Old-school wet shavers often rail at the big razor companies’ multi-blade cartridges and proprietary designs. Andrew at APShaveCo may have come up with a hybrid that spans both worlds.
[Note: APShaveCo links are affiliate.]
From the APShaveCo website:
“Why shave for dollars when you can shave for pennies? That was the idea behind the Penny Shaver, One Blade Cartridge Razor. It’s the newest venture of the man behind AP Shave Co. and will be aimed at the mass market under Penny Shave Inc….
“The penny shaver is great for all types of shavers including wet shavers and those potentially on the fence about wet shaving. This razor is unisex and works on all types of hair…..”
Benefits for Wet Shavers
- TSA Approved: Travel Safe
- Quicker: Excellent in a pinch
- Safer & Easier Blade Changing
- $0.05 a shave.
This is based on an average of 10 shaves per blade, assuming you purchase 100 blades. You may get more (especially if you use the blade refresher) or less than 10 shaves per blade depending on your body’s hair type and skin sensitivity. The above claim is for approximation purposes only to compare to your current budget.
*note: the first shave may be a little aggressive as it is sharpened more than your typical cartridge for more blade longevity. It smooths out after the first shave.
Benefits for Cartridge Users
- Save Money
- Less Irritation
- Less Frequent Clogging
As Penny Shaver is new to the market there aren’t too many other reviews but I did find some mentions:
A Quick Conversation: Penny Shaver’s Inspiration
I had an email exchange with Andrew of APShaveCo to discuss the Penny Shaver. My questions in bold, his answers in italics. I’ve edited it slightly for clarity.
When did you first get the idea?
It first came to me looking for a solution to travel with a carry-on, I wanted something easy that I didn’t have to worry about mailing blades, etc.
I evaluated the available options, had used a few 100% plastic offers but a family member mentioned to me “you have so many great razors, and you have to use plastic to travel?” I thought about it, and completely agreed with them. So that guided my journey to finding a solution for a single blade cartridge razor with a solid metal handle.
How long did it take to go from idea to product?
It was fairly quick I’d say, about 8 months. In fact, the idea isn’t anything “new” really, it was simply combining one product with another with the factory I was working with. They were making the handle and the head but not together.
What kinds of challenges did you experience during production?
Definitely packaging of the individual cartridges was difficult. It’s not quite what I wanted but I also didn’t have much flexibility due to manufacturer restraints.
What kinds of cartridge features do you want to make special mention of (i.e.comb, lather flow-through, etc.)?
The single blade combined with a slightly larger blade gap, and comb allows for significant flow through, and less “gunking” that can happen with other multi-blade razors.
The cartridge head is fairly large compared to other carts (like Sensor, Mach3). Why is this?
Similar to the answer above, the actual head design wasn’t anything new on my end – it was an existing design at the manufacturer I worked with. Upon test & regular usage, while it’s a slightly bulkier, I didn’t run into any issues under the nose, in tighter areas, etc. so I didn’t see a need to change it.
My Experience With Penny Shaver
[Note: I purchased a Penny Shaver handle and cartridge kit from APShaveCo. The opinions below are based on my experience with the razor.
The Penny Shaver head/cartridge reminds me a little of the Supply SE, with a guide comb and a fairly large (but not unwieldy) head. As the Penny Shaver cartridge is compatible with Gillette Fusion handles, I found blade/cartridge exchange quick and easy. One interesting aspect of the comparatively large cartridge size is that lather flow through is very generous–possibly the best I’ve seen.
Beyond the single blade and the cartridge comb the Penny Shaver does not offer any of the other bells and whistles of the typical razor cartridge: no pretensioner, no lubrication strip, no trimmer blade, etc.
APShaveCo says the median cartridge life is about ten shaves. I got a bit more out of it (about 12) and could squeak one or two more out of it if I used a blade life extension strategy. If what Gillette says–that one of their Fusion cartridges can last a month if used two or three times a week–is true, a similar usage of a Penny Shaver cartridge would give you about the same life.
I found the Fusion-compatible Penny Shaver handle actually rather nicely weighted and balanced, with a good grip. It doesn’t appear to be a cost-cutting afterthought for the cartridges.
Of course, if you already have a Fusion handle laying around you may find the Penny Shaver handle redundant.
As mentioned on the Penny Shaver webpage, I found the first shave with a new cartridge definitely more aggressive than I expected. Shaves two and three were transitional and the shaves beyond that were quite nice for me: BBS was readily achievable. On a ten point scale I would consider the shave’s aggressiveness as a 7 for shave one; dropping to a solid middle-of-the-road 5 for shaves 4-10; and falling off gracefully beyond that.
The size of the cartridge was not a problem for me when shaving detail areas like under my nose.
Shave comfort is acceptable for me when using “canned goo” but quite comfortable for me when I use traditional lather or a good “brushless” product (Cremo cream, Pacific Shave cream, Jack Black, etc.).
APShaveCo’s Penny Shaver is a nice hybrid razor with elements of both “traditional” and “modern” razor design. Its low cost could fit it into several shave niches quite nicely. Give it a try.
Any chance you know how this blade compares with the single blade gillette guard cartridge? Seems like they are cousins to some extent.