How to Choose the right type of Paper Shredder

How to Choose the right type of Paper Shredders


Office shredders are one of the most important pieces of equipment for both office and home use, especially considering the strict laws to protect personal information, such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act or POPIA) in South Africa.

Paper shredders are one of the most effective ways to destroy paper documents into small particles that make the information unreadable, thus protecting individuals against identity theft, abuse, and misuse of information, and more.

Modern paper shredders are built with a set of rotating cutting blades that are driven by an electronic motor, effectively destroying documents and other materials.

There are three main types of shredders, namely strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut shredders. Each of these types come with different levels of security and they are used for different purposes.

Different brands offer commercial shredders, industrial shredders, and personal shredders that come with a wide range of key features and additional safety features, so choosing the right one may be a tedious task.

shredded paper
type of Paper Shredder
paper shredder

Types of Paper Shredders


Strip-Cut Shredder


Strip-cut shredders are also known as Ribbon-cut, Spaghetti-cut, or Straight-cut shredders. These are basic paper shredders that can be used to shred non-confidential documents. When using this shredder, paper is shredded into long, vertical, narrow strips that can still be read.


The features of a Strip-Cut Shredder are:

  • Low level of security
  • Perfect for shredding non-confidential documents
  • Cuts paper into long, narrow, vertical strips like spaghetti
  • Only cuts vertically
  • Cuts paper into approximately 39 strips per shredded document (A4 size)
  • The security level of this shredder is DIN P-1, DIN P-2


Cross-Cut Shredder


A cross-cut shredder is used to destroy confidential documents and it shreds paper diagonally from both corners of the page in short particles that are not readable.


The features of this type of shredder are as follows:

  • Medium security level
  • Can be used to shred sensitive documents
  • Shreds documents into short and narrow pieces
  • The machine cuts diagonally from both corners
  • Cuts paper into approximately 400 particles per document (A4 size)
  • The security level is DIN P-3, DIN P-4 (often P4 is also classified as a micro-cut shredder).


Micro-Cut Paper Shredder


This is an advanced paper shredder that is specifically used for destroying highly confidential documents. A micro-cut shredder cuts paper from both corners in square-shaped particles that are completely unreadable.


The features of this shredder are as follows:

  • Extremely high level of security
  • Used for destroying highly sensitive documents
  • Shreds paper into tiny square-shaped paper shreds
  • Cuts paper diagonally from both corners
  • Pages are shred into approximately 3,700 particles per shredded document (A4 size)
  • The security level is DIN-5 and higher

How to choose the right Types of Paper Shredders


There are three main types of paper shredders, but these can further be divided into different varieties of paper shredders that differ in their size, styles, features, and capabilities.


However, paper shredders can be divided according to their application and use, namely:

  • Personal shredder or home shredder
  • Commercial shredder
  • Industrial shredder


These varieties will differ in their capacity and speed of shredding. A personal shredder, for instance, can only shred a few documents at a time and will not be able to shred tougher items such as credit cards, compact discs, and so on.

In contrast, industrial and commercial shredders have increased capacity, speed, and they are more durable.

To choose the right shredder, the following components must be considered.


Volume and Frequency of Use


If the shredder is only going to be used to destroy a few pieces of paper a week, you will need a much smaller personal shredder. However, if an organisation must process hundreds of sheets a day, or large amounts in a sitting, a commercial and industrial shredder is more suited.


To decide, consider the following:

  • The frequency of use, either daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • The types of material that must be shredded include the thickness of the paper, glossy paper, credit cards, CDs, envelopes, stabled documents, stacks of paper, and so on.
  • How much will be shredded in a single sitting? This will determine the running time of the shredder. Different shredders have different running times before they must be left to cool down.
  • Whether shredding needs will change over time, especially if the company is expected to grow.




Shredder maintenance is a crucial factor that will ensure that the shredder is kept in safe working condition for its entire expected lifetime. Shredder maintenance includes cleaning and oiling the shredder blades with shredder oil, emptying the pull-out bins regularly, and so on.


Security Features


The types of documents and materials to be shredded will determine the type of shredder. If the organisation must shred highly sensitive documents, a strip-cut shredder will not suffice and a micro-cut shredder is the best option.

However, for personal use and for offices that do not deal with highly confidential documents, a strip-cut or cross-cut shredder is suited.




Lower capacity paper shredders for sale such as a personal or compact shredders are much more affordable than a large, heavy-duty shredder that is designed to process higher volumes.

Depending on the use for the shredder, you will receive what you pay for as industrial and commercial shredders have the necessary speed, capacity, and special features that make them the best for use in large organisations that need to destroy large amounts of highly sensitive documents.


Sheet Capacity


This tells the user the maximum number of sheets that can be shredded per pass with the paper shredder, most compact shredders for home use can only shred 1 to 3 sheets in a single sitting, while more expensive shredders can shred through 20 sheets and more in a single sitting.


Additional Features


Modern paper shredders come with a wide range of additional advanced features beyond their basic functions. This includes safety sensors, indicator lights when the bin is full, automatic cleaning cycles after a certain number of shreds, reverse feeds for cleaning a paper jam, anti-jam technology, reduced noise level, lower energy consumption, and more.

Before choosing a paper shredder, research the types of shredders and compare them to find one that features the right type and number of additional features.

Digishred is a well-established paper shredding machine supplier in South Africa. Get in touch with our team today.