Home Office and Work Shredders Guide to Selecting a Home Office Shredder

Guide to Selecting a Home Office Shredder

What Is a Paper Shredder?

Shredding a paper

A paper shredder is an electronic device that allows you to shred documents containing official or sensitive information into unreadable particles. These devices have rotating cutting blades that are driven using an electric motor that does all the work. 

These shredders can cut up paper into tiny particles depending on the type of paper you use. The kind of shredder you choose also has an effect on the way the paper cuts. There are three types of shredders that allow you to cut your confidential papers in different ways. You can shred them into long strips or even tiny shreds that are almost like confetti.

A shredder is a must in every home office. The process is not only super satisfying but also helps keep sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands. Ensure that you destroy old documents with sensitive information because it can be used for identity theft and cause issues later on. 

Depending on the kind of information you want to destroy and how unreadable you want to make it, there are different kinds of shredders available. There are also other features that you should consider when purchasing a paper shredder for your home office. 

Three Types of Paper Shredders

Shredders come in various sizes and styles depending on the kind of security you want. They are usually divided into three kinds depending on your desired cut style. The types of paper shredders include strip-cut paper shredders, crosscut paper shredders, and micro-cut paper shredders. If you want more security, micro-cut shredders are known to be much safer as they shred the paper into much smaller pieces. Here are the three kinds of paper shredders. 


Strip-cut paper shredders are excellent for non-confidential documents because they are designed to cut your paper into long narrow strips. This leaves the text reasonably readable, and if someone was determined, they could piece it together. This kind of paper shredder cuts only vertically and slices one piece of A4-size paper into 39 strips. 


A crosscut paper shredder is excellent for confidential documents because it is designed to shred paper into small pieces. This kind of paper shredder shreds papers diagonally, meaning that, in the end, they are short strips that are barely readable. Due to how small the pieces are, a crosscut paper shredder offers a medium level of security and can be used to shred sensitive documents. 

Since these paper shredders cut from both corners inwards, they can shred an A4-sized paper into 400 particles. This means that this shredder makes it much harder to put together. 


A micro-cut shredder is the most advanced paper shredder available on the market. If you have highly confidential documents that need shredding, you should ideally get micro-cut paper shredders. Like a crosscut paper shredder, it cuts paper diagonally from both corners. The blades are designed to be much more refined, meaning that an A4-size sheet shreds the paper into tiny square-shaped particles that are almost readable.  

A micro-cut paper shredder can easily shred an A4-sized document into 3700 particles. Due to this, it is the best kind of paper shredder for your home office if you regularly deal with sensitive information.

What Are Shredder Security Levels?

If you want to get rid of some confidential documents in your home office safe, a shredder is the best way to do it. The different kinds of shredder types available do not just offer variety. They also offer different levels of security. There are a total of 7 levels of security in which you can shred your paper in. 

General Security Level Maximum Particle Size
Level 1 2000mm2
Level 2 800mm2 (around 35 strips)
Level 3 320mm2 (around 200 particles)
Level 4 160mm2 (around 400 particles)
Level 5 30mm2 (2000 particles)
Level 6 10mm2 (6000 particles)
Level 7 5mm2 (12500 particles)

Strip-cut shredders are not very secure as they only offer between levels 1 to 2 of security. This means they will destroy your document, but the document will still be readable. Due to their low level of security, you should not use them for confidential papers but only for personal or home office use. 

Cross-shredders are much more secure because they cut the paper you insert into strips. It then takes it a step further and cuts it horizontally, so the pieces are much smaller than in a strip-cut paper shredder. They offer levels 3 to 5 of security, depending on how small the pieces are. These shredders are perfect for confidential and sensitive data.

Micro-shredders offer levels 6 to 7 of security because they turn the paper into tiny particles that are almost impossible to put together. If you have top-secret documents that you need to destroy, a micro-shredder is perfect. These are primarily used in environments where extremely sensitive information is handled. 

