The Pitch: "Up to 200 Shaves from a single blade"
Save-a-Blade is a small, battery-powered device containing a cylinder of silicone carbide that's supposed to sharpen dull razor blands and restore them to like-new condition in seconds. According to the maufacturer, all you need to do is put your razor in the device and let it run for a few seconds; the machine will sharpen the blade and extend its lifetime for up to 200 shaves.
However, the most rigorous reviews of Save-a-Blade conclude that it simply doesn't work. Going into more depth than most TV stations, KDKA reporter Yvonne Samos asks a local couple to try out Save-a-Blade for a full month, while two graduate students from Carnegie-Mellon University examine used blades under a microscope. The couple says the device doesn't work as advertised, and the grad students say it doesn't make a difference in blade sharpness. Nicole Fierro, the About.com hair-removal guide, tries out Save-a-Blade on nine separate razors bought specially for the occasion and is no more satisfied, saying the device "made for a horrible shave." These conclusions are backed up by users posting on Amazon.com, most of whom complain that Save-a-Blade doesn't make any difference and ruins new blades.
Other reviewers are more equivocal. A Popular Mechanics blogger says Save-a-Blade may make blades a tiny bit sharper, but adds that users may be taken in by the placebo effect, squeezing a few more shaves out of their cartridge razors simply because they believe the product works. Two other local TV stations report positive results with the device, with one bleeding test subject giving Save-a-Blade a grade of A despite legs that look "beat-up."
1. KDKA (Pittsburgh)
Reporter Yvonne Zanos asks two viewers, Rick and Debbie Brown, to test Save-a-Blade over a full month. Rick agrees to shave one side his face with a disposable razor, while using a razor sharpened with Save-a-Blade on the other. Debbie performs the same test on her legs. Neither of them are impressed with the results. Rick says the Save-a-Blade "seemed to really decrease the sharpness of the blade," while Debbie says she couldn't discern a difference. Yvonne Zanos also asks two grad students from Carnegie Mellon University to examine blades sharpened with Save-a-Blade under a microscope. They conclude that Save-a-Blade doesn't make much of a difference in blade sharpness, if any.
Review: Save-a-Blade: Does it Really Do That?, Yvonne Zanos, July 21, 2008
A Popular Mechanics' blogger divides his face and bald head into quarters, shaving each with a different blade. He uses a new razor, a dull razor, a razor run through the Save-a-Blade and a dull blade that's been honed (but not with Save-a-Blade). He concludes that Save-a-Blade is "not exactly the razor-blade fountain of youth, but useful enough -- as a placebo -- to encourage you to squeeze a few more shaves out of a dull blade."
Review: Does Save-a-Blade Work? As Seen On TV Lab Test, Editors of Popular Mechanics, June 25, 2009
Nicole Fierro, About.com's guide to hair removal, says Save-a-Blade "did not work any of the eighteen times I tried using it." What's more, she says, the device dulled an otherwise new razor blade. Fierro gives the product one star out of five, saying she tried it unsuccessfully on nine different brands of razor. (Note: ConsumerSearch and About.com are owned by the same parent company but not affiliated editorially.)
Review: Save A Blade Automatic Razor Sharpener, Nicole Fierro, Not dated
4. WXIA (Atlanta)
WXIA asks a regular shaver to informally evaluate Save-a-Blade. After using it for two weeks, he says the blades weren't any sharper and they began to irrittate his skin. The tester says Save-a-Blade isn't any more effective than simply drying off his razors and gives Save-a-Blade two thumbs down.
Review: Try It: Save-a-Blade, Kym France Wilson, Not dated
5. KLTV (Tyler, Texas)
Reporter Joe Terrell asks Philip Stauts to try Save-a-Blade on his most expensive cartridge razor, and he says the product works as advertised. Stauts says his razor, which was quite dull, is noticeably sharper after using the Save-a-Blade for five seconds. He agrees to shave one side of his face with a dull blade and the other side with a razor sharpened by Save-a-Blade. After shaving, he says the Save-a-Blade side is smoother and is less irritated than the other.
Review: Save-a-Blade: Does it Work?, Joe Terrell, May 6, 2008
6. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
In this odd review, KFVS reporter Lauren Keith asks a local woman named Sherry Brown to try out Save-a-Blade. Both women say the device is unsettlingly loud, but that it works equally well on three different blades. Although Sherry gets a lot of nicks while shaving, she thinks they are a testament to the blade's sharpness. "'I'm bleeding, but I'd still give it an A," she says.
Review: Save-a-Blade: Does it Work?, Lauren Keith, March 11, 2008
Save-a-Blade receives almost universally negative reviews from the 20 or so users posting on this site, though there are a few scattered raves. Most owners complain that the product simply doesn't work, and even ruined new razors after just one shave.
Review: Save-a-Blade Automatic Razor Sharpener, Contributors to Amazon.com