Reviews You Can Rely On

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Review

Can handle any shredding job, and does so with top notch security and decent speed
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut
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Price:   $108 List
Pros:  High security, powerful, reasonably fast
Cons:  Small bin window
Manufacturer:   Amazon
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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  • Shredding Quality - 40% 9
  • Speed - 35% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Noise - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut is a beast of a machine. Despite exerting the extra effort to shred paper into extra secure, teeny tiny bits with its micro-cut blades, it was able to match or surpass the speed of most of the less secure, cross-cut machines during our testing. It received the highest score in our shredding quality testing and its motor never seemed to struggle, no matter what we threw at it. On top of this our testers found it to be one of the easier models to use and empty, and the sound it produces is less irksome than most other models. With all of these upsides and very few downs, it is easy to see why the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut picked up our Editors' Choice Award.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A shredder is equipped with a motor that won't quit.
A shredder is equipped with a motor that won't quit.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Criteria for Evaluation

Read on to find out how the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut performed in each of our individual tests

Shredding Quality

When naming this shredder Amazon went the simple and basic route, keeping in line with the subdued marketing of its house brand. However, if they were to use this product's shredding quality as inspiration for the name they would have gone with something like 'The Annihilator' or 'Sir Shreddinator, Lord of Shredsville'. It dominated this metric with a score of 9, distancing itself from the runner-up, which scored a 7, and well ahead of the bottom score of 4.

It easily ate up its advertised maximum capacity of 12 sheets without breaking a sweat or muttering so much as a groan. Junk mail envelopes were also not a problem. It ate these up with such satisfying gusto that we were disappointed when the test was over. Likewise, CDs and credit cards presented little challenge. The first CD we shredded was deconstructed in such a decisive, vicious manner that we swear we saw the next CD shudder in fear. Credits cards went through the slot almost as easily as paper. It even chewed up half of a metal credit before it jammed. Luckily the intact portion of the card retained the "metal do not shred" warning that we had neglected to read beforehand (our mistake, but still a valiant effort). Our meta review of individual users reviews revealed no evidence of long term durability or manufacturing issues. Mostly it was just a bunch of people who, at the time, seemed overly enthusiastic about how well this thing shreds. But after our extensive testing we're totally on board with that enthusiasm. Shred shred shred! And, we can't stress this enough, it is incredibly impressive that AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut offers this kind of performance while also providing the additional security of micro-cut. It is able to match the performance of other shredders while cutting paper into bits that are just 1/5 the size of most of its competitors. Bottom line, if you get the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut you are not going to be disappointed with its shredding quality.

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut combines high performance with...
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut combines high performance with the security of micro-cut.
Credit: Steven Tata


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut was the runner-up in our speed testing, posting an impressive 72 sheets per minute and scoring a 7. This put it leaps and bounds ahead of the bottom score of 3.

Sure, the top scorer received a 9 and was able to nearly double the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut's speed. But keep in mind this thoroughbred racehorse, the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci, is a cross-cut, so its blades have much less work to do and provide a lower level of security when shredding. We may sound like a broken record, but it is remarkable that the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut was able to best all but one model for speed despite the extra labor required for micro-cut. Plus, 72 sheets a minute means you could burn through a 100-page document in less than a minute and a half. That's lightning fast if you ask us.

Ease of Use

In our ease of use testing the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut scored a 7. This put it just below the top score of 8 and well above the low score of 4.

In terms of the interface this model keeps it refreshingly simple. It has a single switch that toggles between off, auto (which turns the blades on any time paper is fed into the slot) and reverse (which runs the blades backward to alleviate any jams). There are also three lights that indicate when the shredder is on, if it is beginning to overheat and needs a break, and if the receptacle bin is not securely in place (this last one is particularly useful, more than once we emptied the bin and then went to resume shredding before putting it back in place). The shredding slot has a small lip that makes it difficult for tiny fingers to find their way in, and allows you to feed paper in at an angle. This is ideal for putting the shredder underneath your desk and reaching down to feed paper in.

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut uses a single toggle switch for...
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut uses a single toggle switch for its control panel.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Four 360˚ pivoting wheels make moving the shredder around the office a breeze. The bin is drawer style, so you can empty the shredder bits easily without moving the actual shredding unit, and the bin's 6.7-gallon capacity allows you to take full advantage of this model's increased speed and capacity without frequent trips to the trash. The only place the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut really lost points in our ease of use testing was its lack of a good full indicator. There is a small window on the top of the bin, so if you can see paper bits through the window you know it is full. However, this window is recessed within the handle used to remove the bin, so you have to get down low to see it. And if you overfill the bin it creates a messy cascade of paper bits when you try to empty it. This is a minor drawback that can be nullified by remembering to bend down and check the bin window periodically, but a nice bin full indicator on the top of the unit would have been a great added feature. In general we think you'll notice very few annoyances during regular use of the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut.

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut's bin is easy to remove and...
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut's bin is easy to remove and empty, just dont let it get overfilled or it will make a mess.
Credit: Katherine Elliott


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut scored a 6 in our noise testing. This was just one below the top score of 7 and well separated from the low score of 3.

It has a fairly tolerable low pitched moan when shredding, but this moan is interspersed with some more shrill, high pitched notes or crinkling paper. No shredder is pleasant to listen to , and the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut is one of the more bearable of the bunch. Which is great, because it has the strength and the stamina for longer shredding sessions where noise could start to be annoying.


Considering its performance, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut is quite a steal. This is cheaper than most of the higher capacity models we tested, and is the only high performing micro-cut model in that category.This is a great value for anyone looking for high performance and security.


The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut is a high performing, fast, easy to use, relatively quiet and unobtrusive shredder that offers top-notch security. At its reasonable price, this model is a no-brainer for anyone that places a premium on performance and security.

A high performing shredder at a great value.
A high performing shredder at a great value.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Max Mutter and Steven Tata