While all the shredders that we examined promise to protect your information, you will still need to make decisions about affordability, stability, and power. We tested 26 shredders to find out which one could take the most sheets and make the least noise.
A Insider’s Look at Paper Shredder Testing
Paper shredding is my biggest pet peeve. Constant paper jams! Constant paper jams! Some shredders could hold 4 sheets more than the claimed capacity. This is not something we recommend. It was more an abusive lab test to determine the potential of each shredder. (We used the industry-standard 20-lb. (We used industry-standard 20-lb. paper to ensure that our results were consistent with manufacturer claims.
We believe that the faster you can shred, the better. We cut eight inches off sheets and then shredded each sheet one by one, keeping track of the time it took. To ensure that the shredders weren’t warming up, we repeated this process several times. We then took an average. We converted our timed tests to this metric because most manufacturers claim that they can run at a speed of 0.5 feet per minute.
It can be a tedious task to empty the shred bin. We evaluated each model and found that it was easy to do. To make it more manageable, shredders will come with doors or side-loading baskets. Some models required us to lift heavy shred mechanisms to reach the bin.
Our test shredders were able to input paper from a variety of angles. We took note of the difficulty or ease with which each one was loaded. Some shredders were designed to be seated and easy to load, while others have superfluous shred feeds that can make loading difficult. Some shredders have a large, wide mouth and plenty of space. Others even have backboards that can be used to guide the paper in.
Sometimes it’s more complicated than unbox, plug-in, shred. To rate their customer service, we looked through each shredder’s manual and phoned their customer service lines.
We took a look at how many sheets our shredder could handle in a single session. The test group tested a range of sheets, from 36 to 400. The good news is that the shredders stopped feeding paper before they got too hot and caused electrical problems.
Our cleanliness testing will be a great help if you don’t like paper dust and shreds as much as we do. In our ease-of-use testing, we also noted any paper stuck to the shredder blades or fell onto the floor.
Although all shredders can be noisy, some were louder than others. To find out which noises could cause real nuisances, we measured the noise level in our sound-dampening area with our sound metre. We kept the distance between shredders and meters constant so that all papers were shredded at the same time.
Many shredders claim they can handle other items than paper. This includes credit cards, envelopes and CDs. All shredders passed our tests with flying colors!