"This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links."
One of the best ways to prevent identity theft or leakage of sensitive information is by using a paper shredder. Do you have one in your home or your office yet?
Whether you’re purchasing one for the first time or replacing a unit that has shredded its last paper, we provide you with a list of the best paper shredder models in our guide.
Not sure what to look for when shopping for one? We’ll go over all of those details with you, as well, so read on to find out what to look for as you decide which model will best suit your needs.
Top 10 Paper Shredders Table
What to Pay Attention to as You Shop
If you pay attention to the following features while you compare the models, narrowing down the choices will be much easier.
- Types of Shredders. You have three choices when it comes to paper shredders: those that strip-cut, cross-cut or micro-cut.
Strip-cut machines will create strips, just as the name suggests. It yields long, continuous strips of paper that are easier to re-assemble, which means they are the least secure option.
The best paper shredder features cross-cut technology that cuts paper into many small pieces rather than strips, and micro-cut shredders create even smaller shavings.
It is much more difficult for someone to piece together shavings left from either of those two machines and as we will be discussing shortly, there are also different levels of security offered by certain machines.
- Number of Sheets. As you can see in our table, the more sheets that a paper shredder can shred, the higher the price tag is.
Most offices opt for machines that can handle a higher quantity of paper sheets since it cuts down on shredding time (they are the most time-efficient models).
For home use, smaller, less expensive units are usually the best choice since the paper volume is usually less.
- Run Time. Another small detail to pay attention to as you shop is the run time. How long can the motor run before it needs to shut temporarily shut down and cool off?
This feature is to help prevent the motor from overheating, but it’s helpful for offices to know how long a shredding session can go to determine if it is the most time-efficient solution.
Size of Shavings – Security Levels
There are six different levels of security used to classify paper shredders.
- Level 1. This is the basic level of security. Strips are 3/8 inches thick, which is small enough for simple documents that don’t contain much private information.
- Level 2 & 3. Stepping it up a notch, you can find machines that shred pieces that are 1/8 inches or 1/3 inches wide.
- Level 4. Offices should opt for a machine with Level 4 security protection. It will yield shavings that are 1/16 inches wide, which is very thin.
- Level 5 & 6. The highest level of security comes from a machine with a Level 5 or Level 6 security rating. They comply with certain privacy laws (they’re good enough for government use, just to give you an idea), so if you’re in need of a machine that will yield documents impossible to re-create, opt for a machine of this security level.
Top 5 Best Paper Shredder Reviews
- Items It Can Shred. Paper, Credit Cards, Paper Clips, CDs, DVDs, Staples
Fellowes makes some of the best paper shredders on the market, and their 79Ci model is a great choice for offices.
It offers users a security level of P-4 and has a Jam Proof System that works extremely well to keep your shredding sessions running smoothly. The motor also runs quietly, so it won’t disturb anyone nearby.
The bin is also large – 6-gallon capacity – and we love the SafeSense Technology on the shredder. Any time that your hand touches the entrance to the shredder (on the top), it will automatically stop the shredder. When you remove your hand (or finger), it will go in reverse. Touch and remove your hand again, and it will continue shredding.
It is an expensive unit, but worth every penny thanks to the security and safety features.
- Items It Can Shred. Paper, Credit Cards, CDs, DVDs
Amazon also has some pretty cool shredder machines, and we liked their 24-sheet cross-cut model which is just a tad less expensive than the Fellowes. It is another great choice for use in the office due to the high volume of paper it can shred at one time.
The security level if medium, so if you only have a few highly sensitive documents, this will serve you well.
We like that the bin is larger (7 gallons) and that it runs for 25 minutes straight, but the fact that it needs to cool down for 60 minutes makes it a bit inconvenient for offices with a high volume of paper to shred.
It is quite, though, and the high volume of papers it can shred justify the cool down time.
- Items It Can Shred. Paper, Credit Cards, CDs, DVDs, Staples
Bonsaii is another great brand in the shredder industry, and this little unit can go for a full 60 minutes before needing to cool down. That’s pretty good for a machine that can shred 18 documents in a single feed.
It has a 6-gallon bin like the Fellowes we looked at and is just as quiet. Compared to the AmazonBasics model we just looked at, the price is about the same, but this one can handle fewer sheets. The run time makes up for that, however, so we still feel that it would be a great match for those who didn’t find the AmazonBasics model to work for their shredding needs.
It’s a great fit for both home and office use.
- Items It Can Shred. Paper, Credit Cards, CDs, DVDs
Royal’s cross-cut shredder features a large 8.5-gallon bin and wheels on the bottom to make navigating it around the home or office a breeze.
It handles the basic materials, features the jam prevention auto start/stop function and handles the same amount of paper as the previous machine.
We did notice that this seems to shred a bit faster than some of the other machines we tried and the overall quality and durability of the machine justifies the higher price tag.
The warranty is pretty good on this one because it covers the cutter blade and motor for five years. Most other units offer a simple 1-year warranty, so we felt pretty good about spending the money on this one.
- Items It Can Shred. Paper, Credit Cards
AmazonBasics’ simple 8-sheet shredder is basic, which is why we suggest it for home use. If you want a way to destroy the junk mail and old credit cards, you don’t need a unit like the ones we just looked at; this will get the job done.
The security level is basic – P-3 – and while eight sheets is pretty good, the 30-minute cooldown time is quite long for a machine that can only handle items for 3 minutes at a time.
Don’t expect it to perform the same as the top-of-the-line models. It is a basic machine that many find useful in the home, but probably isn’t efficient enough for use in the office.