Shredders are pretty much a necessity for modern life. With identity theft on the rise, it’s starting to seem dangerous to leave even a scrap of paper with your personal details out. Instead of hoping no one goes through your trash and finds something they can make a mess of your life with, try snatching up the best paper shredder you can afford. There’s no need to take chances, snatch one up. Of course, there are plenty of other uses for these handy little devices which aren’t readily apparent but we’ll get into that later.
If you’re in a hurry then we’re confident you can just grab the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder and get on with it. It’s utterly fantastic, cross shreds, and can handle a ton of paper in one go. On the other hand, different strokes for different folks and all of that. Let’s dive right in to five of our favorites, and then we’ll make sure that you know which the best is for you and what kind of convenience a good shredder can afford you or your business.
It might not be optimal for office use, but this shredder is pretty much the bee’s knees for home use. The cost is low enough to make it into your home office without a large dent in your budget as well.
Top 5 Paper Shredders
|Name||Shredding Type||Sheet Capacity|
|AmazonBasics 6-Sheet||Cross-cut||6||Check Price|
|AmazonBasics 8-Sheet||Strip||8||Check Price|
|Sentinel FM101P 10-Sheet||Micro-cut||10||Check Price|
|Bonsaii EverShred C149-C 18-Sheet||Cross-cut||18||Check Price|
|Aurora 6-Sheet||Strip||6||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Paper Shredder
AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
For the average household, this neat little cross-cut paper shredder from AmazonBasics is fantastic. It’s built to handle both tough plastic and paper with ease and it can handle up to six sheets per go and can run for two minutes continuously before needing half an hour of cooldown.
It’s not the hardiest machine around, but it has a long enough run time that it should be able to keep your personal information from getting out within most households.
On top of that it boasts a generous 3.5 gallon capacity, meaning it can handle about 350 sheets of paper before you’ll need to empty the basket. It also has a side window, allowing you to see how full the whole thing is.
On top of that, it’s covered by a yearlong warranty, so if something happens you’ll be able to get it fixed or replaced in short order. Amazon really does stand behind their products in most cases, and their reputation for being awesome for the end consumer is well-deserved.
Pros and Cons
- Cross-shreds, making it hard to piece together paper waste
- Handles credit cards as well as paper
- Back by a one year warranty
- 3.5 gallon capacity
- Not suitable for large volume
- A bit loud
2. Runner Up for Best Paper Shredder
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut
This is another great one for home. It has a higher sheet capacity than our first choice, but it’s also a strip shredder which isn’t quite as secure.
This is a tough little cookie though, it can handle paper, CDs, and credit cards. If it’s got sensitive information and you need to break it down you’ll be in good hands.
On top of that it has a 3.2 gallon wastebasket which can hold quite a few sheets of paper before you’ll need to pull it. All of this is fit into a sleek design which doesn’t take up much space on your office floor as well.
It’s also extremely simple to use. Press a button, feed your trash, and let it take care of things.
While it’s a strip shredder this one is priced quite well and has the ability to destroy just about anything, which places it firmly as our second favorite of the paper shredders we took a close look at. Just don’t rely on it for perfect security and you’ll be amazed.
Pros and Cons
- Can chew through just about anything
- Eight sheet capacity
- 3.2 gallon wastebasket
- Two minutes running to fifteen minutes cool down
- Strip shredders aren’t the best for security
- Run time is too short for offices
3. Best Paper Shredder for Security
Sentinel FM101P 10-Sheet
Micro-shredders are the absolute best for security, and they stand out for minimizing the waste which comes out of your home or office as well.
This one takes care of paper in stacks of ten, as well as being able to micro-shred credit cards which puts it firmly in a league of its own when it comes to utility. It also has a 3.5 gallon basket included, which can hold a substantial amount of waste before you need to replace it.
The biggest reason for using this one is undoubtedly security however. The feed rate isn’t all that impressive overall and it’s a bit expensive compared to many of the options on our list.
On the other hand, if security is your primary concern then you’re likely to get a lot of use out of the Sentinel FM101P. Just don’t expect it to be the fastest shredder on the block.
Pros and Cons
- Micro-shreds both credit cards and paper
- The most secure way to dispose of documents
- Ten sheet feed for higher volume
- Large capacity basket
- Expensive for the capacity
- Slow feed rate despite high sheet capacity
4. Best Shredder for Large Offices
Bonsaii EverShred C149-C
If you need to get rid of a ton of paper waste in a short time while also handling sensitive data, this cross-cut shredder has the capacity and feed rate to make it so.
