Best Paper Shredder of 2021
$259.99 at Amazon
|$186 List||$240 List|
$194.98 at Amazon
|$200 List||$200 List|
$144.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Fast, powerful, relatively quiet||Fast, powerful, relatively quiet||Incredibly fast, high capacity||Fast, user friendly||Large bin, above average performance|
|Cons||Expensive, large||Very large||Expensive||Expensive||More expensive than some higher performing models|
|Bottom Line||This premium model is well worth the time savings for those that shred a lot||A powerful model for those that need to shred 100+ pages a day||If you shred 50 or more pages at a go, this model will save you oodles of time||Good all-around performance, but this shredder doesn't live up to its price tag||A solid performer, but lacks some speed for a high capacity model|
|Rating Categories||Fellowes Powershred...||Basics 24-Sheet Cro...||Fellowes Powershred...||Fellowes Powershred...||Royal HD1400MX|
|Shredding Quality (40%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Fellowes Powershred...||Basics 24-Sheet Cro...||Fellowes Powershred...||Fellowes Powershred...||Royal HD1400MX|
|Bin Capacity||9 gallons||7 gallons||6 gallons||6.1 gallons||6.2 gallons|
|Advertised Sheet Capacity||18||24||16||12||14|
|Measured Sheet Capacity||18||26||14||12||14|
|Dimensions||17.3 x 11.4 x 25.2||11.9" x 16.3" x 26.2"||21.3" x 15.4" x 10.4"||19.4" x 15.5" x 10.37||13.5"x 17.2" x 20.9"|
|Weight||36.38||36.5 lb||28.22||19 lb||25|
|Shred Size||5/32" x 1-1/2"||7/32" x 1 27/32"||5/32" x 1-1/2"||5/32" x 1-1/2"||5/32" x 1 1/2"|
|Warranty||2 Year Machine / Lifetime Cutter||1 Year Limited||2 Year Machine / Lifetime Cutter||2 Year Machine / Lifetime Cutter||1 Year|
|Maximum Sheets per Minute||185||114||140||109||60|
Best for High Volume Shredding
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci
If you're currently staring at boxes of files that need to be shredded, the Fellowes PowerShred 99Ci can make fast work of them. In our testing, it clocked a speed of 180 pages per minute. It also readily gobbled up everything we threw at it, from thick envelopes to CDs and even credit cards. Despite that power, the PowerShred was one of the quietest models we tested. Your cubicle mates will undoubtedly notice it, but they won't be requesting to switch desks.
The PowerShred is a cross-cut model, which means that it produces slightly larger shreds than micro-cut blades. That being said, cross-cuts still offer a very high level of security, and disposing of lots of shreds at once makes it even more unlikely that the information could be pieced back together. The biggest strike against the PowerShred is its price. It is a costly device and, therefore, a sizeable investment. However, the time savings will be well worth the extra cost if you frequently shred 100+ page documents.
Read review: Fellowes Powershred 99Ci
Best Overall Shredder for Most People
AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut
For those that shred a lot of paper at home or in a small office, we think the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut offers everything you need and then some. The main selling point is its raw power. In our tests, it bested its 24-sheet claim, chewing its way through 26 pages with ease. It handles thick junk mail envelopes, credit cards, and CDs, and it decisively and completely shreds every last bit. While this isn't the fastest model that we tested, it's close to it, charging through 114 sheets per minute in our speed tests. You will be able to dispose of even the longest documents with expediency. And it does all of this while costing a bit less than most of the other high-capacity models on the market.
The AmazonBasics 24-Sheet is less expensive than many other comparable machines. Still, it's at the upper end of the market, so it's only a worthwhile purchase for those that require frequent document shredding. Similarly, it is a large device that takes up quite a bit of real estate. However, it's hard to do better than the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet for those who shred 100s of pages a week.
Read review: AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut
Best Bang for the Buck
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut
In our opinion, the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut strikes a fantastic balance between price, performance, and power. It is affordable enough that it shouldn't eat too far into your home office budget and is small enough that it can be hidden away under a desk. Despite the relatively small stature, it is still powerful and fast enough to perform during those periods around tax time when you suddenly have stacks of documents in need of proper disposal. In our tests, it posted a maximum speed of 96 sheets per minute and easily chewed through stuffed junk mail envelopes and even credit cards — more than enough performance for a majority of home offices.
