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Keep Your Information Safe With The Best Paper Shredders

The paper shredder. The last line of defense against identity fraud, information theft, and state secrets falling into the wrong hands. There are all types of shredders available to handle any size job with various degrees of sensitivity. When looking to buy a good shredder, the first thing to consider is the cut type. Often times, the question isn't what you're shredding, but how much you're shredding it. The purpose of any good shredder is to grind up your documents or electronic information into a format where it is irreparable and entirely illegible. Lost to the world for good.

Cut size is important, and since there are a few types to choose from, you want to take into consideration what it is you'll be destroying. The smaller the cut, the higher the security. Most common shredders used to be strip cut, turning sheets of paper into thin, spaghetti-esque strips; cross cut has become more popular now, turning documents into confetti-sized particles. Micro-cut and high-security cut pulverize your material to even smaller sizes, but unless you work for the NSA or CIA this type of security may be overly excessive (meaning expensive) for your needs.

Most shredders can also destroy CDs, credit cards, and other thicker sensitive materials if need be, and many shredders should be able to take more than a few sheets in one pass without getting jammed. Most units have anti-jamming devices and indicators to help prevent you from feeding the entry slot with too much paper and if you do, there are often multi-directional motors to help you reverse your way out of the situation. Safety measures to keep foreign objects like loose clothing, jewelry, and fingers might also be something to look for, depending upon where the shredder will be in use the most.

Paper Shredder come in all shapes and sizes; whether for commercial use in high-traffic environments for heavy-duty jobs or home use for the occasional bank statement or expired credit card. Whatever type of shredder you're in the market for, take a look at the lists of the best paper shredders in 2021 below and see if there's something that fits your needs.

The Best Paper Shredder Models of 2021 in Detail

AmazonBasics Cross-Cut CD/Credit Card/Paper Shredder

This shredder from Amazon is a medium-duty workhorse that would do well in an active office environment. Capable of accepting up to 12 sheets at one time, it can also take CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. Documents and important paperwork will be shredded in a secure cross-cut pattern, while other materials will be separated into four irreparable pieces. There's a reverse gear feature to clear any paper jams and you'll get through a whole day of consistent shredding without any overheating (around 600 sheets of paper and a handful of CDs or DVDs). This shredder also comes with a ShredSafe safety feature where any inserted foreign objects such as finger will trigger an automatic shutdown, preventing damage to you as well as the mechanism itself.

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci Paper Shredder

Highly efficient and safe, Fellowes' Powershred 99Ci comes with thoughtful touches that make it ideal for office use. The Powershred 99Ci can turn up to 17 sheets of documents into 5/32 x 1-1/2-inch cross-cut particles, achieving security level P-4 shredding capability. Three levels of anti-jam protection keep your machine from getting stuck, and a load sensor makes sure you're not introducing too much material into the head. The unit also has a safety sensor that detects when anything other than the accepted materials gets near the entry slot. The LED indicator by the paper entry shows you how much you've been put into the slot and will alert users to a potential overload situation. With a maximum continuous operating time rating of 25 minutes, it practically eliminates downtime and ensures productivity. Beyond standard paper documents, the 99Ci can destroy credit cards, paper clips, staples, CD/DVDs, and junk mail. The nine gallon wastebasket is large enough to accommodate multiple users, and it runs super quiet so you won't have to listen to obtrusive grinding when your material is being chewed into pieces.

Aurora AS890C 8 Basket Sheet Crosscut Credit Card/Paper Shredder

Paper shredders don't always need to be expensive or accommodate huge capacities to get the job done. In fact, there are some excellent budget-friendly shredding solutions on the market. Budget paper shredders are often light-duty units that can handle four to ten pages at a time, tear through staples, credit cards, and CDs well. We narrowed down our selections to cross cut shredders, which will reduce your documents to confetti. We considered strip cut models as well; ultimately, there was practically no difference in price for the added security of a cross cut shredder.

After implementing a price cap of $50, we singled out the Aurora AS890C as our top budget paper shredder. The AS890C has an 8.7-inch paper feed width which can handle up to eight pages of documents in one pass. It has a speed of 8.36 feet per minute, and is able to tear up your material into tiny confetti sized pieces, thanks to its cross-cut blade configuration. You can rip up those expired credit cards as well - just remember to send one through at a time since that's all it can take. Aurora equipped their machine with overheat protection and manual reverse to back out of those paper jams when you send too much waste through the feed opening.

HSM Shredstar X20 20-Sheet Cross Cut Shredder

Paper shredders are a necessity for keeping personal information safe, but they tend to emit a fair amount of noise while in use. If you work in an open office area, you may want to look into something that can handle the job without disturbing your co-workers. With a security level of P-4 and a cutting capacity of 20 sheets per pass, this super-silent unit from HSM does all of the things you'd expect from a reliable shredder. The Shredstar X20 runs at a volume of 57 decibels, which is quieter than typical office conversation. This unit shreds paper as well staples, paper clips, CDs, DVDs, credit cards, and even lets you know when the 7.1 gallon bin is full. Even with its generous feed capacity, it's equipped with Anti-Jam technology in the event there's too much material in the cutting slot. HSM even includes a lifetime warranty on the cutting heads so your unit is always ready to get the job done.

