Choosing a paper shredder
A lot of businesses, both large and small, have a paper shredder for the disposal of sensitive documents. Many people even own their own personal shredder to dispose of bank statements and other sensitive materials to avoid becoming victims of fraud or identity theft.
There are two main types of paper shredder: strip cut and cross cut.
Strip cut paper shredders shred paper into strips of varying widths for varying degrees of security. Widths can range from 3.8mm to 11.8mm. The width you choose depends on the sensitivity of the documents to be disposed of - the more sensitive the documents, the narrower the width needs to be. For high security documents you're generally better off looking at a cross cut shredder.
Cross cut paper shredders for high security documents
Cross cut paper shredders cut paper into small pieces that resemble confetti and are ideal for destroying high security documents in commercial offices. Small pieces of paper are far more compact than strips which means that more paper will fit into the waste basket or bag. The paper can be cut into varying sizes ranging from 0.8mm by 12mm to 3.8mm by 65mm.
The feed width refers to the width of the opening where the paper is inserted. This varies from eight to 18 inches and the width you require depends on the width of the documents to be shredded. Mid volume shredders generally have a width of up to 12 inches while high volume shredders average 16 inches.
The speed and power of a paper shredder is referred to as output. The speed of a shredder is normally measured in feet per minute and varies depending on the power of the unit. The volume of paper to be shredded determines the power that is required.
Integrated and stand-alone units
Integrated units come fitted with a bag, a rack for a plastic bag or a basket. Stand-alone units consist only of the shredder component and are designed to fit onto most standard waste baskets. Many of these are adjustable so they can fit onto a range of different sized baskets.
Automatic start/stop feature detects when there is paper present. Lights and buzzers are used to alert you to paper jams and when the basket needs to be emptied. Reverse feed is useful in clearing paper jams.
Low volume paper shredders are ideal for small offices because they provide sufficient shredding capacity and security at an affordable price. They are designed to handle 100 to 150 sheets of paper per day.
Mid volume shredders are designed to be more durable than low volume shredders and can withstand continuous use during the day. They can handle between up to 400 sheets a day. Many mid volume paper shredders can also shred CDs.
A high volume paper shredder is ideal for large commercial offices or mid-sized offices with a heavy paper volume. They are highly durable for continuous use and can handle up to 30 pages at a time.
As the name suggests, these are extremely high volume shredders that are designed to shred huge volumes of paper on a daily basis. They can cope with up to 400 sheets of paper at a time.
Paper shredders with a fine cut needs more attention than those with large cut because they are more prone to damage from paper clips and staples. Large cut shredders can normally swallow these whole but will suffer from blunt blades after a while.
Shredded paper can produce large amounts of dust that collect in the cutting assembly of the paper shredder. This can cause jams and damage the machine. Shredder oil is used to soften this dust and allow it to be forced out by the blade movement. The finer the cut the more oil it will need.