With a footprint of 17 inches deep by just 8.75 inches wide, the Fellowes P-12Cs (and identical P-12C) paper shredder is designed to fit in tight spaces, with a 4-gallon pull-out bin for easy emptying. A power switch is safely hidden in the back, and even when the unit is turned on, a touch-sensitive border around the insert shuts off the blades if a hand gets too close to the opening.
Reviewers say the Fellowes P-12Cs shreds sheets of paper with ease and tears through staples, small paper clips and credit cards. However, it struggles when shredding unopened junk mail and isn't rated for shredding CDs and DVDs. Some users also complain that it's noisy. If you have space and energy for a full-sized paper shredder, you can get the same capabilities and safety features for a lot less with the Fellowes Powershred DS-3 (*Est. $75), though empting its bin requires lifting off its top.
The Fellowes P-12C is put through objective tests at ConsumerReports.org, where it's ranked in comparison with eight other console shredders with pull-out bins, as well as with 10 wastebasket-style shredders. We also found a professional single-product review by the About.com guide to personal organizing. Not surprisingly, we found the most owner-written reviews at Fellowes.com, supplemented by reviews published at OfficeDepot.com and Amazon.com. Video reviews by bloggers of the P-12C are less credible because many of them received products from the manufacturer, but they do add some interesting details.
ConsumerReports.org puts the Fellowes P-12Cs through rigorous objective tests in this comparison report, ranking it in relation to eight other console shredders with pull-out bins, as well as nine "wastebasket" shredders with lift-off tops. In addition to a total score, each shredder is rated for speed, effective capacity and convenience.
Review: Paper Shredders, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Oct. 2011
This single-product review gives the Fellowes P-12C shredder a perfect 5-star rating, with loud noise the only drawback. The author tests the shredder by inserting a varied mix of items all at once: two business cards, two envelopes, a greeting card and two index cards. She also praises the shredder's safety protections and jam-free performance. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Review Fellowes P-12C Cross-Cut Shredder with SafeSense, Elizabeth Larkin, About.com guide to personal organizing, Undated
This paper shredder earns mostly favorable reviews from the nearly 60 owners rating it here, and more than 80 percent say they'd recommend it to a friend. This is a lower percentage than for some other Fellowes shredders, however. Some owners say the shredder's waste bin can be messy to empty; others complain about noise.
Review: P-12Cs Crosscut Shredder, Contributors to Fellowes.com
Of the more than 50 owners reviewing the Fellowes P-12Cs shredder here, about 80 percent say they'd recommend it to a friend. Most users praise this shredder for its safety and smooth, jam-free operation; some complain of noise and mess. Some users say that when they pull the bin out to empty it, paper shreds are left inside the unit and spill on the floor as well.
Review: Fellowes PS-12Cs 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder, Contributors to OfficeDepot.com
More than a dozen owners review the Fellowes P-12Cs here, giving it an average rating that's fairly mediocre; only 56 percent rate it 4 or 5 stars (on a 5-point scale). Complaints include noise, lack of power and early breakdowns. Some owners also find the bin messy to empty.
Review: Fellowes Powershred PS-12Cs, 12 Sheet Cross-Cut SafeSense Shredder (3271301), Contributors to Amazon.com
This single-product review includes a somewhat hair-raising video, even with parents hovering close by, of a child using this Fellowes shredder. (Spoiler: The safety sensor works and the child's fingers are unharmed.) The mother reports that in addition to the safety features, she likes the way this shredder lets the user pre-set controls. "I can lock it in the off, auto-on, or reverse position, and unless I unlock it, it stays there."
Review: Fellowes P-12C Shredder Review, "Virginia", Oct. 15, 2010
This enthusiastic video review is by someone who received a free P-12C shredder from Fellowes. The close-ups and detailed explanations of the controls make it worth a look however, if you're seriously considering this model.
Review: Fellowes, Amy Bellgardt, Dec. 2, 2011
This video ad demonstrates the safety sensor on the Fellowes P-12Cs. You can also tell that this model is pretty noisy.
Review: Fellowes PS 12Cs Demo, Fellowes Staff, Jan. 17, 2011