Shredder Reviews

By: Amy Livingston on September 13, 2017

Editor's Note: For home and business use, experts and users say that Fellowes paper shredders will keep personal data and other sensitive information away from prying eyes. If your budget is a concern, we found some AmazonBasics shredders that do a good job at a better price. For high volume situation, a Staples shredder earns top scores.

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cut type -- Crosscut Cut size – 0.156" x 1.5" Bin capacity – 9 gallons

Best office shredder

The Fellowes Powershred 99Ci is the best paper shredder for small- to medium-sized offices. Both experts and users say it shreds credit cards, staples, data discs, and unopened junk mail into small strips without jamming. This console shredder has a pull-out bin for easy emptying, runs quietly, and has strong safety features. It comes with a two-year warranty and the company's customer service is well regarded.

Buy for $204.99
Staples SPL-BXC242A-CC Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Cut type -- Crosscut Cut size – 0.156" x 1.58" Bin capacity – 8 gallons

High-volume office shredder

The Staples SPL-TXC24A is a good choice for offices with high-volume shredding needs. It can take up to 24 pages at once, and it can handle credit cards, discs, paper clips, and junk mail and more with ease. Reviews indicate it's pretty quiet and almost impossible to jam. Run time is also good, at up to 20 minutes, and the 3-year warranty is the longest we've seen.

Fellowes Powershred 79Ci Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cut type -- Crosscut Cut size – 0.156" x 1.5" Bin capacity – 6 gallons

Best home shredder

The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci gets more recommendations than any other paper shredder. Perfect for home use, this light-duty shredder can shred 6 to 16 sheets of paper at a time, and can deal with credit cards, data discs, junk mail, staples, paper clips and more without skipping a beat. It combines good safety features with quiet operation, a pull-out waste bin, and mostly jam-free performance.

Buy for $169.98
AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cut type -- Crosscut Cut size -- 0.2" x 1.8" Bin capacity – 3.8 gallons

Best cheap shredder

The AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder can't do anything fancy, but it's a good basic performer at a bargain-basement price. It can process up to 6 sheets of paper at a time, or a single credit card, and it won't jam as long as you don't overfeed it. It only runs for a few minutes at a stretch, but that's long enough for most users.

Buy for $29.99

Types of Shredders

Office Shredders

Small businesses, and individuals who need to shred lots of sensitive documents, need a shredder that can stand up to a heavy workload. The best paper shredders for office use have longer run times and larger bin capacities than home shredders, and they can chew through bundles of paper, credit cards or data discs at much faster speeds.

Home Shredders

For home and home office users, a heavy-duty office paper shredder can be overkill. A smaller paper shredder that takes fewer sheets at a time can do a perfectly adequate job at a much more attractive price. Security is a little lower than with pricier office shredders, but still more than adequate for typical consumers.

Shredders let you destroy documents securely

Paper shredders can help protect your privacy by shredding documents into bits so small that the information they contain is illegible. Most shredders today can shred credit cards as well as paper, and they won't skip a beat if you leave behind some staples or small paper clips. Some can even shred CDs and DVDs, which is useful for destroying backup discs with private information. But why should you buy a shredder? What are the chances someone will go through your trash, anyway?

According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, about 15.4 million people -- 6 percent of the U.S. adult population --were victims of some form of identity theft in 2016. Many of the thieves hacked into their victims' accounts online, but those without an online presence are far from immune. Even worse, the study found that those that are not "digitally connected" usually take longer to spot fraudulent usage and are often subject to higher fraud amounts. To completely protect yourself from theft and fraud, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends shredding all documents with account numbers on them -- including "receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents" -- as soon as you no longer need them.

Shredders and security

Paper shredders offer different degrees of information security:

  • Strip-cut shredders, which cut paper into long, noodle-like strips, can handle higher volumes, but they're also the least secure type. They're also pretty rare these days; even the cheapest paper shredder covered in this report is a crosscut model.
  • Crosscut shredders (also called confetti-cut shredders) cut paper lengthwise and crosswise, which makes it more difficult to piece together documents that are still legible. We found recommendations for crosscut paper shredders ranging from $30 to $280.
  • Micro-cut shredders are the most secure; they chew paper into tiny, diamond-shaped scraps. They're also the most expensive, starting at around $100.

Paper shredders often are rated on a seven-point security scale, established by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN). Level P-1 shredders are the least secure type, and P-7 is the most secure. For private personal or business documents, the DIN recommends crosscut shredders with a security level of P-3 or higher. You can see descriptions of the different security ratings on the DIN website, along with examples of how finely the different kinds of shredders destroy documents.

Paper shredder styles

Wastebasket paper shredders, which are the size of a small trashcan, are usually adequate for personal use -- that is, light-volume needs like shredding tax forms or monthly bills with private information. The downside to these is that they typically have smaller bin capacities than other shredder types, and you have to lift the motor and cutters off the bin to empty it.

Console-style paper shredders, on the other hand, have bins that you can simply pull out to empty. Console shredders tend to be more expensive than wastebasket-style shredders, but they're much more convenient for heavy users.

In addition to the style of your shredder, you need to consider its run time and feed capacity. Run time is the maximum number of minutes a shredder can work without needing a cool-down period; exceeding this limit can overheat and possibly damage the shredder. Feed capacity is the number of pages a shredder can claw through at once, and it's a figure that manufacturers tend to exaggerate. If your paper shredder says it can accept 8 sheets, 6 is a safer bet; if it says it can handle 24 sheets, it will work better and last longer if you keep to 20 or less.

Paper shredder safety

Because paper shredders are powerful enough to chew through flesh as well as paper, safety features are key. Slots should be slim to minimize the chance that a finger will be inserted; separate thicker slots for credit cards and data discs should have safety covers. If you have children or pets, it's wise to consider a shredder with lock-out capabilities or one that will shut off automatically if a finger gets too close to the insertion slot. If you have an older paper shredder that doesn't include these features, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers a list of safety guidelines for using it.

Finding The Best Shredders
Our Sources
"The Best Paper Shredders of 2017"
"The Best Shredders for Tax Time and Beyond"
"Destroy them all: We brutally review 5 professional document shredders"

We found lots of helpful feedback when it came time to create this report. Professional reviews from computer sites and publications such as PC World and TechGearLab.com, as well as consumer resources like ConsumerReports.org and Good Housekeeping, helped us evaluate how fast and quiet the machines are and how easily they jam. User reviews from retail sites such as Amazon.com, Staples.com, and OfficeDepot.com showed us how well the shredders hold up during real-world use.

In analyzing this data, we considered a number of factors, including performance, security, and ease of use. We also looked at manufacturer specs for shredding speed, feed capacity, run time, and safety features, and consulted reviews to see how well a shredder met those claims. Based on this research, we name the best shredders for office and home users, as well as some budget models that perform nearly as well.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Shredders buying guide

What every best Shredders has:

  • Crosscut shredding.
  • Fast shred speeds.
  • Jam-free operation.

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