High Security Paper Shredder Review: Buyers Guide 2019

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Welcome to this high security paper shredder review. Here we will take a look at the best four micro cut paper shredders. Then we will provide you with a complete buyers guide to finding the best paper shredder that meets your requirements.

These days there are many papers shredders available. It would seem like an easy task to choose the right type of shredder for your circumstances, but it is not that easy. There are a lot of different things to take into consideration.

One very important thing is the type of cut that the paper shredder creates. There are three types available and these are:

  1. Strip Cut (sometimes called “straight cut” or “spaghetti cut”)
  2. Cross Cut (sometimes called “diamond cut” or “confetti cut”)
  3. Micro Cut (sometimes called “security cut” or “particle cut”)

As this is a high security paper shredder review, we will focus on the micro cut type here because it provides the highest levels of security.

The Four Best High Security Paper Shredders

We looked at many micro cut high security paper shredders and decided on the best four for this review. All of these machines have excellent features and represent the best value for money in terms of performance and benefits.

1. Aurora AU870MA High Security Micro Cut Shredder Review

This is our top pick. We will provide you with one of the most comprehensive Aurora AU870MA reviews here. This is a P-4 security, micro cut paper shredder that has a capacity of 8 sheets and you can use it to shred both paper and credit cards. The bin capacity of this shredder is 230 sheets.

The slot of the Aurora AU870MA is 8.7 inches wide, which is excellent for shredding paper of the most general sizes, such as letter and A4. With its micro cut functionality, your documents will end up in small pieces of around 0.14 inches by 0.45 inches, which is definitely enough to keep your information safe.

Although it has a sheet shredding capacity of 8 sheets at a time, we suggest that you reduce the number of sheets to about 4 at a time as this will make the shredding process a lot faster. One of the best things about the Aurora AU870MA is the compact design. The dimensions of this shredder are just 16.1 inches by 11.8 inches by 7.1 inches, so that it will sit almost anywhere.

You can move this high security paper shredder around easily, as well. It only weighs in at 11.6 pounds and also has removable casters to help you take it from one place to another. This is a durable paper shredder with steel construction.

Another great benefit of the Aurora AU870MA is that you can use it in either forward mode, which is automatic or reverse mode. Why is this good? Well, this will help to clear any paper jams that you experience. It even has an indicator that will flicker every time the machine detects that a paper jam is about to happen so you can clear it.

To run this high security paper shredder in the optimum mode, you are looking at a run time of 5 minutes. There is then cooling downtime of about 30 minutes. As soon as you offer the paper to the machine, it automatically starts. It is a credit card shredder too, but we wouldn’t advise trying to shred CDs or DVDs.

The bin on the Aurora AU870MA has a 3.9 gallon capacity, which is sufficient. There is a handle at the top of this product, which makes lifting the head from the bin very easy. You will receive a notification when it is time to empty the bin.

The Aurora AU870MA is an excellent high security paper shredder for home or office use. It is effortless to use and well made. The features offered are perfect for this price range and it is very portable.

Pros of the Aurora AU870MA

  • Very well made and durable
  • Paper shredder and credit card shredder
  • Forward and reverse operation
  • Good security shredding
  • Easy to use

Cons of the Aurora AU870MA

  • It is a little noisier than some comparable models
  • The head of the shredder is quite heavy to lift off of the bin

Check out the latest price on Amazon for the Aurora AU870MA here.

2. AmazonBasics 12 Sheet High Security Micro Cut Shredder Review

This AmazonBasics paper shredder does more than shred paper. It is a manual feed, P-4 level security, a paper shredder that will cut credit cards and CDs and DVDs too. This paper shredder with a pull out basket is very popular for several good reasons.

The AmazonBasics 12 Sheet Micro Cut shreds paper and other materials to a small size of around 0.5 inches by 0.19 inches, which is sufficient security for most sensitive documents. It provides a higher level of security than a P-4 cross cut shredder as it has a micro cut action.