How To Choose the Best Home Office Shredder

When choosing an office shredder for your home office, it is essential to keep a few factors in mind so that you purchase the best one on the market. Depending on your use, you will need different kinds of shredders. Here is how you can choose the best possible shredder for your home office.

Sheet Capacity

One of the most important things to consider is the size of the paper shredder. Ensure that you buy a paper shredder that is the right size for your use. 

If you intend to use it at home, you should purchase a small shredder. Office shredders usually have multiple people using a single shredder, so a large or industrial shredder will work best in that setting. 

Before settling on a shredder, you should ask yourself how many people will be using it and whether it will be used occasionally or regularly. If you need a paper shredder that only one person will use, it is best to get a small one. These have a run time of 1 to 5 minutes and can shred around 10 sheets at a time. They also have a small bin capacity and can only hold 1 to 7 gallons of waste. 

If more than one and less than five people are using the shredder, it would be best to get a medium-sized one. These usually run for about 5 to 10 minutes and can easily handle 10 to 30 sheets simultaneously. Their bin size is also slightly larger than small shredders and can hold 5 to 10 gallons of shredding.

If more than 5 people will be using the paper shredder, you should get a large or industrial-sized one. These have a much longer run time of 30 minutes, and you can also shred 20 sheets or more at a time. These paper shredders also have a large bin capacity and can easily handle 10 or more gallons of waste. 

Sheet Capacity

The sheet capacity is the maximum amount of sheets you can shred in a single pass. If you purchase a basic shredder, you will most likely be able to shred 1 to 3 documents per pass. On the other hand, more expensive shredders are designed to be much more efficient and have sharper blades. Using these, you will be able to shred at least 20 sheets per pass.

If you have a lot of paper to shred daily, ensure you purchase a paper shredder with a higher sheet capacity. Using such a shredder means that you can work more efficiently and shred more in less time. On the other hand, if you do not have a lot of paper, an average shredder will work just fine. 

A manual feed paper shredder can shred around 10 to 20 sheets per pass, making them perfect for small or home offices. It is best to check the details before you purchase it. Usually, manufacturers will tell you a higher number than what the shredder can actually handle, so it is best to be cautious and shred less than its capacity. 

The Capacity of the Wastebasket 

To collect shredded paper, most paper shredders come with a waste basket. These are usually either pull-out bins or lift-off head shredders. When purchasing a paper shredder, ensure that you choose the most suitable one. To clean a basic lift-off head paper shredder, you will need to lift off the head of the basic variant and empty the bin. 

Although lift-off bins are easier to clean, they can get annoying when you have a small shredder and large amounts of paper. You will need to keep removing the head and emptying the bin. 

In this case, you should invest in a pull-out shredder. These have removable bins that you can use to collect all the paper particles. Once the container is full, you can pull it out and empty it. These kinds of bins are usually found in more professional paper shredders. 

Bin Capacity Use
1 to 10 gallons. Can be used for small tasks at home or in small offices.
10 to 30 gallons It can be used in small to medium offices
30 gallons or more It can be used in large offices or industrial settings.

The bin capacity is an essential consideration because it determines how often you will need to empty out the bin. If you do not have a lot of things to shred, you can purchase a paper shredder with a small capacity. On the other hand, if the paper shredder will be used by multiple people daily, it is best to purchase one with a larger capacity.

The kind of shredding your shredder will also affect how quickly the shredder fills up. If you purchase a strip-cut shredder, the bin will fill up much quicker because long strips of paper take up more space than tiny particles. 


The maximum run time your shredder can shred for is an important consideration to consider when purchasing a paper shredder. The run-time is also called a duty cycle, meaning how many minutes you can operate your shredder before you need to let it cool down. Usually, shredders only last for a couple of minutes before the motor needs to cool down. If you purchase a heavy-duty shredder, it will most be able to shred for 30 minutes straight without the motor heating up. 

Speed of the Shredder

The speed of the shredder is how fast it can shred the paper. To know the speed, you must know the sheet capacity, the feet per minute, and the run time. The feet per minute is how quickly the shredder can shred a piece of paper. By multiplying all these values, you will get the speed of the shredder or its performance rating. 

