While most of the fears people have regarding fraud these days is concentrated on the digital space, your physical documents are still a pretty vulnerable pathway for criminals to get access to your personal or professional identity. Whether you’re the owner of a business or an individual, a shredder can provide one of the best ways to protect your most sensitive information. And while these are pretty simple devices at their heart, there’s definitely a big difference between the best paper shredders and the worst.
That’s why we’ve made this guide. Each of the 10 models we’ve reviewed on this list is in the running for the best paper shredder of 2020. We’ve also provided a detailed guide that lets you expedite the shopping process.
TL;DR - 10 Best Paper Shredders:
- AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Home Office Shredder
- Fellowes 3825001 Powershred 225Ci Shredder
- Bonsaii 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
- Aurora AU870MA 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper Shredder
- ROY29351X 14-SH MICROCUT SHREDDER
- Sentinel FM121P 12-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder
- Swingline Paper Shredder
- Boxis AF120 Autoshred 120-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder
- GBC Paper 14 Sheet Shredder
- GoECOlife GMC225Pi 22 Sheet Micro-Cut Paper Shredder
1. AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Home Office Shredder
AmazonBasics may take a back to basics approach with their paper shredder, but in terms of raw power, it's still up to the task of handling all but the most serious home offices. It's powerful enough to shred thick plastic or up to 12 sheets of paper at the same time, and it comes with some important safety features. The shredder AmazonBasics 12 sheet includes a manual reverse for resolving any paper jams and thermal protection that will automatically shut this paper shredder off if it overheats. If you're looking for a simple solution for your personal or professional use, this cheap model is one of the best options available to you.
2. Fellowes 3825001 Powershred 225Ci Shredder
The AmazonBasics may be enough for your home office, but if you're working in an office with a high volume of sensitive papers - say a law firm or doctor's office - you need something significantly beefier. That's where the 3825001 Powershred from Fellowes comes in. The ridiculously high volume of paperwork this shredder can handle makes it one of the best choices for your office and well worth the cost of a few hundred bucks. The continuous duty monitor can destroy practically anything without risk of jamming. It's also completely safe to use thanks to the SafeSense technology that activates whenever your hands touch the opening of this shredder.
3. Bonsaii 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
This model from Bonsaii is affordably priced with a retail tag of less than $50, and it's one of the best choices for low volume home use. If all you need to do is periodically shred potentially sensitive junk mail, it's one of the best models you can get. It can chew through six sheets of paper at a time along with staples, and a convenient basket window lets you tell when it gets full. And the convenient handle design makes dumping the shredded paper an incredibly simple affair. As long as you aren't trying to shred credit cards, this shredder can get the job done with aplomb.
4. Aurora AU870MA 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper Shredder
For just a few bucks more than the aforementioned Bonsaii model, you can get a paper shredder that may be the best budget option available. It ups the volume to eight sheets while also including enough power to shred confidently through any credit cards you may need to destroy for security purposes. An LED indicator lets you helpfully known when the Aurora is at risk of overheating, and it will automatically shutdown if the situation becomes critical. Paper jams can be resolved with the manual reverse function, and the single hand lifting handle makes cleanup with this shredder a complete breeze.
5. ROY29351X 14-SH MICROCUT SHREDDER
The ROY29351X is another paper shredder that scales up admirably to the needs of home businesses. This best in class model can handle paper and credit card shredding, and the generous basket is capable of holding approximately 575 sheets of processed paper. That's in part due to the powerful one horsepower motor. And while this may be a beast of a consumer shredder, it's designed for ease of use. Wheels make it easy to maneuver around your home office and simplify the process disposing of your papers, CDs, and credit cards. The casters can be locked into place for better security.
6. Sentinel FM121P 12-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder
Need a home office shredder that's not going to disrupt your daily activities? The Sentinel FM121P could provide the best solution. Four wheels let you easily move it into place or out of sight and out of mind, and this paper shredder runs at a quiet max of 72 decibels. It also promises a security level of 4 with its tightly cut paper and shredding rate or seven feet for minute. While it doesn't have the longest continuous runtime, it's one of the most efficient models you'll find built for consumers. It can cut a credit card securely in a single pass.
