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Paper shredders help eliminate waste around the home and office environment, but they do more than just that. They offer a way to protect classified and sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Shredding this information not only protects your business, it also prevents identity theft.

While the purpose of each shredder is the same, they vary greatly in their features and specifications. There are basic models for home use and advanced models designed for government or office use. Two types of shredders consumers use are the Fellowes Powershred 225Ci and the Swingline Stack-and-Shred 60X Auto Feed Shredder.

Paper Shredders: What to Look For

There are several types of paper shredders to choose from. Basic shredders offer little more than a single-pass vertical shred while the advanced models offer technology and features that go beyond destroying documents.

Cut Type
There are three cut types that a shredder may have: cross-cut, strip-cut and micro-cut. Cross-cut shreds the paper in two directions diagonally. Strip-cut is a single vertical cut and micro-cut shreds the papers into very small pieces. Micro-cut and cross-cut offer more security, making it difficult to piece the papers back together once they've been shredded. This is an important consideration when it comes to protecting sensitive information and preventing identity theft, especially when shredding documents that have personal information on them. Paper shredders have a rating that determines their level of security, ranging from basic models at P-2 to government-grade models at P-7.

Safety Features
When working with a machine that uses sharp blades, safety is always an important consideration. Some paper shredders feature advanced technology that reduces the possibility of an injury, such as a motor that stops running when your hands touch the shredder in any way. Others feature slim intake slots that adult fingers won't fit into, blade guards and lockout keys that prevent children from accidentally turning the shredder on.

Capacity
A paper shredder's capacity depends on two factors: sheet capacity and can capacity. The sheet capacity tells you how many sheets of paper you can insert at a time, while the bin capacity determines how much paper it can hold before it needs emptying. Lower sheet capacities are better for personal use, rather than office use. If you're looking to shred hundreds or thousands of papers a day, it's better to choose a commercial-grade shredder that is built to handle the workload to prevent motor burnout.

Versatility
While the primary purpose of a paper shredder is to break down documents, many models shred even more materials. They can shred CDs or DVDs, credit cards, paper clips, staples and even junk mail that hasn't been opened. If you're looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, make sure that it is able to handle more than just basic documents.

Before purchasing a paper shredder for your home or office, you'll want to thoroughly evaluate the various models on the market. Compare features and specifications, paying attention to the ones that have the features you need.

AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Review

The AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder is an affordable and effective tool you can use to keep your personal and business information from falling in to the wrong hands. As indicated by its name, this shredder is capable of destroying credit cards in addition to paper documents. Its six-sheet limit makes it a good fit for light use in an environment that doesn’t require continuous paper shredding.

This device performs cross-cut document shredding. Cross-cut shredders cut paper in two diagonal directions, which makes them significantly more effective than strip-cut shredders but not as secure as micro-cut shredders that produce confetti-like strips. Paper is shredded into strips .22 x 1.84" inches in size.

The best paper shredders come equipped with safety features that reduce the possibility of injury. This AmazonBasics document shredder lacks some high-end safety features like lockable control buttons and auto shutoff when touched, but it is designed with a slender intake slot that minimizes the risk of accidental injury. It’s also designed with a safety interlock mechanism that prevents the shredder from operating if the top is not seated properly on the bin.

The shredder’s paper capacity is six sheets, which makes it ideal for destroying small amounts of documentation at a time. It also comes with a bonus intake slot designed specifically for credit cards. The paper intake measures 8.7 inches in width and is thick enough to accept stapled documents as long as you limit input to no more than six sheets at once. The bin capacity is 3.8 gallons, which means you may have to empty it frequently if it’s used on a daily basis.

Additional features of the AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder include thermal control protection that shuts the motor off if begins to overheat. The shredder can be run continuously for up to two minutes before requiring a cool-down period of 30 minutes. Auto start runs the unit when paper is inserted into the feed, and a manual reverse option lets you clear paper jams.

If you’re looking for a commercial-grade document shredder capable of running for extended periods of time, you may want to look elsewhere. But if your needs are limited to occasional use and you’re seeking to strike a balance between utility and cost, this AmazonBasics shredder may fit the bill capably.

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Ativa V726 Review

The Ativa V726 provides a high-quality shredding service specifically for key tapes. It's an effective tool for those wanting to keep information confidential. It has a powerful motor for high-performance shredding, which prevents high-security classified data from falling into the wrong hands.

This unique shredder cuts a strip of military key tape (COMMSEC) at a rate of 3.5 inches per second with a single sheet capacity. Shredded paper tape is micro-cut into 3/100 x 1/10-inch particles, ensuring high-level privacy of your confidential data. This shredder has the highest possible security rating of P-7 and is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The built-in waste bin is removable for a clean and easy disposal of shredded data. It has a capacity of 1.3 gallons with an automatic stop feature. When the waste bin is full or when the door is open, the unit will not operate. Other features include the automatic start and stop function, which uses a photoelectric cell to detect when you feed the tape into the opening. It automatically starts working when it detects the media.

