Introduction to the Paper Shredder
Paper shredders are very popular pieces of office equipment that help office staff keep paper waste down to a minimum. They are also used to destroy personal and private documents to prevent privacy from being invaded. They are very helpful in preventing identity theft that can occur if someone rifles through the trash of someone and finds bank statements and other sensitive documents with important information on them.
Until the 1980s paper shredders were mostly used in the political world. They were very popular with government and military organizations that required confidential documents to be destroyed. They became popular with small businesses and even homeowners in the mid 80s when the Supreme Court put out a ruling that it was not against the law to search and seize people’s trash. They are common practice in many offices, banks and homes today because of the need to protect the identity and privacy of people and businesses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 17.6 million people — 7 percent of the U.S. adult population –were victims of some form of identity theft in 2014, and there’s no sign of that letting up as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported a 47 percent jump in identity theft complaints in 2015. Some of the thieves hacked into their victims’ accounts online, but others lifted their personal information off paper documents. To protect yourself from that latter type of theft, the FTC recommends shredding all documents with account numbers on them — including “receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents” — as soon as you no longer need them.
Paper shredders come in many different sizes and some are simply for paper while others can also take care of credit cards and other thicker documents and items. There are some models that are better suited for home use and then there are the bigger commercial style models that can handle the volume that large offices would provide.
Top Ranked Paper Shredders
|Rank||Picture||Paper Shredder||Paper Cutting Speed (ft/min)||Sheet Capacity||Cut Type||Waste Bin Capacity (gallons)|
|1||AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut||6.56||12||Micro-Cut||8|
|2||Fellowes Powershred W-11C||10||11||Cross-Cut||4.75|
|3||AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut||6.56||12||Cross-Cut||4.8|
|4||AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut||9.84||6||Cross-Cut||3.8|
|5||Fellowes 79Ci 100% Jam Proof||10||16||Cross-Cut||6|
|6||Fellowes 99Ci 100% Jam Proof||10||18||Cross-Cut||9|
|7||AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut||9.84||8||Micro-Cut||3|
|8||AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut||9.84||8||Strip-Cut||3.2|
|9||AmazonBasics 6-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut||10.21||6||Micro-Cut||4.1|
|10||Aurora AS890C 8-Sheet Cross-Cut||8.36||8||Cross-Cut||3.4|
Top Pick – AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Shredder takes care of shredding up to 12 sheets at a time and will even go right through staples, cardboard, credit cards, and paper clips. It has the capability to cut through CDs and DVDs with the slot that is exclusively designed to take care of these data keepers safely. Cut time is a speedy 6 feet per minute so taking care of lots of papers and documents that need disposing of won’t take long at all. One of the important safety features of this paper shredder is that it has an angled feeding entry that ensures that the user’s fingers don’t accidentally get caught by the blades.
It shreds items on a security level four which means it is a good choice for getting rid of confidential, top secret type files and information if needed with very low likelihood that the pieces could be put back together.
Noise isn’t a problem with the Amazon Basics shredder so it will not be a disruption when using it in an office setting. The compact design looks great in any home office or professional office and it won’t need to take up a lot of room either. This shredder features a pull out basket that can hold up to 6.7 gallons of shredded paperwork. The basket has castor wheels as well for optimum convenience.
No worries if the papers you’re cutting get jammed. Just use the manual reverse and clear those jams out fast and easy. Overload protection is also a feature included in this popular model as well as the convenient auto start and thermal protection with auto shut-off.
This is definitely a great paper shredder for the office or home and provides a great means of protecting the members of your family or in the workplace the protection they want from prying eyes. The Amazon Basics paper shredder comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
Fellowes Powershred W-11C 11 Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder
The Fellowes Powershred Paper shredder is different from other basic paper shredders for the home in that it shreds the paper with a cross cut feature that turns whatever you’re shredding into smaller pieces that rank at a security level 3 size.
What this security level means is that it will turn a regular sheet of paper that measure 8.5” x 11” into 400 particles of paper. It is a good choice for important documents that you don’t want anyone else to be able to piece back together.
Security level 3 is a good mid range level. The size of this paper shredder is great for a small home office or for regular private use for home owners.
You can shred items like applications to credit card companies or mortgage companies, old medical bills, insurance forms, invoices for various bills and even junk mail. The waste bin in the Fellows Powershred paper shredder has a 5 gallon capacity so you won’t waste all your time emptying it. The top comes off easily and makes emptying it and cleaning very simple.
