A paper shredder is necessary office equipment for a home office or commercial office where sensitive printed documents and correspondence are used daily. Industrial espionage, as well as identity theft, is a real threat to the safety and security of companies, employees and homeowners who need to destroy any physical documents to make them unreadable rather than simply to throw the paper away.

Typically refuse is separated out and then deposited in landfills. People comb through landfills looking for anything valuable or useful (and other people route through the trash), so a paper shredder has become a helpful piece of equipment to avoid secrets, proprietary information, or personal details being revealed.

Basic paper shredders are able to destroy A4 and business letter size paper and perhaps a single CD or DVD disc fed through manually one at a time. With advanced shredders which are more expensive, they can handle wads of papers, harder cardstock, staples, paper clips, credit and debit cards, CDs, DVDs, and unopened junk mail without experiencing a jamming problem due to the materials getting caught up in the mechanism.

Each shredder is rated for how many pages can be passed through the shredder in a single pass without any problems with jamming. The least expensive shredders handle six sheets of paper with a standard GSM rating (75 gsm) typical of office letterhead or photocopy paper. Other shredders manage 8-sheets, 12-sheets, and even 18-sheets from the most expensive models from companies dedicated to the production of corporate level paper shredding machines.

Paper shredders are not designed to run continually 24/7. In fact, most models will only run for half an hour before needing to be rested to allow the motor to cool down. Some models can run for longer. A few models include an overheating sensor which will automatically shut off the shredder after 40 minutes of use on models that are certified for use in 30 minute bursts to avoid the engine overheating and becoming damaged.

There is a Security Level P rating given to shredders which indicates how slim the strips of shredded paper after once they fall into the provided shredding collection bin. Security shredders will have a rating given, with home office and business users able to verify whether this level will be sufficient for their needs.

Jam proof systems are present in some paper shredders which use higher quality components to avoid jamming. It is important that users all know how many pages can be inserted at the same time to avoid causing the feeder to overload. Most paper shredders will prevent too many sheets of paper from being added at the same time, but each shredder handles the problem differently. The “jam proof” systems are essentially saying that as long as all users do not try to insert more pages than the shredder unit can handle, then it will not jam.

What’s Included with The Best Paper Shredder

The packing box includes the paper shredder, the internal cutting apparatus, the paper feed, and the container that the paper slivers fall into after being shredded.

Some models include an LED indicator that comes on to alert the user when the bin is getting too full.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Advanced paper shredders have sensor technology to turn off the paper cutting motion and any feed roller motion when it senses hands close to or touching the paper feeding slot. Cheaper models may lack this useful feature. For homeowners who are worried about small children trying to use their paper shredder, they may want to consider the models with sensors to shut off shredding as an essential, priority feature. Any companies wishing to avoid potential employee liability lawsuits from physical harm probably should do the same.

The size of the pull out paper bin that collects the shredded particles is different with each model. Containers are usually calculated in gallon sizes, with up to 9-gallon bins included with some paper shredders. The larger container sizes reduce the number of times that the bin needs to be emptied per shredding session. Depending how far the trash bin is from the shredding bin, that can save quite a bit of time per week when shredding many documents on a regular basis. Some bins also have a built-in window to look inside to visibly gauge whether the container is already half full, three-quarters full, etc.

Other Considerations

Some shredders include a handle at the top of the unit to make it easier to carry around or reposition it within the office.

An auto start feature comes with a few models that sense when the paper has been placed in the feed slot and will begin the shredding process. With paper jams where the total allowable document load has been exceeded, a manual reverse feature is very useful, and a few models also have that too. An automatic reverse feature is reserved for the most expensive paper shredders.

Best Brands

AmazonBasics is the economy physical goods brand of Amazon.com. Best selling items made by other companies that agree to sell their product under the AmazonBasics brand enjoy better promotional opportunities.

Fellowes is a global office and home office supply company based in Illinois, USA. The company makes all sorts of office supplies and equipment, including paper shredders.

Bonson Electronic Ltd, under their Bonsaii brand, creates paper shredders that adhere to the ISO9001 quality systems standards.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Continuous running: Depending on the model, paper shredders will run in shredding mode for between 2 minutes and up to 2 hours. The cooling time before shredding can recommence is anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes each time.

Noise level: The number of decibels when a shredder is running is usually between 58 dB and 72 dB with the most advanced models being the quieter ones.

Speed: The cutting speed is usually 6 to 7 feet per minute.