The Three Types Of Shredders (And Which One To Choose)

The Three Types Of Shredders (And Which One To Choose)

You’ve decided you want to buy a shredder, so you go into your office supply store and see a huge wall of them. How the heck do you choose which type to buy?

At a high level, there are three types of shredders:

  • Strip-Cut: Cuts the paper into strips. Pretty much useless. My kids could put the document back together.
  • Cross-Cut: Chops up the paper into little bits. This is the type of shredder I’ve always used. Good but with enough time and resources, it could be reassembled.
  • Micro-Cut: Turns the paper into confetti. You’re not putting that document back together.

Awesome DocumentSnap reader Laura Kenway from Bookkeeping Essentials sent me this video by Frank Abagnale for Nevada State Bank: You need to shred your papers!.

Frank Abagnale Shredder

(Incidentally, Frank Abagnale is the Catch Me If You Can guy.)

He makes a pretty compelling case for choosing a Micro-Cut shredder. That’s the one I’ll buy when I replace mine.

Amazon Scanner Comparison

Now that’s a shredding job.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 9 comments

SweetMirandaTM - January 24, 2017 Reply

Um , question, are u sure these are the only different types of shredders cuz am getting graded on this and i want to have the correct answer
Plz tell me this is right , also the only way am buyin a shredder (mabey…never) is if u give me the corrct answer

Pamela smith - May 11, 2016 Reply

very informative,Thanks

Q - January 3, 2016 Reply

Fire cleanses all.

Luciano - December 3, 2015 Reply

I don’t have a shredder yet, but I have the habit of checking if isn’t there any important information, like passwords, in a single uncut piece and then disposing the cut pieces in different places. Not that secure, but better than nothing when I’m not at my office.

Bruce - October 17, 2015 Reply

Became tired of buying shredders because of rough use. Now have an economical service pickup a container every three (3) months. Everything simply goes into the container and they shred. Also receive certification of shredding process. No fuss no mess.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - October 17, 2015 Reply

    Good point that I should have mentioned – sometimes the best shredder is not having one at all. Thanks Bruce!

Mike - September 30, 2015 Reply

Many years ago now, I got a catalog in the mail for various types of tools. The catalog also included shredders and I bought a micro cut shredder. It’s from some no name company in China, and it was only about $200 as I recall. I wasn’t sure how long it would last. However, all these years later it still works wonderfully.

The only limitation with the shredder is that you have to feed paper one or two sheets at a time at most.

One thing you can do to help keep your shredder working well it is to buy some shredder oil. Every now and then, when you’re shredding a piece of paper, you just add a little bit of oil to the paper before you shred it. This keeps the cutters running smoothly.

I’ve looked at the output of simple cross-cut shredders, and depending upon the document, you can sometimes see entire credit card numbers or other identifying information. The micro cut shredder, on the other hand, produces pieces that are completely unidentifiable.

Stan - Confidential Paper Shredding - September 29, 2015 Reply

Thanks for the info!

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