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Updated Mar 15, 2022 3:57 PM

The average person may not feel as though they need a paper shredder, but even run-of-the-mill documents can be a security risk if they fall into the wrong hands. Hundreds of thousands of people have their identities stolen every year, and it’s easy for criminals to do so if they have access to something as innocuous as a bank statement or cell phone bill. The simplest way to prevent this is by shredding your documents at home using a paper shredder. Shopping for a shredder online, however, can easily become overwhelming since there are so many models available.  

We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best paper shredder for your home or office and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop. Read on for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks of the best paper shredders on the market.

How We Chose the Best Paper Shredders

Methodology 

While it’s easy to assume that all paper shredders offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and office essentials as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed more than 25 paper shredders and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations. 

Page Capacity: Some shredders can only process one sheet of paper at a time, while others can process 20 or more. For standard home use, a  six-sheet capacity is sufficient for most users. 

Run time: Since paper shredders use powerful motors to operate, they can only run for a limited amount of time for each use. We only included full-sized models that could run for at least five minutes to accommodate higher-volume shredding sessions. 

Security level: Paper shredders are rated for security with a number between P1 and P7, with P7 being the most secure. For this piece, we only recommended shredders with a rating of P3 or higher.  

The Best Paper Shredders: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Amazon Basics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

Best Overall

This shredder from AmazonBasics processes 12 pages at a time and features cross-cut shredding, which is perfect for most households. Amazon Basics

Why It Made The Cut: With cross-cut style shredding and the ability to shred 12 pages at once, this affordable machine from AmazonBasics is an all-around winner. 

Specs:

  • Style: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 12 sheets
  • DIN P Rating: P3

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • 12-sheet page capacity
  • Capable of shredding credit cards
  • Includes reverse function

Cons:

  • Low run time

This shredder from AmazonBasics is powerful yet affordable, making it perfect for everyday use. The cross-cut style machine meets P3 standards, shredding each piece of paper into tiny 5- by 40-millimeter pieces. It can shred 12 pieces of paper at a time, making it quick and efficient. This device is powerful enough to handle staples and even small paper clips, and there’s a dedicated slot for shredding credit cards as well. In the event of a paper jam, the reverse function works well. 

The bin, which is easy to empty, has a capacity of 4.8 gallons. One way in which this model lags behind some of its competitors is in its run time. It can only operate for seven minutes at a time, requiring a 30-minute break between shredding sessions. It does, however, have auto-shutoff and thermal protection to prevent the machine from overheating.

Best Value: Aurora AS890C 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

The Aurora AS890C Cross-Cut Shredder processes eight sheets at once and meets P3 security standards. Aurora

Why It Made The Cut: This affordable pick from Aurora can stand up to pricier models in terms of performance and security.

Specs:

  • Style: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 8 sheets
  • DIN P Rating: P3

Pros:

  • Eight-sheet capacity
  • Powerful steel blades
  • Affordable price
  • Large waste basket

Cons:

  • Operates slowly

Cross-cut shredders are a great option for most homes with average security needs and are available at accessible prices. This model from Aurora is affordable without sacrificing quality or performance. It can process eight pages of paper at a time, and its steel blades are powerful enough to tackle staples and paper clips as well. A separate credit card slot means you don’t have to cut up your old cards with scissors. 

The waste basket has the capacity to fit 125 sheets of shredded paper, meaning it doesn’t need to be emptied frequently. A red indicator light lets you know that the machine is in danger of overheating and needs 30 minutes of downtime. One downside is that this shredder operates quite slowly, shredding just over eight pages per minute. Because of this, it’s not the best choice for those who frequently have to shred a high volume of documents. 

Best High-Security: Amazon Basics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder

Best High-Security

The Amazon Basics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder processes eight sheets of paper at a time and shreds each one into 2,235 tiny pieces. Amazon Basics

Why It Made The Cut: Micro-cut shredders are often expensive, but this one from AmazonBasics meets high-security needs without breaking the bank. 

Specs:

  • Style: Micro-cut
  • Page Capacity: 8 sheets
  • DIN P Rating: P4

Pros:

  • High-security micro-cut design
  • Can process eight pages at once
  • Includes large waste basket
  • Features Auto mode

Cons:

  • Short run time

A micro-cut shredder, like this one from AmazonBasics, is ideal for destroying sensitive documents. While this style of machine used to be expensive, prices have dropped, making them more accessible to the average person. It meets P4 security standards, shredding every piece of paper into 2,235 pieces that are essentially impossible to put together. In fact, each paper shred measures just 4 by 12 millimeters. When operating on Auto mode, the machine works as soon as it detects something to be shredded. The 4-gallon waste basket holds plenty of shreds and pulls out, making it easy to empty. 

While it’s ideal for those with higher security needs, it may not be the best model for someone who needs to shred high quantities of paper on a regular basis because it can only operate for five minutes at a time before requiring a 30-minute cool-down. 

It’s important to note that each AmazonBasics shredder is tested before shipping so buyers may notice traces of leftover paper shreds in the wastebasket. 

