The Best Paper Shredders of 2018

By Julia MacDougall

The digital age given us countless blessings. Who doesn't love the convenience of paying for gum at the gas station with a tap of a phone, right? But it's also opened us up to previously unknown risks, including identity theft.

In the digital world, we count on antivirus software, two-factor authentication, and other identity theft-prevention measures to keep us safe from fraud. But what do you do in the real world, where you still get credit card solicitations, bank statements, and medical bills on paper? Simple: You buy a paper shredder, like our favorite Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut Shredder (available at Amazon).

Robert Siciliano, a Security Analyst with VPN provider HotSpot Shield says paper shredders are vital to maintaining identity security. "A shredder is an essential appliance," he told me, "just like a washing machine or a dryer. Destroying paperwork that could be considered 'sensitive' or could be used to piece together an identity is needed in every home and office."

With that in mind, I set out to find and test 12 of the top micro-cut and cross-cut shredders on the market, evaluating both their shredding abilities and their usability.

Here are the best shredders, in order:

  1. Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut Shredder
  2. Royal 112MX Cross-Cut Shredder
  3. Sentinel FM101P Micro-Cut Shredder
  4. Staples 16-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder
  5. Staples 15-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder
  6. Royal MC14MX Micro-Cut Shredder
  7. AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder
  8. HSM BS14C Cross-Cut Shredder
  9. AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder
  10. Bonsaii C560-D Micro-Cut Shredder
  11. Aurora AU820MA Micro-Cut Shredder
  12. Sentinel FX121B Cross-Cut Shredder
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated March 01, 2018

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fell_hero Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut Shredder

Fellowes 62mc micro cut shredder
  • Editors' Choice

Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut Shredder

Best Overall

Page limit: 10 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 7 minutes/60 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, and staples

The Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut shredder is an awesome pick for a wide variety of shredding needs, offering reliable performance and outstanding features. In testing, it was able to shred continuously for five minutes at a time, tearing through stacks of 1 to 10 sheets without jamming. It didn't flinch at staples or a pile of junk mail including regular paper, stiff paper, and a mock credit card.

There are other pluses: The 62MC's pull-out basket has an extra-large capacity of 5 gallons that takes more than 100 sheets to completely fill up. The shreds it produced were the finest among shredders I tested, at just 9mm by 3mm, which makes it nearly impossible to reconstruct shredded documents. The bin is easy to remove, and emptying it into the trash doesn't generate huge plumes of paper dust. I also appreciated the fact that the 62MC isn't especially shrill or rumbly in operation.

The shredder sits on casters with brakes, so it's more portable than its 21-pound weight would suggest, and its sturdiness means you needn't worry about it tipping over on your toddler. The user interface is a model of simplicity, and a safety switch makes operation even more worry-free. The shredding slot is narrow and vertical, which is also great for users with kids, but does require slightly more advanced technique—you can't just toss your pages in.

What other reviewers thought: While there have been some reports that the Fellowes shredder has a short life span, there are many reviews that praise its quiet shredding and "confetti"-sized shreds.

The bottom line: The Fellowes 62MC Micro-Cut Shredder will quickly shred documents into teeny-tiny pieces and has a lot of features that make it appealing to everyone, even those with little kids.

roy_hero Best Value
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Royal 112MX Cross-Cut Shredder

112mx

Royal 112MX Cross-Cut Shredder

Best Value

Page limit: 12 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 2 minutes/25 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, and CD/DVDs

The Royal 112MX Cross-Cut shredder is a great product for those with less pressing security needs. Its small 3.25-gallon bucket can hold shreds from 50-60 pieces of paper, and the shreds produced by the 112MX were the smallest I got from any cross-cut shredder—just 32mm long and 4 mm wide.

In my testing, it devoured single sheets for five minutes without returning an error or pausing. It was able to shred stacks of paper with thicknesses of 1 to 12 sheets without jamming, and powered through credit cards. DVDs were no problem, either, thanks to a separate disc slot.

Between its brake-equipped wheels and 15-pound weight, it's easy to move and hard to dislodge. A pull-out bucket (something of a rarity at this size) makes cleanup a breeze. Users with kids will appreciate the narrow disc and credit card slots, along with blades positioned at a 90° angle from the main paper slot. Together, they make it difficult for tiny fingers to get in trouble.

