Who in the world would get excited about a shredder? ME, that’s who. So when Judie posted a review of the SwingLine Cross-Cut Shredder last year I took note. You see, as bad as Judie and Kevin’s stack of “waiting to be shredded documents” was, Elana’s and mine is worse. How much worse? Let me put it this way. In Judie’s review she began with the following,
This is my husband’s and my pile of things that needed to be shredded. It started in a drawer, was moved to a shelf, and eventually ended up in a bag under our bed. What’s in it? Everything from those “convenience” checks that credit card companies seem to think we can’t live without, to credit card applications that simply need a signature and mail back to be approved, to health insurance settlement statements, all those bits of paper that have numbers, names, addresses and other information that gets scribbled down when we are trying to be efficient.
If I were writing that paragraph it might be something like this,
This is my wife’s and my pile of things that needed to be shredded: it started in a drawer, was moved to a shelf, eventually ended up in a bag under our bed and now is filling an entire room.
The situation is really bad… and potentially embarrassing. It is SO BAD in fact, that I won’t be including a picture here. But trust me, our “to be shredded pile” needs help.
All of those things piled up in our house for the same reason they gathered in Judie’s, and perhaps your home. Identity theft is real and you can’t simply throw documents with your personal information in the garbage anymore. No, you need a good shredder, and that means something that not only slices the page but also cross-cuts the page so that the data on it is all but impossible to put back together.
That’s where Swingline’s Stack and Shred 80X Handsfree Cross-Cut Shredder has the potential to step in and save the day. It offers the security we need and is probably the easiest I have ever seen. Let’s take a look.
I mentioned in the last paragraph that this shredder is easy to use. How easy is it? It is so easy that the “Quick Start Guide” has nothing more than a few pictures. There are no words explaining how to use it just 10 pictures, and it is enough. This is a shredder that you can open up, plug-in, and start using right away.
From the company:
Experience the productivity of hands-free shredding. The swing line stack and shred shredder works without your supervision: just stack, shut and you’re done. Stack up to 80 sheets of paper for automatic shredding at home or in your office. Manual bypass handles six sheets.
Hands free shredding
Just stack, shut and you’re done
Auto+ jam clearance automatically reverses and re-feeds stuck papers to clear any jam. LED light indicates rare gems that require user action
Crosscut shredder meets moderate security needs (level III)
Shreds credit cards, paper clips, staples, documents into 5 gallon waste bin with view window
80 sheet capacity on automatic operation, six sheet capacity on manual
Self-cleaning feature extends cutter life
One year warranty on machine, one year on cutters
From the top, this shredder looks like the one it will be replacing in our home. It has a slit in the top that allows you to feed paper into it. The cutters are just below it.
The waste bin sits beneath that and is easily emptied by pulling it out from the front of the device.
Yes, this top-down shredding is limited to just six sheets of paper and if you try to add more than that it simply won’t work, but this is actually more sheets at one time than our old shredder offered. And yes, when you are using the manual feed you have to make sure you line up the paper properly but this is no different from any other shredder I’ve tried.
Pressing a button on the top reveals the second way to load paper. This is the automatic hands-free method.
In this case you can take up to 80 sheets of paper that are lined up with one another and lay them flat.
According to the detailed information that comes with the shredder it can handle:
Stapled paper 1 inch thick with the staple in the corner
80 sheets of color print paper
Paper clip paper that is 1 inch thick with the clip in the corner
2 sheets of 11 x 17 folded paper that is folded in half
It will not, however, shred heavy-duty staples, a document with more than 25 sheets of paper held together by a staple or paperclip, bound documents, bulldog clips, large paperclips, multiple folded sheets of paper, magazines or other documents bound by multiple staples or clips, unopened mail, plastic sheets, card stock, adhesive labels or crumpled sheets.
Lower the lid on the shredder itself and the process begins automatically. I was surprised at how slow the shredder actually is but that’s simply because I’m used to shredding a page of paper at a time and doing so from a top loader. In this case what’s happening is that the wheels inside the top feed are grabbing each sheet of paper that was stacked one at a time. That pages is being shredded and then the rollers grab the next page. I put close to 80 pages in the shredder and it simply and automatically shredded each page… one at a time. It took a few minutes but I didn’t have to do anything else. That meant I didn’t have to watch the shredder do it’s thing. That’s what the company means when they call the shredder “hands free”, you put in the paper, lowered the top and walk away.
As indicated in the specs on the shredder, it has an auto feature that will attempt to undo any jams that take place. Every now and then that won’t work and there is an indicator that will tell you so. When that does happen you simply unplug the shredder, open the lid and remove the problematic paper that was causing the jam. As Judie put it in her review, however, if you come upon a gem it’s likely “because you’re doing something wrong”.
I intentionally pushed the review sample beyond its limits. It jammed and I used the forward and back feed toggle on the front to loosen the paper. It took a few times going back and forth but eventually the jam cleared and the process continued.
This shredder has a 5 gallon bin for collecting shredded paper and a viewing window so you can see when it’s almost full. That is key since, once full, this shredder like any other I have tried will constantly jam.
Like the previously reviewed model it comes with a sample of a bin liner that lets you collect all of the shredded paper in one place and easily disposed of it. But Judie is correct,
The recyclable liner is a nice touch, but it’s not a necessary addition: you can just as easily fill the online bin then dump the shredded paper into a plastic bag. Plus if you are putting shredded credit cards, paper clips and other debris in their, it’s probably polluting the recyclable quality of the paper anyway.
The shredder is a security level 3 shredder. That means it’s safe to shred “confidential and strategic documents”. That certainly is good enough for the documents we need to dispose of here at home. Actually, it is probably more than we actually need but with so many unscrupulous people out there looking to steal your identity being a little bit overly cautious is certainly not a bad thing.
The shredder works exactly as promised and is far easier than I ever expected a shredder to be. It is a bit on the pricey side but how much is your security worth? Think about the headaches and cost of one the case of identity theft and this shredder suddenly looks like a bargain. You can learn more or order your own right here on the Swingline website. Now if you will excuse me, I have a room to reclaim.
MSRP: $399.99; $203.97 via our Amazon Affiliate Store
What I Like: Easy to operate; Fairly quiet while it works; Small crosscut pieces that are safe to dispose of; an auto feed hopper that will take up to 80 pages at a time; A top feeder that will take six sheets at a time; Small enough to sit unobtrusively in the corner or under a desk
What Needs Improvement: Like the previously reviewed model the shredder can choke on slick paper and can’t handle more than small paper clips or Staples; A serious initial investment from a price perspective