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Shredder review - 04/2020

Our test winner in the office of 15-sheet AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder: The device can collect a lot of shredded paper and works fast and quietly. In the home office, the HSM Shredstar X5 is the test winner: The device is of high-quality workmanship and has a powerful motor.

We have tested 4 shredders for the office and 7 for the home office. We paid special attention to speed, handling and security.

Document shredders not only help in the office but also at home with data protection. Old documents, bank statements, credit cards and CDs/DVDs - all these can be irretrievably destroyed with the devices.

Document shredder

Tested products

HSM Shredstar X5 - thumbnail Test seal: HSM Shredstar X5, Rating good

1st place: HSM Shredstar X5

The Shredstar X5 is a compact document shredder which showed one of the best performances in the test. You can shred up to ten pages in one go with this model. Even plastic items like CDs and DVDs are no problem for the shredder. Compared to its competitors, it also offers several LED control lights, which prove to be quite useful in practice.

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Fellowes Powershred H-6C - thumbnail Test seal: Fellowes Powershred H-6C, Rating good

2nd place: Fellowes Powershred H-6C

In summary, the Powershred H-6C by Fellowes is best suited for occasional private use. However, if you have a higher volume of paper, which is more common in offices, you should get a model with a larger wastebasket and a longer runtime. For the office at home, the shredder is also an ideal companion due to its compact design. Positive: It is the only model in the test that is equipped with a child safety switch.

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Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC - thumbnail Test seal: Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC, Rating good

3rd place: Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC

The document shredder Shredcat 8240 CC from the manufacturer Ideal is overall a solid model, which could convince in the test. Especially the large viewing window speaks for the purchase of this product. Also, the collecting container, which can hold up to 64 DIN A4 pages, gives no reason for criticism. Compared to its competitors, the Shredcat 8240 is also quiet in operation. Only the possibility to shred CDs or credit cards is missing. On the other hand, there is the automatic switch-off, which protects against overheating.

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Geha Home & Office X6 CD - thumbnail Test seal: Geha Home & Office X6 CD, Rating good

4th place: Geha Home & Office X6 CD

The Geha Home & Office X6 CD is a model that performs well in the midfield in the test. In terms of both speed and size, there are more recommendable models. Among other things, a readiness indicator would have been good.

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Genie 580 XCD - thumbnail Test seal: Genie 580 XCD, Rating good

5th place: Genie 580 XCD

All in all, the Genie 580 XCD gives an absolutely positive overall impression; the particle size, in particular, is convincing in the test. In addition, CDs, DVDs and chip cards of all kinds can be shredded; thanks to a separate container, it is even particularly environmentally friendly. The document shredder scores further plus points with its large collection basket and the additional guarantee. The product also leaves no room for criticism in terms of processing. Only the noise-level during operation and the missing standby LED are less pleasing. Despite these small points of criticism, the Genie 580 XCD shredder is a recommendable model.

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AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder - thumbnail Test seal: AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder, Rating good

6th place: AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

The AmazonBasics - Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder will be a good companion, especially in your home office. The relatively long operating time and the fast cooling down are two essential features of this model. On the other hand, there are minus points for the paper strips, some of which are up to 1.20 meters long. The power consumption in standby mode is also relatively high. So don't forget to disconnect the device from the mains after each use.

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Hama 50196 Basic x7cda - thumbnail Test seal: Hama 50196 Basic x7cda, Rating good

7th place: Hama 50196 Basic x7cda

The Hama 50196 Basic x7cda is intended primarily for private users and is designed for home use. The processing of the device is quite simple; the individual plastic parts do not look very robust. Nevertheless, the processing of the device looks quite simple. On the positive side, the low power consumption in standby mode was surprisingly low.

