Best shredders (March 2023): top picks to securely destroy paperwork

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paper shredder
(Image credit: Future)

A top shredder can be an important part of the essential tools in the fight against identity theft. It will allow you to securely destroy sensitive documents quickly, easily, and efficiently and not have to give them any further worry. Also, realize that, unlike previous models from years ago, modern shredders are more compact, have a smaller footprint, shred the paper into smaller pieces, and are even quieter.

Surprisingly, global Google Trends shows that the search for paper shredders has been remarkably stable over the past 18 years, with a gentle decrease since the mid-2000s. This mild decrease is probably because a lot of paperwork, such as bank statements, invoices, and mail in general, has been migrating online, reducing the need for physical shredders.

However, realize that many shredders can do more than destroy paper. This includes the capability to shred other sensitive non-paper items such as a credit card or an optical disk like a CD-R (write once data CD). This paper shredder is a great addition to any home office, and even more so, keeping in mind that many shredders are now more affordable than ever.

Whether you need your shredder at your house for a home office or for a business that handles sensitive data, paper shredders are the perfect way to handle private information. We've collected the best ones here to help you find the one ideal for your needs, factoring functionality and value into the equation.

We compared these products across aspects like how many sheets they can shred at once, the types of materials they can shred (paper, credit cards, CDs, and metals like staples), shredding speed, and the noise at operation. Additionally, We looked at how easy the waste disposal was and how compact the shredders were, among other things.   

We've also reviewed the best home printers for remote and home office work.


The best shredders of 2023 in full

Fellowes Powershred 79Ci Paper shredder against a white background

(Image credit: Fellowes)

1. Fellowes Powershred 79Ci Paper shredder

Excellent large capacity shredder for home offices

Specifications

Size: 26.5 x 39 x 54.2 cm
Weight: 28.2lb
Features: 100% jam proof, continuous shredding

Reasons to buy

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6 gallon (23l) capacity
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100% jam proof claim 
+
Safesense for hand protection 
+
16 sheet input

Reasons to avoid

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Pricey
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P4 security 

A great choice all-round for the office and home, the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci Paper shredder has a 6-gallon (23l) capacity and uses a cross-cut mechanism that will slice and dice anything you feed into it in two ways for maximum security. Realize that this model has P4 security, that will cross cut a standard piece of 8.5” x 11” paper into about 400 pieces, each about 5/32 x 1-½ ”, which is good for highly confidential documents, but not the highest level of security, namely Top Secret. 

One of the best things about this model is that it is 100% jam-proof, so you will never have to wrestle with it to pull out paper that has got stuck. It is actually designed to not reverse, but to increase the power to motor through. Along with paper, the shredder can destroy plastic cards, CDs, and can also handle paper clips and staples, which can enhance efficiency as they do not need to be removed as a separate step. It is also designed to handle junk mail, which is quite satisfying to put the entire intact envelope in and have it shred as a single step without the need to open and process each page separately.

It also packs SafeSense Technology that immediately disables the unit if anybody’s fingers, or even a pet, gets dangerously close to its internal components, making it a suitable option for home offices. It has a max sheet input of 16 sheets, which is double what you will find on most budget variants. Also, the maximum runtime is a solid 20 minutes, with a 30 minute cool down time, and it is designed to be energy efficient. Finally, we like the 2 year machine warranty, with lifetime on the cutter itself, along with the low noise impact due to the SilentShred feature.

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Bonsaii Evershred against a white background

(Image credit: Bonsaii)

2. Bonsaii Evershred model C149-C18

A good all-purpose paper shredder

Specifications

Size: 36 x 28.5 x54.5cm
Weight: 16.8lbs
Features: 60 minutes continuous shredding, low noise

Reasons to buy

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18 sheet input
+
Thorough shredding
+
Jam protection
+
Shreds CDs and staples
+
6 gallon capacity 

Reasons to avoid

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Needs maintenance
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1 year warranty 
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Misses P4 security standard 

With up to a 30-minutes running time, the Bonsaii Evershred can shred 3500 sheets of A4 paper in a single charge, making it a great option to chew through all of those documents that you have been waiting to dispose of. Like the Fellowes shredder at the top of our list, it has a maximum of 14 sheets shredding capacity and cuts paper into tiny 5mm x 50mm particles – and it will even shred credit cards, CDs and staples. 

This model features a jam protection system with autostart and autoreverse, which saves you from dealing with the frustration of paper jams, and its 17-liter pull-out bin, while not class-leading, is plenty sufficient. There's an overheat and overload protection technology to protect the shredder's blades and motor and extend its life.  Not to mention, the low noise design presents a quiet and peaceful shredding experience. 

Overall, given the features, we think this model from Bonsaii represents a good value for a home user that needs to shred more than average. 

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(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Amazon Basics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder

Best value shredder

Specifications

Size: 22.6 x 32.9 x 49.5 cm
Weight: 17.24 lbs
Features: 8 sheets

Reasons to buy

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Affordable price 
+
Credit card and optical disk slot 
+
Meets P4 security standard 
+
Easy to move on casters 

Reasons to avoid

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Limited to  8 sheets at a time 
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Short run time 

Amazon Basics items tend to prioritize value over top end performance, so keeping that in mind this shredder from Amazon fulfills that mission. It checks plenty of boxes that buyers will like including cross cut shreds that are 4 x 12 mm- small enough to meet the P4 standard. We also like the 4 gallon bin, the dedicated credit card slot, and that it sits on 4 casters making it easy to move when needed.

However, also keep in mind that this comes in at a lower cost than some higher specced competitors. This includes that this shredder is limited to only 8 sheets at a time, so it will process less documents simultaneously. We also think that the relatively short runtime of 5 minutes, with a 30 minute cool down in between is also limiting. It also does feature a transparent window to know when to empty the bin.

