The Best Paper Shredders of 2022

Security shouldn’t stop at a deadbolt. Choose among the many paper shredder options for your home office to safeguard your identity and other sensitive information.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Aug 12, 2022 5:37 PM

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The Best Paper Shredder Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Some people still think paper shredders are primarily meant for paper shredding in business, government, and healthcare facilities where sensitive documents must be destroyed to comply with privacy laws. As cases of identity theft soar, though, there has been a renewed demand for the best paper shredders to effectively dispose of private records, junk mail, and other paper documents that are common in home offices.

Do you need one to shred credit cards? Large stacks of documents? Maybe just an occasional bank statement or two? The best paper shredder for you depends on these and other particulars, including your budget, office space, and level of document sensitivity. Consider the following list of some of the top-rated paper shredders, and choose the best option for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Aurora AU870MA High-Security 8-Sheet Shredder
  2. RUNNER UP: Fellowes Powershred 79Ci 100% Jam Proof Shredder
  3. BEST BUDGET: Aurora AS420C Desktop-Style Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
  4. HEAVY-DUTY PICK: Bonsaii 18-Sheet Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Shredder
  5. BEST FOR FAST SHREDDING: Aurora JamFree AU2030XA 20-Sheet Crosscut Shredder
  6. BEST FOR HOME USE: BONSEN Home Office 8-Sheet Crosscut Shredder
  7. BEST FOR OFFICES: Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade Shredder
  8. HONORABLE MENTION: AmazonBasics 6-Sheet High-Security Paper Shredder
The Best Paper Shredder Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Types of Paper Shredders

After using sensitive printed information, it’s important to dispose of it properly, and a paper shredder can make quick work of that safe disposal. There are several different types of paper shredders available, including strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut. Consider these options carefully to select a high-quality office tool to avoid paper jams that can come from investing in a cheap paper shredder.

Strip-cut

The most basic-security paper shredder is strip-cut, which cuts the paper into vertical strips that could be reassembled with some effort. Due to the simple cut, these shredders can tackle high volumes of material. Although they aren’t the best option for sensitive personal documents, these shredders are perfect for quick and easy shredding of nonsensitive material.

Strip-cut shredders are the most affordable style and require the least ongoing maintenance, which makes them a good choice for typical personal-office use.

Cross-cut

The cross-cut style of paper shredder is more popular than other shredders because it offers medium-level security at an affordable price. Cross-cut paper shredders cut both vertically and horizontally, making it incredibly difficult to piece together the document fragments.

These paper shredders are classified as medium-security, which makes them ideal for businesses and home offices where confidential documents are shredded. A cross-cut paper shredder is faster than a micro-cut shredder (discussed below) but slower than a strip-cut. A bit of maintenance is required to keep a cross-cut shredder functional.

Micro-cut

Micro-cut paper shredders can shred documents into an average of 2,000 pieces. This high level of security means that once a document is shredded, it is nearly impossible to reassemble.

Micro-cut shredders are best for shredding highly sensitive paperwork, including contracts, medical records, or government documents. However, keep in mind that a micro-cut paper shredder costs more and takes longer to shred documents.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paper Shredder

Before purchasing a paper shredder, get to know the various features in order to choose the best one.

Size

Consider the space where this desk accessory will live, and how often it will be used and emptied. The bins of strip-cut paper shredders fill up quickly because the paper bends and folds. Shredders that cut the paper into smaller particles require smaller bins for the same amount of paper.

A compact shredder with a small bin fits on or under most desks, so it takes up minimal office space, but small paper shredders must be emptied frequently. Larger paper shredders take up more space, but their increased bin capacity allows users to shred many more documents before emptying.

Page Capacity

The page capacity of a paper shredder refers to the maximum number of sheets that can pass through it at one time. If inserting more pages than recommended, the shredder may jam. Shredder page capacity ranges from one to more than 100.

Paper shredders that accept 100 or more pages automatically pull page after page through the blades until all the documents are shredded. This feature lets users walk away and leave the shredder to its work.

Runtime

All shredders have runtimes, which means they will overheat if trying to run them longer than the manufacturer recommends. A shredder with a low runtime, such as 2 minutes, won’t be effective for high-volume use but may work well for more occasional needs.