On the downside, emptying the bin can be a bit dusty, and the shredding noise is slightly louder than what you'd expect from a smaller shredder.

What other reviewers thought: Reviews for the Royal 112MX are mixed. Some users were annoyed with its short run time and "light use" rating, but others praised its ability to power through thick stacks of paper. Several owners complained about the one-year warranty, especially in light of some early failures.

The bottom line: The Royal 112MX Cross-Cut shredder is a great light use shredder that has a front load paper slot and generates the smallest cross-cut shreds out of all of the cross-cut shredders I tested.

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, my name is Julia. I'm the Senior Scientist for Reviewed, and I've been using shredders for a long time. Once, I even got one as a birthday gift! I was delighted, but most of the other party guests, who didn't understand the allure of a shredder, were left puzzled. When the opportunity to test a bunch of shredders head-to-head came up, I volunteered as tribute.

The Tests

Shredded paper compared
Credit: Reviewed / Julia MacDougall
Results of each shredder, with a paperclip for scale. Row 1 (L-to-R): Fellowes 62MC, Royal 112MX, Sentinel FM101P, and Staples 16-Sheet). Row 2 (L-to-R): Staples 15-Sheet, Royal MC14MX, AmazonBasics 12-Sheet, and HSM BS14C. Row 3 (L-to-R): AmazonBasics 6-Sheet, Bonsaii C560-D, Aurora AU820MA, and Sentinel FX121B.

In testing these shredders, I focused on two key aspects: shredding abilities and user experience. From a technical standpoint, I looked at what materials they could shred, how long they could operate without problem, and how many sheets they could handle at a time. Specifically, I checked to see whether each shredder could shred continuously for at least five minutes. Ease of use considerations included slot width and angle, bin accessibility, cleaning, portability, and the amount of noise the machines generated.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, shredders can also pose a safety risk (especially to children), so I also considered safety features
in my rankings.

testing
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Micro-Cut vs. Cross-Cut: What's the difference?

Microcut vs Crosscut
Credit: Reviewed.com / Julia MacDougall

"Micro-cut" and "cross-cut" shredders actually use the same technology. Micro-cut is simply a marketing term describing machines that produce even smaller shreds than typical cross-cut shredders. In my tests, micro-cut shreds were typically 9-12mm long and 3-5mm wide, while cross-cut shreds were about 30-40mm long and 4-5mm wide.

Some shredders use what's called a "strip-cut" design, simply shredding documents into long, thin strips. Though they're often very cheap, these shredders are vastly inferior in terms of security, so I chose not to test them for this guide.


Other Shredders We Tested

sen_hero
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

Sentinel FM101P Micro-Cut Shredder

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Sentinel FM101P Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 10 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 2 minutes/30 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, staples, and paper clips

The Sentinel FM101P's small size belies its powerful shredding capability. Its bucket has a capacity of 3.5 gallons, enough to hold micro-cut shreds from 70-80 pieces of paper. The shreds themselves were the second smallest among my test group, at 10mm long by 5.5mm wide. Weighing only 13 pounds, and featuring casters with brakes, the FM101P is especially portable and doesn't take up much space. Like the Royal 112MX, it also has a pull-out bucket—a real luxury when a lot of shredders this size require you to remove the top of the shredder to get at the shreds.

Like my other top picks, the top-loading FM101P was able to shred single sheets for five minutes straight without stopping or returning an error, and it was able to tackle up to 10 sheets at once without jamming. It chewed up and spat out a credit card, four staples, and a paper clip without breaking a sweat.

This shredder has three modes: off, forward, and reverse. The symbols used to denote "forward" vs. "reverse" were a little confusing to me, so be sure to check the manual if you're uncertain. The panel also has three status LED lights that correspond to "on", "overheated", and "full bucket".

Emptying the bucket wasn't a dusty experience, but I found that static cling caused tiny shreds to fling themselves up and stick to my clothes. The FM101P is also surprisingly loud for its size, especially when it's between sheets.

What other reviewers thought: Users loved the FM101P's tiny shred size, but others were unpleasantly surprised by its high noise output.

The bottom line: The Sentinel FM101P is small but mighty, and would make a good gift for those who don't have a dedicated home office space.