This Micro cut shredder is pretty compact, measuring only 24.3 inches by 17 inches by 13.4 inches. It weighs just over 22 pounds and has 4 casters, which make moving it around reasonably easy.

There is a metal strip that protects the shredding slot, and you have to place the materials at an angle to shred them, which is a little irritating, but you get used to it. The shred slot is around 9 inches wide and you can feed in up to 12 sheets of paper, credit cards, and ID cards of a similar size and CDs and DVDs.

You will find three settings on this shredder, which are automatic for shredding in the forward direction, reverse and off. If you do experience a paper jam, then switching the machine to reverse mode will usually clear it quickly. The performance is OK but a bit slower than other comparable high security paper shredders.

The duty cycle is reasonable for this paper, shredder. You can run it for around 8 minutes, and then you will need to let the machine cool down for about 45 minutes. This is OK, but there are some better-performing paper shredders around.

Being able to pull out the basket to empty it is a nice touch. There is a convenient viewing window where you can see when it is time for emptying. The bin has a 6.7 gallon capacity, which is very large for a paper shredder in this price range.

While in use, the sound of this shredder was to be around 66 decibels, which is pretty quiet. The machine makes a muffled and deep noise, so it is not that noticeable.

The top panel of this product contains indicator lights that will tell you when the shredder is ready to use. For instance, if you have not placed the bin correctly and if it has overheated.

This is an excellent P-4 level micro cut shredder that will do everything that you will need for an office or home office setup. It is easy to use and will shred paper, CDs and DVDs and credit cards. The bin size is huge and the pull-out arrangement very convenient.

Pros of the AmazonBasics 12 Sheet Micro Cut

  • Shreds paper, CD’s and DVD’s and credit cards
  • Shredding pretty secure
  • Large bin capacity
  • Forward and reverse for easy paper jam clearance
  • Convenient pull out bin

Cons of the AmazonBasics 12 Sheet Micro Cut

  • The duty cycle is relatively modest
  • Performance a little slow
  • Not as durable as some models

Check out the latest price on Amazon for the AmazonBasics 12 Sheet Micro Cut here.

3. Aurora AU1210MA 12 Sheet Micro Cut Shredder Review

If you want to go up a notch in quality, then the Aurora AU1210MA 12 sheet Micro Cut is the right choice. We will provide you with one of the best Aurora AU1210Au reviews here. This is a professional grade shredder offering P-4 micro cut security for your document shredding.

This high security paper shredder will not just shred different sizes of paper but will also take care of your CD and DVD shredding, credit card, or ID card shredding. Moreover, it will shred paper clips and staples as well.

It is a manual feed shredder that has a very efficient auto-reverse function to take care of any paper jams quickly. You can run this machine for 60 minutes continuously, which is great if you need to get a lot of shredding work done in one hit. The cool downtime after this is surprisingly low at around 45 minutes.

The micro cut blades will cut materials into 0.16 inch by 0.47 inches, which is small enough for high security. There is an 8.7 inches wide shredder slot, which is more than adequate for the paper of most sizes.

The product is a reasonably compact professional grade shredder with dimensions of 19.3 inches by 14.4 inches by 11 inches. It weighs just over 22 pounds, and you can move it around from place to place easily using the attachable wheels.

We found this high security paper shredder to be one of the quietest we have ever tested. The noise levels were indeed below 60 decibels. It is not silent in operation but pretty close to it.

Aurora makes a bold claim that this paper shredder will run for an hour continuously. On testing, we found that it ate up just about anything we put into it flawlessly for around 60 minutes. It then took a shade under 45 minutes to cool down.

It shreds quickly as well. We found that there was very little difference in shredding time if we fed it one sheet of paper to shred or the maximum 12 sheets. This shredder has a bin with a 5 gallon capacity. It pulls out for convenience.

There are a number of LED indicators that will tell you when the paper shredder is on standby. If it has overheated, if it is overloaded, the bin needs emptying, or the door for the bin is open. There is a view window to see how full the bin is as well.

