As user of the Merkur razor, I cannot help but agree with The Wirecutter’s The Best Razors. I have been using this razor for a few years now and despite how infrequently I shave I do find it is much more bearable with this razor.
For me a sharp razor makes all the difference in a good shave, and using the Merkur allows me to use a fresh blade every shave. As the article mentioned, eBay is your friend in obtaining these cheap blades, I picked up an 50 pack of assorted blades for maybe 25 cents a blade. The other part that is touched on in the article is how good it feels to whip your own shaving cream. I even use a candle warmer style hot place with my shaving mug to give a warm lather, improving the shave that much more. For those of you looking to start out with safety razors I would highly recommend looking at antique stores, garage sales and other 2nd places for the Merkur razor or similar ones. Although $35 is not much to spend a razor that you can give to your Grandson, why not just use the one your Grandfather almost certainly had.
I must admit I have not tried either of the brushes listed in the article and have a badger hair brush of unknown make, I might be tempted to try them at such low prices.