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best paper shredders

The Best Paper Shredders in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Old documents shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash, but disposed of with a paper shredder. We have compiled numerous paper shredder tests on the Internet and revealed the cutting performance, cut types and further investigations and tests of various models.

Our paper shredder test introduces you to the most popular devices that have convinced both our testers and consumers. Our list of the best enables you to compare the best document shredders with all advantages, disadvantages and special features at a glance. Our guide informs you about the important topics of data protection, security levels, needs-based and safe operation and cleaning. Perhaps our comparison test winner and price winner is your favorite too.

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
177,099 Reviews
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
  • Cross-cut shredder turns paper into confetti-like pieces…
  • Shreds up to 8 sheets of 20-pound bond paper at a time; also…
  • 3 minutes on / 30 minutes off; if shredder runs continuously…
  • 4-mode power switch (auto, off, reverse, forward); LED…
  • Quality tested: as part of Amazon Basics quality…

Shredder for Home, Bonsaii 6 Sheet Cross Cut

 Our Pick
Shredder for Home, Bonsaii 6 Sheet Cross Cut
16,679 Reviews
Shredder for Home, Bonsaii 6 Sheet Cross Cut
  • 【Crosscut Paper & Credit Card Shredder】Bonsaii home…
  • 【Compact Sizes】The home shredder comes with portable…
  • 【Easy Operation & Safe Protection】Auto start/stop and…
  • 【3.4 Gal Transparent Wastebasket】The crosscut shredder…
  • 【1 Year Warranty & Professional Service】Bonsaii provides…

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card
33,531 Reviews
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card
  • Shreds/cuts paper into 1/4-inch-wide strips at a rate of…
  • Shred up to 8 sheets of 20-pound bond paper at a time (no…
  • Run time is 2 minutes on / 15 minutes off; if shredder runs…
  • 3-mode control switch (auto, off, reverse); easy-to-empty…
  • Please refer to the user manual, troubleshooting guide, and…

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
4,092 Reviews
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
  • Shreds 18 sheets of paper per pass into 397 (5/32” x…
  • Maximum run time: 30 min on / 40 min off. For 1-3 users….
  • 100% Jam Proof System eliminates paper jams and powers…
  • SafeSense Technology stops shredder when hands touch the…
  • 9-gallon pull-out bin with LED bin-full indicator.9 inch…

Aurora AS420C Desktop-Style Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

 Our Pick
Aurora AS420C Desktop-Style Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
14,546 Reviews
Aurora AS420C Desktop-Style Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
  • Aurora Desktop Style Crosscut Paper Shredder with Basket
  • 4.5-inch throat width
  • Basket with handle
  • 40-sheet basket capacity
  • Measures 9 x 7 x 10 inches

Aurora AU1220XA 12 Sheet Crosscut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

 Our Pick
Aurora AU1220XA 12 Sheet Crosscut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
7,617 Reviews
Aurora AU1220XA 12 Sheet Crosscut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
  • Crosscut with 12 sheet capacities; destroys credit cards and…
  • Shreds paper, credit cards into small pieces (3/16 by 1-9/16…
  • Nonstop 3-minute continuous run Tim
  • Overload and thermal protection, 4-mode power switch…
  • 5.2-Gallon wastebasket with LED indicator lights standby/…

Aurora AU1230XA Anti-Jam 12-Sheet Crosscut Paper

 Our Pick
Aurora AU1230XA Anti-Jam 12-Sheet Crosscut Paper
24,548 Reviews
Aurora AU1230XA Anti-Jam 12-Sheet Crosscut Paper
  • Crosscut with 12 sheet capacities; destroys credit cards and…
  • Shreds paper, credit cards into small pieces (3/16 by 1-9/16…
  • Nonstop stop 5-minute continuous run time; anti-jam…
  • Overload and thermal protection, 4-mode power switch…
  • 5.2-Gallon wastebasket with LED indicator lights standby/…

