Best Paper Shredder
$267.48 at Amazon
$176.60 at Amazon
$194.98 at Amazon
$172.16 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||Expensive, but well worth the time savings for those that shred a lot||A good model for those that shred 100+ pages a day, but there are faster models at the same price point||If your shredding jobs reach triple digit page numbers, this machine will make your life a lot easier||Good all-around performer, but not worth the high price||Shreds well but is fairly slow for a high capacity model|
|Rating Categories||Fellowes...||Basics 24-Sheet...||Fellowes...||Fellowes...||Royal HD1400MX|
|Shredding Quality (40%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Fellowes...||Basics 24-Sheet...||Fellowes...||Fellowes...||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 Overall Shredder
AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut
For those that shred a lot of paper at home or a small office, we think the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet Micro-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 will decisively and completely shred 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.
Though less expensive than many other comparable machines, the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet is at the upper end of the market, so it's only a worthwhile purchase for those that need to shred multiple documents often. Similarly, it's a relatively large device that takes up quite a bit of real estate. However, it'd be 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 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 credit cards. Despite that power, the PowerShred was one of the quietest models we tested, though your cubicle mates will undoubtedly notice it, they won't be requesting to switch desks.
The PowerShred is a cross-cut model, meaning that it produces slightly larger shreds than micro-cut blades. However, cross-cut still offers a very high level of security, and disposing of lots of shreds at once makes it even more unlikely that the information can be pieced back together. The biggest strike against the PowerShred is its price. Generally listed at more than what most models cost, it is quite an investment. However, the time savings will be well worth the extra cost if you are consistently shredding 100+ page documents.
Read review: Fellowes Powershred 99Ci
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 inexpensive enough that it will barely eat 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 handle those periods around tax time when you suddenly have stacks of documents to properly dispose of. In our tests it posted a maximum speed of 96 sheets per minute, easily ate through stuffed junk mail envelopes, and made quick work of credit cards — more than enough performance for the majority of home offices.
The biggest downside to the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut is the noise it emits. The relatively shrill whine won't ingratiate you to your house of office mates, and gets quite annoying fairly quickly. Additionally, the bin isn't the easiest to empty. However, both of these issues are minimized by the relatively sparse home office use the shredder is designed for. Unless you often have to shred dozens of pages at a time, the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut will 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 want 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 higher security of micro-cut in a simple and efficient package.
Micro-cut blades are typically associated with a reduction in speed, and the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut is no exception. FIt 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 emits quite a shrill and grating noise while shredding, making it less ideal for long shredding sessions. 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 want a convenient way to dispose of the few sensitive pages that end up on your desk. This tiny, no-frills paper shredder is powerful enough to take on a few pages or even a credit card, yet it is small enough to inconspicuously live on a shelf or corner of your desk until you need to pull it out. The noise it makes is also surprisingly innocuous and doesn't have nearly the same whine we expect from smaller machines.
This model clearly isn't meant for heavy use. Long documents or regular shredding would certainly warrant a larger unit, as heavy use is going to stress the tiny motor. However, this could be the perfect solution if you only need to shred a few pages per week without sacrificing too much office real estate.
Read review: Aurora AS420C Desktop
Why You Should Trust Us
Max Mutter and Steven Tata have been leading TechGearLab's office product testing since 2016. They have gotten their hands on well over 100 home office products, from printers to Chromebooks, 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 what works and how office needs can be met best by the products they are testing. They've also looked at every office product they've tested through the lens of a home user and are thus quite familiar with that landscape.
In completing this review, we shredded over 5000 pages of recycled documents ranging from standard 8" x 11" sheets to stuffed junk-mail envelopes to 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 such important shredder-related questions: "how much more secure is micro-cut than cross-cut?" and, "when is it worth buying a shredding service?" In the end, we found 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 still exists on physical sheets of paper that can be stolen in the old fashioned way. If you have any documents that could help a potential identity thief, getting a good paper shredder is a worthwhile investment.
Related: Buying Advice for Paper Shredders
Most people need a shredder relatively infrequently 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 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 reasonable 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 boils down to 3 things: 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, while micro-cut level security makes documents virtually impossible to decipher. Reliability refers to a shredder's ability to shred stacks of paper at its advertised capacity consistently. 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 or consideration. 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 an 8 out of 10 in our shredding quality testing. It was by far the most powerful model that we tested, efficiently tackling its advertised capacity of 18-sheets and gobbling up everything from CDs to large junk mail envelopes. The only mark against it is that it has cross-cut blades rather than micro-cut. The AmazonBasics 24-Sheet was similarly powerful, able to tear through a stack of 26 sheets at a clip.
