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Even in our digital age, paper shredders are more important than ever. Why? Although we talk a lot about identity theft as it pertains to our digital interactions, we still leave a paper trail, or someone leaves one on us, sometimes without our knowledge.
And believe it or not, there are still plenty of “old-school” thieves rummaging through trash or recycling bins. Except these days they are looking to sell your information, the value of which might surprise you!
- How Much Is Your Personal Information Worth?
- What To Look For?
- Best Shredders By Category
- To Shred Or Not To Shred (Video)
- Best Ways To Protect Your Identity
Your name, address, phone number, financial account information, social security number (SSN), and even healthcare and insurance records are all worth something in the identity theft black market. But they are really valuable when they can be combined to create a profile on you.
That’s why it’s essential to not only shred any sensitive information that’s lying around (or protect it in the digital realm with passwords, multi-factor authentication, etc.) but to make sure it’s not stored together (i.e. that old office filing cabinet with all your old receipts and medical records – from back in the day when they printed full credit card numbers on receipts, and full SSN’s on medical records).
So, what is the best paper shredder for your specific needs? Our experts have picked winners in three categories and give you our recommendations based on several factors, including:
- Customer feedback
- Paper capacity
- Paper jam protection
- Post-shredding size (important for security purposes) – strips of paper, for example, can be reconstituted rather easily. This is why you want a shredder that cross-shreds those strips into confetti.
And without further ado, our winners for best shredder by category:
Our top pick for best paper shredder for home use is a bestseller on Amazon: the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD, and Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket.
This shredder is an excellent and affordable shredder for your family home and is a fairly compact size, making it great for a home office. But it gives you a lot of functionality for a relatively low price. Some key features include:
- Micro-cut, shreds paper into tiny pieces (5/32 by 15/32 inches)
- Destroys credit cards, CDs, and DVDs
- Auto start and manual reverse to clear paper jams; 8-3/4-inch-wide paper feed
- Three-gallon pullout bin; thermal protection with auto shut-off
- One-year Limited Warranty
The Fellowes SB-99Ci has a ton of great features for heavy-duty shredding needs. It uses 100% jam-proof technology and a Safe-Sense sensor that automatically shuts the blades off if your hand gets too close.
You can shred anything from CDs/DVDs and credit cards to paper clips and staples. This shredder gets excellent reviews from customers, who say it’s a great choice for small- to medium-sized businesses, as well as home use. Key features include:
- 100% jam proof system
- SafeSense Technology stops shredder when hands touch the paper opening
- SilentShred offers ultra-quiet shredder performance — great for shared workspaces
- Shreds 18 sheets per pass into 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ cross-cut particles (Security Level P-4)
- Two-year product and service warranty plus 5-year warranty on blades
- Nine-gallon pull-out bin
- 25.19″H x 11.44″W x 17.31″D
Another popular choice on Amazon, the Royal 1840MX 18-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper Shredder is an excellent choice for small or home businesses. The Royal makes for out top pick as best home office shredder because it comes loaded with great features at an extremely affordable price for what you get.
This paper shredder blows through 18 sheets of paper in a single pass in five seconds and also has separate slots to run your credit cards, CDs and DVDs through. It’s larger and heavier than some of its competitors, but it comes with castors, so you can easily move it around your office. Key features include:
- Shreds up to 18 sheets of paper in a single pass
- Shred size is 5/32″ x 1 1/8″ for maximum security (Level 4 security)
- Auto start/stop and reverse function
- Ultra quiet
- Eight-and-a-half gallon wastebasket
- 40 minutes continuous run time
- Jam-free roller to reduce paper jams
- Castors for easy mobility
- Five-year cutter blade and motor warranty
Check out this Wisconsin news segment that gives some great tips about what types of documents you should seriously consider shredding.
Our sister site Safe Smart Living features our comprehensive, regularly updated guide on protecting your identity. Our experts give you a list of things you can do today for free, as well as ID theft statistics in your area and reviews of the top ID theft protection services.
Another thing we recommend is digitizing your office – the more of your documents you secure in digital format, the less paper you’ll need to worry about potentially ending up in the wrong hands. Our review of the best office scanners should come in handy so you can get started today.
What kinds of documents do you routinely shred and how often?
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