I have owned a number of shredders over the years. Most have lasted less than two years with the final weeks of their existence being characterised by odd clunks and frequent jams. I don't think my shredding habits are excessive. In fact I would say that the shredder mostly gets fairly light use, with just a few periods of intense, heavy-duty shredding after I have sorted through my Folder of Important Stuff and whittled it down to what is still current and relevant. So, I don't ask much of a shredder, but I do expect it to last several years. We have owned the Fellowes Powershred 59Cb for just over a year and it shows no signs of strain. I am confident it will be with us for years to come.
How well does it shred?
Extremely well. The Powershred 59Cb specification says that it can shred 9 sheets of paper (3.9mm x 50mm) at a time. I have done this, and although the shredder slows slightly in comparison with a one or two sheet load, providing the pages are smooth and straight they have gone through without incident. Staples are no object to the shredder and so do not have to be removed before shredding. Although this is often stated to be the case with cheaper shredders, I have found that those models were often not the same after a few staples had gone through.
The Powershred 59Cb is a cross-cut shredder and sells itself on being a high security model. It cross-cuts an A4 sheet into approximately 320 pieces. If security and the prevention of identity theft are your reasons for buying a shredder, this should be reassuring. Certainly, it would be difficult to piece together a document shredded by this machine. The paper is not only cut well, but it then falls into the waste bin like confetti, becoming mixed and muddled in the process. This is far superior to straight cut models where you have to manually muddle your shredded paper to make things more tricky for a would-be thief.
I am happy to believe the claim that it shreds credit cards: I have never tried this.
It has a continous run time of five minutes- this is true, and you can shred an awful lot in that time.
Emptying the shredder:
This is very easy. The waste bin is a large 15.3L capacity drawer with a clear viewing window in the front. At the top of this window the plastic is moulded to form an unobtrusive handle. It clear to see when the bin is nearly full, so the drawer an be pulled out and emptied. With no viewing window in other shredders, I found that when I did open the drawer it would often get stuck half way. This was because shredding had continued until the machine refused to work, and in consequence the shredded paper had compacted forming a hard, virtually immovable tower. This necessitated sticking your hand down into the bin, and then along and up to the most compacted part of the paper tower in order to free it. I am sure many of you will be familiar with the sort of scrapey injury that results. You too, can be scrape-free with The Fellowes Powershred 59Cb. Moreover, the large capacity means that less frequent emptying is possible than with the smaller models.
Does it jam?
No. It does not jam because it has 'JAM BLOCKER: Blocks Jams Before They Start'. This means that since purchase I have not once had to do the repeated forward-reverse-forward-reverse manoeuvre that so typifies the more basic shredder. I would not want you to think that this shredder is frustration-free however. I find that when trying to shred in a hurry the shredder frequently gives me the (actual) red light and stops working at the point at which I place my shredding in the slot. That is what jam blocker does, and it will do so with bundles that lesser shredders would manfully have had a go at. You have to slow down, and make sure the wodge is smooth and lined up correctly. But no, it does not jam.
Is it safe?
I have a tiny twenty month old, so safety is paramount. Her fingers, until recently looked small enough to fit in shredding part of the machine. We keep it in a cupboard out of sight and unplugged. It is reassuring though that there is an on-off power switch located at the back of the machine out of sight, an on-off switch at the front that operates the machine, and a padlock button. When the padlock is locked the on-off switch at the front cannot be moved. This is an excellent feature.
The Fellowes Powershredder 59Cb is currently available from several outlets for around £90-100, being a reduction from the RRP of £250. It is worth the sale cost, but even though it is excellent £250 is more than I would want to pay for a shredder.
The shredder should be oiled regularly and Fellowes make an oil for this purpose. Using it will prolong the life of your shredder.
The shredder should not be used to shred card. It can't do it.
It's quite noisy. I expect this of a shredder though. Silent shredders are a distant dream for the regular householder.
August 2013 update: still going strong with regular use!