on the craftsmanship alone. The biggest gripe that I have with this safety razor is the grip on the handle, especially as a right-handed shaver. But besides that, it has an excellent chrome finish, will yield a very good shave and is reasonably priced at approximately $40. For a complete list of the best Merkur safety razors and my top safety razors follow the links highlighted. I have also rated the Merkur 38C as one of the best razors for shaving your head as well. I hope you enjoyed my review on the Merkur barber pole! Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. If you have used this safety razor, what are your experiences with it?

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2 thoughts on “Merkur 38c Review – The Big Brother of the 34C”

  1. Just purchased a Merkur 38c hope it was a good choice have been using a Ed but it seemed a little aggressive but as a 71yr old just going back to de shaving it’s a little early to judge. Does bring back some memories — new teen shaving and Vietnam name shaving out of a helmet – gods been good to me may he bless you.

    1. I am so glad your new Merkur 38c safety razor is not only providing you a superior shave but also bringing upon some nostalgia. I also would like to personally thank you for your service. Please let me know if you ever have any questions, etc.

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