Best Paper Shredder: Choose the Right One for You

Each person deals with important documents throughout their life, whether it is an old passport, credit cards, applications, and etcetera. You cannot just toss those things away because they have seriously sensitive information about you that someone could use for their own gain. No matter the document in question, it is always safest to shred it when you are finished with it. This is especially true for unused job applications, old credit cards, expired passports, and more. In addition, there are countless environmental benefits to shredding. These benefits include less buildup of paper in landfills and more used in composting. Whatever your reason for shredding, it can sometimes be difficult trying to find the best shredder for your buck. Luckily, that is why we are here. We have checked out all of the claims and top brands and picked out our top 10 best paper shredder options for you.

After using inefficient paper shredders for too long... Here are the Best Paper Shredder Options.

In the chart below, you will find our top 10 Best Paper Shredder Options.  For a more in-depth review of each model, please click on "Read Review."

Product Image

Product Name

Rating

Review

best paper shredder

​Boxis AF100 AutoShred 

4.8 out of 5

AmazonBasics 15 Sheet Shredder

4.6 out of 5

best paper shredder

Swingline Paper Shredder

4.4 out of 5

Swingline Paper Shredder

3.7 out of 5

best paper shredder

Sentinel FM101P

4.4 out of 5

Royal 112MX 12-Sheet Cross Cut Shredder

4.1 out of 5

best paper shredder

GoECOlife GMW101Pii

3.8 out of 5

Fellowes Powershred W11C

4.0 out of 5

best paper shredder

Fellowes Powershred 79Ci

4.7 out of 5

Bonsaii EverShred C169-B

4.5 out of 5

Top 10 Best Paper Shredder Options

  1. Boxis AF100 AutoShred 100-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder
  2. Fellowes Powershred 79Ci
  3. Bonsaii EverShred C169-B
  4. Sentinel FM101P
  5. Swingline Paper Shredder
  6. Royal 112MX 12-Sheet Cross Cut Shredder
  7. Fellowes Powershred W11C
  8. AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut
  9. GoECOlife GMW101Pii
  10. Swingline Paper Shredder

What Is a Paper Shredder?

The name is self-explanatory, but some shredders can handle a lot more than just paper. Certain brands of paper shredders also have the capacity to shred CDs, credit cards, and other tougher objects that a regular shredder would not be able to handle.

Why do we use shredders instead of just tearing the paper ourselves or simply throwing it away as is? Well, paper shredding is not only convenient, but it is also a safe and secure way of preventing valuable information from falling into the wrong hands. Not only that, but it is also a great way to contribute toward a better environment. Whether you hire a paper shredding company or you do it yourself, it is much easier to recycle shredded paper than it is regular paper. Plus, by recycling the paper, you are preventing the growth of landfills, along with helping to save forests from deforestation. The paper industry is one, if not the leading cause of deforestation.

Shredded paper has a wide variety of uses after it has been recycled. It can be great to add to your compost if you have a garden. Many paper products are made using recycled paper. Shipping companies have even started using recycled shredded paper to make packing peanuts, which is great because it lowers the use of Styrofoam, which can be very toxic to the environment.

Types of Paper Shredders

There is not just one type of paper shredder. There are actually a few different ones to choose from, each having their own special features depending on your needs. In terms of at home or office needs, there are three main types to choose from. There is the strip-cut shredder, cross-cut shredder, and micro-cut shredder. All of them are based on the same shredding technology with some added features that make them better for certain circumstances. Beyond that, there are also some industrial level shredders like disintegrators, hammer mills, and pierce-and-tear shredders.

Strip-Cut

The most basic of the shredders is the strip cut, which simply shreds your paper into strips. The size of the strips can also vary from normal to very narrow. While it is possible to tape those strips back together, it would be a tedious task. Strip-cut shredders are probably the least secure of the three personal shredder types, but it is good for low-level shredding.

Cross-Cut

A cross-cut shredders takes the strip-cut shredding one step further and cut them across as well. This makes shredding documents a bit more secure and quicker as well. Several of the cross-cut paper shredder brands also include the feature to shred CDs, credit cards, and other tougher objects.

