Questions to Ask Before Buying a Shredder

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Shredder

Many people do not realize how important it is to have a shredder.  Identity thieves can dig through your garbage and find many ways to steal your identity.  And they don’t even need a credit card to do it, although many identity thieves love to use those.  Just having your first and last name is enough for them to do horrible things to your identity that you may not know about until months or even years later.  However, there are some important questions to ask before buying a shredder.

How much sheet and waste bin capacity do you need?

How much sheet and waste bin capacity do you need?
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 Sheet capacity determines how many sheets of paper you can put into the shredder at one time.  Using too many sheets at once can cause problems with the shredder, and you will need to get it repaired before you can use it again.  It is important to determine how many sheets you want to shred at one time.  Many shredders do not allow more than 3 sheets of paper to be shredded at one time; using more than 3 can damage it.

Which documents do you need, and which ones can be shredded?

There are some documents that you have to keep longer than others.  If you have tax-related records (such as cancelled checks or bank statements) that are 7 years old or less, the IRS will probably recommend that you keep them.  On the other hand, if you have mail asking you to sign up for credit cards, or anything with your personal information on it that you no longer need, these documents should be shredded.

What features do you want your shredder to have?

It is important to consider the volume of documents that you need to shred.  Consider whether you are only going to shred paper, or if you are also going to shred old cards.  Obviously, credit cards are not made of paper, and some of the cheaper shredder models are unable to shred these kinds of documents properly.  So before buying your next shredder, find out if it can shred such cards.  This is especially a good idea if you frequently receive mail inviting you to sign up for credit cards that you don’t need.  

How Much Storage Does it Need?

The amount of storage your shredder will need depends on how much paper you need to shred every day.  Some people want a smaller model that they can put on a desk.  Other people want shredders that are the size of a wastebasket, and offer lots of room for shredded papers.  You can even get a freestanding model, so that you do not have to put it away when you are done using it.

What Cutting Type Do You Need?

Not all shredders have the same cutting style, and different cutting styles mean different levels of security.  If you want the maximum amount of security that you can get, you will need the micro cut.  The strip cut shredders are faster, but do not provide as much security and the micro cut ones.  You should probably go for the micro cutter if you have a lot of mail inviting you to sign up for credit cards.

How Much Jam Resistance Does a Particular Model Have?

Of course, it is best not to shred too many papers at once.  Many shredders cannot handle more than 3 sheets of paper at one time.  However, everyone makes mistakes and people may forget that a shredder can only hold a certain number of sheets at one time.  Some shredder sensors detect paper loads that are too thick and disable the shredding capabilities so that you can avoid a jam.  Other shredders might reject paper if they sense that a jam will occur.

How Will the Status be Checked?

You should get a good shredder that will alert you when the bin is full.  Some shredders will have a light that comes on when the bin is completely full.  Your shredder should also have a clear shredding compartment; this device allows you to see how full the bin is; if you have this, you don’t even need a light to tell you when the bin is full.  Do not ever overload your shredder.  This can cause overheating and paper jams.


In this article, we have talked about why it is important to have a shredder.  We have addressed the need to protect your identity, and have talked about what kinds of papers need to be shredded.  We have also discussed factors to consider before you buy a shredder.  We hope that you can find the right shredder for your needs and keep your identity safe.  Good luck!

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