Micro-Cut Shredder for High Security Shredding
Are you in need of shredding confidential documents into unreadable particles? If so, a micro-cut shredder with security levels P-4, P-5, P-6, or P-7 is what you’re seeking. Micro-cut paper shredders provide significantly enhanced security and data protection compared to a regular P-3 cross-cut shredder, and they far surpass a P-2 strip-cut shredder.
We have extensively researched a variety of micro-cut paper shredders suitable for both home and office use. These dependable shredding machines are perfect for effortlessly shredding your highly confidential paperwork.
What is a micro shredder?
A micro-cut shredder is a more advanced cross-cut shredder and offers more security than a strip-cut shredder. Just like a cross-cut shredder, a document is cut diagonally from both corners. Therefore the result is a bin full of short paper particles. So what is the difference between micro and cross-cut? Well, the particles from a micro-cut shredder are smaller than the shreds from a cross-cut shredder. The paper particles from most micro-cut shredders are so small that you can’t even read a single letter on them. So when you are looking for extra security, it is recommended to buy a micro-cut shredder machine.
One A4 document ends up in more than 2,000 tiny particles when it is shredded with a P-5 paper shredder.
How does a micro-cut shredder work?
Cross-cut and micro-cut shredders contain two cutting blades with v-shaped edges. The cutters cut the documents diagonally from both corners with small particles as a result. In comparison, a strip-cut shredder only cuts the paper vertically with strips as a result.
So, which one is better for you? Read this post about the difference between a cross-cut shredder or micro-cut shredder.
Pros and cons
- Very small paper particles.
- High level of security.
- Wide choice of micro-cut shredders
- Keep your sensitive information safe.
- Shredding process is slower than a similar cross-cut shredder.
- The machine needs to cool down quicker.
- Micro-cut shredders are relatively more expensive.
What security level is micro-cut?
Micro-cut shredders contain a security level of DIN P-5, P-6 or P-7, according to the official DIN 66399 standard. DIN P-7 offers the highest level of information security and is recommended for shredding extremely confidential documents, for example, documents from the government.
When you want to be sure that your shredded paper can’t be reconstructed and can’t be read by anyone then you need a micro-cut shredder.
Use a micro-cut shredder for:
- High level of security
- For shredding highly sensitive documents
- Tiny square shaped paper shreds
- Cuts diagonally from both corners
- Approximately 3,700 particles per shredded document (size: A4)
- Security level: DIN P-5, DIN P-6 and DIN P-7
Microcut paper shredder or Cross-cut shredder?
How sensitive, confidential, and secret is the information you want to shred? You are probably looking for a high-security micro-cut shredder that destroys your documents into tiny and unreadable particles, so you and your business are protected against identity theft. Officially, according to DIN 66399, a micro-cut paper shredder falls under security level P-5 or higher (P-6 and P-7).
But when you browse for shredders online, you will see that many ‘micro-cut shredders’ are security level P-4, a cross-cut type shredder. Fellowes, a well-known manufacturer of shredders, also states in a security level info-sheet that a micro-cut shredder has a P-5 or higher security level.
Difference between a P-4 and P-5 shredder?
Officially, a micro-cut shredder starts at security level P-5 or higher. But it is expected that also P-4 shredders are considered micro-cut. The shredders above are all micro-cut shredders with security level P-4 or higher. But what is the difference between a P-4 cut and a P-5 cut?
TLDR:The particles of a P-5 micro-cut shredder are smaller in comparison to a P-4 cross-cut shredder. But both security levels are used to shred confidential documents.
‘P-4 micro-cut’ shredders are officially and respectively cross-cut shredders. But the shredders offer good enough security for destroying most of your confidential documents at home or in the office. When information security and data protection are vital to you, we recommend looking for a more secure micro-cut paper shredder with a P-5 or higher security level.
Shredders with security level DIN P-5 or higher are generally more expensive because these machines offer more data security due to the smaller shred size. The question is, do you need the small shred size of a P-5 shredder? Commonly these high-security shredders are recommended for shredding highly confidential documents. But for the general office documents that do contain confidential information, a P-4 shredder offers enough security.
The main advantage of a P-4 shredder in comparison with a P-5 shredder is that generally, the P-4 shredders can process and shred documents more quickly. And the run-time of the shredder is longer compared to a similar model that offers security level P-5 or higher.
Shred size of a P-4 and P-5 shredder
The difference between security level P-4 and P-5 is the official minimum size and shape of one paper particle after shredding a document. How small is a P-4 particle in comparison to a P-5 particle? According to DIN 66399:
- Security level P-4 particle size is equal or smaller than 0.248 in² (160 mm²)
- Security level P-5 particle size is equal or smaller than 0.0465 in² (30 mm²)
There can be a 80% difference in particle size between a P-4 and P-5 paper shredder.
Below, you can compare cross-sectional shreds from a P-3, a P-4, and a P-5 shredder. You can tell that a P-5 paper particle is much smaller than a P-4 particle. But, it is essential to note that a P-4 particle can be smaller than 0.248 in². The range of a P-4 shred sits between 0.248 in² and 0.0465 in². The tiniest cross-cut shred can be called a micro/cross-cut shred. This means that the size of a P-4 cut can differ between paper shredder brands. That is because it is up to the manufacturer how small the shredder can shred your documents. Therefore it is essential to thoroughly research the specifications of a paper shredder to determine the size of a paper particle.
- Security level P-3: Destroys an A4 document into +-/ 200 pieces.
- Security level P-4: Destroys an A4 document into +/- 400 pieces.
- Security level P-5: Destroys an A4 document into +/- 2,000 pieces.
Is a P-4 paper shredder secure enough?
For destroying documents, we recommend using a security level P-3 shredder or higher. The minimum recommendation for shredding sensitive documents deeming them unreadable is to use a cross-cut shredder. But the term ‘secure’ is relative. It all depends on your own opinion and expectation of how much security you prefer. Some people are satisfied with the size of paper particles from their P-3 shredder. However, others prefer a smaller particle that offers more security and protection, and therefore they opt for a P-4 or even a P-5 shredder.
The higher the number of the security level, the more secure and smaller the cut.
In each shredder’s specifications, you can find the size of a particle and the DIN 66399 security level. With this information, you can estimate if the shredder offers a security level for you.
Maintenance of a micro-cut shredder
To keep your micro-cut paper shredder run smoothly it is recommended to oil the shredder regularly.
In order to do this read the user manual for further instructions. You can make use of official shredder oil or you can use lubricant sheets to lubricate the blades of the paper shredder.
Read more about how to oil your shredder.
What to look for when buying a secure paper shredder? Read our Paper Shredder Guide.
By Recycling.com/ 4 August 2023