A paper shredder with a runtime of at least 5 minutes is generally acceptable for home offices. If regularly shredding multiple documents, select a paper shredder with a long runtime. Some heavy-duty paper shredders can run for an hour or more, but they will also have much longer cooldown periods before they can be used again.

Security Level

A paper shredder’s security level is determined by the size of the paper particles after shredding. Security can be broken down into the three paper shredder types: strip-cut is the least secure, cross-cut offers a medium level of security, and micro-cut is the most secure.

Manufacturers classify shredder security using DIN P-Levels from 1 to 7. A higher number indicates a more secure shredder. DIN P-1 is the least secure, while DIN P-7 is the most secure.

Safety Features

Paper shredders are simple to operate, but users may forget that they can be dangerous. That’s why manufacturers often include safety features, such as automatic shutoff or jam protection, to keep users (and the shredder) safe.

  • Automatic shutoff: The automatic shutoff function on a paper shredder is designed to power off the shredder when a hand touches the feeder slot or if the shredder begins to overheat. The shredder will remain shut down until the motor has cooled and it senses that no hands are near the feeder slot.
  • Jam protection: Paper shredders are designed to shred a specific number of pages or documents at one time. The feed can jam if the documents are unexpectedly thick, if there are more documents than recommended, or if staples and other materials are left in the paper. A jam-protection feature stops the intake of materials and reverses the paper’s direction. This automatic action allows users to remove some pages or any non-paper objects, like paper clips.

Our Top Picks

Which type of paper shredder is best for you depends on your particular needs. To help with your search, we’ve researched popular paper shredder models and organized some of the top-rated paper shredders by category.

Best Overall

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Aurora AU870MA High-Security 8-Sheet Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

The Aurora AU870MA shredder finely shreds bank statements, medical records, and other confidential documents—even credit cards—to a medium-security level of P-4. This shredder has a 3.9-gallon bin for paper storage before disposal, and features a 5-minute continuous runtime and 30-minute cooldown period. Shred up to eight sheets of paper at one time or feed credit cards through the shredder to thoroughly destroy them.

The shredder weighs just 11.68 pounds and is 7.13 inches high by 11.81 inches wide by 16.1 inches deep, so it fits easily in many relatively small home offices. Its features include thermal protection that automatically shuts down the machine if it starts to overheat and jam protection to stop the intake of paper and allow users to reverse the feed of the material.

Product Specs

  • Type: Micro-cut
  • Page Capacity: 8 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Compact size and weight
  • Auto-shutoff prevents the shredder from overheating
  • Jam-detection system automatically stops the shredder
  • Manual reverse to clear paper jams

Cons

  • Short, 5-minute continuous runtime

Get the Aurora paper shredder at Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

Runner Up

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Fellowes Powershred 79Ci 100% Jam Proof Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci shredder is ideal for a shared home office because it operates at an ultra-quiet noise level and shreds documents with P-4 medium security. Its SafeSense technology stops the shredder if it senses hands, paws, tails, noses, or ears near the paper feeder. That feature alone makes this one of the best home office shredders available.

This cross-cut paper shredder boasts a 100 percent jam-proof system that detects impending jams, automatically stops the paper feeder, and reverses the material. The feeder then automatically pulls the material back in and through with increased power to shred up to 16 pages in a single pass. The device can shred documents for 20 minutes into the roomy 6-gallon pull-out waste bin, but it then requires a 30-minute cooldown. This shredder is a bit larger than some competitors, weighing in at just above 28 pounds at a size of 21.31 by 15.38 by 10.44 inches.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 16 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Large, 6-gallon collection bin
  • SafeSense technology detects hands near the feeder
  • Jam-proof system

Cons

  • Weighs 28 pounds

Get the Fellowes paper shredder on Amazon, Walmart, and Sam’s Club.

Best Budget

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Aurora AS420C Desktop-Style Cross-Cut Paper Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

This Aurora desktop-style paper shredder is an affordable option that weighs only half a pound and measures a slight 9 by 7 by 10 inches. Despite its small size, it has a hefty P-4 security rating. The cross-cut shredder can handle up to four sheets of paper or one credit card per pass.