What Do You Want To Shred?

Another important consideration when purchasing a shredder is what you want to shred. A shredder is capable of shredding much more than paper. It can effectively shred staples, paperclips, loyalty cards, credit cards, CDs, DVDs, and even ID cards.

Ordinary shredders can easily shred documents that have a tiny staple. Still, if you want a stronger shredder that can easily handle loyalty cards, you should look for a stronger shredder. Paper shredders designed to handle loyalty cards usually have a separate slot where you can put these cards to shred them. Shredders that can shred CDs completely disintegrate them into small particles so they cannot be put together. 

You can also shred cardboard using shredders. However, you should ensure that the shredder you purchase has that capability because not all shredders can slice through it.

Manual Feed or Automatic Shredder

Paper shredders are divided into two further categories, namely manual feed or automatic shredder. A manual shredder needs to be fed each sheet by hand, meaning that you need to sit there and put in the sheets by hand. If you have a massive pile of documents that need to be shredded, you should look into buying an automatic shredder.

An automatic or auto-feed shredder saves both time and speed of paper shredding. It has auto-feed functionality that you can use to shred your paper into tiny pieces. The input tray to these shredders is similar to that of a printer, so you load the tray with documents that need to be shredded, and the paper shredder will take care of the rest. These trays can hold anywhere between 100 and 500 sheets of paper, depending on the size of the shredder.

Safety Features

A paper shredder uses sharp cutting blades, meaning it needs to be handled with care. You should not leave it unattended when you are shredding and keep a close eye on it. When not in use, you should remove the plug. Especially if there are little kids or pets around. 

Some paper shredders have their own safety features, including a safety lock and sensor. A safety lock is designed to lock the shredder even when plugged in to avoid mishaps. A safety sensor is an electric touch sensor placed around the paper entry area. It detects when a finger or hand is touching or near the opening and automatically shuts off. 

When purchasing a paper shredder, ensure it comes with these safety features.

Noise Level

Paper shredders usually produce around 65 decibels while shredding, making them as noisy as a washing machine. This can be pretty distracting if you like to work in silence, so you should ideally look for a quiet machine. Some shredders are designed to make as little noise as possible and are often dubbed to have silent shred performance. Ensure you purchase these kinds of shredders. 

Basic shredders usually make a lot of noise, and that too with a high-pitched frequency. You must stay away from such machines and instead opt for more professional office shredders. Silent paper shredders usually make less than 60dB of noise. Standard paper shredders make 60 to 70dB of noise, and loud paper shredders make more than 70dB of noise. 

Power Saving

It is always advisable to purchase a paper shredder that helps you save energy. This is better for reducing energy costs and for your own safety. If you have a lot of paper to shred each day, turning your paper shredder on multiple times a day can get a bit tiring. To solve this issue, you should consider an energy-saving paper shredder and keep it on sleep mode or standby, as it consumes the least energy in this setting. 

Pros and Cons of Paper Shredders

Pros  Cons
They help you protect your information. It takes time to shred paper
They help in waste management Safety risk
Easily available Paper jams can occur
They can be used on more than paper Basic shredders won’t hold up for large volumes of paper.


What should I look for in an office shredder?

If you want to purchase an office shredder, focus on its sheet capacity, how it shreds paper, the size of its dustbin capacity, and how environmentally friendly it is. 

Is it worth it to invest in a paper shredder?

A paper shredder is a handy device for your workplace as it helps you discard sensitive information so it can’t be stolen or misused. It is also better for the environment compared to other waste streams.

How long do paper shredders last?

If you take good care of paper shredders and oil them regularly, they should last you for around 10 years.


Paper shredders are extremely useful devices that can help keep your sensitive and confidential data away from prying eyes. If you want to make your documents and cards unreadable, you should invest in a high-quality paper shredder. 

When purchasing a shredder to put beside your home office chair, ensure that you pay attention to the amount of security it offers, its size, the kind of shredding it does, safety features, and sheet capacity. 

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