This product is an excellent choice if you are looking for a professional grade shredder. It has the excellent build quality, and the performance is outstanding. The 60 minute continuous run time is a great feature.

Pros of the Aurora AU1210MA 12 sheet Micro Cut

  • 60 minute continuous run time with fast cool down
  • Shreds paper, CD’s and DVD’s, credit cards and ID cards, paper clips and staples
  • Very quiet operation
  • Large and convenient bin
  • Good build quality and durability

Cons of the Aurora AU1210MA 12 sheet Micro Cut

  • More expensive than other P-4 paper shredders
  • Bin often spills out the paper on the floor when emptying

Check out the latest price on Amazon for the Aurora AU1210MA 12 sheet Micro Cut here

4. Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet High Security Micro Cut Paper Shredder Review

The next P-4 level high security micro cut paper shredder to make out top 4 is the Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet Micro Cut. With this shredder, you can shred up to 10 pages at once, and there is no need to remove the paper clips or staples.

This machine will shred your materials into small particles of around 0.16 inch by 0.47 inches for good security levels. It will also do an excellent job shredding credit cards and similar sized ID cards.

You can run this high security paper shredder for around 5 minutes, after which there will need to be a cool downtime of 45 minutes. When you present the materials to this shredder, it will automatically start and stop after shredding.

This Bonsaii shredder has a manual reverse feature, which is great for easily clearing any paper jams that you may encounter. The bin capacity is 3.5 gallons and pulls out easily. Thanks to the casters under the bin. There is a view window for checking how full the bin is.

There is an overheating protection function which helps to prolong the life of this paper shredder. If you try to use it for more than 5 minutes continuously, the motor switches off automatically. The LED indicators on the top of the shredder will warn you of overheating as well as overloading (this is a flashing red LED).

This is a compact high security micro cut paper shredder that weighs less than 15 pounds and has dimensions of 17.8 inches by 13.2 inches and 8.9 inches. It also has wheels so that you can easily move this paper shredder around.

This paper shredder has a slightly smaller opening for shredding than some other models do, but this is not a big issue. We found this product to be a very efficient shredding machine that has a pretty quiet operation. It takes around 5 seconds to shred 5 pieces of paper, so it is pretty fast as well.

The build quality of the Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet Micro Cut is good and it has good durability. We believe that this high security paper shredder will last for a long time. The lockable front wheels are useful as this stops the paper shredder from moving around too easily.

If you are looking for an efficient high security paper cutter that will not break the bank, then this product is the right choice. It is straightforward to use and provides a secure shred. The bin is very spacious, and the features are excellent, especially overheating protection. This is a well made, quiet, and efficient paper shredder.

Pros of the Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet Micro Cut

  • Compact and very portable
  • Fast and efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Overheating automatic protection
  • Convenient and large bin

Cons of the Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet Micro Cut

  • Mouth for shredding not as wide as some models
  • Experienced more paper jams than other models

Check out the latest price on Amazon for the Bonsaii C220-B 10 Sheet Micro Cut here.

High Security Paper Shredder Buyers Guide

In this high security paper shredder, buyers guide, we will show you what to look out for when you want to purchase a shredder. It is crucial that you understand the specifications, performance and features of a paper shredder before you buy one. This way, you can avoid disappointment and get the shredder that you need.

Our top high security paper shredders are all P4 level security. We chose this level of security because we know that this will meet the needs of most offices and homes. The micro cut is best in our opinion because it is the hardest to piece together. Trying to make sense of a micro cut shredded document is virtually impossible.

The Different Security Levels

When you are on the lookout for a paper shredder, you will often see that they have a security level, for example, P-4. So what does this mean, and why is it so important for you to know about this?

There is an official standard for paper shredding known as the DIN 6639 Standard. There are 7 security levels defined by this standard and each level relates to the minimum requirements of the particles of paper that remain after the shredding action.

