Cross-cut vs Micro-cut shredder – Which is better?

4 January 2021 Shares

Home Paper Shredders Cross-cut vs Micro-cut shredder – Which is better?

By 4 January 2021 Shares

Cross-cut vs Micro-cut shredder – Which is better?

A cross-cut shredder is a less secure paper shredder compared to a micro-cut shredder. Cross-cut paper shredders rate from security level P-3 and P-4. Where micro-cut shredders rate from P-5, P-6, and P-7. The latter is also known as nano-cut.

Read more about paper shredders in our shredder guide.


What is the most secure?

So, which is better? A micro-cut shredder is the most secure type of paper shredder. The downside is that micro-cut shredders process paper slower than cross-cut shredders, and the high security shredding machines are more expensive.




Why you can trust our recommendations? We have years of expertise and experience in certified paper and data destruction for businesses.


What is the main difference?

Both cross-cut and micro-cut shredders offer far more security than a strip-cut shredder. Cross-cut shredders are classified as ‘secure’ or ‘medium-security’ shredder.

In comparison, a micro-cut shredder is classified as a ‘very secure’ or ‘high-security’ shredder. The main difference is that a micro-cut shredder offers more security because the shredded paper particles are smaller than standard cross-cut shreds.


Both paper shredders cut a page diagonally from both corners. Because both shredders cut sideways means that a micro-cut shredder works the same as a cross-cut shredder. The only difference is that a micro-cut shredder produces smaller and more particles per shredded document.

The DIN 66399 P-security level is part of the official German DIN 66399 standard (since 2012), the international standard for secure shredding of data media developed by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), which translates to the German Institute for Standardization.


How many shreds per page?

  • P-3 (cross-cut) – 200 shreds per page
  • P-4 (cross-cut) – 400 shreds per page
  • P-5 (micro-cut) – 2,000 shreds per page
  • P-6 (micro-cut) – 6,000 shreds per page
  • P-7 (nano-cut) – 12,000 shreds per page

On average a micro-cut shredder shreds a page over 10 times smaller than a cross-cut shredder.

What is a cross-cut shredder?

cross-cut-shredder-particlesCross-cut shredders offer a medium level of data security and the minimum requirement for shredding confidential documents, such as bank statements, documents with personal data, or business papers.

We recommended opting for the more secure P-4 cross-cut shredder rather than the P-3 cross-cut shredder. On average, a cross-cut shredder shreds a document into 400 particles.

A cross-cut shredder is also known as a confetti-cut, particle-cut or diamond-cut shredder.


  • Shreds documents in small particles
  • Wide choice of cross-cut shredders
  • Particles are more condensed than strips
  • Documents are hard to reconstruct
  • Shreds faster than micro-cut shredders


  • Needs maintenance and oiling
  • Not recommended for highly confidential documents
  • Generally slower than strip-cut shredders

What is a micro-cut shredder?

micro-cut-shredder-particlesMicro-cut shredders offer a high data security level. We advise using micro-cut shredders for shredding highly confidential documents, such as contracts, government documents, or medical documents.

One piece of paper ends up in more than 2,000 tiny particles shredded with a P-5 paper shredder.

A micro-cut shredder is also known as a security-cut shredder.


  • 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.
  • Needs maintenance and oiling
  • Micro-cut shredders are relatively more expensive.

Is cross-cut secure enough?

A cross-cut shredder is secure enough for shredding most of your confidential documents. But when you need more security and peace of mind, it is recommended to use a micro-cut shredder with DIN security level P-5 or higher.

Micro-cut particles are barely readable.



4 Comments on “Cross-cut vs Micro-cut shredder – Which is better?

  1. I purchased a strip-cut shredder because I was told that the shredded product is recyclable, as opposed to the others, which have paper bits too small to reconstruct and recycle. If you are a site that is concerned with recycling, I am wondering why you failed to mention this. Please let me know if this is true. It is probably secure enough for most needs.

    1. Dear Constance, thank you for your question. Normally, shredded paper can be recycled. But it depends per country or state if the shredded paper can be recycled by the local recycling facility. My advice is to contact your local waste collector and ask them if shredded paper can be discarded with paper recycling.

  2. Help me understand something. I thought that paper particles used in recycling were broken down to pulp form and reused, but I’m not certain. I would think that would be easier with smaller pieces of paper, as opposed to a strip shredder.

    “How is paper recycled process?
    Process. The process of waste paper recycling most often involves mixing used/old paper with water and chemicals to break it down. It is then chopped up and heated, which breaks it down further into strands of cellulose, a type of organic plant material; this resulting mixture is called pulp, or slurry.”

  3. @AlFaMale, while that is true, the valuable ingredient that is sought after in recycled paper is the paper fibers. Unfortunately for more secure cuts like microcut, the percentage of intact lengthy fibers diminishes greatly. This lower grade of fiber is less valuable for recyclers. And because recycling has become barely profitable in many circumstances, every bit of value counts.

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