Best Paper Shredders for a Home Office

You would not want your confidential information written on paper to get in wrong hands, and for that purpose, there is a standard device known as a paper shredder that can excellently destroy sensitive documents, old paperwork, or any type of paper waste that is been accumulating in your home office. Some paper shredders can also destroy old credit/debit cards.

Buying a paper shredder might sound like an easy plan but there is much more to it that we will cover in this article. We have prepared a buying guide so you can read it thoroughly to understand paper shredders in great detail, and hence make your buying decision more strong. So let’s get going!

Types of Paper Shredders

Here are two major categories of paper shredders that you will find in the market:

Manual-Feed Paper Shredder

As the name implies, a manual-feed paper shredder needs to be fed manually by hand. This means that you have to grab a pile of sheets that you want to destroy and shred it by feeding to the paper shredders. This will be an ongoing process until the documents to be destroyed are not finished.

A manual-feed paper shredder is inexpensive and perfect for people who want to shred a small pile of documents, but if you are someone who wants to shred thousands of documents then this might not be the most efficient and suitable choice.

Auto-Feed Paper Shredder

Auto-feed paper shredders work great in saving time and speeding up the shredding process as you don’t have to manually feed them. Its working is quite simple, all you have to do is fill up its input tray with documents that you want to shred (its input tray is similar to the one you will find in a printer or a copier machine). Once you fill up the tray, hit the start button and the shredder will automatically take the documents from the tray to shred.

Different shredders can shred different amount of papers per session, for instance, some shredders can hold 100 sheets of A4-sized documents and others can also hold more than 500. You will get more information regarding it later in the article.

Here are some further categories that you will find in both manual and auto feed paper shredders:

Bring Your Own Basket (BYOB)

These are relatively cheap paper shredders that do not come with any output container for shredded documents; you have to mount them over an existing trash can. These units are typically known for their lightweight and compact size.

Desktop Paper Shredder

Unlike BYOB, these include a little output container for shredded documents that can fit well on top of a desk or counter. The features and capabilities of these units vary from each other depending on the manufacturer and price.

Paper-only with Basket

As the name implies, these shredders can only shred papers and include a trash can for output.

Multi-media with Basket

You can call this type of paper shredder an enhanced version of the above one as it can shred multi-media such as DVDs, CDs, and credit cards along with the paper. These units are also self-contained and typically include more than one trash can for output.

Buying Guide

Here are some features you want to consider before buying a paper shredder so you can opt for the one that is according to your budget and requirements.

Sheet capacity

The sheet capacity of a paper shredder tells you how much sheets it can shred per session. A basic shredder can shred up to 3-4 sheets at once while a heavy-duty one can eat up to 20 to 25 sheets per pass. Higher the capacity, faster the shredding will be.

If you are looking to shred more without any extensive hard work then it is recommended that you go for an auto-feed paper shredder that can easily shred a large pile of documents per session without much of your interaction.

Cool down time and Runtime

Cool down time or runtime is also known as duty cycle that tells how long the shredder can run before its motor needs to cool down. Most people do not consider this option while buying a paper shredder and end up wasting a lot of time in just cooling it down. Normally it depends on the shredder, most household shredders can shred continuously up to 5 to 10 minutes while professional ones can run for up to 30 minutes straight. There are commercial shredders available but they are not recommended for a home office as they exceed its requirements and are not much cost-efficient.

For a home office, first, consider the amount of paper to be shred and then choose the one that perfectly aligns your shredding requirement so you don’t over or underspend.

Trash Can Capacity

If you want to shred on regular basis then you will need a large trash can that doesn’t need to be emptied frequently. Cheap shredders come without a trash can, and you have to place them over any external trash bin. Such shredders aren’t recommended for a home office as they might create a lot of mess. Look for a large or normal capacity built-in bin as it will be more than enough for a home office.

Paper Jam Protection

One of the most annoying things that can occur in a paper shredder is a paper jam. It occurs when the motor of the shredder can’t process the amount of paper. Normally a paper jam occurs when you insert wrong material, exceed the prescribed sheet capacity, do not keep the shredder maintained, etc.

To prevent this problem, get a shredder with an “anti-jam” technology that automatically adjusts the speed of the motor according to the number of sheets inserted. Such shredders have an extra powerful engine to minimize the chance of a paper jam.

Type of Cut

There are different types of cuts when it comes to shredding. Different cuts also represent various security levels. Here are 3 types of cuts that you will find in different shredders:

1. Strip-cut/ Ribbon-cut/ Straight-cut/ Spaghetti cut

A straight-cut shredder is a basic shredder that cuts non-sensitive paper in strips that are fairly readable. Here are features of a strip-cut paper shredder:

  • Low-level security (DIN P-1, DIN P-2)
  • Cuts only vertically
  • Cuts a normal A4-sized paper in approx. 39 strips
  • Good for shredding non-sensitive documents

2. Cross-cut/ Diamond-cut/ Confetti-cut

A crosscut paper shredder is recommended for shredding confidential documents. It cuts the paper from both corners diagonally in short particles that are barely readable.

  • Medium-level security (DIN P-3, DIN P-4)
  • Cuts diagonally from both corners of the document
  • Cuts a normal A4-sized paper in approx. 40 particles
  • For shredding sensitive documents

3. Micro-cut/ security-cut/ Particle-cut

A micro-cut paper shredder is an advanced one that is used for shredding highly-confidential documents from both the corners diagonally in square-shaped particles that are unreadable.