The 7 DIN security levels are:

  • P-1 strip size is less than 3.1 square inches and strip width less than 0.47 inches
  • P-2 strip size is less than 1.3 square inches and strip width less than 0.24 inches
  • P-3 strip size is less than 0.5 square inches and strip width less than 0.08 inches
  • P-4 strip size is less than 0.25 square inches and strip width less than 0.24 inches
  • P-5 strip size is less than 0.05 square inches and strip width less than 0.08 inches
  • P-6 strip size is less than 0.02 square inches and strip width less than 0.04 inches
  • P-7 strip size is less than 0.01 square inches and strip width less than 0.04 inches

The highest number (P-7) produces the smallest paper particle size and the lowest number (P-1), the largest paper particle size. If you are not too concerned about security, then you would choose a lower level shredder at say P-1 or P-2. When you need higher levels of shredded paper security, then you need P-4 to P-7.

Think of it this way. If someone was able to collect the paper particles that you had recently shredded, how easy would it be for them to piece everything together and read the details of the document?

With a P-1 level of security, it wouldn’t be easy, but with some determination and time, it can be done. However, the higher you go with security levels, the more difficult it is to piece everything together. At security levels P-4 to P-7, it is virtually impossible.

Here is some perspective. If you use a P-1 paper shredder, a piece of A4 paper will end up in around 17.5 strips. The same A4 sheet will turn into more than 390 paper particles with a P-4 level shredder and more than 12,474 particles with a P-7 shredder.

Unless you are shredding highly classified government material, then it is pretty unlikely that anyone would have the time and determination to try and piece together more than 390 small particles of paper to try and work out what was on it. So a P-4 level security shredder is the right choice.

If you want a higher level of security shredder from P-5 to P-7, then this is going to be more expensive, as you probably guessed. The machinery to create the fine micro cuts required to meet the DIN higher security levels is very complex.

Different Cuts of a Paper Shredder

We mentioned earlier that there are three different types of paper shredders, which are the strip cut, crosscut, and micro cut. Here we will describe these in more detail so that you can make the right choice.

Strip Cut Paper Shredder (P1 and P2 Security)

If you do not have confidential documents to shred, then the strip cut shredder is a good choice. This type of paper shredder makes vertical cuts to the paper and produces narrow strips that are still reasonably easy to read.

Believe it or not, a strip cut paper shredder is the most common type found in homes and offices. The shredders usually have a horizontal shaft with many blades connected to it. The reason for their popularity is their low price. Another reason is that people don’t realize that there are more secure shredders out there and end up choosing the first one they see.

Strip cut paper shredders are the fastest of all the shredding machines, and this is popular with people too. The reason that they are fast is that they do the least work. They are not suitable for shredding sensitive documents.

Cross Cut Paper Shredder (P3 and P4 Security)

As the name suggests, a cross cut shredder makes vertical and horizontal cuts of the paper. The result of this is that the paper particles that remain are either small squares or small diamond shapes.

In a cross cut shredder, there are both horizontal and vertical blades, and they will do at least ten times more cutting work than most strip-cut shredders. This means that the security of documents shredded using a cross cut is a lot higher. You will usually see cross cut shredders classified as medium security.

Micro Cut Paper Shredder (P4 to P7 Security)

This is the ultimate in paper shredding. A micro cut paper shredder has fine-toothed blades that grind down the paper into tiny particles. Where you could undoubtedly piece together a strip shredded document reasonably easily, and a cross cut shredded document would be a much greater challenge, a micro cut document is virtually impossible.

Micro cut shredding comes at the highest price and usually, only large corporations, research facilities, and government agencies use them. Although most micro cut shredders have a P-5 to P-7 security classification, you can get P-4 micro cut shredders, which do an excellent job for a more reasonable price.

How many people will use the Shredder?

If you are only going to perform some occasional shredding at home or at the office, then the smaller, space-saving shredders are the right choice. The high security paper shredders in this review are for general office use for around 5 users or a department. They are also ideal for home office use.

A heavy-duty commercial shredder is the best option if you have to do a massive amount of shredding, and multiple users will be using the machine. These are larger and more expensive. For genuinely high volumes and continuous shredding, you need to consider an industrial machine for paper shredding.

