The 8 Best Paper Shredders of 2019

Make sure all your important documents are discarded properly

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: AmazonBasics 12-Sheet

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.4

This Amazon shredder easily turns paper into 5/32” and 15/32” bits of confetti with ease. This micro-cut shredder is best suited for individuals who don’t have extreme professional uses (its 12-sheet per shred capacity isn’t ideally suited for lengthy shredding sessions). Fortunately, the 6.7-gallon bin holds more than enough space to add in both shredded credit cards and CDs for good measure. The eight-minute continuous run-time is paired with a 45-minute cool down time that provides just enough time to get through a single shredding session. The 9.1-inch paper feed is standard and offers both auto start and manual reverse to clear out any paper jams.

At 24.29" x 17.01" x 13.39" and 25.8 pounds, Amazon’s 12-sheet shredder is on the smaller side, making it perfect for tucking away into a corner. The micro-cut shred will turn a letter-size sheet of paper into 2,235 pieces, or six times more pieces than a traditional cross-cut shredder. An automatic shut-off feature protects against the machine's motor overheating by automatically turning it off to allow it time to cool down. At 65 decibels, its volume is best stated as mid-range, not too loud, but not too soft.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Swingline Prostyle+

Swingline 14-Sheet
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.2

Stylish design and compact size help the Swingline Prostyle+ shredder make the list as a superb option for cutting through paper in no time. It’s priced right for both home and the office, and with a 20-minute run time, it’s got enough horsepower to cut through junk mail and old tax returns with time to spare. At 20.5 pounds, the 14" x 24.5" x 18.69" Swingline tucks away neatly under a desk or in a corner. Unfortunately, it’s compact size also means a compact bin size so, at five gallons, it’s on the small side, but still adequate to get through a single shredding session.

Sheets with paper clips or staples are handled with ease, as are credit cards and CDs, which go through a separate cutter to maintain the quality of the main shredder. The super cross-cut shred can cut through 14-sheets at once with a single letter-size sheet shredded into more than 400 pieces all smaller than a penny. At the end of the 20-minute runtime, an illuminated cool-down indicator directs the user to power off for the recommended 15 minutes before resuming shredding.

Best Budget: AmazonBasics 6-Sheet

Amazon 6-Sheet
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.8

For quick, easy and limited shredding sessions, Amazon’s six-sheet cross-cut paper and credit card shredder more than fits the bill. Capable of shredding strips into 7/32 inches or 1-27/32 inches, the compact shredder is perfect for the home office. At 15" x 12.1" x 7.7" inches and 8.25 pounds, the shredder isn’t going to knock your socks off with raw power. The 3.8-gallon bin is sized just right for a shredder that has a two-minute run time. The 30-minute cool down is in line with more expensive shredders, but the low price tag is the tradeoff for a shredder that lasts just 120 seconds before automatically shutting off.

Run time aside, shredding ATM receipts, old tax returns and junk mail make this unit perfect for use in a small business or home office. In automatic mode, shredding begins once the sensor detects that a piece of paper or single credit card has entered the 8.7-inch wide paper feed. As a cross-cut shredder, each individual shred will occur faster than a micro-cut shredder, but it sacrifices the six times smaller confetti-like shred.

Best Security: Fellowes Powershred 99Ms

Fellowes Powershred 99Ms
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The prime reason for paper shredding comes down to security. And the Fellowes Powershred 99Ms is a shredder that puts security above all other features. The micro-cut shredder can push 12 sheets (and credit cards) into the nine-inch wide feed slot per pass into 5/65-inch x 9/16-inch cross-cut particles, which stamps it as the most secure shredder on this list. As a micro-cut shredder, the 99Ms provides the ultimate in protection, with particles 10 times smaller than a standard cross-cut. Realistically, the 99Ms will cut a single letter-sized sheet of paper into 2,154 particles per sheet, so it's next to impossible to reassemble.

At 25.2" x 17.4" x 11.2" and 41.5-pounds, the 99Ms is a little on the tall side, which makes it far more suitable for a business environment. Regardless of its placement, the 99Ms can operate for 15 minutes before a 25-minute cool down period is needed, which allows time to properly dispose of the nine-gallon pull-out bin. Fellowes claims that the bin can hold 80 percent more micro-cut particles per gallon than the standard cross-cut particles, including their own models. And the inclusion of “SilentShred” limits the decibel level for ultra-quiet performance in shared workspaces.

Best Run Time: Royal 1840MX

Royal 1840MX
Courtesy of Amazon.com

With a 40-minute run time, Royal’s 1840MX 18-sheet commercial cross-cut paper shredder is a standout option for both home and small businesses. Its lengthy run time helps it destroy 18 sheets in a single pass into 5/32-inch x 1 1/8-inch particles, as well as CDs, DVDs and credit cards. Once shredded, sensitive information documents drop right into a slide-out 8.5-gallon wastebasket with a clear viewing window to show you when it needs emptying. With an auto start/stop and reverse function, the 1840MX will shred a single sheet in just under five seconds. It's 11.5" x 15.2" x 25.50" and weighs 44 pounds, but doesn't come castors for easy maneuvering around the home or office.

Best Bin Capacity: Fellowes Powershred 125Ci

Fellowes strikes again with the Powershred 125Ci. Starring a 14-gallon bin capacity, the energy-efficient 125Ci is ideal for use in large offices. This powerhouse is capable of shredding 20 sheets of paper per pass into 397 (5/32” x 1-1/2” Security Level P-4) cross-cut particles and it can even handle miscellaneous items such as staples, paper clips, credit cards, CDs and more. It can chug away for 45 minutes before needing to cool down and its 100 percent jam-proof system promises to keep frustrations to a minimum. Additional features we especially like are its SafeSense technology that freezes the shredder when it senses hands touching the paper opening, and SilentShred, which keeps noise to a minimum — though that doesn’t cover your chatty co-worker.

