I’m pretty sure I blogged about my need of a paper shredder to light – moderate work. I pretty much just need it for once a month bill shredding and some miscellaneous shredding here and there. Unfortunately, several months of bills had accumulated while I searched for an affordable but not completely craptacular shredder. The internet just wasn’t helpful. Amazon had shredders which were whole units as opposed to can-top shredders and most of the ones in the price range I wanted were rated pretty badly.
So I wasn’t expecting to find anything when I was at Target. Lo and behold! They had a can-top shredder for a little under $12. Good price. Even if it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be out much or I could just return it. I tried to guage if the shredder would fit over my standard sized kitchen trash can and thought it would so I walked about with an Embassy 6 Sheet Strip Cut Shredder.
Unfortunately, I can’t find my shredder anywhere online and Target doesn’t even list Embassy products on the site but the store had several different Embassy shredders in stock, with the one I chose being the cheapest. However, if you wanted a “sure thing”, you could easily spend a little more and get something a little sturdier.
So I got my shredder home and realized even with the extendy “arm”, it was a bit short for my trash can lengthwise and it’s a bit longer width-wise so I can’t set it securely on the can but I can rest it width-wise and as long as I’m not trying to shred a gremlin (also, gremlin shredding is messy). I also held the shredder between my knees with a plastic bags strung over the handles but this didn’t work amazingly. Honestly, I think a shredder with basket is the best option but I can make due with the can-top style just fine.
It’s definitely louder than I would expect such a small machine to be so if you need to shred discreetly (because the IRS is in the other room?!), then this isn’t for you. I can deal with it on a monthly basis, though. It’s also pretty easy to use. There’s 1 switch for all functions. Off is in the middle position, left is reverse and right is normal shredding. It was actually set to reverse when I plugged it in. When in normal mode, paper must be inserted before it starts going but reverse goes automatically. There’s also a credit card slot which I haven’t had opportunity to use.
The machine itself has some little logos which let you know you can shred 6 sheets at a time. Don’t shred paperclips and keep your hands away from the blades. Watch your hair and neckties (good advice) and don’t let your kid shred. There’s also some icon that looks like.. a fire extinguisher or helium tank so.. Don’t try to shred either of those.The box says the shredder is staple safe but it doesn’t say this anywhere else on the machine or instructions so removed mine just in case. There’s also a sticker that says to unfold envelopes.
The first thing I wanted to shred were old checkbooks including the carbon copy pages which are very thin, like tissue paper. Unfortunately, the shredder didn’t like those papers because of size and thickness. It took me forever to shred a checkbook and I actually resorted to cutting up some of the last few pages. The shredder had a tendency to pull the papers in crookedly and shred most of it but not all so I’d have to back it up and, at the point, finish the job manually or tears the sheets apart because it wouldn’t re-shred.
The Embassy shredder performed much better with regular 8.5″ x 11″ papers – like your typical copy/printer/fax/letter paper. I was even able to test with multiple sheets of paper and it did work. I noticed that it got exponentially louder as I added sheets of paper. The shredder worked best when I was continually feeding paper into it, instead of letting it stop in between (but I’m not very good at that, haha).
This machine is supposed to be jam-free in that you can reverse the feed. This works better with standard size/thickness paper. I did turn off and unplug the machine to stick my nail file into the little holes to poke out a couple blobs of paper so in the event that you have a jam that the reverse doesn’t fix, it’s pretty accessible for you to clean it out yourself.
Lastly, I’d like to touch on something which some might consider a feature. If this machine overheats – which it does – it will shut down. You must unplug it and let it cool down before it starts again. I suppose this is good. Fires are bad, right? Yet, it’s annoying. You must unplug it otherwise it won’t reset or whatever. It overheated twice after the checkbooks and I became, understandably frustrated, but the last time I ran 30 full-size sheets through without problems.
For $12, I could’ve done worse. My Embassy shredder didn’t kick ass but it works well enough for standard paper, which is mostly what I need it for. I think it’ll do fine for my monthly shredding needs but I may just need to manually cut checkbooks. You win some, you lose some.