Fellowes Powershred LX221 Review

First impression

The Fellowes Powershred LX221 (black) arrived at our test lab in a very sturdy box (just under 20 kg), as is usual for Fellowes. The Powershred LX221 is quite a massive device with its (unpacked) weight of 16.5 kg. It also comes with four easy-to-fix floor castors.

The design of the Fellowes Powershred fits well into any office environment and the quality appearance is good. In practice, however, the Fellowes Powershred looks a little more sophisticated than it does in the product pictures. At first glance, the LX221 looks more like a stand-alone PC than a document shredder.

Fellowes Powershred LX221 Review

Fellowes Powershred LX221

It comes with a 57-page, 24-language “manual” in A4 format, with exactly two pages reserved for each language. In addition, there are safety and maintenance instructions and simple errors are explained. The maintenance oil for regular lubrication of the cutting motor is unfortunately not included in the scope of delivery, despite the considerable price of the device.

The Fellowes LX221 is about knee-high (approx. 59 cm) without its bottom rollers and has a 30-liter “collection drawer” that holds around 760 sheets of cuttings. Fellowes, like many other manufacturers, relies on a catch tray in the form of a drawer. This sits flush, if not quite perfectly, with the rest of the LX221, which is unfortunately not the case with all shredders. Drawers are much easier to handle than an attached cutting head because you don’t have to lift off the motor to empty it, where some shreds tend to fall out. The LX221 lacks a viewing window, as is the case with its smaller “brother”, the LX201, for example, but an automatic fill level indicator in the control bar takes over the control function (the so-called IntelliBar). The operating elements (in the IntelliBar) are all arranged in a bar on the narrower edge of the housing. The following can be read there:

– Temperature, or runtime still available (yellow/red).

– Successful touch (yellow, then 5 seconds after contact)

– Illuminated forward and reverse buttons

– Container open

– Container full

– Efficiency indicator (green for optimum shredding performance, red for too much paper)

Fellowes Powershred LX221 Review

Fellowes Powershred LX221

Cutting capacity 

With a continuous operation of 20 pages (paper quality 70 g/m2) per pass, or 17 sheets with standard copy paper, the Powershred LX221 then manages a hand-stopped 25.5 minutes at a stretch and then has to cool down for around 14-15 minutes. If you use the maximum – in this case 20 sheets per pass – the processing speed also increases quickly and the temperature rises noticeably and measurably above the cutting speed, despite the fan.

At the same time, the processing is not particularly fast at around 8 seconds with 1-3 sheets per pass – whereby the LX221 always runs for 2 seconds to completely clear the insertion slot again. If you increase the number of sheets to 20, it takes just under 10 seconds. With security level 5, one sheet of A4 paper becomes around 2100 pieces of paper. For testing, we took a well-filled file folder (600 sheets) and counted 20 sheet packets at a time, and after only 5 minutes the folder was “through”, the paper was cut – the LX221 was not overheated and the collection drawer was 2/3 full. After emptying, we continued with 4 more folders and the LX221 actually managed a little more than 5 folders without interruption – but also “ate” our entire test paper collection. That’s enough for the vast majority of users or “office situations”. For more paper, most probably consider calling a professional shredding service.

Like any shredder, the Fellowes Powershred LX221 (idling at around 61 dB) speeds up immediately after paper detection to have enough “momentum” for the coming stack of paper, but at a moderate noise level of around 65 dB. The processing noise is not so much a whining motor as a loud rustling of paper (see video).

Our tip: after emptying the collection drawer, you should give the shredder a special “feed”. Namely, a sheet of oiled paper – as it says in the manufacturer’s operating instructions on page 9. If you don’t want to do this, after only a few empties of the bin you will hear that the shredder is slowly getting louder and louder.

So it is best to order the oil paper at the same time. In times of greatest need – for example, if the oil paper runs out on Saturday evening and you still want to work through a folder, you can also draw an oversized W on any sheet of paper with sewing machine oil and then put this sheet into the shredder. But only in an emergency. ;o) 

What we liked

(+) very quiet in operation; switches quickly to standby (2 minutes)

(+) powerful cutter, also shreds credit cards, staples and office paper.

(+) also shreds credit cards as finely as paper (cuts the card chip)

(+) protection against paper jams: unit stops and pushes up “cut” pages 

(+) large, pull-out drawer 

What we did not like

(-) Cut-up plastic cards end up in the paper scraps. A separate bin would be good 

(-) The drawer is not completely tight, occasionally snippets between the wall and drawer 

Conclusion

According to the manufacturer, the target group for the Fellowes Powershred LX221 is the SOHO – Small Office / Home Office – but the paper volume (recommended by the manufacturer) is a maximum of 1000 sheets a day, or 25 credit cards. This is an enormous amount even for a small office. On the other hand, the maximum continuous use time of 25 minutes is not much for a medium or large office where a lot of paper also needs to be shredded over a longer period (than 25 minutes). 

As a private person with fewer sheets to shred, we would rather have gone for a cheaper model. For example, the Fellowes Powershred LX30M for about half the price. In a professional environment – a lot of paper, but few people – with a daily accumulation of the 1000 sheets specified by the manufacturer, the device is, in our opinion, prepared for all cases. In small offices or for solo self-employed people, however, the device is certainly suitable for any workload.

We had good experiences with the LX221 during “mucking out” campaigns where there are many folders full of paper, because the moderate (fan-assisted) cooling phase is only 15 minutes, and the 850-watt motor also runs quite quietly. 

The capacity of the collection bin is in no way inferior to the cutting performance. For the price of around 400 €, the LX221 with its high-security level P-5 and the quality of workmanship is, in our opinion, very well suited. The looks should not be overlooked either. The Fellowes Powershred LX221 does not look like a typical document shredder, but more like a stand-alone PC.

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