You’d be surprised how many people go through others’ trash to find something. If you receive a lot of sensitive documents, you’ve probably considered purchasing a paper shredder.
What Makes a Good Paper Shredder?
Before you decide which shredder to buy, you should consider what you’re looking for in a paper shredder:
- Type of cut: Paper shredders cut in different ways for varying levels of security. Straight-cut is the least secure and, while it’s horribly time-consuming, someone could piece the document back together. Cross-cut machines also cut horizontally to make it even harder to put a document back together, and micro-cut makes it impossible.
- Types of materials: In addition to all types of paper, many of these machines can shred other materials, including staples, paper clips, credit cards, CDs, and DVDs.
- Noise: These machines can be pretty loud. If you work late a lot and don’t want to wake up the whole house, you might want to consider a quieter model.
- Volume: One of the main selling points for a shredder is its load capacity. The more sheets of paper you can shred at one time, the better. This can save you loads of time, especially because shredder run-times aren’t usually very long.
- Run time: Shredders usually run for a few minutes continuously before they need a long cooldown time—usually around half an hour. You want to make sure your shredder runs long enough for you to get everything done.
Best for Most People: AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut
If you have embarrassing family photos and DVDs you want to erase, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder will make sure no one ever sees those bath-time baby photos. This machine—like the rest on this list—cuts paper, credit cards, and CDs, so no matter what you need to get rid of, this shredder’s got you covered.
It runs for five minutes, which should be more than enough time to get through your stack of documents. You can also load it with up to 12 sheets at a time before it jams. This shredder turns all your sensitive documents into illegible pulp.
Budget Choice: AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut
Not everyone needs to shred documents on the daily, so a more basic shredder model should do the trick. The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut shredder is a great budget pick that gives you the most basic of shreds of up to eight pages at a time. It runs for two minutes, and while it can’t power through a large stack of papers without taking some time cooling down, it gets the job done. If you only shred the occasional bill, this machine should work just fine.
Premium Pick: AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security
The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High-Security Cut will destroy your documents. This thing will slice anything into the tiniest of flakes (5/32 by 15/32 inches). If you’re worried about security, this shredder would make even the greatest of puzzle fans give up on ever putting these sheets back together.
It runs continuously for eight minutes and has a twelve-sheet load, which allows you to shred a high-volume of documents without waiting for cooldowns. This machine is incredibly fast and will turn your paper into a cloud of confetti before you know it.
Best Without a Wastebasket: Aurora AU800SD
Conventional shredders take up a lot of space. They’re essentially like a second trash can in your office. If you have limited space, the Aurora AU800SD is a wonderful over-the-wastebasket shredder that can easily be tucked away when you’re not using it. Just set this shredder on top of your normal trash can and start feeding it paper, CDs, or credit cards. It has a continuous run-time of two minutes, and you can load eight sheets at a time. It’s one of the slower units on the list, but it will still make it incredibly difficult for your stalker to read your mail.
Best High-Volume Shredder: AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut
It’s no secret paper shredders are pretty slow. You can only shred so many sheets at a time, and you have to wait for long cooldown periods. It can make the process very tedious. The AmazonBasic 24-Sheet Cross-Cut paper shredder, however, streamlines the process and eliminates all the annoying aspects of shredding. Unless you have an absolutely monstrous stack of documents, the 25-minute run-time, and 24-sheet load is enough that you should never have to wait for the machine to cool down.