Asking the Right Questions when Buying a Shredder

December 10, 2020 at 2:02 pm by SEM

How many times have you walked into a store looking for a particular item only to find too many varieties? For instance, you need a particular pencil for a certain project you are working on; you aren’t sure if a mechanical pencil or an old fashioned number 2 pencil will work. Or, if you decide to go into a car dealer to buy a new vehicle you may have several questions to ask the salesman. You will want to do your research to decide what type of vehicle to purchase and what questions to ask. Buying a shredder can be similar, even if it may seem like a straightforward product line. So it is best to prepare and you should know which questions to ask before heading in!

The first question to ask is; what kind of shredder do I need to meet my security requirements?

There are basically three different kinds of shredders. All three produce different shred sizes.

The first is a basic STRIP-CUT shredder. It will shred the paper into strips that are usually the length of the paper shredding. The second is a cross-cut which further cuts the strips into smaller particles. The question to ask here is; how secure do I want to shred my information? A strip cut shredder will cut the paper into usually 1/4 inch or wider strips by the length of the paper.These can be easily put back together. Will these strips give you enoughsecurity? If not then:

A CROSS-CUT shredder (SEM Cross Cut Paper Shredders) will further cut the paper-length strips into smaller strips (i.e. 1/4” by 1-7/8”). While still possible to reconstruct the paper, it is highly unlikely. Again ask yourself…will this give me enough security? If not then:


A HIGH SECURITY CROSS-CUT shredder is regulated by the National Security Agency (NSA) to shred particles no larger than 1 x 5 millimeters in size. This is
basically the size of a pencil mark. These particles have been determined by the NSA to be terminal destruction. This means they can’t be reconstructed by any method in any way. Learn more about SEM High Security Shredders.

Now that you know the different types of shredders it’s important to know a few other additional points. What is the volume of media that needs to be destroyed? Just a few pages here and there or a consistent flow every day of information?

Additionally, location is important – knowing what size space you are working with is key to finding the correct shredder for your office or space. You may even come to the conclusion a bigger solution is needed, like a SEM paper disintegrator!

Finally, check to see if you have to meet any data destruction regulations or requirements. Do you need to meet the previously mentioned NSA standard? Does the machine have to be HIPAA compliant? Finding out if your line of work or industry has regulations is also an important thing to know ahead of time.

Always do your homework in order to know exactly what questions to ask your security professional before buying a shredder, or any product! We at SEM are ready to answer any questions and are the security professionals and have been for over 50 years. Contact us today to learn more.