Both in the office and at home, shredders have become an absolute necessity to help prevent sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. Anything that includes a signature, account numbers or other confidential business information should be shredded in order to protect it.
Choosing the best paper shredder for your needs, however, can become confusing. Our paper shredder buying guide will help you decide which is best for you.
Why do I need a shredder?
If sensitive business material gets into the wrong hands, it could have disastrous effects. From customer details to staff salaries, companies that don’t shred detailed documents run the risk of being caught out by criminals.
But it’s not just business owners that need to be aware of the risks when leaving sensitive material un-shredded – anyone can have their personal data stolen. Bank statements, utility bills, personal letters, medical information… if it has your name on, it’s worth shredding.
Which is the best paper shredder for me?
From home shredders to heavy-duty models, you may be surprised at how many types of shredders there are. Speed, capacity and cost should all be considered before purchasing a shredder, as machines can vary – so you need to ensure you have the right one for your particular needs.
Another thing to take into consideration when buying a shredder is the level of security it has. We’ve put together a table so it’s easier to see what each level offers.
|Level of security||Approx. shredded pieces per A4 sheet||Best suited for|
|P-1||36 strips||Basic documents|
|P-2||75 strips||Most suitable for home use, everyday paper|
|P-3||312 particles||Confidential documents – difficult to assemble and read|
|P-4||421 particles||Confidential documents – extremely difficult to assemble|
|P-5||2,000 particles||Highly confidential documents – virtually impossible to assemble|
|P-6||6,000 particles||Highly secure documents – i.e. government/federal information|
|P-7||15,000 particles||The highest level of precaution – strictly confidential documents|
There are a few other key considerations you’ll need to think about to ensure you choose the right shredder for your business or workplace:
|Bin size/type||How much shredding do you intend to do? Measured in litres, the more shredding you do, the bigger the bin you’ll need.|
|Maximum page load||The page load highlights how many sheets you can feed into your shredder in one go. A small office may need a max. load of 10, whereas a larger company may need 50.|
|Slot size||You can get shredders in all sizes, so think of the maximum page size you’ll need to be shredding before purchasing.|
|Data you want to destroy||Certain shredders can handle credit cards, CDs and floppy disks, so be sure to check if the model you’re looking to buy can handle bulkier goods.|
|Wheels/mobile||If you’re in a big office and only have one shredder, choosing a mobile option might be a good idea.|
|Warranty||Will you be vigorously using your shredder? If it’s going to be constantly used, choose a longer warranty. This will mean you’re covered in case anything goes wrong.|
Best shredder for home, home offices and small offices
For individual or family shredding, the most useful shredder will be a smaller model. However, if you start upping the amount you’re getting rid of, you’ll have to empty the bin a lot. If you have an idea of quantity, you can decide on the right shredder for home use.
- Compact shredder. These personal shredders destroy about 50 sheets a day. The best compact shredder is one you can store away when not in use. The only disadvantage of these shredders is their removable lid, which means emptying can get a little messy.
- Desk side shredder. Getting a shredder that can destroy about 100 sheets per day (and can shred 10 sheets at a time) is your best bet. These typically have a handy door to empty the shreds, rather than a removable lid.
Best shredder for business
If you’re shredding high volumes of business documents at a fast rate, you’ll need a bulkier machine. We’ve broken each one down to help you decide which shredder will suit your business needs.
- Small office shredder. For a small business of up to six people, this type of shredder is perfect. It shreds around 250 sheets a day, with the option to insert between 10-20 sheets. Depending on the model, it may also destroy CDs, DVDs, paper clips and bank cards, too.
- Medium office shredder. These can easily shred one pack of copier paper (500 sheets) a day. Busy offices will benefit from this model.
- Large office shredder. The best paper shredders for big offices can shred up to 1,000 sheets. You can destroy 30 sheets in one pass along with CDs and floppy disks.
- Departmental shredder. If your business is around 50-strong, this model could be for you. They can destroy complete paper files (even the cardboard covers), taking 50 sheets per pass. Wider paper formats including A3 also fit into these machines.
- Specialist shredder. These are created for the destruction of non-paper media – think CDs, DVDs, floppy disks and ZIP disks. There are also shredders available that can destroy cardboard and digital shredders that wipe contents from hard drives.
- Industrial shredder. Complete office blocks need a heavy duty shredder. These ones take waste from individual compartments and destroy them centrally, taking loads between 100kg to 2100kg of paper or non-paper per hour.
