Over the past few years, I have sampled several different models of Parker Safety Razor products, and in that time have seen significant improvement in the craftsmanship and design of the brand. One thing that had always remained consistent with Parker razors was the long-handle design. Parker recently introduced two new models that take a departure from their normal size format, featuring a traditional short handle instead. This article takes a closer look at one of them, the Parker 94R Safety Razor.
The Parker 94R is a traditional three-piece razor that has shorter (3 inches in length) handle that is much more similar to the length of traditional Merkur razors, such as the 34C Heavy Duty. The razor is constructed well and has a substantial weight in the hand at approximately 3 ounces. The short handle may be a bit unfamiliar to those shavers crossing over from cartridge to double-edge razors, but most wet shavers who are already accustomed to the feel of a double edge will feel right at home with the weight and balance of the 94R.
The construction of the cutting head on the 94R is consistent with the recent improvements in quality that Parker has made to the casting and plating of their razors. While I still find the chrome finish of the Merkur, Edwin Jagger, and Muhle razors to be a step up in precision craftsmanship, the 94R plating is applied smoothly and uniformly with little to no evidence of unevenness. The two head pieces fit together perfectly, allowing the blade to mount securely with no uneven exposure on either side of the cutting head.
Although the length of the handle is the most obvious difference from previous Parker razors, the real advantage to this model is the extra deep diamond cut knurling on the grip area of the razor. The knurling is much deeper and sharper in texture, which provides a very sturdy grip surface when your hands are wet or soapy during your shave. The pattern extends down the length of the handle to the base, with the exception of a small gap that provides an ideal spot to position your fingers for the best grip on this short-handled razor.
During the shave, I find the 94R’s blade gap to be only slightly more aggressive in feel than a Merkur razor; however, it is not too aggressive that most wet shavers would be uncomfortable with it. This razor will work well for most men with regular to heavy beards. With proper grip to maintain the right pressure of the blade against your face and the right choice of blade, this razor provides a good shave with quality soap or cream. The size and weight of the razor makes it easy to maneuver around the typical trouble spots, such as the jaw line and lower neck with no problems.
While the long-handle razors have their appeal to many men, the introduction of a more traditional size razor is a welcome addition to the safety razor market. Overall the Parker 94R is a well-made razor that is a good value at $28 USD retail. Its innovative handle design and lower price point sets Parker razors apart from the European-made razors. Parker razors are also attractive to budget-conscious wet shavers as well as those who appreciate a break from the norm from other razors in their collection. Parker continues to take a step in the right direction with their improved build quality.