Best Heavy-Duty: bonsaii Paper Shredder

Best Heavy-Duty

The Bonsaii Paper Shredder processes 18 sheets of paper at a time and shreds with a cross-cut mechanism. bonsaii

Why It Made The Cut: Many shredders can only operate for a few minutes at a time, but this high-capacity option from Bonsaii runs for 60 minutes before it needs to cool down.

Specs:

  • Style: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 18 sheets
  • DIN P Rating: P3

Pros:

  • Operates for up to 60 minutes
  • 18-page capacity
  • Large waste basket
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Lacks micro-cut functionality

Those looking for a shredder that offers professional-level performance should consider this model from Bonsaii. Unlike many other home shredders which can only run for a few minutes at a time, this one can operate continuously for up to an hour without overheating. Users can insert 18 pieces of paper at a time, making it perfect for destroying high quantities of documents. A 24-sheet option is also available but comes with a significantly higher price tag. 

Despite how powerful it is, the Bonsaii shredder operates quietly at just 62 dB so it shouldn’t disturb you while you work. The 6-gallon waste bin holds up to 400 sheets of paper and pulls out for optimal convenience. 

While this model is great for high-volume use, it may not be the right choice for those with high-security needs because it features a cross-cut — rather than a micro-cut — design. However, it still meets P3 security standards, shredding each piece of paper into 5- by 40-millimeter pieces. 

Best Compact: Aurora AS420C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

Best Compact

The Aurora AS420C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder is small enough to fit on a desktop but still shreds four sheets of paper at a time. Aurora

Why It Made The Cut: Many compact shredders offer inferior performance, but this model from Aurora features a P3 security rating and has a cross-cut design. 

Specs:

  • Style: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 4 sheets
  • DIN P Rating: P3

Pros:

  • Small footprint
  • Cross-cut design
  • Includes letter-opening accessory

Cons:

  • Sheets must be folded
  • Low run time

Not everyone has room for a standard-sized shredder in their home office, and this compact model from Aurora makes a great alternative for small spaces. The shredder measures just 9 inches by 7 inches by 10 inches, making it the perfect size to sit on a desk or shelf. Though it’s small, it uses a cross-cut mechanism that gives it a P3 rating, making it suitable for those with moderate security needs. It’s also capable of shredding credit cards. The 1.32-gallon wastebasket is translucent and holds shreds from 40 pieces of paper. As an added bonus, it also features a letter-opening accessory. 

The biggest downside is that, due to its small size, users have to fold the paper in half before shredding it. It can also only operate for two minutes at a time. Since it can only process four folded sheets at a time, it’s best for users who only need to shred small quantities of paper. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Paper Shredder

With so many paper shredders on the market, choosing the right one for your home requires careful consideration. Keep the following factors in mind while making your purchase.

Security Level

The DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction evaluates paper shredders for security with a rating of between P1 and P7. P1 shredders offer the lowest level of security, simply shredding documents into relatively wide strips, whereas P7 shredders tear each piece of paper into 12,053 pieces, making them the most secure. Consider the security level you need for your home or office before choosing a model. 

What Is the Difference Between Strip Cut, Cross-Cut, and Micro-Cut?

There are three types of paper shredders on the market: strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut, each offering a different level of security. 

  • Strip-cut shredders (P1 and P2) shred each piece of paper into approximately 39 pieces. They’re the most affordable option available and operate quickly.
  • Cross-cut shredders (P3, P4, and P5) cut each piece of paper horizontally and vertically into between 200 and 400 pieces, making them adequate for household use.
  • Micro-cut shredders (P5, P6, and P7), on the other hand, may also be referred to as “high-security” shredders, because they tear each piece of paper into more than 2,000 tiny pieces using diagonal blades. A major downside, however, is that they operate slowly. 

Micro-cut is the best choice for those with more serious security needs but may be overkill for standard household use. While micro-cut shredders used to be prohibitively expensive for many people, today they don’t have a significantly higher cost than cross-cut shredders, making them more accessible. 

Page Capacity

The simplest machines can only handle shredding a couple of pages at once, while larger professional-grade shredders can shred up to 100 pages at a time. Look for a model that can shred at least six pieces of paper at a time. 

FAQs

Q: Do I need a paper shredder?

The short answer is: yes, every household should have a paper shredder. Key documents like bank and credit card statements should never be thrown in the trash or recycling without first being destroyed, and the easiest way to do so is with a paper shredder.  

Q: Is a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder better?

Micro-cut shredders are the highest-security option because they shred each piece of paper into at least 2,000 tiny pieces that are practically impossible to reassemble. 

Q: How long should a paper shredder last?

A high-quality paper shredder should last for at least 10 years, depending on how often it’s used. 

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles of paper shredders to best suit your needs. The Amazon Basics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder is our top pick because of its high capacity and cross-cut shredding capabilities. For those on a budget, we recommend the Aurora AS890C 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder, which offers excellent performance at an affordable price.

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