The top four shredder types
As well as speed and capacity, the other feature you should think about when buying your shredder is the type of cut. Here are the four main types of shredders, depending on the level of security you require.
- Strip cut shredders. These cut documents into strips, providing basic document security.
- Cross cut shredders. These are the best shredder for home and office use, slicing documents in two directions to make them more difficult to re-assemble and read.
- Micro cut shredders. These are similar to a cross cut shredder, but with a more thorough shred. They do as their name suggests – cut up pieces into tiny diamonds that look like confetti.
- Crypto cut shredders. If you have incredibly sensitive documents that need shredding to smithereens, these machines will take the paper down to almost dust.
Paper shredder reviews
To give you greater insight, we’ve put together a number of simple shredder reviews for you to see the best paper shredder brand for your needs.
Best Fellowes shredder for home
The best home cross cut shredder will have a medium-level security, small shred size, handy waste basket and the ability to destroy credit cards, paperclips and staples – Fellowes Powershred shredder does all of this. With a P-4 level security, it securely shreds confidential documents for the home or office and is best for light to moderate use.
Best Fellowes shredder for business
The Fellowes Powershred shredder is the best heavy duty shredder for small businesses. You’ve got the reassurance of micro cut type P-5 level security, the convenience of shredding up to 12 sheets per pass and the time-saving delight of a 100% Jam Proof system. The 99MS micro cut shredder also features Fellowes® patented SafeSense® technology that cuts out shredding operation when hands touch the paper entry.
Best Office Everything shredder for home
Perfect for small and speedy shredding jobs, the shredder delivers P-4 level security and shreds up to six sheets in a single pass. Its modern, compact design means it neatly fits into a home space and, for added safety, a light will turn on if the machine overheats.
Best Office Everything shredder for business
A medium to heavy duty shredder, the Shredder 15-sheet cross cut shredder is well suited to a business environment. As well as being able to shred 15 sheets of 80gsm paper in one go, you won’t need to empty the 26.5L waste bin until it has chewed up 750 sheets. It’s a shredder that has high security credentials too, offering a P-3 level, so you can have peace of mind that your confidential data has been taken care of.
Best Rexel shredder for home, home office and small offices
Rexel’s stylish and compact Prostyle will provide small offices with P-4 level document security so you can ensure peace of mind for all confidential notes, statements, plans and records. The Prostyle shreds up to 12 A4 sheets into about 200 4x35mm cross cut pieces in a single pass, depositing the shreds into the easy empty 20l bin, which has a capacity of 200 sheets. The Prostyle also features a CD and credit card shredder with a separate entry slot and deposit compartment in the waste bin so you can keep paper and plastics apart, ideal for recycling.
Best Rexel shredder for business
With high levels of security and simplicity to use, the Rexel Auto+ 100M will efficiently and effectively take care of your shredding needs. All you need to do is load the paper and up and click start – the shredder will destroy up to 110 A4 sheets in one go. With a 26L waste bin, which can hold 200 sheets at once, your confidential documents will be shredded at a P-5 security level. Thanks to its innovative technology, the shredder has a continuous jam boost system, working to clear any jams before they start.
If these don’t meet your every need, or there is a particular function you’re looking for, our wide range of shredders are a good place to explore further.
What safety features should my shredder have?
Alongside the performance and security rating of your shredder, you’ll also want to make sure you’re purchasing a safe model. Here are a few of the key features to look out for when purchasing a shredder.
- Auto-start/stop. This feature means that as soon as you feed paper into the shredder, it will begin to cut it into strips. For auto-stop, as soon as a jam is detected, the shredder will cease from trying to chew up any more paper.
- Reverse. This sends the shredders razors backwards – particularly handy if you’re trying to unblock a jam.
- Bin safety flap. A clever addition to any shredder, the bin safely flap stops anything that shouldn’t be getting shredded when the bin is too full.
- Bin top interlock. This feature will only allow the shredder to work when the bin section is attached.
- Overheat cut-off. As soon as the shredder gets too hot, the power will cut out.
- Pin lock. Using a passcode, you’ll have to type in a pin to use or access the waste bin of the shredder. A good security measure to keep your clippings out of the wrong hands.
Once you’ve taken all of the different factors into consideration, and weighed them up alongside your own needs, picking the perfect shredder for your home or business should be simple.
Want to safely destroy your private and confidential documents? Check out our range of shredders and find one to suit your needs today.