Paper shredder buying guide: How to find the best device for your home or office
We'll help you choose the best paper shredder to dispose of your confidential information safely.
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Key facts about paper shredders:
- A paper shredder can help you destroy private, confidential and sensitive documents conveniently at home or in the office.
- When choosing a paper shredder, you need to decide what size model you need and consider whether you want your paper shredded into strips, confetti or micro-confetti, depending on how secure your information needs to be.
Compare some of the best paper shredders
Types of paper shredders
The first decision you'll need to make when choosing a paper shredder is whether you need a home, office or commercial model. The right size for you depends on how often you need to use the shredder and how many people will be using it.
Standard specs for different shredder sizes
|Type||Number of users||Runtime (minutes)||How many sheets of paper can be shredded at once||Bin volume (litres)|
|Industrial machines||High volume||Continuous||Unlimited||More than 114|
Next, consider which cut type you'll need. Paper shredders have three different available cutting types: strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut. The best cut type for you depends on how securely your information needs to be disposed of.
Strip-cut: Long, vertical strips
- Best for: basic, non-sensitive data
Cross-cut: Small diagonally cut confetti that is barely readable
- Best for: sensitive, personal information
Micro-cut: Tiny, micro-confetti
- Best for most secure and confidential information
All personal information should be securely destroyed when it doesn't need to be stored anymore. This includes any documents that include your name, date of birth, bank and credit card details, passwords, pins and signatures.
Examples of sensitive documents could include passport and visa copies, bank statements, pay stubs, bills, receipts, legal documents, employment records, medical records, investment transactions, used plane tickets, tax forms and transcripts.
Within the three different cutting types, there are seven different security levels from P1 to P7, with P1 being the least secure. Each paper shredder should clearly state on the packaging which security level it is rated for.
A P3 to P5 level shredder is generally sufficient for safely disposing of most confidential documents. Most people won't need a paper shredder with more than P5 security.
|Security level||Use||Document examples|
|Low (P1-P2)||Invoices, photocopies, everyday files|
|Medium (P3)||Bank statements, tax returns, credit card account data|
|High (P4-P5)||Secret documents, highly classified military information|
|Very high (P6-P7)||Government documents that need the highest level of security possible|
How to compare paper shredders
A paper shredder could cost you from $20 to $399, depending on the brand, model and bin capacity.
When choosing a paper shredder, consider the following key features:
- Processing time. The processing time includes both the time the shredder can run and a necessary cooling down period of about 15 minutes each cycle. If the shredder can only run for a short window before needing to cool down, it could take you a long time to shred many documents at once. If you're after a long running time, you'll need to pay more for a higher-end model.
- Bin capacity. You will require a greater capacity if you use the shredder frequently and don't want to empty the bin or basket constantly.
Additional factors to think about:
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