Unsure if the Merkur Progress is right for you? Check out our razor database and compare it to other popular adjustable safety razors.
The Merkur Progress, also known as the Merkur 500 or Merkur 510, is a high-quality and versatile shaving tool that is popular among traditional wet shavers. This adjustable safety razor allows users to customize their shave to match their preferences and whisker type.
But does this versatility provide a superior shaving experience (spoiler: it does)?
This review will look at the core features of the Merkur Progress, what it is like to shave with it, and what others think of it.
About the Merkur Progress
The Merkur Progress adjustable safety razor has been a staple in the wet shaving community since its first introduction in the 1950s.
Manufactured in Solingen, Germany, it is designed using a zinc die-casting process that is then plated in a corrosion-resistant chrome finish. This timeless design and precision-engineered razor make for a razor that’ll easily last for years, if not decades, with proper care and maintenance.
The Progress series consists of various adjustable razor models, including the popular Model 500 and 510.
Did You Know: Merkur is a subsidiary of DOVO Solingen and has been producing safety razors, straight razors, and shaving accessories since 1896.
One of the key features that set the Merkur Progress apart from other safety razors is its adjustable blade gap. The Merkur Progress has a blade gap that ranges between .38mm and .94mm.
Achieved through the unique adjustment knob located at the bottom of the handle, users can easily select their desired aggressiveness settings, ranging from a gentle blade setting to a large blade gap.
The adjustable blade gap offers freedom of movement and thoroughness of the shave based on one’s taste.
As one customer noted:
“The ability to adjust the blade gap on the Merkur Progress has made a world of difference to my shaving experience. In the past, I had used both mild and aggressive fixed-gap razors, but I could never find the perfect balance between comfort and efficiency. With the Progress, I can fine-tune my shave so it is always a 10 /10 experience.” – Joe L.
However, it’s worth noting that there is a slight learning curve for beginners when it comes to using the adjustment knob correctly.
Additionally, some customers have found the alignment markers on the razor difficult to see and have used paint or nail polish to make them more visible during use.
So there is a little room for improvement in the visibility aspect, but once you get the hang of it, the adjustment feature becomes second nature and truly allows for a customized shaving experience.
Grip and Comfort
The Merkur Progress offers a smooth handle with raised grooves that allows for a comfortable grip and weight distribution during the shaving process.
While not as slippery say the Futur, the lack of any deep-textured knurling on the handle might still make it a bit challenging for some users to hold. In response to this issue, aftermarket grips are available to improve the grip and overall functionality.
In total the 500 Progress weighs 3.28 oz.
Here’s how this razor compares to other safety razors:
Merkur Progress 500 vs. 510 vs. 570
The Merkur Progress adjustable safety razor comes in two major variants: the 500 and 510. The 510, also simply known as the long handle, caters to those with bigger hands or users who prefer more heft in their razor.
The difference in size is a mere .65″ with the 500 standing at 3.47″ and the 510 at 4.12″. Due to the increased length, the Model 510 also weighs slightly more than the Model 500, with the former weighing 103g and the latter at 93g.
Here’s a table highlighting the differences between the two razor models:
|Model||Weight (g/oz)||Razor Length (mm/in)||Handle Length (mm/in)||Handle Diameter (mm/in)|
As for the Merkur Progress 570; this is simply the 500 model with an included travel case. This a good consideration for those who frequently travel or need a compact storage solution for their razor.
Blade replacement in the Merkur Progress is straightforward. Simply unscrew the handle from the head, remove the razor cap, then swap out the blades. Here is a video demonstrating the process:
Pro Tip: Pick up a variety pack of different blades to find the one that works best for you. Each person’s skin and hair type is unique, and experimenting with various blade brands can help you achieve the optimal shave.
Shaving With the Merkur Progress
Due to the wide-ranging adjustability of the Merkur Progress, it provides a customized and comfortable shaving experience for many users. Here’s what we found when shaving with this razor:
Aggressiveness and Versatility
At its most modest setting, the Merkur Progress provides a fairly mild shave, which is suitable for beginners or those with sensitive skin. This mild setting allows for a close shave without being overly aggressive. With a narrow gap that is paired with a scalloped safety bar, it also helps prevent nicks and cuts while offering a smooth glide.
