paper shredders

1) Continuous Run Time:

The most important attributes when you are shopping for a paper shredder is not just the sheet capacity, but the continuous run time, which is the duration of non-stop shredding prior to overheating. When a shredder overheats you will likely wait 30-60 minutes before it can restart again. This run time rating is not always shown on some paper shredder descriptions. The longer the run time, the better and more expensive the motor is and therefore more durable. Better shredders will have a run time of 8 mins or more. Some shredders are called heavy duty and can have a run time of 15 mins or more.

2) Quiet Operation:

Secondly, look for a quiet motor that runs <58db or less. This means the motor is using an induction motor and not a universal motor that is used by shredders that are louder. Most smaller, light duty shredders will use a universal motor because it's less expensive and lighter than induction motors. The larger capacity shredders may use either motor types. You can also tell by the weight of the shredders since induction will weigh almost twice as much as a universal motor.

3) Shred Speed:

A faster speed is important not because it can shred paper faster, but it means that the components are made of more durable parts. A speed of 7.5 ft/min or more is a decent rating.

4) Shred or Cut Type:

There are many types of cutters out there and they can be confusing to most. There are really just 3 types of cutters in the market, but some have alternative names. The 3 types of cuts are strip cut, cross cut and micro cut. Strip or straight cut means the blade makes a thin straight cut from top to bottom of a sheet of paper.  Cross cut means the blade can make cross section cuts along a strip of paper. This is also called confetti cut because the cross sections resemble confetti. Diamond cut is another name for this, but it's trademarked and the shredded paper resemble diamond shapes.

5) Shred Size and Security Level:

Although there are only 3 shred types, there isn't really an industry standard that is regulating what the shred sizes are for each type. Shred size is the final shredded paper size that falls into the waste bin. Every manufacturer seems to have their own standards and sizes. The smaller the cut size the higher the security level.

  • For a strip cut shredder, the size should be 40mm (1.57") or less. This is usually classified as a security level 2
  • For a cross cut shredder, the size can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. But a good size should be around 5 x 40mm or less or 4 x 50mm. This should be a security level 3.
  • For a micro cut shredder, the size should be 3 x 8mm or 2 x 15mm or less. This should be a security level 4. Anything 2 x 6mm or less should be level 5. The highest level is 6, which would be .08 x 4mm or less. 


6) Features:

Auto Start and Stop, Reverse mode are must-have features. Some shredders have auto stop when a jam is detected. This helps prevent the motor from grinding further and strip the gears. The better shredders will have warning indicators to let you know the bin is opened and overheat detection. 


Things to look for when shopping around for a paper shredder:

  • Beware that some manufactures claim their shredder is a micro cut when the size exceeds 3x8mm. 
  • The better brands of shredders will show all the specifications as stated above. If it's not listed, ask the seller for the information. 
  • Try to find a brands that have their own website or can directly service the shredder under warranty. Most mass merchants or resellers will not know how to repair or troubleshoot shredders. 
  • Don't go without paper shredder oil. Paper shredders can usually last years if the blades are properly lubricated. For frequent users, apply oil at least one a month. 

Feel free to contact with any questions.

I hope this helped!

Paper Shredder Reviewer