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Cross Cut Shredder Buying Tips

Updated on October 10, 2014

Cross Cut Paper Shredders

 Cross Cut Paper Shredders Buying Advice

With identity theft on the increase, paper shredders are almost an essential part of every home. They are certainly an essential part of every office. If you throw documents containing private information, such as bank statements or credit card statements out into the garbage without shredding them first, then you are laying yourself open not only to dumpster divers who can retrieve your personal information and use it to create fake credit cards, but also to people in far-away countries who go through landfill sites to see what they can find. It has been proved that certain councils and municipalities simply ship off their rubbish to third world countries for dumping.

So the moral of the story is - destroy your documents before dumping them in the garbage.

Different Types of Paper Shredders

Fellowes Paper Shredder

Fellowes Paper Shredder
Fellowes Paper Shredder

When looking for a paper shredder you need to consider that there are different types to choose from. Some shredders will slice your documents into strips, but others do a better job by cutting the strips into small pieces. These are known as crosscut shredders, or sometimes confetti shredders. They are equipped with two counter rotating drums that ensure that your documents are cut into small pieces of confetti instead of strips.

These crosscut paper shredders are probably the best choice, as strips can in fact be put back together, confetti however makes this task almost impossible without sophisticated software.

When trying to decide which cross-cut shredder to buy then you need to take into account the following features - sheet speed, shred size, sheet capacity, opening size, waste volume and safety.

Safety

Paper shredders are not totally risk-free as they have been known to slice off people's fingers, particularly children's. Because of this, paper shredder manufacturers such as Fellowes, Intimus and Staples have developed safety features that will turn the shredder off if fingers get too near to the paper entry; very thin paper entries; safety locks that stop children switching the shredder on; safety flaps that cover the cutters when the shredder head is taken out of the waste basket; safety interlock switches to prevent the shredder head being operated if it is not inside the waste basket.

Tips on Shredding

Security

Document shredders also offer different degrees of security of the documents shredded. The more security provided by a shredder, the more the shredder will cost . Security levels are defined using the following standards :-

Level 1 = 12 mm wide strips
Level 2 = 6 mm wide strips
Level 3 = 2 mm wide strips (confidential)
Level 4 = confetti measuring 2 x 15 mm (commercially sensitive)
Level 5 = confetti measuring 0.8 x 12 mm (Top Secret or Classified)
Level 6 = confetti measuring 0.8 x 4 mm (also Top Secret or Classified)

A Summary of What to Bear in Mind if you decide to buy a Cross Cut Shredder

  • Buy a shredder that is more powerful than what you think you need. Shredders have capacity ratings, but they are optimistic. If a shredder manufacturer claims a shredder can shred 12 sheets of paper then divide that by 2. You may also want a shredder that can shred CDs, DVDs and credit cards too.
  • Buy a shredder with bin that is easy to empty. They are a bit more expensive, but it will save you a lot of hassle.
  • Crosscut shredders nowadays should have auto-stop/start and reverse as standard. Auto-start turns the shredder on automatically when you insert a sheet of paper. Reverse is handy for dealing with paper jams.
  • Buy a shredder with the best safety features, particularly if you have small children or pets.

Crosscut shredders range in price from around $50 up to $40,000, so depending on your budget and your needs there should be one that is suitable for you. The main names to look for are Fellowes, Intimus and Staples. though there are others.

Why a Home Shredder is a Very Useful Device

Sony recently anounced that "an unauthorized person obtained information including players' names, birthdays, addresses, addresses, passwords and log-in names." Credit card information may also have been taken It is not directly relevant to shredders as it relates to online security, it neverthless serves as a reminder that identity theft is a real problem and that paper shredders are very useful even at home.

In a recent survey a majority of people who use shredders gave the Fellowes Powershred W-11C high marks for its quality of construction and its value overall. Users liked that it could easily shred junk mail unopened! It's also very cheap! It's not the most powerful document shredder you will ever see but it does the job for home office workers.

It is a cross-cut shredder that provides greater security than a strip shredder, as it cuts documents into fine pieces of confetti. One complaint is that it's noisy, but this is often said about cheaper shredders. Some people also reported that the W-11C stopped working completely within a short time.

One person said "I put 6 months of junk mail into it, unopened credit card offers, bank statements, checkbook pads etc.... I pushed it to its limit. .... and it's still running great! The construction is solid, safety features are great (the child safety lock is really secure and impossible to override), and this shredder can take more or less whatever you throw at it."

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    • Singular Investor profile image
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      Singular Investor 5 years ago from Oxford

      Hi Jeff - thanks for the comment - sorry it took me so long to reply ! Yes shredders can be dangerous people need to take care and make sure they choose one with all the safetty features

    • profile image

      Jeff_McRitchie 6 years ago

      You have some really good tips in here. And you're right on regarding safety features since shredding can be dangerous. Good job!