Privacy and the safety of your personal data are more important now than ever before. Most of the surrounding debate has been around online security, but have you thought about the confidential information on your physical papers?
Whether for your home or your business, a paper shredder will help to keep that knowledge safe from prying eyes.
Paper Shredder Overview
If you’re looking to avoid liability issues in your business or prevent identity theft at home, one of these top ten paper shredders can easily accomplish the task. We’ve done all the heavy lifting; all you have to do is select the one that suits you best.
Good: It’s fast, relatively quiet, and runs continuously for an impressive 60 minutes before requiring a 10 minute cooldown between shredding bouts.
Not so good: It packs a little more punch than most people really need.
Bottom Line: Great if you shred a lot of documents yourself or will be using it in a shared office that places a high demand on it.
Good: It runs quietly, the large bin hardly needs emptying, and it doesn’t require you to lock it or turn it off after use. A Safe Sense locking system protects incautious hands.
Not so good: Although its relatively short cross-cuts still reach a P-4 security level, the paper shreds aren’t as tiny as those of micro-cut shredders.
Bottom Line: A good mixture of quality, power, and safety. Not the cheapest paper shredder around, but a very good overall package. Worth the price.
Good: This quiet shredder breaks paper down to tiny pieces and can be locked when it is not in use. Relatively quick and quiet for a micro-cut machine.
Not so good: Despite a price on the high side, it isn’t capable of shredding masses of paperwork (long cooling down time).
Bottom Line: If safety is a key concern for you and you don’t need this for a busy office, this is the right choice.
Good: Just as versatile as more expensive shredders, this powerful machine breaks down paper, discs, and credit cards to tiny pieces.
Not so good: It’s pretty loud, which may make working near it a little annoying while it’s in use.
Bottom Line: Its capabilities, features, and price stack up well against its major flaw. Fairly quick for a micro-cut shredder.
Good: A slim, easy-to-pour basket means that you don’t need to use a plastic bag inside your shredder bin. Micro-cut security for home use.
Not so good: It lacks the speed and special features that more expensive machines offer.
Bottom Line: For the type of shredding it offers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice at such a low price.
Good: Its convenient carrying handle makes it easy to remove the top portion from the wastebasket.
Not so good: Since it can only run for 3 minutes before needing to cool down for 40 minutes, it cannot process much paper at one time.
Bottom Line: A great choice for the money-conscious with basic shredding needs.
Good: This fast-acting, strip-style home shredder works more quickly than any of the cross-cut or micro-cut shredders we’ve seen.
Not so good: Since it only cuts paper into strips, it doesn’t protect your privacy as well as more advanced shredders.
Bottom Line: Well-priced and adequately designed for those with more basic needs.
Good: Its high-speed processing and 12-sheet capacity mean that it’ll tackle your basic shredding needs quickly and effortlessly.
Not so good: Its 2-minute running and 30-minute recovery time mean that it won’t be able to process large stacks of paper in one session.
Bottom Line: A good mixture of speed, ability, and price, with only minor sacrifices to get such a bargain.
Paper Shredder Reviews
Are you ready to delve into the details? Below, you’ll find our in-depth reviews of each shredder.
To give you a better understanding of what each can do and which may be the best paper shredder for your needs, we’ve compared them on several points, from size and capacity to quality and durability.
- 8-Sheet Shredding Capacity
- Credit Card Slot
- Narrow Basket
- Overheating Alert
- Short and Compact
It’s not the automatic on-off feature or the way it shreds that impressed us most, it’s the exterior design of this paper shredder. The waste basket is exceptionally slim, making it easy to fit into whatever nook you have available. It also makes it easier to dump the waste into a larger recycling receptacle.
Its design isn’t all it has going for it, though. It also includes a credit card slot, can handle up to 8 pages at a time, will micro cut your paperwork, and do all of this for a very affordable price.
