The first impression:
The Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Paper shredder comes very well packed in a robust cardboard box with minimal assembly required.
At first glance, the Fellowes 73ci looks very high quality, and appearance-wise, the shredder fits nicely into a home or office environment. The target group of this device is the SOHO – “Small Office Home Office”, e.g. in an office of around three people or a home office with a maximum shredding capacity of 12 sheets (70 gsm – like thin bank statements) per pass with continuous operation for a maximum of 10 minutes. The most typical copy paper is in the 75-90 gsm range, so it is actually 10-11 sheets per pass. Whereas a single sheet is cut under 6 seconds – 10 sheets at around 7.5 seconds.
The Fellowes 73ci has a “100% anti-jam system” – more on that later, and a large paper bin to match the size of the unit (23 liters). The height is approx. 54 cm and it’s weighing just over 8 kg, so the Fellowes 73ci is a little big for home use – but it still fits under any desk.
Pleasantly practical are the four included floor castors, that are (to be) mounted on the Fellowes 73Ci – now the device is very mobile – unfortunately, the 73 ci tends to roll away after the slightest push from the paper insert. In other words, a locking mechanism has been omitted. Alternatively, you could just leave the castors in the transport box.
Another additional feature: three plastic bags, that hold paper shreds and the paper dust in the bin.
TIP: Use the bags several times by manually holding them back, when emptying, instead of letting them fall into the dustbin.
The bin is large (23 liters) with a vertical wide clear panel so you can monitor how quickly the bin is filling up and the 73 CI is easily emptied by pulling out the drawer so no more lifting a heavy machine head off to empty the bin – this is usual in most units of a lower price range.
|Product Dimensions||29.2 x 39.37 x 51.5 cm; 8.62 Kilograms|
|Number of Items||1|
|Manufacturer Part Number||4601101|
|Item Weight||8.62 kg|
Set-up and initial operation:
After connecting and inserting the paper, it is obvious, that the shredder is pretty quiet (65 dB). The fact that the unit is described as “Silent Shred” (a feature to reduce motor noise) does not correspond to the manufacturer’s description. However, you could only hear a difference, when running a device with and another one without “Silent Shred” directly next to each other (e.g., the Fellowes 79ci next to the 73ci.
Another safety feature is the “Save-Sense”- System. This is a very sensitive working safety system, that detects when you (or your child) come close to the cutting mechanism – the machine switches off quickly and reliably.
The Fellowes 73 ci can process up to 10-11 sheets of paper per pass. This is usually enough for private and small offices. At the same time, the paper particle size is only about 4×38 mm – which means, that about 400 pieces are cut out of one sheet of paper, and you can hardly recognize a single word. It also cuts paper clips and staples effortlessly.
Now we come to the usual problem of office shredders – you can destroy CDs/DVDs and credit cards, but there is no separate bin for plastic parts. As a temporary solution, we have found this to be a good idea: we put a lunchbox under the shredder motor into the bin. Alternatively, you may empty the shredder each time you want to cut CDs/DVDs or credit cards.
Fellowes-support assured us, however, that the paper can be recycled without the need for fine separation – modern recycling systems are capable of sorting it out, they said.
The “100% Jam-proof-system” deserves “special mention”. The sensor measures the amount of paper and if there is too much of it, the motor unit stops. With 5 LEDs (two [green]; two [yellow]; one [red]) you can always see, how hard the motor has to work. Nevertheless, it still manages the 12 specified 70 gsm sheets. Since the paper in some offices is thicker (e.g. notaries & doctors), you have to reduce the amount of paper accordingly.
The Fellowes 73ci comes out of the box with an “energy-saving system” that leads to particularly low power consumption. We measured it and found, that consumption values that are no longer up to date (the manufacturer claims savings of up to 70 %) – paper shredders are usually inactive for over 23 hours a day (just like cars), so you would expect the power consumption to be minimal – but:
- standby consumption of around 1.4 watts / many other shredders only needs 0.2 or 0.3 watts.
- the manufacturer now stresses that the energy-saving system switches to standby after 2 minutes! Actually, it is 3 minutes. However, the power consumption only dropped to 0.9 watts – standard for other devices in this device class only needs 0.1 watts.
In addition, the Fellowes 73ci fails to detect the insertion of paper in “sleep mode” – i.e.: the sensors are inactive in sleep mode! So first press the power button to wake the device up again.
The user manual, incorrectly describes, that you can end “Sleep mode” by using the power button or by inserting paper.
Funnily enough, parts of the German manual are partly in French: Some signal lamps are explained in French and the wrong text is generally printed for one of the control lamps.
In addition to the power switch by touch, the Fellowes 73Ci also has a mechanical power switch, so that the device is physically disconnected from the power supply. So before shredding, you first have to switch on the power switch, then press the power button, and only then, finally, insert the paper.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell whether the power switch is on or off because none of the indicator lights are on, in sleep mode. In our case, it happened more often than the device was “connected to the power supply” even when it was switched on overnight.
A call to Fellowes support revealed: if you let the device fall into sleep mode automatically, the sensors will stay active – that means: if you accept the higher power consumption of 0.9 watts, you can always shred without having to switch the device on again manually.
It is obligatory to oil the (high quality) shredder regularly. Regularly means, in best case after each emptying of the bin. Unfortunately, only a small “test” blade oil bottle is included in the transport box. Based on our experience, with a higher quality of the shredding mechanism comes higher cutting performance – but also, you need oil to keep up the shredder’s performance. For example, an average shredder with a cutting capacity of three sheets capacity per pass, may never really need blade oil, whereas high-quality shredders will have higher operating noise, after a relatively short time, leading to a gridlock in 1-2 years.
Have you ever used the shredder to the maximal limit? – The overheating lamp burns after 10 minutes of continuous operation – after that, a tested 18-20 minutes cooling phase is necessary. The recommended maximum of 300 sheets per day, should not be exceeded. Summing up – 300 sheets are processed after about 3 minutes of continuous operation. When asked, Fellowes support revealed, that the manufacturer wants to prevent users from constantly pushing the machine to the limit. Or to put it differently – the user should not work to the “overheating” limit. In our view, the aspect of “shredder protection” is exaggerated here, or “put badly” – the manufacturer is trying to evade responsibility with such policy.
An interesting feature of the 100%-jam-free appears, when you put paper in – say three sheets, but tilted. So, the shredder measures – “Ok, not too much paper, but stuck” – the 73 ci solves this problem by itself. It stops and reverses a little, then starts again with “turbo mode” to power through this tougher job. Finally
shreds the tilted sheets – impressive!
We can confirm, that the Fellowes 73ci is a well-designed, all-round capable shredder, with a very good price-performance ratio. Apart from minor issues, we can fully recommend the Fellowes 73 ci – for the target group of small teams (approx. around three people). From our experience, three persons have usually much less paper, than the Fellowes 73ci can handle per day. You may need to look in the bin occasionally and push the shredded paper down, as it appears to build up like a pyramid shape so the “bin full” sensor lights up early – but this is the same problem as any other shredder has. In our opinion, the small flaws regarding standby power consumption, only the least amount of blade oil, and the inactive sensors on standby are easy to get over.
Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Paper shredder