“ Brand: Fellowes / Type: Shredder „
* Prices may differ from that shown
We all need shedders now. I both admired and deplored a Fellowes advert just after Christmas which suggested that we should shred our Christmas cards because they might contain personal information. Has it come to this?
Yes. Look at your bank statement its got your name, address, sort code, account number and, most important, how much you can be fleeced for. Your credit card statement prints your card number. Not all credit card slips conceal all but the last four digits of the card number. Some, especially from smaller establishments, still show the complete number. These things blowing around landfill sites or spilling out of your dustbin are gold dust to the identity thief.
But first you have some purchasing decisions to make sorry, consumer life is like that these days.
* Cross-cut or strip-cut? You can either shred your documents into long strips or chop them up smaller into confetti-size pieces. Cross-cut is more expensive, as it needs more cutters, but is also more secure. Not even the most dedicated identity thief could piece this stuff back together.
* How much shredding will you do? If its only a monthly bank statement and a few credit card slips you wont need a heavy-duty machine. If you work from home and need commercial confidentiality as well, youll need something more robust.
* Where are you going to put it? Heavier machines will need to stand on the floor, but smaller, lighter weight ones can go on a desk or shelf.
* How safe does it have to be? Do you have a toddler who could stick his or her fingers into it, or who might find it fun to feed in your CD collection?
* How much do you want to pay? The home/small office ranges we are talking about vary from about £20 to about £150.
So where does this machine fit into the above spectrum of choice? It is described as for moderate personal and home office use. It is a cross-cut Fellowes shredders with a C in the model number are cross-cut. Shredding can also be a way of disposing of paper more easily security is not the only issue but I would say, if youre going to shred anything confidential, get a cross-cut for the security. I am involved in a home-based business so need to shred statements from several accounts as well as confidential business documents. This is a reasonably heavy duty machine to cope with a regular through-put of paper and at 6 sheets at a time the job is done quickly.
It is sold as a below desk model, and I agree it would be too big and heavy to sit on a desktop. Its actual dimensions are33cm high x 21cm wide x 41cm long, about the size of the old PC mini towers, and in fact if you have room beside your PC tower, that might be a good place to store it. It looks fairly smart, black case with a silver top, but no funky colour choice to match your décor.
Before I move on to the safety and cost aspects, a few other things it can and cant do. It will happily chew up staples, but not paper clips: this is OK as paper clips are easy to remove, staples less so. The manual says it will not take continuous forms, adhesive labels, transparencies, newspaper, cardboard or plastic other than credit cards. The credit card facility is a clear bonus. Some of these other items would obviously need a bigger commercial machine, but I am curious as to why it cant take newspaper. Fortunately nearly all of us these days have a doorstep newspaper collection.
Safety is an issue, as it will chop up indiscriminately anything dropped into its hungry jaws. There is a small sensor just above the slot which senses material and sets the cutters going as you feed it in. Anything hovering at this sensor will set the cutters going, so it acts as a kind of early warning if material not destined for shredding is in the danger area. Watch out for long hair and ties! There is also a "reverse" switch, ostensibly to undo paper jams, but could be useful for that "aaaarrrgghh" moment! Seriously, though, switch it to off when not in use. If you are concerned about toddlers or pets, the newest range of Fellowes shredders (but not this one) has a safety feature which shuts the machine down if anything touches the throat (which I take to mean the area immediately around the slit), so toddlers fingers or puppy tails brushing against it will shut it off.
When I bought this a few months ago I found a huge variation in price on-line, ranging from £60 to £140. The lowest price then, and still is, by a considerable margin, at Argos. Essentially, at £59.99 youre getting a machine from the upper end of this moderate use range for a lower end price.
Maximum shredding time of 10 - 12 minutes is recommended, after which it will switch itself off to cool down. You can certainly feel the warmth coming from it after 5 minutes or so, but as each batch of 6 sheets is chopped up in seconds, that represents a lot of shredded paper! Little and often is the key. Of course, if the boys in blue are coming down the street you may need something a little faster . It needs oiling if used often (£6 - £7 a bottle). When it starts to squeak, run some oil along the feeder slit and switch it on for a few seconds then in reverse for a few seconds. There is a 5 year warranty on the cutters, and a 1 year warranty on all other parts.
Emptying is simple: the front panel has the bin attached to it behind, lift it out and empty it. There is a small window near the top of the front panel. If you can see shredded paper through that window, it needs emptying.
The noise it emits as its chomping is a kind of low growl, about the level of a food mixer at minimum speed (54 decibels if you can imagine that). There is only noise when the cutters are active. Switched on, but not shredding, it is totally silent.
Finally, the end product (shreddage?) is surprisingly bulky and soft. Hamster heaven! But watch out for the staples and credit cards!
Ideal office shredder. Shreds up to 6 sheets of A4 paper at a time into 3.9 x 50mm cross cut particles. 230mm throat width. Electronic auto start and reverse. Extended running time. Quiet operation. Automatic stop on bin removal. Accepts small staples and shreds credit cards. 14 litre pull-out waste basket. Brand's 5 year cutter warranty. DIN level 3. Size (H)32.7, (W)20.3, (D)41cm.