26 October 2021

Top Features To Look For In A Paper Shredder

Have you ever thought about the information flowing through your business and the security around it? With the digital era advancing at record speed, hackers, scammers, and bad actors are looking to get their hands on your data, whether it’s digital or physical.

Most business owners understand the importance of digital security. However, many leave gaping holes in the protocols for how they handle and process documents. What does your organization do with the piles of paperwork you throw away?

Are you sending it to the paper shredder before tossing it in the recycling bin?

Federal privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mean you could face stiff legal penalties if you don’t shred your documents. Can you imagine the horror of a legal team informing you that you are not in compliance? Worse yet, what if you end up liable for clients’ financial losses?

An office paper shredder is an essential piece of equipment for any office dealing with sensitive information. With so many models available, how do you choose the right shredder for your business?

Let’s unpack everything you need to know about choosing the right paper shredder for your office.

Cross-Cut or Strip-Cut Shredders?

You have two options for paper shredders when selecting a model for your business.

Strip-Cut Shredders

These are the common models you see in the industry. They shred paper into vertical strips resembling paper spaghetti.

However, they might not be the most suitable option for shredding sensitive documents. We’ve all seen the movies where some dedicated individual decides to tape everything back together.

Cross-Cut Shredders

These shredders are ideal for destroying sensitive materials. They shred the paper into tiny bits, like confetti.

These machines offer higher levels of security than their strip-cut counterparts because they turn paper into countless pieces. They are ideal for shredding documents like tax returns, bank statements, legal and business records, and documents featuring personal information.

What are the Essential Features of Paper Shredders?

Security Ratings

Shredders come in six security levels for different uses.

Level 1

This machine shreds documents to particles with a 3/8″ width. They are a good choice for shredding junk mail featuring your company address.

Devices with this security are good for destroying junk mail and documents that don’t contain sensitive information.

Level 2 & 3

This device shreds documents into a 1/8″ or 1/3″ width. They are a good choice for destroying documents featuring Social Security Numbers or birth dates.

Level 4

These devices shred paper into widths of 1/16″ x 5/8″. They are ideal for destroying sensitive financial documents.

Level 5 & 6

These models offer the highest security rating and are compliant with HIPPA and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Some government institutions like the NSA and military units use them to destroy very sensitive information.

Shredder Capacity

Desktop or Personal Shredders

These models are ideal for home offices, and they offer enough capacity for light use, shredding up to ten pages at a time.

Office Shredders

These models are great for small offices, shredding up to 20 to 30 pages in a single-use.

Departmental Shredders

These models are suitable for use in financial institutions, shredding up to 40 sheets at a time. These shredders also feature level 4 or higher security.

Industrial Shredders

These models can shred up to 100 sheets at a time. They are ideal for document warehouses and mailrooms.

Safety Features


This feature prevents unauthorized users from accessing the device.


These sensors stop the machine in its tracks if they detect your fingers.

Other Important Shredder Considerations

Continuous-Duty Models

Mailrooms and document warehouses that run shredders all day will benefit from these models. They don’t overheat and are much more durable than other models.

Noise Output

A shredder can be noisy during operation, irritating your office workers. Check the decibel rating if noise is a concern for your staff.

Automatic Oiling

Shredders require maintenance and oiling. A self-oiling model reduces your maintenance requirements.


If you need to roll the shredder between locations at the office, casters are small wheels attached to the underside of the machine,


The warranty is an important factor. The best models come with longer warranties.

Choose a Reputable Manufacturing Brand

Our final tip for choosing your shredder is to go with a reputable brand you can trust. Look for the best names in the industry, and you’ll get a long service life with an efficient operation for your office requirements.