The biggest downside to the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut is the noise it creates. We don't expect your house or office mates will appreciate its relatively shrill whine, which can get annoying fast. Additionally, the bin can be difficult to empty. However, if this machine is only relied on for the occasional home office use it's designed for, these issues aren't deal-breakers. Unless you regularly shred dozens of pages at a time, the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut can likely provide all you need at an enticingly low price.
Read review: AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut
Best for High-Security Shredding
Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut
While cross-cut blades are sufficient for most shredding jobs, the resulting paper shreds can technically be put back together (this would take hours of labor, but it is possible. If you want the added peace of mind of knowing that your documents have been rendered indecipherable, you need a micro-cut model. In our opinion, the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut is one of the best on the market. For a relatively low price, it offers the added security of micro-cut blades in a simple and efficient package.
Micro-cut blades are typically associated with lower speeds, and the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut is no exception. It may be a poor choice for those that shred hundreds of pages at a go, as it's slower than comparable cross-cut models. It also generates a shrill, grating noise while shredding. This renders it less ideal for long or frequent shredding sessions or busy offices. However, it provides exceptional security at a great price for small to moderate batches of documents.
Read review: Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut
Best Desktop Style Model
Aurora AS420C Desktop
The Aurora AS420C Desktop is an excellent choice if you've managed to keep your paper documents to the bare minimum but still need a convenient way to dispose of the occasional sensitive page or two. This tiny, no-frills paper shredder is powerful enough to chew through a few pages at a time or a credit card on its own. It is also small enough to inconspicuously live on a shelf or the corner of your desk until you need to pull it out, making it great for personal use. The noise it makes is also surprisingly innocuous and doesn't have the usual whine we expect from smaller, less expensive machines.
This model simply was not designed for heavy use. Long documents or regular shredding would certainly warrant a larger unit because heavy use would likely stress this machine's tiny motor. However, the AS420C is a great option for those who only need to shred a few pages per week but don't want to sacrifice too much office real estate.
Read review: Aurora AS420C Desktop
Why You Should Trust Us
Max Mutter and Steven Tata have been leading GearLab's office product testing since 2016. So far, they've gotten their hands on well over 100 home office products, from printers to Chromebooks and office chairs to shredders. The unique experience of testing small office products while working in a small office grants Max and Steven a clear perspective on which products really work and the best way to meet the myriad needs of a small office. They've also considered every office product they've tested through the lens of a home user and are thus quite familiar with that landscape.
While completing this review, we shredded over 5000 pages of recycled documents ranging from standard eight by 11-inch sheets to stuffed junk-mail envelopes and credit cards. In doing so, we evaluated each model's shredding quality and speed, the ease of emptying the wastebasket, and the relative annoyingness of the shrieks associated with documents meeting their doom. We also thoroughly researched and evaluated important shredder-related questions, such as "how much more secure is micro-cut than cross-cut?" and "when is it worth upgrading to a shredding service?" In the end, we identified what we believe to be the best shredder for every application, from home users that only shred a few pages a month to offices that need to dispose of hundreds of sensitive pages at a time and everything in between.
Related: How We Tested Paper Shredders
Analysis and Test Results
With all of the new and sophisticated ways that our personal information can be compromised online, it is easy to forget that information also exists on physical sheets of paper that can still be stolen the old-fashioned way. If you find yourself needing to dispose of any physical documents that could tempt an identity thief, a good paper shredder is a worthwhile investment.
Related: Buying Advice for Paper Shredders
With everything being online these days, an in-house shredder is not a must for most. Generally speaking, most people only need it for the odd credit card statement or tax document. In that case, the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut offers excellent value, providing top-notch security and reliable performance for small to medium-sized tasks at a low price. If your shredding jobs are larger or more frequent, the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut adds extra capacity and power for a heftier but comparably affordable price. If you are looking for a fast device, the Fellowes Powershred 99Ci can save you quite a bit of time if you already have stacks of documents waiting to be obliterated, though it does come at a price premium.
