different types of paper shredder security levels

Different types of Paper Shredder Security Levels


Papers shredders are used to destroy documents and as shredders started to advance and become more popular in regular workplace settings, there became a need for a measuring standard.

Since 2018 seven different shredder security levels, known as levels P-1 through to P-7, exist. The P stands for “paper-based materials” and each P-level corresponds with a different size of paper shred. The different standards are laid out by DIN 66399 (standard for paper destruction), which details the maximum area and with of shred particles along with guidance on the best level for different types of sensitive information.

Different shredder security levels


These different P-level sizes are:


  • P-1: Strips ≤ 12mm wide
  • P-2: Strips ≤ 6mm wide
  • P-3: Strips ≤ 2mm wide
  • P-4: Cross-cut ≤ 160mm² – ≤ 6mm wide
  • P-5: Cross-cut ≤ 30 mm² – ≤ 2mm wide
  • P-6: Cross-cut ≤ 10mm² – ≤ 1mm wide
  • P-7: Cross-cut ≤ 5mm² – ≤ 1mm wide


Level P-1:


Shredders with a P-1 security level cut strips that are 12mm wide and as long as the paper that is shredded. Because the large cut size does not produce much resistance, they usually cut the fastest overall in comparison to the other shredders. The downside to the large strips is that they can with not too much effort be reconstructed to form the original document. It is recommended that these shredders be used for less sensitive data or small recycling projects.


Level P-2:


With a width of 6mm, there is not much of a difference between P-1 and P-2 shredders other than being half the size. It is then twice as secure but still not recommended for sensitive information.


Level P-3:


These strips are only 2mm wide, the highest security strip-cut shredders can offer. These shredders are praised for the high speed by which they shred and the level of security that reaches most legal requirements.


Level P-4:


Crossing over from P-3 to P-4 is not just the security level that changes but also the type of cut that is totally different. Instead of long strips, the paper gets cut twice to produce a much smaller piece of shred. Because of the size, it would take a very skilled person to reconstruct a document making these types of shredders extremely secure.


Level P-5:


The P-5 security level is in a sense the opposite of P-4 if categorized in a group by being more secure but slower whereas the P-4 is slightly less secure but faster. Both of these are bought and used by the same type of user with security and speed being the deciding factor.


Level P-6:


This is used to handle high-security data, patient information, and similar documents. With these particles being that small, shredding them takes much longer, this however is no longer of concern to the user in consideration of the value of the documents.


Level P-7


These are the most secure shredders available at this point in time. These are used by militaries, embassies, and intelligence services. With this being the highest level of security, they are also the slowest.

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