Aurora AS810SD 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper

 Our Pick
Aurora AS810SD 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper
14,546 Reviews
Aurora AS810SD 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper
  • Paper shredder helps you keep yourself safe from identity…
  • Shreds up to 8 sheets at once at 9.7 feet per minute
  • Shreds CDs and credit cards as well
  • Basket Volume: 3.20 gallon plastic basket
  • CD Shred Size: 1 3/8″ wide strips

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder
20,439 Reviews
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder
  • Micro-cut shredder turns paper into tiny confetti-like…
  • Shreds up to 8 sheets of 20-pound bond paper at a time (no…
  • 5 minutes on / 30 minutes off; if shredder runs continuously…
  • 4-mode power switch (auto, off, reverse, forward); LED…
  • Quality tested: as part of Amazon Basics quality…

Frequently Asked Questions: Paper Shredder

What is a paper shredder?

It is a device that destroys documents made of paper and data carriers made of plastic such as CDs, DVDs, chip and credit cards with different cutting techniques into strips or fine particles beyond recognition and makes them illegible.

How does a paper shredder work?

The way a document shredder works is based on cutting up or shredding paper and cardboard into the smallest individual parts so that, for example, sensitive information can be destroyed beyond recognition. There are differences in the cutting performance and quality of the destruction. In a paper shredder test, you can compare and test information about tests, trials, experiments and the sample of cutting performance and quality.

Shredders are defined according to their cutting technique. They shred documents either into narrow strips using the strip cut technique or into very fine particles (confetti) using the cross and particle cut technique. The result of these cutting techniques is divided into six security levels for simple to highly confidential documents, depending on the size. The devices work electrically with a mains plug.

Simple, small models for private household use sometimes also work with batteries or a hand crank. The functionality is the same for all device types. After the start, the data carriers in paper or plastic form are inserted into the feed slot and cut into strips or fine particles. The shredder waste ends up in a collecting container, which is located directly under the intake slot. Depending on the price-performance ratio, a document shredder processes one to 15 sheets of paper at a time. Combination devices can use data carriers made of paper and
Shred plastic in separate feed openings. Large-scale corporate equipment can shred large quantities of paper and plastic media.

Strip cut

Some devices from the external tests and product tests only cut the paper into narrow strips (strip cut). However, in trials of the test it was found that the shredded paper can be put together relatively easily if the strips are not narrow enough.

Cross cut

Other document shredders use the aforementioned cross cut, which also cuts the document horizontally. This of course means that complete destruction of the documents is much better guaranteed. The cutting mechanisms of a document shredder, which shreds with the strip cut, work through the operation of two parallel shafts inside the device. These waves are offset with sharp-edged wheels that mesh with each other. The casing of the wheels is toothed. This fact makes the optimal transport of the paper possible.

As can be seen in tests, however, the paper is only actually destroyed when it pulls past the sharp-edged wheels. It is then cut into strips. A strip is exactly as long as the originally intact document. The more wheels there are, the narrower the paper strips are. With the strip cut and the corresponding other technical requirements, a larger amount of paper can be destroyed at the same time.

Comparison of the types of cuts

A paper shredder with strip cut worked more quietly in tests than a model with cross cut technology. But at the same time security suffers. If the document shredder works with a cross-cut technique, it also works with two shafts and sharp-edged wheels that mesh with one another. Here, however, the wheels are a little different. A sharp metal edge protrudes from the casing of the wheels. This is what makes the transport of the individual paper strips and the division into several pieces possible.

So that this works, the wheels are arranged in a wave shape. Since the paper is cut in a criss-cross pattern, this cutting technique can be considered safer than the strip cut. If a document shredder uses the cross cut, however, its mode of operation is a lot louder as was found in tests. A non-manual device is driven by an electric motor. A spindle shaft ensures that the gear drive on the side of the cutting unit can function.

