What features should I look for in a shredder?

posted this on Jul 9, 2015

Buying and using a paper shredder is something everyone should do these days. Not only is identity theft fairly common, there are federal privacy laws certain individuals and entities must follow. When you purchase a paper shredder you have a lot of decisions to make. This is because there are a lot of shredders on the market and each one have a different set of features to offer. This article will fill you in on the most common features to help you determine which ones matter the most to you.

Cross-cut v. strip-cut. This feature has to do with how the device processes the paper. Strip-cut shredders turn documents into spaghetti-like strips and cross-cut shredders turn paper into tiny particles. Strip-cut scraps can be reassembled so this type of device isn’t the best for highly confidential information. Those machine do happen to be cheaper so they’re a good choice if you’re on a budget.

The ability to shred non-paper items. A lot of the smaller shredders available can shred credit cards, staples, and paper clips for your convenience. Shredding a credit card is much safer than cutting it up and tossing the pieces in the garbage. There are also multimedia shredders that can handle items as varied as CD’s and DVD’s, DAT tape, floppy disks, and more. (There are some small and medium-sized shredders can handle some of these things.) And if you need to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you can find a few machines that can easily destroy pill bottles and adhesive prescription labels.

Self-oiling or not. Every paper shredder needs to be oiled on a regular basis. With most of the smaller ones, you have to oil them manually. However, with largest machines (such departmental shredders), you can sometimes purchase automatic oilers for them. If you do end up with a device you need to manually oil, don’t be disappointed. Oiling is super easy and it doesn’t take long to do.

Safety features. Every paper shredder needs to have some type of safety feature. These machines are be very dangerous and can cause injuries even if you’re very careful. Some common safety features include interlock switches, automatic shutoff, and paper overfeed indicators. No matter which features your device has, make sure you exercise as much caution as possible when shredding.

A continuous-duty motor. If you’re going to be shredding a large amount of paper on a regular basis, you should get a machine with a continuous-duty motor. These devices can shred paper (and sometimes other items) non-stop and they don’t need to cool off. They’re perfect for busy offices.

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