The small space saving shredders are ideal for one person to use occasionally. These shredders will run for around 1 to 5 minutes and usually have a sheet capacity of between 1 and 10 sheets and a bin capacity of between 1 and 9 gallons.

The small office shredders can be used by around 5 people and will run for about 5 to 10 minutes. They tend to have a sheet capacity of between 8 and 30 sheets with a bin capacity of between 10 to 29 gallons.

Finally, the commercial heavy duty paper shredders will meet the needs of more than 5 users and will happily run for 30 minutes and longer. They can handle more than 20 sheets and have a large bin capacity of 30 gallons and larger.

Sheet Capacity

Sheet capacity of a paper shredder is the number of individual sheets that you can feed into the machine at the same time. With a smaller shredder, you are looking at up to 3 sheets at a time with the smaller office machines able to handle 8 sheets and more at a time. The more sheets a machine can handle, the faster and more efficient the shredding.

Most people will be fine with a manual feed shredder where a user feeds the sheets into the machine. It is possible to get an auto-feed shredder if you need to shred a large number of sheets in one shredding session.

Bin Capacity

Another factor to consider when purchasing your high security paper shredder is the bin capacity. Most of the paper shredders available today have a storage bin that collects the shredded paper particles. However, the cheapest small shredders do not have a bin. You will have to purchase a bin separately.

If you think that you are going to do a lot of shredding, then a larger bin is the right choice. This is because you will spend less time emptying it. We would certainly recommend a larger bin capacity if you believe that you will shred documents daily.

Paper shredder has two bin types. There is a removable bin and bottom bin where you need to lift off the machine head to access it. The removable bin is the more convenient option of the two.

A bottom lift off bin is not a big problem and is a workable solution for most people. You need to ensure that the bin does not get too full; otherwise, you can make quite a mess when you lift off the shredder head.

Paper Shredder Run Time

You may not realize this, but paper shredder machines have a maximum run time and also usually require a cooldown time. Some paper shredder manufacturers refer to this as the “duty cycle.” What this means is that you can only use a high security paper shredder for a specific amount of time before you have to leave it to cool down.

The duty cycle of a paper shredder machine depends on the security level and quality. With a small home shredder, the run time limit is usually around 5 minutes. The office paper shredders featured in this review will run for about 5 to 10 minutes.

The higher the security levels of a shredder, the smaller the run time and longer the cooling down period. This makes sense as a P-4 security paper shredder works a lot harder than a P-1 shredder does.

What can a Shredder shred?

These days paper shredder machines can often shred other materials such as CDs and DVDs, credit cards, and cardboard as well as standard paper. You need to check the specifications of the paper shredder carefully. Trying to shred a CD in a machine designed for paper shredding only will likely cause damage to it.

Some high security paper shredders can even shred paper clips and other metal items. The theory here is that putting documents into a shredder without the need to remove staples or paper clips saves time.

Paper Shredder Noise Levels

All high security paper shredders will make some noise. This is a good thing as it is vital for safety reasons that people are aware the machine is in use. These days paper shredding machines are unlikely to be noisier than around 60 decibels. This is about the same level of a ring tone on most phones.

Some of the older types of paper shredders were very noisy. Most of the manufacturers will publish the noise levels of their machines, so it is easy for you to check. You don’t want to purchase a paper shredder that has the noise level of a plane taking off.

Oiling Capabilities

From time to time, you will need to oil your paper shredding machine manually. Usually, you can do this by adding the right oil to a single sheet of paper and then passing it through the shredder. This will apply oil to the cutting blades.

Some of the more sophisticated paper shredders have an automatic oiling facility. The paper shredder will detect when the oil needs applying to the components and do this automatically. This is a handy feature to have, but we wouldn’t suggest that this should put you off purchasing a shredder that doesn’t have this function.

Conclusion

We hope that you found this high security paper shredder review helpful and informative. You now have all of the important information that you need to make a purchase decision. The four P-4 level micro cut paper shredders featured are the best in our opinion and will provide you with more than adequate levels of shredding security.

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