Welcome and thank you for taking the time to read our shredder buyers guide.
Purchasing shredders can seem like a daunting task when you consider the sheer volume of options available. There are scores of manufacturers, all with dozens of options. Then, each product comes with any number of possible configurations enough to give anyone a headache just thinking about it.
To start our journey, we will first consider the question, "What exactly are shredders good for anyway?"
The short answer to the question above is security. Having a shredder in your office or home will allow you to destroy documents, expired credit-cards, labels attached to delivery boxes or parcels and in some cases CDs or DVDs that are no longer of use or contain sensitive data.
Shredders are designed to make it difficult or impractical to reassemble a document once it's been shredded. Items like CDs or DVDs would most certainly be impossible to reconstruct while special care needs to be taken when shredding credit-cards. If they are fed lengthwise into the shredder and the shredder has a Strip-Cut mechanism (cuts the paper into long strips), then its possible, under the right circumstances, for the 16 digit number on the card to be partially preserved.
This leads us to the next stop on our journey, the types of shredders available.
Strip-Cut Cuts the paper into strips. This is, by its nature, the least secure method. Documents are easily reassembled.
Cross-Cut Cuts the paper into little bits. Security-wise it's good but with enough time and resources, the document could be reassembled.
Micro-Cut Turns the paper into confetti. This method makes it impractical to reassemble shredded documents.
Our journey will now twist and turn before we reach our final destination.
Shred speed "The type of shredded is the most important factor in determining what shredder to buy, but shred speed can also be important. If you have a large volume of paper to shred, it can be time consuming with a low shred speed. The speed of the shredder you should purchase depends on whether you're using the shredder at home or at an office. If you're just using your shredder to shred paper at home, a home shredder should meet your needs. Typically, home shredders shred 5 to 12 sheets of paper in 2 to 8 minutes. If you shred paper frequently, you may want a higher shredder speed. If you have a home office, for example, a home office shredder may work for you. These types of shredders usually shred 10 to 18 sheets of paper in 7 to 30 minutes. If you're buying a shredder for a large office, you'll want a very high shredding speed. Go for a heavy duty shredder. These can shred for 45 minutes continually. During this time, 13 to 38 pieces of paper can be shredded."
Daily usage "Select a shredder rated for the amount of daily usage you think you'll need. This often depends on whether the shredder will be located in a home or in an office setting. Avoid purchasing a shredder that is not powerful enough to meet your daily needs. To determine usage, figure out how many people will use the shredder and how often they will shred paper. Personal shredders are designed for 1 person. Small office shredders are for 1-5 daily users. For larger offices, a general office shredder can support 6-10 people. For 10 or more users, choose a commercial shredder."
Multiple page capacity "Find out how many sheets a shredder can handle at once. A 5 sheet model may be less costly. If you shred more than the occasional page, you will have to feed a few sheets at a time. Without a multiple page capacity, you may have to unjam the shredder a lot. It's a good idea to choose a shredder with a slightly higher shred capacity than you'll reasonably use. This can cut down on paper jams and other issues. Some commercial shredders will allow you to shred as many as 30 sheets of paper at a time. Most personal shredders only allow a few sheets at a time. Inquire about the shredder's run time. If you collect your documents and shred them in bulk, you will need a shredder that can run for a longer period of time. A run cycle can range from around 2 minutes to around 40 minutes."
Anti-jam technology "Whether you are feeding one or many documents into the shredder, there is the potential for a paper jam. Anti-jam features help to limit this problem and reduce unnecessary frustration. It may be particularly important to go for a shredder with anti-jam technology if you shred a lot of paper. The more paper you're shredding, the more likely your shredder is to jam. Some shredders claim to be 100% jam proof. While it's unlikely any shredder will never jam, jam proof shredders may significantly cut down on jam time."
Energy saving features "In the long run, energy saving features could save you money in utility expenses. If you do not plan to use the shredder often, this may not be an important factor. However, if you're shredding documents every day, look into energy saving technology. About 80% of a shredder's energy consumption comes from shredding papers, so you can rack up your energy bill fast if you use your shredder frequently. Some shredders claim to reduce energy consumption by up to 70%. Others claim to be 100% energy effective. For the best savings, look for a shredder that promises to maximise energy savings 100% of the time, whether it's being used or not."
Safety "Some shredders have sensors that stop the shredder if hands or other items come too close to the opening. Safety features are important if you have children or animals. Ideally, a shredder should have an automatic shutoff feature. If fingers get too close to a shredder's blades, it should shut off."
Noise levels "Some shredders have a feature that reduces noise by 10 decibels. If you live in an apartment, your neighbours may get annoyed if you have a shredder that's constantly running. Shredders that make a lot of noise can also be irritating for you. Look for paper shredders that promise a quieter job. You may also want to read reviews by other users, specifically looking for reviews that discuss a shredder's noise level."
Waste bin capacity "The bin capacity is also important. It's a good idea to get a shredder with a pull out bin, they're much easier to remove and empty and this can help reduce paper jams."
Capabilities "Certain shredders are designed to shred credit cards, paper clips, and many other items."
Warranty "The longer the warranty, the better. Although most warranties are for one year, you may find a longer warranty. The warranty will generally cover the mechanical part of the shredder in the event your shredder breaks down prematurely."
Run-time Run-time is very important and should be high on your list of requirements when selecting an appropriate shredder. Matching a short run-time shredder with long shredding runs will cause a lot of frustration and wasted time. Run-time simply refers to the period of time for which the shredder will operate continuously before shutting down. This happens automatically when the shredder becomes to hot and is a common occurrence with smaller shredders. The shredder will only come back to live after it's cooled down again.
And with that we've reached the end of our journey together. We hope that this guide will assist you in selecting a shredder worthy of every bit of shredding that might come your way.