Staples 16-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder

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Staples 16-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 16 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 20 minutes/40 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, CD/DVDs, and paper clips

The Staples 16-Sheet Micro-Cut shredder is a beast of a shredder, both in terms of size and shredding capabilities. An 8-gallon bucket and 42-pound weight are just two of its eye-popping specs. Fortunately, it's easy to move around once set up, and the huge bucket comes with bin liner bags and a swinging door with a window that gives it a clean look. In my testing, it devoured stacks of paper 16 sheets deep without issue, and also chowed down on a DVD, a credit card, and four literal staples.

Between a narrow top-load paper slot and strangely reluctant sensor, however, actually getting the shredder to pull down paper can take a bit of extra effort. The issues don't stop there. It's not the fastest shredder I tested, and my five-minute continuous shred test was interrupted by an erroneous "Check Bin Level" error. (Shaking the bin to clear shreds blocking the sensor soon got it shredding again.) On the upside, the shredder is very quiet for its size, with no rumbling or grinding.

Staples 15-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

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Staples 15-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 15 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 8 minutes/60 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, CD/DVDs, staples, and paper clips

The Staples 15-Sheet Cross-Cut is designed for big jobs, but its relatively large 37mm by 4mm shreds mean it's not the best choice for super-sensitive documents.

It has a number of other shortcomings that, put together, kept it out of contention for my top picks. Because the top-load slot is unusually narrow for a 15-sheet shredder, and because there's a secondary trough near the slot, it can be difficult to insert pages quickly. Additionally, the window into the impressively large 7-gallon bin is far down, so it's relatively easy to overflow the bin. This causes extra shreds to get caught in the teeth. Shredding noise, while not particularly shrill, is definitely a bit higher-pitched and more noticeable than the 16-Sheet Micro-Cut.

Royal MC14MX Micro-Cut Shredder

Royal mc14mx micro cut shredder

Royal MC14MX Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 14 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: "Continuous operation"

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, and CD/DVDs

The Royal MC14MX Micro-Cut Shredder boasts an 8.5-gallon bucket—largest out all of the shredders I tested—and a heavy-duty design that checks in at 34.4 pounds. The front-load slot has a curved guide that makes it easy to insert pages, though there's a delay before the auto-shred sensor kicks in. In my testing, the MC14MX was able to power through as many as 14 sheets at a time, and also easily handled a DVD, card stock, staples, credit cards, and paper clips.

There are negatives, though. The shreds, while still quite small, were among the largest micro-cut examples I encountered at 12mm by 4mm. Once you're done shredding, emptying the bin can be a messy prospect, since the shreds are very staticky and lots of dust is generated during the shredding process. Luckily, the shred noise isn't obnoxious—especially since this particular unit is rated for "continuous shredding."

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder

Amazonbasics 12 sheet micro cut shredder

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 12 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 8 minutes/45 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CD/DVDs

The AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder is a solid all-purpose shredder featuring a 6.7-gallon bucket that can collect as many as 160 pages worth of 12mm by 4mm micro-cut shreds. Its 26-pound bulk is supported by small plastic wheels, but unlike other models, the AmazonBasics shredder doesn't offer brakes for secure parking.

In my testing it easily handled up to 12 sheets of paper at a time, plus DVDs, credit cards, staples, paper clips, and card stock. It isn't especially messy to empty the bin into the trash, but this shredder was noticeably noisier than some of its rivals.

HSM BS14C Cross-Cut Shredder

Hsm shredstar bs14c cross cut shredder

HSM BS14C Cross-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 14 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: "Continuous operation"

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CD/DVDs

The HSM BS14C has the body of a mid-sized shredder, but the heart of a heavy-duty model, thanks to a 5.8-gallon receptacle that can hold 35mm by 5mm shreds from nearly 200 sheets of paper. Unfortunately, despite a huge handle on the pull-out bin, it can be tough to remove. When it comes to safety, the 23-pound shredder is wobbly enough to present a tipping hazard, but it has the benefit of a second power switch on the back that should prevent anyone from turning it on and shredding something by accident.

The top-load design accepts paper easily, but there's a noticeable lag before the printer senses it and begins shredding. During my testing, it was often interrupted by false "full bin" alarms, requiring me to shake the bin to get it going again. Emptying the bin also tended to make a mess, with clumped shreds falling out all at once.