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Winner Best price winner
Our winner: HSM Shredstar X5 Fellowes Powershred H-6C Review Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC Review Geha Home & Office X6 CD Review Genie 580 XCD Review AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder Review Hama 50196 Basic x7cda Review

HSM Shredstar X5

Fellowes Powershred H-6C

Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC

Geha Home & Office X6 CD

Genie 580 XCD

AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

Hama 50196 Basic x7cda

Test seal: HSM Shredstar X5, Rating 1.7
Test seal: Fellowes Powershred H-6C, Rating 1.8
Test seal: Ideal Shredcat 8240 CC, Rating 1.9
Test seal: Geha Home & Office X6 CD, Rating 2.1
Test seal: Genie 580 XCD, Rating 2.2
Test seal: AmazonBasics Cross Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder, Rating 2.3
Test seal: Hama 50196 Basic x7cda, Rating 2.4
  • Extra compartment for CD and credit card cuttings
  • Large collection container with large viewing window
  • Powerful engine
  • Extensive readiness indicators
  • Child safety switch available
  • Compact device
  • Particularly quiet
  • High-quality look
  • Large window
  • Handle on cutting unit
  • Separate CD/card case
  • Large wastebasket
  • Small cut size
  • Runs for a very long time without shutting down
  • Low power consumption in stand-by
  • No parental lock
  • Small collecting container
  • No extra container for credit cards
  • Overheating protection switches the device off relatively quickly
  • Not suitable for CDs/credit cards
  • Extra container only for CDs, credit cards end up in paper
  • Guarantee only with original packaging
  • Noisy!
  • No temperature LED
  • No parental lock
  • CD/DVD shredding not possible
  • Seems simply processed
  • Missing LEDs

Good workmanship and a strong motor characterize this device.

Cheap little shredder, the only one with child safety switch.

Solid document shredder with relatively quiet operation.

Slow, small, expensive and additionally poor warranty conditions.

Good but loud shredder with relatively small particle size.

A solid but slow device at a low price without CD/chip card destruction.

A simple device for occasional use.

Capacity litres 18 l 11 l 18 l 13 l 21 l 15.5 l 13 l
Number of sheets Collecting container Approx. 65 Approx. 40 Approx. 65 Approx. 45 Approx. 75 Approx. 50 Approx. 47
Sheet/minute 85 40 56 45 54 42 50
Safety
Handling
Volume
Cut quality
Speed
Height 405 300 400 320 420 400 380
Width 335 356 330 310 340 330 310
Depth 225 156 195 200 240 185 164
Additional warranty No 1 year on the device and 3 years on the cutting unit, both after online registration No 2 years with proof of purchase and original packaging! 2 years No No
Weight 4.75 kg 3.4 kg 5 kg 3.8 kg 4.8 kg 3.9 kg 3.25 kg
Scope of delivery Shredder, manual, CD container Shredder, manual Shredder, manual Shredder, manual, CD container Shredder, manual, CD container Shredder, manual Shredder, manual, CD container
Manual language GER and more GER and more GER and more GER and more GER and more GER and more GER and more
Quality of instructions Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good Excellent Good
Max. number of sheets 10 (measured) 6 (measured) 8 (measured) 9 (measured) 10 (measured) 8 (measured) 7 (measured)
Automatic switch-off Automatic temperature control, paper sensor, overfill Automatic temperature control, paper sensor Automatic temperature control, paper sensor Automatic temperature control, paper sensor Automatic temperature control, paper sensor Automatic temperature control, paper sensor Automatic temperature control, paper sensor
Power consumption 60 Wh (1 sheet) - 118Wh (10 sheets) 65Wh (1 sheet) - 150Wh (8 sheet) 132 Wh (1 sheet and 8 sheets) 105 Wh (1 sheet) - 170 (6 sheet) 80Wh (1 sheet) - 240Wh (12 sheet) 50Wh (1 sheet) - 119Wh (7 sheet) 90 Wh (1 sheet) - 134Wh (5 sheets)
Maximum volume 74,7 dB 70 dB 68 dB 77 dB 78 dB 76.8 dB 74 dB
Speed 1 Sheet 6.8 s 4.5 s 9 s 5 s 4.5 s 3.2 s 3 s
Speed max. number of sheets 6.8 s 10 s 9 s 8 s 9 s 6.5 s 6 s
Cut size 4 x 35 mm 4 x 35 mm 4 x 35 mm 5 x 35 mm 5 x 18 mm 48 x 5 mm (up to 119 x 6 mm) 4 x 42 mm
CD shredder Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes
Card shredder Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Staples/paper clips to remove No No No Yes (no manufacturer information) No No Yes (no manufacturer information)
Extra container for CDs/cards Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes
Quality impression Excellent Good Good Good Good Excellent Okay
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

What must be taken into account when taking care of a paper shredder?

Paper shredder oiling

An important point regarding care for document shredders is the oiling. As the cutting mechanism consists of metal rollers, it should be oiled regularly. The best time to do so is when you notice that the shredder is losing power and the engine is running noticeably harder.

