What are the Different Types of Paper Shredders?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A paper shredder is a device that makes it possible to render paper documents unusable by shredding the paper into streams of confetti or into small diamond shaped pieces. The first ones were handheld devices that resembled a pair of scissors equipped with flat blades that would cut a document into strips. Over time, electric powered shredders were designed to handle all sorts of shredding functions. Here are some examples.

A basic strip-cut shredder is one of the less expensive models on the market today. Paper shredders of this type make use of a series of rotating blades to turn the paper into a series of long narrow strips. Many light duty models of this type work well for general shredding at home. However, since strip-cut shredders produce strips that could be reassembled by someone determined to do so, they are not usually considered a good option for a security minded office.


The cross cut shredder makes use of a set of two drums operating in tandem to shred paper documents into tiny rectangles or diamond-shaped pieces that are impossible to reassemble. Smaller versions are used in the home and in small offices, while a heavy duty shredder of this type may be utilized in larger offices. The smaller models can usually accommodate four to six sheets at a time, and the heavy duty models can process ten to twenty sheets without any problem. All versions of the crosscut paper shredder produce uniform pieces that, once mixed in the receiving receptacle, cannot be reassembled into any type of legible order.

Along with the cross cut shredders, the confetti paper shredder is also a popular selection. Like the cross cut models, the confetti shredder will produce tiny pieces of paper that could never be reassembled. Some models produce strips that are much smaller in width than strip cut shredders, and also crinkle the strips to create elongated confetti. Other models use a slashing motion to produce tiny squares or rectangles that are roughly the size of confetti used for holiday celebrations.

Granulator paper shredders work in much the same way as cross cut and confetti models, in that they produce tiny shred of paper. However, the granulator type does not produce uniform shreds. The shreds are continually processed until they are small enough to fall through a filter. Essentially, granulators produce shreds that are nothing more than particle sized pieces of paper. These are considered very secure and often are used in businesses and government offices where security is an important issue.

Along with paper shredders that run off electricity, it is still possible to purchase shredders that are manually operated. Today’s versions look at great deal like the first paper shredders, in that they follow the basic construction of an oversized pair of scissor handles equipped with flat blades that make it possible to cut the paper into long and uniform shreds.


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