Paper Shredder Security Levels DIN 66399

21 April 2019 Shares

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By Recycling.com/ 21 April 2019 Shares

Paper Shredder Security Levels DIN 66399

Which security level do you need for paper shredding?

When you are looking for a new shredder you often see the security level of a paper shredder. For instance DIN P2, P3 or P4. What does the security level mean and why is it important to pay attention on it when you are buying a new shredder machine? On this page we explain the shredder security levels.

strip-cut-cross-cut-micro-cut
Strip-Cut, Cross-Cut and Micro-Cut

What is DIN 66399?

DIN stands for ‘Deutsches Institut für Normung’, which translates to ‘German Institute for Standardization’. DIN 66399 is the standard for shredding or destruction of media. This DIN-norm contains destruction requirements for multiple media categories. Namely paper, film, optical media, magnetic data media, hard drives and electronic data media.

DIN P: The size of the particle

DIN standard - Deutsches Institut für NormungThe security levels for paper shredders are part of the official DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction. This standard contains seven security levels for paper destruction which indicates the minimal requirements for the size of the paper particles after shredding a document. The seven security levels are DIN P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6 and P-7. The higher the number the smaller the size of the particle gets.

For instance when you are looking for high security and want small particles, then you are better of with a P-5 paper shredder than a P-2 paper shredder. That is because the paper particles from a P-5 micro-cut shredder are very small in comparison with the strips of a P-2 strip-cut shredder.

security-levels-strip-cross-micro-cut-shredder-visual

Particle size

Besides security levels you can also find the cut type of paper shredders. All paper shredders are divided in three types of paper cuts. These are strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut. Below you can see all the security levels from the German DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction:

  1. Strip-cut – Low level of security
  2. Cross-cut – Medium level of security
  3. Micro-cut – High level of security
what-level-of-security-fellowes-paper-shredders
Courtesy of Fellowes

Cross-cut and micro-cut

There is some confusion about the difference between a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder. Officially a micro-cut shredder is classified as a P-5, P-6 or P-7 shredder. But you will see that a lot of paper shredder manufacturers classify a DIN P-4 shredder as a micro-cut shredder as well, but it really should be classified as a cross-cut shredder.

Since it is very common that a P-4 shredder is called ‘micro-cut’ or ‘high security’, we also use this term for DIN P-4 classified shredders.

A DIN P-4 shredder offer more security than a P-3 shredder (which is also cross-cut). Some P-4 shredders do produce very small paper particles after shredding a document, which makes the particles more ‘micro-cut’ than a P-3 cut. DIN 66399 states that a P-4 shredder should shredder particles smaller than 320 mm² or 0.5 in².


Security Level: DIN P-1
Strip-cut Paper Shredder

strip-cut-shredder-strips
  • DIN Protection Class: 1
  • Security rating: Very low
  • Strip size: < 2,000 mm² / 3.1 in²
  • Strip width: < 12 mm / 0.47 in
  • Strip length: Unlimited
  • After shredding an A4 document: 17.5 strips


Security Level: DIN P-2
Strip-cut Paper Shredder

strip-cut-shredder-strips
  • DIN Protection Class: 1
  • Security rating: Very low
  • Strip size: < 800 mm² / 1.24 in²
  • Strip width: < 6 mm / 0.24 in
  • Strip length: Unlimited
  • After shredding an A4 document: 35 strips


Security Level: DIN P-3
Cross-cut Paper Shredder

cross-cut-shredder-particles
  • DIN Protection Class: 1 and 2
  • Security rating: Medium
  • Particle size: < 320 mm² / 0.5 in²
  • Particle width: < 2 mm / 0.08 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 195+ particles


Security Level: DIN P-4
Cross-cut / Micro-cut Paper Shredder

cross-cut-shredder-particles
  • DIN Protection Class: 2 and 3
  • Security rating: Medium
  • Particle size: < 160 mm² / 0.25 in²
  • Particle width: < 6 mm / 0.24 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 390+ particles


Security Level: DIN P-5
Micro-cut Paper Shredder

micro-cut-shredder-particles
  • DIN Protection Class: 2 and 3
  • Security rating: High
  • Particle size: < 30 mm² / 0.05 in²
  • Particle width: < 2 mm / 0.08 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 2,079+ particles


Security Level: DIN P-6
Micro-cut Paper Shredder

micro-cut-shredder-particles
  • DIN Protection Class: 3
  • Security rating: Very high
  • Particle size: < 10 mm² / 0.02 in²
  • Particle width: < 1 mm / 0.04 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 6,237+ particles


Security Level: DIN P-7
Micro-cut Paper Shredder

micro-cut-shredder-particles
  • DIN Protection Class: 3
  • Security rating: Extremely high
  • Particle size: < 5 mm² / 0.01 in²
  • Particle width: < 1 mm / 0.04 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 12,474+ particles


Paper shredder information and recommendations

Which paper shredder is the best shredder for you to buy? Visit our paper shredder page with all the information you need about paper shredders. You can also find recommendations of the best paper shredders you can buy at Amazon.com.

difference-strip-cut-cross-cut-micro-cut-paper-shredder
Paper shredder cut types (source).

Which shredders do we recommend?

For destroying sensitive documents with personal information, medical information, financial information or other confidential information we recommend to make use of a cross-cut shredder or a micro-cut shredder. Read more about these types of paper shredders here:

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