A Few Sacrifices for a Great Price
Some consumers have been upset about the amount of sound it creates, although others don’t take much issue with its noise level. It likely comes down to how it’s used. If you plan to operate it in a shared office space where someone else may be on the phone, it may not be the best choice.
It will run continuously for 5 minutes before alerting you that it’s overheating. It doesn’t appear to have an auto-shutoff, though, and the manufacturer isn’t clear about the amount of time it has to cool down before you can use it again. Be careful when using it and pay attention to the overheat indicator light to avoid any problems.
However, the savings on features like this allow companies to provide quality machinery without charging you an arm and leg. If you don’t want to pay a lot for your shredder but still want something capable of tackling credit cards and other thick materials, this is a great choice.
- Its window allows you to see how much paper waste is inside the bin.
- Easily affordable for households on a budget.
- A good level of performance considering its price.
- It runs a little on the loud side
- The 5-minute run time isn’t sufficient for some work-related needs but should be OK for occasional use.
- It cannot digest envelopes with cellophane windows or any sticky adhesive.
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut
- Shreds Discs and Credit Cards
- Window in Basket
- 82.8 dBA Noise Level
- 45-Minute Cool-Down Time
- Energy Saving Mode
This micro-cut shredder will tear your papers down to such tiny bits that it would be next to impossible (and ridiculously time-consuming) to put them back together again. If you are worried about privacy, a micro cut machine like this one should put your mind at ease.
This 12-sheet AmazonBasics paper shredder can take on almost anything you would think of putting through the cutting blades. Able to process up to 12 sheets of paper at once, it will also tackle credit cards and CDs/DVDs, in addition to envelopes with cellophane windows and other slick or sticky materials.
It also has a set of indicator lights that lets you know if you’ve overloaded its feed system. If the lights show green or yellow, you’ve put in a safe amount of paper. If the lights show red, you may want to use the manual reverse setting to remove the excess.
The energy saving settings built into this shredder turn it off when it is not in use. This means you won’t have to wait for your paper to shred, you can just drop your paper in and let it get on with things.
Surprising Time-Saving Ability
What’s great is that you don’t have to put your papers in lengthwise or perfectly straight. You can pop just a corner of your paper in: the machine is strong enough to pull the paper through, crinkles and all. It pauses the process, reverses, and tries again as many times as necessary to avoid paper jams.
Forget about having to reverse manually, let the machine do all the correction and shredding work while you pay attention to yours. This is quite important in the workplace: often, confidential documents are discarded not because employees don’t have shredders, but simply because using them is too troublesome.
The “Safe Sense” technology is probably the best safety feature we’ve seen in a small office shredder. If someone’s hands happen to touch the feeding area, it will automatically stop pulling in the paper. It’ll start back up as soon as the hands move away.
While the shredder isn’t in use, it will not start if a hand somehow finds its way inside the feed area – it will stay off. Some parents prefer shredders that can be set to “locked” without having to unplug them, but this hand-sensing feature means that you don’t have to do that.
- This shredder doesn’t need to be turned off or locked when not in use.
- It shreds paper into pieces small enough that information- or identity theft is nearly impossible.
- Very easy to operate: its powerful jaws pull paper through even when crinkled and at odd angles.
- Independent testing carried out by consumers revealed that this shredder operates with a noise level of about 82 dBA.
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci
- 54 dBA Noise Level
- Window in Bin
- 30-Minute Run Time
- 40-Minute Cool Down Time
- 18 Sheets at a Time
Are you looking for something that won’t disturb your coworkers or that you can use while using the phone? Creating only 54 dBA of noise when working, this is the quietest high-quality shredder we found, by far.
Let’s put that into perspective: most other shredders on this list range from about 62dBA to 82dBA. If you know how decibels are measured, you’ll know this isn’t a linear difference. It really is much, much quieter than its competitors.
This paper shredder impresses on multiple fronts. Not only is it nearly whisper quiet, it also contains a 9-gallon wastebasket. Let us emphasize: a 9-gallon wastebasket. This means that this shredder won’t need to be emptied very often, even in busy office environments.
