How to Choose a Shredder? There are quite a lot of factors to be considered when buying a new shredder.

A common mistake that buyers make is purchasing a shredder that does not meet their needs, i.e. a shredder that cannot cope with the quantity of paper to be shredded, that can’t shred other media, that doesn’t offer continuous run, and that generally isn’t robust enough. Other questions that need to be considered are: is a cross-cut shredder or a micro-cut shredder required? What security level is needed to reflect the information being destroyed that will keep the business secure?  Are you shredding confidential and sensitive data? How many users will be using the shredder?

From experience, buyers tender to underestimate the number of pages that they shred. When there is a good shredder in the office, it will generally get used more and more, and it’s good practice nowadays to have a ‘shred-all policy’ to ensure and maintain office security. You can read more about how to maintain a secure office here.

Often buyers purchase a personal shredder, when in fact, what would best suit them is an office shredder, a large office shredder, or a department shredder.

For instance: HSM has shredder models that differ from other shredder brands, as they offer what is known as, ‘continuous run’, i.e. you can keep using them throughout the day. They are not going to stop and overheat, thereby avoiding any interruption to your workflow.  If performance, productivity, and time management are important in your business, then having a shredder that is fit for purpose is important.

Let’s have a look at some of the filters you need to consider when buying a shredder to ensure that you are making the right investment:

  1. Scope of Application – Where will the shredder be used?

The first thing to consider when buying a new shredder is where it will be used.

This may be a home or a small office.  It may be a larger office, or indeed a whole department.  Small personal shredders are ideal for individual users when handling confidential information and are designed for light usage.

Our small office and home office shredders are ideal for 1-3 users who handle confidential information.  These include the HSM Shredstar X5, HSM Shredstar X6, HSM Shredstar X10, HSM Shredstar X13 and HSM Shredstar X15 models and also the HSM Securio C14, HSM Securio C16 and HSM Securio C18 models.

For small to medium offices, the HSM Securio B22, HSM Securio B24, HSM Securio B26 and HSM Securio B32 are ideal for 5-7 users.

Commercial grade shredders are ideal for large offices with multiple users, feature continuous run times for non-stop shredding and are engineered for heavy usage. This range includes the HSM Securio B34 and HSM Securio B35 which are ideal for up to 8-14 users.

For professional and departmental usage, i.e. 15 users upwards, we recommend the HSM Securio P36i, HSM Securio P40i or the HSM Securio P44i.

  1. What Security Level is Required For Your Business?

Protection class is defined by DIN66399 and comes in a factor of very high, high, and low. The security levels can also be defined by the P-Factor, i.e. P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6, P-7.  You can read a more in-depth article on the importance of the right P for your business here.

There are essentially three main types of cuts available when purchasing a document shredder:

– Strip-cut: This is a basic security shredding solution for documents with low confidentiality needs providing the minimum level of security. Strip-cut machines shred each A4 sheet into approximately 36 strips, based on a 5.8mm cut-size width. Please note that this is not a GDPR compliant solution and is the equivalent of a P-2 security level.

– Cross-cut: Enhanced security for highly confidential documents. This is generally classed as a P-4 cross-cut machine that shreds each A4 sheet into approximately between 300 and 400 particles. Choose a cross-cut shredder when needing to shred confidential documents in the home or the office.  This option is GDPR compliant for many offices, but again the correct choice depends on the confidentiality of the documentation to be shredded.

– Micro-cut: Superior security for highly confidential documents and even greater peace of mind. Also referred to as DIN P-5, a micro-cut machine shreds each A4 sheet into over 2000 particles making them virtually impossible to reassemble. Choose a micro-cut shredder when needing to shred highly confidential documents such as bank statements or employee records.  Micro-cut shredders have a security range from P-5, P-6 to P-7.

For greater security needs, a micro-cut shredder is the best choice as it offers a higher security level and with it, peace of mind. A shredder with a credit card adaptation to it can also be purchased if you need to destroy more than just paper. Also, if you are buying a paper shredder for use at home, buyers would need to consider safety features, for safe use around children and pets.

  1. Material to be Shredded

Consider if there are items other than paper that will need to be shredded.  Any medium that stores documentation and sensitive data should be considered within this scope.  This might include:

  • Heavy paper/cardboard
  • CD/DVD
  • Credit card
  • Floppy disk
  • Paper
  • Staples and paper clips
  • USB stick
  1. Paper to be Shredded

It’s important to look at the datasheet of the machine you feel will work in your office. The datasheets show the quantity of paper that can go through the cutter at any one time, based on 70gsm paper and 80gsm paper. The thicker the paper, the less sheets that can go through the cutter at any one time, so if speed and performance are factors in your choice, then choose a heavier duty document shredder, as it directly correlates to the strength of the motor in the document shredder.

  1. Other Considerations on How to Choose a Shredder:

  • What is your budget?
  • Does it need to be on wheels?
  • Is there room for it beside the printer/photocopier, as this is the best location for it to be?
  • Is there a plug point in the desired home for your new shredder?
  • Do you have different floors in your building and will you require more than one machine?
  • Different areas of your business may need different security levels? Do you know what is appropriate per division in your business?
  • Have you considered safety around children and pets if you are locating your shredder in a home environment?
  • Do you want to have the shredder drop-shipped directly to your office or for it to be delivered and installed on your behalf?
  • Would you like to buy the shredder or are you interested in a lease plan in order to finance the purchase?
  • Do you need a service & maintenance contract on your shredder?

About HSM®

HSM is a global pioneer of environmental and office technology, with leading product lines like HSM SECURIO, HSM V-Press, HSM Shredstar, and HSM Powerline manufactured from its Germany sites. Focusing on shredding, baling, and waste compacting machinery, HSM produces a range of solutions for homes, businesses, large-scale commercial operations, and other institutions, with products sold in over 100 countries. – For a consultation contact us on or 01 4097034 for assistance in choosing the right shredder for your office or organisation.