Under no circumstances should you use oil from a spray can, as there is an acute danger of ignition due to the fine spray mist when the shredder is in operation. In addition, the shredder should run while oiling to be able to better distribute the oil in the cutting mechanism.

There are also special Oiled papers which the shredder pulls through its rollers like a normal sheet of paper, thus distributing the lubricant evenly throughout the drive.

Also special creeping oils are available. These are applied sparingly directly to the cutter bar. Then let the shredder run for a few seconds to distribute the oil on the metal rollers. Only a few drops are sufficient here. Too much lubricant is counterproductive and causes the paper to stick to the cutting edges. The Lubricant Sheets will help with the dosage.

Many manufacturers recommend oiling after each full collection container. For small devices, you can certainly do without it, but you should oil the device well every 3-4 baskets and before a longer standstill (summer holiday). To avoid a paper jam, the collection container of the shredder should be emptied early. Devices that have a viewing window are of great help here. If it should happen that the cut material in the shredder protrudes into the cutting unit, this can lead to blockage and ultimately to the blocking of the device.

Our tests have shown that this can also lead to a total loss. Since cleaning would be impossible without further destruction.

On what should be paid attention, if chip cards and data media are no longer useful? Are there differences when destroying chip cards and data carriers?

There are different requirements when destroying chip cards and data carriers. In contrast to CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs, which are already completely unusable for normal users and specialists if they can no longer rotate in the device, chip cards require a little more effort.

CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays and other similar formats cannot be recovered even by specialist companies if they can no longer rotate in a drive. The discs are written from the inside out. As soon as there is a break on the inside, standard procedures can no longer find any data on the discs. Secret services are said to be able to find data bit by bit with electron microscopes, which is very time-consuming. With normal amounts of data, this theoretical procedure takes correspondingly long.

Chip cards, on the other hand, store only a very small amount of data in very limited areas. Provided that the magnetic strip is still intact, it can be read with standard readers. The chip itself can also be read again with relatively little effort and some tinkering. So here you have to take care to have correspondingly small parts after shredding.

Especially when shredding, the environmental aspect also plays an important role.
If paper shredder and CD/card shredder share a collecting basket, the device should be emptied before use to be able to separate the waste accordingly. Devices with separate collection containers are more advantageous here. This saves emptying procedures and thus working time. Without having to accept compromises in recycling.

Energy requirements play an increasingly important role in people's purchasing decisions. Not only in order to save their own wallets, but above all because of the environment. We also pay attention to the power consumption of the devices in our tests and note this in the test reports. Both in stand-by mode and for single-sheet, multi-sheet or, if possible, CD destruction. It is important to note that the shredders often have an "off" mode, but in this mode, power is drawn as in stand-by for automatic operation. Of course a little less when no LED is lit, but often still in the range of 0.8W.

We assume that there are about 30 sheets of paper to be destroyed per month. The most energy-intensive method is to shred these sheets individually. One of the hungriest machines drew 132W when shredding single sheets and took 9 seconds to do so.

So we arrive at annual energy consumption in operation of not quite 0.12kWh or, at a price of 25 ct, an amount of about 3 ct per year.

The situation is completely different in standby mode. Here too, the devices draw power, from 0.8W to 1.4W. So the stand-by annual consumption is up to 12kWh or 3 €.

As you can see, the consumption in operation is almost negligible. However, low consumption in stand-by mode can have an effect. Disconnecting from the grid when not in use is, of course, the best way to save electricity.

Whether we have to dispose of important documents at home or destroy confidential files at work. In both cases, we are dealing with sensitive data that we do not want anyone else to misuse. It takes a very long time to cut the documents into small pieces by hand. In addition, it is not sufficiently secure. With little effort, the pages can be reassembled. To destroy the documents effectively, a shredder is required. It can shred several pages at once within a few seconds.

This text will deal with a so-called paper shredder or shredder. We will show you which areas of application there are for the devices and what you should bear in mind when purchasing them. Finally, there are various standardized security levels according to which the devices. The levels indicate how well the documents are destroyed.

Many thousands of years ago, mankind experienced that fire can destroy many things. In the past, this was also used to destroy files. Papers were put in a fire basket and set on fire. All that remained was a pile of ashes. This is no longer appropriate today. The destruction is done by electrical means. The papers are put into a slotted machine which shreds them into small pieces.

