Cross-shreds 18 sheets of paper per pass and won't choke on paper clips and staples. Has a maximum run time of nearly 30 minutes. Convenient pull-out bin makes emptying a breeze. Wheeled design for easy portability. Users say it works more quickly and efficiently than pricier models.
While it might be space savvy for offices, it could be a bit too bulky for home use.
This can also handle staples and paper clips. It is manufactured to run for up to 5 minutes of continuous use and it has a manual reverse to clear paper jams. The convenient built-in handle makes it easy to empty the wastebasket. Shape fits slender spaces.
A few individuals received one that was listed as new but had signs the unit was used.
Features a 9-inch throat and a 5-gallon bin. Users love how smoothly it cuts and how it operates with minimal noise. Great for the at-home user who wants to be careful with sensitive information. It's on wheels, making it a popular choice for shared workspaces.
The power cycle is rather limited with only 4 minutes on and 40 minutes off.
Various models available between 6-sheet capacity and 150-sheet capacity. Effectively tears through thin and thick paper. The 150-sheet capacity model hold nearly 9 gallons of shredded paper. Burns through staples and other office items. Automatic anti-jam controls. Intuitive LED monitor tracks jams.
Users may have to micromanage large stacks of paper while shredding.
Shreds up to 4 folded sheets at a time. Has a 40-sheet basket capacity. Detachable power cord included. Reliable and secure, especially for the price point. Durable and efficient, budget-friendly model shreds paper, plastic—and so on—to confetti.
Not designed for high-volume shredding, so best for occasional use.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
More and more, privacy is becoming the primary concern of many individuals. Any document, even junk mail, can contain enough information to allow some unscrupulous opportunist an opening to inconvenience or damage your life. Paper shredders are essential appliances that have become staples in most homes.
When considering a paper shredder, you want one that offers a cross-cut or micro-cut for the best protection. If you need to shred credit cards or CDs, you will need to be sure the model you pick has that ability. A shredder that is easy to use, has overload protection, and can shred a number of pages at once at an acceptable speed is ideal.
Strip-cut shredders slice paper into long, straight shreds. While this does offer some degree of security, it's not too hard for someone to reassemble shredded documents, recovering the data.
More thorough types of paper shredder have made this variety all but obsolete.
Cross-cut or diamond-cut shredders cut paper crossways, as well as lengthwise.
This results in much smaller chunks that would be too tricky to reassemble for all but the most determined of criminals.
If you want the gold standard of paper shredders, opt for a micro-cut shredder.
This masticates paper into tiny, confetti-like chips, making it virtually impossible to reassemble a document in any meaningful way.
Basic paper shredders deal with paper alone, but many mid-range and high-end home shredders can also tackle items such as credit cards and CDs.
Some of these use special attachments for dealing with plastics, and only cut them into thin strips. The best models will micro-cut or cross-cut them.
Luckily for anyone who has to shred a lot of paper in one go, shredders process more than one sheet of paper at a time. The amount of sheets a paper shredder can deal with is referred to as "sheets per pass."
Smaller models may only be able to take on two to four sheets per pass, whereas more hardcore models can tackle 20 or more sheets per pass.
All shredders have a run time or "duty cycle." This is how long the machine can operate continuously before switching off to cool down.
Smaller models designed for light home use may have duty cycles as short as two minutes, whereas units made for heavy-duty use may have duty cycles of 40 minutes or more.
As mentioned above, paper shredders need to cool down after each duty cycle. This probably isn't a big issue for home use (unless you like to save up items for shredding and tackle a large pile in one go), but for office use, a long cool-down time can be prohibitive.
Most paper shredders have cool-down periods between 20 and 40 minutes.
Shredding speed is generally measured in feet per minute (FPM).
A home shredder can tackle between 5 and 10 FPM, on average, whereas heavy-duty models designed for office use may be able to shred 30 FPM or more.
Micro-cut paper shredders tend to run at a smaller amount of feet per minute since it takes longer to cut each sheet into tiny pieces, but what they lack in speed they make up for with security.
All shredders require regular care. No matter which model you choose, you'll want to use oil on the gears and shake loose all of the microscopic extra bits of paper.
Most shredder malfunctions and problems come from users who do no maintenance. If you stopped getting oil changes for your car, eventually it would stop running. With a few basic tools, you can keep your shredder running well for years.
Shredder Oil: Fellowes Powershred Performance Shredder Oil - This oil comes with a long tip, which allows you to evenly apply it on your shredder gears.
Lubricant Sheet: Amazon Basics Paper Shredder Sharpening & Lubricant Sheets - If you want to oil and sharpen your shredder blades in one step, these sheets will help you maintain your shredder in less time and with less mess.
You can find paper shredders to suit all budgets, but expect to pay significantly more for heavy-duty machines, compared to those designed for light use.
These can cost as little as $30 to $50, but the most inexpensive models will have extremely short duty cycles and will only be able to tackle a small amount of sheets per pass. Some are so compact you have to fold a sheet of A4 paper to fit it in.
These cost roughly $20 to $30. Even basic models are likely to take on more sheets per pass and have longer duty cycles than micro-cut shredders of a similar quality. Many can also deal with CDs and credit cards.
Expect to pay around $50 to $100 for one of these. These have much longer duty cycles and can shred more sheets at once than basic models, but most still won't be quite heavy-duty enough for office use.
These cost roughly $30 to $90. Most of these models are more than sufficient for home use, and some may even be fast and powerful enough for use in a small office.
These cost between $100 and $300. Those on the top end of the spectrum will have about all the extra features you can think of, plus a formidable duty cycle and sheets per pass, but even the less expensive models are more than enough shredder for all but the most heavy-duty environments.
These cost about $90 to $200 (though you can pay much more for commercial-grade models). These models have all the bells and whistles, shred quickly, can take on a large amount of sheets per pass, have long duty cycles, and fast cool down periods.
Want to shred like a pro? Check out these tips.
A. Yes, paper shredders are very safe. Despite having extremely sharp blades inside, modern paper shredders boast a range of safety features, including guards to protect fingers, tucked away switches so you can't accidentally turn them on, and automatic switch-off to avoid overheating.
A. Some features aren't essential, but can be nice to have. If you want a top-notch shredder, here are some additional features to look for:
Overload protection (to avoid jamming)
Full wastebasket indicator
Automatic document feeder
A. This depends on which make and model of shredder you choose. There's no standard size for micro-cuts, cross-cuts, or strips, so you have to check the manufacturer's specifications for the exact dimensions.