How to Choose the Best Paper Shredder for Your Office

How do you choose the best paper shredder in 2024? What features and functions should the best paper shredder have to suit your needs? Read our guide and make an informed choice.

The best paper shredderThe best paper shredder makes it easy for you to work with paper waste at your desk and at home.

In addition, it provides you with a way to protect sensitive and secret information from being accessed by anyone who should not.

Destruction of documents not only protects the company’s confidential information, but can also prevent identity theft.

Although the purpose of each paper shredder is the same, the efficiency varies depending on features and functionality.

There are simple models that are suitable for home use and more advanced models suitable for office use in companies and public institutions.

The Best Paper Shredder: What to Look for

Before diving into our guide, it’s crucial to understand why your office needs a paper shredder. Primarily, they provide an essential line of defence against data breaches, ensuring confidential information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. It also aids in de-cluttering the workspace and assists organisations in adhering to the UK’s GDPR compliance.

There are several types of office paper shredders available on the market that you can choose from. The simplest offers vertical slitting of the paper while the more advanced models offer technologies and functions that go further than simply cutting paper sheets.

Main Types of Paper Shredders

When it comes to paper shredders, there are three main types: strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut. Each type offers a different level of security and is suitable for different needs.

Strip-Cut Shredders

Strip-cut shredders, also known as ribbon-cut or spaghetti-cut shredders, are the most basic type of shredders. They cut the paper into long, vertical strips. While this type of shredder is generally faster and can handle more sheets of paper at once, it offers the least security as the strips can potentially be reassembled. Strip-cut shredders are ideal for non-sensitive documents and are often used in homes or small offices where high security is not a priority.

Cross-Cut Shredders

Cross-cut shredders, also known as confetti-cut shredders, provide a higher level of security than strip-cut shredders. They cut the paper both horizontally and vertically, turning documents into small pieces or “confetti”. This makes it much more difficult for anyone to piece together the shredded documents. Cross-cut shredders are a good choice for offices that need to dispose of sensitive documents, such as financial reports or personal client information.

Micro-Cut Shredders

Micro-cut shredders offer the highest level of security. They cut paper into tiny pieces, even smaller than those produced by cross-cut shredders. This makes it nearly impossible to reconstruct the documents. Micro-cut shredders are ideal for shredding highly confidential or sensitive documents. They are often used in government offices, hospitals, and large corporations where information security is paramount.

In conclusion, the type of shredder you choose should depend on the level of security you need. While strip-cut shredders are fast and efficient, they offer the least security. Cross-cut shredders provide a higher level of security, while micro-cut shredders offer the highest level of protection for your sensitive documents.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Paper Shredder

When selecting the best paper shredder for your office, there are several key factors to consider. These factors will help you choose a shredder that meets your specific needs and ensures the security of your sensitive documents.

Shredding Capacity

Shredding capacity is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a paper shredder. It refers to the number of sheets a shredder can handle at once.

Large capacity paper shredderThis capacity is usually indicated in the product specifications and can range from a single sheet to over 20 sheets at a time.

For small offices or home use where shredding needs are minimal, a lower capacity shredder may be sufficient. However, for larger offices or businesses that frequently need to dispose of large volumes of documents, a shredder with a higher shredding capacity would be more efficient and time-saving.

It’s important to note that consistently pushing a shredder to its maximum capacity can lead to quicker wear and tear. Therefore, if you frequently have large volumes of paper to shred, it may be worth investing in a shredder with a higher capacity than you think you’ll need.

Run Time and Cool Down Time

Run time and cool down time are also important factors to consider when choosing a paper shredder, especially for heavy-duty use.

Run Time

The run time of a shredder refers to how long it can operate continuously before it needs a break to cool down. This can range from a few minutes in smaller, less expensive models to over an hour in high-end, commercial-grade shredders. If your office frequently has large batches of documents to shred, a shredder with a longer run time would be more efficient.

Cool Down Time

After a shredder has reached its maximum run time, it needs to cool down before it can be used again. This cool down period can range from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the model. Frequent, long cool down periods can slow down the shredding process and reduce efficiency. Therefore, if you need to use a shredder frequently throughout the day, look for a model with a short cool down time.

Security Level

The security level of a paper shredder is a critical factor to consider, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive or confidential documents. The security level is determined by the size of the paper particles the shredder produces. The smaller the particles, the higher the security level, as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconstruct the original document.

