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We all know that the best way to securely dispose of confidential paper documents is to feed them to a shredder. Most businesses now come equipped with a small office shredder as standard, or they hire in a professional shredding service. A lot of homes are now also host to a small shredder for all of those bank statements, new passwords and other bits of post that contain confidential information. But there are more than just 2 types of shredder (in fact, there’s 8) and it’s important to understand what level of shredding solution you need. This is usually based on just how confidential the information you possess is and how thoroughly you want it to be destroyed. This post should give you a better understanding of what shredding options are out there and which one is right for you.


Home & Basic Office Grade Shredding


Strip Cut 

Strip cut is the most basic and least secure method of shredding, and has largely fallen out of favour. It takes in pieces of paper and uses a cycle of rotating blades to cut the paper into narrow strips as long as the original sheet. These pieces are then deposited in order in the bin below. These strips can be easily reassembled by someone with determination and patience due to their non-randomised and bulky nature.



Cross-cut shredders are currently the most popular style of shredder for home and business use. Cross cut shredders use 2 blade coated drums rotating in opposite directions in order to cut paper into rectangular, parallelogram or diamond shaped shreds. These pieces are small, randomised as they fall into the storage bin and produce a much smaller amount of waste in terms of volume.



Micro cut is the most secure of the freely available shredding units. Also known as a particle cut shredder, these machines use even more blades of a finer quality to cut paper into tiny squares or circles roughly the size of confetti. In other words – you’re never putting that document back together.


Industrial Grade Shredding

When you get up to the high level secure information, the basic shredder models just aren’t quite enough. While they might be completely secure, you need the assurance that there is absolutely no way your documents or other materials could be reconstructed or read. That’s where the following models come in.


Cardboard Shredders

Cardboard shredders have been specifically designed to handle large amounts of cardboard and other corrugated material. These machines are designed for high volumes of materials, and can be set to either cut cardboard into strips or reduce it to a mulch, which is then passed through a mesh pallet. The resulting mulch is often used in gardening for compost.



A disintegrating shredder does what it says on the tin. Also known as a granulator, these machines have several sets of blades that get gradually finer until the material passing through is almost microscopic. The paper is ripped apart at random and by the end of the process the particles are small enough to pass through a fine mesh screen.



A hammermill shredder offers a similar level of security to a disintegrator, but is a much more violent way of achieving it. Material is fed into the hammermill’s grinding chamber via a feed chute. The material is then struck repeatedly by ganged hammers which are attached to the shaft, which in turn rotates at high speed within the mill chamber. The result is dust like particles.


Pierce and Tear

Pierce and tear shredders are usually reserved for materials that are big, bulky or ungainly in some way. These machines have multiple sets of rotating, narrow blades (more like pins) which pierce the material and tear it apart. It is a much more randomised method of shredding than traditional shredders, and the resulting material can be fed into a disintegrator or hammermill if needed.



The final type of industrial shredder is known as a grinder. Grinders have long, rotating shafts with cutting blades, which grind and cycle the paper through until it is small enough to fall through a mesh screen located below the machine. The resulting particles can barely be recognised as paper.

If you are unsure what level of security you need from your shredding or you think you need a more industrial grade solution, get in touch with us today for your free consultation and trial.