In normal home or office use, we know small shredders. They are placed on a basket and can process about five to ten pages at a time. The cutting rollers of these devices shred the paper mostly with the technique of strip cutting. We will explain what this means below. The practical thing about these devices is that you can operate permanently in standby mode. When you insert a document into the slot provided, a light barrier detects this and activates the cutting rollers. In the meantime, the devices can not only destroy paper. They can also destroy credit cards, SIM cards or CDs.

Professional devices use the so-called particle cut. It is even smaller than the strip cut. These devices are primarily useful for commercial users. These are either companies that take over the destruction of documents for other companies or companies that produce a large amount of sensitive data that needs to be destroyed. These paper shredders are so effective that they can process entire document folders or file folders at once.

Let's start with files from the private sector. Here the answer is very simple. Documents containing your personal data do not have to be destroyed by law or data protection regulations. You can dispose of account statements, tax returns, order forms or official letters in the paper bin without destroying them. But this is not advisable. Strangers can find out intimate details about your life by looking into the bin. If necessary, the data can even be misused. You should not encourage this. It makes sense that all letters and documents that can be connected with your name are destroyed with a shredder. Think carefully about which letters and cover letters you destroy. Sometimes you may find later that you would have done better to keep some of them instead of destroying them.

It gets more complicated if you have to dispose of letters and files in the office or work in your home office. Here, everything that contains personal data must be destroyed before disposal. This can be a simple letter from a customer, a request for payment from a supplier or confidential papers circulating within a company.

A document shredder is designed so that you can easily insert the documents from above into the slot provided. They then pass through the cutting rollers and fall out of the machine at the bottom in the form of strips or shreds. This works until the pile of shredded documents accumulated in the catcher basket has risen so much that the inserted pieces of paper can no longer pass through correctly. A jam occurs, but the machine does not register it as such. The light barrier further notices that a document is stuck in the device and permanently activates the cutting unit. In this case, you must intervene manually and empty the catch basket.

A similar problem may occur if you put too much paper in the cutter at once. Even then, there will be a jam and the machine will cut without the paper being able to go the usual way. This jam must be cleared carefully. It is possible that some pieces of paper have got stuck in the cutter. To get them out, you should disconnect the power.

The devices have various functions that make them easier to use. If you notice that you have put a document in the shredder that you do not want to shred, you have the option of running the paper feed in the opposite direction. This means that the cutter will stop and the paper will be fed out of the machine from above. However, it can be assumed that the lower part of the document has already been cut. You can also use this rewind in case of a paper jam. In this way, the cause of the blockage may be carried out upwards again.

In addition to automatic document recognition - the related functions are called Autostart and Autostop - high-quality document shredders have the so-called Autofeed function. This means that you can load a whole stack of documents into the machine, just like a copier. It then automatically feeds the paper in the quantities it can process. Especially if you want to shred a lot of pages, this can cause the machine to run continuously for some time and get hot. In this case, the machine will turn off before overheating occurs. If your shredder is a machine where you have to insert the papers one by one, it has a lamp that lights up when it threatens to overheat.

According to DIN 66399, there are a total of six security levels for the destruction of documents. They are ascending in the intensity of the destruction. This means that the more confidential a document is, the higher the security level the device must guarantee. The security levels are defined by the size of the pieces that remain of a document after passing through a shredder.

A distinction is first of all made between a strip cut and a particle cut. With a strip cut, a document passes through a vertical cutter. The cut material consists of many long threads. With particle cutting, also known as cross-cutting, the document is processed vertically and horizontally. The paper cut is thus produced in the form of small particles. The particle cut ensures a higher degree of security, as the shredding is more intensive. As a result, the probability of being able to reconstruct a document is very low or even non-existent.

Security level 1: Recommended for the destruction of private, non-confidential documents. After destruction, the strips must not be wider than 12 millimetres. The maximum area of the particles may be 1000 mm².

Security level 2: Recommended for internal documents that are not subject to special confidentiality. The width of the strips may be a maximum of 6 millimetres and the area of the particles a maximum of 400 mm².

Security level 3: Recommended for confidential documents containing personal data. The maximum strip width is 2 millimetres, the maximum particle area is 240 mm².

