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Brand: Texet / Max Sheet Capacity: 12

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      22.11.2013 16:43
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      Fine for occasional shredding, but not if you shred in bulk

      These days, with the threat of identity fraud on the rise, a personal shredder has become an essential item in the home. When my old shredder gave up after several years of faithful service, I picked this up in WH Smith on a half price offer.

      Like most shredders, it's not much to look at and essentially is a great big chunk of grey plastic. However, it has a reasonably large 12 litre bucket to catch the shredded paper, is sturdily made and stands upright on pretty much any surface, which is about all you can ask for from a shredder.

      Functionality-wise, it's a little more basic. You have your usual options (on/off or auto i.e. turns on when you are trying to feed something into it) and reverse the direction of blades). According to the instructions, it can shred up to five A4 sheets at a time, but in my experience this is a somewhat ambitious claim. I tend to find anything over 2 pages and the shredder starts to grumble a bit. It starts to make some slightly alarming noises and doesn't properly shred the pages so that you often have to pass them through a second time.

      The slot into which you feed documents has to be the smallest I've ever seen on a shredder and can cause some issues. If I'm shredding smaller items (say a label from a parcel), it can be quite tricky to feed it into the shredding slot or get the automatic blade mechanism to recognise that there is something there. I often find the only way to shred labels is to put them through at the same time as a piece of A4.

      It's not just smaller items that cause problem, though. Since the gap is so small, positioning them correctly is a bit of a faff. With my old shredder, I used to be able to multi task - feed documents to the shredder with one hand whilst carrying out another task (say typing on the computer) with the other. With this shredder, I need to use both hands to carefully guide the page into the gap. It's also quite picky about how you put it in. If the paper starts to feed through even slightly askew, it doesn't like it and those alarming grinding noises start again.

      On the plus side, the shredder has a pretty decent 12 litre bucket to catch the shreds, so you don't have to constantly empty it. You can also compress these down to increase the capacity by a little bit. Whilst I'm not the heaviest of users, I find that I only have to empty the full bucket around once every 3-4 weeks. Emptying it is also straightforward as the top simply comes off and the design of the base makes it easy to tip the shreds into a carrier bag.

      It also does a pretty good job of shredding (providing you don't try to feed too much through at once). It's rare (if ever) that I have to go back and feed something through for a second time. Since it's a cross-cut shredder, the bits it reduces your documents too are pretty small and you can be reasonably secure in the knowledge that your documents are gone forever. Unless (to quote The Penguin in Batman Returns) you've got a little bit of sticky tape and a lot of patience

      One very handy feature is that the shredder can destroy old credit/bank cards. It's actually very good at this. My old shredder also had this facility, but often required several passes through before it was properly shredded. This shredder cuts them to ribbons straight away.

      It's disappointing that the shredder can only shred for five minutes before the automatic shutdown kicks in to prevent it from over-heating. For low usage people like myself this is not an issue since I rarely need to use it for longer than about 2-3 minutes. However, if you are a heavy user (or leave shredding until you have a large pile), this is not the model for you.

      The five minute limit is exacerbated by the fact that the blades can get clogged up and keep churning round, even when there's no document going through. This activity all eats into your five minute shredding time, so you might find it a bit limiting. On the plus side, it doesn't take too long to cool down, so you can start shredding again within about 20-30 minutes.

      Bearing this in mind I do have some concerns over how long this shredder will last. It does seem to get very hot, very quickly and I suspect that it won't be that long before it burns itself out. I guess only time will tell on that one.

      I picked up the shredder on offer in WH Smith's for £12 and at that price I'm reasonably happy with its performance and willing to put up with some of its weaknesses (although you can buy better shredders for a similar price). A quick check on Amazon reveals it is currently on sale for £35 - a price I find it almost impossible to justify.

      If you're a light user, this is a perfectly acceptable (if slightly uninspired) shredding option; if you're a heavy user, you really need to look elsewhere.

      © Copyright SWSt 2013

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