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The 6 Very Best Paper Shredders

Photo: Courtesy NBCUniversal

A paper shredder is a home-office basic that is a crucial tool for securely destroying sensitive documents. You might not need the most expensive option, though, unless you’re a secret agent or the main character in a legal thriller. Realistically, you need a paper shredder that can shred multiple pages at once and run for a long time without overheating. There are also shredders that shred in multiple directions for higher levels of security and ones that let you shred non-paper objects like CDs and credit cards. The right one for you depends primarily on what you’ll be shredding and how often. To help you find the best one for your specific needs, we turned to tech experts, top-rated reviews, and past Strategist favorites. Below, the very best shredders of all types and sizes to help you keep your home office organized and your confidential information secure.

Best overall | Best less-expensive | Best compact | Best micro-cut | Best high-capacity crosscut | Best high-capacity micro-cut

What we’re looking for

Capacity: If you’ll be shredding big stacks of paper on a regular basis, you’ll want a shredder with a higher capacity — anywhere from 24 to 150 sheets at once. If you’ll only shred a few papers at a time, a shredder that can handle between five and 24 sheets at once should be fine.

Run time: All shredders have a set number of minutes they can reliably run for before they shut off to prevent overheating — anywhere from two minutes to 30 minutes. Again, if you plan to shred a lot of paper on a regular basis, you’ll appreciate a longer run time. If you’ll only shred a few papers here and there, you’ll probably be okay with a shorter run time.

P-rating: The security level of shredding is based on a “P” rating system from one to seven, with seven being the highest level, suitable for top-secret documents. Crosscut shredders, which cut paper into several hundred pieces, often have a lower P-rating. Micro-cut shredders, which cut paper into several thousand pieces, will have a higher P-rating. Crosscut shredders with medium P-ratings are generally suitable for at-home shredders, but if you want more peace of mind or plan to shred highly confidential documents, you may be better off with a micro-cut.

Best overall paper shredder

5 sheets | No run time provided | P-4 

While micro-cut shredders are more secure, says Mark Steinberg, a senior technologist at B&H Photo Video, crosscut types are more affordable and more suitable for home use. That’s why Steinberg recommends this Dahle crosscut shredder. It has a mid-range P-rating of 4, meaning it shreds documents into 4.8-by-17.5 mm. slivers — a fairly small, secure size for the average home user. Its built-in jam protection can handle a variety of media, including credit cards, staples, and paper clips, and its auto start/stop feature and thermally protected motor prevent overheating. And while many paper shredders need to be oiled regularly to keep them running smoothly, this one is oil free.

Best (less expensive) paper shredder

6, 8, 12, 15, 18, or 24 sheets | 3-minute run time | P-3

A crosscut shredder at a much lower price point, this Amazon Basics model is well liked by both Amazon reviewers and Strategist shoppers. Its six-, eight-, and 15-sheet versions (we’ve linked the in-stock eight-sheet above) have been purchased a combined total of 8,284 times by Strategist shoppers since 2019, making it our most-sold paper shredder. It is incredibly well reviewed on Amazon, too, with a whopping 177,679 reviews, 78 percent of which are five-star. It has a slightly lower P-rating than our best overall pick above, so it cuts paper into slightly larger slivers — 5 by 47 mm. — and it can’t handle things like staples or paperclips. But it has a higher capacity, and for its under-$100 price tag, depending on which level of capacity you buy, it’s a reliable, well-reviewed scanner for the at-home user who needs to shred papers and credit cards.

Best compact paper shredder

8 sheets | 2-minute run time | P-1

If you’re short on space and want something you can keep on your desk or easily store, this shredder omits the built-in bin to collect the shredded paper, saving it several inches in size. Instead, it has an extendable arm designed to fit over most wastebaskets, so you set it on top of your open trash can and shred papers directly into it. When not extended, it’s only 12 inches wide, 6.5 inches long, and three inches high. It has the lowest P-rating of any on this list — P-1, and it shreds documents into quarter-inch strips — so it’s really best for light, at-home shredding. But it can handle multiple media types, including credit cards, CDs and DVDs. It’s among our top ten most-purchased document shredders since 2019, with just under 2,000 sold, and it’s highly rated on Amazon, with 77 percent of its more than 9,000 ratings being five-star. Aurora shredders themselves are highly purchased, too — three of the brand’s other models appear on our most-sold list.

Best micro-cut paper shredder

6, 8, 12, 17, 18, and 150 sheets | 3-minute run time | P-4 

A micro-cut shredder is the next step up in terms of security, and this one is an affordable yet well-reviewed option. With a P-4 rating, it shreds papers into 4-by-12-mm. slivers, one of the smallest sizes on this list. It can handle credit cards, staples, and small paper clips, and it has an overload protection feature to prevent serious jams. Like its Amazon Basics Crosscut counterpart, it comes in various capacities, from six sheets of paper all the way up to 150 sheets. It’s also another Strategist reader favorite, with nearly 2,400 purchased since 2019. It’s a highly rated shredder among Amazon shoppers, with about 20,500 ratings, 78 percent of which are five star.

Best high-capacity crosscut paper shredder

12 sheets | 12-minute run time | P-4

For a crosscut paper shredder with a longer run time and higher paper capacity, Carl Prouty, the electronics expert (he’s also known as “the Technologist”) at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Illinois, suggests Fellowes’s Powershred shredders, specifically the 75Cs, 60Cs, and 63Cb, as they’re his store’s top sellers. The 75Cs version has the longest run time, highest page capacity, and highest P-rating of the three. It can shred 12 documents at once, including staples, plastic credit cards, CDs and DVDs, slicing them into 4-by-38-mm. strips. It also has the longest run time — 12 minutes — of any shredder on this list.

Best high-capacity micro-cut

6 or 130 sheets | 10-minute run time | P-5 

If you’re shredding a lot of highly confidential papers, you’ll want a micro-cut shredder with a longer run time and higher page capacity. This P-5-rated shredder is Steinberg’s favorite of the micro-cut variety. It can handle six sheets of paper when fed manually, but if you set it to automatic it can shred 130 sheets at once into 30.5-by-12.7-mm. strips. It’s also got the second-longest run time of any shredder on this list — it’ll shred for ten minutes before it forces a 30-minute shutoff. The machine’s automatic jam clearance and self-cleaning cutters keep it running smoothly as it shreds documents of all types, including glossy, folded, or crumbled papers, and it can handle paper clips and staples, too.

[Editor’s note: This paper shredder is currently backordered, but you can enter your email on the product page (click “Request Assistance”) to get notified when it’s back in stock.]

Our experts

• Carl Prouty, electronics expert at Abt Electronics 
• Mark Steinberg, senior technologist at B&H Photo Video

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The 6 Very Best Paper Shredders