How do I choose the right shredder? What do the specifications mean?
As you probably found out, there are many different types of paper shredders out there. We want you to be satisfied with the shredder that you choose. You can do this in 3 easy steps. So lets go through this, step by step and choose the right shredder for you.
Step One: Strip-Cut or Cross-Cut?
Strip-Cut Strip-cut paper shredders shred documents into narrow, unreadable strips that can also be used as packing material as shown in this picture.
Cross-cut paper shredders shred documents into tiny particles, making them impossible to recreate as shown in this picture.
Can shred more paper at a time
Faster shredding speed
Reduces shredded bulk meaning you do not have to empty the bin as much (About 80% more than strip-cut)
So based on your preferences, make a choice between the two and lets move on to step 2.
Step Two: Feed Opening Width
The Feed Opening is the part of the shredder where the paper enters. The width varies and increases as model numbers increase which ranges from 8 inches to 18 inches. There are several reasons why this is important.
You must choose the shredder width based on the size of the documents you will be shredding. (The standard paper size 8 1/2 x 11, easily fits in most shredders.)
If you plan to shred continuous form documents wider than 12 inches, it is best to focus on our Production Shredders that offer a 16" feed opening which will allow you to shred continuously without constant watch. (Office Shredders offers feed openings ranging from 9.25" to15".)
Continuous forms will constantly jam if you have a smaller feed opening.
So based on what size documents you will be shredding, choose the model with the appropriate feed opening. If you will be only shredding standard size paper you can consider the smaller models but you will have to take into account the power of the shredder (Output) which is step number three.
Step Three: Output/Speed
The output is measured in pounds per hour and is an indication of the speed and power of the shredder. You need to know what kind of power you want to work with.
Many times purchasing a bigger more powerful shredder pays off depending on your volume. If you are doing very little shredding the low models will be sufficient.
So based on what kind of power (output) you are looking for, choose the Paper Shredder that best suits your needs. Three easy steps is all it takes!
Keywords and Specifications
The size of the shredded pieces after the document has been shredded.
The maximum sheets of paper the shredder can handle at a time.
The speed at which the shredder shreds measured in feet per minute. (measure of power)
The weight of the shredded pieces measured in pounds per hour. (measure of power)
The width of the mouth (entry point) of the shredder.
Electrical (V AC):
The electrical power the shredder needs to operate.
Ship Weight (lbs.):
The shredder weight along with the packaging.
Smaller, lighter shredder made for low volume shredding.
Mid-size shredder ideal for a small office, medium volume shredding.
Bigger more powerful shredder that can even handle CD's and file folders and high volume paper shredding. Ideal for a bigger office in a centralized position with higher volume shredding
Safer and more convenient than using an outside shredding service that can shred bound ledgers, ring binders, stacks of printouts, storage media such as tapes and CD's- even entire wastebasket contents can be fed into these powerful Industrial sized shredders.
The physical blades that cut the paper into pieces. Many models offer 5-year warranty on this part.
Strip Cut or Cross Cut Shredder?
Which will it be . . . a strip cut or cross cut paper shredder? This decision is largely about the security level you are looking for.
There are different security levels with paper shredders, categorized by the types of shredded paper produced: Strip cut or Cross cut.
With an understanding of the volume and frequency of your shredding needs, along with the nature of the material to be shredded, you will be able to confidently decide between a strip cut or cross cut shredder.
Strip cut shredders produce long strips of "shreddings", and cross cut shredders perform a dual cut, producing tiny particles in uniform length and width. The size of the particles depends on the level of security. Shredders fall into one of six security levels:
Level 1 = 12 mm (.4724 inch) strips
Level 2 = 6 mm (.2362 inch) strips
Level 3 = 2 mm (.07874 inch) strips (confidential)
Level 4 = 2 x 15 mm particles (commercially sensitive)
Level 5 = 0.8 x 12 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified)
Level 6 = 0.8 x 4 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified)
The strip cut shredder, although at a lower security level (level 1-3), is quite popular because of its affordability and versatility, and there are many models to choose from. Strip cut shredders are an ideal solution for home and many small office users.
Cross cut paper shredders are more secure (level 4-6), producing small particles that are impossible to reassemble. A Level 6 High Security shredder produces tiny particles that meet strict Department Of Defense (DOD) requirements for the terminal destruction of top secret documents.
What are the different kinds of shredding/security?
DIN 32757 Shred Particle Security Levels
(Security Level 6 is NSA/DOD certified, not DIN 32757 certified.)
Security Level 1
Designed for shredding general records, internal documents, and documents that need to be illegible after they expire.
Approximately 3/8” x 1 ½-3 1/8” Cross Cut
Approximately 3/8” Strip Cut
(10.5mm Strip Cut)
(11.8mm Strip Cut)
(10.5mm x 40-80mm Cross Cut)
Security Level 2
Designed for the shredding of internal/in-house documents. For shredding documents such as computer printouts or poor quality photocopies.
Approximately 1/8” Strip Cut
Approximately ¼” Strip Cut
Approximately ½” x 9/16-2” Cross Cut
Approximately ¼” x 9/16-2” Cross Cut
(3.9mm Strip Cut)
(5.8mm Strip Cut)
(7.5mm x 40-80mm)
Security Level 3
Designed for shredding confidential documents and personal data.
Approximately 1/16” Strip Cut
Approximately 1/8” x 1 1/8-2” Cross Cut
(1.9mm Strip Cut)
(3.9mm x 30-50mm Cross Cut)
Security Level 4
Designed for shredding secret documents and more sensitive information. Can be used by companies to shred confidential documents.
Approximately 1/6” x 9/16-5/8” Cross Cut
(1.9mm x 15mm Cross Cut)
Security Level 5
Designed and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Canadian R.C.M.P. for top secret shredding. Ideal for high-security requirements.
Approximately 1/32” x 3/8-1/2” Cross Cut
(0.78mm x 11mm Cross Cut)
Security Level 6
This is the highest level of shredder security currently available. Backed by the U.S. government and the NSA. Ultra secure shredding for the most sensitive documents.
Approximately 1/32” x 5/32” Cross Cut
Approximately 1/26” x 1/5” Cross Cut
(1mm x 4-5mm)
The commercial cross cut shredder is rapidly becoming the shredder of preference for business use. In addition to higher security benefits, one of its main attractions is the considerable reduction in the volume of shredded waste, creating an added savings for less waste removal and bag supplies. This is also beneficial for saving operator time with no need for compacting or additional handling of the material.
Although a greater amount of actual "shredding time" is required for cross cut shredding, the advantages result from far fewer bag changes. In fact, the environmental benefits alone are a major draw to the crosscut shredder method.
Many models accept multi-media (CDs and credit cards)