Shredding quality is a three-part metric: security, reliability, and convenience. Security relates to the size of the shreds produced, generally either cross-cut or micro-cut. Cross-cut level security makes reconstructing documents nearly impossible and offers enough protection for most people. Micro-cut security, in contrast, makes documents virtually impossible to decipher. Reliability refers to a shredder's ability to shred stacks of paper at its advertised capacity consistently without overheating the motor. For example, if a 10-sheet model isn't reliable enough to continuously shred stacks of 10 pages, you can easily end up with readable chunks of documents in your waste bin. Convenience refers to the ability to shred odd items, like credit cards and junk mail envelopes, without any extra fuss. We shredded hundreds of items on all of our shredders and meticulously evaluated the resulting confetti to assess overall shredding quality.
The Fellowes Powershred 99Ci earned a high score in our shredding quality testing. It is by far one of the more powerful models that we tested. The Powershred efficiently tackles its advertised capacity of 18-sheets while gobbling up everything from CDs to large junk mail envelopes with ease. The only reason it doesn't score closer to perfection is that it utilizes cross-cut blades rather than micro-cut. The AmazonBasics 12-sheet and 24-Sheet both performed very well in this department, with the 23-sheet being able to tear through a stack of 26 sheets at a clip.
The Royal HD1400MX earned an above-average score in our shredding metric. It demonstrated solid power in our shredding tests, tearing through thick junk mail envelopes with absolutely no issues. The only reason it didn't earn a higher score is that we encountered one instance where it jammed when shredding a stack of its advertised capacity of 14 sheets of paper.
Also coming in at above average is the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut. Its micro-cut blades offer better security than cross-cut models. However, it is less powerful than comparable cross-cutters, only shredding a maximum of eight sheets at a time and struggling a bit when it comes to thicker junk mail envelopes. It has a separate slot and set of blades just for shredding CDs, cutting them into three pieces. Overall, we think it's a great choice if you're in search of higher security.
The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut delivered a solid but not exemplary performance in our shredding tests. It easily tore through a stack of its advertised 8 sheet capacity. We even got it up to 11 sheets before it started to sound unhappy. It also easily dispatched stuffed junk mail envelopes. The cross-cut security level is likely more than enough for most people but certainly less secure than micro-cut. It can handle credit cards as well, but it's not rated for shredding CDs.
For those that need more than the basic six-sheet model but don't want to spend big for a large capacity machine, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut offers amazing shredding quality. In our testing, it occasionally groaned but still effectively shredded 12 sheets at a time and had no issues with junk mail envelopes or credit cards. The Fellowes Powershred 79Cidisplayed a similar power level in our testing, making quick work of CDs and thick envelopes. However, it jammed at its advertised capacity of 16 sheets of paper. It quickly ripped through when we decreased the stack to 14 sheets, but that discrepancy could be disappointing if you're looking for a truly high-capacity model.
All of the models we tested were able to shred basic documents to their specified level of security. However, some struggled a bit with thicker or sturdier items, like stuffed envelopes and credit cards. Such was the case with the Fellowes Powershred 60Cs. Although it was able to acceptably shred its advertised maximum capacity of 10 sheets into cross-cut bits, it struggled to get there. It also stopped in its tracks when challenged with thicker junk mail envelopes. The Bonsaii EverShred C169-B did display quite a bit of power in our test, tearing through even fully stuffed junk envelopes. However, we found it utterly incapable of shredding its advertised capacity of a 14-sheet stack of paper. Instead, it only managed an underwhelming 10 sheets.
Most shredders can handle small jobs of 10 or fewer pages with expediency. Still, if your job or financial strategy routinely pushes your shredding tasks into triple-digit page numbers, you definitely need to consider speed. To test this, we prepped stacks of paper that matched each model's highest page capacity and fed as many stacks through each shredder as we could over a single minute.
The quickest of the models we tested was the Fellowes Powershred 99Ci. We were able to shred 180 pages into cross-cut confetti in a single minute with this machine. This astonishing speed makes it a great option for those who regularly need to shred large piles of documents.
Falling just behind its sibling, the Powershred 79Ci was able to gobble 140 sheets in a minute. Just beware, it jams if you load it with its advertised capacity of 16 sheets, so you'll have to keep the stacks to 14 sheets or less if you're shedding lots of pages (as we did for our speed test).
The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut was one of the fastest home office-oriented models we tested. We saw it shred a stack of eight sheets of paper in just five seconds, meaning it shreds at a maximum rate of 96 pages per minute. Its cousin, the 24-Sheet, also performs highly in this department.
