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My thoughts on the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 paper shredder

My thoughts on the Fellowes Powershred 12C15, assessing its design, performance, support, and overall value.

John Goodrich


November 11, 2023


I recently upgraded my home office setup with the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 shredder. After years of dealing with jammed and noisy machines, I was on the hunt for something more robust. My old Staples shredder served me well for 15 years, but it was time for a change. The 12C15 caught my eye with its promise of a 20-minute continuous run time and safety features. As someone who appreciates function over form, I was curious to see if it could handle my regular shredding marathons.


Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Design and Usability Features

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When using the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 shredder, I value its combination of practicality and convenience. The pull-out bin is a significant improvement over the standard lift-off design for me. Instead of lifting the entire cutter assembly to empty it, I simply draw out the drawer. This makes the process less messy and less taxing on my back.

Equipped with wheels, the shredder is more movable than some I’ve used before. This mobility proves useful for anyone who needs to relocate it frequently. The wide shredding slot simplifies the process of adding multiple pages. However, precise alignment of paper in the slot can be challenging at times.

While discussing usability, the safety features are important to note. The Fellowes Powershred includes a technology called SafeSense. This feature halts the shredder if fingers come too close, offering reassurance in homes with young children or pets.

On discussing drawbacks, let’s focus on durability issues. The plastic bin’s casing appears weak, as indicated during setup when aligning the top part can be challenging. Users have shared similar concerns. Improving the bin’s construction would be beneficial.

Moreover, I’d like to bring up ergonomics and controls again. The symbols for ‘on’, ‘off’, and ‘reverse’ are unclear to me. It shouldn’t be necessary to remember their meanings on a shredder; they should be self-explanatory. Although it’s more of an inconvenience than a deal-breaker, I think it’s worth mentioning.

Also, oiling the Fellowes shredder isn’t mentioned in the manual. This is surprising since it’s a common maintenance step to prolong its life. You’ll need to research Fellowes’ recommended oiling practices online instead.

In terms of noise, this shredder is relatively quiet but not library-quiet. It won’t interrupt phone calls, but you will hear it while it operates.

From an engineering standpoint, companies like Fellowes must consider cost and functionality. Although they excel in the latter, there is room for improvement in some areas, such as bin design. In summary, the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 shines in terms of usability with a user-friendly design. Nevertheless, a stronger construction and clearer maintenance instructions would elevate the overall experience.

Performance and Reliability

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When I began my quest for a new paper shredder, after my old Staples model gave in after a commendable 15 years, I stopped at the Fellowes Powershred 12C15. My checklist was clear: it had to handle at least 10 sheets, run for a substantial amount of time without a meltdown, and cool off rapidly if pushed to the brink. Surprisingly, Fellowes advertised a 20-minute non-stop operation on their Amazon page, which was appealing. Having this machine delivered a day early was the first pleasant surprise, and it didn’t waste any time proving its chops. Straight out of the box, it dealt efficiently with an avalanche of old bills and credit card offers, sporting a mild yet gratifying hum far quieter than its predecessor. In the same way that this shredder is an integral part of an efficiently run office, a comfortable chair is just as important; read about my experience with the Furmax Office Chair.

However, the product’s continuous run time wasn’t as long as advertised. The user manual stated a maximum of 15 minutes, which was shorter than the promised 20 minutes, followed by a 30-minute cooldown. This was disappointing for someone seeking transparency. Nevertheless, Fellowes didn’t falter in terms of performance. I can confidently assert that the shredding quality is commendable. The shredder efficiently handles 12 sheets of standard paper as per the specified advertisement, and the resulting particles are small enough to meet expectations.

One aspect that may cause concern is the paper dust produced by the Fellowes Powershred 15C12 shredder. The machine leaves some mess around it during operation, adding an unwelcome cleaning task. Despite this minor inconvenience, the shredder performs well.

On maintenance, regularly oiling a shredder is important for smooth operation. I had to search online for instructions since they weren’t clear. The method I found involves adding oil each time the bin is emptied, along with reversing the shredding process. This is an easy habit but could benefit from clearer product guidelines.

I must admit, the safety features deserve a shout-out. The SafeSense technology, which halts the blades when hands are too close, adds an appreciated layer of security, especially if you’re in a household with creative and adventurous kids. The bin’s pull-out design is another gold star for the product, clearing up the one issue I had with my older shredder - the lifting and awkward handling of a heavy cutting unit. Just like when I discussed the convenience of the ErGear Electric Standing Desk, good design can make all the difference in day-to-day tasks.

In terms of noise level, the Fellowes 12C15 shredder is neither too loud for a library nor too quiet to drown out conversation. Its sound falls at a moderate volume that won’t trigger a stress-headache, unlike some other models.