Buyer's Guide

A paper shredder is an electronic machine engineered to shred papers into strips of tiny particles. It allows businesses, government organizations, and individuals to dispose of documents containing private, confidential, or sensitive data.

Currently, a wide array of paper cutting machines are available in the market depending on your requirements - personal, commercial, industrial, and residential. This ultimate guide will help you to choose the best paper shredder that suits your purposes.

What are Different Types of Paper Shredders?

Different paper shredders produce different sizes of cuts. Here are the three types of shredding machines according to their cut size:

Strip-Cut or Ribbon-Cut Paper Shredder

A strip-cut shredder is used for cutting non-sensitive papers. It shreds documents in long strips that can be read easily. This type of shredder:

  • Offers low-level security
  • Cuts only vertically
  • Shreds a document into 39 strips approximately

Cross-Cut or Confetti-Cut Paper Shredder

A cross-cut shredder is used for cutting confidential or sensitive documents. It shreds the document diagonally from both corners, creating fine particles that are barely readable. This type of shredder:

  • Offers medium level security
  • Produces short and narrow shreds
  • Cuts an A4 sized paper into 400 particles approximately

Micro-Cut or Particle-Cut Paper Shredder

A micro-cut shredder is a high-level cutting machine that is used for destroying highly confidential documents. It cuts the paper diagonally from both corners, creating extremely minute particles that can’t be read visually. This type of shredder:

  • Offers high-level security
  • Produces square-shaped shreds
  • Shreds an A4 sized paper into 3,700 particles approximately

What are the Key Features of a Paper Shredding Machine?

Run Time

The run time of a paper shredder is also known as the duty cycle. It shows how many minutes a device can operate without taking a break to cool down its motor. The shorter the duty cycle or run time, the longer it’ll take for a cutting machine to shred a given stack of papers.

Sheet Capacity

The sheet capacity of a paper shredder refers to the number of sheets shredded per pass of a document. The more the sheet capacity, the more documents can be cut.


The speed of the document shredder significantly impacts its overall productivity. It can be measured using three metrics - sheet capacity, feet per minute (FPM), and runtime. Since we have already explained runtime and sheet capacity, here we will shed light on FPM. FPM basically refers to how rapidly th paper shredder can cut a document.

Here is the formula to calculate the overall shredder score:

Shredder Score = Runtime x Sheet Capacity x Feet Per Minute

Number of Users

For personal use, you can get your hands on a small shredder that may meet the needs of one user. If you are running small businesses, a midsize shredder will be perfect because it can accommodate up to five users. However, a large paper shredder is equipped to handle over five users.

Auto Feed Shredding

Shredders having an auto feed shredding option allows you to destroy bundles of papers in one go. All you have to do is load a bundle and walk away. This process is also called hands-free shredding because you don’t have to feed paper individually. It saves around 98% time compared to manual feed models and generates real productivity saving over time.

Wastebasket Capacity

Most paper cutting machines come with a removable wastebasket or bin, where the shredded material is stored. The capacity of these bins varies from one variant to another. Let’s say you need a shredder for home or personal use, then a bin of 1-10 gallons would be sufficient. However, if you run a small business, then you need a shredder having a bin of 10-30 gallons. Big enterprises may require a 30-gallon bin to accommodate shredder material.

Sensors and Indicators

Some paper shredding devices have sensors and indicators integrated into the control board that communicates jams, errors, full bins, and other glitches. This feature allows you to troubleshoot, maintain, and make the most of your device.

Noise Level

Most paper shredders generate about 65 decibels of noise, which can be annoying in crowded environments. To overcome this issue, some paper cutting devices are specially designed to produce as little noise as possible and minimize disturbance. If you think noise can be a concern for you, then invest in a shredder that promises a quieter job.

Energy Saving

If you shred multiple times a day, your shredder may consume a lot of energy. To save yourself from energy costs, look for a document shredder having an energy-saving or sleep mode. This feature will significantly cut down the energy consumption of your paper cutting machine.

Final Words

Whether you need a paper shredding machine for your home or business, choosing one can be overwhelming. Hopefully, this guide provides you with enough insights to buy the best paper shredder that suffice your requirements.


Q: What is a suitable shredder for home use?

A: For home use, a small paper shredder will do the job. You can look for a compact device that easily fits into your home office or workspace.

Q: What items can I shred using a paper shredder?

A: While most people think that a paper shredder only cuts paper, there are a host of variants in the market that can also shred stapled or paperclipped documents, CDs, DVDs, and cards.

Q: Is it easy to maintain a paper shredder?

A: Like every other machine with a motor, paper shredders also need care and maintenance. The best way to best way to prolong the life of your device is to shred a pre-oiled or lubricant sheet. It preserves the motor as well as the cutter blades of the shredder.

Q: Can I save energy if my shredder doesn’t have an energy-saving mode?

A: If your shredder doesn’t have an energy-saving mode, then you should always turn off your device when it is not in use. Besides reducing energy costs, it will also ensure your safety.

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