SHREDDER GUIDE: ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
Now more than ever, companies need to curb any attempts of espionage by ensuring not a single shred (no pun) of information gets to the wrong hands. The same goes for personal information from your home or home office. Private information needs to stay that way and a good way of ensuring this is by investing in good waste control. This can be achieved by acquiring a shredder whether for home or commercial use. Buying a shredder might seem as easy as looking for the largest and calling it day. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is so much more to a good shredder than meets the eye. To find out more about shredders including how to pick the best one for your needs, read some more.
Terms associated with shredders.
Shredders too have a lingo associated with them and it would be really helpful to learn some of it before going on a buying expedition. Unless you want to be intimidated or bombarded with confusing words, I suggest you listen up.
This is the amount of paper the shredder can destroy with each cycle or per minute /hour. It is measured in feet per minute.
This is a European classification of the security level of the shredder. It is determined by the size of the paper after shredding. The smaller the shredded sizes the higher the security level.
There are different levels of security ranging from s1 to s6. Level s1 and s2 are for a strip cutter shredders while level s3 to s6 are for cross cut shredders with s6 being the highest level. I will be talking more about these types of shredders in the guide.
This is the time it will take the machine to shred without the motor cutting out. The higher the duty cycle, the more effective the machine is. In the event of the motor cutting out, simply let it cool off and it will restart itself automatically.
This is the space occupied by a shredder. The more area taken up, the larger its footprint.
TYPES OF SHREDDERS.
Shredders can be categorized into two, which is depending on the size and use as well as depending on the styles used to cut the paper.
The cutting style used.
This is perhaps one of the most crucial things you should consider when acquiring a shredder whether it is for personal or commercial use. The reason behind this is that the cutting style determines the security of your document. There are three major types as explained below.
Strip cut shredders.
These kinds of shredders usually destroy paper by cutting it into parallel vertical strips. These can easily be joined together to restructure the document (especially since the shredder does not deposit waste randomly). For this reason, a strip cut shredder should be avoided by anyone shredding highly sensitive material.
Strip cut shredders still have the advantage of being faster at shredding and being cheaper than other types. So, if you have lower security requirements, a strip cut shredder should be your ideal solution.
Cross cut shredders.
In this case, the paper is shredded or destroyed into tiny bits resembling the size of confetti. This is achieved by cutting the paper in two different directions hence achieving smaller pieces of waste paper.
This type of shredder is quite ideal for sensitive information as it is hard to reassemble and shredding pattern is randomized. Also, since the paper is shredded into smaller bits, the bin fills up slower requiring less need for emptying.
On the other hand, they are usually more expensive than strip cut shredders and take more time to shred.
Micro-cut shredders are the most thorough of the three types. They destroy or cut paper into very tiny pieces such that assembling is near impossible. The shredded paper is deposited randomly in the waste bin further minimizing any chances of recovering the documents.
This is great for highly sensitive information such as government or law enforcement documents. It works similar to the cross cut shredder only with more blades to produce smaller waste paper. Some are even equipped with a mesh through which the shredded paper is pushed. It has to be small enough to fit.
It goes without saying that this kind of shredder is quite expensive. It also requires less emptying due to the small pieces of waste paper. And obviously, in most cases, micro cut shredders will take more time to do the job.
Size and use.
Here, we have two types of shredders, ones used for personal or home use and the ones used for commercial purposes.
Personal/ home shredders.
These are usually used for light duty tasks either in personal offices or for home use. It is no wonder they usually come in small sizes and hence small bin capacities. Home shredders can have any of the three shredding styles so be ready to get one depending on the sensitivity of the information in your documents.
On the other hand, these types of shredders are used for heavy duty company tasks and are commonly found in company printing rooms or shredding kiosks. They usually have a large footprint due to the amount of work they are subjected to and the bin size.
A decent commercial shredder should be able to handle large volumes of paper, run continuously and in many cases, handle materials other than just paper.
BEFORE YOU BUY ONE, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING.
What exactly is being shredded?
All types of shredders come with the ability to shred paper but if you also require shredding other material you will need to pay attention to some special features. For instance, if you shred files, disks and junk mail, place your bet on a heavy duty shredder and ensure it comes with a wide feed slot.
Some shredders come with a separate slot for shredding hard materials such as credit cards so keep an eye on that.
How sensitive is the information you are shredding?