Overall, for a home user who needs destruction of documents, but at a lower price point than some other models, and can tolerate the lower sheet rating and shorter runtime, this Amazon Basics model is certainly worth a look.

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Bonsaii DocShred C261

(Image credit: Bonsaii )

4. Bonsaii DocShred C261

High security rating shredder

Specifications

Size: 31.4x38.9x18.9cm
Weight: 11lbs
Features: Auto start/stop, 5.5 gallon waste bin, transparent window

Reasons to buy

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High P4 security rating with micro cut shredding 
+
Affordable
+
4.2 gallon (21l) bin 

Reasons to avoid

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Noisy
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Short run time 
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6 page limit 

Capable of destroying multi-page documents up to six pages at a time, this shredder is a great security-conscious shredder for any home office. Featuring a high P-4 security rating, it can destroy staples, clips, ATM receipts, credit card bills and even CDs with a micro cut pattern of 4 x 12 mm.  

 Its motor kicks into action once its light sensor detects something to be shredded, and a reverse mode lets you easily unblock jams. Its 4.2 gallon (21l) bin is a great size for preventing the need for frequent trips to the bin. It has a limit of only 6 pages at a time, and the 4 minute runtime is shorter than most, but this is not a problem though if you only shred occasionally. 

The DocShred doesn't operate too fast, but keep in mind the price point. It may be slow if you have to shred hundreds of sheets, but if you're only doing a few dozen sheets at a time, it should get the job done just fine.

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Robert Dyas 6-sheet Cross-Cut paper Shredder against a white background

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

5. Robert Dyas 6-sheet Cross-Cut paper Shredder

Versatile paper shredder

Specifications

Size: 39 x 16.4 x 31cm
Weight: 8.8lbs
Features: Overheat protection, 15L basket volume

Reasons to buy

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Shred by width or length
+
Regular features
+
Handle for transport

Reasons to avoid

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Basic

This compact and affordable shredder can cut paper both lengthways and width ways, making it harder to read personal information once paper has been shredded. Its adequately sized 15-inch mesh bin stores plenty of waste, and you can shred up to 6 sheets at a time without worry of it overheating thanks to the automated overheating protection. The Robert Dyas 6-sheet shredder can shred credit cards too, but it struggles if the sheets are too thick. 

The shredder has a two-minute shred cycle that then powers off to reset. It packs many of the regular features that you will find on a shredder, including auto shutdown, a reverse function for unblocking paper jams, and an access handle for easy transportation. 

This inexpensive and premium-looking shredder is also relatively quiet, making it quite suitable for use at home.

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More than paper shredders

If you're looking for more than just the best shredders for your home or office, we've also featured a range of other office equipment to run alongside any shredders you may need:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a shredder?

Paper shredders are devices for cutting up paper into thin strips or tiny particles. These machines are generally used to destroy sensitive documents, with some of the best shredders being able to shred credit cards, optical discs, and small metals like staples or paperclips too. 

What are the types of shredders? 

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

It is easiest to divide shredders into the types of cuts that they make. This then determines the level of destruction of the document, and also how expensive the device will be.

At the lowest level is the strip cut shredder. This design tends to be efficient at cutting paper into approximately ¼” strips. However, the downside is that this is the lowest level of destruction, and the easiest to put back together, so it is not appropriate for sensitive documents.

In the middle of shredder designs is the cross cut shredder. This type of model chops the paper into small strips, into about 200 pieces for a standard piece of paper for a P3 model. This is a more secure method of paper destruction, and far harder to reconstruct.

One step even better is a micro cut shredder. This follows a similar pattern than a cross cut, but the pieces are even smaller, as small as 3/32” wide for the P5 standard, which makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to reconstruct. This type of model is appropriate for more secure of documents. 

Yes, there even is a P6 standard which creates even smaller pieces for the complete destruction of the most sensitive documents. The pieces created are as small as 3/64” wide by 15/64” long which are really quite tiny. 

How to choose the best shredder for you?

To choose the best shredder for yourself, you’ll first want to consider what your regular shredding requirements are. 

If you need to destroy large piles of documents, you’ll want a shredder that can cut up multiple sheets at once as that will determine how efficiently the job can get done. Furthermore, depending on the number of documents you have to eliminate, you’ll want to check the shredder’s run-time and cooling down-time. If you have a need to shred a larger number of documents, this will often come into play. Be aware that nNot all shredders can run continuously for 30-45 minutes, particularly those intended for the home market and sold at alower price point, as some can only run for 2-10 minutes before they will completely stop, and need a cooldown period of 15-30 minutes before shredding can resume. 

While most shredders can work through paper, there are some that can destroy credit cards and CDs too. If you often need to destroy these materials, pick a suitable shredder for the task. They typically will have a dedicated slot for handling these non-paper items. You’ll also want to consider the shredder’s noise levels. If it’s too noisy, it may not be suitable for home use, or it may interfere with meetings or phone calls at the office. 

The best shredders: How we test

We tested various shredders to arrive at our choices for the best ones. We looked at various aspects of their design and functionality, starting with how swiftly they work through documents, how many sheets they can cut at the same time, and how long their running and cooling down times are. 

We considered what materials they can destroy, whether there are safety mechanisms in place to prevent finger injuries, and the size of the waste bin. We also assessed the noise, size, and weight of the shredder to judge whether it’d be suited for home use or office use, among other aspects. Finally, we considered the cost, and the value at the price point for its intended mission in the market. 

Collin Probst
B2B Hardware Editor, TechRadar Pro

Collin is the B2B Hardware Editor for TechRadar Pro. He has been in journalism for years with experience in both small and large markets including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet and more.


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