Product Type: Fellowes shredders
Newest Review: ... was this that led me to purchasing the product I am reviewing here, the Fellowes S5 Paper Shredder. (With basket) A paper shredder ... more
Better Than A Hand Job...
Fellowes FS5 Plus
Member Name: Nar2
Fellowes FS5 Plus
Advantages: Lightweight, good quality, easy controls, adjustable arm means you can use any bin; small, compact.
Disadvantages: Can topple over if bin hasn't got a weight in it; clogging problems; availability. Small.
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 you’ll 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; that’s 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.
• Single motor.
• 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 **
Summary: Ideal for small offices or homes which hate ripping up paper manually.
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