10 Best

Paper Shredders

of November 2023

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Paper Shredders--For Secure Disposal of Sensitive Documents

Yehudah Posnick

In this electronic age, many transactions are performed via the Internet. But, together with the convenience, there is also the problem of a lot of vital information available online, as well as in print. Your social security number on a document, paired together with a credit card number, can do you a lot of financial damage. Identity thieves can lift details from medical records and health insurance records. And if you run a business, sensitive details can be in print or on CDs. It’s wise to find a way of destroying sensitive records. A paper shredder can help with that.

We’ll see that there are paper shredders that reduce documents to small strips of paper. The more advanced models of paper shredders cut the pages into smaller strips, making it progressively more difficult for a thief to retrieve any information. These shredders can also dispose of old credit cards, CDs, and DVDs. And in most shredders, you don’t have to remove staples or paper clips from your documents before shredding them!

We’ll go through some of the options in the Best Reviews Guide list of the best paper shredders. Whether you need it for your home or office, there’s surely a product available for your security needs!

Types of Paper Shredders

You’ll notice that paper shredders cut paper into shreds in one of three ways:

  • Strip-cut: This is typically employed in paper shredders with a lower security level. An example is the Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper Shredder. It cuts up to 8 sheets of paper into ¼” strips, reducing an A4 sheet of paper into 40 strips. (This is sufficient for a P-2 security rating.) It also can destroy CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. It can work for 2 minutes at a time after which it shuts off for 15 minutes to cool off.

Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper Shredder

  • Cross-cut: There are paper shredders that cut papers in a cross-cut fashion, cutting each piece twice. This meets security levels P-3 and P-4. An example is the bonsaii Heavy-Duty Cross-Cut Paper Shredder. It will cut A4 paper into pieces that are 5 mm x 40 mm. It can work for 60 minutes straight and needs only 10 minutes to cool down. It has a huge 6-gallon capacity, which is enough to hold 400 sheets of A4 paper!

bonsaii Heavy-Duty Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

Aurora High-Security 8-Sheet Professional Micro-Cut Paper Shredder

What reviewers say

Here’s what customers say about their choice of paper shredder:

  • Worth investing in a more expensive unit: People who bought an inexpensive model with a small sheet capacity were disappointed when they saw that their unit overheats frequently and suffers from frequent jamming. If you need a lot of shredding, it’s worth investing in a unit that can grind down more pages. Also, there are shredders that can shred continuously for 30 minutes at a time, before they have to shut down to cool off.

  • Quiet: Some shredders tend to be noisy, but the Aurora Micro Cut Paper Shredder is about as noisy as operating a blender. The Bonsaii Paper Shredder operates at around 62 dB. That’s around the level of normal conversation in a room, or a washing machine.

Important Features

Here are some features of the best paper shredders, which may help you decide on one model over another:

  • Size of the bin: The size of the paper shredder bin will indicate to you how often you’ll need to empty it out. A micro-cut shredder, like the Aurora Paper Shredder, has a 3.9-gallon wastebasket that can hold 230 shredded sheets of A4 paper. But there are also shredders that don’t have a bin, such as the Aurora Professional Strip Cut Paper Shredder. You can adjust the width so that it fits over any wastebin from 12” to 15” in width.

Aurora Professional Strip Cut Paper Shredder

  • Security levels: We mentioned that strip, cross, and micro shredders are distinguished by their security levels. Here are some details about the various security levels, with the letter “P” standing for “Paper-based materials”:

    • P-1: This cuts paper into strips that are less than ½” (=12 mm) wide. A shredder shredding this big will work quickly, but it’s still possible to piece the paper together.

    • P-2: This is for non-sensitive, but personal data. It reduces an A4 sheet of paper to 40 pieces, each ¼” (=6 mm) wide. It may still be possible to read personal information on a single strip, without piecing it together with other scraps.

    • P-3: This reduces an A4 sheet of paper to 200 pieces, each less than 2 mm wide. It’s recommended for documents that have sensitive data.

    • P-4: This reduces an A4 sheet to 400 particles with a total area of 160 sq. mm. or less. It’s intended for bank statements and confidential business documents.

    • P-5: A micro-shredder is needed for this level of security and higher. P-5 means that a sheet is reduced to 2000 pieces less than 2 mm wide, and with a total area of no more than 30 sq. mm. It’s recommended for confidential personal and financial documents.

    • P-6: This reduces an A4 sheet to 6000 pieces, which is necessary for legal, military, and financial documents.

    • P-7: This is disposing of documents of military and government level security, according to National Security Agency guidelines. It reduces a sheet of paper to 12,500 pieces.

  • Protect your fingers: Some shredders have a safety feature to ensure that you don’t get hurt. The Fellowes Powershred Cross-Cut Shredder has “SafeSense” technology that will stop the machine if your hand touches the paper opening.

  • Shreds CDs, DVDs, and credit cards: Most of the paper shredders in the Best Reviews Guide list can destroy CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. (You’ll see that there are paper shredder options without the CD/DVD feature.) However, there are also credit cards with chips that contain sensitive information. This chip may be able to pass through the shredder intact. So, this is still something to consider.

  • Jam remover: You’ll see that paper shredders differ in how many pages can they destroy at any one time. It can be as low as 6 pages, and as high as 20 pages. But, if you feed in too many at once, you can cause a paper jam. The best models, such as the Fellowes Powershred 99Ci warn you when you have inserted too many pages. And if a page gets jammed, it reverses the page and reinserts the page automatically.

 Final Verdict

We went through some of the options among paper shredders. We saw that proper disposal of important documents can be a serious matter for your home or business. So it’s worthwhile investing in something that will get the job done efficiently. Check out the options on the Best Reviews Guide list–you’ll surely find a shredder that answers your needs!

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