Best Paper Shredders
Identity theft and other forms of data theft make shredding essential for individuals as well as organizations. Unless you want to painstakingly cut up old tax returns, bank statements, credit cards, and more by hand, a paper shredder is a must-have item. The market is awash in paper shredders at prices ranging from about $15, for what's essentially a motor head that can be set atop a wastebasket, to more than $2,000, for a professional-grade model designed for a busy office that goes through lots of paper. Cheapism.com carefully scrutinized the available options and paper shredder reviews to find the best paper shredders under $75.
Our Top Pick
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder Review
- Strong performer for home use, according to expert and user reviews.
- Shreds credit cards, staples, and small paper clips.
- Window lets users see when it's time to empty the 4.1-gallon wastebasket.
- LED overheat indicator light.
- Lifting handle on motor head.
- 4.3 out of 5 stars from more than 2,500 reviewers on Amazon.
- "Best Bang for the Buck" in BestReviews testing.
- Some users consider the motor head too heavy to lift comfortably, even with the handle.
- Does not accept CDs/DVDs.
- Short strips measuring 3/16 x 1 27/32 inches might not be secure enough for some users.
Takeaway: The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder is a top value buy. Many reviewers say it cuts the maximum eight sheets of paper without strain. Scattered reports of jams and early demise, common in this price range, attach to this shredder, as well. But many more reviews praise the build quality, reliability, and power.
Fellowes Powershred W11C Review
- Plenty of power quickly cuts through thick paper and multiple sheets, users say.
- Shredded particles measure 5/32 x 1 3/8 inches for good security.
- Long 5-minute run time and short 20-minute cool-down period.
- Patented safety lock disables the shredder.
- Unusually long 3-year warranty on the cutter (1 year on the entire machine).
- Shreds credit cards and staples.
- 4 out of 5 stars from more than 3,000 reviewers on Amazon.
- Does not accept CDs/DVDs or paper clips.
- No window on the 4.75-gallon bin.
- Feed slot near the back of the unit may discourage storage under a desk.
Takeaway: This Fellowes shredder is beefy enough for home or small office use and carries on like a champ, users say. A strong brand following only solidifies praise for this 11-sheet cross-cut model. A tiny minority balk at the windowless wastebasket design and the position of the feed slot, and a few report jams and malfunctions. In general, though, reviewers extol its durability, safety lock, and seemingly effortless performance.
Insignia NS-PS10MC Review
- Impressive all-around performance, reviewers say.
- Minces up to 10 sheets of paper into tiny 1/10 x 2/5-inch pieces.
- Accepts staples, credit cards, and CDs/DVDs (the latter in a separate slot).
- Pull-out 4.5-gallon receptacle with window makes for easy disposal.
- Wheels for portability.
- Indicator lights for power, overload, and overheat.
- 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 1,100 reviewers on BestBuy.com.
- Information on run time and cool-down period appears only in fine print, prompting surprise among some users when the unit begins overheating after several minutes.
- Long cool-down time of 50 minutes before the shredder can be used again.
- May balk when presented with more than several sheets, some users report.
Takeaway: Best Buy's Insignia NS-PS10MC is the shredder for frugal consumers seeking a very high level of security for documents and media meant for disposal. Despite some grousing about a less-than-advertised capacity and run time, this is one of few micro-cut models in the budget zone.
Bonsaii DocShred C156-D Review
- Takes up to 12 sheets and shreds lighter loads with ease, users report.
- Many reviews say it's suitable for a home office.
- Accepts credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CDs/DVDs.
- Larger-than-average bin (5.5 gallons) with a window.
- Compact footprint.
- Overheating protection.
- 4 out of 5 stars from more than 2,500 reviewers on Amazon.
- A bit pokey, some reviews say.
- May choke at loads short of the maximum 12-sheet capacity.
- Scattered reports of jams and malfunctions.
Takeaway: Users consider the Bonsaii DocShred C156-D cross-cut shredder a fair price for what you get. Its ability to chew up disks, paper, and related disposables, along with the large wastebasket, earn it a favored spot in many home offices. Although some reviews say it's underpowered, most are well pleased with the performance when not pushed to the limit.
Insignia NS-PS10CC Review
- Chews up paper clips, staples, and CDs/DVDs in addition to paper.
- Large 5.3-gallon wastebasket with a window to show when it's getting full.
- Handle for lifting the motor head off the bin.
- Wide 9.1-inch feed slot.
- Performs consistently and meets the expectations of most home users.
- 4.5 out of 5 stars from nearly 2,000 reviewers on BestBuy.com.
- Cannot shred credit cards.
- Dull-looking design compared with others in its class.
- No specification for run time, prompting surprise among some users when it begins overheating after several minutes.
- Relatively long 50-minute cool-down period before the shredder can be used again.
Takeaway: Users like the low-cost efficiency of the Insignia NS-PS10CC from Best Buy, although some caution that this 10-sheet cross-cut shredder is at its best with a maximum of five sheets. This model shreds paper into 1/5 x 1 1/3-inch bits and, unlike most others tagged with a budget price, it can handle paper clips -- a time saver when cleaning out files.
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder Review
- Performs as advertised, most reviewers say.
- Shreds credit cards and CDs/DVDs.
- Automatic shut-off if the unit begins to overheat.
- Pull-out 3-gallon receptacle with a window.
- Comparatively quiet for this price class.
- Wheels for portability.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars from nearly 3,000 reviewers on Amazon.
- Some users report problems with auto-on, saying the unit continues to run when not in use unless switched off manually (frequent cleaning of the sensor may mitigate this issue).
- Relatively short 2-minute run time and long 40-minute cool-down period.
- Some reviewers grouse about flimsy build quality.
Takeaway: The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder provides the high level of security many home users seek, chopping paper into teeny particles measuring 5/32 x 15/32 inches. (A separate slot for CDs/DVDs shreds with a straight cut.) Users appreciate convenience features such as the wheels and pull-out basket and say shredding proceeds quickly and relatively quietly.
Aurora AU1215XB Review
- Shreds all types of paper, including cardboard, reviews say, as well as credit cards, CDs/DVDs, paper clips, and staples.
- 12-sheet capacity.
- Power shuts off to prevent forced entry and a cover plate closes the feed slot when the shredder is not in use.
- 4.8-gallon wastebasket with window.
- Overload and overheat protection.
- Wheels for portability.
- Unusually large shreds, measuring 7/32 x 2 5/32 inches.
- Scattered reports of jams and unit failures.
- Relatively small bin for a 12-sheet shredder.
Takeaway: The Aurora AU1215XB is a workhorse that earns well over 4 stars from Walmart customers for its powerful performance and budget price. That said, the shreds are about 1 inch longer than other cross-cut shredders produce and, according to some reviews, could enable dedicated snoops to piece together personal or confidential information. For anyone hyper-focused on data security, this is not the shredder to buy.