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AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Review

Best Buy Award
Price:   $50 List | $49.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, good capacity and speed
Cons:  Relatively small bin capacity
Bottom line:  A budget option that still offers a decent amount of power
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Amazon

Our Verdict

the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut provides tops notch speed, a decent interface, and respectable shredding power. Seeing as it does all this while being the second cheapest model we tested it was a shoe in for our Best Buy: Cross-Cut award. It dethroned the previous winner of his reward, the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut. If your shredding needs are few and far between, you might as well save a little extra money and get the 6-Sheet model. However, if you want and inexpensive shredder that has enough oomph to get through large jobs in a respectable amount of time, you can't beat the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut. If you want to get the increased security of micro-cut at a budget price you can get the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut for just a bit more.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
March 7, 2017

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Performance Comparison


The graph below compares the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut's overall performance in our testing to that of the other shredders we bought and tested.


Below we discuss how the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut performed in all of our individual tests.

Shredding Quality


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut earned a score of 6 out of 10 in our shredding quality testing. This turned out to be an average performance in a metric that saw scores ranging from 4 to 9.


In our testing the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut was able to meet its advertised maximum capacity of 12 sheets. The motor did sound like it was starting to strain just a bit at this level, so we definitely wouldn't push it, but it kept cutting even when we loaded it with multiple 12-sheet stacks in a row. It was able to tear through most junk mail envelopes, with only the thickest mailbox stuffers causing it to squeal a bit. However, like the little engine that could, it never jammed, just put its head down and ground through those coupons and credit card applications. It had no issues whatsoever shredding standard credit cards and paper clips.


It has a separate set of blades to shred CDs, which it does easily. These blades cut CDs into four large chunks instead of cross-cut sized bits. A CIA technician would probably be able to piece those chunks together and reconstruct a large portion of the data, but this provides a completely acceptable level of security for most people. So unless you think your local burglars have the same resources as an international spy organization, you can feel comfortable shredding CDs with the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut. The biggest strike against this model is that only offers the security of cross-cut and not micro-cut.

Shredding a CD into 4 pieces is plenty of security for the vast  vast majority of people.
Shredding a CD into 4 pieces is plenty of security for the vast, vast majority of people.

Speed


Despite its low price the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut was one of the fastest models in our speed testing. It earned a score of 7 out of 10, just a bit behind the top score of 9 and well distanced from the low score of 3.


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut logged an impressive pace of 72 sheets per minute in our speed testing. This tied it with its micro-cut big brother, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut. This speed allows this model to handle even large shredding jobs in an appreciable amount of time. If you're shredding jobs tend to be multiple hundreds of pages at a time you may want to consider spending a bit more and getting the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci, which can shred at nearly double the speed.

Ease of Use


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut again earned an average score in our ease of use testing. It picked up a score of 6 out of 10, right in the middle in a metric that saw scores ranging from 4 to 8.


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Has a simple interface with a single switch that toggle between off, auto (on), and reverse (for unclogging paper jams). It also has a number of indicator lights that alert you when the unit is on and if it has overheated or jammed. There is also a large flap over the shredding slot that prevents any curious toddler hands from getting into the shredding blade. If you don't need that extra level of protection the flap can feel a bit cumbersome and in the way at first, but once you get used to the right paper feeding angle it's no big deal.

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut's interface is clean and simple.
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut's interface is clean and simple.

This is a sit on top unit, which makes emptying the bin more difficult than on a drawer style unit, but does allow for a more space efficient profile. The bin itself is 4.8 gallons. This is somewhat on the smaller end, but most likely big enough that you won't get annoyed at how often the bin must be emptied. It has a small window on the front that gives you a heads-up as to when the bin is almost full, but you're going to have to crouch down to see it if you keep the shredder on the floor.

Two hands are required to remove the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut's shredding unit and empty the bin.
Two hands are required to remove the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut's shredding unit and empty the bin.

Noise


The noises that emanated from the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut during our testing were somewhat grating. It earned a 4 out of 10 in our noise metric. This put it towards the bottom of our score sheet as scores ranged from 3 to 7.


No model that we tested sounded pleasant, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut was just a bit higher pitched than most models, making it a bit more annoying. We certainly wouldn't call this a dealbreaker, as you're only going to have to deal with the noise when you're actually shredding. However, if you've got office or housemates that are particularly sensitive to noise you might want to go with a quieter model, though most quieter models tend to be a bit more expensive (such as the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut.


Value


At a list price of $45 the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut is one of the most inexpensive models we tested, yet offers a fairly high capacity and speed. This represents a great value and earned it out Best Buy for a Cross-Cut Shredder award. If you don't think you'll have any high volume shredding you can save a bit more money by opting for the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut, which has similar performance attributes but a smaller capacity.

Conclusion


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut offers a lot of shredder for a very low price. It is perfect if you want a budget option that still has some power.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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