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Shred Sizes Revealed!

       ...Strip-cut, Cross-cut and High-Security


Paper shredders will cut your paper into small pieces, but not all shredders cut the paper the same way.

Strip Cut

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

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 or cross-cut.

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 Shred Cut SampleHigh-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 shredders.

You will find the best prices, selection and service on paper shredders at Factory Express, Inc.

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