Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen


Merkur 180 (MK 23001)
DE Safety Razor
with Long Handle


Merkur, Solingen, Germany.


Merkur and Dovo. 


Started in 1996 the Merkur Company produce quality wet shaving products, although they have been making shaving tools for much longer than this: Merkur (German for “Mercury”) is a subsidiary of DOVO Steelware, craftsman of metal instruments, founded in 1906 by messers Dorp and Voos. The company, now owned by third generation family member Markus Kirschbaum, is also known for its Eureka range of hairdressing tools.


The Merkur MK-90 23001 (also known as the 180 or 23C model) is the longer handled version of the MK-90 33001 and is certainly one of best selling, if not the best, double edge safety razors on the market today. Made of brass with nickel chrome plating, it weighs in at 61g or 2.15oz (we found it was 59g or 2.1oz with a blade included), making it is a lightweight metal razor. This is a straight cut standard sized 3-piece razor with a closed comb double safety rail head with scallops - which is easy to keep clean although is a little fiddly to change blades, when compared to a 2-piece “butterfly” style razor. It has a 4inch or 10.15cm long hollow handle, with diamond-pattern knurling to help provide for a non-slip grip.

Review Notes

Just looking at this classic styled razor and holding it in your hand gives a good sense of the high quality German engineering you’d expect (just like all Merkur razors), despite this one being positioned at the lowest priced end of their product range – it feels it will last for decades, if not a lifetime. When used, the razor gives a reasonably close nonaggressive shave with few difficulties – we found several of the 6 different blades we tried, dragged when shaving against the “grain” which speaks more about the blades than the quality of the razor. We found the blades made by Feather worked the best for us but you will need to find what works for you.

Where this razor stands out is in it’s weight and handle length, giving it a feel not too dissimilar to a cartridge razor (although the handle would need to be thicker to make this a more absolute feeling). It is a nice transitional safety razor, for people moving from cartridge razors, which when coupled with the price accounts for it being touted as an ideal beginners razor. This may also be the reason for the high level of sales and positive reviews for this model, not surprising given the quality mentioned above.

The standard razor handle length is around 3 to 3.25 inches and the average long handled razor is around 3.75 to 4 inches. At 4 inches this is one of the longest available and are frequently regarded as suitable for people with larger hands however, we find this length is suitable regardless of a person’s hand size and is really a question of individual preference. If you have never used a longer handled razor it is certainly worth trying, we recommend it, and this razor would be a good place to start.

For regular users of safety razors the weight of this one may not be entirely to your liking and we recommend a heavier version. However, its weight does have an advantage when travelling and this makes for a useful alternative compared with a shorter handled travel version (that has a similar weight).

This is a simple, solid, friendly and comfortable razor to use and, while a great beginners razor, it may be useful for regular users too. The quality and price is remarkable and it is easy for us to strongly recommend this razor.

Price Range

$$$. Available online for $30 (plus free shipping with orders over certain amounts) from: MenEssentialsRoyal ShaveWest Coast Shaving, and Amazon with 10 razor blades. 

Our Appreciation

Our thanks to MenEssentials who kindly provided the razor for us to review.

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