Published on March 16th, 2012 | by Greg0
Swingline Reinvents The Paper Shredder
Few tasks are quite so critical to personal security, and so commonly overlooked, as document shredding. Whether it's that old credit card, the stacks of mail, account statements and bank information and applications, the mound of paper piling up is an easy ticket to identity theft if not disposed of properly. Even if you don't work for a secret agency, or a firm with special protection laws, your home business or even just personal tax filings are potentially valuable. And far too few people shred them, possibly because of the hassle.
Hence, the Swingline Stack-and-Shred 80X. The line includes other models as well- the 80 refers to the approximate number of sheets of paper that the unit can hold and shred at once. A 60X model is the basic version, and they offer up to a 500 sheet capacity. Like most serious shredders, it offers cross-cut capability, meaning that instead of simply turning the pages into long thin strips, what comes out is something closer to confetti. Cross-cut shredders offer a much higher level of protection; it's pretty much impossible to reconstruct a bag of tiny pieces.
OK, you say- I need a shredder, but why would I choose this one? We've taken a look at a couple of others, including one offering a vertical design and always focus on a few basic questions and functions. Speed, size, and capability matter- you want something fast, easy to tuck away or hide, and that requires little effort or maintenance. And we're happy to say that the Swingline Stack-and-Shred rips apart most of the competition. Granted, the price is higher, but this is a shredder in another class with a feature set that is impressive.
For starters, the automatic feed system means that you can set a large stack of documents inside and walk away. Come back a few minutes later, and instead of laboriously feeding each sheet through, or even a couple at a time, the unique feeder mechanism handles it for you. It's not perfect- we had trouble with folded or creased paper, as well as non-standard sizes- but for regular letter paper in good condition, we met with infrequent jams. You'll need to take some care about arranging that stack, and ensuring that you're not throwing in a random assortment, but we had few issues in real-world use and they were easily handled. In testing, we could create jams pretty easily- either by letting the disposal bin fill up or with mistreated or folded paper. Our only real wish is that the disposal basket include some mechanism to ensure an even layer of shredder paper, as it does tend to collect towards the rear and then prevent additional shredding.
Credit cards, paper clips, and staples weren't an issue, and the low profile size and shape mean that it can easily slide under a desk. It looks a lot like a printer, in fact, and almost sleek. Plus the large capacity 5-gallon bin means fewer trips to empty. The Swingline Stack-and Shred isn't loud, thanks to the relatively sealed chamber, but certainly makes some noise. And, like anything with a bunch of blades, it isn't light- but 20 pounds or so isn't bad either. For around $200, you can buy the most advanced shredder that we've seen, a small price for information security and certainly a reasonable premium for the convenience. It isn't perfect, but for those who handle mostly regular letter paper, it can save a lot of time. Available now. And make sure you check out their Facebook page- they are running a 'Tax Time' sweepstakes and offering lots of giveaways!