What Makes A Good Paper Shredder?

Paper ShreddersIf you’re shopping around for a paper shredder, especially for an office paper shredder, you may be wondering what you features you need. What truly makes a good paper shredder? Having used, sold and dealt with paper shredders for over 10+ years, I have some pretty good tips that should help put you on the right track.

The first thing you need to determine is why and where are you using the shredder? For obvious reasons, you probably don’t want to use an office shredder at home or vice versa. It is critical that you get a shredder that meets your needs. There is no “universal” one size fits all paper shredder.

Capacity – The shredding capacity and size of the waste container are good factors in determining how robust the shredder is. The more sheets a shredder can handle, typically, the more robust the shredder will be.

Bin Volume
– Be sure that the waste bin can accommodate the amount of sheets you are shredding. A shredder that can handle 20-40 sheets at a time, yet only holds 10 gallons of paper, will result in a miserable experience as you will be continually emptying the bag.

Security Level
– The security level is another critical factor when shopping for a shredder. To date, there are 6 different shredder security levels. The higher the number, the tinier the particles and more secure the shredder will be. A level 6 is great for shredding top secret documents, a Level 3 is great for most office shredding and a Level 1 is good for making hamster bedding.

Cut Style– Paper shredders come in strip cut and cross cut variations. Strip cut shredders usually max out at a security Level 2, although there are some Level 3 strip cut shredders. Cross cut shredders range from a Level 3 to a Level 6.

Cross cut shredders are sometimes called particle cut, diamond cut and confetti cut shredders. They are all one in the same. I personally recommend using a cross cut shredder over a strip cut shredder. While the sheet capacity may be smaller with a cross cut, the security benefits make up for the difference.

– What are the gears in your shredder made from? Believe it or not, many shredders (names will be excluded) use nylon gears rather than metal gears. While this may be adequate for home use, I have found that nylon gears will almost always break or strip within a year or two with consistent office use.

Staples & Paper Clips – Many cheaper shredders will throw a fit when fed the occasional staple or paper clip. If you work in an office where a box of “to shred” paper may contain staples or paper clips, be sure you get a shredder that can handle it. Most, but not all, office shredders can handle staples and paper clips.

Oiling – Paper shredders need to be oiled, especially cross cut shredders. Some of the newer shredders have built-in automatic oilers. If you can afford it, this is definitely the way to go. If a shredder with an auto oiler isn’t in the budget, remember to oil the shredder with every bag change.

Bag Changes – Shredders are available in a variety of designs that are supposed to make bag changing “easier.” I have personally found that shredders that have a built-in cabinet are the best to use in the office. Simply open the cabinet, slide out the bin or bag and empty it. This is far more preferable to the shredders that require you to remove the shredder head to empty the bin.

These are probably the most common features you should be aware of prior to making a purchase. At ABC Office we have years of dealing with shredders. I’m not afraid to admit that we probably have some of the most educated shredder specialists online.

You should take advantage of this knowledge and give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. We aren’t pressuring, we won’t try to sell you something you don’t need and we are always more than happy to help.

You can find our entire wide selection of paper shredders here. They are broken into different categories based on where they will be used.

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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