Paper shredders have come a long way. While they were primarily used to destroy paper waste that clutter offices, paper shredders now have security measures, jam protection, shorter downtimes, and a variety of other modern features.
Here, we’re going through some paper shredder attributes that offices are looking for. So if you’re planning to buy a shredder for your home office, it will be easy to find one that fits your needs.
Paperwork with sensitive information needs to be destroyed effectively for security purposes. When the contents pass through the shredder, they must be beyond retrieval to protect against leakage and theft.
The film Argo clearly depicts the devastating consequences when regular paper shredders fail to break up high-security government photos.
That being said, it’s important to consider the level of security you’re looking for when buying a paper shredder. The Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN) 66399 standards determine this security level, which has seven ratings. The higher the rating, the smaller the particles produced. Therefore, the higher the security is.
These are the seven levels briefly discussed:
- P-1 – For general documents such as forms, expired memos, and the like.
- P-2 – For internal documents such as photo-copied files.
- P-3 – For confidential documents that contain sensitive information such as medical records and financial statements.
- P-4 – For highly-confidential documents such as invoices and contracts.
- P-5 – For classified documents with secret data such as business strategy files and product designs.
- P-6 – For highly-classified documents such as patents and research files.
- P-7 – For top-secret documents such as files in military forces and intelligence services.
Levels P-2 to P-6 are ideal choices for offices in different industries. For the home office, a P-1 rating may be enough if only general documents will be shredded.
Short Cool-Down Time
Since efficiency is key in office operations, shredders must be able to keep up with the work. The cool-down time refers to the minimum length of time that a shredder would need in between operations.
So if your office has a constantly high volume of paperwork that needs shredding, a heavy-duty shredder with a low or zero cool-down time is necessary.
Paper shredders that can destroy files instantly will increase productivity and efficiency. If that’s what you prioritize, check the shred speed of the paper shredder to determine if it fits your requirements.
The shred speed refers to how quickly a paper shredder can feed paper through its cutters. It can be described in feet per minute (FPM) or meters per minute (MPM).
Note, however, that a faster shred speed doesn’t necessarily equate to a better shredder. When you consider security, for example, higher-security shredders have a slower shred speed because motors are working harder to produce finer particles (explained here).
Another thing to consider in relation to shred speed is the run time. This refers to how long a shredder can operate without stopping or cooling down. Generally, an ideal model would be one that runs faster and lasts longer.
Jamming is probably the most common yet the most annoying issue when using paper shredders. When a shredder jams, it can be an inconvenience especially if you have a lot of documents in line for shredding.
Fortunately, modern paper shredders have circumvented this with built-in jam protection measures. Some have a motor that can automatically stop when it senses jamming. The shredder then pushes the papers back out and you can continue with your work.
Traditional paper shredder designs are noisy when they shred documents. If you’ve ever used a regular paper shredder before, you’d know how annoying the loud noise is.
And because there’s such a thing as noise pollution, you’d want to keep that at a minimum to avoid disrupting a peaceful and focused workplace.
So it’s not really a surprise that quiet operation is one of the key features that offices look for in a modern paper shredder. When scouting for a new shredder, the Whisper-Quiet operation is one of the selling points you’ll hear the most.
For shredders used in an office setting, it’s likely that many people will operate the device. When this is the case, a common practice is simply turning the shredder on and off after every use.
This not only risks damaging the switch buttons of the shredder, but it actually consumes more energy. As such, offices also look for modern shredders with a standby mode.
The standby mode keeps the shredder on but runs in low power when not in use. This saves more energy compared to repeatedly turning the device on and off. Furthermore, the standby mode provides an additional convenience to users since they don’t have to manually turn the device on and off each time they use it.
Another inconvenience when running paper shredders is oiling, like this. It can be a messy process but it’s required to properly maintain shredders.
Back in the day, paper shredders had to be oiled regularly. Thankfully, those days are gone because most modern shredders are either oil-free or are built with an automatic oiler. For the latter, they are outfitted with components that squirt and spread oil automatically when it detects the need to do so.
An official certification adds brownie points to any product. For paper shredders, many offices in the US go for those approved by the Central Security Service (CSS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
If your office needs serious security when destroying sensitive data, NSA/CSS-approved paper shredders are a must. After all, these certifications ensure security, quality, and functionality so you don’t have to worry about information leakage or machine breakdowns.
Paper shredders are important devices in any office setting. Aside from effectively cleaning up paper waste, they are crucial to destroying highly-confidential files that the company holds.
If you’re looking to buy a modern shredder for the office or your home office, our guide above will help you determine what features to look for to get the quality and security that you need.