How to choose best Document Shredder?

What is a Document Shredder

Paper ShredderA document shredder is an electronic device to shred paper documents into pieces.

The shredder uses a set of rotating cutting blades driven by an electric motor. A shredder can turn the document into long particles or tiny confetti like pieces. Shredding documents/credit card is critical for keeping safe personal and sensitive information. We create and keep files with sensitive content; bills, financial statements, employee records, expired cards and unwanted obsolete documents. Offices and individuals use document shredders to cut aforementioned documents into fine pieces, which later on are recycled.

Why we need a Document/Cards/CD Shredder

There are numerous benefits of using a home shredder in office or at home. Few of them are listed below;

Legal Requirements

There are laws that punish improper disposal of documents/records with sensitive and confidential content.  Organizations that hold personal data but overlook to protect it face legal consequences. Companies employ paper shredding services to get rid of employee files which are outdated.

Environment Protection

Annually many trees are cut down to make a paper. Environment protection agencies emphasize moving to paper less societies. So, by recycling and reusing strips and pieces from document shredders, we may protect our forests.

Avoiding Identity Theft

Identity theft cases happen more often with the increasing use of internet. One should not simply throw documents/credit cards in dustbin. It is advisable to use a document shredder to safely dispose-off confidential documents to reduce any potential risk.

Preventing Fire Hazards

Bundles of paper create clutters and pose fire hazard. Office and home needs disposal of such clutters to avoid clutters becoming the fuel for fire.

Space Management

Companies often have clusters of documents that they no longer need. They consume a lot of space in office. Shredding such documents can free up some space.

Classification of Document Shredder

Paper shredders are classified into three types on the basis of cut they produce.

Strip Cut Document Shredder

It is basic type of document shredder for shredding less sensitive documents. It cuts the paper into long narrow strips. It splits the A4 paper into 39 long strips approx.

Cross Cut Document Shredder

 This shredder slices the paper diagonally from both corners making it unreadable. It is used to dispose-off confidential documents. It provides medium level of security. It splits the standard A4 paper into 400 particles approx. To know more about cross cut paper shredders follow the link below

Micro Cut Document Shredder

It is a high security end shredder employed for shredding very sensitive documents.  It shreds the paper diagonally from both corners in square-shaped particles. It splits the standard A4 paper into 3700 pieces approx.

Security Standards of Document Shredder

The international standard for shredder security levels is DIN 66399. When you look at specification sheet of shredder you will observe the DIN classification as DIN P-1, DIN P-2 and so on. For paper shredder there are seven security levels ranging from DIN P-1 to DIN P-7. Higher level indicates maximum security with minimum particle size of shredded document.

The seven security levels are divided in thee protection classes.

Protection class 1

  • Normal security for internal data or risk of identity theft of an individual
  • Security level: DIN P-1, DIN P-2, DIN P-3

Protection class 2

  • High security for confidential data where disclosure results in considerable negative effect
  • Security level: DIN P-3, DIN P-4, DIN P-5

Protection class 3

  • Very high protection for confidential and secret data
  • Security level: DIN P-4, DIN P-5, DIN P-6, DIN P-7

Important Parameters to Consider

Sheet Capacity of Document Shredder

The sheet capacity of a shredder tells us maximum number of sheets a shredder can handle in single pass.  Basic version of a shredder shreds 4 to 8 sheets in single pass. If you are looking for a strong shredder it will shred 20/24 sheets in single pass.  High capacity shredder does more work in less time.

When buying a document shredder, first of all determine your requirement. Do you use it at home or small office set up with minimum load?  Or you are looking for office usage where multiple users will be using the shredder?

Manufacturer mentions the sheet capacity clearly in specifications. You may select optimum paper shredder as per requirement.

Run Time of Document Shredder

Run time tells us for how long in minutes a shredder can operate before it needs to cool down. Basic and medium duty shredders operate between 2 to 10 minutes. Heavy duty shredders operate up-to 30 minutes.

It is pertinent to mention here that cooling down-time is much longer than the run-time for most shredders. A basic paper shredder with a 3 minute operating time needs to cool down for 30 minutes, before the shredder is up for the next shredding cycle.

Security class of shredder has effect on running time. A higher DIN security level has inverse relation with running-time. For example, a DIN P-4 shredder needs to cool down more often than a DIN P-2 shredder, because a DIN P-4 shredder produces smaller particles. This requires more power from the motor, which causes it to overheat rapidly.

Productivity of a Document Shredder

By productivity it implies speed of shredder. Following formula is used to calculate productivity of a document shredder. This formula has been given by very popular brand of Paper Shredders i.e. Fellowes

Productivity = Sheet Capacity x Speed (feet per minute) x Run Time

 Greater the value of productivity, quick the shredder will be

Sheet Capacity : Maximum number of sheets a shredder can handle in single pass

Speed                : The rate at which shredder shreds paper

Run Time          :  Shredder operational time before it needs to cool down

Waste basket Size

Document shredders have waste basket, wherein shredded particles are collected. The capacity of waste basket is quoted in gallons. It depends upon your usage; either you need a wastebasket with large capacity or you need a shredder with small wastebasket?

Large capacity basket means you don’t need to empty the basket more often.

Large office set ups with multiple users of shredder will require large wastebasket. But if you are looking for home use, a small wastebasket (2 to 5 gallon) will suffice.

There are two variants of wastebaskets. A basic version of document shredder comes with base wastebasket with lift-off head. When you need to empty the wastebasket, you remove the shredder part from top. The other variant comes with pull out wastebasket. It collects the paper particles, once it is full; you just need to open the door, pull-out the basket and empty it.

What can be shredded?

Document shredder is for shredding documents. These shredders are also capable of shredding paper clips, staples, Credit cards, DVDs, CDs. Not every shredder can shred all these things.

For this purpose you will look at specifications and features data, they mention what a particular shredder is able to shred.

Popular Brands of Document Shredders

  • Fellowes
  • Aurora
  • Bosnaii
  • Swingline GBC
  • HSM Shredstar
  • AmazonBasics

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