10 Types of Paper Shredders to Choose From
What are the different types of paper shredders? There are multiple variants of paper shredder machines to choose from and the most important aspect to look out for are the different security levels of the shredder. These security levels are divided into strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut paper shredders and the cut-type informs you how small or how big a shredded particle is.
Besides the DIN 66399 security levels, there are different features to choose from. Such as auto-feed shredders that can shed your paper automatically or shredders that can also shred CDs and credit cards besides your confidential papers.
Types of shredders:
- Strip-cut paper shredders
- Cross-cut paper shredders
- Micro-cut paper shredders
- Auto-feed paper shredders
- Paper shredders for CDs, DVDs, and credit cards
- Continuous duty paper shredders
- Industrial paper shredders
- Paper shredders with wastebasket
- Paper shredders without wastebasket
- Manual paper shredders
1. Strip-cut paper shredders
A strip-cut shredder is also known as a ribbon-cut, spaghetti-cut or straight-cut shredder. The shredder contains a single blade to cut paper documents vertically. Strip-cut shredders are rated as DIN P-1 or P-2, according to the official DIN 66399 standard. This means that these shredders offer the least amount of data protection.
A strip-cut shredder shreds your documents into long vertical strips, rather than short shreds. On average, a standard document is shredded into 39 strips. These strips might still contain readable parts of text and visuals, graphics, signatures or photos, this is called ‘landscaping’. Therefore the shredding machines are perfect for shredding non-confidential documents, like junk mail. Strip-cut shredders can be used for personal use but also for commercial use.
Strip-cut shredders are fast shredders and require the least amount of maintenance. The downside is that these shredders are not recommended for shredding confidential documents.
2. Cross-cut paper shredders
A cross-cut shredder is known as a confetti-cut shredder. These shredding machines cut your documents diagonally from both directions, which results in small paper particles. Because of the cross-cut technology, these shredders offer far more security than a strip-cut shredder. A standard document is generally shredded into approximately 400 particles.
Cross-cut shredders provide you enough security for shredding common confidential documents at home or in the office. Therefore cross-cut shredders are the most popular type of shredders in the world. This type of shredder offers ‘medium security’ and sits under security level P-3 and/or P-4, according to the official DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction and other media.
A cross-cut shredder requires more regular maintenance than a strip-cut shredder. To keep your cross-cut paper shredder run smoothly it is recommended to oil the shredder regularly. Please be aware that in the US, a P-4 shredder can also be categorized as a micro-cut shredder.
3. Micro-cut paper shredders
Micro-cut paper shredders offer more security than a cross-cut shredder and far more than a strip-cut shredder. Although a micro-cut shredder is basically a cross-cut shredding machine, it is a more advanced shredder that offers high security for destroying highly confidential data. Officially a micro-cut shredder is classified as a P-5, P-6 or P-7 shredder, in accordance with DIN 66399. DIN P-7 offers the highest level of information security and is recommended for shredding extremely confidential documents, for example, documents from the government.
The paper particles from micro-cut shredders are very small therefore you can’t even read a single letter on it. One A4 document ends up in more than 2,000 tiny particles when it is shredded with a P-5 paper shredder.
A micro-cut shredder offers the most maintenance, so regular oiling of the machine is recommended. Also, be aware that micro-cut shredders shred documents at a slower pace in comparison with a cross-cut or strip-cut shredder. This is due to the lower sheet capacity and slower shredding speed.
4. Auto-feed paper shredders
With an auto-feed paper shredder, you can shred high volumes of documents fully automatic. This means that you don’t spend or waste time shredding paper. You just load the shredding machine with documents and walk away, the shredder does the shredding for you.
Automatic paper shredders are regularly used in the office. The financial department is an example of a place in the office where an automatic shredder can be really helpful. The shredder starts shredding documents at a continuous pace while you and your colleagues can continue working.
Auto-feed shredders are built for shredding high quantities of documents. Generally, auto shredders can shred around 100 sheets of paper, while other more expensive auto-feed shredders can destroy 500+ sheets per session. You can also shred documents manually with most automatic shredders, you can use a dedicated slot for feeding documents to shred.
It might be a security risk to leave an automatic shredder unattended when it is loaded with confidential documents. Therefore it is recommended to opt for a shredder that features a lockable tray for extra security. These secure shredders can be locked with a pin-code, for extra security.
5. Paper shredders for CDs, DVDs, and credit cards
Some paper shredder offers an extra feature to shred CDs, DVDs, or credit cards besides your paper documents. These ‘CD paper shredders’ are regularly equipped with a dedicated slot for feeding CDs that you want to shred and destroy into small particles. And some of these shredders even come with a separate compartment for the shredded plastic particles. This helps to keep your shredded CDs from your shredded paper, which is better for the environment.
Generally, CD shredders can also shred credit cards or other plastic cards. But it isn’t a fixed rule that any paper shredder that shreds credit cards, can also shred CDs. If that makes sense.
