Shredder: Review & Recommendations

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Welcome to our big shredder test 2020, where we present you all the shredders we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the web.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best shredder for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. You will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a shredder.

The most important facts in brief

  • A document shredder is the right choice for you if you want to shred paper, CDs or DVDs before disposal.
  • The biggest advantages of document shredders are the protection of your data and the reduced volume of your paper waste.
  • You can find inexpensive document shredders for about 20 Euro. Models with higher quality equipment can be priced in the four-digit range.

Document shredder test: Favourites of the editorial staff

  • The best document shredder with waste basket
  • The best document shredder also for CDs
  • The best particle cut document shredder with pull-out collection container
  • The best document shredder with cross cut

The best document shredder with waste basket

If you need to destroy confidential documents, a strip cut shredder is not enough. The Genie 580 XCD shreds documents into small particles that can’t be easily assembled. It complies with security level P-4.

In this shredder ten sheets of paper (thickness of 80 g/m²) can be processed simultaneously. It also shreds CDs by cutting them into four pieces. They then fall into a separate waste container. The paper container holds an impressive 21 litres.

Of course, the Genie 580 XCD shredder has overheating protection, auto-start and a manual reverse function. Through the viewing window in the shredding bin, you can always see how full the shredder is.

The best document shredder also for CDs

This shredder not only helps you to shred your documents. It is also suitable for shredding CDs. So it is not only suitable for private use, but also for an office.

The automatic stop function in case of overload guarantees the safety of the device. Another special feature is that the snippets produced are very small and allow documents to be safely destroyed.

The best particle cut document shredder with pull-out collection container

With this AmazonBasics document shredder even sensitive data can be shredded. The manufacturer states that the micro-cut destroys a DIN A4 sheet into approx. 2,235 pieces, which would correspond to security level P-5. It feeds up to eight sheets at a time.

Although this model has a relatively small collection container of 11 litres, its unbeatable price makes it the first choice for many customers when it comes to a particle cut shredder.

Two reasons for the popularity of this shredder, which also processes CDs and credit cards: It has wheels so it can be pulled out from under the desk with ease. Its collection container can be pulled out and emptied very conveniently.

The best document shredder with cross cut

This model from AmazonBasics is a cross-cut shredder. It cuts the paper into 5.5 x 46.8 mm wide strips and can handle up to 6 A4 sheets at once. Even small paper clips and staples do not have to be removed beforehand.

The 38.1 x 30.5 x 17.8 cm shredder has an auto-start function and also runs manually in reverse.

The collection container is sufficiently large at 14.5 litres. If you are looking for an inexpensive document shredder with cross-cut, this product is recommended.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a shredder

When is a shredder the right choice for you?

To sum up: A document shredder is the right choice for you if you want to dispose of documents or other data carriers and protect the information they contain from being passed on to third parties. After all, protecting your data is the greatest strength of shredders.
In the office as well as at home there is a huge amount of paperwork. When this is no longer important and needs to be disposed of, you quickly ask yourself: Where to put it? The paper bin should not be your first choice here. After all, there is the danger that the documents will attract curious glances during disposal.

To avoid this, your documents should be shredded by a shredder before disposal. The resulting paper shreds can then only be assembled to the original document with enormous effort or not at all and your data cannot fall into the wrong hands.

How exactly does a document shredder work?

Simply put: A shredder cuts paper or CDs and DVDs into smaller pieces. Depending on the security level and type of cut, the resulting particles can be long or short strips or even confetti-sized shreds.
A document shredder consists of two parts: The cutting rollers, which shred the inserted paper, and the collecting container, into which the resulting shreds fall. Common to all document shredders is that the fed paper is fed into the machine via rollers. The rollers are equipped with metal edges that divide the paper lengthwise into strips as it is fed in.

Did you know that some shredders also shred lengthwise?
This way all files are completely destroyed and can never be used again.

Some paper shredders have additional metal edges that split the paper vertically in addition to the horizontal cut. This shortens the length of the strips and increases security so that documents cannot be reassembled and made legible.

Which shredder is the right one for me?