Putting it all together, the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 proves to be a reliable workhorse for domestic shredding needs. It offers a mix of efficiency, ease of use, and safety that, combined with regular maintenance, can stand up to daily use without much fuss. Despite the cool down mix-up and the dust dance, I’m inclined to keep it around; it’s quite the performer for anyone wanting to keep their confidential papers exactly that — confidential.

Customer Service and Support

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When using the *Fellowes Powershred 12C15 paper shredder, I have experiences to discuss that may relate to prospective buyers concerning customer service** and support. I value timely assistance. Thus, learning about customers who encountered challenges with their shredders and required help piqued my interest regarding Fellowes’ handling of such situations.

The user was dismayed when they found that their Fellowes shredder refused to power on, an unfortunate turn of events as they were ready to tackle a mountainous pile of bills and documents. However, Fellowes responded admirably with not only troubleshooting tips provided through their customer service line but also, if the situation warranted it, expeditiously dispatched a replacement at no additional shipping cost.

I value Fellowes’ vital role in addressing customer feedback through their tech support. An effective resolution and convenient contact method are not just important, but vital for a satisfactory user experience. However, some users have raised concerns about the shredder’s build quality, specifically the flimsy waste basket. This is a vital issue that could significantly impact the overall product experience and should be effectively addressed to ensure customer satisfaction. Despite these design issues, the reassurance of responsive customer service remains vital in mitigating potential dissatisfaction.

Another point that caught my attention was the inconsistencies in the manual regarding shredding time. A user mentioned this discrepancy between the advertised time and what was written in the instructions, which is a concern for those who prioritize accuracy in product specifications. Transparent updates, similar to changelogs in software repositories, could help keep users informed about accurate product details and prevent such misunderstandings.

Safety features received positive feedback from users. They appreciated the SafeSense technology that stops the shredder when hands are too close, making it suitable for households with inquisitive children. The casters for easy maneuverability also gained popularity among users.

A bit of a drawback was that some users found the oiling process for the shredder unclear. For maintenance, instructions should be as clear as If Fellowes provided a direct link to instructional videos or a simple guide online, it would greatly benefit users.

The Fellowes Powershred 12C15 customer service presents a strong foundation for modernized enhancements. Implementing advancements to build quality and documentation will significantly upgrade the user experience. The company’s responsiveness and attentiveness instill confidence in customers, positioning them at the forefront of innovation.

Value for Money and Final Thoughts

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Evaluating the Fellowes Powershred 12C15*** shredder, I find its value for money lies in a reasonable balance between cost and functionality. Previously, I’ve encountered cheaper models that jammed at inconvenient times or produced a loud jet engine noise. Conversely, high-end options felt excessive for my requirements. The 12C15 aims to address these issues with a mid-range approach.

The strength of this shredder is its impressive 12-sheet capacity, but there are concerns regarding the discrepancy between the advertised and actual continuous run time. The advertised 20-minute continuous run time is advantageous when handling larger paper volumes without interruption. However, some users have reported that the shredder does not last for the full 20 minutes before requiring a break or needing to be emptied. This inconsistency between the advertised and actual continuous run time may cause inconvenience during extended shredding sessions.

The space-saving design of this shredder is a significant advantage for offices due to its compact size. This equipment boasts the ability to shred staples and credit cards, enhancing its convenience and functionality. Its relatively quiet operation minimizes disruption when in use.

However, some users have raised concerns about the product’s durability, specifically the plastic casing which they described as “flimsy.” This might be a problem for those seeking long-term use. Additionally, the shredding size may not satisfy more security-conscious users, as the pieces are larger than some prefer for sensitive documents.

The safety features include SafeSense technology that stops operation when hands are too near, providing reassurance in family settings. Additionally, the pull-out bin design for waste disposal prevents messes and offers ergonomic benefits over top-loading shredders.

Value for money goes beyond the initial price tag. The 12C15 shredder provides a good value for its everyday office use. It may not be the longest lasting model, but it meets expectations for common document shredding tasks.

This isn’t a perfect product from Fellowes. Every item has its drawbacks, including trade-offs. The 12C15 shredder caters to consumers who prioritize reliability at an affordable price, despite some design issues.

In closing, is the Fellowes Powershred 12C15 shredder a good purchase? According to my experience and the consensus of users, I believe it is, but with a cautionary note regarding potential promotional mismatches or design quirks. For those undecided, consider the features against these minor issues, and this shredder may still win your vote. However, it’s important to be vigilant when purchasing this model, as there have been reports of discrepancies between advertised specifications and the actual product.