One of the Best for (Home) Offices
We won’t deny that this is a largish purchase, but its elevated price tag gives you a strong motor and high-quality craftsmanship. If you want your office shredder to stand up to the wear and tear it’ll take over the course of even heavy use, this is what you want.
The Powershred paper shredder can rip through up to 18 sheets of paper at a time without making much noise. Its motor also allows it to work for up to 30 minutes continuously, which is really good and helpful when you’re clearing out old files.
The advanced technology used in this shredder’s Safe Sense locking mechanism also makes it worth the investment. Simply placing a hand near the opening activates the system, which will automatically stop the shredding process and lock you out from starting the motor. This is especially important for people with children or pets around their shredders, or even just for busy, hectic work environments.
Most people who’ve purchased this shredder are very happy with it. The speed, quality, and capacity of this machine are all frequently mentioned. As we sifted through hundreds of positive consumer reviews (and only a few negative ones), we continually read words like awesome, amazing, incredible, impressive, great, and happy.
Is it the very best shredder? Well, it does what it claims to do, is very easy to use, and can withstand heavy use in the real world. It certainly will be of great use in many homes and offices.
- Its wheels mean you can just drag it to the recycling area or to various desks as needed.
- Its special “Safe Sense” technology makes lockouts unnecessary.
- The 30-minute run time is quite impressive.
- Its 9-gallon wastebasket will rarely need to be emptied and is easy to lift, transport, and empty.
- It’s a little expensive for a shredder.
- It is somewhat tall, which may make it difficult to slide under some desks or onto some shelves.
Bonsaii DocShred C156-D
- 40-Minute Cool Down
- CDs and Credit Cards
- Carry Handle
- Very Tiny Cross-Cut Pieces
Since this is a small and relatively simple shredder, it doesn’t have a pull-out basket. It’s small, though, which means that the top module isn’t very heavy.
To make life even easier, Bonsaii have included a large handle on the top of the shredder (the removable portion that does the actual shredding) so it’s easier to lift when you need to empty the bin. We have battled with this task in the past, and it certainly helps if you can just pop the top off, empty the bin, and then replace it.
As many people point out, this shredder is designed for home or light office use. It’s not for people who want to shred drawers full of files in a short amount of time. It really is for those who need a shredder to dispose of occasional junk mail, credit card receipts and sneaky birthday surprise to-do lists.
May as Well be a Micro-Cut Shredder
It’s easy to see that this cross-cut shredder creates nearly confetti-sized remnants. Let’s put that into perspective: most micro-cut paper shredders generate pieces of 3 to 5 millimeters long. Cross-cut shredders usually create 3 to 5-inch strips.
This one shreds paper into strips of about a half an inch (or 12mm) long. With this in mind, we really think it holds its own when compared to micro-cut shredders.
- Creates pieces nearly as small as a micro-cut shredder.
- The handle on top makes it easy to remove the working parts from the basket.
- It can shred up to 12 sheets of paper simultaneously.
- It doesn’t have a pull-out waste basket.
- The 40 minutes cool-down period means that you’ll have to wait a while between shredding batches of documents.
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut
- 15-Minute Cool Down Time
- 70 dBA
- Cuts Into Strips
- Separate CD Shredder
- Works With Credit Cards
Do you need to shred more than just paper?
If you also need to shred the occasional credit card or optical disc, this machine makes it simple – just pop one right into the appropriate slot and let the shredder do its work.
When shredding CDs or DVDs, you have to use a special shredding slot made for this purpose and press the “jam remover / CD destroyer” button to munch it to pieces.
We actually like that the CD slot is separate from the regular shredding area, because it means that destroying CDs won’t break down the regular shredding mechanisms more quickly than normal.
An Old-Fashioned Strip-Style Shredder
If you’re looking to shred paper quickly, this strip-style paper shredder might be just what you’re looking for. Whereas cross-cut and micro-cut shredders take some time to devour your paper, the slicing mechanism used to shred paper in machines like this one is pretty fast.
