Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review: Amazon Basics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

Two minutes on, 30 minutes off.  That was what my old 8-sheet advertised, cross-cut shredder was rated for. With over a thousand pages to shred, I gave it a go and followed the on/off time. It never overheated -- the unit supposedly had a warning light and it didn't turn on -- but I also didn't get much done. On top of that, I did a bunch of hand shredding during those half-hour waits and managed to form a blister on a finger. Something about only getting through a few hundred pages with a thousand left after five hours of work told me that I had to try something different.

Paying a professional shredder to do it for me came up, but I have trust issues and prices didn't appear to be too cheap. That almost led to me spending $150 or more on a higher-grade shredder -- I wanted a 12-sheet micro-cut shredder with a pull-out bin. However, concerns about more paper dust from smaller cuts and a more sophisticated cutting mechanism started casting doubt on the idea. The obsolescence of paper in my household and a machine with a big footprint also factored in.
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder Package
Cheapness eventually got the better of me and I decided on a compromise: use my old shredder and get a new, slightly better shredder to get through the backlog. The solution was the AmazonBasics 12-sheet advertised, cross-cut shredder, which supposedly had a five minute on and 30 minute off rated run-time according to the product page, for about CA$ 60.

x1 - AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder: US$ 49.99 (CA$ 59.99)

Overview: Amazon Basics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

The unit shipped from the state of Kentucky according to the tracking info. This was surprising because almost none of my orders ever came from the States when using the Canadian Amazon site. It arrived in an almost shockingly small cardboard box. Upon opening though, I found out that the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet shredder was just efficiently packed with the head inside the bucket.

Cardboard spacers appeared to have held the head unit fairly securely. Unpacking and assembly essentially involved removing two plastic bags, a cord tie or two, putting the head on the bucket, and plugging it in. The instructions seemed fairly concise, and I was up and running after about ten minutes.
Amazon Basics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder Box Opened Up
I found the cross-cut shredder to be fairly short with a sizable base that didn't seem to want to tip over easily -- not that I tested it much. No immediate signs of poor craftsmanship or finishing caught my eye.

How was it?
Remember that 1000 pages that I had to get through? I got through it in about eight hours with the help of the old, lighter duty shredder and the new one. The AmazonBasics shredder bucket was emptied at least five times, and I tried my best to follow the five minute on, 30 minute off rating. It didn't seem to overheat as the warning light never came on.

Having more than a bit of experience with shredders, I expected the unit to not be able to handle 12 sheets without trouble. Probably 90% of what I shredded consisted of "standard" laser or copy paper that I've used in numerous offices. The motor didn't seem to like the roughly eight pages I tried to feed it a few times, but it didn't jam -- I actually never managed to jam it once through those eight hours. What I sent through were around five pages at a time and I tried my best to remove every staple, clip, and paper clip. A few staples were definitely missed and the machine didn't seem to croak. Not a single paper clip or clip should have been gone through the machine.

My main complaint was how quickly the bucket filled up. Being about the same size as my old shredder's bucket , I was sort of expecting this. However, because the rated run time was more than double my old shredder, I managed to fill the bucket much quicker.

If I were to nitpick, the sensor for turning the AmazonBasics cross-cut shredder on or off when feeding in paper seemed "off." Specifically, it appeared to turn the cutters on too early and I found myself having to push the paper in a bit deeper before the pages would actually get pulled in.

I did not try shredding any credit cards or CDs because I was recycling all of my shreddings. Mixing in a bunch of random plastic bits that I didn't think were on the local recyclables list wasn't the best idea to me. And honestly, I didn't want bits of tiny plastic everywhere in case the machine spit some back out.
The shredder itself
The 12-sheet cross-cut shredder appeared to be loud and very similar in noise to my old shredder. I actually tested it with an old, never calibrated SPL meter I had, so it wasn't really just a feeling. For the price and advertised decibel rating, this was expected. I popped some hearing protection on when using the machine just in case.

And I greased the cutters twice during the long shredding session following the instructions. No special greasing pages or oil containers were purchased. Fun fact: I saw a reference to "Aurora" branded shredders in the manual. Searching for Aurora branded shredders online turned up some interesting information.

Pretty good for CA$ 60 and it saved me a couple bucks from having to get it done professionally. The price, performance, and rated run-time appeared to be a good value to me. What would have really made it a knock-out was a bigger bin or a pull-out bin, but that would probably increase the price. Oh well.

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