Best paper shredder 2022: Slash through sensitive info from just £18

best paper shredder 2022

Shred paper securely at home with a super-efficient shredder

While most of us are distracted by online security, going through discarded paperwork remains one of the easiest ways to steal someone’s identity. Before it’s binned or recycled, it’s a good idea to destroy anything that has your personal or business details on it, from piles of paperwork and bills to credit cards and DVDs/CDs. The best paper shredder will make even the biggest of jobs easy to tackle, giving you peace of mind that your identity is that little bit safer.

Most bills and statements are paperless these days, but if you're working from home temporarily or have always run your business from your spare room, you'll still find yourself with important paperwork stacking up. One of the biggest mistakes most people make when buying a shredder is choosing one that isn’t robust enough or the right capacity for the amount that needs to be processed. Similarly, buying one that needs to cool down every few minutes from being overloaded will mean you’ll just end up putting off shredding altogether. Buy right and you can keep on top of your waste paper.

Below, we've put together a handy guide to help you choose the best paper shredder for your needs, no matter how tight or generous your budget. If you already have an idea of what you want, we've also listed our pick of the best paper shredders a little further down the page.

Best paper shredder: At a glance

How to choose the best paper shredder for you

What types of shredder are available?

There are three types of shredder: strip or ribbon-cut, where the sheet is cut into thin strips; cross-cut or diamond-cut, which shreds a sheet in two directions, turning an A4 piece of paper into around 410 particles; and micro-cut, which is a type of cross-cut.

Micro-cut is sometimes referred to as “confetti-cut” and is perfect for sensitive information, turning a sheet of paper into as many as 3,000 pieces. Bear in mind that micro-cut shredders work harder, so will usually handle fewer sheets at a time and need more breaks to cool down.

A ribbon-cut shredder is serviceable if you’re on a budget, but bear in mind that strips can be taped back together. For peace of mind, a cross-cut shredder is always recommended.

What features should I look for in a paper shredder?

It’s unlikely you’ll want a shredder on display all the time, so its size will be a compromise between how much you need to shred regularly, and storing it in a cupboard or under a desk. Compact models are easy to stash away, but be aware that some may not even be wide enough for an A4 sheet and need emptying frequently. Bigger machines will suit a home office and often have more features but will be heavier to move around.

If you’re planning on frequent shredding, invest in a model with a large bin. For example, a 10l bin can accommodate around 60 sheets of paper. A bin that’s easy to empty will be a bonus – many have bottom bins with lift-off heads that can make a mess when you remove them, but there are others that have removable or pull-out bins. A transparent window will help you to see when it’s almost full, so you can prevent overflow and potential paper jams.

Each shredder will have a maximum page limit denoting how many sheets it can shred at a time. Cheaper designs can often only process five or six sheets, while mid-market models can shred ten or 15 at a time. Noise levels can be an issue for prolonged shredding sessions. Most make about the same level of noise as a washing machine (although the pitch may be more annoying) but if you prefer something quieter, look for a model that’s designed to make less noise.

Some shredders are able to destroy other articles, such as credit cards or DVDs and CDs with sensitive information written to them, either in the same slot or a separate one. If you’re recycling, collect the plastic particles separately from your shredded paper. Most can handle the odd staple, but if what you’re shredding has lots of paperclips, check that your shredder can cope without damaging the blades.

Safety features are important: auto start means the shredder detects when paper is being fed in, so your fingers don't have to push it down near the blades. An auto shut-off that stops shredding when hands are detected is also a good idea. If you have young children or pets, a safety lock will disable the shredder when not in use or you can look for a model with an interlocking bin that prevents it from being operated when the bin isn’t connected. A thermal safety switch will stop your shredder overheating – it takes about 30 minutes for a motor to cool down properly, so look for a model with a long runtime (this can be referred to as the shredder’s duty cycle) if you like to do all your shredding in one go.

Finally, features that help prevent or clear jams will save time and frustration. A basic reverse function can often clear a clog but you can also find auto-reverse, where the shredder will spit the paper out straight away if it senses an impending jam. Anti-jam technologies are even cleverer and are usually found on pricier models – this means they’ll have a powerful motor that pulls the paper jam through.

How much should I spend?