Microcut (particle cut)

High-quality devices work with a chain drive; in the case of devices that are more in the lower range, the gears can also be made of plastic. This can mean that such devices permanently perform less than those that are equipped with higher quality materials. With the particle cut or the micro cut files are cut into the smallest parts in order to obtain even more security.

A de-integrator or granulator processes documents until they fit through a tiny mesh. Document shredders with hammer mills destroy the paper by pressing it through a wire screen.

What can be destroyed with a paper shredder?

A document shredder can be used to shred documents, files, lists, invoices, pay slips, personal data, employee data, customer data, account information, contracts, personal signatures, tax documents, invalid checks, confidential logs, paper account statements that contain sensitive information and must not fall into the wrong hands, destroy in a company.

Likewise, a paper shredder can be very useful and helpful for personal protection at home. There are also documents to be protected in your own home, such as passwords, bank statements, pay slips, certificates, résumés, invalid IDs, documents that are no longer required, credit card statements, insurance papers, post from the bank, order information, luggage tags with addresses, medical documents, tax information such as tax numbers and more, destroy. Cardboard can also be destroyed with it, if necessary. Compare the capacity and cutting performance of the devices yourself between the paper shredder tests and the evaluations of the tests and practical tests.

Likewise, modern devices can even cut CDs, DVDs and credit cards or plastic passports and ID cards with personal or confidential information on them beyond recognition, as tests have shown on paper shredders. Many document shredders that can also destroy plastic are used in public offices or other professions.

Advantages of a paper shredder

  • Important files can be destroyed down to the smallest detail and thus made illegible for unauthorized persons. In day-to-day business or in public offices, ID documents that have lost their validity can be irrevocably destroyed so that no unauthorized actions can be carried out with them. Constant control of important documents is possible.
  • Confidential data no longer have to be stored unnecessarily; they can be destroyed immediately after the intended retention period. This saves important space in a company.
  • Incorrectly created documents can be destroyed immediately.
    If you have your own device, you can do this work independently and are not dependent on external companies offering such services.
  • In particular, a document shredder that works with the particle cut has even more advantages, according to document shredder tests. Since this technology completely destroys important documents and these can no longer be reconstructed, it offers a high level of protection against crime and fraud. Another advantage of cross and particle cuts is the quality of the shredded pieces of paper.
  • The special shape compresses the dead weight of the destroyed work material better. This means that the device’s collecting container no longer has to be emptied as often.
  • The work of a document shredder saves the manual destruction of important documents that should be made illegible.
  • Paper clips, thumbtacks and other small office supplies are not a problem for most shredders and do not need to be removed separately.
  • Some document shredders have additional protective functions that are already included as standard for security. Integrated overheating protection and auto-stop functions are just a few of the details that make it safer to use.
  • High-quality devices always have a large collecting container for the shredded paper. This of course saves a lot of trips before such a collecting container has to be emptied.
  • Good devices also offer the possibility of shredding several sheets in just one operation. This also saves a lot of valuable time.
  • Employees in a company destroy confidential files more often and more quickly if they can use a shredder than without.
  • According to various document shredder tests, modern devices hardly need any time for cleaning and maintenance, the effort is low, so the time saved can be invested in more important work.
  • Modern document shredders also have many visual details to offer that can enhance an office or your own home.
  • The consumer can choose the most suitable level for him between different security levels.
  • Modern functions such as automatic return prevent the paper from jamming in the device.
  • The collecting bins of contemporary document shredders can be removed, emptied and reinserted quickly and easily.
  • In addition, some devices use additional functions to indicate when the collecting container is full.
  • An individually adjustable paper feed can be handled in such a way that even smaller documents can be shredded with its help.
  • According to various paper shredder tests, today’s document shredders are designed so that they are ready for use very quickly. A great and long study with time-consuming analysis and inspection of the individual functions is no longer necessary. Of course, the operating instructions should still be read carefully before the paper shredder is used for the first time. If you are unsure of how to use it, the operating instructions can also help. But service employees and field service fitters are also available promptly should a question or problem arise during use.