On top of that, this shredder runs at a much lower volume than anything we found of comparable size, adding to the usefulness in the office. Add in the fact that it can run for sixty minutes at a time and you can see why we recommend it for places where a lot of paper needs to be disposed of at the same time.
It also comes with a six gallon wastebasket, so you’ve got a place to hold all of the waste which comes along.
In large offices, where large volumes of paper waste need to be managed, the Bonsaii EverShred is one of the best options on the market. Its tailor made to handle large amounts of waste, and it can chew through just about anything you might need to dispose of.
Pros and Cons
- Huge capacity
- Fast feed rate
- 6 gallon waste basket attached
- Shreds just about everything
- Expensive shredder
- Sheet capacity might be a little bit exaggerated
5. Best Budget Shredder
Aurora 6-Sheet Strip-Cut
If all you need to do is handle the occasional bank statement at home, then there’s no reason to spend a ton of cash on the biggest and brightest shredder you can find.
Something simple like this 6-sheet model from Aurora will do the trick, position it over the trash can and run it and you’ll have the waste taken care of in no time. Like all of our favorites it can chew plastic and paper, rendering things hard to piece together although not impossible.
On the other hand, you don’t have a waste basket, so it’s probably not great for usage if you’re planning on doing things every day.
We know this one isn’t for everyone, but some people just don’t have the space for a full sized shredder or
For those who just need to shred the occasional paper, something cheap like this one is the perfect addition to the home.
Pros and Cons
- Super cheap
- Shreds both paper and credit cards
- Easily portable
- Respectable feed rate
- No waste bin
- Not suitable for constant usage
The Myriad Uses for a Paper Shredder
While the most obvious use for a paper shredder is security, they also open up some great options for businesses.
- Shredding opens up some very eco-friendly ways to dispose of documents such as recycling. You’ll also be able to store more stuff within the same amount of space.
- Some businesses insist on using a mobile shredder when they have lots of sensitive documents to dispose of. You can save money by investing in a top-notch shredder for your own office.
- For particularly sensitive information, it may just be best that it never leaves the office in the first place. A micro-shredder can make the waste pretty much impossible to check out.
There are also some uses for it around the home that many people don’t think about. If the security of your bank statements and other documents isn’t enough to convince you, then take a look at the following list to see if any of it sounds appealing.
- Compost is the first thing that comes to mind for many people. Paper waste is biodegradable and if you let the worms have it then you’ll be able to get something back: highly nutritious soil additives.
- Fire starter or kindling material is readily made with a small amount of shredded paper waste.
- Papier-mache projects are a lot of fun, and with the shredded paper and some paste you can get right down to it.2
- Animal housing and nesting material for those who keep chickens, rabbits, and other domestic animals which require bedding.
Of course, you can always just throw it in the recycling bin if you can’t think of anything you want to do with it either, and being able to shred at home will quickly save you money over the usual train of thought.
The Core Component-Types of Shredding
Not all paper shredders are equal. Instead there are several different forms of shredding which have varying levels of security and compactness.
Strip shredders are the least expensive, but also the least secure. They strip the paper into fine ribbons, ranging from 1/16” to 1” depending on the device in question. Thinner cutters will cost more, but they’re also more secure.
Really, if you want to maximize the security from these you’re best off wetting the paper and compressing it afterwards. Their primary use is just to reduce the amount of space your paper waste takes up.
Cross shredders strip paper into small diamonds. They’re much more secure than strip shredders for obvious reasons, and they also further reduce the amount of space required for the waste.
They’re a little bit more expensive than strip shredders but still within the reach of most home users. If you’re looking for maximum security without having to spend a ton of money then you may want to look for a small cross shredder.
Micro-shredders are the best, turning paper into a confetti-like material. They’re also the most expensive, and they take longer than cross shredders. Their usage isn’t really required for most stuff at home, and even in an office where they’re used they may only be used for the most sensitive information.
Cross-shredders are probably the best compromise for most people, since they’re a lot quicker than micro-shredders while also making the paper unlikely to be able to be pieced back together if the waste is found.
Feed the Beast
One of the most important considerations for businesses is the feed rate of the shredder. When you have large volumes of paper which need to be handled, you need a high feed rate or you’re going to be sitting there for a long time.
Your feed rate is going to be measured in feet per minute, or fpm. Higher rates mean you’ll be able to handle more paper in a shorter amount of time.
