A shredder is an essential equipment in the office, it contributes to GDPR compliance and ensures confidential data is destroyed properly. However, with so many options available, it can be hard to find the best one to suit your business’ needs.

Buying unsuitable equipment can leave your business’ data exposed, delay other tasks and increase your cost when the initial product you decide to buy is not the correct choice.

To make your task easier and ensure you get it right the first time, have a look at this short, simple and effective guide about office shredders.

Sizes and Functionalities

Firstly, you need to consider how often and how many people will use the equipment. There are shredding machines designed for the small office up to compactors where several machines are in use, while a large team sharing one shredder machine will need it to run more frequently and must have a bigger bin capacity.

These are the three main features to consider:

Throat Capacity: This defines how many sheets you can insert at a time. If your business’ documents usually contain a lot of pages, it will be more time effective if you can shred more pages at a time. You also need to consider if it will be able to shred paper staples for example.

Run Time: This determines how long the equipment can run before it needs a “cool down” time. The range can go from equipment that can run for five minutes and need a twenty minutes cool down, to equipment that can run continuously.

Bin Capacity: The bigger the capacity to hold the shredded document, the fewer times it will need to be emptied. It also depends on the number of documents the business needs to be destroyed every hour.

Types of Cut

Then you need to consider the confidentiality of the data in these documents, the type of cut will define the shape and size of the paper pieces and how hard would be to put it back together if it falls into the wrong hands.

Strip Cut
It cuts the paper into long strips, usually vertical. The security level is low since the document can be reconstructed by puzzling the words together. It is recommended for non-confidential documents which are generally shredded to save space when disposed of or to be recycled.

Cross Cut
The cross-cut shredder cuts the paper diagonally, from both corners, in short particles. It has a higher level of security and it is recommended for personal and business confidential documents such as financial records.

Crypto Cut or Micro Cut
These shredders get the paper cut into minimum diamond shape, offering maximum possible security for highly confidential documents such as government classified documents or strategic plans.

To help to identify the level of security that a shredder offers, the Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute of Standardization) classifies it from DIN-P1 to DIN-P7, the higher the DIN-P the safer the data destroyed will be.

There are several other functionalities a shredder can offer, for example, automatic feeding and reverse function, but these offer you extra convenience rather than the points covered above which determines how suitable the equipment is to your needs.

To keep this guide simple and compact, instead of describing each of these extra functionalities, we selected some equipment to exemplify your options, classified according to sizes, this is a starting point for a wider range available:

Q-Connect Q6CC2 Cross Cut Paper Shredder

The compact Q-Connect Q6CC2 cross cut shredder is ideal for home use. It shreds up to 6 sheets of 75gsm paper in one pass and also accepts credit cards, staples and paper clips. It shreds paper into 5 x 47mm pieces giving a level 3 security. The start-stop feature saves on electricity and the reverse function clears jams effectively.

Fellowes 62MC Microcut Shredder

Specially designed for personal or small office use, this efficient micro cut shredder from Fellowes will shred 10 sheets of 70gsm A4 paper per time into 3x10mm particles at a high P-4 security level. The machine will also shred staples and credit cards and has a 19-litre capacity, easy to empty pull out bin.

Rexel 600X Smartech Shredder 

Smart functionality for remote notifications and management. Get real-time shredder updates to your mobile device with the Auto+ SmarTech real-time app. Spend 98% less time shredding, save time and money with Auto Feed shredders. The Auto+ 600X shredder automatically shreds up to 600 sheets (80gsm) or 660 sheets (70gsm ) into P-4 (4x40mm) cross cut pieces. No need to stand and feed it with paper, or even remove staples or paper clips first. With an automatic feed (jam-free technology) and an 80-litre bin, you can simply load up to 600 A4 sheets and leave it to get on with the job.

Fellowes M-8C Cross Cut Shredder

Best suited to occasional use, in the home or a small office, the Fellowes M-8C is a small yet powerful shredder. Cross cutting up to 8 sheets of paper at a time, you can be sure that sensitive documents are securely destroyed making it exceptionally hard for people to reconstruct information. Shredding continuously for up to 5 minutes and cutting through credit cards and staples, the cutting mechanism is reliable and always works as well as possible.

HSM Powerline 450.2 Document Shredder

Powerful and durable. This large document shredder provides for data security in archives or central stations for document
shredding. High-quality materials and “Made in Germany” quality for safety and durability. Cutting rollers made of hardened solid steel.
Powerful motor allows for continuous operation. An automatic return eliminates paper jams. Light barrier for automatic start/stop. User safety through emergency off switch.

HSM Powerline HDS150 Hard Drive Shredder

The hard drive shredder HSM Powerline HDS 150 destroys digital media devices in a safe and economical way â ” and is data
protection compliant as well. High-quality materials and “Made in Germany” quality for safety and durability. Cutting rollers made of hardened solid steel. Hard drive shredder with 230 V power supply in a compact and modern design. Very suitable for the decentralised destruction of a smaller quantity of data media. Powerful, energy-saving power unit enables long operation at a low noise level.