Coming in a distant third to the Powershred models were a few others that all earn above-average scores. The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut matched its micro-cut sibling's speed of 72 sheets per minute. Just behind these models is the Bonsaii EverShred C169-B, which tore through paper at 70 sheets per minute. The Fellowes Powershred 60Cs is quick but not as quick as its big brother, logging a speed of 67 sheets per minute.
Moving down in ranking, we have the Royal 1400MX, which missed out on being in the group of high scorers with a slightly slower speed of 55 sheets per minute. The two bottom finishers, however, are where the pace truly decreases. The Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut comes in, no-so-hot, with a relatively slow speed of 44 sheets per minute. This is just slightly better than half the speed of most high scorers and is just a bit more than a quarter of the top scorer's speed. This sacrifice in speed is most likely due to the DocShred offering the advanced security of micro-cut paper at a low price. Finally, the Aurora AS420C Desktop tore through a measly 24 pages in a minute.
Ease of Use
Paper shredders are generally simple machines that don't present too many difficulties beyond the occasional jam, but certain user-friendly features can make your experience a bit more streamlined. The general user-friendliness of these devices heavily weighs on the waste bin. The size and ease of the slide are what set these bins apart. Larger bins offer more time between dumps, and the ability to slide a bin out without having to lift the shredding unit makes emptying more manageable. Clear indicators of when the bin is full can also be helpful in the prevention of a confetti avalanche that occurs when trying to empty an overstuffed bin. Safety features like finger guards to prevent children or pets from getting near the blades can improve peace of mind. Most of these machines have very similar, intuitive interfaces, but some models are slightly better designed than others. After shredding thousands of pages for our testing (don't worry, we recycle), we carefully evaluated every one of these features.
The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci is one of our top scorers in this category. We appreciated its thoughtful features, such as a sensor that stops the blades if your finger gets too close and a plastic guard to keep shreds of stiffer items like CDs or credit cards from going astray. Possibly our favorite part of this model's user experience is the bin, which provides a clear fullness indicator, slides out from the front, and is the easiest to remove and empty of all the models we tested. It's no surprise that the Fellowes Powershred 73Ci is also a top performer in this category, as it scores very similarly to the 79Ci.
Just behind these two models is the Royal HD1400MX, which presents a very similar interface and bin design to the Powershred 79Ci. However, it lacks a clear fill indicator, requiring you to open the drawer periodically to check if it needs to be emptied.
After these top scorers, we had a slew of models that landed in the "average" range regarding their user experiences. These models are easy to operate for the most part, but they create some small annoyances, like a bin that can be slightly awkward to empty or a fill indicator that isn't easy to read. We still have yet to encounter a shredder that is overly irritating to use, so a lower score in this metric should not be a deal-breaker. There are just some models that add extra touches to make the experience a bit more pleasant.
Let's get this out of the way from the beginning: no shredder is quiet. Lots of tiny blades tearing through paper with the help of a whirring motor will inevitably create an unwelcome cacophony. However, some models manage to keep the noise to a less grating, lower-pitched hum rather than a nails-on-chalkboard style shriek. We recorded each model shredding both small batches and motor-stressing large loads, then listened to those recordings side-by-side to discover which models are least likely to anger your officemates.
As we said before, no shredder sounds pleasant, but two models out-performed the rest; Powershred 99Ci and the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut. They have similar low-pitched hums that are noticeable but not grating, making them the least offensive of the bunch. The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci comes in at a close second. It has a relatively low-pitched, consistent hum that could almost fade into the background. Next, we have the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci, which is closest to the top scores. It keeps the volume reasonably low, with a few higher-pitched crackling noises thrown in.
Coming in with an average score for noise is the Fellowes 73Ci. It produces a low hum that is fairly innocuous but mixes in some staccato paper crinkly-type noises that can be a bit grating.The Royal HD1400MX and Bonsaii EverShred C169-B produce a more bearable low-frequency sound but are both interspersed with more frazzling crinkling noises.
We've tested a few models, including the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut, the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut, and the Fellowes Powershred 60Cs, that produce downright unpleasant sounds. All three emit high-pitched shrieks that are quite irritating and borderline unbearable for longer periods of time. We'd advise against using these in a crowded office and maybe consider tossing your headphones when alone.
Different people and different offices will understandably require different levels of security and varying amounts of capacity from their shredders. We hope our testing results have narrowed the field and helped you find the perfect paper shredder for your needs and budget.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata