What to look for before buying a shredder

Feb 22, 2021

In any office setting, be it at home or in large corporations, there comes a time when you need to clear up space, and most likely it involves disposing of large volumes of paper and other documents. So how would you go about this? For some, it may involve gathering all these documents, piling them up, and throwing them out with the trash as they are. As simple as this method may be, you can never be too sure what vital information you might have considered as trash.

That is why shredders were invented, to help dispose of confidential documents with little to no risk of data breaching or loss.

shredder is a device that allows individuals or corporations to mechanically tear up small and large volumes of documents with little to no effort. The machines are capable of cutting the documents into the most minute size depending on your preference. They are available in different sizes with different capacities for different companies. Also, if you feel like shredding the documents yourself would be too much of a hassle, you could look for businesses that offer bulk shredding to lighten the load for you.

In this article you get to learn about - the different types of shredders, what to look for before purchasing your shredder, the safety tips that you need to observe, and how to make the most out of your shredder of choice.


1.    Types of shredders

Not all shredders produce the same kind of shredded paper. It is this difference in the final shred that is used to categorize them. The three types are ;

  • Strip-cut or ribbon-cut
  • Cross-cut or diamond-cut
  • Micro-cut or particle-cut

Let us have a look at each of these to get a better understanding.

Strip-cut shredder
This is a basic shredder for shredding non-confidential documents. It works by shredding paper vertically in long narrow strips that are fairly readable. This way, in case you mistakenly shred the wrong document you can have them reassembled if you have the patience. For an A4-sized paper, you can get approximately 39 strips.

Cross-cut shredder

This type of shredder is used to shred confidential documents. It works by shredding paper diagonally from both corners turning them into short barely readable particles. Check out this Fellowes Powershred 325Ci Cross-Cut Shredder. Document recovery is therefore not an easy task after placed into one of these hence you should be very thorough before using one. For an A4-sized paper, you get approximately 400 pieces. Some are classified as micro-cut shredders, which we look into next.


Micro-cut shredders

This is an advanced type of shredder used to shred highly confidential documents. It works by shredding diagonally from both corners into small almost unreadable square-shaped particles. Once documents are placed in this shredder there is no hope for recovery. For each A4-sized paper, you get approximately 3,700 particles.

With this in mind, you should have an idea of which is the best type that is suitable for you and your requirements. These requirements include the level of security you need in your organization and how important the information in the documents. While micro-cut shredders provide the highest level of security, you might consider getting a strip-cut shredder just in case any mishaps occur.


2.  Things to consider before buying a shredder

Now that you're familiar with the types of shredders available, having decided the type most suitable for you, there still are several factors to consider before going out to purchase one for yourself or your organization. Depending on the level of security required and how often you dispose of documents, here are some of the factors you should take stock of;


Paper size

In any office scenario, there are different paper sizes used for different purposes. Although one may assume that A4 is the standard size, shredders have their limitations on these. You need to take into consideration what paper size you will be shredding most often. Certain documents may come in larger sizes that need to be folded to fit your shredder while others may be too small. Other times you may be shredding piles of differently sized paper. While you may save money on smaller shredders, the extra work of processing overly large paper may not be worth it.


Load size

Similar to the paper size, you need to take into account how much paper your shredder can handle. If you are shredding a small ream, a narrow input shredder will do just fine, anything more will need a shredder that can fit a mid-sized load. Here is a good rule of thumb to help with your decision;

  • Personal shredders for single users
  • Small shredders for up to five users
  • General office shredders for up to ten people in the office and
  • Commercial shredders for more than ten users

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci Jam Proof Cross Cut Shredder
Cut Type
This is the most distinguishing factor when it comes to shredders as it determines the security of the shredded documentation. As mentioned earlier, not all shredders cut up documents into straight/vertical lines.

Cross-cut shredders add security to the strips by cutting them diagonally into small chunks. Micro-cut expounds on this by making even smaller particles and for even more security you can consider high-security shredding which makes particles instead of chunks

Shredder speed

No one wants to spend long periods shredding small reams of paper while they could be getting more work done. Shredders are convenience items meaning they are meant to save you time and effort. Most shredders feature a specific run time that dictates how long they can shred before requiring time to cool down.

These periods range from 2 minutes to more than an hour depending on the make and size of the shredder. Make sure to inquire about this or conduct thorough research into it before making your purchase.


Manual or auto-feed

Manually fed shredders require one to be present to insert the material to be shredded throughout the whole process. An automatically fed shredder simply needs you to place the material in a tray that will feed the shredder and complete the process in time. These help you save time. Auto-feed shredders are also more secure as you can input a pin to lock it until the task is finished while manual-feed shredders need more attention to avoid harm or damage.


Noise levels

Shredders are generally noisy office equipment. They are essentially boxes with moving parts whose only job is to tear and slice paper. If you are willing to invest some money you can get a quality one with noise-canceling features. For something on the lower end, you can look up YouTube videos that demonstrate the noise levels of different shredders to help you decide which one will best fit your setting. There is also the option of going and trying out different models to get that first-hand experience.

Advanced features

Like most pieces of technology in modern times, shredders also come with additional features to improve their convenience. These include; Credit card shredding for plastics and paper clips Anti-jam technology to keep the feed tray clean some are equipped with a reverse button in case of stalling.

This moves the paper in the opposite direction allowing to correct the Pull out bins for easier disposal of shredded Energy efficiency to save on power when in use and when not in

3.  Important safety features

While it may seem easy to use a shredder whether manually fed or automatic, there are certain precautions to be observed to avoid harm or damage. You are advised not to leave an operating shredder unattended especially with children or pets around. Always unplug a shredder when not in use and store it in a safe secure place. And consider buying a shredder with special safety features to prevent possible harm. These features may include a safety lock even when it's plugged or a safety sensor that detects paper, hands, or fingers touching the opening prompting the shredder to shut off.

4.  Available shredders in Kenya

Now that you have familiarised yourself with the different types of shredders as well as the considerations before purchasing your own. Let's have a look into the world of manufacturers and brands that are available in Kenya and on the Duktech website that you can choose from.

Some of the companies known to make shredders include ;

Each of these has a range of shredders with prices starting from Kshs. 10,000 to as high as Kshs. 500,000. These shredders are therefore suitable for home use, business use and even large companies that deal in bulk shredding.

For organizations that are interested in bulk shredding of documents, it is recommended that you contact your shredding institution and inquire what materials they allow to be shredded. In most situations, items like paper clips, pins and rubber bands are allowed. However heavier items such as 3-ring binders, glossy paper and X-rays may be excluded from the process. The benefit of outsourcing shredding is that it allows your company to save time and effort for your employees while at the same time reducing noise levels within the office setting.

What are you waiting for, check out our latest shredders right here!


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