The choice of cut type and security level depends on the protection needs of your documents. You should take this into account when making your purchase decision.
Strip-cut shredders are particularly suitable for use at home, as they are designed for small amounts of paper and for reducing the size of general documents that require only a minimum of protection. So if you are looking for a home shredder, a security level 1 or 2 strip-cut shredder is for you.
Particle-cut shredders with security levels 3 to 5 are designed for use in offices. Documents that contain confidential and often personal data are protected from disclosure by shredding them into very small particles.
Security levels 6 and 7 meet intelligence security requirements and are therefore mainly used in these areas.
The following table gives you a small overview:

How much does a paper shredder cost?

The range of prices for document shredders is wide and depends strongly on their security level and type of cut. The cheapest shredders work with strip cutting and the lowest security levels. You can find equipment of this type for around 20 Euros.
Paper shredders in the medium price range are between 50 and 400 Euros. Here you will find mostly shredders of the level 3 to 5. Large volume shredders of level 6 and 7 cost from 650 Euros upwards. Models that also shred crumpled paper or up to 850 sheets automatically are available for between 3,000 and 5,500 euros.

What accessories are available for document shredders?

Good care is essential to ensure that your shredder lasts long and its cutting performance remains constant. However, this does not require much effort.
One of the most commonly sold products together with shredders is shredder oil, which is used to lubricate the cutting rollers. Most manufacturers offer an in-house shredder oil for their machines. This is specially designed for the needs of the shredder and can extend the life of the machine.
Oiled paper is also often used. It is soaked in oil and can be fed into the shredder via the paper feed. This prevents the cutting rollers from becoming dusty. The result is a consistently good cutting performance.

Where can I buy document shredders?

Document shredders are available in specialist office shops and department stores, but also in many online shops.
According to our research, most shredders are sold through these online shops:

ebay.com
amazon.com
otto-office.com
staples.com
viking.com

All shredders that we present to you on our site have a link to at least one of these shops. If you have found a model that you like, you can strike right away.

What other type of shredding is there?

In addition to the use of shredders, it is also possible to commission a company to destroy your confidential documents.
The purchase of a shredder may not be worthwhile for you because of the small volume of destruction. Or perhaps your documents require such a high level of protection that you would rather leave the destruction to a professional.
In both cases, it is possible to pass on your documents to a company that specialises in document destruction. You can either bring the documents to the company yourself or have them collected.
The specialist staff on site will dispose of your documents in accordance with DIN 66399. Security containers with an integrated lock ensure that no unauthorised access can take place even after the destruction.

Decision: What types of shredders are there and which one is right for you?

What types of document shredders are there?

Two aspects are decisive for the classification of document shredders: the security level and the type of cut. Both go hand in hand and are therefore usually considered together. Paper shredders are available with seven different security levels.

Document shredders are divided into different security levels. Depending on the location and the need for protection, you should use either a strip-cut or particle-cut shredder.

The assignment to a security level depends on the size of the shredded particles after destruction. This in turn depends on the type of cut used. A distinction is made:

  • Document shredder with strip cut
  • Document shredder with particle cut

Depending on the desired security level, a different type is suitable for you. With the following section we would like to make the decision easier for you.

What distinguishes a shredder with strip cut and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In security levels one and two you will only find devices with strip cut. The stripes resulting from the destruction give this type of cut its name.

In strip cutting, the inserted sheets are cut widthways into strips that are as long as the original document. Since the individual parts could be reassembled to the original document without too much effort, they are assigned to the lower security levels.

Advantages

cheap
compact models available
quietly

Disadvantages

low security level
only rarely suitable for CDs and credit cards

In summary, a strip-cut shredder is the right choice for you if you mainly want to shred general documents or CDs and credit cards in the private sector only occasionally.

It is particularly suitable for use with small amounts of paper destruction. Since it is already available in very compact versions or even wastebasket attachments, it saves space and can be easily accommodated in a small office.

What distinguishes a shredder with particle cut and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The security levels three to seven increase in security. The shredded documents are no longer or only very difficult to reconstruct. To achieve this, a different type of cutting is required: particle cutting.

The size of the resulting particles depends on the security level. Strips that are additionally shortened in length are found at levels three and four. The smaller the cutting intervals, the smaller the cut particles.

