Before You Buy
Shred Sizes Revealed!
Cross-cut and High-Security
Paper shredders will cut your paper into
small pieces, but not all shredders cut the paper the same way.
The most common cut
is known as the strip cut. Think spaghetti. No, we’re not
making lunch plans, I’m referring to the long thin strips
of paper strip-cut machines will make of your shredded documents.
The common sizes of the cut are 1/4”, 1/8” or
5/32” wide. If you’re information is not real sensitive
then this is the most economical way to go. However, with a bit
of work someone can piece together what you shredded. Really, it
is not that difficult and it gets done. But, again, if this is
not a concern then there are a great number of well-made machines,
from low capacity to high-end for you to choose from. We link you
up with several options under the personal, office and departmental categories.
Cross-cut shredders will make confetti of your paper by cutting
both lengthwise and widthwise. Cutting the paper into smaller
pieces makes the job of putting it back together much harder.
You also can decrease the volume of shredded paper as you can
get more in a bag or bin (i.e. the smaller pieces take less space
than those long strip cuts that often fold over and fill your
bag faster).There are different cross-cut shred sizes. The most
common dimensions are in the 1/8" x 1-1/8" to 1/8” x
1-3/8” range, but different brands may vary a bit. It is
quite common to find a shredder model available in either a strip
You will inevitably pay more for a cross-cut machine.
The reason for this is not just because of a smaller and more
security conscious shred size. Cross-cut machines have two cutting
heads to create the shred, so there is more cost to making those
cutting heads. They also require frequent oiling, typically once
for every half hour of shredding. (Strip- cut machines don’t
always require oiling, but I’d recommend giving it the
lubrication once a week or so). By the way, don’t throw
any old machine oil in there. Shredder oil is specially made
to not attract dust and residue that would otherwise cause your
machine to jam. The oil is a small investment, usually just $2-4
for a bottle.
Many manufacturers will have cross-cut versions of their various
models built to meet various needs. So, be sure to determine first
whether you need a personal, office, or departmental shredder size
and then look for a cross-cut version.
High Security/Particle Cut
High-security cuts, rated for DOD (Department of
Defense) specs are really a smaller cross-cut, typically no larger than 1/32” X
7/16”. This size is so small it is virtually impossible to reconstruct
the data. You will also be able to hold a high volume of shredded paper, even
with the smaller models.
Sheet capacity, which is the number of sheets you can shred in one
pass, is less with cross-cut and high-security models. Again, the
cost goes up with the smaller cut and it makes sense when you consider
the cutting heads
are performing a more precise cut. If you need the high-security
cut be sure to ask if the model you want to purchase is DOD rated.
See our High-Security category for some excellent examples of quality
You will find the best prices, selection and service
on paper shredders at Factory Express, Inc.