“ Manufacturer: Fellowes „
I read an interesting article in the Irish Times newspaper a few months ago on the issue of identity theft which really set me to thinking. Identity theft is where someone quite literally pinches your identity, and uses it to run up massive bills on your credit cards, debit cards, or bank account, that you only find out about when you receive your monthly statement. In a lot of cases the financial institution involved indemnifies you against such a loss. (But not always!) In any case, even if you eventually DO manage to reclaim your money, the hassle and red tape involved would probably see you certified to a mental asylum!
I suspect that a lot of us rarely even think about what we are throwing out in our rubbish. I know that it certainly never crossed my mind before I read the aforementioned article in the newspaper. But seemingly there are crooks out there who specialise in this type of crime, and who go around raiding people's dustbins (or green bins) in an attempt to gain access to your private information.
If you think about it for a moment you soon realise the vast amount of damage that could be done to your financial credibility if somebody got a hold not only of your credit card number, but your home address. Thousands of Euros (or even Pounds) worth of goods could be bought before you even realised anything was amiss, and it could take you months to sort out the resulting damage.
It was this that led me to purchasing the product I am reviewing here, the Fellowes S5 Paper Shredder. (With basket) A paper shredder is simply what it says. It's an electrical device that shreds sheets of paper into strips, thus making it practically impossible for anyone to illicit any useful information from them. Anybody who works in an office has probably seen an industrial paper shredder in action. You feed the intact sheets of paper in the top of the shredder, and it is cut up into thin strips and deposited in the container underneath. The width of the strip depends on the individual shredder, and the higher the security you require then the thinner the strip.
The Fellowes S5 Paper Shredder is designed primarily for home use, or at least for the user who only needs to shred fairly low volumes of paper. The recommended daily usage is about a maximum of twenty shredding operations per day, which will see the waste paper container fairly full. You can feed up to five sheets of paper into the shredder at each operation, so this allows you to shred about a 100 sheets of paper per day, which is more than ample for the ordinary domestic user. (I'd be unlikely to shred this much paper in a couple of months!)
You simply feed the paper into a feeder on the top of the machine. This trips a little switch that turns on the shredder, and moments later the sheet of paper has been cut into strips of about a ¼ inch (7mm) in thickness. (Actual shredding speed is 3.6 meters of paper per minute) This provides enough security for your average user, although I suppose (in theory) anyone with enough time and patience could possibly put the strips back together again. But when you have shredded up to 100 sheets, then I suspect the difficulty of such a task would put off all but the most masochistic of thieves. (Or jigsaw puzzle fanatics)
The S5 shredder is a basic, entry-level model, and will only take sheets of paper up to A4 size. Any paper bigger than this, and you will either have to cut the sheet into smaller pieces, or else invest a few more spondoolicks (money) and buy a more expensive (and sophisticated) model. But I would rarely have cause to shred any piece of paper larger than A4 in size in any case.
There's a simple three-position switch on the feeder. On, off, and reverse. If the shredder does happen to jam, then you hit the reverse switch, which quickly clears any blockages. The model I purchased has its own grey plastic waste basket, (12-litre capacity) but the shredder itself has a pull-out handle, so you can fit it to any waste basket between thirteen inches and sixteen inches in width. It's very compact in size, (31.8mm high, 28.5mm wide, and 15mm deep) so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb in the room. (I hide mine behind the curtain in my study.)
The documents and paper that they recommend you shred are anything that includes any financial data, such as credit card bills or receipts, old bank statements, cancelled checks, and bills. Other documents such as legal papers or anything containing your National Insurance number should also be shredded.
Fellowes are an American corporation based in Itasca, Illinois, and they have their own website (www.fellowes.com) if you want any more information on their shredders or about their other products. (Funnily enough, the shredder itself was manufactured in China!) I bought my S5 Shredder in my local Argos store for only Euro24.99, but it's freely available online so shop around for the best bargain. Argos also stock a couple of more sophisticated Fellowes' shredders (the SD5X and the V25) which cross-cut the paper as well as shredding it vertically. These cost Euro49.99 and Euro59.99 respectively.
So for a relatively cheap price I can now rest easy in my bed at night, secure in the knowledge that my identity (and cash) are relatively safe from theft by marauding bin raiders.
