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Best Paper Shredder For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Paper Shredder at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Aurora AS890C 8-SheetRoyal 100X 29171Y 10-SheetComet CM-C-100 10 SheetAurora AS420C Desktop-StyleRoyal CX88 8-Sheet Cross Cut
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Product Rating
Average Price
Cheap ($40)
Cheap ($47)
Cheap ($55)
Cheap ($30)
Cheap ($50)
Frugal5 Score
Additional Info
8.36 Pages Per Min.
9 Pages Per Min.
8.6 Pages Per Min.
7 Pages Per Min.
1 Year Limited
1 Year Limited
Waste Capacity
125 Sheets
225 Sheets / 3.3 Gal.
374 Sheets / 5.5 Gal.
40 Sheets
252 Sheets
Features Needed
Auto Start/Stop
Crosscut Shredding
- Manual
- Manual/Automatic
- Manual/Automatic
- Manual
- Manual/Automatic
Sheet Capacity at Once (Min 4)
- 8 Sheets
- 10 Sheets
- 10 Sheets
- 4 Sheets
- 8 Sheets
Shreds Credit Cards
Shreds Staples
Solid-Surface Bin
Features Not Needed
Credit Card Slot
Extra Wide Paper Feeder
Heavy Duty
Shreds CDs/DVDs
Shreds Paper Clips
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

The world is moving to a paperless format. Many are scanning documents into their computers and then discarding the paper. An important part of keeping your personal information secure when you discard these documents is shredding them. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a paper shredder.

Types of Paper Shredders

Most people are familiar with paper shredders that cut documents into thin strips. Experts believe  these shredders are insufficient to protect personal information. Unless the strips are exceptionally narrow, it is easy to reassemble trips to reveal the original document. For this reason, experts recommend using a cross-cut paper shredder instead. These devices cut the strips into shorter lengths. Micro-cut shredders can make even smaller, diamond-shaped cuts, but may not be worth the extra time the machines take to process your documents or the extra cost. 

Security Levels

Governments set standards for the security level of paper shredders. For example, the U.S. government uses a security rating ranging from 1 to 6, with 6 being the most secure. That’s the standard used for disposing of classified documents. Households should use shredders with a security standard level 3, meaning cross-cut shredders that cut paper into pieces no wider than .175" wide and 2" long. When looking at home-use models, it is rare to find this rating listed. However, a standard crosscut shredder should provide an adequate level of security.


Paper shredder capacities vary, usually claiming to handle between 6 and 15 sheets per pass. In reality, papers come in different thicknesses. To ensure you don’t overload your shredder, only feed half the recommended capacity in a given pass. This makes up for any variances in paper thickness that might overload your machine. 


Paper shredders often specify the number of passes it can perform per minute. The duty cycle is another specification related to speed. Shredders need a cool down period between passes to ensure long operating life. There may also be a specification for the maximum passes a machine can handle in a day. For most households, speed, duty cycles and maximum passes are not concerns because the shredder will only be used on a few documents once or twice a week.

Heavy Duty

Some paper shredders handle much more than just paper. They can shred credit cards and other thick items like data CD's as well. It doesn't make sense to pay more for a heavy duty unit when you can just as easily cut up a credit card with scissors on the rare occasion it becomes necessary. Data CD's can be broken into pieces or scratched with sandpaper to render them useless. There are rare occasions when a full-featured shredder can be found in the same price range as standard duty.

Ease of Use

Shredders with wide feed slots are easier to use. Narrow width slots require you you fold the paper before feeding it. For most home-use applications this is a small inconvenience, and you'll pay less by choosing a model with a standard feed width. Understand that shredders need regular maintenance like any machine. They must be lubricated regularly to function properly.  

Keeping It Tidy

The bin that catches the shredder paper matters more than you think. A mesh bin lets paper particles escape, creating dust. In addition, trying to put a liner in a mesh bin can interfere with the operation of the shredder. For these reasons, choose a model with a solid-surface bin that captures paper particles and dust. 

Brands and Pricing

You may not have heard of Aurora, but this brand offers the best quality low-cost shredders available. Other brands may be more recognizable, such as a Comet or Royal. Expect to pay between $30 to $60 for a quality crosscut shredder.

Features You Need
Auto Start/Stop, Crosscut Shredding, Reverse, Sheet Capacity at Once (Min 4), Shreds Credit Cards, Shreds Staples, Solid-Surface Bin
Features You Don't Need
Alerts, Credit Card Slot, Extra Wide Paper Feeder, Heavy Duty, Shreds CDs/DVDs, Shreds Paper Clips
What You Should Pay
Between $30.00 - $55.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $500.00