With everything I had heard about the threat of identity theft, I was convinced that I should invest in a personal paper shredder to destroy any of my sensitive documents before I threw them away. I originally decided on an inexpensive shredder, but that one failed within a year when it overheated, and then shortly afterward the gears inside the shredder mechanism stripped. When I purchased my second shredder, I decided that I wanted something made by a known company, and one that had a couple of additional features that my original shredder lacked.
After shopping around a little bit, I settled on the Xerox XRX-8X cross cut shredder, because it was advertised to handle up to eight sheets of paper at one time, and had built in overload and overheat protection, which I hoped would prevent the type of premature failure I had with my previous shredder.
I'd been using this shredder on the odd occasion for a couple of years, and it worked just fine. Recently, though, we found a lot of old financial documents that we no longer needed, so I spent a day with the shredder preparing those papers for disposal. Here's what I found...
1. The shredder says that it can handle eight sheets of paper at the same time, but I found this to be a overly optimistic. I found that somewhere around 4 or 5 sheets is probably the realistic maximum, and even then it seemed to bog down the motor considerably. It did handle papers, envelopes, staples and old credit cards well, though. The overload indicator light did come on occasionally, but I was always able to reverse the motor and clear out the offending papers.
2. The bin that this shredder comes with is undersized for large tasks. I found that I was filling it up every 20 minutes or so, and as it was getting full, the scraps had a tendency to get pulled back into the underside of the shredding mechanism, and that could cause paper jams if I was not very careful.
3. The built in overheating protection seemed to work well. At one point I was continuously feeding papers into the shredder for between five and ten minutes straight, and that eventually ended up overheating the motor. When that happened, an indicator light on the top of the shredder blinked, and the motor stopped running. The light blinked for quite a while until the motor cooled down enough to resume shredding. I assume that shutdown protected it in some way because it still works fine.
All in all, I'm fairly pleased with this shredder. I've seen a couple of other people complain about premature failures, so it may just be that I've been lucky. However, if you take care not to overload it, and only use it on an occasional basis, it would probably serve anyone as well as it has served me.