You will find the highest crushing at security level seven. The already very narrow strips are shortened here so often that they are hardly bigger than confetti at the end. Particle cuts of this size are often referred to as micro cuts.

Advantages

high security level
also for confidential documents
mostly also suitable for CDs and credit cards

Disadvantages

expensive
according to
big

In short: A document shredder with particle cut is the right choice for you if you are looking for a device that shreds your confidential documents as small as possible and thus prevents In

If you only want to destroy general documents that do not require special protection, a shredder with particle cut is less suitable. The additional horizontal cut in shredding increases the noise level and acquisition costs.

Purchase criteria: You can compare and rate shredders based on these factors

In the following we would like to show you the factors you can use to compare and evaluate shredders. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular product is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Need for protection
  • Number of users
  • Materials to be destroyed
  • Place of installation
  • particle size
  • Number of sheets
  • Collection volume
  • Noise level
  • Top-mounted or floor-mounted device

In the following paragraphs you can read what the individual purchase criteria are and how you can classify them.

Need to protect your documents

The most important clue is the need to protect your documents. It should specify the security level and cut type in which your shredder works.

If you only want to destroy general documents such as notes or to-do lists that do not require special protection, shredders with a strip cut are a good choice. Whether you choose level one or two is up to you.

For confidential documents, shredders of level three and above are recommended. The particle cut shreds documents containing personal data in such a way that the individual parts are no larger than 320 mm² after destruction.

Information to be kept secret is best handled with level five to seven shredders, where recovery of the data is almost impossible. Trade secrets therefore really remain secret.

Number of users

Think about how many people will use the shredder before you buy. Also the amount of paper to be shredded daily plays a role.

Document shredders have different cutting capacities in addition to the different cutting quantities. If only a few people use the shredder for individual pages during the day, one machine that can automatically shred up to ten sheets is sufficient.

Before buying, consider how many people will regularly use the shredder. Cutting capacity and collection volume should be adjusted accordingly.

In open-plan offices, a large amount of paper comes together quite quickly. Sometimes an entire department shares one paper shredder. In these cases, models that can shred several hundred sheets automatically are a good choice. This way, none of the colleagues has to take over “shredding” and insert the next 15 sheets every few minutes.

No matter what quantity is fed into the shredder daily: the shredder must be emptied from time to time. For frequent use and large quantities, you should therefore opt for a device with a large collection volume. For use at home, however, a small collection volume of ten litres is usually sufficient.

Materials to be destroyed

Modern paper shredders destroy not only paper, contrary to their designation. Also CDs and DVDs with sensitive data as well as credit cards are no problem for many devices.

If you are one of those people who also like to store files on CDs, you might be interested in a shredder that can also shred CDs. In this way you can ensure that not only printed versions of documents are reliably destroyed, but also digital versions.

Did you know that document shredders now also destroy DVDs, credit cards and CDs?
So it offers a high comfort to shred almost all secret documents.

Credit cards that are no longer valid and must therefore be disposed of are also no problem for modern document shredders. The annoying cutting by hand is therefore completely eliminated.

Note: For most of the manufacturer’s specifications, the security level indicated refers exclusively to the destruction of the paper. The insertion slots for CDs or credit cards are usually separate and have their own cutting mechanism.

It can happen that your paper is destroyed at security level five, but your CDs or credit cards are only cut into four pieces or strips, which is about security level one.

Place of installation

The place where you will place your shredder should be considered for two reasons: because of the volume and because of the dimensions of the equipment.

Depending on how much space you have available, some devices will be more suitable for you than others. Compact shredders, which usually measure around 20 x 35 x 25 cm (W x H x D), can be easily integrated into most offices.

Large devices for higher sheet counts may need to be housed in a separate room, such as the copy room. With dimensions such as 55 x 102 x 59 cm (W x H x D) they take up a certain amount of space.

Shredders vary in size and noise level. Both aspects should be taken into account in the location of the shredder.

The noise level generated by a shredder during the shredding process can also be decisive for the choice of location. Rarely used, quieter machines usually cause a tolerable noise level that does not further disturb the work.

