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  When you buy a shredder, consider...

Cross Cut vs. Strip Cut

  • Cross Cut- Maximum security and operator convenience.
  • Two-way cutting action forms very small particles.
  • Waste bags hold 4-5 times more shredded material than strip cut.

Strip Cut- Most economical protection

  • Shreds into illegible 1/8" to 1/4" strips for adequate security
  • Less expensive then cross cut shredders.

Entry Width
The size of the entry width determines how quickly and easily various sizes of paper can be shred. If you will be shredding 11" wide computer paper, you will need at least 11 1/2" entry width. 

Throughput- Compare the amount of sensitive material you want to shred with the throughput (sheet capacity x speed/feet per minute) to identify which machine will best meet your needs.

Especially in office environments, a shredder should be tough enough to accept staples and paper clips without causing damage to the machine. Also a small shredder designed to accept 2 or 3 sheets at a time will not last long, if you put more sheets in it.

Ease-in-operation is key in selecting a shredder. Some features to consider:

  • Automatic start/stop provides easy, one-hand operation.
  • Bin Full function shuts down the shredder when the waste container is full and alerts the operator.


Q. What does shredder speed mean?
A. Speed is actually measured in two different ways; how fast paper goes through the machine; and how much paper can go in at once.

Q. What is Feet-per-Minute speed?
A. Throughput is generally measured in "feet-per-minute" (f.p.m.)

Q. What is paper capacity?
A. This refers to how many sheets can go through at once. Capacities for shredders are measured in "sheets per pass". Always choose a shredder with a somewhat higher capacity than your average document so you don't find yourself frequently overloading your machine.

Q. What are the different types of shred?
A. There are two basic categories of shred: Strip-cut and Cross-cut. Cross-cuts are then further divided into two sub-categories: Regular cross-cut and High security cross-cut.

Q. What is Strip-cut?
A. Like the name implies, strip-cut shredders tear paper lengthwise into strips that look like raw fettuccine.  strip-cut shredders require little or no maintenance.

Q. What is Cross-cut?
A. A cross-cut shredder cuts paper both lengthwise and crosswise. As well as providing better security, cross-cut shredders significantly reduce the volume of your shreds, which means emptying the shred bag less often. Cross-cut shredders generally require more maintenance (such as frequent oiling) than strip-cut machines.

Q. What is D.O.D. approved, high Security Shred?
A. If you are mandated to conform to Department of Defense (DOD) standards, than you need a high security shredder. These are shredders that produce a shred of 1/32" X 1/2" plus or minus 1/64" on either axis.

Q. What does "Throat Width" mean?
A. Throat width refers to the size of the opening in which you put your paper. This ranges from a low of 8 3/4" to a high of 20". For maximum efficiency and speed, its best to choose a width that will comfortably accommodate the paper you use most.

Q. What does "Auto Start/Stop" denote?
A. Auto Start/Stop is a handy feature. The machine can be left on standby mode, so that it automatically "turns on" when you insert some paper. This feature works by means of an electronic "eye". When the beam is broken by the inserted paper, the machine starts shredding, soon after the paper is gone, it shuts down again.

Q. What is Auto Reverse?
A. When using a shredder, jams are a fact of life. There are features in some shredders to help alleviate the problems associated with the jam. Auto Reverse causes the shredder to go into reverse automatically to prevent jams from clogging up the cutting head. Keep in mind that all shredders have a manual reverse function.

Q. How do I maintain my shredder?
A. The most common things to cause shredder problems is user misuse and abuse, including overloading it, putting too big paper clips in, or feeding materials such as plastic items that can melt onto cutting heads. Proper training on the use of shredders can help minimize these problems. The other major component to keeping your shredder working properly is keeping the cutting head properly oiled. Depending on the type of shredder you purchase, this will vary. Generally cross-cut and high security shredders are more sensitive to oiling than strip-cut shredders. If you are purchasing a cross-cut shredder you may want to consider an automatic oilier for prolonged, trouble-free shredding.  Oil lubricates the cutting blades, extending their life and helping them run smoother and quieter. Oil should be applied directly to the material you are shredding once a month for regular usage and every 4 hours for heavy usage and every time the bag is changed.

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