Adapted and edited for posting here at dooyoo
When I first caught sight of an electric shredder three years ago at Argos and being slashed from £30 to an incredible £9.99 I had to buy one. Largely as a musician and teacher I'm forever buying second hand books and old scores from second hand shops which feature illegally copied music. I have had to dispose of photocopied music in the best way possible and having a shredder speeds up time. I used to have one of those large manual aided table top shredders which was good for general correspondence, bank card letters and the like, but for A4 paper it was an arm wrenching exercise!
These days however it seems that everyone is buying a shredder for use in their home. Once only an item which was usually found in the commercial office and general administration clinics, the shredder has become what the consumer is now terming as a "necessity" in life particularly for consumers who deal with a lot of private and personal paper work. I adore using this shredder because it gets rid of unwanted paper quickly and keeps me safe in mind. More importantly it is mains powered which ends the need for wrenching those muscles!
** Stockist Availability **
Fellowes have been selling the FS5/S5 model for many years now and it is easy to see why it still sells. Against other reviews which have slated the performance, most consumers tend to believe that because Fellowes has a office reputation behind it then the general assumption that the FS5 should cope with anything has been believed. Across the internet the model still sells despite its age and it is easy to see why; it is NOT a large shredder but a compact cheap priced machine which will get rid of the average set of papers found in a home. If you need something bigger youll need to pay more!
** Model Deriatives **
There are two kinds of FS5 model I have found. One model has a bin attached to it and the other model does not; thats as simple as it gets. Colours change during the years from my model's basic red switch on a beige design to a blue switch and grey bin, to the model you see here on Dooyoo with a classy silver switch and black bin.
** Quick Skip Specifications Features **
Thermal overload protection built in.
2 way cutting choices; auto start or reverse power operation - handy when something gets clogged.
Adjustable arm for bigger bin diameters - great for normal bins other than the one supplied.
7mm thin straight strip cut size.
12 litre bin capacity
2 metre power cord length.
Can shred up to 5 A4 sheets at one time.
Prices range from £9-99 to £30.
** Different Colours **
My model for example is a light beige/gre colour with a red switch and also includes the words "SafeShred" in dark grey writing on the top right hand side of the fascia whilst there are further icons on the fascia to warn you of things which the shredder can't do. Whichever you choose, at least there is variations in colour available on the basic model to fit your decor choice in the home.
** Using The FP5 **
Although I bought this for most use in the home for everyone, it is me who has used it for the aforementioned photocopies. My parents use it every day for their endless mail but we have encountered several problems.
Firstly, and more appropriately let's deal with using the FS5 in general. This model has the ability to be switched on via the simple one slider control located on the top left hand side of the fascia. Slide to left and this will put the shredder into standby or auto start mode. This is quite handy because you don't have to bend down so low to switch the shredder on manually. Height of the bin and the shredder is just near 32mm which is fine if you place this next to a low and typical office desk on the floor, but standing up means a lot of bending unless you position it somewhere on your desk. The auto start mode means that when you slide a bit of paper into the main mouth of the shredder, the shredder's sensitive tongue will start the cutting discs on contact of the paper's edge and start to shred whilst ceasing the operation the moment no more paper is added.
The other mode is a reverse mode which keeps moving constantly unless you switch it off. This is fitted to the shredder for use when paper clogs and is designed to push paper back out if a clog appears or if paper from the bin gets too full and starts feeding back into the mouth of the shredder cutting discs.
Operation is actually quite quick, with the shredder's cutting discs quickly slicing through paper.
** Quality of Cut and Maximum Feed **
The FP5 cuts in precise thin 7mm straight strips of paper and for a model this low in specification, it means that it cuts to a standard like most basic machines. It will not cross cut however as this is a higher facility on higher priced models. Although Fellowes admit that only 5 A4 sheets can be cut at one "feed" I've actually managed 7 thin low 30 GSM paper shreds in one go. For safety though always ensure that you shred 5 sheets of standard A4 paper. The FP5 has a thermal cut out protection facility which if it does occur you must wait at least 10 minutes before the motor cools down. Since ownership and using it everyday, this has never happened to me yet!
