What do I look for in a shredder?

I’m in the market for a shredder for the office. We’re a not for profit, so priority one HAS to be cheap. I would say we couldn’t go any higher than $200, and that’s probably on the high side.

That being said, what do I need to look for in a shredder? I have one at home, which worked for a few years and then jammed and I can’t make the paper come out - so one that doesn’t jam when it’s been working for a few years, preferably. It will need to be in use pretty much every day, and shred lots of things - though I can train them to just do a few pages at a time, if necessary.

Thoughts? Recommendations?

Hi Anaamika,

The one recommendation I can make is to go to Costco and get yourself a “crosscut” shredder. It’s the kind that cuts the long strips into confetti-like 1-inch strips. Yeah, it’s much more secure, but the real benefit is that the shredded material packs so much more densely. With the strip only shredder, it felt like we were always emptying the paper straw out of the bin. Great if you have a hamster farm, I guess… Wiht the cross cut you just pour it out. Material is excellent for pranking out a newlywed’s car too…

Costco because they tend not to offer cheap crap, ime, and still offer good value. That’s where we got ours, and it’s worked reliably. If you have kids, they looove to shred stuff. Mine asks once in a while if he can do it as a recreational activity. Just make sure you have a clearly designated “for shredding” bin, and that they know to only take papers from there.


My father’s company sells shredders. One question is how much shredding will you do? This isn’t just a matter of feeding just a few pages at a time - what’s your overall shredding volume. If you don’t do much, then a really inexpensive shredder might work fine. If you do a lot more, then you might need something where the motor won’t seize from over use.

IIRC, you can get some pretty good shredders in your stated price range. If you want, send me a PM and I’ll have someone give you a call.

Alternatively, you might contact someone who sells these locally - I can see about getting you a reco - and check for something used that a local business might donate if they’re looking to upgrade their own equipment. They can write off the donation and you get a shredder. Only problem there is if the old one isn’t that good then do you want it.

Let me know.


The closest Costco is over 100 miles from here. :frowning: But I will look for a crosscut shredder.

The quantity of shredding will probably be like this - daily, just a few pages, about 3-4 times a year, very large quantities for us - maybe at the most 3-4 boxes of paper.

Talk to your bank or credit union - they might be able to do this for you.

What? Shred our stuff for us?

Anaamika, what kind of business are you in? Are you subject to HIPAA or other privacy regulations?

Nope, nothing like that. The only ‘confidential’ in our files is names, addresses, and phone numbers - but the boss has insisted, and thus I need to get one. :slight_smile:

I don’t know about buying one, but I’ve noticed that the really cheap ones are generally not worth it. They jam far too easily. When your first big time of year comes up, you’ll want to shred the shredder.

In my old office we have a big bin where confidential documents are put. A service comes every now and then to empty it and destroy the contents. There’s nothing to jam and it can be heavily used.

Get the biggest paper receptacle you can afford. Paper expands when it’s shredded and you don’t want to be emptying the bin all the time.

Get a crosscut shredder. It’s more secure in terms of document destruction. It also minimizes expansion (see above) because the smaller shreds pack together better. Our shredder is a “diamond-cut” type - it shreds the paper into a sort of trapezoidal shape which compacts very nicely.

Avoid shredders that have the shredding apparatus sitting right on top of the bin. You’ll have to lift the heavy part with the motor every time you want to empty the bin. It’s a pain, and it tends to scatter shreds everywhere. Instead, look for one that has a frame that holds the shredding apparatus and a bin that simply pulls out of the frame. Bonus points if you can line the bin with a bag so you don’t have to empty the bin into a bag.

We got this onefor about $100 on sale at Office Max. We’ve been happy so far.

Lightning fast, with many blades.

Can’t open it at work!

Yeah, my shredder at home has the shredding thing right on top, and it was a PITA. I’ll probably buy the Office Max one, I guess.

It’s put out by TMNT, though I think it has been discontinued.

buy one powerful enough to cut CD’s and credit cards and then NEVER shred such an item. While they will have the power to cut them it’s a bitch to fish out credit card pieces when they wedge in between the blades. You just want the extra power to cut more paper.

Always buy one that takes more sheets than you think you will shred.
You will jam it on a regular basis, regardless of how light your needs are, so make sure it handles at least 12 sheets at once.

This also allows you to toss in unopened mail if you wish.

Look for a good duty cycle. Folks often pile up shredding work and then do it all at once. Kind of sucks to have a shredder that is only capable of 10 minutes of work before overloading.

I recommend this model.

The obvious answer is “bits of paper”. :smiley: I have a cheap Fellowes shredder that I bought several years ago. When we moved from Alaska to Oregon, I literally shredded 8-10 lawn bags full of documents with this thing. It would overheat and shut down for a bit, but performed very well. An occasional oiling of the cutting blades keeps it nice and sharp.

Echoing what Chefguy said about oiling. Learned this lesson after cooking my second shredder, I lube the hell out of number three (an Ativa DX180Du) and it’s still going strong.
I started a thread once about what kind of oil “shredder oil” is and if I recall, most agreed it is probably vegetable or mineral oil (or a mix).

Do you have Staples stores near you? I’m looking at their website and seeing cross-cut shredders designed to handle 12-15 sheets at once for around $120 or so. One thing you might want to look for is a quiet shredder. The one we have here is particularly noisy.

And for your periodic need for shredding boxes of paper, I recommend calling in a shredding service just for those events. (Shred-it is one such company, but I’ll bet that you can find others in your area.)

Well, there’s always the option to make your own, but you’ll need some Ooze™ and I think Techno Global Research Industries went out of business.