Best Paper Shredder Consumer Ratings & Reports
How to choose a shredder
When is it necessary to destroy documents? Lawyers, financiers and accountants have many answers to this question. The first (and most popular) reason for buying a shredder in the office is the need to maintain order. There is nothing easier than getting rid of paper waste by shredding it in this machine. The second reason is to get rid of sensitive information that should not be seen by third parties. For the sake of justice, it is worth noting that paper is not the only material that can shred a shredder. Modern models are able to cut into small pieces and plastic cards, and even CDs.
It is believed that the shredder prototype was invented back in 1935 by Adolf Ehinger. It was used to destroy secret Nazi documents. A few years later, shredders gradually began to appear in the financial and government agencies. However, the real wave of popularity covered these devices relatively recently – only a couple of decades ago. Even the mass spread of computers and the transition to electronic documentation have not reduced the number of documents that need to be destroyed in offices.
Buying a shredder is not as simple as it seems at first glance. It would seem that what can be difficult about this device? The main thing is that the shredder cuts the paper fast, and that is all. However, because of this approach, the first purchase of the shredder is not always successful. In fact, the choice of this office device should be approached wisely, which means taking into account a number of nuances. Below are the questions that you need to be sure to answer before heading to the cash register to pay for the purchase.
How many people will regularly use the shredder
Paper shredders can be divided into several types depending on the number of regular users:
- personal: for occasional use by one or two people (or no more than 100 sheets of office paper per day, short-term operation with multiple loads);
- for a small office: for occasional use by three to four people (or 100 to 300 sheets of office paper per day, short-term operation with several loads);
- for a medium office: for regular use by up to 20 people (or 300 to 1,100 sheets of office paper per day, repeated use with frequent downloads);
- for a large office: for regular use by a team of more than 20 people (several tens of thousands of sheets of paper per day with frequent downloads).
What type of paper cutting you need
Depending on how the paper is cut, there are two types of shredders: longitudinal (or parallel) and crosslength. Shredders with a longitudinal cut cutter cut the paper into medium-width strips. Because they have the simplest possible blade shape and a fairly wide strip width, these shredders are fast enough to process several hundred sheets of office paper per day.
Cross-cut shredders cut paper both lengthwise and cross-cut, resulting in very small pieces. These models are especially good in offices where high-security documents are handled – it is almost impossible to reassemble the original document. Some shredders also twist the pieces of paper to ensure the highest level of secrecy.
What level of privacy your documents are classified under
One of the main purposes of a shredder is to prevent individual documents from being declassified. Depending on the level of secrecy and need to select a paper shredder. Today, shredders are available in six different degrees of secrecy, and the higher the degree, the smaller the pieces are obtained at the output, the more secret documents can work with the shredder.
The first level: the minimum level of secrecy, the use of the shredder for the most common business correspondence which does not contain important data. These shredders cut the paper into strips 10-12mm thick and about 2000mm².
Level two: An initial level of secrecy. These are mainly documents for official use, correspondence between employees within the same company. The width of each strip after cutting is about 6 mm, the area of one strip is about 800 mm².
Degree three: work with confidential documents. These shredders cut the paper into strips about 2 mm wide or 4 mm wide at first, and then also crosswise into 60 mm long strips.
Degree four: Working with sensitive documents, shredding involves cutting into pieces of about 2 mm in width and 15 mm in length.
Level five: when used for top secret documents, each paper fragment is shredded to a maximum size of 0.8 x 12 mm.
Grade six: the highest level of security, the size of each piece of paper after shredding does not exceed 0.8×1 mm.
One should not rely on luck and assume that fraudsters will not be able to put together a “puzzle” of many fragments – there are a lot of ways to restore a secret document that has not been cut up very thoroughly. For example, it is possible to scan each fragment separately and a special computer program will piece together the image on its own. In the end, the whole procedure will take no more than an hour – not too much of an obstacle for gaining access to secret correspondence or financial documents, is it?
What kind of performance you need
The choice of motor power in the paper shredder will depend on it. Also the power directly depends on the paper cutting speed, and this indicator already determines how many people can work with the machine and how often.
If several models have the same speed, it is better to choose the one in which the engine is more powerful. This performance margin affects not only directly the speed of operation, but also the longevity of the device as a whole. If the engine will constantly work “to the wear and tear”, and breakdowns for it will be a common thing.
A certain power reserve will also help in the case if some foreign objects fall into the shredder – for example, paper clips (and they fall there very often!). Shredders with small motor power can easily break down after grinding paper clips, while their more productive semblages can easily cope even with this task. Although, of course, it is better not to subject the paper shredder to unreasonable loads.
Additional parameters of shredder selection
There are little things that in some situations can be very significant. For example, how mobile should your future shredder be? Do you plan to periodically move it from place to place? If the answer to the second question is yes, choose the one with less weight out of two otherwise identical models.
Another additional parameter for choosing a shredder is the noise level. It is a pity that not all manufacturers specify it in the specification of the device. If working in a small office requires silence, and any mistake is fraught with serious consequences, it is better to choose a model that makes less noise when shredding paper.
For some, two other parameters may seem important: the width of the paper receiver and the volume of the container for shredded bits of paper. The maximum paper size the shredder can handle depends directly on the first parameter. Most models are oriented to work with A4 documents, but there are some that can shred and A3. If the shredder only works with A4, but you need to shred an A3 document, you can use one of two options: cut the large sheet into two parts or bend it in half. The volume of the container should be the last thing to pay attention to. The fact is that practically in all models it directly depends on the productivity of the device. The higher the capacity, the larger the paper slices container will be.
The shredder does not require any special service, but if you want to extend its life, you should periodically lubricate its blades. This is especially true for devices with a parallel-transverse type of paper cutting. The procedure can be repeated every two or three weeks, but not more often, otherwise it can lead to overheating of the device and regular paper crumpling in it.