An on and off rocker switch lets you choose when to operate it manually. Additionally, it has a manual reverse mode to retrieve data fed by accident into the entry slot or to back the tape out if a jam occurs. The width of the entry slot is 1.5 inches, which is specially designed for shredding key tape. There is also a stand-by mode that uses no power, saving you money.

The shredder's thermal fuse protects the motor from a power overload and from overheating, preventing the motor from burning out. It includes a one-year warranty on parts and cutters as well as a 90-day labor warranty.

The Ativa V726 provides a high-range shredding service. It has the highest possible security rating, ensuring the best possible privacy of important data. This shredder is specially designed for destroying key tape; it does not accept any other media forms, not even standard paper. The shredder has a compact design that easily fits on a desk. It micro-cuts tapes to ensure privacy and has multiple features, including an automatic on and off function, manual reverse, and an energy-saving standby mode for low energy consumption.

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Aurora AU1000MA 10-Sheet Micro-Cut Review

This paper shredder has a powerful motor that's capable of cutting up to 10 sheets of paper at a time. Its micro-cut blades cut documents, CDs, DVDs and credit cards into 5/32 x 15/32-inch pieces for a P-4 security rating on the DNI scale. This prevents others from piecing your sensitive or classified information back together. There's also no need to remove staples or paper clips from your documents; the shredder cuts through them easily.

Several features increase its safety, including a feature that immediately powers the machine down in the event of a forced entry. Additionally, if the machine overloads or starts to overheat, the auto-off feature kicks in and powers it off. This document shredder has a continuous runtime of up to 12 minutes at its full capacity before it requires a cool-down period.

There are several indicator lights on the top of this paper shredder that indicate its status. You're immediately alerted when the door is open, the bin is full and if it’s overloaded or overheated. It is ultra-quiet, even when in operation mode and features an automatic energy-saving feature. After five minutes of inactivity, it powers off automatically. Additionally, this document shredder has jam-free technology that prevents it from operating when it's over capacity.

The Aurora AU1000MA has a 5-gallon waste bin capacity that holds up to 320 sheets of shredded paper. It has a peek-through window that shows you how full it is and pulls out for easy disposal of its contents. Rolling casters make it easy to move between rooms or offices. The machine itself has a one-year warranty, while the cutter has a five-year warranty.

Overall, the Aurora AU1000MA offers several notable functions that make it a worthy investment for the home or small office. Its security level falls in the middle of the DNI scale, and it's able to handle up to 10 sheets in a single pass. However, it only operates for 12 minutes continuously, so it's probably not a good fit for busy offices that do a lot of shredding.

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Destroyit 2360SMC High-Security Review

The Destroyit 2360SMC is a high-end machine that helps prevent identify theft and the sharing of sensitive information by shredding documentsquickly and efficiently. It contains many features for use in office settings, businesses or agencies that have a need to protect information on a regular basis.

The powerful motor is capable of cutting five to seven sheets in a single pass at a speed of 14 feet per minute. It uses a super micro-cut mode that shreds papers into 1/32 x 3/16-inch pieces, reducing the possibility of piecing documents back together. The document shredder offers a P-6 level of security and is HIPAA/FACTA compliant. It also meets NSA/CSS specifications and is DOD approved.

The Destroyit High-Security Shredder contains a single-phase motor with an automatic reverse and power-cut off feature that helps prevent paper jams. It features back-lit symbols that light up in different colors to indicate the machine's status. With a feed opening of 9.5 inches, it accommodates documents of different sizes. Since the shredder bags are reusable, it's also an eco-friendly option. It also features casters that allow you to move it around as needed.

The hardened steel blades on this paper shredder cut through different types of paper in seconds; however they resist soft metals. It quietly operates at a sound level of 54 decibels without paper and 68 decibels with paper. The energy saving mode protects against overheating and shuts the machine down after one hour of inactivity. This document shredder has a 30-minute runtime before it requires a cool-down period of 10 to 15 minutes between uses.

Due to the powerful motor and sharp blades, this paper shredder has a safety system that includes an electronically controlled safety shield on the feed opening to prevent accidents if a hand touches the opening. It also has a stop feature controlled by a photocell. The Destroyit 2360SMC shuts down automatically when the shred bag is full or the cabinet door opens. The bin holds up to 13 gallons of shredded paper, which eliminates frequent emptying. It removes easily for quick disposal of the refuse.

