In the current wet shaving climate, many online shaving shops have their own “house brand” razors. Typically, these shops are contracting out the manufacturing or having a preexisting razors branded with their logo. For instance, a particular razor that is a twist-to-open design that is mass produced in the Far East and is subsequently sold under several name brands for a wide range of prices. Is this okay? Sure. Honestly, it is. If the razor is a good design, why re-invent the wheel?
In any case, my impression is that Maggard’s has specifically had a hand in the design and quality control of their razors. The heads are branded as being made in India, from what I’ve seen. I am not certain about their handles, but they are extremely well priced for a stainless handle. I infer from this that they are machined in India or the Far East. There are four Maggard’s head designs, and I’ve purchased all of them. I will be comparing and contrasting their qualities as the reviews are written and posted.
The first in line is the razor that they call the “V3”. This is clearly a razor head that is directly inspired by the flat-baseplate design of the Edwin Jagger DE89/Muhle R89/Merkur 34C. Maggard is not alone in creating a razor that is similar to this design. Taken as a whole, this basic design likely comprises a fairly significant percentage of razors sold. Why? Because it is a successful design that hits a great balance between efficiency and safety. For a large cross-section of the shaving populace, these moderate shavers are able to provide close and comfortable shaves. They control the blade well and are easy to use.
The V3 is thusly named because it is the third version of Maggard’s standard razor. It’s a closed comb razor with average blade reveal and a moderate blade gap, just as its historical antecedants were. It looks almost identical to the Edwin Jagger razor. The head itself is zinc alloy with a hard chrome plating. As was mentioned earlier, the bulk of Maggard’s handles are stainless steel. I elected to use their handle, though I could have easily mounted their heads onto a handle already in my possession.
I have owned a Murkur 34C in the past, and found it to be a good shaver for me. Although its performance was always good, I never felt any great emotional connection with the razor, and ended up giving it to a friend. If I were not a hobbyist, I could have easily used it as my only razor, and had a good experience. When you accumulate a lot of gear and engage a large amount of your brain power overthinking things, however, you sometimes fall out of love with a perfectly functional tool. It’s a hazard.
Thus, I felt that, at the outset of the test, I had a fairly good feeling and understanding about how this type of shaver performs.
I found the fit and finish of the V3 to be very good. No holdays in the chrome could be found, and the blade aligned without issue. I elected to use it with their “MR5” handle, which is a heavy, thick bar of steel that features a pattern that incorporates multiple finger grooves, interspersed with cut, checkered knurling. It is a fairly short handle, on the heavy side. It has clean, effective knurling and nice machine work. Perhaps not the very last word in perfect finish work, but very nice. There is nothing about any of Maggard’s razor handles that I have found to impede a shave.
I chose to use a Polsilver Super Iridium for my first shave. With a mild to moderate razor, my experience has been that they work to their best advantage with a fairly sharp blade. The Polsilver, in my estimation, fits this descriptor.
The combination of the V3 and the MR5 yielded a razor of great robustness that was easy to handle and comfortable to employ. The feeling of quality belied the fact that the combination could be purchased for under $30. Handling dynamics and solidity were well above that economic weight class, in my view. Stainless handles with a lot of machining typically come on razors that sell for over a hundred dollars. The zinc alloy head did not let the whole razor down in looks or tolerances, seeming altogether at home and consonant on the stainless handle.
Looks, however, do not tell the tale. These are not paintings. They are not collections of stamps. They are functional tools. They have to perform their function, or they are of no value.
Well, I can tell you that the V3 is an exemplary shaver. With a beautifully calculated and favorable ratio between comfort and efficiency, the razor gave me exemplary shaves over three passes. At no time did the shave ever feel rough, dangerous, or painful. There was none of the “skating” that mild designs can sometimes fall prey to. There was no overt incisiveness that can plague a more aggressive razor. There was just the polite and appropriate amount of efficiency for a close, comfortable shave.
The shaves that the Polsilver/V3/MR5 handle combination gave me were right up there with the closest I’ve had, and I finished each one with a face free of irritation. This is a really, really, good choice, unless you must have a high-aggression razor. I would say that the V3 is slightly more efficient than the Merkur 34C, but, if anything, a little gentler on the face. The MR5 handle trounces any of the options you might see from Edwin Jagger, Merkur, or Muhle on a razor of this kind (in my view).
To me, Maggard’s has a complete home run with this razor. Paired with a sharp, smooth blade, it will treat you right, provided you are a fairly regular shaver with stubble in the light to average coarseness range. If you only shave once a week, maybe less so, or if you have super coarse stubble.
With each successive round of testing and experimentation, I grow harder to impress, but the V3 from Maggard has impressed me. It’s an excellent bargain, and has all the right moves for a beginner razor or a daily shaver for guys who like to stay on top of their stubble without wrecking their face.
Although I have a great many razors that cost a lot more, this one feels like a keeper. I immediately connect with it far more than I ever did the Merkur. Nice job, Maggard.
In future articles, I’ll run through the rest of the razors, ranking them in terms of likability scale and giving my best impression of their appropriate usage case.
Cheers, and happy shaving.