Paper shredders are classified into seven security levels according to the DIN 66399 standard:

Level P-1 and P-2 (Strip-Cut): These shredders cut paper into long vertical strips. They offer the lowest level of security and are suitable for shredding non-sensitive documents.
Level P-3 (Cross-Cut): These shredders cut paper into short cross-cut particles. They offer a medium level of security and are suitable for shredding confidential, personal, and sensitive data.
Level P-4 and P-5 (Micro-Cut): These shredders cut paper into tiny particles. They offer a high level of security and are suitable for shredding highly confidential, personal, and sensitive data.
Level P-6 and P-7 (Super Micro-Cut): These shredders cut paper into extremely tiny particles. They offer the highest level of security and are suitable for shredding top-secret or classified documents.

Bin Size

The bin size of a paper shredder refers to the amount of shredded paper it can hold before it needs to be emptied.

Emptying the bin of a paper document shredderThe bin size you need depends on the volume of paper you plan to shred regularly.

For small offices or personal use, a shredder with a smaller bin size (around 5 to 10 litres) may be sufficient. However, for larger offices or for heavy-duty shredding, a larger bin (20 litres or more) would be more convenient as it would require less frequent emptying.

Some shredders also feature a window or indicator that shows when the bin is full. This can be a helpful feature as it prevents overfilling, which can lead to jams or other operational issues.

Additional Features in Paper Shredders

When choosing a paper shredder, it’s worth considering the additional features that can enhance usability, safety, and efficiency. Here are some of the key additional features to look out for:

Safety Features

safety should always be a primary consideration, especially when dealing with machinery such as paper shredders. Here are some specific safety features to consider when choosing a shredder for your office:

SafeSense or Touch-Sensitive Technology

This innovative feature is integrated into many modern shredders. It automatically halts shredding operations as soon as it detects human touch around the paper entry. This is an essential feature to have in busy office environments where accidental contact can easily occur.

Auto-Off or Lockout Feature

This function allows you to ‘lock’ the shredder when it’s not in use. The shredder can only be activated with a specific key or code, thus reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorised use. This feature can be particularly useful in environments where children or vulnerable individuals might be present.

Thermal Overload Protection

Paper shredders, especially those with high sheet capacities, can generate a significant amount of heat during operation. If not managed, this heat can cause the shredder to overheat and pose a fire risk. Thermal overload protection is a feature that automatically shuts the shredder off if it gets too hot, giving it time to cool down and prevent potential accidents.

Overfeed Protection

Some shredders come with sensors that detect when too much paper has been fed into the machine at once, which could lead to a jam and potential overheating. When the sensor detects an overfeed, it either won’t start or will automatically reverse the papers out, thereby preventing a paper jam and possible malfunction.

Safety Flap or Shield

Some shredders include a safety flap or shield over the paper entry slot. This flap prevents ties, long hair, or other loose items from being accidentally pulled into the shredder.

Auto Power Shut-off

This feature ensures the shredder is automatically switched off after a certain period of inactivity. This helps avoid accidental shredding and can save energy.
In summary, when selecting an office paper shredder, consider the environment in which it will be used, the volume of paper that will be shredded, and the type of data being discarded.

Efficient paper shredder for confidential documentsAlways give priority to models that have robust safety features as they provide peace of mind and protect users from potential accidents. Investing in a shredder with a comprehensive safety profile is a wise decision that underscores your commitment to the welfare of your employees.

Anti-Jam Technology

Nothing can disrupt a productive office day like a jammed paper shredder. Paper jams are a common issue with shredders, especially when they are overfed or fed with materials they aren’t designed to handle. To combat this, many modern shredders come with anti-jam technology.

Anti-jam technology can vary from one brand to another, but the principle remains the same – to prevent paper jams and make the shredding process as smooth as possible. Here are some specifics:

  • Overfeed Detection: This feature uses sensors to detect when too many sheets are being fed into the shredder at once. If an overfeed is detected, the shredder either won’t start, or it will reverse the paper out, preventing a jam before it occurs.
  • Auto-Reverse Function: Shredders with this feature automatically switch to reverse mode when a paper jam is detected. This reverses the paper out of the feed, clearing the jam without the need for manual intervention.
  • Jam Proof System: Some brands, like Fellowes, offer a 100% jam-proof system. This technology not only detects paper overloads but also powers through tough jobs, managing the shredding load and ensuring a smoother shredding experience.

Shredding Speed

In a busy office setting, speed is of the essence, and the speed at which a shredder can process paper can have a significant impact on office productivity. Shredding speed refers to how fast a shredder can shred paper and is usually measured in feet or metres per minute.

  • Feed Rate: This refers to the number of sheets a shredder can handle at one time. A higher feed rate can result in a quicker shredding process, especially when dealing with large volumes of paper.
  • Continuous Run Time: The continuous run time is how long a shredder can operate without needing to cool down. A longer run time is advantageous for high-volume shredding tasks as it reduces the downtime caused by the cooling off period.