Designed for government agencies and other situations where protecting classified information is essential, it eliminates the need for an outside shredding service. It works quietly and has several safety features that reduce energy needs and the risk of injury. While it only shreds five to seven papers in a single pass and doesn't accept other media types, it does offer a high level of security with its P-6 rating.

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Fellowes Powershred 225Ci Review

The Fellowes Powershred 225Ci is a high-grade paper shredder that helps eliminate identity theft by shredding classified documents or those with sensitive information. It has a host of advanced features and is ideal for an office setting where there are multiple users.

Its powerful motor cuts up to 20 sheets at a time when used in both cross-cut and strip-cut modes. When you use it in micro-cut mode, it only takes up to 14 sheets of paper at a time. With the micro-cut feature, it shreds paper into .08 x .47 inches, offering a P-4 level security based on the DNI standards. It also features a continuous run duty cycle, which allows it to remain on without the risk of burning out the motor.

The Powershred 225Ci is 100 percent jamproof with a system that features three levels. Overfeeding is eliminated with a sensor on the paper entry, and then the system powers through papers that wrinkle or fold as the sheets feed through. If the sheets do not feed through cleanly, the paper shredder will auto-reverse to prevent a jam. The third level has a light bar that indicates when you are feeding the machine more than its recommended capacity.

Its blades are made of powerful steel, letting you shred more than just papers or documents. This paper shredder cuts through DVDs or CDs, as well as staples and paper clips that remain on the papers, increasing efficiency. Unopened mail fits easily through the slots and doesn't need to be unfolded beforehand. The shredder's ultra-quiet technology ensures it emits very little noise, and its energy saving system conserves energy whether it's in use or on standby.

Because of the shredder's powerful motor and sharp blades, Fellowes placed a sensor that surrounds the intake slot and automatically powers the paper shredder down if your hand touches the opening, reducing the risk of injury significantly. The paper bin holds up to 16 gallons and is easily removed for disposing of its contents.

Designed for up to five users or 10,000 sheets daily, the Fellowes Powershred 225Ci is ideal for using in offices where shredding papers is constant. With its ability to power through tough jobs and its built-in safety features, it offers a real solution to identity theft and to destroying classified documents, eliminating the need for shredding services.

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Rosewill RFSH-81401 Reviews

The Rosewill RFSH-81401 is a light-duty machine that helps eliminate the possibility of identity theft or the inappropriate sharing of sensitive information. It shreds classified documents and files in just seconds, without the need for further shredding services.

This document shredder has the capacity to shred up to eight sheets of paper in a single pass. It offers a cross-cut that creates confetti as small as approximately 4/25 x 1 1/2 inches in size. This makes it nearly impossible for anyone to gather and piece any of the documents or files back together, especially when you shred multiple sheets together. Based on DNI standards, the shredder offers a P-4 security level, which is in the middle of the security range. It runs continuously for two minutes before it needs to cool down, and it has an auto shut-off feature for safety.

This paper shredder has a throat width of 8.66 inches, and it works equally well with standard and legal paper lengths. Its auto-start feature starts shredding once the sensor detects the paper or media, and it stops when the paper is completely through. To eliminate jams, it has a manual reverse option. This also gives you the opportunity to retrieve paper during the shredding process. It feeds up to 9 feet, or roughly nine sheets, per minute.

The Rosewill shredder has strong, sharp blades that cut through not only paper but also credit cards. It can also cut through the staples left in place on your documents. With its built-in media destroyer, you can feed unopened mail through the slot to save additional time.

This paper shredder has a 3.2-gallon waste bin that eliminates frequent dumping. Removing the waste bin and disposing of the contents is simple. The see-through window lets you know when the machine is reaching its capacity so that you can empty it and prevent a slowdown in performance. It comes with a one-year warranty on both parts and labor.

Designed for individual use, this paper shredder is suitable for home or small office use. Though it only shreds 8 pieces of paper at once, it can save time and money, eliminating the need for shredding services. It also helps to eliminate the clutter that comes with stacks of paper lying around by compacting it. Despite its lower capacity, it has a midrange security classification that reduces the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

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Royal 12-Sheet Cross Cut Review

The Royal 112MX is a robust midrange document shredder that helps protect your privacy. It's suitable for use in an office or at home for shredding documents with sensitive information or simply for eliminating waste.

This paper shredder has a 1/2-horsepower motor that shreds up to 12 sheets of paper at a time. It features jam-resistant cross-cut blades to eliminate potential paper jams. However, it has an automatic shut-off function if a jam does occur; it restarts when the blades are clear. You don't need to remove staples beforehand, as this paper shredder cuts through them.

The machine shreds more than just paper; it also handles tough materials such as DVDs or CDs, cardboard and credit cards. This machine shreds papers and documents into 5/32 x 1 5/8-inch pieces, making them almost unreadable and difficult to piece back together. It has a security level rating of P-3, which is toward the lower end of the scale.