Be aware, though, that it won’t gain you quite as much privacy as the other two options. This is not the option we’d recommend for lawyers and accountants.
Generally speaking, regular people who are shredding only slightly sensitive documents to make criminals’ lives more difficult don’t really need a cross-cut or micro-cut paper shredder. How many identity thieves do you think would bother to spend huge amounts of time trying to tape the shredded strips back together to form full pages? With so much sensitive information to be found in garbage, few.
The added level of privacy gained from a micro-cut or cross-cut shredder is mostly important to businesses that need to protect company secrets, such as trade secrets and client information, which require additional protection. So ask yourself: which category do I fall into? Am I a regular person shredding the mail, or am I working for a business with strict privacy concerns?
Interestingly, although AmazonBasics claims that this home paper shredder can only run for 2 minutes before overheating and needing a 15-minute break, users say differently. Many report that they’ve been able to shred for 10 to 20 minutes before it overheats and needs a break.
- Since it slices paper into strips, it works much faster than cross-cut and micro-cut shredders.
- The specialized disc slot uses its own special mechanism to munch through CDs and DVDs.
- Consumers are very happy with its speed and processing abilities.
- The 8-sheet maximum is low compared to some others, but its working speed makes up for this.
- It doesn’t have a window to let you see how full the basket is.
- 72 dBA
- Auto Start and Stop
- Caster Wheels
- 12 Sheet Maximum
Generally speaking, micro-cut paper shredders do not operate very quickly when compared to machines that utilize strip shredding. That’s why a lot of people tend to opt for strip shredders (like the AmazonBasics just above), even though a micro shredder provides a lot more security.
If you’re on the fence regarding this decision, trying to figure out which is more important, it may be worth considering this worthy machine from Sentinel.
Even though it is a micro shredder, two office managers who provided their paper shredder review reported that it works almost as fast as many of the strip shredders they’ve used. They’re quite surprised and impressed at the speed of this machine. So, if you want to shred quickly but don’t want to risk someone putting the pages back together (as they can with a strip-style shredder), this is likely the one to choose.
Another thing that makes this shredder work so rapidly is that you can shred up to 12 sheets of paper at once. Place the paper into the generously-wide slot and watch as the machine turns itself on, then processes your paper materials, and finally turns itself back off.
Best for Occasional Use
Unfortunately, the company claims it only runs for two minutes before needing a break and users complain that this break has to be rather long – about 30 minutes.
Does that make it a dud? Absolutely not, it just means that it’s best used by people who need to shred only a few documents every now and then; for instance, after entering information on a form into a computer database. It’s not for shared office environments or people who need to destroy whole stacks of paper at a time.
So, if you only need to shred things now and then but still want a high level of privacy, this is the perfect shredder for you.
- Since it’s on caster wheels, you can easily and quickly move it from one area to another without any hassle or struggle.
- Capable of shredding credit cards.
- Since it cuts paper so finely, it doesn’t create a large volume of waste.
- It has a long, 30-minute cool-down time, but it can shred a lot quickly so you may not care.
- You cannot pull out the basket when you want to empty it; you have to take the top off.
AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut
- 24 Sheets at a Time
- Pull-Out Basket
- Discs and Credit Cards
- 63 dBA Noise Level
- Window in Basket
If you have high expectations for your paper shredder, your choice will likely come down to a decision between this 24-sheet shredder from AmazonBasics and the 18-sheet shredder from Bonsaii (the EverShred), which we’ll be reviewing shortly.
All things considered, both seem to offer roughly the same level of performance and customer satisfaction, so we’ll try our best to break down the differences between them.
Made for Quick Shredding
Speed is probably its best feature, it’s what makes this shredder so good for people who handle a lot of confidential paperwork. Of course, being a cross-cut shredder, it isn’t as fast as a strip shredder, but since it can take on 24 sheets at a time, it will actually process more paper than a strip shredder with an 8 sheet maximum.