Disadvantages of a paper shredder

  • The cutting unit should be oiled regularly, ideally once a day, so that it can function permanently. Ideally, a sheet of paper is moistened with oil and fed into the intake of the document shredder. Another possibility of maintenance is to spray the oil directly onto the paper feed. Please note that you must never work with highly flammable oil. There are special oils for maintaining paper shredders. More effort for maintenance and care does not have to be made.
  • The disadvantage of a document shredder is often the danger that its use entails. For this reason, certain safety rules should always be observed when starting up a document shredder so that nothing can happen to its user. You should always work concentrated on the device and avoid any distraction.
  • You should also make sure that particularly long hair cannot get caught in a paper shredder, as well as long chains or other jewelry and items of clothing that are loose or loose / long. If the aforementioned things get into the shredder’s cutting mechanism, they can be destroyed together with the documents.
  • Paper clips on the documents to be destroyed are often overlooked and forgotten. If you get into the cutting unit of an inferior document shredder, you can damage it. However, this fact does not affect good devices, they also offer the possibility of shredding paper clips without the device being damaged as a result, as various document shredder tests show.

How are paper shredders tested?

Devices from different manufacturers with a wide variety of functions were tested and compared in external document shredder tests, tests and product tests. A test and an inspection of the delivery and packaging of the devices took place. Other important assessment criteria in this proficiency test were the appearance, design and condition of the paper shredder.

In the document shredder test and product test, an evaluation of the performance of the devices and a test with a determination of how many performance functions are available in total were carried out. A test with examination and control of the data and facts was carried out precisely in the study and the result was noted in the test report. Other features, such as additional comfort, precise handling of the devices, operation and of course adjustability included further test criteria in this test.

The result of the test to destroy each individual device was of particular interest during the test run. How easy it is to clean and maintain all devices and which accessories are included in the scope of delivery also played a role in the suitability test. The manufacturer’s guarantee and service was also of not insignificant importance in these tests and surveys.

After all of the aforementioned properties were meticulously checked by experts in external document shredder tests ,we created a final assessment of the external tests of the individual document shredders and made a comparison.

Our document shredder test has subjected models of different manufacturers and sizes to a detailed test.

Delivery & Packaging
First we checked the delivery and packaging. All devices were delivered on time and with perfect packaging.

All devices in our product test have an appealing and simple design that fits every office and private household. The visual appearance is of course a matter of taste, but a document shredder should be so discreet that it does not look like a foreign body in its environment.

The devices in our document shredder test weigh between two and ten kilograms, making them one of the smaller representatives of their kind. They are sufficient for individual workstations, small offices, home offices and private households. Large document shredders for work groups with several employees, entire office floors and companies naturally weigh more and can easily weigh 50 kilograms and more.

Shredder model
The models we tested are floor-standing devices that, depending on their size, can be easily placed under or next to the desk or in suitable corners.

Type of cut and security level
The paper shredder test includes devices with strip, cross and particle cuts. Many commercially available devices have the strip cutting technology, which is sufficient for private households and offices, which only destroy general correspondence and business data that are not classified as particularly confidential. Our test candidates destroyed the documents perfectly and have security levels 1 to 3.

Also in the document shredder comparison there are devices with cross or particle cut. The destruction of the data carriers is much more secure with a security level 4 to 5. This security level should be used by companies that safely dispose of their business data and want to protect it from commercial use by unauthorized persons. We also recommend devices with this security level for personal data. For highly confidential and secret data, we recommend devices with security level 6. These are used by all security-relevant authorities and services.

Collecting container
The collecting containers of our test candidates hold between 13 and 22 liters of filling volume. This size fits the respective dimensions of the document shredder. With this size you can get by for several days without emptying the collecting container.

Control window for filling level
The test candidates with a viewing window in our document shredder comparison get a plus point from us, because this practical device allows you to control the filling level at any time. You always know when the collecting container is full.