The Royal HD1400MX earned an above-average 7 out of 10 in our shredding metric. It demonstrated solid power in our shredding tests, tearing through thick junk mail envelopes with absolutely no issue. The only reason it didn't earn a higher score is that we ran into one instance where it jammed when shredding a stack of its advertised capacity of 14 sheets of paper.
Also earning a 7 out of 10, the Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut and its micro-cut blades provide better security than cross-cut models. However, it is less powerful than comparable cross-cutters, only shredding a maximum of 8 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 3 pieces. Overall, 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 sounded unhappy. It also easily dispatched of 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 isn't rated for shredding CDs.
For those that need more than the basic 6-sheet model, but don't want to spend big for a large capacity machine, the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut offers decent shredding prowess. In our testing, it occasionally groaned down the stretch, but still effectively shredded 12 sheets at a time and had no issues with junk mail envelopes and credit cards. The Fellowes Powershred 79Cidisplayed a similar level of power 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 may 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 when it came to thicker or sturdier items, like stuffed envelopes and credit cards. Such is the case with the Fellowes Powershred 60Cs. Though 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 it came up against 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, with a test maximum of 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 want to consider speed. To test this, we prepped many stacks of paper that matched each model's highest page capacity and fed as many through each shredder as we could in 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 our top pick for those who often need to shred large piles of documents.
Falling just behind its sibling, the Powershred 79Ci was abe 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. In our tests it shred a stack of 8 sheets of paper in just 5 seconds, meaning it shreds at a maximum rate of 96 pages per minute.
Coming in a distant third to the Powershred models were a few others that all scored a 7 out of 10. The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut matched its micro-cut sibling's speed of 72 sheets per minute. Just behind these models was the Bonsaii EverShred C169-B, which tore through paper at 70 sheets per minute. The Fellowes Powershred 60Cs was quick, but not as quick as its big brother, logging a speed of 67 sheets per minute.
Earning a 6 out of 10, the Royal 1400MX missed out on being in the group of high scorers with a slightly slower speed of 55 sheets per minute. The two bottom scorers, however, were well off the pace. The Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Micro-Cut scored a 4 out of 10 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.
Ease of Use
While paper shredders are generally simple machines that don't present too many difficulties beyond the occasional jam, certain user-friendly features can make your experience a bit more streamlined. Most of these things have to do with the bin. Larger bins don't have to be emptied as often. The ability to slide a bin out without having to lift the shredding unit makes emptying more manageable, and clear indicators of when the bin is full can prevent the dreaded confetti avalanche associated with trying to empty an overstuffed bin. Safety features like finger guards to prevent children or pets from getting near the blades can offer 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.
Earning the top score of 8 out of 10, the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci was our favorite model to use throughout our testing. We appreciate 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 full indicator, slides out from the front, and is the easiest to remove and empty of all the models we tested.
Scoring 7 out of 10 in this metric, the Royal HD1400MX presents a very similar interface and bin design to the Powershred 79Ci. However, it lacks any sort of fill indicator, requiring you to open the draw periodically to check if it needs to be emptied.
After these top scorers, we had a slew of models that fell into the "average" range in terms of their user experiences. For the most part these models are easy to operate but present 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 that make the experience a bit more streamlined.
Let's get this out of the way: no shredder is quiet. Lots of tiny blades tearing through paper with the help of a whirring motor is inevitably going to create a cacophony that no one wants to hear. However, some models do 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 the Powershred 99Ci comes close. Its low pitched hum is noticeable but not grating, making it the least offensive of the bunch. The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci earned a 9 out of 10 in this metric. It had a relatively low pitched, consistent hum that could almost fade into the background. Also with a 9 out of 10, the AmazonBasics 24-Sheet had a similarly low hum that wasn't too grating on the ears. The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci was closest to the top scores with a 7 out of 10. It keeps the noise reasonably low, but with some higher pitched crackling noises thrown in.
The Fellowes 73Ci earned a 6 out of 10 in this metric. It produced a low hum that is fairly innocuous but mixes in some staccato paper crinkly-type noises that can be a bit grating.There were two models that scored a 5. The Royal HD1400MX had a more bearable low pitched tone, but with some very loud accents of crinkling that start to fray the nerves after a while. The Bonsaii EverShred C169-B was very similar, with a lower frequency 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 particularly jarring sounds. All three emit high-pitched shrieks that are quite grating and borderline unbearable for long periods of time. We'd suggest against using these in a crowded office, and maybe even tossing your headphones on for good measure.
Different people will naturally require different levels of security and varying amounts of capacity in 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