Its 25-minute running time also allows you to get a lot done on a busy afternoon, since you won’t have to stop as often for it to recover. If you have more than 25 minutes worth of shredding for this machine, though, you’ll have to wait 60 minutes for it to cool down. The Bonsaii EverShred is the better choice for people with high-volume shredding needs, though, as it can run for up to 60 minutes at a time before needing only a 10-minute break.
Some people may not be happy with the volume of waste this shredder produces, but the same is true for the Bonsaii EverShred. Since they are cross-cut paper shredders instead of micro-cut shredders, the fragments they create are about two to three inches long and take up more space than would the product of a micro-cut shredder.
This type of shredding doesn’t protect your privacy quite as well as micro-cut shredding, either, but the pieces are still very difficult to put back together for a casual dumpster-diver.
- It can process up to 24 sheets of paper at a time.
- Runs for up to 20 minutes without needing a break.
- It can easily shred discs and credit cards.
- Consumers say that it works impressively fast for a cross-cut machine.
- Since it is a crosscut, it won’t give you as much privacy as a micro cut machine, but still more than a strip cutter.
- It has to cool down for 60 minutes after intensive use.
- It is 26.2 inches tall, making it too large to fit under some desks.
- Pull-Out Basket
- Window in Bin
- 65 dBA Noise Level
- Locking Mechanism
If you share your office space with kids, pets, or just people who aren’t always paying attention, you know how quickly everyday objects can become dangerous hazards.
Though the chances of a child’s hand, cat’s paw, tie, or lock of hair coming into contact with the paper shredder are low, the outcome could be unpleasant if it did occur. The Fellowes 62MC, however, has a special lock-out feature designed to avoid such potential dangers. Just flick the lock switch after you’ve finished your shredding and it will not turn on.
More Than Just a Locking Shredder
This Fellowes home office shredder will break your paper down into such tiny pieces that you can be almost completely assured of safeguarding your privacy (hey, nothing in this world is 100%!). We also like that it has wheels for easy transport and a pull-out waste bin.
Users say that it can run continuously for up to an hour without overheating, despite the specifications put out by the Fellowes company. We suggest giving it a break a little more often than once an hour, though, and trying to spread out your shredding so that you don’t push the motor into overheating. Though modern electrical motors are pretty amazing, they are damaged by heat, and the unit will break down sooner if you push it too hard.
- At only 65dBA, it’s among the quieter shredders on today’s market.
- The pull-out paper basket means you won’t have to lift the shredding unit to empty it.
- The viewing window allows you to see how soon you’ll need to empty it.
- Can only handle 10 sheets of paper at a time.
- Although users claim otherwise, the company says it can run for only 7 minutes before requiring a 60-minute cooldown period.
Bonsaii EverShred C149-C
- Pull-Out Basket
- 10-Minute Cool Down
- 62 dBA Noise Level
- 60-Minute Runtime
- Can Process 18 Sheets
Even with our quality standards, selecting this as one of the best shredders currently available on the market was a no-brainer.
If you share your office with a large number of coworkers, or work in an industry that handles a lot of confidential information, this high-end shredder may be just what you’re looking for. There are a few key features which make this the best choice for a fast-moving business.
First, its relatively low noise level means that it shouldn’t cause any disruption in the workplace when in use. Also important is its maximum run time. Offering up to a whopping 60 minutes of shredding without needing a break, this shredder has the longest endurance of all the shredders we reviewed here – and in fact of most that didn’t make the cut.
What may even be more surprising is that this shredder requires only 10 minutes of recovery time after it’s reached its recommended 60 minute maximum. That means you can shred documents for an hour, stop for 10 minutes to make a coffee or have a stretch, then go right back to clearing out your filing system. This is pretty impressive, even compared to other high-quality office shredders.