Shredder material
With all the paper shredders in our test, we were able to dispose of paper with staples and paper clips without damaging the devices.

Number of pages
Our test candidates destroy three to 12 pages at a time, depending on the size, which is sufficient for normal everyday office life and private households. If your requirements go beyond this number of pages, we recommend purchasing a larger device that can easily shred 15 or more pages at the same time.

Need-based operation
Our document shredders in the product test are characterized by quiet and safe operation. Both the devices from the inexpensive and the high-priced segment have a separate collection container for plastic waste, a larger collection container, a return function to resolve a paper jam and overheating protection for safe operation. The devices with automatic cleaning function, fill level indicator and jam resolution function get a plus point from us and are particularly recommended.

Types of paper shredders

There are paper shredders with strip cut, particle cut and cross cut

Paper shredder with strip cut

This type of cut is most commonly used and transforms your documents into the typical spaghetti-like stripes. This simple cut variant is sufficient for home offices and private households, as long as there are no highly confidential documents.

Theoretically, it is possible to put this simple strip cut back together into a document with a lot of fine work. For this reason, the strip cut is less secure than the particle cut and cross cut. Strip cut paper shredders correspond to security level 1-3. The cutting unit works with two parallel shafts, which are provided with two sharp-edged, interlocking wheels. The toothed casing enables optimal paper transport

However, the documents are only destroyed after they have passed the waves and past the sharp-edged wheels. At this point the paper is shredded into characteristic strips. The length of the paper strips corresponds to the length of the original document. The more wheels the cutting unit has, the more precise the cut and the more paper that can be destroyed at once. This variant works more quietly than paper shredders with cross-cut technology.

Paper shredders with particle or cross cut

This paper shredder processes your documents into small confetti and is considered to be much more secure in the destruction of highly confidential documents than a paper shredder with strip cut. This device cuts the paper into strips not only vertically, but also horizontally, which creates the fine particles. The reassembly into one document is considered very difficult.

An advanced cutting technique is shredding documents into micro-particles. Because of this shredding, there is less paper waste than with the strip cut technique. This cutting technique corresponds to security level 3-4 or 4-6. The cutting mechanism of this document shredder is similarly equipped as the cutting mechanism of the devices with strip cutting technology. The difference, however, is in the details. This model also works with two parallel shafts and sharp-edged interlocking wheels.

However, the sharp edges of the undulating wheels protrude from the casing and thus enable the paper to be cut into fine particles. Due to the cross cut, the device works more noisily than a document shredder with strip cut technology, but is safer due to the fine paper cut. An even finer cutting technique is the crypto technique, which compresses the paper waste into a fine powder. Document shredders work with an electric motor driven by a spindle shaft, so that the gear drive on the side works properly.

High-quality devices work with chain drives, while the gears in inexpensive devices are often made of plastic, which can, however, have a negative effect on performance.

Paper shredders for shredding CDs, DVDs and credit cards

Shred CDs, DVDs and credit cards. Depending on the version, some devices are able to cut both paper and plastic. Some models have a wider feed, others have two extra functions, one for cutting CDs and DVDs and one for shredding plastic cards. Pay attention to this combined function when buying, because simple document shredders are not able to process this stronger plastic material.

Important criteria for paper shredders

If you follow some tips and advice and take into account information about tests, you can very quickly find the right model. The first question that arises before buying a shredder is how to shred the files, papers, and more. Electrically powered paper shredders work in different ways, as paper shredder tests show.

There are electrical devices that cut paper with the strip cut, with the cross cut and with the particle cut, or with the micro cut. Disintegrators or granulators cut up files until they are broken down into the smallest individual parts. Devices that work with a hammer mill press the files through a wire screen.

Depending on the intended use, a document shredder must be able to do more or less. For private use, the high and security-promising destructive power is not required, such as companies of all branches or public offices. Even today there are still devices that destroy paper with fire or chemicals.

