The 5.5-gallon Fellowes W11C is an affordable crosscut paper shredder that falls in the middle of the pack for both features and price. It's rated for up to 11 sheets of paper at once, but as with all paper shredders, owners say it's more realistic to try shredding about half that many. A slot for paper that doesn't need shredding lets this model double as a 5.5-gallon paper-recycling bin.
Empting this paper shredder's bin requires lifting off the 14-pound top, but it's equipped with a handle to ease this task. The main drawback is that the W11C shredder is designed to shred only sheets of paper, staples and credit cards -- but not paper clips, unopened envelopes or CDs and DVDs. Safety features are limited to a lock-out switch located on the top of the shredder. For more safety features, including a touch-sensitive sensor to shut off the shredder if a hand gets too close to the slot, consider the Fellowes Powershred DS-3 (*Est. $75).
ConsumerReports.org doesn't review this specific Fellowes model, but it's interesting to see how Fellowes paper shredders tested there rank in relation to other brands. We found the most owner-written ratings and reviews of the Fellowes Powershred W11C paper shredder at Amazon.com and at Fellowes.com, with fewer but still useful comments at Adorama.com. The owner-written reviews at Epinions.com are from over five years ago, as is the single-product review at ConsumerGuide.com that seems based on features rather than testing.
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More than 650 owners review the Fellowes W11C Cross-Cut Shredder here, about 82 percent of whom rate it either 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale. Most users say it works just fine if used within the manufacturer's limitations. Some users report success shredding more than the 10 to 20 passes a day that the manufacturer recommends, as well as paper clips and plastic. Some owners report breakdowns despite being careful; one was told by customer service that he shouldn't have tried to shred an unopened envelope. Noise is the main complaint.
Review: Fellowes Powershred W-11C 11 Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder, Contributors to Amazon.com
At the manufacturers' site, over 200 owners review the Fellowes W11C paper shredder, with about 92 percent saying they'd recommend it to a friend. Owners give this shredder especially high ratings for safety, with slightly lower but still mostly positive ratings for performance and durability. Ratings for jam resistance and overall design are a bit lower.
Review: W-11C Cross-Cut Shredder Reviews, Contributors to Fellowes.com
The dozen or so owners reviewing the Fellowes W11C paper shredder at this retail site are mostly enthusiastic, but one reports that it was dead on arrival. Another user describes shredding quite a few items the machine isn't intended to handle.
Review: Fellowes Powershred W-11C Home Cross-Cut Shredder, Contributors to Adorama.com
The handful of owners reviewing the Fellowes W11C give it a low average rating, with complaints ranging from frequent jams to a shredder that caught on fire. These reviews are several years old, with the most recent dated 2008. A more recent review at Amazon echoes one of the complaints here, though -- that a plastic gear is a weak point.
Review: Fellowes W11C Shredder, Contributors to Epinions.com
ConsumerGuide.com rates shredders for ease of use, value, performance, features and overall performance, although there is no evidence of any hands-on testing. The Fellowes W11C comes in with an overall rating of 4 out of 5.
Review: Paper Shredders Reviews and Prices, Editors of ConsumerGuide.com, April 24, 2006
Objective tests here cover three Fellowes paper shredders, but not the Fellowes Powershred W11C. Still, the rankings here give an idea of how this brand compares with other major paper shredder brands. Editors test each shredder for speed, effective capacity, convenience and, where appropriate, ability to handle data discs.
Review: Paper Shredders, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, October 2011