This convenient paper shredder comes with a letter opener, a detachable power cord, and a 1.32-gallon waste bin for particle collection and disposal. The paper shredder only has a 2-minute runtime, though, so it’s not practical for shredding a lot of documents every day. A thermal-protection feature automatically stops the shredder if it begins to overheat, to protect the machine’s motor.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 4 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Compact size for desktop use
  • Thermal-protection feature prevents overheating
  • Includes a letter opener and detachable power cord

Cons

  • Small-capacity collection bin
  • Only operates continuously for 2 minutes

Get the Aurora paper shredder at Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

Heavy-Duty Pick

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Bonsaii 18-Sheet Heavy Duty EverShred C-149C Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

As the bonsaii 18-Sheet Heavy Duty Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Shredder’s name implies, this device is ready for big jobs. It features a cross-cut paper shredder, a 6-gallon bin capacity, and a 1-hour continuous runtime. It shreds both credit cards and paper, even those with staples or paper clips, to a medium P-4 security level. It automatically stops when a jam is detected and auto-reverses to clear it. Feed up to 18 sheets in a single pass into this 23-pound shredder, which is 14.17 by 11.22 by 21.46 inches.

An auto-off feature disables the feeder if there is the danger of overheating. This shredder also stops users from feeding too many documents into it. The overload-protection feature disables the feeder until the volume of material meets the paper shredder’s sheet requirements.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 18 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Large, 6-gallon capacity bin
  • 60-minute continuous runtime
  • Auto-off feature to prevent damage from overheating
  • Only 10-minute cooldown period

Cons

  • Weighs 23 pounds

Get the bonsaii paper shredder on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best for Fast Shredding

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Aurora JamFree AU2030XA 20-Sheet Crosscut Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

The Aurora JamFree AU2030XA shredder quickly shreds high volumes of paper to a medium P-4 security level. It can operate for up to 60 continuous minutes, and it allows users to feed 20 sheets at one time, dumping the scraps into a 7-gallon bin. It’s housed in a 36½-pound body that is 14.65 by 19.06 by 28.19 inches.

This cross-cut paper shredder also shreds credit cards, staples, and small paper clips. Jam protection automatically stops the feeder and reverses to clear the problem. The shredder uses a sensor to detect hands near the operating feeder and automatically shuts off until it’s clear.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 20 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • 60 minutes of continuous operation
  • Automatic paper-jam protection
  • Safety sensor detects hands near the feeder
  • Can shred up to 20 sheets at once

Cons

  • Heavy at 36½ pounds
  • 50-minute cooldown period

Get the Aurora paper shredder on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best for Home Use

The Best Paper Shredder Option: BONSEN Home Office 8-Sheet Crosscut Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

The BONSEN Home Office Shredder handles up to 8 sheets of paper at once, keeping confidential documents safe. Users don’t need to worry about removing staples, because this shredder cuts through them without a problem. It can also shred credit cards, ID cards, and envelopes. It weighs 9.5 pounds and is 12.6 by 7.48 by 16.4 inches, making it small enough to sit under or beside most desks.

The cross-cut shredder has four settings, including off, forward, auto, and reverse. Use the reverse function to clear paper jams, or run the forward function to manually control the shredding process. Documents are shredded at a P-4 security level and are stored in the 4-gallon bin. However, it should be noted that this shredder can only operate continuously for about 4 minutes; then it needs a 40-minute cooldown period.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cross-cut
  • Page Capacity: 8 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Manual-reverse function to clear paper jams
  • Can shred staples, credit cards, and more

Cons

  • 4-minute continuous runtime
  • 40-minute cooldown period

Get the BONSEN paper shredder on Amazon or at Walmart.

Best for Office

The Best Paper Shredder Option: Aurora AU1210MA Professional Grade Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

Take care of sensitive work documents—like employee paperwork, payroll information, and contracts—by shredding up to 12 sheets at a time with this sleek, professional-grade shredder from Aurora that’s ideal for the office. The shredder can also handle tougher materials, like CDs, DVDs, and credit cards, shredding the materials into small enough pieces to warrant a P-4 security rating.

