[updated August, 2020] Sharpologist’s recent article on the most popular double edge razors included the Edwin Jagger DE89 series safety razor. Here is some history, specs, and and everything else you need to know about the Edwin Jagger DE89 razor.
Edwin Jagger DE89 Background and Specs
Edwin Jagger as a company was first incorporated in late 1988. The DE89 razor went into full production in 2009. Since then it has become one of the most popular double edge razors on the market, competing for the top spot with the Merkur 34C–a razor that has been in production since the 1930’s.
The Edwin Jagger vs. Muhle Razor Head: Myth–Busted?
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There has been a lot of speculation in the old school wet shaving community about the origins of the DE89 razor’s head design. It bears a striking resemblance to the Muhle R89 head and some think it is the same head (or that at least the early DE89 heads were provided by Muhle). But according to Edwin Jagger, “The heads for each company were sourced independently. Edwin Jagger did not source through Muhle.”
“Edwin Jagger has never relied upon Muhle to supply DE8 Safety Razor Heads. All Edwin Jagger commercial requirements were and still are sourced directly from the exclusive tooling.”
But the design did go through some changes. Again, according to Edwin Jagger, “The first designs from 2008/2009 were quickly copied by low cost ‘copycat’ manufacturers we believe based India and Pakistan and China. Changes were introduced soon after, 2010 and then 2012. The modifications focused on thread performance and exclusive shape design with company logo identifications.”
For more information about razor “copycats” read Copies, Clones, And Conterfeits In The Wet Shaving World
DE89 Handles. DE89 Handles Everywhere….
Unlike its competitor the Merkur 34C that only has two handle styles (the 34C and the long handle “Barberpole” 38C), there are no fewer than 22 different handles for the Edwin Jagger DE89 (in fact, according to Edwin Jagger there were as many as 54 different handle designs at one time)! However all 22 of the Edwin Jagger razors use the same head (top cap and base plate).
Handles can be broadly categorized several different ways. One is handle length and weight:
Weights vary depending on handle variations of course. The range is from about 66 grams up to about 77 grams.
Another distinction is by handle texturing. Some are smooth, some are lined, and some have knurling.
And there is also color choice, with chrome, gold, and a number of different coating and colors available.
What about the DE86 and DE87 Razors?
Sharp-eyed consumers shopping for a razor may see references to the Edwin Jagger DE86 and DE87 razors as well as the more well-known DE89 series. What are the differences? Again, just the handle design. The different model numbers are just part of the Edwin Jagger naming scheme. It was explained to me this way:
“The 8 after the letter D represents the original year of concept 2008. All other numbers and letters (and combinations) represent colours and patterns. E.g. BA = Barley Pattern. 14 at the end of the code = year the handle was introduced.”
My Experience with the Edwin Jagger DE89 (Plus A Summary Of Other Reviews)
Although not in my regular rotation I’ve used the DE89 plenty of times. I’ve also read many of the popular blog posts and forum messages about the DE89. Putting all those things together here are some general observations and conclusions about the razor:
Many users mention how slippery some of the handle designs can be in the hand–particularly the smooth, circular handles (such as the DE86, the DE87, and the DE89 11BL, LPI14, LBE14 variants for example). This doesn’t appear to be as much of an issue with textured handles such as the 14BL, BA11, and KN14bl variants, and the Amazon-exclusive Kelvin.
The screw thread that connects the head to the handle (through the base plate) appears to be a weak point in the design, with several reports of it breaking off if the razor is dropped. However, generally I think the razor is well-constructed otherwise.
Chrome coating may dull and tarnish over time if the razor is not properly dried and maintained properly.
For myself, my early-production DE87 is somewhat slippery in my hand. My lined DE89 (LBL variant) much less so. And I don’t have a problem with my Kelvin at all. I’ve never dropped any of my Edwin Jagger razors so I can’t speak to that issue.
The razor’s “aggressiveness” (some say “efficiency”) is right down the middle of the road: neither too harsh nor too mild, with a relatively wide “sweet spot” for getting the blade angle correct. I have never seen any complaints about blade alignment in the head, either–blade edge symmetry has always been very good. Construction-wise, the three piece design (top cap, base plate, handle) is almost “bullet-proof.”
And it’s a good value. The price for most variants hovers between US $30-$40, though there are versions as low as $20 (for the Amazon-exclusive Kelvin model) and as high as $140 for an ivory and gold-plated handle version.
As I mentioned earlier I think the razor is generally well constructed: it may not be a “heavyweight” razor in the eyes of some but I think it generally has good weight and balance. And with all those handle variations you’re bound to find several that feel good and fit well in your hand. Many users mention how attractive the razor is, particularly the chrome-finish versions.
The DE89 is a very popular razor for a reason: it satisfies the needs of many shavers from both the performance and the aesthetic perspectives.
The Edwin Jagger DE89 is a great safety razor for both novice and experienced wet shavers. It’s enormously popular, has a wide variety of handle options, and competes successfully in the crowded double edge safety razor market. Even though it’s been around for “only” about ten years it is often spoken in the same breath as another razor that has been around for much, much longer. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Do you have an Edwin Jagger DE89 razor? What do you think of it? Leave a rating and comment below!