Best for Businesses: HSM 150-Sheet

HSM 150-Sheet
Courtesy of Amazon.com

At first glance, a pricey shredder might seem unnecessary, but for large businesses, HSM’s 150-sheet shredder is a fantastic choice, with features to spare. A three-year warranty is paired with high-quality materials engineered for both security and durability over the life of the shredder. Additionally, an energy management control system pumps out just .1 watts in standby mode. At 29.1" x 15" x 15.5" and 42.6 pounds, it’s not unusually large for the price. Most importantly, the size belies the features, specifically the 150-sheet autofeed tray that can handle up to 12.8 feet of shredding per minute. The nine-gallon bin is paired with a wider throat opening (9.5 inches), and there's an automatic start and stop to prevent paper jams.

The micro-cut shreds at a very high-security level, which is ideal for destroying confidential data or documents of importance to a person, company or institution. Finally, the ability to continuously add paper manually during the autofeed stack processing cuts down on the amount of time required to utilize the HSM.

Best Versatility: Fellowes Powershred 79Ci

Fellowes Powershred 79Ci
Courtesy of Amazon.com

When it comes to a shredder, models from budget to out-of-this-world splurges all highlight handling both multimedia and paper. While many focus on paper first and multimedia second, the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci treats every shreddable object equally. It can handle 16 sheets of paper per pass, along with staples, credit cards, paper clips and CD/DVDs. A 100 percent “Jam Proof” system eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs, specifically those of the multimedia type. And the introduction of SafeSense technology goes one step further to shut down the shredder when hands get too close to the paper opening. As a cross-cut shredder, the 79Ci will reduce the 16 sheets of paper per pass into 397 particles (5/32 x 1-1/2-inch), which will fall into a six-gallon pull-out with a LED bin-full indicator.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought three top-rated paper shredders that our reviewers tested for three hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these shredders, from their sheet capacity to their shred style. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Paper Shredder

Sheet capacity - If you’re using a paper shredder for occasional home use — bank statements, those endless credit card offers — then a small six-sheet capacity should be fine. But if you’re using it for a home office or a business, then you may want to pay a little more to be able to shred more at once.

Shred style - All shredders do not shred alike. Some destroy documents more completely than others. If you’re using a shredder for pretty routine documents at home, then you probably don’t need top-of-the-line shredding capabilities. But if you deal with sensitive information at home or in the workplace, then paying more for micro-cut shreds, rather than cross-cut shredding, is a good idea.

Other materials - There may be times you want to shred more than just paper. Credit cards, CDs with sensitive material on them, paper with staples — the list goes on and on. That’s why you should check and see if the shredder you’re interested in can handle these types of shredding. Staples especially are key because who wants to remove them before sending documents through the shredder?

Test Results: AmazonBasics 12-Sheet (Best Overall)

4.4

What We Like

  • Micro-cut shredding

  • Quiet

  • Good value

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky

  • Difficult to tell when it’s full

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Shredder
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Paper Shredder
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Drawer
AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Shreds

“The single best thing about this shredder is that it offers a micro-cut shred size at a great price,” raved one of our testers. Calling it a “tremendous value,” our reviewers particularly liked how quiet it was and the fact that the shredder bin didn’t have to be emptied very often. On the flip side, one of our testers warned, “Despite being a micro-cut shredder, the shred size is significantly wider than a lot of other micro-cut shredders.” It was also difficult to tell when the shredder was full, according to one of our reviewers. Finally, it’s good to be aware of the size: “It's a little bulky, but it's very easy to use and move around if you have the space,” one of our testers revealed.

Test Results: Swingline Prostyle+ (Runner-Up, Best Overall)

4.2

What We Like

  • Long run time

  • Compact size

  • Stylish design

What We Don't Like

  • Noisy

  • Small collection bin

Swingline 14-Sheet
Swingline 14-Sheet Shredder
Swingline 14-Sheet Shredding
Swingline 14-Sheet Paper
Swingline 14-Sheet Paper Shredder

Our testers highly recommended the Swingline 14-Sheet based on its size, capacity, and design. “It has a decently small shred size for a cross-cut shredder, it's small enough to fit in most work spaces, and it can handle bigger jobs than most shredders of its size,” one of our reviewers summarized. Declaring it “one of the nicer looking shredders out there,” one of our testers also appreciated the “extremely long run time.” In terms of negatives, one of our reviewers mentioned having to empty the small collection bin often and the fact that it was noisier than other models.

Test Results: AmazonBasics 6-Sheet (Best Budget)

3.8

What We Like

  • Cross-cut shredding

  • Super affordable

  • Good size

What We Don't Like

  • Loud

  • Difficult to empty

Amazon 6-Sheet
Amazon 6-Sheet Shredder
Amazon 6-Sheet Shreds
Amazon 6-Sheet Button
Amazon 6-Sheet Paper Shredder

If you’re looking for a compact shredder at a great price, our testers found the Amazon 6-Sheet to be a solid option. “The cross-cut shredding that it offers is more secure than a basic strip shredder, which is a really nice feature for such an affordable price,” one of our reviewers raved. Our testers cautioned that this wasn’t a great choice for heavy workloads, however, because of a small collection bin that was difficult to empty. The bottom line? According to one of our reviewers, it’s “extremely affordable for the level of security you get.”