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The 4 Best Heavy Duty Paper Shredders

Updated on October 8, 2010
Avoid identity theft.
Avoid identity theft.

The importance of a good paper shredder is all too often overlooked. It’s a lowly device that performs the simple task of destroying confidential information. That sounds easy enough and yet a lousy machine can be the most aggravating thing in the office since the laser printer that keeps jamming.

Anything less than (true) ‘heavy duty’ isn’t worth owning because it will break down in about a year, even with light use. Take it from someone who has tried to cut corners in the past by opting for Staples and Office Depot brand cheapies. Inexpensive shredding devices don’t even come close to handling as many pages at once as claimed by the manufacturer.

So, enough talk about junk shredders and headaches. Let’s look at the many advantages of quality shredders. In the long term you will save money because a good shredder keeps chugging along for years. You probably won’t want to test the highest sheet capacities so you extend the life of the motor. Still, you can push through four or five page documents without giving it much thought. The new wave of shredders also blast through thicker items like CDs, paper clips and credit cards without hiccups. Lastly, higher-end models have warranties of two or three years on the machine components.

Fellowes Intellishred SB-99Ci Shredder

The SB-99Ci is Fellow’s second highest model in the line underneath the C-120Ci. It’s intended for small business shared use so it will live up to heavy duty abuse. SafeSense technology is something every shredder should have but doesn’t. If you’ve always approached your shredder with great care and a touch of fear, you’ll be glad to know the SB-99Ci stops running when hands touch the paper opening. This feature is ideal for parents with a home office as you can protect their safety should mischief ensue.

Fellowes Intellishred SB-89Ci Shredder

The SB-89Ci is much like the SB-99Ci mentioned above, with a little less horsepower. It’s ideal for home offices with lower volume use. With a 16 sheet capacity, the SB-89Ci is a good jump up from the lower-end offerings by Fellowes in power. Besides the motor and smaller design, it has the same features as the SB-99Ci: a jam proof system, SafeSense (to avoid accidents), quiet performance as well as the ability to cut through credit cards, staples, and CDs.

Fellowes Powershred SB-80 Shredder

Although a little unassuming to look at compared to the Intellishred SB-99Ci, the Powershred SB-80 is a touch more powerful. It tears through a whopping 18 pages without problems. A designated safety slot accepts CDs which is unique but certainly not a game-changer. The durable cutters also can handle credit cards, staples, and paper clips. The drawback with the SB-80 is it is an older model lacking the features of the Intellishred series. SafeSense especially is missed. Still, if getting as much power as you can for the price is your objective, the SB-80 doesn’t disappoint.

Royal 18 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder (SC180MX)

This is a stylish alternative to the popular and highly-functional Fellowes shredders. The look is more reminiscent of a tall-format laser printer than a glorified trash can. The SC180MX has a 1 horsepower motor that can handle 18 pages at once making it an even better value than the SB-80 reviewed above. A separate, smaller slot handles CDs, credit cards and the like. The capacity is impressive as it includes an 8 gallon translucent wastebasket. The see-through look is handy indeed as you can quickly get an idea of how full the wastebasket is. The Royal is also very quiet. Again, a solid offering although not as advanced as Fellowes Intellishred series. At under $150 it’s tough to beat for the price.

Closing Remarks

Busy professionals know that spending more on an item with superior reliability is a good business move. When you are stressed by a big project the last thing you need is paper shredder jams to make matters worse. Any of the five shredders listed are a good choice for a home office or small business. The models provide a happy medium between price point and quality. Commercial shredders intended for use by large corporations cost ten times the price.


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      Jeff_McRitchie 7 years ago

      These is a great article about heavy-duty paper shredders. I especially like that you listed three Fellowes shredders. Good job!