Security level 4: Recommended for sensitive documents such as medical records, employment contracts or personnel data. From this level on, security can only be guaranteed by a cross-cut. The area of the particles must not exceed 30 mm².

Security level 5: Recommended for confidential documents such as construction plans or management reports. The maximum area of the particles may be 12 mm².

Security level 6: Recommended for documents of state governments or secret services. This level provides maximum security. The area of the particles must not exceed 5 mm².

To ensure that the use of a shredder does not cause any damage or problems, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using it. First, you should keep an eye on the temperature. As already described, not all devices automatically switch off when they get too hot. If you notice a strong heat development or maybe even a corresponding smell, you should stop using the shredder immediately. Give the device the necessary time until it has cooled down. The instructions for use tell you how long it should be left to rest. There is also a risk of getting caught in the cutter with long hair, ties or loose clothing. You should also take special care of your fingers. You should not reach into the paper feeder when the machine is on or set to standby. If you need to remove paper pieces that have been lost, always disconnect the machine from the power supply first.

Continuous use of the machine may cause the noise to disturb colleagues or neighbours. The noise level varies depending on the machine. Professional equipment designed for office use develops a sound pressure level of 55 to 70 decibels (dB). Permanent use does not yet result in hearing damage. However, a comparison with a television set operated at room volume or a direct conversation (60 dB in each case) shows that the noise development lies in a quite sensitive range.

Tested products

AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets - thumbnail Test seal: AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets, Rating excellent

1st place: AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets

Our test winner impresses with his performance, his speed, his volume and his low noise-level. The AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets is a safe, simple and convenient device. Power meets practical and simple design. The focus is clearly on practicability. Conclusion: an all-round practical and reliable device.

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Fellowes Powershred 73Ci - thumbnail Test seal: Fellowes Powershred 73Ci, Rating good

2nd place: Fellowes Powershred 73Ci

The Fellowes Powershred 73Ci is characterized by its fast operation. It has a modern design and a large capacity. This makes it possible to work comfortably and intuitively with it. It offers a high degree of work safety. However, our test showed that it requires a large amount of power and also has a large cut size.

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Peach PS500-70 Shredder - thumbnail Test seal: Peach PS500-70 Shredder, Rating good

3rd place: Peach PS500-70 Shredder

The Peach PS500-70 is a space-saving, small and lightweight document shredder which, despite its small size, has a high collection volume, works quickly and has a small cut size. However, it is also power-intensive and loud during use.

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Olympia CC 415.4 - thumbnail Test seal: Olympia CC 415.4, Rating good

4th place: Olympia CC 415.4

The Olympia CC 415.4 is a slim, practical and economical document shredder, which performs reliably with a relatively small cutting size and a high degree of safety. However, it is quite noisy and the bin has to be emptied often.

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Winner Best price winner
Our winner: AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Review Peach PS500-70 Shredder Review Olympia CC 415.4 Review

AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets

Fellowes Powershred 73Ci

Peach PS500-70 Shredder

Olympia CC 415.4

Test seal: AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets, Rating 1.2
Test seal: Fellowes Powershred 73Ci, Rating 1.8
Test seal: Peach PS500-70 Shredder, Rating 2.4
Test seal: Olympia CC 415.4, Rating 2.4

A quiet, reliable device with an uncomplicated operation. Also suitable for large quantities of paper.

A powerful device with large cutting size. Optimal for private use.

Compact document shredder with a large collection volume which is pretty loud and power-intensive.

Practical, energy-saving shredder. Good for occasional use.

  • Very simple and practical design
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • High power consumption
  • Large cut size
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • Loud operation
  • High power usage
  • No rolls
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • Loud operation
  • Low capacity
  • Low collection volume
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • High collection volume
  • Fast and quiet operation
  • A high number of sheets at once
  • Easy to use
  • High speed
  • Large capacity
  • High collection volume
  • Modern and elegant design
  • Ensures a safe working environment
  • Space-saving
  • Small and light
  • Small cut size
  • High capacity
  • Low power usage
  • Small cut size
  • Slim and small device
  • Safe working conditions
Speed
Handling
Volume
Cut quality
Safety
Additional warranty No No No No
Quality impression Excellent Excellent Good Excellent
Readiness indicator
Highest temperature 27.7 °C 30.7 °C 28.9 28.5 °C
Cut size 2.5 cm x 0.3 cm 4 cm x 0.4 cm 4.2 cm x 0.5 cm 3.3 cm x 0.4 cm
Maximum volume 74 dB 78 76 dB 74 dB
Safesense technology No No No
Automatic reversal technology No No No
Automatic switch-off
Power consumption 275.8 W 581.3 W 415.42 W 350.8 W
Stand-by power consumption 1.4 W 1.8 W 1.3 W 0.6 W
Speed max. number of sheets 10 sek 13 sek 12 sek 13 sek
Speed 1 Sheet 7 sek 8 sek 8 sek 10 sek
Number of sheets Collecting container 222 160 310 285
Capacity litres 22.7 23 18 16
Max. number of sheets 15 15 15 15
Staples/paper clips to remove No No No No
Extra container for CDs/cards No No No No
Card shredder
CD shredder
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