Strip shredders, due to their simplicity of design, have the highest feed rates but aren’t as suitable for destroying sensitive information as cross or micro-shredder styles.
You’ll also need to look at the sheet capacity. The sheet capacity will tell you how many sheets you can feed through the opening at the same time.
You guide to actual speed: fpm*sheet capacity=volume of paper destroyed in a given amount of time. Most paper is letter sized, or 8.5”x11” so you can extrapolate the feet per minute to be one sheet per minute per foot and be in the rough area you need to be.
You’ll also need to evaluate whether you want a vertical or horizontal shredder. Vertical are our favorites, since they take less space and dispose of the paper more handily but both are respectable options.
Of course, paper shredders require a little bit of safety, you’ve got motors and blades and sorts of things going on that can mangle a hand pretty well. This means you should look for safety features, particularly if you have children or pets in the house.
There are a lot of safety features available, look for some of the following before you make a final selection:
- Auto-shut offs are available on most of them. These will make the shredder shut down as soon as a hand approaches the blade and are pretty much a must-have for any home shredder and pretty handy for office use as well.
- There are auto-shut offs which will shut off for pets as well. This will keep your cat from a vet trip if they’re the curious sort.
- There are also flaps which are often placed over the blade to offer a physical protection barrier in the event that other safety measures fail you.
- Cut-off switches are a good back up safety in case other measures fail, so keep an eye out for them.
While hopefully you’ll never have to test any of these features, they’re pretty much a must-have as shredder accidents can be pretty bad.
Shredders are loud.
Seriously, shredders can get very loud, and the cheaper one is the more likely it’s going to sound like a seagull tossed in a jet engine. Squealing gears and ripping paper can get almost prohibitively loud.
Look for something quiet and you’ll be much more likely to use your shredder. While most modern ones aren’t as loud as some of the older models, higher-end models can actually get down to just a bit of a hum thanks to superior construction quality.
Warranty Your Shredder
Any kind of office equipment should be warrantied. With something as vital as a shredder, it’s doubly important.
More than that, however, a long warranty is quite often the best insurance you can get from a manufacturer. If your shredder is warrantied for quite some time then you know they stand behind their product.
Be careful with off-brands and more short term warranties however, we’re not saying it’s planned obsolescence but there are few things more irritating than a device dying off just after the warranty has ran up.
Take a look at the size of the included bin for the best results. Having to replace your shredder’s basket every time you turn around is not only no fun… it’s also likely to make you use it less than you really should.
The size of your bin will determine how many times you can use the shredder before you need to dump things.
The waste capacity is almost always measured in liters, but keep in mind that usually just tells you how big the can is. You’ll have to mentally subtract some for the shredder’s machinery.
Micro-shredders have the most compact waste, followed by cross-shredders then strip shredders. What does this mean for you? Longer usage for the same amount of space.
While your usual, run-of-the-mill shredder is meant to handle only flat paper and a staple here and there, there are specialty shredders out there which can handle tougher materials.
For instance, some have a hopper design which handles crumpled paper easily.
In general… just be careful of what you feed into a shredder. Most won’t handle cardboard, for instance, while others might take the thin stuff and make short work of it.
One of the most notorious causes of failure in super low-end shredders is envelope plastic, for instance. If you go for a budget option you may not want to feed it envelopes with windows for instance.
If you have to handle tougher material frequently, then look into industrial shredders. These will make for the best experience, but the average home or business will be just fine as long as they’re aware of what they’re throwing in the feed.
What to Shred
Of course, once you have your hands on your shredder you also need to know what documents are the most important to shred.
For homes, we recommend making sure you shred all of the following which can be used against you in various ways:
- Utility bills
- ATM receipts
- Expired passports
- Airline tickets after use
- Legal documents
- Insurance documents
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Voided checks
- Employee pay records
- Contracts past their use
- Basically anything with personal information on it
By destroying all of these documents you can greatly decrease the chances of identity theft based upon your personal information.
For businesses all of the above are important to handle, but you’re also going to want to handle anything which contains client personal information and is no longer in usage.
Keeping your paperwork secure and then shredded when it’s no longer of use is extremely important for both you and your customers. Don’t let anything pass and you can prevent a lot of problems.
A paper-shredder is a must-have in the modern world, for both waste management and security. Not just any shredder is going to do, however, so make sure that you find only the best and you’ll be in good hands.
Whether you’re a private entity, a small business, or a large corporation it’s a sound investment. You might not see it, but the dividends can be immense.