As you increase the settings, the Progress becomes more aggressive. This allows folks to get a closer shave, which is especially useful for those with coarser facial hair or for users who prefer a more aggressive shave.
Furthermore, the head is much smaller than the Merkur Futur, making it easy to maneuver around tight corners and curves on the face. This is particularly beneficial for those who have unique facial features, such as a prominent jawline, dimples, or a nose that requires extra attention and precision during a shave.
One interesting aspect that we came across in our research, although we didn’t personally test, was the prevalence of folks using the Merkur Progress for body shaving as well. Due to its adjustable nature, users found the Progress to be adaptable to various body contours and hair types. This makes it a versatile grooming tool not just limited to facial shaving.
What Others Think of the Merkur Progress
The Merkur Progress has garnered generally positive reviews for its build quality and design, allowing users to find their preferred setting for the ideal shave.
One review that we came across stated the following:
“Where has this razor been all my life? After years of using disposable razors, I finally invested in the Merkur Progress and it has been a game-changer. Not only does it provide a closer and more comfortable shave, but it has also drastically reduced irritation and ingrown hairs.” – Gio V.
However, there were some complaints, with the most consistent theme being that the nicks and cuts persisted even on the milder settings for some users.
Here’s what one customer we reached out to had to say:
“I had high hopes for the Merkur Progress, especially with all the positive feedback I’ve seen. However, I can’t seem to just not cut myself no matter the setting I use. Perhaps it’s a learning curve issue, but as of now, I’m quite disappointed with my experience.” – Janus K.
It bears repeating that when taking on traditional wet shaving, a lot of variables are in play aside from just the handle and the blade; factors such as the angle of the blade, the pressure applied, the pre-shave preparation, and even the shaving cream or soap used can all impact the quality of the shave. Users must experiment with different techniques and products to find the perfect combination that works for them.
Additionally, popular forums like Badger and Blade have a great thread on the Merkur Progress that provides a wealth of information on the performance. Generally, these wet shaving enthusiasts love the performance that this razor provides.
Here’s another conversation on Reddit where folks debate the merits of the Merkur Progress in comparison to the Rockwell 6C/6S.
Lastly, highly-rated wet shaving blog, Sharpologist, has a great article on the Merkur Progress where Mantic59 provides a detailed review of the razor and is generally positive about the experience.
Alternatives to Consider
Aside from the Merkur Progress, we think the following razors are also worth considering:
- Rockwell T2: This adjustable razor offers a similar experience to the Merkur Progress but has a slightly different design. The T2 uses a twist-to-open head, making blade changes quicker and easier. Additionally, the Rockwell T2 contains better materials and likely a longer lifespan due to its stainless steel construction. Consider this if the funds are available, as the Rockwell T2 tends to be on the pricier side.
- Parker Variant: For the budget-minded shaver, the Parker Variant is a great alternative to the Merkur Progress. It offers an adjustable experience with similar build quality but is about $20 cheaper.
- Merkur Futur: This razor is elegant but incredibly aggressive. We think the Merkur Futur is best for experienced wet shavers who have already mastered their technique and are looking for a more aggressive shave.
What We Like
- Adjustable blade gap allows for a customized shave
- High-quality construction and design
- Variety in handle lengths and heft
What We Don’t Like
- Slippery or short handle for some users
- Learning curve for blade changing and adjustment process
- Subjective aggressiveness settings
While the Merkur Progress adjustable safety razor may not be the perfect fit for everyone, it offers a high-quality shaving experience that combines versatility with durability. If you’re seeking an adjustable razor with a solid build and the ability to cater to your specific shaving style, the Merkur Progress might be the right choice for you.
Compare the Merkur Progress to other adjustable safety razors:
|Name||Merkur Progress||Merkur Futur||Rockwell Razors 6C||Parker Variant||Rex Ambassador||Rockwell 6S|
|Brand||Merkur||Merkur||Rockwell Razors||Parker||Rex Supply Co.||Rockwell|
|Composition||Brass and die-cast zinc alloy||Chrome-plated brass||Closed comb||Brass and zamak alloy||316L Stainless Steel||316L Stainless Steel|
|Comb||Closed comb||Closed comb||Closed comb||Closed comb||Closed comb||Closed comb|
|Country of Origin||Germany||Germany||China||India||USA||USA|
Buy the Merkur Progress from these retailers:
|West Coast Shaving|