The Paper Shredder – The Tool That Keeps Your Secrets Safe

The Paper Shredder – The Tool That Keeps Your Secrets Safe

In this modern age, there is a fear that in a short period, everything will be digitized. For example, the apparition of the Kindle on the market made some companies break in bouts of sweat. But let’s be honest with ourselves here: paper will never go out of style.

Millions of tons of it are used each year, and the trend keeps on going. It goes in books, in magazines, newspapers, bills, etc. Sometimes, one needs to destroy papers. We’re talking about companies that cannot really afford to throw confidential documents. Enter the paper shredder.

Shredding Paper In Shredder

Most people have this misconception that a paper shredder is used to destroy everything instead of recycling. Wrong. Shredded paper can still be recycled. If you had a business of your own, you would shred your documents, as well.

In the following, you will learn everything about this great device that allows you to keep your secrets safe.

​What Is A Paper Shredder

The paper shredder is a tool that cuts paper into tiny strips. It uses little knives that keep on rotating until the sheet of paper has been successfully destroyed. Paper shredders usually come with their own wastebaskets. Therefore, it is easy to throw the remains away.

They come in different shapes and sizes, about which we will be talking soon. The paper that goes into the paper shredder cannot be reassembled unless the strips are large enough.

So, if you have “top secret” documents, you might want to get a shredder that cuts them into infinitesimal pieces.

​Types

There six main types of paper shredders. Some of them can be purchased by individuals for use at home, while others are intended for large enterprises that must destroy huge quantities of paper. Let’s provide a brief presentation for each of these types.

Paper Shredder For Home Use

This is the most common one, and it is usually pretty much the size of a printer. It can be used at home or even by a small business that doesn’t have too many documents to shred. Obviously, this is also the cheapest type out of them all.

Woman Shredding Paper At Home

A paper shredder for use at home can shred old credit cards, as well, but it depends on the brand.

​Heavy Duty Paper Shredder

A heavy duty, or commercial paper shredder, as it is also called, is designated for medium and large businesses that must shred a lot of paper on a regular basis. It can be, although not necessarily, bigger than one designated for home use, for obvious reasons.

The main difference between the two is that a heavy duty paper shredder can shred a generous number of sheets in one session, while the one for home use is a lot more limited.

​Industrial Paper Shredder

The industrial paper shredder is primarily used by recycling companies. It can be an extremely large paper shredder, but it is also very expensive. Paper gets to the recycling companies, thrown on a conveyor belt and shredded automatically.

Old newspapers, magazines, posters, books, etc. – all of them will eventually get in such a shredder in order to be turned into brand new paper, insulation material or bedding for domestic animals on farms.

​Paper Shredder For Office

This is the commercial paper shredder we’ve mentioned when we talked about the heavy-duty type. The chances are that every office you’ll ever go into will have such a shredder.

Shredding Papper In Office

​Mini Paper Shredder

A mini paper shredder is, most probably, a USB one. It can be connected to your computer or laptop, and it is quite handy, provided you do not have large papers to shred, in which case it is useless.

Such a small paper shredder can be used for used bus tickets, flyers and even sheets of paper, but this depends on its size, of course. It can also be manual, so with no USB connection at all. If you run a small business from home, one of these can be everything you need.

​Hand Crank Paper Shredder

This last type is a manual paper shredder. You insert the sheet/s in the opening, and you rotate the handle until the paper has been shredded. These are usually made out of plastic and don’t last very long.

It functions just like a manual meat grinder and even has the same effects. This is the best alternative if your budget isn’t all that great. If it is, you should consider a better, automatic paper shredder.

​Shredding Methods

When speaking of shredding methods, we are simultaneously talking about security levels. Why would anyone need “security levels”? What do you think the Government and political parties do with the papers and documents they don’t need anymore?

Shredding Paper Options

They shred them, evidently, but a commercial paper shredder will not do, because in this case, they want the finest shred out there, so that classified documents cannot be put together and reveal vital information.

These are the security levels:

  • Level 1 (the shred is around 9.5 mm)
  • Level 2 (6 - 8 mm)
  • Level 3 (2 mm)
  • Level 4 (2 x 15 mm)
  • Level 5 (o.8 x 12 mm)
  • Level 6 (0.8 x 4 mm)

Level 1 is the poorest one, and Level 6 is the best and safest. The latter is used by governments, banks and other high institutions that need to conceal a lot of information. Shredders can differ when it comes to the type of shred they provide.

This is interconnected with the levels of security, so you must choose a paper shredder that suits your needs. Anyway, you will never probably need a Level 6 one unless you were a spy.

​Strip-Cut Paper Shredder

This is the most popular one and, at the same time, the type that provides a very poor security because the long strips can easily be glued back together. But it works for people and businesses that do not have extremely confidential documents.