Size tends to dictate price – the bigger the machine, the most costly it’ll usually be – but it’s possible to find an efficient cross-cut shredder for as little as £30. Quality impacts on the price too, with more expensive models often being more robust and more powerful.

As a rough guide, budget around £50 for an everyday shredder, at least £100 for a home-office model and £150 upwards for heavy/business use. Add a little into your budget for blade oil to keep it running smoothly – a good guide is to oil the shredder every time the bin is full.

READ NEXT: Best printers

The best paper shredders you can buy

1. ProAction 5 Sheet 10 Litre Strip-Cut Shredder: The best affordable shredder

Price: £18 | Buy now from Argos

If all you need is a simple shredder solution on a tight budget, this five-sheet model will happily turn your bills into ribbons in a flash. It’s light on features, although the reverse will still come in handy for clearing paper jams, and there’s a safety cutout to minimise the chance of accidents with curious fingers.

The basket is a little small at only 10l, especially as it can process at a speedy 3m of paper a minute, but it’s not excessively noisy, which is a bonus for an affordable shredder. It’s basic but great for people who aren’t sure how much use they’ll get out of a shredder before owning one.

Key specs – Size: 39.5 x 13.5 x 28.5cm (HWD); Bin capacity: 10l; Max sheets: 5; Type: Strip-cut; Features: Visible bin level, reverse, safety cutout

Buy now from Argos

2. Rexel 2101942UK Style Cross-Cut Shredder: The best compact shredder

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

When the last thing you want is another obstacle on the floor or something taking up shelf space, look to this glossy ultra-compact model. Lightweight at 3.6kg and easily stored in a cupboard, it’s perfect for occasional shredding of statements and bills, and will even chew through credit cards (although it won’t destroy CDs).

Simply shred up to five sheets at a time and watch it turn an A4 sheet into around 400 4 x 35mm pieces. Its 7.5l bin will hold up to 50 sheets. Staples and paperclips pass through its blades happily, although a limited runtime of two minutes before cooldown could prove frustrating if you don’t shred regularly.

Key specs – Size: 36 x 17 x 32cm (HWD); Bin capacity: 7.5l; Max sheets: 5; Type: Cross-cut; Features: Autostart, reverse, credit card shredding

Buy now from Amazon

3. Bonsaii EverShred 14-Sheet Cross-Cut: The best heavy-duty paper shredder

Price: £130 | Buy now from Amazon 

Got years of family paperwork to get rid of? Looking to clean out the office filing cabinet? This cross-cut shredder will cheerfully chomp through 14 sheets at a time for 30 minutes, thanks to a proprietary cooling system that stops it overheating.

Paper documents soon become tiny 5 x 40mm strips, and it will also go through staples, receipts and credit cards – and even CDs, although there’s no dedicated slot. It doesn’t clog where other shredders struggle, and when it tries to take on something it can’t chew, the auto-reverse function kicks in and spits it back out again.

For all its power, it’s not actually that noisy, putting out under 60dB in operation, and with a 17l bin with a perspex front panel, you won’t need to empty it too often. Sure, it’s fairly big and pretty hefty, but it’s a beast of a heavy-duty shredder.

Key specs – Size: 50.5 x 33 x 24cm (HWD); Bin capacity: 17l; Max sheets: 14; Type: Cross-cut; Features: Visible bin level, overheat protection, auto-reverse

4. Fellowes Powershred 63CB Cross-Cut Shredder: The best paper shredder for families

Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon

In the mood for eight solid minutes of shredding with a rapid shred speed of 3m a minute? You’ll need the Powershred 63CB – the perfect regular shredder for home offices or families with a stack of credit card bills and little time to waste turning them into particles.

Features include a jam blocker, which uses a sensor to detect when the machine is overfed; an energy-saving system, which switches to standby mode to reduce energy consumption; and “Safe Sense”, which stops the shredding when hands touch the paper slot. It can also shred staples, credit cards and paperclips, and has a pull-out bin for reduced emptying mess.

Key specs – Size: 45.2 x 36.8 x 24.8cm (HWD); Bin capacity: 19l; Max sheets: 10; Type: Cross-cut; Features: Visible bin level, shreds CD/DVD/cards, reverse

Read more

Best Buys