One of the nice features that this shredder has is the safety interlock switch that allows for safe shredding. If the lid is lifted off the shredder it stops automatically. It can handle most light duty shredding including credit cards and staples too. The auto start/stop button makes for very efficient shredding and the reverse button means that paper jams can be taken care of quickly. Users will get a 3 year limited manufacturer’s warranty on this great paper shredder.
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder
If you are looking for a versatile paper shredder you will like the features and performance of the AmazonBasics 12- sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder. You don’t have to remove the staples before shredding your documents and paperwork.
There is a separate slot to shred CDs and DVDs. The catch bin is roomy and has a 4.8 gallon capacity. This cross cut shredder reduces papers down to a level 3 security size so the likelihood of anyone being able to piece anything back together is very slim.
Some of the popular features of this cross cut paper shredder include a convenient auto start function, a reverse function to get rid of paper jams, thermal protection with an auto shut off and a 12 sheet shredding capacity which means you can shred 12 sheets at one time.
Even though it can handle this many at one time, you may find it is faster and works more efficiently with 8 or 9 sheets at a time. This is considered a medium duty paper shredder and it can routinely handle 600 papers per day which makes it a good choice for a small office, a home office or for personal home owner use.
The price of this paper shredder is a good value and even though it is not as quiet as some models are, it does a great job taking care of all your paper shredding needs. The AmazonBasics 12 sheet cross cut paper shredder is covered by a limited 1 year warranty.
Top Rated Paper Shredder Summary
These three paper shredders are the models that stand out from the others because of their durability and performance. They are great for home use, small home office use and in office environments like banks and other smaller offices. If you’re looking for a good, reliable paper shredder to give you peace of mind that important and sensitive documents are truly destroyed and that your identity is safer, you will benefit from one of these top models.
Paper shredding has gotten very popular over the last several decades and it shows no signs of slowing down. It is a great way to not only protect people from identity theft; it is great for reducing the amount of waste that you are throwing away. A large stack of papers can take up a lot of space. Shred that same stack and you have a lot less volume to worry about.
All three of these models have warranties, so be certain to register your product when you get it home so your warranty is in effect and keep your receipt in case you need it to make a claim. They will always ask for proof of purchase so having it ready saves time and prevents any hassles or delays.
Paper Shredder Buyers Guide
What is a Paper Shredder?
A paper shredder is a common item in offices and homes and is used to dispose of sensitive documents that people don’t want others to see. Shredders are constructed all very similarly; they have a pair of rotating cutting blades, a paper comber and a motor that makes the whole unit work. The user places paper, documents, invoices, bills, etc into the slot and the shredder goes to work chewing them up into small pieces.
Some shredders tear the papers into strips; others chew them into pieces that would make fantastic confetti. The common denominator is that they all have the same job and that is to get rid of paperwork and other documents in a safe and discreet way.
Types of Paper Shredders
- Office Shredders – Small businesses, and individuals who need to shred lots of sensitive documents, need a shredder that can stand up to a heavy workload. The best paper shredders for office use have longer run times and larger bin capacities than home shredders, and they can chew through bundles of paper, credit cards or data discs at much faster speeds.
- Home Shredders – Heavy-duty office paper shredders are great for businesses that need to shred documents on a regular basis. Home and home office users, however, may find these types of shredders to be overkill. For them, a smaller paper shredder that takes fewer sheets at a time can do a perfectly adequate job at a much more attractive price.
One of the most important things to know before you choose one is the level of security you need when it comes to the finished shredded product. There are three different types of shredding that paper cutters typically use:
- Strip-cut – this is the lowest level of security in the paper shredding industry. The papers and documents fed into the shredder are cut into ribbon like strips that are about 1/12” to 1” wide. In general, the wider the strip, the less secure it is and the easier it can be pieced back together.
- Cross-cut – Cross-cut shredders are good for businesses that have numerous documents and paperwork of a sensitive nature that they need to dispose of safely. Cross-cut paper shredders cut lengthwise AND width wise turning each piece of paper into 500-800 pieces. This affords a lot of security for the user in terms of anyone being able to piece anything back together.