Strip Cut Shredding Paper Option

They come for cheap (depending on the brand), precisely because they are the go-to choice for the vast majority of the population.

​Crosscut Paper Shredder

The crosscut or cross cut paper shredder is similar to the strip-cut, but the strips are much smaller. The knives cut the paper both horizontally and vertically, providing a higher level of security.

Let’s face it, nobody has enough time to put a pile of tiny scraps together, so you’re definitely in the safe zone with this one.

This works best for documents like medical records, bills and others that have a relatively private content.

​Micro Cut Paper Shredder

The microcut shredder provides an even higher degree of security than the crosscut. As the name says it, the resulting scraps are so small that there is absolutely no chance somebody could recover the paper.

Micro Cut Shredding Paper Option

Most hospitals and police stations use the micro cut paper shredder, for obvious reasons. Sometimes, they might favor the next one over this, but it is still a very good choice. The micro cut is just one step behind the most secure type of shred there is to date.

​Particle-Cut Paper Shredder

Now we’re talking about ensured security. Such a paper shredder transforms a sheet of paper into up to 13,000 fragments. The reconstruction of that is something we’d pay to see.

This type of shred is preferred by governments and other institutions that need unwavering protection against leaks of information.

These are quite expensive because they are not made for personal use. It’s less likely that a person has documents so confidential that they warrant being destroyed in thousands of particles. NASA, for instance, could use one of these. The USA government, likewise.

No-one needs this in their houses, so don’t spend your money on something you have absolutely no use for. A small one designed for at-home use is a better alternative.

​Cardboard Paper Shredder

A cardboard paper shredder needs to be more powerful than your typical shredder because obviously, cardboard is stiffer than paper.

Man Shredding Cardboard

This type of shredding machine is used in the industrial sector, primarily by recycling companies, because they need to shred thousands of boxes per day.

​Disintegrators And/Or Granulators

Disintegrators and granulators are so efficient that they turn the paper in particles so tiny that you almost get a paste out of the sheets. They have around five knives that rotate at 600 or even more RPM, virtually destroying paper instead of just cutting it.

Again, this is great for confidential documents, as well as for large bulks of used paper, regardless of what the content is.

​Hammermills

A hammermill has pretty much the same effect as a disintegrator paper shredder, but it uses little hammers instead of knives. Hammermills are used for a variety of purposes, i.e. crushing everything from paper to fruits, grains, and plants.

​Pierce-And-Tear

A pierce-and-tear paper shredder functions, as the name says it, by ripping cardboard and then shredding it. The drawback is that this kind of shredder is a lot slower than all the previous ones. The advantage is that you can throw boxes full of paper in it rather than bulks of sheets.

​Grinders

Grinders are no different from hammermills or pierce-and-tear shredders, for that matter. The only difference is that they have bigger knives. Therefore, they can destroy huge quantities of paper, cardboard or other materials. Mainly used in companies that deal with recycling.

Grinding Paper

​The Best Manufacturers

Since there are so many types of paper shredders and brands on the market, these numbers automatically convert in manufacturers. It doesn’t really matter what kind of shredder you need: you still have to go with a good paper shredder company.

Here are top 5 manufacturers.

​Fellowes

Fellowes was established in 1917 and has provided a wide range of machines and accessories for offices ever since. You cannot go wrong with a Fellowes paper shredder.

Besides shredders, the company also retails oils and bags for them, so you are all set in terms of maintenance.

The prices are more than affordable and they return unmatched quality. Their paper shredders come in all sizes, from household ones to large, commercial ones.

​Royal

Royal started manufacturing paper shredders in 1904. Needless to say, a company would not stay in business for so long if it wouldn’t be focused on the needs of the customers and the improvement of its professionalism.

Royal 1840MX Paper Shredder

You might have heard about the Royal typewriters, those stylish and durable machines manufactured in the 20th century. Guess who made them. Those models established Royal as one of the greatest companies dealing with office supplies.

Royal sells micro-cut, cross cut and strip cut shredders. The prices are fantastic, and that’s an understatement right there. It is definitely of the best manufacturers one can choose to buy his paper shredder from.

You can find small and large Royal paper shredders in the catalog. Thus, you’re all set, no matter why you need the shredder.

They started making their shredders in 1999 and continued to develop them year after year. Their first model was the Jaws Mini, a shredder for the kitchen, then the Jaws Micro followed. This one was a desktop shredder.

​Swingline

In the 20th century, when Swingline was founded in New York, the company focused on staples, but quickly expanded its line of products. Nowadays, Swingline sells pretty much all types of office supplies, from staples, laminators, and punches to pencil sharpeners and shredders.

Swingline offers industrial, medium, executive, personal, small and auto-feed shredders. It goes without saying that whatever it is you need for your office, Swingline definitely has it.

Swingline Paper Shredder

They also have the innovative auto-feed shredders. If you think that feeding the machine manually is a chore, this Swingline paper shredder will allow you to relax.

