What should I know about Multimedia Shredders?

posted this on Jul 22, 2015

With identity theft on the rise, more people are looking for ways to properly destroy multiple types of materials. Most machines that shred paper also handle the occasional paperclip and staple as well as credit cards. But what do you do with old CDs containing personal information? Or 3.5″ floppy disks storing former customer records? You put them through a multimedia shredder. Like paper shredders, multimedia devices come with a variety of features. Here are a few things to help you sift through the details when choosing a multimedia device.

  1. Materials. One of the first things you’ll want to decide is what you’ll need to shred. Then look for a machine with that capability. Many paper shredders can accommodate CDs and DVDs; in fact, you may already have a machine that can do this. A good multimedia device can also accept 3.5″ floppy disks and Zip disks, both 100mb and 250mb. There are also models designed to handle 4mm DAT tapes, LS120 superdisks, DV tape, and VHS tapes. Martin Yale even makes a specialty pharmacy shredder built to securely destroy pill bottles, cough syrup containers, and adhesive labels.
  2. What do you already have? Most of these machines can shred paper as well as media items. However, if your office already has a decent paper shredder, you may want to invest in a model solely for media. Another option is to upgrade your current shredder to a device that can handle all materials you need to destroy.
  3. Safety. As you can imagine, shredding plastic items creates tiny shards. To prevent accidental injury from flying pieces, you’ll want to find a device with a plastic safety shield over the opening. Another important feature is an automatic off for a jam, an open cabinet door, or an engine overheat. This helps prevent injury as well as prolongs the life of your shredder.
  4. Separate waste compartments. With a device that handles both paper and media items, segregated waste bins make recycling easier. You can put the paper in the recycling bin while tossing the plastic remnants.
  5. Security level. Multimedia items are pretty much impossible to reassemble no matter the security rating. But if you plan to also use the device for paper, make sure you get the rating you’re looking for.
  6. Capacity. Most multimedia slots work for one, maybe two, pieces. But if you’re looking for a machine to also handle your sensitive paperwork, be sure you pay attention to the capacity details. The entry width should be broad enough to accept your most commonly used papers. And the number of pages the blades can take at once as well as the shred speed should be proportional to your requirements. A shredder that handles less than you need is frustrating and slows productivity.
  7. Warranty. Finally, as with all shredders, consider the warranty. Quality brands will back up their products with a decent warranty. Cutting heads are often covered for ten years to life, depending on the manufacturer. Parts and labor coverage is on average one to two years.
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