  • High-level security (DIN P-5 or higher)
  • Cuts diagonally from both corners of the document
  • Cuts a normal A4-sized paper in approx. 400 particles
  • For shredding sensitive documents

Types of Security Levels

1. Protection class 1 (DIN P-1, DIN P-2, DIN P-3)

  • Normal security for internal data

2. Protection class 2 (DIN P-3, DIN P-4, DIN P-5)

  • High security for confidential data

3. Protection class 3 (DIN P-4, DIN P-5, DIN P-6, DIN P-7)

  • Very high protection for confidential and secret data

Here is a list of top 5 paper shredders available in the market that will provide you the performance you were looking for:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder
HSM Shredstar PS820C 20-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder
Royal 1840MX 18-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
Amazon Basics 6 Sheet Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

 

1. AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder

The AmazonBasics paper shredder cuts the paper in microparticles that mean it is best suitable for highly-sensitive documents. It has a sheet capacity of 12 and can also efficiently destroy credit cards, CDs, and DVDs, one at a time. To handle paper jams it has an auto start/stop and reverse feature that reverses the blades to clear the jam and then starts the machine again automatically.

It has a 6.7gallon pullout basket for shredded documents and a 9.1inch wide paper feed that is sufficient for a home office. It can run for 8 minutes continuously then needs a 45minute downtime to cool down.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Secure shredding (micro-cut)
  • Offers Multi-media shredding
  • Excellent basket capacity
  • Sufficient sheet capacity for a home office
  • Caster wheels for easy mobility

Cons:

  • Runs slow
  • Slow duty cycle

2. HSM Shredstar PS820C 20-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

The HSM Shredstar PS820C is a high-end cost-cut shredder that can tear through 158 sheets of paper creating 400+ particles per page. It can also easily shred CDs, DVDs, Credit/Debit cards etc. It has a 7.1gallon basket that is sufficient for use in the home office.

With its anti-jam technology, you won’t face any paper jam as the machine will automatically stop shredding when overloaded. There isn’t any downtime with this, which means you can continue shredding without stopping it to cool down. Unlike most other low-end shredders, PS820C will operate quietly and save up to 90% power consumption.

Pros:

  • High sheet-shredding capacity (158 sheets)
  • Anti-jam technology
  • Supports Multi-media shredding
  • Large basket for shredded waste
  • Lifetime warranty on cutting rollers
  • Power-saving

Cons:

  • Runs slow even being a 17sheet capacity shredder

3. Royal 1840MX 18-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

The Royal 1840MX is a professional crosscut paper shredder that shreds up to 18 sheets of paper in a single pass. It is great for shredding sensitive documents. With the multi-media shredding feature, you can also shred CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. To prevent paper jam, it provides auto start/stop and reverse function.

It performs its duty without producing that annoying high-pitch sound like cheap shredders. You can run it up to 40 minutes continuously before it needs a break for cooling down. It has an 8.5gallon pullout basket capacity that is sufficient for a home office.

Pros:

  • Can shred up to 40 minutes continuously
  • Operates quietly
  • Durable and sturdy build quality
  • Caster wheels for easy mobility
  • Large bin capacity
  • Affordable according to its professional features
  • Jam-preventing technology
  • Auto-feed

Cons:

  • Heavyweight
  • Doesn’t have any safety locks
  • The wheels for mobility come detached.

4. AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

The AmazonBasics 6-Sheet is the most affordable paper shredder on our list that offers features like a professional one. It isn’t as fast as a professional one but still features a sufficient shredding speed for normal use. It crosscuts 6 papers at a time along with credit cards. It can only run for up to 2 minutes continuously with a 30minute cooldown time.

It has an 8.7inch paper feed and 3.8gallon bin capacity that are perfect for a paper shredder in this price range.

Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Offers multi-media shredding
  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • High-security cut
  • Backed up by a 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Not suitable for bulk shredding
  • Slow
  • Loud
  • Short run time

5. Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

The 99Ci is a high-quality cross-cut paper shredder that can shred up to 18 sheets of paper along with staples, paper clips, credit cards, junk mail, and CDs/DVDs per pass. It can continuously run for up to 30 minutes with 40 minutes of cool down time. It also offers 100% jam-proof shredding technology that ensures unbeatable performance.

Its Safesense Technology is equipped with a sensor that automatically stops the shredder when the hands touch the paper opening. The machine includes a 9gallon pullout waste bin that is more than enough for a home office. Another best thing about it is the bin-full indicator LED that indicates when the bin is full and needs to be emptied.

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Fast shredding speed
  • High sheet capacity
  • 100% Jam-proof technology
  • Offers multi-media shredding
  • Han easily handle junk mail
  • Large waste bin

Cons:

  • Heavyweight
  • Users stated that the full-bin malfunctioning

Final Verdict

As you are well-informed about different types of paper shredders, it will be easier for you to pick one according to your home office’s requirements. Make sure you first take into consideration the number of sheets or multi-media you want to shred in order to get one that is up to your expectations. However, if you are still not so sure about which one to get then let us help you again.

Opt for HSM Shredstar PS820C 20-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder if you are looking for a high-end paper shredder and will be using it frequently. If you are on a lower budget and and don’t have large shredding needs, then go for the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder.