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Published on March 16th, 2012 | by Greg


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!

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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