We tested 19 cross-cut shredders in two types.
With a pull-out console model, you empty the device by pulling out a drawer that collects the shreds; with a wastepaper-basket shredder, you lift the shredder mechanism off of a basket that holds the shredfer. Our testers fed the shredders about 25, sheets of paper left over from a recent printer test. Half the paper was pound stock, and the rest was thinner paper printed with color photographs. All the shredders met the manufacturer's claims about how many sheets you can feed at one time, and they all successfully handled credit cards. The shredders designed to deal with CDs, DVDs, paper clips, and staples capably shredded those items, too.
Safe, Secure, and Shredded
How to choose a shredder Filled to capacity The window on byy wastepaper-basket Staples model sake you see when the shredder is full. Here are some other points to consider when choosing a shredder. Size If you have the room, consider one of our recommended models. They are 20 to 25 inches tall, which means that they can store more waste between emptying. You can also find desktop models, which have a smaller footprint. Keep in mind that this type might shred more slowly, and you might need to empty it more frequently than larger, more-expensive machines.
One desktop model that we tested but which is discontinued easily handled credit cards, discs, and staples. Features If you store your annual tax records or other important documents on data discs, make sure you choose a model that can handle them. If you'll shred papers only occasionally, say when you sort through your monthly bills, consider a model with an "auto" button. This feature lets you keep the shredder at the ready, without the noisy motor running, until you insert papers and other items. You won't have to turn the shredder on and off as you work. It lets you stack up to sheets on an interior shelf and then slowly shreds while you attend to other tasks.
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Because you'll want to keep tabs on the shredded paper so that the bin doesn't get too full and possibly interfere with the shredding, look for a machine with a window for monitoring the shredded buildup. Safety We didn't find serious safety hazards with any of the tested shredders during testing. All tested models are designed with a slat that should be too small for children's fingers to get caught. Note that wastepaper-basket shredders, which lack drawers, tended to be top-heavy, making them more prone to tipping over. Models with drawers were also easier to empty.
Shopping tips The best time to buy a shredder is from fall through spring tax season. That's when retailers sell the most shredders and often put them on sale.
Fortunately, shredders have come a long way since the days depicted in the movie Argo, in which the failure of government shredders to destroy sensitive photos played an Besst role. With most of today's shredders, you can be reasonably sure that your documents will be sliced up finely enough to be in shrerder danger of being pieced back together. Shredding Basics One way of classifying shredders is by the way they cut paper. Strip-cut shredders cut sheets of paper into long strips. They are fast, but they don't provide much security, as the strips are usually large enough that they could be reassembled by a patient, determined person.
Cross-cut shredders, somewhat more secure, chop the paper into short, thin strips. And micro-cut shredders dice paper into tiny diamonds or bits of confetti, and are suitable for shredding confidential—and in some cases secret—papers. Shredder security, measured by the smallness of the paper shreds, is determined by the internationally accepted DIN standard.
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The range of salee runs from P-1 insecure to P-7 suitable for shredding top-secret documents. A P-4 security level is fine for most offices, while ones needing to dispose of particularly sensitive documents may want to up it to P5. Modern shredders can handle more than sheets of paper. Many of today's models can chop through CDs, credit and ID cards, paper clips, and staples.
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Some can make quick work even of thick envelopes full of junk mail. Speed, based salee the number of sheets you can feed through the shredder, one after another, is important. So is the feeder capacity how many sheets you can shred at once and the size of the basket where the shredded paper ends up.