Best Paper Shredder
The paper shredder. The last line of defense against identity fraud, information theft, and state secrets falling into the wrong hands. There are all types of shredders available to handle any size job with various degrees of sensitivity. When looking to buy a good shredder, the first thing to consider is the cut type. Often times, the question isn't what you're shredding, but how much you're shredding it. The purpose of any good shredder is to grind up your documents or electronic information into a format where it is irreparable and entirely illegible. Lost to the world for good.
Cut size is important, and since there are a few types to choose from, you want to take into consideration what it is you'll be destroying. The smaller the cut, the higher the security. Most common shredders used to be strip cut, turning sheets of paper into thin, spaghetti-esque strips; cross cut has become more popular now, turning documents into confetti-sized particles. Micro-cut and high-security cut pulverize your material to even smaller sizes, but unless you work for the NSA or CIA this type of security may be overly excessive (meaning expensive) for your needs.
Most shredders can also destroy CDs, credit cards, and other thicker sensitive materials if need be, and many shredders should be able to take more than a few sheets in one pass without getting jammed. Most units have anti-jamming devices and indicators to help prevent you from feeding the entry slot with too much paper and if you do, there are often multi-directional motors to help you reverse your way out of the situation. Safety measures to keep foreign objects like loose clothing, jewelry, and fingers might also be something to look for, depending upon where the shredder will be in use the most.
Shredders come in all shapes and sizes; whether for commercial use in high-traffic environments for heavy-duty jobs or home use for the occasional bank statement or expired credit card. Whatever type of shredder you're in the market for, take a look at the lists below and see if there's something that fits your needs.
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper/CD/Credit Card Shredder
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci Shredder
Dahle CleanTEC 41334 High Security Level P-7 Paper Shredder
Aurora AS890C 8 Sheet Crosscut Paper/Credit Card Shredder with Basket
HSM Shredstar X20 20-Sheet Cross Cut Shredder
This shredder from Amazon is a medium-duty workhorse that would do well in an active office environment. Capable of accepting up to 12 sheets at one time, it can also take CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. Documents and important paperwork will be shredded in a secure cross-cut pattern, while other materials will be separated into four irreparable pieces. There's a reverse gear feature to clear any paper jams and you'll get through a whole day of consistent shredding without any overheating (around 600 sheets of paper and a handful of CDs or DVDs). This shredder also comes with a ShredSafe safety feature where any inserted foreign objects such as finger will trigger an automatic shutdown, preventing damage to you as well as the mechanism itself.
Highly efficient and safe, Fellowes' Powershred 99Ci comes with thoughtful touches that make it ideal for office use. The Powershred 99Ci can turn up to 17 sheets of documents into 5/32 x 1-1/2-inch cross-cut particles, achieving security level P-4 shredding capability. Three levels of anti-jam protection keep your machine from getting stuck, and a load sensor makes sure you're not introducing too much material into the head. The unit also has a safety sensor that detects when anything other than the accepted materials gets near the entry slot. The LED indicator by the paper entry shows you how much you've been put into the slot and will alert users to a potential overload situation. With a maximum continuous operating time rating of 25 minutes, it practically eliminates downtime and ensures productivity. Beyond standard paper documents, the 99Ci can destroy credit cards, paper clips, staples, CD/DVDs, and junk mail. The nine gallon wastebasket is large enough to accommodate multiple users, and it runs super quiet so you won't have to listen to obtrusive grinding when your material is being chewed into pieces.
When your shredder has been designed for use by Department of Defense contractors, you know you've got the ultimate in confidential information protection. The Dahle 41334 may actually offer more security than you really need, but consumers who have nothing short of critical corporate secrets that must be kept protected at all costs, this is the shredder you want in your office. It can pulverize a single sheet of paper into 15,500 micro-particles, so there’s no way in the world anyone is getting that document back. Able to accommodate up to eight sheets at a time, the machine practically liquefies material.
Because of the dust generated by such fine cuts, the Dahle 41334 comes equipped with CleanTEC, an integrated filtration system that collects and traps the fine dust around the cutting cylinders, keeping surroundings clean and your air healthier. This shredder is also one of the safest picks available, featuring the company's Safe Technology Package, which includes voice and touch activation to shut down the shredder and even employs sensors to make sure nothing but paper is introduced into the feeder. The 41334 comes with more common functional technologies including auto start/stop, auto reverse, and full bin indicator. This machine also has a self-lubricating feature that ensures the cutting mechanism is constantly well-oiled. No need to worry about maintenance, this shredder performs its own upkeep to ensure it's always at peak performance.
Paper shredders don't always need to be expensive or accommodate huge capacities to get the job done. In fact, there are some excellent budget-friendly shredding solutions on the market. Budget paper shredders are often light-duty units that can handle four to ten pages at a time, tear through staples, credit cards, and CDs well. We narrowed down our selections to cross cut shredders, which will reduce your documents to confetti. We considered strip cut models as well; ultimately, there was practically no difference in price for the added security of a cross cut shredder.
After implementing a price cap of $50, we singled out the Aurora AS890C as our top budget paper shredder. The AS890C has an 8.7-inch paper feed width which can handle up to eight pages of documents in one pass. It has a speed of 8.36 feet per minute, and is able to tear up your material into tiny confetti sized pieces, thanks to its cross-cut blade configuration. You can rip up those expired credit cards as well - just remember to send one through at a time since that's all it can take. Aurora equipped their machine with overheat protection and manual reverse to back out of those paper jams when you send too much waste through the feed opening.
Paper shredders are a necessity for keeping personal information safe, but they tend to emit a fair amount of noise while in use. If you work in an open office area, you may want to look into something that can handle the job without disturbing your co-workers. With a security level of P-4 and a cutting capacity of 20 sheets per pass, this super-silent unit from HSM does all of the things you'd expect from a reliable shredder. The Shredstar X20 runs at a volume of 57 decibels, which is quieter than typical office conversation. This unit shreds paper as well staples, paper clips, CDs, DVDs, credit cards, and even lets you know when the 7.1 gallon bin is full. Even with its generous feed capacity, it's equipped with Anti-Jam technology in the event there's too much material in the cutting slot. HSM even includes a lifetime warranty on the cutting heads so your unit is always ready to get the job done.