Shredder review

Document shredders help with data protection not only in the office, but also at home. Old documents, bank statements, credit cards and CDs/DVDs can all be destroyed irretrievably with these devices. We have tested 4 office shredders and 7 home office shredders. We paid special attention to speed, handling and security. Our test winner in the office category was the 15-sheet AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder : the device can collect a lot of shredded paper and works quickly and quietly. In the home category, the HSM Shredstar X5 is the test winner: The device has a high-quality finish and convinces with a powerful motor.

Tested categories

Tested products

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

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 Schredder 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

Fellowes

Powershred 73Ci

The Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Particle Shredder 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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Olympia CC 415.4 - thumbnail Test seal: Olympia CC 415.4, Rating good

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

Peach

PS500-70 Aktenvernichter

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

AmazonBasics

Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets

Fellowes

Powershred 73Ci

Olympia

CC 415.4

Peach

PS500-70 Aktenvernichter

Quiet, reliable device with uncomplicated operation. Also suitable for large quantities of paper.

Powerful device, with large cutting size.

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

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

  • Very simple and practical design
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • High power consumption
  • Large cut size
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • Loud operation
  • Low capacity
  • Low collection volume
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • Loud operation
  • High power usage
  • No rolls
  • High dust generation during shredding
  • High collection volume
  • Fast and quiet operation
  • 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
  • Low power usage
  • Small cut size
  • Slim and small device
  • Safe working conditions
  • Space saving
  • Small and light
  • Small cut size
  • High capacity
Speed
Handling
Volume
Cut Quality
Safety
Additional Warranty No No No No
Quality impression Excellent Excellent Excellent Good
Readiness indicator
Highest temperature 27,7 °C 30,7 °C 28,5 °C 28,9
Cut size 2,5 cm x 0,3 cm 4 cm x 0,4 cm 3,3 cm x 0,4 cm 4,2 cm x 0,5 cm
Max. volume 74 dB 78 74 dB 76 dB
Safesense technology No No No
Automatic reversal technology No No No
Automatic switch-off
Power consumption 275,8 W 581,3 W 350,8 W 415,42 W
Stand-by power consumption 1,4 W 1,8 W 0,6 W 1,3 W
Speed max. number of sheets 10 sek 13 sek 13 sek 12 sek
Speed 1 Sheet 7 sek 8 sek 10 sek 8 sek
Sheet/minute 90 81 69 90
Number of sheets Collecting container 222 160 285 310
Capacity litres 22,7 23 16 18
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
Test seal: AmazonBasics Cross-Cut Shredder 15 sheets, Rating 1.2
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Test seal: Fellowes Powershred 73Ci, Rating 1.8
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Test seal: Olympia CC 415.4, Rating 2.4
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Test seal: Peach PS500-70 Aktenvernichter, Rating 2.4
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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 cutterbar 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 to remove staples and paper clips before shredding.
  • When the container is full, the cutterbar may pick up 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 a 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 Olympia shredder in action.
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.

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.

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.

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 of the Peach PS500-70 shredder
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.

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.

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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