When choosing a shredder, consider how often you’ll use it and the volume of paper you’ll typically shred. If your office frequently has large shredding tasks, a high-speed shredder with anti-jam technology and a long run time would be a suitable choice. These features contribute to a more efficient shredding process, saving time and reducing frustration, ultimately boosting office productivity.

Energy Efficiency

In a time of growing environmental concerns and increasing energy costs, the energy efficiency of office appliances is more important than ever. An energy-efficient shredder is designed to consume less electricity during operation and standby modes, reducing the carbon footprint and saving money on energy bills.

  • Standby Energy Savings: Some shredders have an energy savings mode, which kicks in when the shredder is not in use. This feature reduces power consumption when the shredder is idle but still switched on, thereby saving energy.
  • Optimised Motor Performance: Energy-efficient shredders often feature motors designed for optimal performance and minimal energy wastage. Such motors use less power to shred the same amount of paper compared to less efficient models.
  • Auto Power-off: Some shredders automatically turn off after a period of inactivity. This feature not only enhances safety but also conserves energy that would otherwise be wasted when the shredder is left on but not in use.

When choosing a shredder, look for one that complies with energy efficiency standards such as Energy Star certification. Energy Star certified shredders are tested and proven to be more energy-efficient than non-certified models.

Quiet Operation

A quiet office environment is pivotal for maintaining focus and productivity.

Secretary destroys documents using a paper shredderThe noise produced by certain office equipment, like paper shredders, can be disruptive, especially in open-plan workspaces. This makes the noise level of a shredder a critical factor to consider.

Shredders with a quiet operation feature are designed to minimise noise during operation. They often incorporate advanced mechanical designs and materials that reduce noise generation. These models will typically advertise this feature with labels such as ‘quiet operation’, ‘ultra-quiet’, or ‘low noise technology’.

The noise level of shredders is measured in decibels (dB). A model emitting around 60 dB is considered quiet and should not cause significant disturbance in most office settings. When comparing different shredders, consider checking the dB level in the product specifications for a quantifiable comparison.

Price and Brand

The cost of a paper shredder can vary greatly depending on its features, capacity, and the brand. While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest model, it’s essential to consider the shredder’s reliability and longevity. After all, a shredder is an investment in your office’s security and productivity.

  1. Quality and Price Correlation: Generally, the price of a shredder increases with its quality and features. Higher-end shredders typically offer higher security levels, larger sheet capacities, longer run times, and advanced features like anti-jam technology and energy-saving modes. These features can provide a higher level of convenience and reliability, which can justify a higher price tag.
  2. Brand Reputation: The brand is another crucial factor to consider. Well-established brands often provide reliable and durable products, backed by good customer service. Some notable brands in the shredder market include Fellowes, Rexel, Bonsaii, and HSM. These companies have a history of producing high-quality shredders and are known for their robust customer support.
  3. Warranty: A shredder’s warranty can offer peace of mind, knowing that you’re protected if something goes wrong. Higher-end models often come with more extended warranties, which can make them more cost-effective in the long run.


In conclusion, finding the perfect paper shredder for your office requires careful consideration of several factors, including security levels, capacity, features, price, and brand reputation.

It’s all about finding the balance between your specific needs and budget. Remember, investing in a good-quality shredder can enhance productivity, protect sensitive information, and ultimately save your business from potential data breaches.

With the right shredder, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your documents are disposed of securely and efficiently.

Recommended Paper Shredders

We have selected for you below some paper shredder models that offer excellent quality/price ratio. If our recommendations are not in line with your individual needs, we recommend carefully studying other paper shredder models from the online stores recommended and buy the most appropriate device.