​Aurora

Aurora or Aurora Corp has retailed a large variety of office machines since 1975. The greatest thing about the company (apart from the fact that it exists) is the speed with which it fulfills the orders (1 day). The quality that goes into their products is not to be forgotten either.

I recommend you try their auto feed shredders because you won’t need to keep on pushing papers in them. But of course, this depends on how frequently you shred paper, subsequently on where exactly you’re working.

Do you need a paper shredder? Great, Aurora is more than willing to give it to you. The company sells four types of shredders: for personal use, professional, commercial and high security, as well as shredders with various additional features.

The Aurora paper shredders are probably the safest to date. Start consulting the company’s website and see everything for yourself.

​Staples

Staples Inc. formed in 1986 is one of the biggest office supply companies in the USA, with more than 1,500 shops all over the country. The company retails the entire spectrum of office supplies.

Staples Paper Shredder

Staples can provide you with either small or large shredders for a good price. If you have no other choice, you can consider purchasing your shredder from this manufacturer. The price-quality ratio is quite balanced.

Assess what type of Staples paper shredder you need, then search the catalog for it.

​The Maintenance Of A Paper Shredder

Like any other kind of machine, a paper shredder requires maintenance, especially when it’s a poor quality one that keeps on jamming up. Moreover, the shredder can be further damaged if the “maintenance” is done by inexperienced individuals.

When you know what you’re doing, everything is easier. Maintenance is comprised of two steps: unjamming and oiling. Let’s see how you do them the right way.

​How To Unjam A Paper Shredder

There are certain paper shredders with automatic unjamming, but when you have an older shredder, you’ll need to do it manually. Let me show you what steps you have to take in order to get out the paper.

​Step 1: Unplug The Paper Shredder

This is vital because it reduces the chances of electrocution to 0. Moreover, if the shredder keeps on going, it will jam even more than it already is. Wait until the knives stop spinning.

​Step 2: Make Sure The Basket Isn’t Full

When shredded paper overfills the basket, the machine will obviously jam. If the basket is full, empty it and restart the shredder. If it works, it means the culprit was indeed the small space for the particles to go in.

Full Basket Of Paper

​Step 3: Reverse It

If it’s a modern paper shredder, it has a “Reverse” button somewhere. This will make the knives rotate in the opposite direction and subsequently get the stuck paper out. Sometimes, you may need to reverse then put it back on “Forward” many times until it unjams.

If the paper shredder is not automatic, you will need to unjam it manually with a pair of tweezers. Next time, don’t use more paper than the shredder can take. It’s one of the most common reasons why the shredder jams.

In some cases, pushing a piece of cardboard through the knives can actually help unjamming the shredder. Push gently, so you don’t aggravate the jam even more. See? You don’t need to go to college to learn how to unclog a paper shredder.

​How To Oil A Paper Shredder

Oiling your shredder is really the easiest thing ever. How do you do it? Simple. Get the oil that came with the shredder and apply some of it on a sheet of paper. Do not soak it. The knives only need a little.

Now, place the oiled sheet of paper on top of the knives and start the shredder. Let the paper run through them. If you put too much oil, you can clean the excess by running a few other sheets of paper through the knives.

They will collect it. That’s it! Nothing easier. This method works for both automatic and manual paper shredders.

​Paper Shredder Safety

A machine that operates with knives always warrants safety precautions. It doesn’t matter how deep the knives (or hammers) are embedded in the shredder. A paper shredder accident can still occur if you’re not cautious.

Shredding Paper

One of the most immediate hazards when using a paper shredder is getting your hair in it. This can be catastrophic. Make sure you tie your hair whenever you use the shredder and stray away from arching over it when it’s running.

Do not put your fingers in the opening, or you might lose them. Only paper goes in there; be very careful. Also, check the papers before you put them in the shredder. They may have some paper clips in them, and this will jam the machine.

When it comes to the safety of your children in respect with paper shredders, you should not allow them to get near it. Put it in a place that is out of their reach. Another thing you must not do when using a paper shredder is to force the paper into it.

If you respect all these precautions, you will be safe and sound.

​Conclusion

A paper shredder is a great acquisition when you have a company, and you must get rid of a lot of paper. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on one, though. If you run a small business, a shredder for home use will do.

Now, if you go on Google and you type in “paper shredder,” you’re going to get hundreds of results in a matter of seconds. And bam! You realize you’ve got no idea which one you should buy.

Hand Holding A Bunch Of Shredded Paper

Since you learned everything about this machine in this guide, you’re probably considering buying one now. What brand should you get? What type of shredder would be best for you? These are questions you must answer before ordering.

If you need help, I have compiled a buying guide for you with all the information you need to make an excellent choice that you won’t regret afterward. I will show you the best models on the market and provide explanations as to why they are included in the top list.

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