Which Paper Shredder Security Level Is Best?

Paper Shredder Security LevelsYou’ve probably seen the numbers labeled next to paper shredders at the store or online. One shredder has a security level 3 and another has a security level 5. So what does this mean to you? Which paper shredder level is best for you? I will break down the differences in security levels and which one you should use.

First of all, the higher the security level, the smaller the shred particles are. Security level 5 used to be the highest level of security up until a few years ago. A security level 6 is now the highest security level possible, with particles being so small they are secure enough for top secret documents and highly sensitive material.

Do you need a security level 6? Probably not. Most people who use a security level 6 are government or military in nature. I don’t personally know of any individuals who need to use a security level 6 or even a 5 for that matter.

Paper Shredder Security LevelsOne thing people don’t take into consideration when choosing a security level is the paper shredding capacity. The higher the security level, the fewer sheets you will be able to shred. This is because smaller cuts require more blades and more effort on the part of the shredder. Security level 6 shredders can’t cut large volumes of paper at a time for this reason. Strip cut shredders almost always shred more paper than cross cut shredders.

A security level 1 or level 2 is usually what you find in a strip cut paper shredder. While a security level 1 or 2 is certainly better than doing nothing, these security levels can be compromised with enough patience. Most criminals will still pass over strip cut documents for easier pickings.

High Security Paper Shredders / NSA CSS ApprovedMost cross cut paper shredders sold online fall within the range of a security level 3 or 4. This range of security is still very small and difficult to decipher.

So what do I recommend? If you are a home user or a business, a security level 3 or 4 is probably more than enough security for you. Unless you have problems with enemy governments or military sifting through your shredded documents, you’re probably fine. Most criminals do not have the capability to piece together a security level 4 or 5.

For more information on shredder security levels (DIN 32757) and DOD, NSA and CSS approved shredders, read our paper shredder guide found here.  You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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