Best budget paper shredder

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Destroy private banking documents, credit cards, CDs and more with a paper shredder.

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Which budget paper shredders are best?

In popular culture, paper shredders are often associated with destroying classified government documents or eliminating shady, incriminating paper trails. However, as prices have come down and privacy has become prioritized, these devices have become a popular mainstay in both corporate and home office environments alike.

While some paper shredders can cost hundreds of dollars, many budget options are now available for those who want to efficiently dispose of documents without spending a fortune. The Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder provides the features that most users prefer in an affordable and compact package.

What to consider before you buy a budget paper shredder

Uses

Paper shredders, as their name suggests, cut paper into small pieces. You simply place your document into the top of the machine and it pulls the paper through a series of blades. Some shredders cut documents into ribbons, while others use blades at various angles to transform paper into confetti. Shredding documents makes them nearly impossible to read.

Privacy

While legal offices or security organizations clearly need a means by which to destroy documents containing sensitive data, it may be less obvious why an individual would require a paper shredder. However, as the amount of personal data sent through the mail has increased, many people have purchased a paper shredder to prevent would-be thieves from obtaining credit card or banking information from documents thrown directly into the trash.

Efficiency

An additional reason some people purchase a paper shredder is to allow them to fit more paper into their trash or recycling bin. Shredding paper makes it easily compressed and takes up far less space than paper that has been crumpled into balls or not neatly stacked.

Composting

Those who prefer to compost their organic trash will find that shredded junk mail and newspapers decompose much more easily than whole sheets. Some even use their paper shredders to compost cardboard boxes.

Types

Some paper shredders are available as all-purpose units that feature both the shredding device itself as well as a receptacle that holds paper shreds until emptied. Others can be placed on top of a trash bin when needed. Some paper shredders are available that are manually operated with a hand crank.

What to look for in a quality budget paper shredder

Quiet operation

Paper shredders can be noisy. While occasional use won’t result in too much annoyance, if you find yourself shredding large amounts of paper you will want to select a shredder that operates as quietly as possible.

CD and credit card shredding 

With much data being saved digitally, a shredder that is powerful enough to destroy CDs and credit cards can be an all-in-one document destroying solution. Most paper shredders only contain motors powerful enough to cut paper, so those looking to dispose of anything thicker will need to invest in a more capable machine.

Wastebasket

Some shredders include a wastebasket. This means you don’t have to occupy your trash bin with your shredder whenever you need to use it. However, shredders with an included wastebasket take up more room and will need a dedicated location.

Cross-cutting

Cutting documents into thin ribbons is more than satisfactory for most users. However, for those who desire optimum discretion, a shredder that features cross-cutting will turn your paper into much smaller pieces.

Reverse operation

As anyone familiar with office electronics knows, a simple paper jam can be a frustrating, time-consuming inconvenience. With so many moving parts, paper shredders can become easily jammed. Select a model that allows you to reverse its motion. This makes the machine spit the paper out if it is too thick or causes the motor to freeze.

How much you can expect to spend on a budget paper shredder

Small, hand-operated paper shredders cost as little as $14. However, most people looking for a budget paper shredder will find electronic units available for $40-$60.

Budget paper shredder FAQ

Do I need to maintain my paper shredder?

A. Yes. Paper shredders need to be oiled in order to continue to operate properly. Some machines come with a small tube of oil. Special lubricating sheets can also be sent through the machine to keep the works friction-free. Consult your manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance.

How long can a paper shredder run?

A. Most small paper shredders can run continuously for 10 minutes at the most before they require a period of rest to allow their motors to cool down. 

Can I use WD-40 on my paper shredder?

A. This is not recommended. Paper shredder oil is specially formulated to prevent it from being absorbed by the paper passing through the machine. Using a lubricant other than what is recommended can result in a mess of greasy, saturated paper pulp that can ruin your shredder.

What’s the best budget paper shredder to buy?

Top budget paper shredder

Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

Amazon Basics 8-Sheet Capacity, Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder

What you need to know: This machine can shred up to eight sheets of paper at once.

What you’ll love: With its powerful motor, this shredder can destroy credit cards, cardboard, staples and more. It operates quietly and its included wastebasket keeps the mess contained.

What you should consider: Some users feel that the pieces this unit cuts their paper into are larger than they would prefer.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top budget paper shredder for the money

Mini Hand Shredder

Mini Hand Shredder

What you need to know: For those with few documents and a small budget, this hand-operated shredder makes short work of single pages.

What you’ll love: This shredder’s low price makes it affordable for home use. Ideal for seniors or anyone who wants to properly dispose of a few sensitive documents.

What you should consider: Can only shred two pages at a time at the most.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bonsaii Shredder for Home

Bonsaii Shredder for Home

What you need to know: This shredder is loaded with convenient features like a viewing window and reverse operation.

What you’ll love: Cross-cutting up to six sheets at a time, this shredder is great for office use. This model’s tough motor can chew through thick documents and even staples. Reverse operation allows you to quickly clear paper jams.

What you should consider: This shredder cannot destroy credit cards or CDs and has a short operating time of only four minutes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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