DON'T BUY JUST ANY PAPER SHREDDER!

I go into many apartments and home offices and see the small inexpensive shredder.  I wonder how many times it has jammed, or stopped working altogether.  And then it ends up collecting dust and taking up valuable floor space.

 

I think people are tempted to buy a shredder because it’s inexpensive or because they saw a “Best Seller” listing somewhere.  A “Best Seller” rating is a lot different than a “Top Rated” rating.  “Best Seller” doesn’t reflect consumers’ actual experiences with the shredders.  It doesn’t mean those consumers made the best choices for their shredders. “Top Rated” is a much better gauge of performance. 

 

So many shredders to choose from, so little time…

 

Once you’ve found a “Top Rated” listing you trust, here are some tips for selecting the best one for your needs and budget.

     
Shredder capacity:  Choose the capacity that you need and can afford.  Are you patient and don’t mind shredding only 8 sheets at a time?  Or do you want it to go faster and prefer a larger capacity shredder? 

 

Paper shredding methods:  I recommend the cross-cut or confetti-cut method. If you are hyper vigilent, then go with a micro-cut.

 

Basic functions:  Most shredders feature an auto function.  This starts the shredder motor when it senses paper or other media being inserted. Most shredders also have a reverse setting.  This is useful for clearing out paper jams.


Bells and whistles:  If you want more advanced features…

 

Auto-feeder – Lets you place up to 100 sheets in a tray to be shredded automatically.  Sounds heavenly!

 

CD/DVD/Floppy Disc slot – Has a specific slot for shredding things like CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, and other heavier media.

 

Paper jam indicator – Lets you know that the paper shredder has a paper jam that needs to be addressed.

 

Overheat indicator – Lets you know that the motor is being overworked and needs to cool off.

 

Touch sensor – Stops the motor if it senses anything touching the paper entry area. This safety feature prevents accidental cuts.
 

Cost:   I recommend you spend at least $100.  See it as a long-term investment in your identity protection. 
 

Brand/Model:  I don’t think you can go wrong with Amazon’s Top Rated listings.   As of February, 2014, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet High security Micro-Cut Shredder is their #1 Top Rated shredder (see image). Do your due diligence. Make an educated choice and your shredder should last for some time to come.

            

Shredding Options:  Finally, if you have a lot of shredding to do, if might be worth taking it to a FedEx Office or Staples store.  They will have it shredded for you for 79¢ a pound. 

 

Alternatively, you can have a shred truck come to your apartment and shred on the spot while you watch.  The minimum cost will be around $90.

 

Or you can always wait for a free shred fest in your town.  New York City’s annual ShredFest always takes place in May at various greenmarkets.  Sometimes, there are other free Shred-a-Thons at other times of the year.

 

Finally, if you have a fireplace, you can always burn your important documents in there.  Or if you ski, you can usually find an outside fire pit near the lodge.  

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