What is the difference between Strip-Cut and Cross-Cut Shredders?

posted this on Jul 23, 2015

There are many different brands of paper shredders on the market. A few that immediately come to mind are GBC, Fellowes, Martin Yale, and Dahle. But while there are numerous brands available, you may be surprised to learn that there are really only two types of paper shredder, and it has to do with cutting styles and not brand names. The two types of shredder are strip- and cross-cut, which is also known as confetti- and micro-cut. Here’s more information about these two types of machines so you can determine which one would be better for your needs.

Strip-Cut

The strip-cut shredder is the most common type of shredder. This type of machine can be found at discount stores, office supply shops, and a variety of e-commerce websites. A strip-cut device will take your documents and turn them into countless strips that are typically about 1/4″ wide and are as long as the paper itself. (For example, letter-sized strips would be 11 inches long.)

The good thing about strip-cut shredders is that you can get one for very little cost, so this type of shredder is great for people who are keeping a close eye on their money. However, there is a drawback to using this type of machine: they don’t offer as much document security as cross-cut devices. There are six different levels of shredder security, with Level 1 offering the least amount of security. Most strip-cut machines offer Level 1 or 2 security because it’s possible for someone to put the strips back together so he/she can read your document and possibly steal your private information. Therefore, these devices are good for home users and for destroying non-classified business documents, but they shouldn’t be used if you need a lot of security.

Cross-Cut

A cross-cut shredder should be your first choice when security is an issue. These devices can offer higher levels of security because they cut down up and down, and will turn your documents into tiny little pieces. (This is why these units are sometimes referred to as confetti-cut shredders.) Documents that are destroyed with this type of device are nearly impossible to put back together, so they’re ideal for getting rid of patient information, tax documents, credit reports, and so on. The higher level machines are often used by government agencies that deal with a lot of confidential data, such as the military and IRS.

One possible drawback of using a cross-cut shredder is that they’re often more expensive than their strip-cut counterparts. While this usually isn’t of much concern to businesses and organizations, individuals might have an issue with it. Also, cross-cut shredders tend to be able to shred much less at once than strip-cut devices, and the higher security level, the lower the shredding capacity. This is one thing you should keep in mind if you or your employees will need to shred a lot of paper at once.

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