Micro-Cut

If you are looking to completely destroy your paper, the micro-cut shredder is the one for you. It cuts it in strips, it cuts it in diagonals, and it cuts it every which way until there are only teeny-tiny pieces left. It is by far the most secure of the three, as there is no way that document is getting put back together.


While all of these are great at getting the job done, it really depends on your needs. If you are just shredding regular paper or unimportant documents, the strip-cut is just fine. But if you are secretly working for the government and need to destroy your progress reports so the enemy will not find them, the micro-cut if your best option, apart from reducing it to ash with fire. Any of these can be the best paper shredder for you, but it all depends on your needs.

Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Paper Shredder

While paper shredders may seem simple, and for the most part they are, some of them can include a lot. There are a few things that you should consider before giving a company your money. We want to be sure you are buying the best paper shredder for you. Here are a few things that you should ask yourself when choosing the best paper shredder for you or your business.

Security Level​​​​​​​

This is probably the most important question to ask when picking a shredder. What level of security do you need? There are six levels of information protection that you can choose from. Level 1 is the lowest security level that you can get. These shredders will cut your paper into pieces that are about 3/8 of an inch wide. This is fine for junk mail or other documents that do not have very sensitive information. The next two levels, 2 and 3, are medium range security. Shredders that have this level of security are great for destroying documents that have fairly important information on them. For example, birthdays, names, addresses, social security numbers, and etc are bits of information that criminals can use for identity theft. These will cut your paper into 1/8 inch or 1/3 inch across, rather than 3/8 of an inch wide.

Level 4 is when you need to get rid of financial records or other highly sensitive documents. The size of these cuts tends to measure 1/16 inch by 5/8 inch. Lastly, there are levels 5 and 6. These are if you have like secret agent information that absolutely no one can see, like nuclear codes or proof of aliens or something. In all seriousness, level 5 and 6 machines are compliant with various federal privacy laws like HIPPA and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). They even have the approval of the NSA and CSS.  

Capacity

How much shredding are you typically going to do? A better question would be: how many pieces of paper are you usually going to be trying to shred in one go? Shredders have various levels of capacity. Personal shredders can usually handle at max, 10 sheets of paper in one go. Office shredders are great for between 20 and 30 sheets at a time. They are good for a shared workspace or a small office. Then, we bring out the big guns. Heavy duty shredders can take care of about 40 sheets at a time, and they do so very quickly. These usually come with high-security ratings as well, which makes them a good idea if you have a lot sensitive documents.

Lastly, we have the industrial size shredders. They can shred 100 sheets of paper in no time. If you have one of these in your office, it is probably a little bit overkill, but who am I to judge. These are most ideal for mail rooms and print shops.

Multimedia Shredding

Whether you work in the music business, movie business, or have a hobby that involves a lot of multimedia being thrown away, shredding it is a much better idea. Luckily, there are many shredders that have features such as CD shredding. These can handle of course CDs, but also DVDs, floppy disks (if you actually still have one… wow), and other similar items.

Safety Features

Shredding can be dangerous if you are not savvy about the safety regulations that are in place. However, there are some shredders that are safer than others. They achieve this by adding certain features that prevent stupid accidents from happening. One of these features is called a safety interlock. This prevents unauthorized use of the machine. It may be a good idea if you have little kids around your personal shredder often, or even pets. Another good safety feature to have is a safety sensor. This sensor is able to detect and shut the machine down when there are inappropriate things near the feed opening (hands, tails, ties, etc.).

Other Considerations

Along with everything above, there are some other things that you may want to consider that may be important to you. Things like continuous-duty motors which are able to run nonstop, while others may need a cool down time. These are great for if you are always doing a lot of shredding. Noise levels are another issue that can be fairly annoying. Some shredders can be seriously noisy, but some are quieter than others. Also, jamming is something that can be rage worthy. Paper jams can be nearly impossible to get unjammed, and when you are trying to get a lot done quickly, paper jams can really be angering. However, there are some shredders that have something in place to prevent paper jams from happening, so that may be a really good thing to look for.