7. Swingline Paper Shredder
Swingline is best known for their iconic office staplers, but they also produce some of the best budget priced paper shredders on the market. The Duo is designed for personal use, but as long as you aren't using it in an office, it should last you a while. Swingline has made the smart choice of handling cut paper and credit cards in two separate cutters to reduce the dulling of the blades, and a cooldown indicator lets you know when this paper shredder is ready to get back to work. But the paper shredder is perfectly capable of handling staples too.
8. Boxis AF120 Autoshred 120-Sheet Micro Cut Paper Shredder
If you want the best qualities you'll find in a shredder but you aren't willing to spend a fortune, the Boxis AF120 is the best affordable commercial shredder you'll find anywhere. While its manual feeder can only handle 10 sheets at a time, the automatic feeder provides space for a staggering 120 sheets. That's the best capacity we've found, and it can greatly simplify the process of shredding documents. Whichever option you choose here, you can count on this paper shredder to render the results into indistinguishable particles. And while this is a bulkier model, it does include wheels for navigating it around the office.
9. GBC Paper 14 Sheet Shredder
The super cross cut shredding of the GBC offers a security level between a micro cut and cross cut shredder in terms of how finely it cuts a sheet, and it's a versatile and highly functional consumer model that offers some of the best performance around. This shredder has separate feeders for handling sheets and plastic, and despite its compact design, it offers a respectable five gallon bin that's easy to remove and empty. And the ability to load up 14 sheets at once allows you to get in a lot of work despite its slightly substandard runtime. You can easily shred a week's worth of mail without having to go back for seconds.
10. GoECOlife GMC225Pi 22 Sheet Micro-Cut Paper Shredder
GoECOLife has produced a beefy 14 sheet shredder that's made for the modern office setting, but the starring feature here is the energy saving functionality that reduces your power usage when its actively running and practically brings power usage to a stop when it's in standby mode. The sizeable bin can hold approximately 8 gallons of paper at once, and the blades are strong enough to easily cut through plastic as well. And the fact that this shredder reduces a sheet to 0.12 by 0.35 inch segments is great for security, but it also helps you make the most of your space and have to empty the bin less frequently.
Shredder Buyer’s Guide
If you want the best of the best, you’ve come to the right place. Every one of the models we have listed offers great features and security, but the best model for you is going to come down to the needs of your home or business. Keep reading to learn more about the best features you should look for and find the best answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about paper shredders.
Key Specs and Best Features
We feature two types of shredding in our review list: cross cutting and micro cutting. The latter is easily the best security solution and a necessity if you’re especially worried about identity theft. A cross cut shredder will slash the paper into ribbon, and while it will make a sheet of paper incredibly difficult to reconstruct, it may still leave snippets of information. Still, they should be more than enough for individual consumers.
If you work at an office dealing in highly critical security information, the best route to go is a micro cut shredder. They break down each sheet into much smaller particles and offer the best security by leaving shredded paper that’s practically impossible to glean any security information from. Just keep in mind that they tend to be much more expensive. Both micro cut and cross cut shredders can usually cut paper and credit cards and also handle staples.
Every paper shredder can only accept a limited amount of sheets at a time – a limitation of both the feeding slot and the power of the blades. On consumer models, this tends to max out at 14, but most models you’ll find for personal use offer less than a dozen sheets. Some models also tell you how many feet per minute a shredder can process. This is obviously a matter of convenience, as the ability to stuff your junk mail or otherwise bundled sheets of paper all at once can save you a lot of busy work. The best models can effectively halve the amount of time you spent in front of the shredder.