  • For the cross-cut, vertical pages are best suited. Due to the way the shredder works, confidential documents should not be shredded in landscape format.
  • We recommend that you shred strictly confidential documents in particle size, as you cannot recover them in this way. This is additionally supported by shredding several pages at once.
  • To avoid a paper jam, a transparent window in the bin is very useful to see how full it is and if the cutter bar is blocked.
  • The time until the heat protection switch-off and the cooling down of the device are important factors for the speed of the device besides the time per shredding process.
  • In comparison, a pull-out container is much more pleasant and easier to empty than lifting the entire shredding mechanism out of the waste container.
  • The speed can be increased by taking 1-2 sheets less per pass.
  • To ensure environmentally friendly disposal, we recommend that you empty the bin and dispose of the paper and CDs/credit cards in an environmentally friendly manner before shredding CDs or credit cards.
  • If the unit is accessible to children, we recommend that you choose a unit with a safety switch.
  • To protect the blades, we recommend removing staples and paper clips before shredding.
  • When the container is full, the cutter bar may pick up the shredded paper and block the tray.
 

Product selection

Our goal is to find the best home office shredder. Such a shredder should cost a maximum of 150 Euro, rather significantly less.

Especially important for a paper shredder is a cross-cut. Strip-cut is also in the private household no longer up-to-date and offers only insufficient security by much too large particle size. Details on the security levels can be found below.

We regularly search the market for shredders that meet our criteria.
The test field is determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest). The devices are then purchased anonymously in the trade. After completion of the test, we regularly search the market for new products and carry out supplementary tests.

Test execution

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Handling
  • Safety and security
  • Speed
  • Sound
  • Cut quality

In order to evaluate the individual criteria, we have defined a standard test in each case. For example, the quality of the cut is evaluated by measuring the material to be cut. The destruction of individual pages, the maximum number of pages in the endurance test, is tested here. Here it is important that no particles are larger than specified by the manufacturer.
The volume, for example, is always measured at the same distance of one meter. This corresponds approximately to the distance to the ear.

Results

In our test we had to notice clear differences in quality. The individual document shredders were particularly different in terms of volume, speed and uniform particle size.

A document shredder is designed so that you can insert the documents conveniently from above into the provided slot. They then pass through the cutting rollers and fall out of the bottom of the shredder in the form of strips or snippets. This works until the pile of shredded documents has risen so much that the inserted pieces of paper can no longer pass through correctly. There is a jam, but the machine does not register it as such. The light barrier also notices that a document is stuck in the device and permanently activates the cutting mechanism. In this case, you should intervene manually and empty the catch basket.

A similar problem can occur if too much paper is fed into the cutter at once. Even then, there is a blockage and the machine cuts without the paper being able to take the usual route. You have to remove this jam carefully. It is possible that a few scraps of paper have become caught in the cutter. To remove them, disconnect the machine from the power supply.

The shredder of Olympia in operation.
The shredder of Olympia in operation.

The devices have various functions that help the user to handle them more easily. If you notice that you have put a document in the shredder that you do not want to destroy, you have the option to run the paper feeder in the other direction. This means that the cutter will stop and the paper will be fed back out of the machine from above. However, it can be assumed that the lower part of the document has already been cut. You can also use this return in case of a paper jam. This may cause the blockage to return to the top.

