What different types of shredder are available and what can they be used for?

When an individual or business requires a paper shredder, there are usually several factors that often influence their decision about which type of shredder they should select. As there are several variants that are all fit for different purposes. One of the most common sought out features of a shredder is the security level. This is broken down into three main categories – strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut, with the level of cut being defined as how small or large the shredding particles are.

The DIN 66399 is a European Standard that outlines the different security levels of each type of cut, characterised by the specific type of scenario the shredder is required for. The DIN 66399 classification includes introductory level shredders, known as P-1 shredders, commonly used for shredding general documents, such as leaflets and other advertising material; up to P-7, used for strictly confidential documents, such as highly secure military documents.

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Strip-Cut Shredder

Strip-cut shredders are popularly used within domestic settings, as they are widely produced, usually inexpensive, can shred documents fairly quickly and require a low level of maintenance. Documents are shredded into long vertical strips with ease, but there are security concerns to reflect upon when selecting a strip-cut shredder.

Strip-cut shredders are seen as the most basic type of shredders,
(P-1 to P-2) thus impractical for destroying confidential documents due to the fact that shredded strips remain somewhat legible and can be reconstructed with relative ease. Because of this, strip-cut shredders should be recommended for personal use, such as shredding junk mail and other non-identifiable documents.

The main advantages of using a strip-cut shredder are that they usually can shred at a faster rate, while remaining significant cheaper than other types of shredders and can be used frequently in a reliable manner without much maintenance.

Cross-Cut Shredder

Cross-cut shredders are classified within a higher security banding than strip-cut shredders, (P-3 to P-4) as documents are cut diagonally from both directions producing much smaller shredded particles. Cross-cut shredders are increasingly becoming the chosen personal shredder, as they provide a high enough level of security to shred confidential documents in a domestic setting while remaining economically viable.

The main advantages of cross-cut shredders are that they significantly reduce the chances of intercepted documents being reconstructed by criminals and they compact waste much better than strip-cut shredders, resulting in more available space within paper-waste bins. However, they do require a higher level of maintenance, as they should have occasional oiling to ensure consistent high-quality performance.

Micro-Cut Shredder

Due to the rise in identify theft, many individuals and businesses are adopting micro-cut shredders as their chosen shredder for destroying confidential material, such as financial documents and other highly-personal documents. This is often seen as an investment to the business, as it protects private information of the business and their customers.

Micro-cut shredders belong within the highest security level of shredders, (P-5 to P-7) as documents are finely shredded from both corners diagonally, producing particles that are practical impossible to read or reconstruct, as well better compacted waste, resulting in fewer waste disposal services required. The general price of micro-cut shredder has reduced as of recent years, but they are still considerably more expensive than the previous cutting methods highlighted above. Because of this, micro-cut shredders are not usually found within domestic or personal settings, but rather commercial settings ranging from retail businesses, to government bodies and financial establishments.

The main reason for selecting a micro-cut shredder relates to the need for documents to be completely destroyed, without any risk of said documents being intercepted and reconstructed. But with this comes several considerations, such as, micro-cut shredders usually have the slowest rate of shredding in comparison to other cutting techniques and they also require the highest level of maintenance. Micro-cut shredders require regular oiling to ensure optimal performance.

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