If you are shredding documents that are not sensitive or just for proper document disposal, a strip cut shredder will do just fine. This is particularly suitable for individuals buying a shredder for home use.
When it comes to sensitive information such as company records, go for a cross cut shredder or a micro-cut shredder due to the increased security level.
How often do you require to shred?
If you will be shredding often, go for a shredder that can handle large volumes at once. Small home shredders can handle between 6 to 20 papers while larger ones can load 20 to 50 and beyond. Also, factor in your bin capacity unless you want to constantly keep emptying it. If you shred a lot, go for a bin with a capacity of 5 gallons and up.
Do you shred in large or small batches?
If you shred in bulk, consider a shredder with a higher duty cycle to minimize interruptions. Go for shredders that can run for 30 minutes and up before requiring to cool off. Consider a heavy-duty shredder that will be able to handle large volumes of paper at a go.
FEATURES OF A GOOD SHREDDER.
Continuous run time.
A good shredder, especially for commercial use, should be able to run continuously enabling it to tackle huge tasks at once. A run time of five minutes and up is acceptable for a home shredder while a commercial one requires a 20 to 30 minutes run time.
This is a feature that enables you to lock the shredder preventing it from running when interfered with by children. It comes highly recommended for a home shredder especially if you have little ones around.
Ability to shred more than paper.
Depending on your needs, a good shredder should be able to destroy more than just paper. This especially relates to commercial shredders. To achieve this, go for one that is tough and durable. Moreover, shredders nowadays come with separate slots specifically designed to destroy credit cards.
This is a function that starts the shredder automatically when it detects paper. It saves on energy by remaining off until you load the shredder with paper.
Papers usually jam your shredder due to overloading or feeding jumbled papers in. a jam proof shredder comes with the ability to detect overloads and rejecting them until you reduce the amount of paper. This pair with a powerful motor that can shred miss-fed or jumbled paper, ensures you have no hold ups as you shred.
The last thing any office needs is noise distractions every time someone decides to shred (which might be often). This is why many shredders come with noise reduction capabilities allowing you to operate them silently.
There a series of features that can result in a shredder being energy saving. A good example is the ability to go to sleep mode when not in use and autorun upon detection of papers.
These are sensors installed in the bin to detect when it is full. By alerting you to empty the bin, you prevent the bin from overflowing hence avoiding a mess and in some cases, preventing jamming.
As discussed earlier, a large bin capacity saves you numerous and tiresome trips of constantly emptying your bin. This is especially important when it comes to commercial shredders.
Some shredders also come with a transparent bin to display the level of waste further assisting in ‘mess control’.
These are some of the items you ought to consider purchasing with your shredder.
For smooth functioning of your cutters, you will need to lubricate them regularly. This will reduce clutter and save you the headache of constantly jamming.
These come in handy when cleaning or emptying your bin. They allow fast and easy cleanup by containing all the waste from your shredder bin.
Due to the transfer of shredders from the company scene to homes, the risk of injury to pets and children had increased. There have been reports of injuries involving finger lacerations and in some severe cases, amputation.
While narrow openings can reduce chances of injuries, it does not completely eliminate them. This is due to the fact that curious children and pets can still fit their fingers into the opening. They can also have their fingers pulled in as a result of force from the shredding mechanism.
This, therefore, calls for some extra measures to be taken while designing shredders especially for personal or home offices. Some of the features that allow this are:
These sensors allow the shredder to automatically shut down when your hands are too close to the opening. They work by detecting the magnetic field around your hands hence triggering the machine to shut down. They automatically turn back on after removing your hands. This also works for animals.
Extremely slim paper entry opening.
Slim entries allow only paper to fit through hence preventing children from inserting their fingers. The opening can also be located at the top of the shredder making it more difficult to access by the little ones. Going for this as opposed to shredders with a side opening will help minimize chances of injuries.
These are flaps that are used to cover the cutters once the shredder head is removed from the waste basket. This ensures the blades or cutters stay protected even during emptying of the bin. Remember, accidents can happen even if parents are on watch!
Safety interlock switch.
This ensures that the shredder will not run when the head is removed from the waste basket. It allows you to empty the bin without worry of injuring yourself or your little ones.
While all these features do an excellent job at protecting you and your family, you can never be too careful. The best way to avoid any injuries what so ever is to ensure you completely disconnect the shredder from your power outlet. This way, the shredder does not run and everyone remains safe.
All said and done, happy shredding people!