The Best Adjustable Safety Razors
An adjustable blade allows you to adjust the gap between the razor and the blade, which gives you the power to decide on the aggressiveness of the blade.
A larger gap means more exposure to the blade while a smaller gap means less. While there are currently only three adjustable safety razors manufactured, there is also a big market for vintage adjustable razors, as well as a hybrid razor.
As with all Merkur razors, the Progress is exceptionally well designed and crafted.
While some people are initially put off by the plastic knob at the end of the handle, the razor is made to last for years of use, if not a lifetime.
The Progress is probably the most accessible of the three Merkur adjustable razors, and has a pretty large and devoted following.
The two piece Progress is well weighted and easy to use – the blade gap is adjusted by turning the knob at the end of the handle.
The 3 inch handle is sturdy and has a good grip which is useful if you are shaving in the shower.
The adjustable knob makes the razor super easy to adjust during your shave which is great if you prefer to alternate aggressiveness on different areas of your face and neck.
There are a few minor issues that some users complain about, the first being that the blade doesn’t always seem to align correctly.
It’s important to match the guide marks on the razor when inserting the blade, but even then the alignment often differs from one razor to another.
The other issue that some reviewers mention is that the chrome plating has a tendency to flake. All in all the Progress is more than worth the $70 odd that you pay for it.
The Merkur Futur really is a thing of beauty! This gorgeous, sleek razor is also highly effective and will provide a great shave.
The blade gap is adjusted by turning the upper part of the handle, and there are several grade settings to choose from.
As with all adjustables it may take a little bit of practice and trial and error to find the right settings for you; but with the Merkur Futur there is practically no learning curve.
The razor has a nice weight for a controlled shave, which really comes in handy when you are going for an aggressive shave, and it works well in both a left and right hand.
It’s a little longer than the Merkur Progress, just over 4 inches, so good for those with large hands, and also for accessing harder to reach areas.
The sleekness of the design really makes for an attractive razor, but it’s important to use it carefully with wet hands due to the lack of grip.
We also recommend watching a tutorial on changing the blades before you start as it can be a bit tricky to do at first, and probably something to avoid doing when in a rush!
But aside from those minor issues, the razor is an excellent choice at a very excellent price (just under $70)!
If you take both the Progress and the Futur, add all of their qualities together while stepping up to an even higher range of quality and efficacy, you have the Merkur Vision.
While it is double the price of the Progress and the Futur, the Vision is well worth it. The beautiful sleek design is reminiscent of the Futur, but it is heavier and superbly well balanced for one of the most controlled shaves you can imagine.
The Vision is also slightly longer in handle than the Futur.
The blade gap is adjusted using a discreet dial in the upper part of the handle and the head has a butterfly opening for blade removal and insertion, which makes it super easy to use.
You open and close the butterfly head by twisting the bottom of the handle. No need to dismantle the razor to change the blade which is wonderful!
If you swear by adjustables, then this may be your main man, with its sturdiness and beauty.
It is however recommended that you clean the razor thoroughly at least once every week as the adjustable joints have a tendency to get stuck if they aren’t clean.
Other than that the Vision gets a big thumbs up all around.
The Gillette 1964 Slim Adjustable Safety Razor (J1) is still a hugely popular and sought after adjustable razor – but it was discontinued quite a while ago and cannot be purchased new.
It is quite easy to find an affordable and like-new version through different retailers and auction sites.
It is a beautiful nickel adjustable with a butterfly head and long handle.
The Mergress is a modified version of the Merkur Progress, started by Eric “Mer” Maier.
While finding that the Progress was a great razor but frustrated with the alignment issues, he decided to improve the engineering.
He also replaced the plastic knob, deemed an eyesore by many, with a metal knob, for a sleeker look.
Maier managed to fix the adjustment calibration issues and created a fantastic modified Progress.