In addition to the automatic recognition of documents - the associated functions are called Autostart and Autostop - high-quality document shredders have the so-called Autofeed function. This means that you can load a whole stack of documents into the machine just like a copier. It then automatically feeds the paper in the quantities it can process. Especially if you want to destroy many pages, this can lead to the device working continuously for some time and running hot. In this case, the unit will shut down before it overheats. If your shredder is a device into which you have to insert the papers individually, it has a lamp that lights up as soon as it is about to overheat.

To avoid damage or problems when using a shredder, there are a few things you should keep in mind during use. First, keep an eye on the temperature. As already described, not all devices switch off automatically as soon as they get too hot. If you notice a strong heat development or perhaps even a corresponding smell, you should interrupt the use immediately. Give the device the time it needs to cool down. The instructions for use tell you how long it should rest. There is also a risk of getting caught in the cutter with long hair, ties or loose clothing. You should also pay special attention to your fingers. You should not reach into the paper feeder when the machine is switched on or set to standby. If you want to remove pieces of paper that have become stuck, always disconnect the device from the power supply first.

Continuous use can cause colleagues or neighbours to feel disturbed by the noise. This depends strongly on the device. Professional equipment designed for use in the office develops a sound pressure level of 55 to 70 decibels (dB). Long-term use does not result in hearing damage. However, a comparison with a television operated at room volume or a direct conversation (60 dB each) shows that the noise level is within a very sensitive range.

There are different requirements for the destruction of chip cards and data carriers. In contrast to CDs, DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, which are already completely unusable for normal users and specialists when they can no longer rotate in the device, chip cards require a little more effort.

Shredded CD with a cut size of 4.2 cm x 0.5 cm.
Shredded CD with a cut size of 4.2 cm x 0.5 cm.

CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays and other similar formats cannot be recovered even by specialized companies if they can no longer rotate in a drive. The discs are written from the inside out. Once there is an internal break, standard procedures can no longer find any data on the discs. Secret services should be able to find data bit by bit with electron microscopes. With normal amounts of data, this theoretical procedure takes quite a long time.

Chip cards, on the other hand, only store a very small amount of data in limited areas. If the magnetic stripe is still in good condition, it can be read with standard reading devices. The chip itself can also be read again with relatively little effort and some tinkering. So you should take care that you have small parts after shredding.

A credit card is shredded by the Peach PS500-70 document shredder.
The shredder can also shred credit cards without any problems.

The environmental aspect also plays an important role in shredding.
If paper shredders and CD/card shredders share the same bin, the device should be emptied before use in order to be able to separate the waste correctly. Devices with separate collecting containers are more advantageous here. This saves emptying processes and working time. Without having to accept compromises during recycling.

When people make purchasing decisions, energy demand plays an increasingly important role. Not only to save money, but above all because of the environment. In our tests we also pay attention to the power consumption of the devices and note this in the test reports. Both in stand-by mode and in single-sheet, multi-sheet or, if possible, CD destruction. It is also important to know that the shredders often have an "Off" mode, but in this mode power is drawn for automatic operation like in stand-by mode. Of course a little less if no LED lights up, but often still in the range of 0.8W.

We assume that there are about 30 sheets of paper to be destroyed per month. The most energy-intensive thing is to shred these sheets individually. One of the hungriest machines drew 132W during single sheet shredding and took 9 seconds.

This means that our annual energy consumption in operation is about 0.12 kWh or, at a price of 25 ct, about 3 ct per year.
This is completely different in stand-by mode. Also here the devices draw electricity, from 0.8W to 1.4W. Taken together, the stand-by annual consumption is up to 12kWh or 3 €.

As you can see, the consumption in operation is almost negligible. However, a low stand-by consumption can have an effect. Disconnecting from the grid when not in use is of course the best way to save electricity.

Security level 1: Recommended for the destruction of private, non-confidential documents. The maximum width of the strips after destruction is 12 millimetres. The maximum area of the particles may be 1000 mm².

Security level 2: Recommended for internal documents that are not subject to special confidentiality. The width of the strips should not exceed 6 mm and the area of the particles should not exceed 400 mm².

Security level 3: Recommended for confidential documents containing personal data. The maximum strip width is 2 millimeters, the maximum particle area is 240 mm².

Security level 4: Recommended for sensitive documents such as medical documents, employment contracts or personal data. Security at this level can only be guaranteed by a cross section. The area of the particles must not exceed 30 mm².

Security level 5: Recommended for secret documents such as construction plans or management reports. The maximum size of the particles is 12 mm².

