Are there different levels of security when it comes to a shredder?

posted this on Jul 9, 2015

If you have been looking at different shredders and are confused about the different levels of shredder security you are not alone. Unfortunately, there is no single standard for measuring the level of security of a paper shredder. This has led each manufacturer to come up with their own terminology for describing the security that their shredders offer. As you can imagine, this makes measuring the security of shredders across different brands very difficult. This article is designed to help you determine the security level of any shredder no matter who the manufacturer is.

Before we look at the different types of shredders, there is one important thing to remember when considering the security of any particular shredder. No matter who the manufacturer of the shredder is, the smaller the particles that it produces the higher the security is. With this in mind, there are four main types of paper shredders available on the market.

  1. Strip-Cut Shredders: A strip-cut shredder is the least secure type of shredder available on the market. These shredders cut documents into long strips of paper. Depending on the model of strip cut shredder that you choose, the width of the strips will vary somewhat. The narrower the strips, the higher the security.
  2. Cross-Cut Shredders: These shredders cut documents into small chips. These shredders are sometimes called confetti cut shredders. Some companies also refer to these as diamond cut machines. Cross-cut shredders cut documents into long strips and then cut the long strips into little sections. Again, the smaller the chips that the shredder produces, the higher the security that it offers.
  3. Micro-Cut Shredders: A micro-cut shredder is actually just a variety of a cross cut shredder. Micro-cut shredders cut shredders into smaller particles than standard cross-cut shredding machines. The smaller particles offer higher levels of security and make it much more difficult to reassemble documents after they have been shredded.
  4. DOD / NSA High Security Shredders: The highest level of security in shredding is offered by DOD / NSA high security shredders. High security, classified government offices are required to use these types of shredders in their facilities. These shredders cut documents into such small pieces that it is virtually impossible to reassemble them afterwards. These shredders are the most expensive but also the most secure.
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