Paper shredders give both security and organization benefits. Do you need a paper shredder, but don't know where to start? Here are ways to tell if you need a strip cut or a cross cut shredder.
Have you ever had a missing credit card or document? Have you ever thrown a perfectly readable bill in the trash bin?
If you answered yes to either question, you're vulnerable to identity theft. Around 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014 and the numbers continue to rise. You too could become a victim if you don't start protecting yourself.
How can you start protecting your identity? One simple step is to start shredding your important documents, rendering them unreadable.
Let's look at the two most common types of shredders: cross cut shredder and strip cut shredder. Learn the differences between the two and figure out which one is right for you.
Cross Cut Shredder vs Strip Cut Shredder: Factors to Consider
Both machines shred paper, making the text indecipherable, so any of the two should be fine, right? Not really.
There are distinct advantages one has over the other, and the right choice of a shredding machine boils down to your preferences. Read the following factors that might affect your decision:
A strip cut shredder cuts papers into strips about 3/32" to 1/2" wide. The end result is ribbons made of paper that can be hard to put together again. It would be possible for the machine to churn out strips of paper that are the same length as a continuous sheet.
On the other hand, a cross-cut shredder cuts the paper lengthwise and crosswise. The size of the cut up pieces of paper varies from 5/16" x 3" to 1/32" x 3/16". The end result is confetti-like pieces of paper at about 300 to 900 tiny bits, depending on the size of the cut.
A strip cutter is better in an environment where the speed of shredding is paramount. Because shredding papers into strips are more straightforward, a strip cutter churns out shreds of paper faster than a cross shredder. Confetti shredders cut a paper in multiple directions, slowing down the process.
In this regard, a cross cut paper shredder beats strip cut shredders completely. A dedicated thief can put together strips of paper again with the right technology, allowing others to access sensitive information.
Meanwhile, pieces of confetti are much harder to reassemble even if the thief has a lot of time because it is almost impossible to connect one piece to another. Not to mention that there are hundreds of pieces in a single paper mixed in with other shreds from more papers.
A single piece would also hold very little information since it will only have a few letters or parts of one, depending on the size of the cut, while a strip of paper might reveal some secrets.
If the price is an issue, the strip cut shredder is the cheaper of the two. An individual can have one for their office or home at very little cost, which makes it great as an entry-level device.
Cross cutters are more expensive simply because they have more complicated parts to be able to shred a paper into confetti. They also offer better security, which adds to their value.
Do note that the price doesn't only depend on the price but on the model and brand as well. You might find a cross cut shredder that might cost the same as an expensive strip cut shredder, which might erase the price factor from the equation.
The maintenance for both types of shredders only needs oil for you to ensure they're working at their optimal performance. However, the parts of cross cut shredders are more complicated and higher in number than strip cutters, which makes the cost of maintenance higher than the other option. A cross shredder does extra work; hence they'll need more frequent oiling.
The exact amount and steps of maintenance you'll need to do should be in the manual. Before purchasing a shredder, we also recommend asking about its maintenance to make sure you're up to the task.
Confetti-sized pieces of paper take up less space in the bag than strips of paper, even if both shredders ate the same amount of paper. This lowers the number of times you'll have to change out the bag from the shredder.
Although it's not the biggest factor to consider, think of how much time you or your employees can save just by having to change the bag less frequently. Moreover, changing a bag can easily lead to shreds of paper on the floor if you're not careful, so fewer changing also means less risk.
Cross Cut vs Strip Cut: Which One is Right for You?
A strip cutter is the basic and most common type of shredder. It can be enough for those with a tight budget and it might even be more than enough if you plan to use it solely for personal reasons.
Students who need to get rid of old exam papers and assignments can settle for this type, especially if they need to shred a huge amount of old schoolwork regularly. Keep in mind that you have to shred schoolwork too, because some thieves can still use this information to hack into financial accounts.
However, a cross cut shredder is the choice of many businesses and individuals that deal with extra sensitive materials. The shredded paper will almost be impossible to reconstruct, making it harder for a thief to obtain sensitive information by snooping in garbage cans.
Even home users who want to take the extra step of making sure their documents and information are safe may opt for cross-cutters. Mail from financial-services companies, like convenience checks and pre-approved credit cards, are especially susceptible to thieves.
Tax documents and bills are very sensitive as well, so it's worth disposing of everything that has your name and other info on it properly. Experts suggest getting a cross shredder for this reason.
Theft is Serious Business
Now that you're more knowledgeable in two types of shredders, you can now decide in confidence which one fits your needs better. Remember that shredders are vital for preventing information leaking to outsiders, whether it's personal or business data.