However, especially large devices can develop an enormous noise level of up to 79 dB when shredding several hundred sheets of paper at the same time, making it almost impossible to make a phone call in the same room. This is where a separate room provides a remedy, which can be closed with a door if possible.

particle size

If you want to protect your sensitive data from misuse in the best possible way and may even be legally obliged to do so, then you should consider the particle size to which the models that come into question for you shred your files.

The five different particle sizes are related to the security level that destruction offers you. Therefore, first consider how much protection is required for the documents to be destroyed. In the next step you can then decide whether the particle size of a particular device is suitable for you or not.

Number of sheets

Note whether the number of sheets that a shredder can shred automatically matches your needs. You should choose a particle-cut shredder up to 100 sheets if only a few people use it and the amount of paper to be shredded is manageable.

In all other cases, it is better to use a machine designed to destroy large quantities of paper to avoid paper jams or overheating.

Collection volume

The collection volume of a particle cut shredder varies between 7.5 and 165 litres depending on the model. It is therefore important that you also check this point before you buy.

Keep in mind that even with occasional use, a certain amount of paper shreds will accumulate and you will need to empty a shredder with a lower collection volume more often.

Noise level

A particle cut shredder is advertised as quiet even at a noise level of about 60 dB. However, one can actually only speak of a really quiet document shredder at less than 55 dB.

The noise level of most particle-cut shredders for paper quantities of up to 85 sheets is between 40 and 55 dB, which is roughly equivalent to the volume of a radio / TV at room volume. Therefore, most devices with this number of sheets can be considered quiet.

However, many cross-cut shredders have noise levels between 60 and 79 dB, especially if they are designed to shred large quantities of paper. You should rather stay away from these devices. After all, the noise level is as high as that of a lawn mower at a distance of 10 metres and even a car.

However, if you need a shredder with a higher shredding volume, it may be helpful to place the particle-cut shredder in a separate area, such as the copy room, as the noise level will not spread to the entire office.

Top-mounted or floor-mounted device

If you want to buy a small shredder because you have limited space available, you should consider whether a stand-alone shredder or maybe even a shredder attachment is the right choice for you.

A clear advantage of a shredder attachment is that it can be placed on most conventional waste baskets and stored elsewhere when not in use.

However, the disadvantage of these devices is that they can be very loud and block quickly.
If you have more paper for shredding than you initially expected, it might be more sensible to switch to a stand-alone shredder with a strip cut.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about document shredders

What security levels are there?

In Germany, DIN 66399-2 has been applicable for document destruction since 2012 and the previously valid DIN 32757 was replaced by the basic data protection regulation. The security levels for paper begin with “P” and provide for the following shredding requirements:

Regulations on document destruction also exist for other materials such as films, CDs, identity cards and credit cards or hard disks.

What care does a paper shredder need?

The mechanical cutting unit is the most important component of a document shredder. If it does not work properly, shredding becomes tedious. Unfortunately, it happens quite quickly (depending on the frequency of use) that the cutting rollers become blunt.

A crunching noise is the first sign that the shredder should be oiled. Particularly models with particle cuttings will quickly become clogged because of the small pieces of paper.

Three options are available for maintenance:

  • Spray Oil
  • Bottle oil
  • Oiled paper

Spray oil is particularly easy to dose and very easy to use. The latter also applies to oiled paper, which is more expensive. Here, an A4 sheet of paper was soaked with oil by the manufacturer. It is simply put into the shredder and shredded by the cutting rollers which are lubricated by it.

Bottle oil must be handled with care, because too much oil can damage the shredder. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the shredder manual and use the recommended oil.

What dangers lurk when using a document shredder?

As a rule, shredders are constructed in such a way that nothing can happen to the user during their use. Direct contact with the cutting rollers is not possible. Only the feed slot poses a danger, and the larger the shredder, the more likely it is that something can get caught in the slot.

It is therefore essential to ensure that things hanging down, such as chains or ties, do not get into the feed slot. This also applies to long hair.

Most models nowadays have a heat protection switch, because document shredders are not suitable for continuous operation. After a few minutes they must therefore cool down for some time before they can continue shredding.

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