It accommodates up to 3.25 gallons of shredded paper with a built-in wastebasket that you can easily clean out. The peek-through window in front lets you see when it's reaching capacity and needs changing. It offers a continuous run cycle that operates for two full minutes before it needs a cooling-down period, and it has a shredding speed of approximately 6.56 pages per minute.

This paper shredder is easy to use with a simple on and off switch and an auto-feed feature that lets you feed documents at any time. It has four caster wheels that you can lock to keep in place or unlock to transport it between rooms. The paper slot is 9 inches wide, and there's a separate slot for credit card and CD shredding, so you can insert them at a straight angle.

The Royal 112MX provides a midrange shredding service that lowers the risk of identity theft and other security issues. Its 12-sheet capacity lets you shred quickly and efficiently. However, the shredder can only shred in a continuous cycle for two minutes, which won't work in situations where you need high-volume shredding. Additionally, if you're looking to shred highly sensitive documents on a regular basis, you might want to invest in a paper shredder with a higher security rating.

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ShredCare 8-Sheet Diamond-Cut Review

The ShredCare MQ80H is a personal or small business solution to help you protect your sensitive information. It has many advanced features and eliminates the need for shredding services.

This paper shredder cuts through up to eight pages at once. It shreds the pages into approximately 1/4 x 2-inch diamonds, making it difficult to reassemble documents. The shreds lay flat, so you don't have to dump the bin very often. The 2-gallon waste bin is easy to remove for content disposal. It has a P-2 security rating because of the large size of the shredded pieces, so it's not considered as secure as those that have higher ratings.

The document shredder offers an easy user experience and has features that resist jamming. It has the ability to power through light overfeeding using a sensor that shreds difficult pages easily. There is also a useful auto reverse feature that backs the paper out of the slot, quickly clearing up any jams that prevent the shredder from functioning properly.

The steel blades don't just shred through papers; you can also feed your old credit cards through a special slot to destroy them and prevent credit card fraud. The separate slot helps to preserve the sharpness of the blades.

The document shredder includes built-in safety features. It automatically powers off when your hand touches the sensor near the opening to help reduce the risk of injuries. Additionally, it won't work at all if the basket is not properly in place. A door open light alerts you to the problem, and a safety interlock tab ensures a proper seating of the basket. The shredder weighs 16 pounds and has a cushioned handle that allows you to transport it easily.

The ShredCare MQ80H is suitable for personal use or for small business needs. It has quite a few features for a shredder in its class, but can only shred eight pages at one time. One of its pitfalls is that it only provides a P-2 level of security, which is on the low end of the scale. If you're looking for heightened security, you may want to find a paper shredder that has a higher classification.

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Swingline Stack-and-Shred 60X Auto Feed Review

The Swingline Stack and Shred 60X is an automatic feed shredder that offers versatility for the home or individual office space. It combines a manual and automatic feed, and it gives you the option to shred credit cards as well.

This paper shredder shreds up to 60 sheets at a time using the automatic feed option. It opens to reveal the tray where you stack the documents, and then you can shut it and walk away while the machine does the rest. It shreds up to 10 sheets of paper per minute, although it works best with flat, full-size paper. Oddly shaped papers, junk mail or receipts typically feed better through the manual slot.

The manual document shredder on the top of the unit takes up to five sheets of paper at a time. You can also feed it credit cards as well as documents with staples or paper clips attached. It has a finger-safe protector and an auto-reverse feature for clearing jams, and it has a manual bypass so that you can shred glossy documents or folded paper.

The pullout bin for this document shredder has a 4-gallon capacity with a see-through window, so you can view how full it is at any time. It also has an indicator that lets you know when to empty it. This shredder is just over 2 feet high and will fit under most desks, even with the top open. However, it does weigh close to 20 pounds and does not have wheels, which affects its mobility.

Each document is cross-cut into 3/16 x 1 3/4 inches, with 355 shreds per page, offering a P-3 level security rating. It has a continuous runtime of 10 minutes with a 40-minute cool-down period. If the paper shredder gets too hot, its heat sensor feature turns it off automatically, and a red indicator light comes on to alert you to its status. It also has an automatic power save option to conserve energy when not in use. Both the cutter and the machine come with a one-year warranty.

The Swingline Stack and Shred 60X is a quiet, compact paper shredder that is suitable for personal or small office use. However, it cannot handle the constant shredding of a busy office. The hands-free feature of the automatic feed lets you eliminate an entire stack of shredding in a single pass. It does not shred CDs or DVDs, which may limit its functionality if you keep sensitive information that needs destruction on those media types.

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