How to Select the Best Shredder
Whether you want to protect yourself or your business against identity theft, comply with document destruction legislation, or just clear up clutter around your home or office, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best shredder that fits your needs. First, start by asking yourself three simple questions:
- Where will the shredder be located in your home or office?
- How many people will be using the shredder throughout the day?
- What types of documents will be shredded?
There are a wide variety of shredders on the market, so answering these questions will help narrow your options.
Also, try the Shredder Selector Tool to help make your choice.
Choosing The Best
Powershred® shredders offer the features you need, from jam prevention, to quiet performance, to safety. Select from a wide variety of options in the Powershred® line to find the right shredder for you.
Based on your answers to these questions, you may decide you need a smaller Household unit for your home for 1 user, a small office/home office for your office that can handle more paper and support a few users or, perhaps, a large commercial machine that will be shared by multiple users within your office. While the size of the shredder you choose will depend on where the shredder will be used and by how many people, there are other technical factors that come into play that also need to be considered.
For instance, all shredders have what is called a Duty Cycle or Run Time. This is the length of time a shredder can continuously shred before it needs to cool down. Duty cycles can range from 2 minutes up to over an hour, depending on the size of the shredder. How long will you need to shred each day?
In addition to duty cycle, the overall performance, or throughput, of a shredder should also be considered. Throughput is a combination of the three most critical features contributing to a shredder’s performance – sheet capacity, shredding speed and duty cycle. Throughput tells us how much… how fast… and for how long. These characteristics will help you determine the level of productivity you should expect from your shredder.
Your security needs depend on the confidentiality of the materials you are shredding. There are 4 main levels of security; the higher the level of security, the smaller the cut size.
A strip cut shredder, level P-2, will provide basic security. Strip cut shreds are typically a 7/32” of an inch wide and as long as the document being shredded. This means that an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper will be shredded into approximately 39 particles or strips.
With cross cut shredders (Level P-3 and P-4), paper becomes extremely difficult to assemble and read. Standard cross cut shreds are typically 5/32” x 2”. So an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper will be shredded into approximately 300 particles. That’s a significant increase from the strip cut shredder, providing you with very strong security.
If you are shredding highly confidential documents and you desire an even higher level of security, then you should consider a level P-5, micro-cut shredder. A standard cut size for a micro-cut shredder is 5/64”x5/16”. This means that shredding an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper with a micro-cut shredder will result in more than 3,700 particles.
Government approved high-security shredders provide the highest level of protection. Level P-7 shredders are created for destroying top secret and classified documents, high-security shredders have a 1/32” x 3/16” cut size. This means that shredding a 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper will result in more than 15,000 particles.
Now that you are aware of the main technical specifications, we can now talk about the types of features that can make your shredding experience faster, easier, and safer.
Just like with performance and security levels, not all shredder features are created equal. When you think about where your shredder will be located and who will be using it, some additional needs may need to be considered.
Jam Proof - The Fellowes 100% Jam Proof Technology is an advanced unique feature that not only eliminates paper jams, but also powers through tough jobs – fully addressing the #1 consumer shredding frustration. Other anti-jam technologies include Auto-Reverse, which stops and reverses paper before a jam occurs, and Jam Blocker™ which can stop paper jams before they start. See Jam Proof in Action.
SafeSense® - There are also a variety of shredder safety features that provide varying levels of protection, from basic lock-out feature like Safety Lock, to advanced safety such as the Fellowes SafeSense technology. SafeSense automatically stops the shredder when hands touch the paper opening, providing a safer shredding experience. See SafeSense® in Action.
SilentShred™ - When it comes to shredding, the sound quality of a shredder is also important, especially when working in shared spaces. Fellowes offers SilentShred™ technology, providing ultra-quiet shredding without noise disruptions. See SilentShred™ in Action.
Energy Saving System™ - Energy Saving System™- When it comes to shredding, 80% of energy consumption comes from in use activity. Fellowes’ Energy Savings System maximizes shredder energy savings 100% of the time-both in and out of use.
Finally, the last important criteria you should consider when choosing a shredder has to do with what types of materials, in addition to paper, you plan to shred on a regular basis. Shredders are created to shred such additional media as staples, paper clips, credit cards, CDs/DVDs, and junk mail. Look for the shredder that has the capabilities that can address all your extra needs.