The capacity to tackle up to 18 sheets of paper at a time reduces jams substantially. You’re obviously not going to count them, meaning that you rely on feel to feed a pile of paper to your machine, and this is not easy when you’re pressed for time. The large capacity of this shredder gives you the flexibility need.
The only issue you may face would be emptying the bin. Though it shreds quickly and can run for a long time, the mid-sized 6-gallon bin will fill a quite a few times before you make your way through a file cabinet.
On the other hand, it’s much easier to store in a place where you pay by the square foot.
- It has a 60-minute maximum runtime.
- Its cool-down time is only 10 minutes.
- You can pull the basket out for quick, effortless emptying.
- It can shred up to 18 sheets at one time.
- The 6-gallon wastebasket will need to be emptied regularly.
- The price may be more than some people are willing to pay.
AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut
- Credit Card Slot
- Short and Compact
- Overheat Protection
- 70dBA Noise Rating
To be honest, this is a very basic shredder. It doesn’t really have a lot going for it in terms of special features and can’t run for long without needing a rest, but there are a couple of things that make it stand out.
The first is its very small size. If you don’t have anywhere to keep your shredder (maybe you have to put it on a shelf, in the bottom of the closet, or even in a drawer) you will be pleasantly surprised that it is a mere 12.2-inches tall. This will be significant for people working from home.
The credit card slot is a very valuable feature. For such a low price, we didn’t expect to find a machine which could easily destroy a thick piece of plastic. Just be sure that you place the card in the specially designated opening, as we suspect that not doing this will wreck the paper-cutting mechanism.
Its reasonable price catches our eye considering that it is a crosscut shredder. Usually, shredders this affordable are only able to cut paper into strips. People who want an extra level of privacy for their occasional document disposal but who don’t want to pay for an enterprise-level paper shredding will be happy to know that this is an option.
Consumers who purchased this home shredder, even with its limitations, report being very happy with their decision. Though they say it processes paper a little slower than some other shredders, they believe it works at an acceptable speed given that it’s an economy option.
- It is very affordable, placing it within the means of most people.
- Can shred credit cards and doesn’t have a problem with staples or paper clips.
- It is one of very few cross-cutting shredders available at a bargain price.
- It can only process six sheets at a time.
- It has a very short 2-minute maximum run time.
Not all paper shredders are alike, and the best way to illustrate that is by looking at the feature table below. It’s also a great place to start your search for a new product, because if there’s a particular feature that you don’t want to do without, this is the place to check if your preferred shredder has that option or not.
Paper Shredder Buying Guide
Should you consider buying a paper shredder? Well, when it comes to protecting you from fraud, blackmail, and identity theft, it’s definitely best to cut your paper documents before tossing them in the trash.
There’s some confusion about how many different types of home and office shredders exist. On Wikipedia alone, there are about 8 different kinds! Here’s the thing, though – you really only need to know about 3 types: cross-cut, micro-cut, and strip-cut. Which you select will depend on your preferences in three areas: price, privacy, and speed.
FACT SHEET & STATISTICS - DID YOU KNOW?
In 1909 Abbot Augustus Low filed a patent for the first paper shredder. Though it wasn’t a modern electric shredder, obviously at least a couple of people felt the need to protect their privacy even back then.
The average noise rating of a good-quality paper shredder. Anything much louder would make office conversations difficult to maintain.
If you want to slide your shredder under your desk, it’s suggested you get one less than 23 inches tall since the average desk height is between 24 and 30 inches.
To avoid having to empty your shredding basket too often, we suggest choosing one of at least 5 gallons.
If you want to go the extra mile where your privacy is concerned, we suggest you select a micro-cut shredder which creates fragments of 5mm or shorter.
Are you ready to get shredding? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t worry – you’ll find your perfect shredder sooner or later.
As you go forward and look further into your options, keep the following things in mind: micro-cut shredders are the most secure, followed by cross-cut, then strip-cut. The level of privacy you need depends on your reasons for shredding.