Security level 6: Recommended for documents of state governments or secret services. This level provides maximum security. The area of the particles should not exceed 5 mm².

Let's start with private files. The answer here is very simple. Documents with your personal data do not have to be destroyed by law or data protection regulation. You can dispose account statements, tax returns, order forms or official letters in the paper bin without destroying them. But that is not advisable. With a look in the bin, strangers can find out intimate details about your life. If necessary, the data can even be misused. You shouldn't encourage this. It makes sense to destroy all letters and documents that can be associated with your name with a shredder. Think carefully which letters and cover letters you will destroy. Sometimes you will find out later that you would have been better off destroying some of them.

shredded paper of the Olympia CC 415.4 shredder
shredded paper with a cut size of 3,3 cm x 0,4 cm.

It gets more complicated when letters and files have to be disposed in the office or when you work at home. Everything that contains personal data must be destroyed before you can get rid of it. This can be either a simple letter from a customer, a payment request from a supplier or confidential documents circulated within a company.

Many thousands of years ago mankind already experienced that fire can destroy many things. In the past, this was also exploited in the destruction of files. The papers were placed in a fire basket and set on fire. Only a pile of ash remained. Today this is no longer appropriate. The destruction takes place by the use of electricity. The papers are put into a slitting device, which shreds them into small pieces.

Normally we know small document shredders for use at home or in the office. They are placed on a collecting basket and can process about five to ten pages simultaneously. The cutting rollers of these machines usually shred the paper using the strip cutting technique. We will show you below what this means. The practical thing about these machines is that they can operate permanently in standby mode. If you insert a document into the slot provided, a light barrier detects this and activates the cutting rollers. Meanwhile, the devices can not only destroy paper. They can also destroy credit cards, SIM cards or CDs.

Professional devices use particle cutting. It is even smaller than the strip cut. These devices are primarily useful for commercial users. These are either companies that destroy documents for other companies or companies that generate highly sensitive data that has to be destroyed. These paper shredders are so effective that they can process entire document folders at once.

  • For cross-cutting, portrait pages are best suited. Due to the way the shredder works, confidential documents should not be shredded in landscape format with this shredder.

  • We recommend shredding strictly confidential documents in particle cut, as it is not possible to recover them in this way. This is additionally supported by shredding several pages at once.

  • In order to avoid a paper jam, a transparent window in the collecting basket is very useful so that one can see how full it is and if the cutting unit is possibly blocked.

  • The time until the heat protection switch-off and the cooling down of the device are, beside the time per shredding procedure, important factors for the speed of the device.

  • In comparison, an extendable container is much more pleasant and easier to empty than having to lift the entire shredding mechanism out of the waste container.

  • The speed can be increased by taking 1-2 sheets less per pass.

  • To ensure environmentally friendly disposal, we recommend that before shredding CDs or credit cards, you empty the container and dispose of the paper and CDs/credit cards in an environmentally friendly manner.

  • If the unit is accessible to children, we recommend choosing a unit with a safety switch.

  • To protect the blades, we recommend removing staples and paper clips before shredding.

  • If the container is full, the cutter may pick up shredded paper and the tray may become clogged.

 

Test procedure

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Handling
  • Safety and security
  • Speed
  • Volume
  • Cut quality

In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the shredders. First of all, the scope of delivery and functions as well as the noise level are checked. In a first run, the time for individual DIN A4 sheets is stopped and the noise level is measured. In addition, the power consumption and heat of the devices are measured.

The maximum number of sheets to be shredded at once is determined by further test runs. Furthermore it is checked how many pages can be destroyed in one minute. If possible, credit cards and CDs are also shredded.

A sheet in a shredder
We are testing several devices in our test laboratory

In order to rule out errors and to ensure the load of everyday use, each test takes place in several runs.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

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Questions

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2019-08-19
What is the best Document Shredder?
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AskGeorge.com

Our test winner in the office of 15-sheet AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder: The device can collect a lot of shredded paper and works fast and quietly. In the home office, the HSM Shredstar X5 is the test winner: The device is of high-quality workmanship and has a powerful motor.

We have tested 4 shredders for the office and 7 for the home office. We paid special attention to speed, handling and security.

Document shredders not only help in the office but also at home with data protection. Old documents, bank statements, credit cards and CDs/DVDs - all these can be irretrievably destroyed with the devices.

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