Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder test

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder, 12 Sheet Mini-Cut Shredder for The Small/Home Office with SafeSense Technology test

First impression

The assembly of the very sturdily packaged Fellowes Powershred 12Ms (in white) was a breeze, all 3 parts fit together perfectly. The assembly is simple and quick. There is also 24 languages, 56-pages manual with about 2-3 pages of information reserved for each language. 

Fellowes Powershred is only about knee-high (56.5 cm), weighs 10.6 kilos, and has a 23-liter collection bin in the form of a drawer. This is much easier to handle, because you don’t have to lift the heavy cutting head unit to empty it, where small shreds like to fall out, more often than not. The drawer has a floor-level viewing window and a handle for opening (dimensions 24 x 30 x 32 cm). The Micro-Cut shreds fill the basket with up to 470 sheets of paper – so emptying is rarely necessary. If you want to shred a packed folder – it contains around 600 sheets. The Powershred 12 Ms cuts every single sheet into more than 1300 pieces, which corresponds to security level (P-4). 

Fellowes supplies the 12 Ms a white professional-grade shredder with 4 plastic bottom rollers. The design fits seamlessly into any doctor’s or designer‘s office. In a usual office, the Fellowes 12 Ms stands out with its white colour. The quality is good, but the basket of our shredder is not flush with the rest of the machine and the Fellowes 12Ms should not have been thinner. The Fellowes 12MS matches the product images but looks a bit classier in practice.

Cutting capacity

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder test

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder test

In continuous operation, the shredder runs for 31 minutes at a time and then has to cool down for exactly 10 minutes before it is ready for use again.  The Powershred 12 Ms’s motor does not heat up very quickly, as you can hear a quiet cooling fan whirring from around 100 sheets as the temperature rises. 

The motor shuts off relatively quickly (around 1 second after the paper has run through), most other models need to have 2-3 seconds to clear everything – this further reduces the noise.

With a feed of 6 to 7 sheets (70 gsm paper), the Fellowes 12 Ms runs through without slowing down significantly. If you use the maximum amount of paper, the throughput speed drops quickly and the temperature rises. Therefore, for our test purposes, we counted out and filled in packs of 10 at a time. A stack of 10 can be destroyed in around 8,5 seconds (corresponds to 75 sheets per minute), i.e. with a continuous load of 30 minutes, around 2250 sheets of paper could be destroyed.

However, the shred bin can “only” hold 470 sheets of paper, and the noise level is moderate. Like every document shredder, the Fellowes Powershred 12 Ms also accelerates directly after paper detection to have enough “momentum” for the stack of paper (volume approx. 59 dB) – after the stack has then been detected, (every) document shredder becomes quieter (discharge approx. 55 dB) until it comes to a standstill. 

After a busy day in the office, the shredder deserves a special feed, i.e. oil or the passage of an oil-paper for shredders. The instruction manual suggests doing this every time after emptying the paper shred bin – after 2 full bins, you can also hear that the shredding unit works rougher. According to other recommendations, oiling should be done about twice a month … so it is best to order it directly.

Tip: Manufacturer-specific lubrication sheets are expensive – around 60 cents per sheet. Oil is cheaper; you put it thinly on paper in zigzag form and then shred it. There are various types of oil for shredders; more often than not, the same oil as it’s used for sewing machines.

What we likedFellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder test

(+) The device is relatively quiet in shredding mode, you can still use the telephone in the same room – but perhaps not directly next to the device.

(+) The powerful cutting mechanism, which also “chops away” staples and paper clips.

(+) There is a reliable protective function against “overfeeding”: if you do put in too thick a pack, the unit stops and pushes the “nibbled” sheets out again. Cheap devices get stuck and then either have to be taken apart or unfortunately disposed of.

(+) The touch guard (called SafeSense Technology) stops reliably when a hand touches the feeder – in the office, children can therefore also feed the machine without hesitation, but of course under supervision!

(+) The pull-out drawer (with a transparent fill level window) is also very positive. There is no need to remove the heavy cutting head unit, as it is the case with cheap shredders.

(+) There is room for a thin (very large) bin liner in the drawer.

(+) Shreds cards, but just as finely as paper. A cheap shredder is often cut into 3-4 pieces, whereby the card chip stays intact.

What we didn’t like (complaining at a high level)Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder test

(-) The rather large collection bin has many nooks and crannies where paper shreds can get.

stuck when emptying. The plastic of the bin itself is a little thin and flimsy. Fellowes actually provides a special bin liner that can be hooked into the bin. Of course, plastic bags make recycling absurd, but thankfully, there are practical paper bin liners available, fitting quite snugly.

(-) The cutter shreds plastic cards just as small as paper (in some other machines these are only cut up). This would actually be a plus if the shredded plastic did not mix up with the paper in the bin. So if you want to separate it in an environmentally friendly way, you would have to empty the device beforehand or you put a little lunch box in the bin (if it’s already paper in it), or empty it, each time before you want to shred some cards.

(-) With such an expensive and finely shredding device, the manufacturer should also work more on the “tightness” against the escape of fine paper dust into the room air. Seals and/or an intelligent closure system for emptying the shredded contents are sought in vain.

(-) Doesn’t shred CDs/DVDs, but since most shredders only cut CDs/DVDs into 3 or 4 strips, there are other ways to get around it, if you don’t have to destroy CDs regularly.

(-) Fellowes 12 Ms does not switch itself off (in standby) and you always have to press the main switch – which is difficult to access on the back of the Powershred.


The device is unimpressed by a continuous load of approx. 30 minutes and the shredding of more than 4 packed folders – which is around 2400 sheets of paper. The contrast could not be greater, as we had previously tested a machine with a 3-sheet feeder, which needed half an hour to cool down after 5 minutes of continuous operation. In contrast to that – the Powershred 12 Ms is built to manage a workload of 1000 sheets and/or 25 credit cards per day.

So overall – the Fellowes 12 Ms can therefore be recommended without any restrictions for the SOHO-target group – which is Small Office / Home Office.

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms Paper Shredder

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