** The Collection Bin **
The bin supplied with the FS5 is additionally designed to fit flush with the model and that's with the adjustable arm retracted into the machine but there is a problem with this. Unless you site the machine against a wall, the FS5's bin can wobble due to the weight of paper. Although it is deep and has a full capacity of 80 A4 sheets and a known 12 litre capacity, the bottom of the bin is narrow and I've found it is not always stable, particularly if the motor is used and the bin is relatively empty. I've since put decoration stones at the bottom of the bin to add weight and a bin liner to catch all the paper so that I never throw out the stones when it comes to tipping the bin out!
The bin is an all purpose grey thick PVC item which matches the colour of the shredder. It is washable and a bin liner can additionally be inserted to line it. There is a handy opening between both sides of the bin where additionally you have the option to use it as a standard paper bin where paper types are not permittable.
Whilst this is good in practise, if you don't empty the bin on a regular basis and strands of already sliced paper appear at the top of the bin, we have found that slithers of paper shredded already will find their way back up into the shredder. The FS5 then goes into reverse mode automatically which often end up in reversing all the shredded paper you have done already plus the escaped strands of paper coming up from the bin.
** The Adjustable Arm **
Primarily one of the best designs I adore about the FP5 is the fact that it has an adjustable arm. The arm can extend up to 8cm more to 40cm as opposed to the standard width of just below 32cm. I now use a large 30 litre wicker basket with a diameter rim of 34 cm which takes all the shredding I need. The adjustable arm can be pulled or pushed in depending on size of diameter of the bin in question and whilst the wicker bin was never intended to be used as a shredder bin, the FP5 motor sits comfortably on the top across the centre of the bin opening.
** What Is Not Permittable **
On the FP5 model there is actually a series of 4 small icon labels which show the articles which can be shredded and the articles which must never be shredded. This is where the basics of this machine come into question.
Whilst A4 paper is fine, envelopes with windows cannot be shredded - the plastic gets caught up in the cutting discs. Credit cards and generally any form of plastic cannot be additionally shredded whilst the machine fascia warns that clothing such as Ties should never be shredded either! Paper clips and staples cannot be shredded but I have put stapled paper in before, with the result that the staples bounce off the discs and get deposited in the bin.
** Other Problems **
Primarily, because the sensitive tongue in the shredder mouth is so sensitive, anything that touches it will be fed into the shredder automatically. Now this is a great design for human body parts such as fingers, because you will never be able to cut yourself on this shredder, but after shredding, say 5 sheets of A4 and a thick envelope in one go, the tongue can get jammed with paper and the auto start keeps going because the tongue has been pushed inwards which starts the mode and the motor. If this occurs you have to switch off and unplug the shredder.
On the base of the motor, there is a series of 6 small Philips / cross head screws which must be undone to take the motor apart. Once inside, the two parts of the motor for example cannot be completely taken off because part of the electrics has been bonded onto two sides of the fascia/ main panel. There is a lot of lubricant which is viewable from both sides of the cutting discs, and although they have a rough feel, the actual cutting discs will not cut you although they are sharp enough for paper. There are two metal holders which can often fall out when the fascia is taken apart. Here however general cleaning is accessible although it's not the easiest task in the world. Once the tongue has been cleared of paper, then essentially the FP5 has been de-clogged. The metal holders have viewable slide in slot posts which are clearly visible. Push both cutting bars together and the two sides should fit flush together again before tightening up the screws again.
** Noise **
The motor on the FP5 isn't the loudest shredder I have used but it can be somewhat noisy, particularly when my dad can hear me using it in other parts of the room. The motor changes pitch on the strength quite literally on the thickness and amount of paper used but overall it's isn't annoying, but it does make its presence felt by others at home whenever it is used. Importantly it doesn't cause any interference with it being so near my PC.
** Conclusion **
This is a basic electric shredder where it quickly does what it says on its label. Although it has no plastic shredding facility, this is still a good shredder to perhaps consider, for use in the home where a consumer needs a machine to cope with private letters and mail. The other factor is that it is quite a light unit on its own and you don't need two people to lift the motor.
If the model doesn't come with a bin, then you do have the added bonus of using a bin with a bigger capacity to meet your needs. At the moment I'm considering a better shredder that can shred plastic and has cross cutting facilities whilst this model will be relocated to a small study for occasional use. It still sparks into life after three years purchase. Would I choose Fellowes again though? Absolutely. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007. ** This review also appears on Epinions **
Ideal for home use. Mechanical auto start/stop and reverse front access permits disposal of non-confidential waste. Noise level capacity 76dB.