Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Best Medium Duty Shredder I Could Find

I've been shopping around for a paper shredder for a few months now, and I have finally settled on one. My wife and I got tired of tearing up all of our old financial records, credit card applications, and other identity-revealing documents and were looking for an easy way to deal with it all.

After seeing my father go through two cheapo $30 shredders in a year, I figured it would be worth it to pay up for a shredder that would be able to handle a decent load (such as a few pages stapled together, or maybe even an unopened credit card solicitation) without burning out the motor. I don't want to have to replace it anytime soon.

If you don't have a shredder in this age of digital identity theft, I think you are making a big mistake. Having your personal information, credit card applications and other miscellaneous information floating around in unsecured trash bins and trash bags is practically a recipe for someone to steal your identity and create all kinds of trouble for you. My mail gets delivered into a locked mailbox and as a general rule I shred anything with personal information on it before I throw it in my clear plastic paper recycling bag.
There are a ton of shredders in the $20-60 range that advertise 8 sheet capacity, are very cheaply made, and probably only good for extremely light use. My brother recently threw out a Staples brand shredder because a cheap plastic gear in the motor simply wore down after a few months.

Instead of risking one of these cheaper models, I decided I was willing to pay more like $80-$100 to get some better quality shredding power. The one we have at work would be my ideal shredder. It can take like 20 pages at a time and it stands about five feet high, but I didn't think it would be practical for my apartment, or my budget.

After reading some reviews and poking around a bit, I think I found what I was looking for- the Fellowes Powershred PS-77Cs 12 sheet Confetti Cut Shredder (pictured above in my livingroom) , which I paid about $96 for on Amazon (with free shipping). It advertises 12 sheet capacity, which is a little more than the cheap ones, and it got some great reviews around the Web.

I've only had it for one day, but sofar, so good.

The thing weighs about 30 lbs, and almost all of the weight is concentrated in the tough shredding apparatus that sits on top of the basket. I have to admit it was a bit bigger than I expected when I opened the package, but it's not that much bigger than the size of an ordinary wastebasket. In the photo, you can compare it to my briefcase and the copy of the Wall St. Journal (financial analyst's best friend) that's poking out.
This shredder also has one of those slots for ripping apart a CD or a credit card. I haven't had the opportunity to try that out yet, but I am looking forward to it.
A bonus feature is that it has technology that shuts off the shredder motor if your hands get too close to the opening. I don't have kids, but sometimes my little nieces and nephews come over, and they do the darndest things. This will hopefully make sure that sticking their fingers in the shredder isn't one of those things.

I've already thrown a bunch of stuff in there that I had been waiting to get rid of, and the machine handled them beautifully. I even threw in a new Citicard application that I got today, without even opening the envelope. The machine ate it up, burped, and begged me for more.

Ok, I'm getting a little ridiculous, but anyway you can tell I'm pretty happy with this thing sofar. As a sidenote, I am a big fan of well-made, heavy-duty office supplies. There is just something intrinsically satisfying about well made tools that you use often. I also have a 60 sheet capacity PaperPro stapler at work that works fantastic, and I'm thinking about getting a high-capacity 3 hole punch.
I've also decided to try out this Amazon PriceWatch site that I've been hearing about recently. Supposedly, if the same product you ordered is listed for less on Amazon within 30 days of your purchase, you can request a refund for the difference. This site will automatically track the price of this product for me, saving me the trouble of going to the Web site every day.
I'll make a mental note to write an update in 6 months or so about how well the shredder is holding up, and link it back this post.
If you know of a better shredder in this price range, or think I paid too much- I shopped around and this was within a few dollars of the lowest price I could find including shipping- please post the info in the comments section to share with other readers.
Happy shredding.

7/10/08 Update: I've owned this shredder for about a year and a half now and it still works as good as the day I got it. It is still a thrill to toss an entire junk mail envelope into the thing without even opening it and watch the machine devour the entire thing- fake plastic credit card and all. One thing I will recommend is that you do not buy the bags that come with this thing. They are a waste of money. When the bin fills up, I just dump it into a clear plastic bag with the rest of my paper recycling. I've never had any problems with this machine and the only maintenance I've done is to oil it (using common household vegetable oil, not the nonsense "shredder oil" some companies sell) a couple of times, following the directions in the instruction manual.
I think the $100 I spent on this shredder was a bargain for what I got and this thing is really built to last.

12/4/08 Update: Almost two years of household use and this thing is still cranking away like the day it was born. I have had absolutely no trouble with this shredder and it has seen a great deal of use. My neverending stream of junk mail and credit card solicitations goes in, and a downy, fluffy pile of paper shreds comes out, ready for disposal. I still take pleasure in shredding entire unopened envelopes full of junk mail, and have found the shredder handy for getting rid of other confidential information as well.

Another update as of July 2013- this thing is shredding like Eddie van Halen in 1982 (for those of you non music fans this is a good thing). I've owned it for five years now and it literally still shreds like new. I've oiled it like 2x a year since I've had it but other than that no fuss and no maintenance. I'm absolutely thrilled that paid up for this thing. I would have been on my 5th $25 shredder by now so I definitely saved money in he long run. Built like a tank!

(As somewhat of an aside, around the same time I bought this shredder, I bought a cheap $150 vacuum. The past few times I've tried to use it, the hose has gotten detached and the belt has slipped, causing the awful stench of burning rubber. It no longer picks up the little white things like it used to. I think my next vacuum is going to be a more expensive, but much more reliable Electrolux. I've found that buying a quality item often ends up costing less in the long run, and I think vacuums are the same as shredders when it comes to that.)

12/20/2014 Update: So I was using this shredder tonight and I wondered "how long has it been since I bought this beautiful piece of equipment?" I logged on and realized it has been something like seven years! In seven years, I haven't had a single problem with this thing. It still opens its mouth and devours any and all junk mail without even so much as a pause. I've shredded old credit cards, old CDs with data on them, multi-sheet stacks of paper... you name it, this thing has eaten it. I have to admit that I haven't oiled it very much over the years, but I'll try to correct this soon. Even so, it still runs incredibly smoothly. I will never hesitate to pay up for a Fellowes shredder again (assuming I ever need to buy another one- this one may outlast me.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a cheap shredder, and though it never gave me any problems I got tired of doing one sheet at a time. So, I purchased the Fellowes DM12Ct approximately 6-months ago and couldn't be happier. As you said, 'Identity Theft' should be everyone's concern, and if you're gonna shred ... have a decent shredder. It makes it much more enjoyable ... several page documents, unopened unsolicited credit card applications, and the joy of not having to cut up the old credit cards into 'bits' ... just put it into the credit card/cd slot, and 'burrrrr' it's gone.