On the other hand, the BS14C is definitely the quietest shredder I tested. Fan noise was audible after it processed a lot of paper, but that's to be expected for a shredder that's rated for "continuous operation."

AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

Amazonbasics 6 sheet cross cut shredder

AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 6 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 2 minutes/30 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, paper clips, and staples

The AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder is small, with a scant 3.8 gallon capacity. But it's also remarkably fast, shredding 85 sheets of paper (as many as six at a time) in just five minutes—among the quickest shredders I tested. It easily handled everything from regular paper to credit cards and paper clips.

Unlike most other models in our guide it has no wheels, but at just 8.3 pounds that's not a major issue. Unfortunately, the compact design also means the top of the shredder must be removed before the bucket can be emptied. This could become a safety issue if it tips over and the top part of the shredder pops off, exposing the cutting blades to the open air.

The front-load paper slot makes it easy to insert paper to be shredded, but the small bin can quickly overflow, clogging the blades from below. The shreds it produces were also the the largest I got from any shredder at 44mm by 5mm. Last but definitely not least, the machine is fairly quiet in operation, but when it's done shredding, the AmazonBasics emits an especially unpleasant high-pitched whine.

Bonsaii C560-D Micro-Cut Shredder

Bonsaii c560 d micro cut shredder

Bonsaii C560-D Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 6 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 2 minutes/40 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper and staples

The Bonsaii C560-D Micro-Cut Shredder is a good choice for people who want micro-cut shredding on a budget, producing respectably tiny 11mm by 4mm shreds. The C560-D doesn't have wheels and is pretty lightweight at 7.4 pounds, including a small 4-gallon bin. The shredder head has to be removed before the bin can be emptied, and like all smaller, top-heavy shredders, it can present a tipping hazard. On the upside, the top-load design features a long slot that allows for easy paper insertion.

While having a small bin size makes it easier to empty it into the trash, the Bonsaii creates a lot of dust when it shreds. Additionally, the shredding process is accompanied by an annoying high-pitched whine. The Bonsaii was also the only shredder that ground to a halt before completing my five-minute continuous shred test. After four and a half minutes, the bin was overflowing and loose shreds clogged the blades, stopping it in its tracks.

Aurora AU820MA Micro-Cut Shredder

Au820ma

Aurora AU820MA Micro-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 8 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 5 minutes/30 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, paper clips, CD/DVDs, and staples

The Aurora AU820MA falls in an awkward middle ground in terms of design. Like smaller shredders, it can only be emptied by removing the top shredder head, but with a weight of 14 pounds, that can be an awkward, frustrating proposition. The 4.8-gallon bin has ample room for shreds, but the AU820MA also generates more than the usual amount of dust, making emptying it even more of a chore.

Parents will appreciate a unique panel that has to be flipped downward to access the paper slot, making it more difficult for kids to stick their fingers into the blades. However, the narrowness of the slot, coupled with a finicky paper sensor, means it can be difficult to actually get the machine to start shredding. Once it's going, the shredding process is pretty loud, and somehow gets even louder after the paper has been shredded.

Sentinel FX121B Cross-Cut Shredder

Fx121b

Sentinel FX121B Cross-Cut Shredder

Page limit: 12 sheets at a time

Continuous run time/cool down period: 2 minutes/60 minutes

What it's rated to shred: Paper, credit cards, paper clips, CD/DVDs, and staples

The Sentinel FX121B is an unremarkable shredder with a few notable flaws. Like all smaller shredders, it's top-heavy (9 pounds), and the head has to be removed to access the 3.3-gallon bin. Yep, tipping hazard. At least there are hand-holds that make it relatively easy to dump out, and emptying the FX121B only generates minimal dust and mess.

This shredder has a top load paper slot that has trouble actually sensing the paper, and I couldn't get sheets down to the blades unless they were inserted at an angle. If you can get it to work, shredding noise is rather loud, and is made worse by thumping noises that start after the paper has been processed.

Don't forget the noise

Noise is something you'll want to take account when shopping for a shredder. While it wasn't the factor we weighed most heavily, we considered it. But rather than a boring graph, we made this video so the shredders could speak for themselves.



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