How to Tell when It’s Time for a New Shredder

Paper Shredder Maintenance, Parts & RepairsPaper shredders are effective at what they do. They cut, chew and tear up paper into undecipherable pieces of paper. As is the case with any piece of equipment, paper shredders will eventually die. So how do you know when it is time to purchase a new shredder? If you do need to purchase a new shredder, how do you know which one to get? Here are a few tips that should help you out.

Here are some telltale signs that your shredder may be in trouble:

  • Diminished Sheet Capacity – If your shredder is only shredding a 1/4 to ½ the sheets it should, it is possible that the motor may be failing or the shredder blades may be dull. This can also be indicative of a much simpler (and often fixable) problem of simply oiling the shredder.
  • Squealing or Noise – If your shredder is making strange sounds, popping or squealing, it may be on its last leg. While this issue is usually a symptom of a more serious issue, oiling can also help if the shredder blades are simply running dry.
  • Shredder Overheats – If your shredder overheats after just minutes of use, the motor may be going bad. Most non-thermally protected shredders can go for at least 30 minutes before needing to cool down. As mentioned earlier, shredder oil can sometimes fix this problem.
  • Slow Shredding Speed – If your shredder is running extremely slow, the motor may be failing. This symptom is often associated with a diminished shredding capacity as well. Most offices need speed, and if the speed isn’t there, the shredder probably needs to be replaced. Oiling the shredder blades can sometimes fix this issue.
  • More Frequent Jams – If the shredder continually jams, your shredder may be suffering from a broken gear tooth, misalignment or even chips in the shredder blades. In higher-end shredders, these parts can sometimes be replaced. In cheaper shredders, the shredder usually needs to be replaced.

Things to look for in a new paper shredder

  • Continuous Motor – If you’re a business, don’t even bother with a shredder that can overheat. You need a continuous-duty shredder that has a thermally protected motor.
  • Cross Cut Pattern – While strip cut is OK for some home use, most businesses need a cross cut shred pattern if they seriously want to destroy sensitive information.
  • Bin Capacity – If your shopping for an office paper shredder, get one that has a large bin capacity. In the US, shredder bins are measured in gallons. I recommend at least a 10-gallon bin for an office shredder.
  • Speed – If you don’t like sitting around the shredder all day, you probably need something that is fast. Speed, in my opinion, is equally important as capacity. Try to get something that runs at 10 feet per minute or faster.
  • Noise – I personally like to have a quiet shredder in the office. While most high-end office paper shredders are designed to be quiet, try to find something that is at least 65 decibels or quieter.
  • Brand – Brand is key to a good shredder. I know many people say brand isn’t everything, but I can tell you from experience that brand is everything when it comes to shredders. You will have a good paper shredder experience if you stick with the following brands:
  1. Dahle
  2. Destroyit
  3. Formax
  4. HSM
  5. Intinmus

I hope this information helps you in your pursuit of a new paper shredder. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here. Please feel free to post your questions or comments on this article.

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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