However, since a higher risk potential is hidden here, buying such document shredders is not necessarily advisable. It is better to fall back on the large selection of electrically functioning document shredders.

However, since the selection is very large, it is optimal to take enough time before deciding on a model to check the really many different functions and to be able to compare them in a test. Ultimately, the decisive factor for the purchase is the weighing of the individual requirements and the similarity to the personal ideas that one has of a document shredder. A side-by-side display of tested devices with information on the test such as test run, test grade and comparison winner can help to find a match with the individual requirements.

Different security levels explained

Security level 1 (general written material)
This paper shredder processes your documents into strips of unlimited length with a width of 12 mm that look like spaghetti. The writing on the documents is made illegible. The stripes are referred to as the particle area, but with this type of cut it is still so large that it is theoretically possible to reassemble the scrap into a document.

Security level 2 (internal business data that is not particularly confidential)
This device processes paper for strip cutting with a smaller particle area and is safer than level 1. The strip cutting is 6 mm wide and unlimited.

Security level 3 (confidential documents)
With this cutting technique, the strips are only 3 mm wide, but limited in length.

Security level 4 (secret documents)
The strip cut is wider than in level 3 (6 mm), but the particle surface is much smaller, as this shredder processes the documents into small particles.

Security level 5 (maximum security requirements)
Your documents are processed into fine particles with a strip width of 2 mm.

Security level 6 (documents with secret service security level)
Your documents will be processed into very narrow strips 1 mm wide. The particles are regular and microfine.

All six security levels are suitable for offices, home offices and private households. Which security level is best always depends on the type of documents. For general everyday office life and private households, document shredders with the simple cutting technology of security level 1 to 3 are sufficient. In general, the more sensitive the data, the higher the security level must be. Companies that regularly produce paper cuts with highly sensitive data from business documents in the form of contracts, technical documents and personal information should use paper shredders with particle cut or cross cut of security level 4 to 5. Document shredders of security level 6 to 7 are essential for all documents whose destruction is subject to or is required to be subject to high security requirements.

How to maintain a paper shredder?

Although modern, high-quality data shredders require little care and maintenance, they still have to be cleaned regularly. Electrical devices attract dust particles statically, so the outer housing must be cleaned of dust residues with a damp cloth. Before cleaning, disconnect the paper shredder from the power supply in order to avoid danger to life from the interaction of electricity and water.

The collecting container must be cleaned of paper residues and paper dust at regular intervals. This collecting container is made of plastic and can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
The bearing and the shafts of the cutting unit must be oiled regularly so that this function works properly. Only use lubricants from the manufacturer or the brands recommended in the instructions for use. Some manufacturers include a few sheets of oiled paper with their devices.

To oil the cutting unit, run an oiled sheet of paper back and forth through the device a few times. Then shred the sheet of paper so that the cutting unit is also optimally oiled. You can also make an oiled sheet of paper yourself by smearing a piece of paper with low-viscosity or silicone oil and letting it run through the device. You can also brush the rollers with approved lubricants, but you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as improper use will invalidate the guarantee.

High-quality devices have the so-called self-cleaning function, which automatically lubricates and oil the cutting unit, thus ensuring a longer life expectancy. All you have to pay attention to is a regular filling of the oil tank, which is located inside the device.

Paper shredder accessories

Your document shredder has all the important functions for smooth operation. All you need is oil to regularly lubricate the cutting unit. Large and high-quality equipment in companies must be serviced by a specialist. You can also oil smaller devices yourself. Follow your instructions for use, because many manufacturers reserve the right to use an in-house oil so that the guarantee remains in effect.

Paper shredder alternatives

If you want to guarantee the safe disposal of your sensitive data from private households, offices and companies, there is no alternative to a document shredder with an equivalent fictionality, needs-based operation and security.

4.9/5 - (8 votes)

Last product update on 2022-06-28 | Source: Amazon Affiliate