Product Types Pros and Cons

As mentioned before, there are three types of shredders that you will find when shopping for the best paper shredder. They are strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut. Each has their own unique features that could make them a better choice over another. While there are other types meant for high-end or industrial use, we will only be looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the three types meant for personal or office use.

Strip-Cut Shredders

These are the most basic type of shredder and what nearly every shredder is based on. It uses a rotating blade to cut the paper into long, parallel strips. These are the simplest but also the least secure means of destroying documents, meaning it works great for junk mail. The strips could be reassembled by someone who really wanted to put it back together. Depending on the type of shredder, it will cut your paper into strips from 3/8 of an inch to 1/16 of an inch. Of course, the narrower the strip, the more effective the shredding will be.

Pros

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    Quick and simple​​​​
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    Good for basic shredding
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    Perfect for home use

Cons

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    Least secure of the three types
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    Not good for a lot of shredding
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    Not good for highly sensitive information destruction

Cross-Cut Shredders

These guys take strip shredders one step further and cut them either across or diagonally. You will end up with either little squares or diamond shaped pieces of paper left over. The shredding size can range from 3/8 of an inch to 1/32 of an inch wide, in varying lengths. Of course, the smaller the size the better, from a security standpoint. These are widely available and the most popular type of shredder. These are best for small business or personal use.

Pros

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    Much more secure
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    Wide availability
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    Great for small business or home 

Cons

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    Can be a little expensive
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    Overkill for simple shredding needs

Micro-Cut Shredders

By far the most secure choice out of the three types is the micro-cut shredder. These bad boys will reduce your documents to confetti-like pieces of paper. It can turn one sheet of paper into more than 12,000 tiny pieces, so good luck trying to put that back together. These are typically used by research facilities and government agencies, to provide the best security possible in disposing of top-secret documents. For personal use, if you are seriously paranoid or an undercover spy, this is the one for you. Otherwise, it is definitely overkill.

Pros

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    The most secure​​​​
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    Turns one sheet into over 12,000 pieces 
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    Used by government agencies

Cons

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    Serious overkill​​​​
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    Can be expensive

Common Features of the Best Paper Shredder

There are some common features that are found among all of the best paper shredder options. When you are shopping around, be sure to look for these features. 

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    Multimedia shredding capability; ability to shred CDs, credit cards, DVDs, etc. 
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    Safety features, like sensors 
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    Jam proof
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    High capacity
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    Continuous running
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    Good level of security

Frequently Asked Questions About Paper Shredders 

If you are in the dark about paper shredders, fear not, for you are not alone. Here are the top commonly asked questions from other consumers who are shopping for the best paper shredder out there. 

1. Why do I need a shredder?

These days, no one wants to be themselves, meaning that identity theft is on the rise. It is best to safely dispose of any and all sensitive information that you may have. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, medical or financial records, and whatever else you deem sensitive information. Of course, expired credit cards need to be cut up. If you are worried about your money, it is best to just shred the information.

2. What is meant by sheet capacity?

This refers to the number of sheets of paper that you can feed through the shredder at one time. If it says a 20 sheet capacity, that means you can feed a stack of 20 sheets of paper through the shredder. If the shredder has a 100 sheet capacity, then it can shred a stack of 100 sheets of paper. That is awesome.

3. What else can I shred?

Depending on what features your shredder includes, you can shred anything from CDs, DVDs, credit cards, cardboard, or other heavier paper products. It all depends on the individual shredder.

4. What are the sizes of shredders?

Again, this depends on the manufacturer and the type of shredder you get. You can get pretty small ones that are perfect for personal use at home. You can also get pretty big ones, which are great for a big business or for multi-person use. Shredders come in all shapes and sizes, so it is all up to you and what you need.

best paper shredder

Related Articles

Here are some articles that answer the most popular questions about recycling and other ways to help the environment 

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Conclusion

This has been the ultimate buying guide for the best paper shredder options. I have gone through the pros and cons of each type of shredder, along with giving you some things to consider when you are shopping around. Be sure to read up on our individual cross-cut paper shredder reviews, as well as all of our top 10 reviews. For more information, check out the rest of Green and Growing.

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