How To Choose a Paper Shredder

With identity theft on the rise, it is simply unwise to toss your sensitive documents in the trash without destroying them first. But when it comes to paper shredders, what should you be looking for?

Is It A Cross Cut Shredder?

A shredder that cuts paper into long, vertical strips is better than nothing, but it’s far from the most secure way to destroy your sensitive documents. With enough time – and determination – the documents you have so carefully destroyed could be pieced back together, even if shred very thinly.

A cross cut shredder, which cuts documents into very small pieces, increases the security of your documents. You can also get diamond cut, confetti cut and micro cut but be prepared to pay extra for this added level of security.

How Many Sheets Can It Destroy At One Time?

Paper Shredders

Sitting and shredding hundreds of documents can be boring, time consuming and frustrating – though exactly how frustrating will depend on your individual state of mind. Choose a shredder with a “sheets per pass” rate you’re comfortable with. Personal shredders tend to shred three to five documents at a time, while office shredders can destroy a minimum of 12 to 15 sheets with one pass. The more sheets of paper a shredder can destroy at one time, the most expensive it’s likely to be. Some shredders can even shred paperclips, saving you the time and effort of removing staples from packs of documents.

Will You Need To Destroy Non-Paper Items?

Amazingly, there are some shredders on the market strong enough to destroy credit cards, CDs and DVDs. In a world where paper is becoming quickly obsolete, this could be an investment in the future. Going back to the source and shredding DVDs and CDs with sensitive information on them is the only way to ensure that information is secure, so definitely consider this feature important if you store any information on disc.

Is The Machine Well Made?

Known as the ‘duty cycle’, every shredder will come with a rating of how well built the machine is expected to be. The higher the duty cycle, the higher the number of sheets that can be shredded per day without destroying the machine. A business shredder should have a duty cycle of around 100 to 150 sheets, with a “continuous run rating” – how long the machine can work before needing to cool down – of at least 20 minutes running and 40 minutes cooling down.

Do You Need Bells And Whistles?

Many people are happy with basic shredders, which work fine when destroying monthly bank statements and bills. But the more you pay for a shredder the more cool features it will have. Decide if these things are worth investing in.

Paying a bit more could get you a large bin, meaning you’ll spend less time emptying it, an automatic stop and start feature and even a sensor to tell you when the bin is full or the machine on the verge of overheating.

To view our full range of Paper Shredders click here


Carl Barton is a director of Office Allsorts who has worked in the office products industry for 15 years.

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