SaleRecommended Product No. 1
Bonsaii Paper Shredder for Home Use, 6 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder, Shred Credit Card/Staples/Clips,...
48,689 Reviews
Bonsaii Paper Shredder for Home Use, 6 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder, Shred Credit Card/Staples/Clips,...
  • 【Cross Cut & Credit Card Paper Shredder】The cross cut shredder shreds paper into 5x18mm particles, achieving P-4 level security. Shreds up to 6 sheets at once without removing staples, also handling paper clips and credit cards (one at a time).
  • 【Continuous Performance】Ensures uninterrupted shredding for up to 3 minutes, with a brief 40-minute cooldown period, making it ideal for steady use in home offices.
  • 【Overheat Protection】Thermal protection system with auto shut-off, can prolong the lifetime of the motor and the shredders. The document shredder will stop working once you lift the head, keeping you safe.
Recommended Product No. 2
Amazon Basics 5-6 Sheet Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder with 14.3L Bin for Business & Home...
  • Cross Cut Paper & Credit Shredder: Shreds 5-6 sheets or 1 credit card at a time. With 14.3L bin & sensor for auto start
  • Max Run-Time: 3 minutes on / 30 minutes off. With thermal protection and automatic shut off to prevent overheating
  • Fast & Secure Entry Level Shredder: Shreds paper into 0.56x4.7cm strips & meets security level P-3 standard
SaleRecommended Product No. 3
Bonsaii Paper Shredder for Home Use, 8-Sheet StripCut Home Office Shredder, CD/Credit Card Shredder...
  • ▸8-Sheet Shredding Capacity◂ Home shredder can shred up to 8 sheets of paper at a time, and can shred credit cards/CDs/DVDs/and other important documents to meet your other needs.
  • ▸Continuous Performance◂ Ensures uninterrupted shredding for up to 2 minutes, with a brief 15-minute cooldown period, making it ideal for steady use in home.
  • ▸Easy to Use◂ Small paper shredder features a safe start mode and manual reverse jam clearing. When the machine jams paper, you can easily solve the paper jam problem by pressing the FWD button.
Recommended Product No. 4
Bonsaii 12-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder, Heavy Duty Shredder for Home Office Runs for 60 Mins,...
  • 【Unceasingly 60-Min Running Time】Bonsaii C266-B Micro-Cut heavy duty paper shredder can continuously work for 60 minutes and the cooling system and highly efficient motor make the machine last for a long time. This shredder can be used in the office and home office.
  • 【P-4 High Security Level】This heavy duty paper shredder for office use can not only shred 12 sheets at a time into tiny particles of 5*12mm, but also can shred CDs, credit cards, mail, staples and clips. Protect your privacy as much as possible.
  • 【Auto Start & Reverse】Auto start/stop and manual-reverse function protects you from the frustration of paper jams; overheating and overloading protection technology keeps sustainable use and prolongs the shredder's lifetime. Press the power switch, you only need to put the paper into the entrance of the shredder and it will work automatically.
SaleRecommended Product No. 5
Bonsaii 8-Sheet Cross Cut Paper Shredder, Credit Cards/Mail/Staples/Clips Shredder for Home Use with...
  • ▸8-Sheet Shredding Capacity ◂ The home shredder can shred 8 sheets of paper (A4 size, 80g/m²) at one time, also can shred credit cards (one at a time), staples, paper clips or document
  • ▸Cross-Cut Shredder ◂ Shred paper into small particles of 5×18mm (13/64 by 45/64" inches). Meets security level P-4 standard to keep your information safe
  • ▸4 Minutes On ◂ The shredder can continuously shred up to 180 sheets of paper (up to 8 sheets at a time) for 4 minutes. When overheat requires 40 minutes of cooling time, ideal for home office use
SaleRecommended Product No. 6
Bonsaii 12-Sheet Cross Cut Paper Shredder, 5-Minute 21L Home Office Heavy Duty Shredder for Paper,...
  • 【P-4 Level Security】Cross cut shredder shreds up to 12 sheets, make sure your important documents are securely shredded, can shred paper, credit cards, staples and clips into scraps of 13/64*45/64 inches (5*20mm)
  • 【5-Minute Shredding】Bonsaii paper shredder continuous running time up to 5 minutes without stopping with a cooling system, suitable for home office use
  • 【Easy Operation & Safe Protection】Auto start/stop and manual-reverse function protect the paper shredder from the frustration of paper jams. Overheat protection tackle the trouble in using the shredder and prolong its lifetime. The document shredder will stop working once you lift the head, keeping you safe
Recommended Product No. 7
Fellowes Paper Shredder for Home Office Use - 8 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder for Home and Personal Use -...
  • HIGH SECURITY SHREDDING - The Fellowes 8C cross-cut paper shredder can shred 8 sheets at once per pass into tiny 4 x 35 mm cross-cut particles (High security DIN P-4), so you can be sure that your confidential documents have been shredded securely
  • RUNTIME - The 8C paper shredder will shred non-stop for up to 3 minutes before requiring a 30 minute cool down period, meeting the demand for occasional use in the home for personal use
  • DURABLE SHREDDING MACHINE - Fellowes shredders are built to last, the paper shredders powerful cutters will not only shred your documents into unreadable pieces, but it can shred staples, paper clips and credit cards
Recommended Product No. 8
Bonsaii 6-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper Shredder, Small Paper Shredder for Home Use, Can be Used Without...
  • 【Versatile and Portable】The Bonsaii Paper Shredder adapts to round and square waste paper baskets with its adjustable arm (28cm-38cm), offering easy portability and storage. It features a 9L trash bin and a handy viewing window to monitor fill levels.
  • 【Efficient and Reliable】Capable of shredding up to 6 sheets at once and running continuously for 2 minutes, the Bonsaii Paper Shredder guarantees quick and reliable shredding performance.
  • 【Enhanced Security】With a 6mm paper cut, the shredder provides security level 2, effectively safeguarding sensitive information.

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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