If you’re seeking out the best shredder for a larger business, they may allow 18 sheets or more, but there’s an additional feature you may want to look for. Auto shredders are the best means for handling large volume. Instead of loading the paper in sheet by sheet, you can simply pile each sheet into the tray and let the machine do the work for you. Without this feature, shredding sheets of paper could easily become a full time job for one of your employees.
Destroying paper and credit card information is a practical security necessity, but while a shredder is the best way to accomplish this, it’s a power intensive task. Even the best consumer models typically offer a run time of about 10 minutes, but the real frustration is that they take on average about 30 minutes to properly cool down. If you like to do all your spring cleaning in one fell swoop, that speed can be frustrating. The best shredder is one that finds a balance between paper capacity and run time.
If you’re looking at a commercial shredder, the best options can shred more or less into perpetuity, but you can expect to spend a lot of time feeding each sheet into the shredder unless there’s an automatic shredding option. In either case, you should look for a shredder that will let you know when the shredder is at risk of overloading or overheating, as that can prevent you from ruining the shredder or having to deal with unnecessary downtime.
For most average consumers, the bin size is going to be a convenience but probably not a big deal. A five gallon bin can still hold dozens of sheets, typically more than you could shred before the shredder starts to overheat. The best models you’ll find come with bins that are easy to remove and that you can empty with one hand, so you can shred and dump the sheet capacity in the matter of a few minutes.
Business customers should consider the shredder bin capacity a bigger deal, especially if there’s an automatic feeding option. If your shredder bin becomes overloaded, it can have a meaningful impact on your productivity. In both consumer and business models, you should look for ways to gauge how full the bin is. Many models come with windows that let you see inside the bin, but the best include indicator lights that let you know when the bin is close to full.
If you’re working in a limited office space, the best option may be finding a model with wheels. This allows you to roll your shredder directly over to the trashcan for disposal, and it also lets you easily put the shredder out of sight and out of mind when you’re done with it.
Safety and Convenience Features
A modern shredder often includes a number of different functions that can improve the security, safety, and convenience of dealing with it. The best shredder is the one that prevents you from hurting yourself, and more sophisticated models will automatically detect the difference between a sheet and your hand and automatically shut down when you’re close to the blades. A consumer shredder may place the feeder at an angle to reduce the risk of self injury.
A common shredder function is the inclusion of an automatic shutdown mode that will stop the shredder when it’s been overloaded or when it’s at risk of overheating. This is the best way to prevent meaningful damage to your shredder. A shredder may also include a reverse function that helps you withdraw a sheet that’s become jammed. Many models also incorporate a feature that automatically recognizes a sheet and turns on so you don’t have to worry about turning the shredder on or off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Better, Cross Cut or Micro Cut Shredders?
In terms of your security needs, a micro cut shredder is going to outclass a cross cut shredder every time. Instead of producing paper shreds, they essentially pulverize the paper into particles. That said, they tend to be significantly more expensive, and a cross cut shredder should be suitable enough for most individuals and small businesses.
What is the Best Paper Shredder For a Small Office?
There are a lot of great small office options on our list, but we think the best shredder in that class is the ROY29351X by Royal. It offers the best capacity on our list as well as the best shredding speed and a truly phenomenal run time and short cooldown rate that outclasses just about any other shredder. It’s a real workhorse of a model that offers a higher level of security due to its micro cut capabilities.
What is the Best Heavy Duty Shredder?
If you want the best industrial shredder, we recommend the Fellowes 3825001. While this sheet shredder normally retails for $1500, you can currently get it for half that, and it’s capable of handling your needs regardless of your sheet volume. The big advantage here is that it can run practically forever without overheating. It also offers the largest bin capacity of any model on our list and SafeSense technology to prevent any accidents.
If you want to keep your sensitive information secure, there’s really no option quite like a shredder. Fortunately, you can get a decent model for less than $50. How often you plan on using it and how much paper you need to shred should be the main guiding principles when picking a model, but we’ve been conscientious about including shredders that should suit practically anyone’s needs.If you liked our article on paper shredders, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.