How to Choose A Right Paper Shredder Machine
Choosing a shredder or other office equipment should not be a life-or-death decision. However, most new buyers often don't have much experience, which can lead to complications.
It seems simple enough: find a machine that fits your budget, buy it and get it ready to shred. But it's not as simple as all that. There are a number of factors to consider, and certain machines will be a better fit for your office, depending on your unique needs.
You need to know what your options are. Which features are right for what you want to shred, and how to know ahead of time what will work best for you.
Here are eight great tips for finding the perfect shredder to use in your office.
1) Paper Size
The shredder decision process starts with paper size.
You need to know the size of the paper you shred most often. Most offices use a shredder that takes letter-size paper to handle private information.
However, sometimes you will need more. Certain tax documents and pay stubs are printed out on extra-wide square paper. Folding one or two of these sheets in half before you shred them may not be a problem. But when those papers pile up to two dozen or so, the awkward size becomes an issue.
Make an assessment of the size of the paper you want to shred. You may be able to save money on a smaller shredder, but the extra work of handling oversized paper may not be worth it.
2) Load size
Along with the issue of paper size comes the issue of load size.
If you're shredding small rolls of paper, a simple, narrow shredder input will do the trick. If you destroy 20 sheets of letterhead in a month, you don't need much.
But it's important to be honest about how much you'll be shredding. Anything more than a few sheets and you will want a shredder that can handle a medium sized load. Make sure you do your research ahead of time and get a shredder that is up to the task.
A good rule of thumb is.
Personal shredder for a single user
Small shredders for up to 5 users
The average office shredder, next, works for up to ten people.
For more than ten users, consider a commercial shredder.
3) Type of cutting
When it comes to choosing a shredder, one of the distinguishing factors to consider is the type of cut.
Strip cutting or cross cutting? There are two types of shredders: strip cut and cross cut. Here's how they differ.
Strip shredders are so common that you will find them almost everywhere: at home, at school, and so on. They're so popular that you can buy them at a variety of retailers, so it's not hard to track one down. The cutter will turn the paper into dozens of strips resembling spaghetti. So if your paper falls into the wrong hands, it could potentially be reassembled. These devices are great for shredding junk mail and the like, but if you really need to keep your information private, you should avoid using them.
Which brings us to cross-cut shredders. These machines offer a higher level of security than their strip-cutting counterparts because they turn the paper into countless pieces. It is almost impossible for someone to put back together the documents that have been processed by these machines, so they are perfect for handling bank statements, old tax returns, business documents, health records, documents containing personal information, and other items that need to be kept confidential.
If you think these machines just cut your documents into vertical straight lines, you are sadly mistaken. Strip cutting machines produce long, straight cuts. Cross-cut machines add confidentiality to your shredding job by cutting strips into smaller pieces.
Micro cutters take the cross cut concept and build on it by cutting paper into smaller pieces. Pushing this concept to its limits, we find high-security shredding which reduces paper to particles rather than large chunks.
4) Shredder speed
Shredders are handy items. They are designed to save you time and effort at home or in the office. And a large part of that convenience comes down to speed.
Most modern shredders have a specific run time, which means they can run continuously for a pre-set amount of time. After this time, they need to cool down to keep the machine in its running condition.
These cycles can range from two minutes to over an hour, depending on the brand and size of the shredder. Make sure to research your machine beforehand so you don't have unpleasant surprises.
5) Noise level
The shredder itself is noisy. There's no getting around it - these are boxes full of moving parts whose only job is to cut and tear through small bundles of paper. No matter what brand you buy, it's going to make a certain amount of noise.
If you're willing to invest a little more money, there's a good chance you'll find a noise-controlled device. There are some high-end shredders that boast silent operation, and you may be seriously close to that.
For something on the lower end, there are many shredder videos on YouTube that show how loud they are. Use these to make your decision before you buy, and you'll be able to find the best noise for your money. Alternatively, you can simply go into a store and try out a few models for yourself.
6) Security Rating
Safety features can be an important factor in choosing a shredder. If you have young children that could be at risk around an unattended shredder, a little safety can make all the difference.
As you learned from reading the section above, security is an important consideration when choosing a shredder. There are six levels of security for shredders. They are as follows.
- Level 1. This is the lowest security level. level 1 machines will produce strips or pellets that are 3/8 of an inch wide. This level of security is suitable for destroying junk mail and documents that do not contain a lot of sensitive information.
- Level 2 and Level 3. Shredded paper produced by Level 2 or Level 3 machines tends to be 1/8" or 1/3" wide, rather than 3/8". Machines with these security levels are suitable for handling slightly more sensitive documents, such as those containing birth dates and Social Security numbers.
- Level 4. If you need a high-security shredder to handle financial records, etc., a Level 4 shredder is a good choice. Cross-cut devices tend to produce shredded paper that is 1/16" x 5/8", so they are quite small.
- Level 5 and Level 6. If you want the ultimate in document protection, get a Level 5 or Level 6 unit. These machines offer the most document security, and many of them are compliant with federal privacy laws such as HIPPA and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). There are even devices that have been approved by the National Security Agency/Central Security Agency so they can be used by military and government officials to shred top secret documents.
Safety guards are standard on most types of shredders and help keep fingers out of any dangerous areas. More expensive shredders may use laser sensors to detect fingers and stop the blades before they can cause any damage.
7) Advanced features
Of course, just because you buy a shredder doesn't mean you have to just buy a shredder. Many of these devices come with a variety of advanced features to add to and improve your shredding experience. Some of these include.
Credit card shredding for plastic, paper clips and heavy cards
Anti-tamper technology to keep the feed tray clear
Pull-out bins, which are actually quite common
8) Power Saving
Office appliances require a lot of energy to operate, especially in large quantities. For many people, the decision to buy a shredder depends on how much electricity they are likely to use.
Eighty percent of the energy used to use a shredder is generated during use. For better energy consumption, look for a shredder that prioritizes saving energy while in use and while out and about.
Choose a shredder. Now you're ready.
A shredder is not the kind of machine that most people buy more than once or twice in a lifetime. With that in mind, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed or feel like you didn't give enough thought to your purchase.
Hopefully, this list of eight tips for choosing the right shredder for your office will give you all the insight you need.
Interested in printers, shredders and other high-end office products? Get in touch with us or check out some of our fantastic range of products today and get ready to transform your office.