This micro-cut shredder sits in a 5-gallon pullout bin that collects the shredded debris, ensuring that the office remains professional and neat. It can run continuously for up to 60 minutes and features an auto-reverse system to prevent paper jams. However, it does take about 45 minutes for the paper shredder to cool down after running continuously for 60 minutes.

Product Specs

  • Type: Micro-cut
  • Page Capacity: 12 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • 60-minute continuous operation
  • High sheet capacity for a micro-cut shredder
  • Auto-reverse system
  • Removable 5-gallon bin

Cons

  • 45-minute recovery period

Get the Aurora paper shredder on Amazon or at Walmart.

Honorable Mention

The Best Paper Shredder Option: AmazonBasics 6-Sheet High-Security Paper Shredder
Photo: amazon.com

The Amazon Basics 6-Sheet High Security Micro-Cut Paper and Credit Card Home Office Shredder is designed to shred up to six sheets of paper at once with no need to remove staples or small paper clips. Users can also shred credit cards, CDs, or DVDs into medium-security P-4 particles. The machine weighs just 9.7 pounds and is a petite 12.76 by 7.32 by 15.94 inches.

It uses an auto-start function to pull material into the feeder for shredding and a reverse function to clear jams. It also has an auto-off thermal-protection feature that shuts down the feeder to prevent the motor from overheating. One caveat, though: its continuous runtime is just 3 minutes, requiring a lengthy 30-minute cooldown period between shredding sessions.

Product Specs

  • Type: Micro-cut
  • Page Capacity: 6 sheets
  • Security Level: P-4

Pros

  • Shreds staples left in paper
  • Compact size
  • Auto-off overheating protection
  • Reverse function to clear jams

Cons

  • Only operates continuously for 3 minutes
  • Requires a 30-minute cooldown period

Get the Amazon Basics paper shredder on Amazon.

Our Verdict

The Aurora AU870MA paper shredder is a great choice for those who need the security of a micro-cut model to properly dispose of sensitive documents. For those who only need a cross-cut shredder to get the job done, the Fellowes Powershred is an excellent option.

How We Chose the Best Paper Shredders

Paper shredders are used in homes, home offices, and professional workspaces to destroy documents that contain sensitive information. With this in mind, security was an important factor while we considered the various options for the best paper shredder. The type of shredder was also noted, with preference given to micro-cut devices due to the security offered by the increased number of particles produced from a single sheet of paper.

Considerable research into each product helped to sift through choices that were admirable but fell short of the competition in some way, such as the page capacity, portability, or dimensions. Any products with extra features that improved the shredding capability of the device or otherwise improved on the design were favored over similar products that lacked these additional elements.

Tips for Using a Paper Shredder

A paper shredder is designed for cutting through several sheets of paper at once, shredding them into small pieces that are difficult to read, sift through, or piece together. However, without regularly cleaning and lubricating the blades with paper shredder oil, the device can jam, overheat, and break down.
It’s also important to avoid overloading the shredder. Each product comes with a recommended page capacity, and when that capacity is exceeded, the motor needs to work harder to ‌keep up with demand. Similarly, forcing paper into the shredder faster than it can handle will probably cause the motor to overheat. Or, at the very least, cause premature wear and tear on the machine, shortening its working life.

  • Regular maintenance can help improve shredding capabilities.
  • Overloading the shredder can result in premature wear.
  • Don’t force paper into the shredder.

FAQs

There is a lot to think about when researching the best paper shredder, so before you select a paper shredder, review the answers to these common questions.

Q: How long should a paper shredder last?

The average paper shredder lasts between 5 and 10 years. You can extend the life of your shredder by following the manufacturer’s care and maintenance recommendations.

Q: Which is better: a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder?

A micro-cut shredder is designed to provide a higher level of security than a cross-cut shredder. Micro-cut models cut a single document into an average of 2,000 particles.

A cross-cut shredder cuts documents into about 400 particles. It is more affordable and shreds documents at a faster rate. The best option for you depends on your security needs and budget.

Q: Can paper shredders handle paper clips and staples?

It depends on the paper shredder. If that’s a concern, you should always read the manufacturer’s specifications to verify that the shredder is rated to handle such alternative materials.