Be aware that this type of shredder can only shred one CD or DVD per pass. This means you can’t shred a whole stack of CDs at once, but only one at a time.
6. Continuous duty paper shredders
One of the most overseen aspects of a paper shredder is its run-time. The run-time indicates how long a shredder can operate before the motor needs to cool down. Average shredders for home use can only shred for a few minutes, while standard office shredders can shred for around 15-30 minutes. But for high-volume or centralized paper shredding, it is required that the shredder has a high run-time. This type of shredder is called a heavy-duty shredder, continuous shredder, centralized shredder or departmental shredder.
Continuous shredders are capable of shredding high volumes of documents at once, without the shredder needs to take a ‘cool-down break’. Therefore these shredders are perfect to use in larger offices and for centralized shredding.
Besides the long run-time, these heavy-duty shredding machines also come with large wastebaskets. These high volume compartments can hold a lot of shredded paper, so you can shred documents all day long without emptying the bin all the time.
Look out for a heavy-duty shredder with an automatic oiling system. This system helps to keep your ‘centralized’ shredder run smoothly.
7. Industrial paper shredders
An industrial paper shredder is a professional and powerful shredding machine for high volume shredding. It is a more advanced shredder in comparison to continuous duty shredders. Industrial shredders are used, like the name indicates, in large (industrial) environments where bulk shredding of documents is needed.
Some businesses or government agencies prefer to shred their own documents, because of their security policies or protocols. Therefore they have invested in an industrial shredder on which they can rely on 24/7.
The shredder is capable of shredding high volumes of documents per pass. Where a standard shredder can only shred around 10 sheets per pass, an industrial shredder can shred and destroy a complete file full of documents.
There are two types of industrial shredders.
The first type is fairly compact and contains a small table with a conveyor belt to feed the documents into the shredder. Optionally you can attach a compact baler machine to the shredder. These ‘shredder baler combinations’ are complete and compact disposal stations for shredding and compressing the shredded paper into bales.
Some of these compact shredders are also used in ‘shred trucks’. Companies can hire a paper shredding service company to shred documents on-site. A special security truck, with a built-in shredder, drives to the desired location where the documents are shredded immediately into a shredder that is installed inside the truck.
The second type of industrial shredder is a multilevel shredder system. These large and fully automatic shredding systems are used by professional data destruction companies for off-site paper shredding. The shredder machines are able to shred extreme volumes of documents with very high throughput rates in several shredding stages.
8. Paper shredders with wastebasket
Most shredders come with a wastebasket to capture the shredded particles or strips after shredding a document. There are a few variants of these paper shredders.
- Lift-off head – This is a basic shredder where the shredder part sits on top of the bin. To get access to the bin you need to lift-off the head. The downside of a lift-off head shredder is that paper shreds that are left behind in the blades can fall on the floor when you lift-off the head. Secondly, these shredders are top-heavy and therefore there is a higher risk that the shredder might tip over.
- Pull-out wastebasket – A more convenient variant is the shredder with a pull-out wastebasket. These shredders come with a separate waste bin that you can pull-out of the shredder when you want to empty it. We recommend using shredder bags inside the bin which makes emptying easier.
- Separate container – Larger paper shredders, such as auto-feed shredders or heavy-duty shredders, can come with a separate container that sits inside the shredder and directly under the cutting blades. This high capacity container can be a plastic wastebasket, but some shredders come with a cardboard box. To get access to the container you need to open a door first, so this is not a pull-out mechanism.
9. Paper shredders without wastebasket
A shredder without a wastebasket is budget-friendly, compact and easy to store in a cupboard or desk drawer. These ‘head only’ shredder only contains the top part of the shredder that includes the motor, this means that it doesn’t contain a compartment or basket for the shredded paper particles. Therefore you need to place the shredder on top of a container, such as a trash can prior to shredding. Most of these shredders are equipped with an extendable arm to make sure the top part fits on most wastebaskets.
Please be aware that this type of shredder is only recommended for incidental shredding and is not capable of shredding higher volumes. Also, most of these shredders are only categorized as strip-cut and thus not advised for shredding confidential documents. Lastly, these shredders without basket are the least safe shredders to use.
10. Manual paper shredders
The most minimal type of shredder is a manual shredder, that is also known as a ‘hand shredder’, ‘hand crank shredder’ or ‘hand-powered shredder’. This portable and compact shredder fits easily in your drawer, at a shelf or on your desk. Because these shredders work manually, there is no need for electricity to power the shredder so you can basically shred anywhere. You turn a knob or handle to shred a document with the hand shredder.
Manual paper shredders can be strip-cut or even cross-cut. We recommend opting for a cross-cut hand shredder that comes with a wastebasket for collecting the shredded particles. There are also manual shredders available that can shred credit cards or other plastic cards for you.
Read more about paper shredders here:
By Recycling.com/ 5 March 2020