- Micro-cut – This type of paper shredder is for the highest security needs and is used most often by military and government organizations. There are some micro-cutters that can turn a single document into thousands of pieces. There are typically two levels of security that micro-cutters are available in; one that cuts papers into about 6,000 pieces and the other than cuts the document into about 12,000 pieces. Either of these offer the user peace of mind that no one is going to be able to piece anything back together that is sent through this type of shredder.
Paper shredders often are rated on a six-point security scale, with 6 being the most secure. For private personal or business documents, experts recommend crosscut shredders with a security level of 3 or higher. Each type has a specific amount of cuts that they perform on the papers and documents being shredded. The more cuts that are made the harder it is to put back together which means more protection for the user.
Paper Shredder Features
There are several features that a paper shredder can have that all combine to provide ease of use, speed, paper capacity and more for the user. Since they are often used in the workplace, having a paper shredder that provides security and efficiency is important to the user. The more features your paper shredder offers the more valuable it is to the company or home owner using it.
This is the amount of paper that the shredder can handle at once and includes the speed in which it shreds as well. The feed rate you need is determined by the amount of paper you will be shredding each day. If you will have a lot of daily shredding to be done, choosing a shredder that has a wide opening so several sheets of paper can be fed directly into the machine at once. Since paper shredders are not meant to operate at full capacity nonstop, look for one that handles MORE than what you need it for, even if it is just 25% more. This will prevent frequent breakdowns.
Material to be Shredded
The average paper shredder is built to handle paper and occasionally paper clips or staples. Some designs can handle crumpled up paper that is fed into the machine through a hopper style design. There are even some models out there including the ones reviewed above, that can also handle credit cards, CDs, DVDs and computer disks.
Safety during shredding is an important consideration since paper shredders have sharp blades, moving parts and electricity to take into consideration. These sharp blades can cause harm to the user without sufficient safety features in place. One of the most commonly seen safety features is the auto shut off. This feature works via a sensor that automatically shits it down if hands are detected near the paper feeding opening. The sensors can also detect pets in most cases which makes this feature a popular one for home users. Others have safety locks which make them good choices for home settings where children are present. A few other common features may include flaps that cover the blades, and a cut off switch that makes sure the blades will not activate accidentally.
Since paper shredders are often used in offices, having one that operates quietly is usually an important feature to look for. Even in home offices the user doesn’t want to have a shredder that sounds like you’ve tossed papers into a 747 engine. Many paper shredders on the market have silent or near silent operation that will reduce the noise it produces during the shredding process.
Power Saver Mode
A handy feature that many paper shredders offer is a sleep mode much like a computer has, that kicks in when it is not being used. The benefit to this feature is that it saves on energy costs, since it will draw power even when not actively shredding without this feature.
Warranties are always important for pieces of equipment like this in the event the shredder breaks down. Most of the time, if a paper shredder does break down and it is still under warranty, they will send out a replacement rather than requiring it to be picked up for repairs, but that will vary from company to company. You can reduce the likelihood of breakdowns by following the manufacturer’s instructions such as not using it for more than 10 or 15 continuous minutes at one time and not exceeding the paper capacity. Taking care of your paper shredder and not overloading it will allow it to run perfectly for years.
Most paper shredders on the market come with a waste bin of some kind to catch the shredded paper in. Some of them have pull out baskets, others have bags. The waste bin will vary from model to model in capacity and look, so when searching, be sure to look at what type of waste bin it has if you have a specific bin in mind that you want.
Having a good quality paper shredder has many benefits to a home or workplace. It’s a great way to minimize the amount of trash that you toss away and also provides an excellent level of personal protection in this day and age of frequent identity theft. Finding the right paper shredder means that you will need to do a little bit of research on the features of each shredder that you are interested in to determine that you are getting the right one for your personal needs or the needs of the office.
Make sure that you have an idea of what you want to spend on a paper shredder as well as what you will be using it for. While they are not typically high ticket items, it is always beneficial to have an idea of what you want to spend so you know what to look for and knowing what you will be using it for also is an important factor in which one you choose.
In this guide, we reviewed the top three models on the market including one that was an Amazon best seller and these are three models that have proven themselves to be good quality shredders. Customers love them and they deliver what they promise. Regardless of which one you choose, you will want to choose one that will take care of the workload you have, that offers the correct amount of security and that will last.
You will find that the office, whether at home or in the workplace, has a lot less waste and that there is much less to worry about in regards to personal information being taken or used unlawfully. That peace of mind is one of the best things about getting a paper shredder.