Are you looking for a reliable credit card shredder that will ensure your protection from identity fraud? If so, then this is a great spot to be! In this post, we discuss the top 5 credit card shredders that you can purchase right away.
A credit card shredder is perfect for anyone who cancels a credit card and needs to trash it. Of course, there are many who would love to take advantage of a card that still has sensitive data on it. By completely shredding an unused credit card, a person can have peace of mind that they will not be taken advantage of down the line.
Of course, it is also vital to destroy paper documents, discs, and any other form of media that contains private information. While all the devices below take care of credit cards with aplomb, it is worth noting the other features each device has. Having the ability to shred discs and other thick materials can come in very handy at a moment’s notice. Finally, the ability to shred a large number of sensitive documents or junk mail rapidly is also sure to be useful at some point.
This buyer’s guide not only points out some awesome shredder options but goes in depth to provide some pros and cons for each device. This will allow anyone interested in shredding a credit card to make a fully informed choice.
Best Credit Card Shredders of 2020
|Amazon Basics 6-sheet Shredder|
|Swingline EX 12-05 Shredder|
|Fellowes Powershred W11C|
|Bonsaii DocShred C156-C|
|Fellowes AutoMax 130C|
1. AmazonBasics 6-sheet Paper and Credit Card Shredder – the Most Affordable Option
The AmazonBasics shredder is the best seller on the titular website. It is the least expensive option on this list but still works to eliminate any sensitive credit cards or documents lying around. There are several versions of this shredder that offer varying capacities for simultaneous shredding. This review will focus primarily on the base model that facilitates 6 sheets.
The shredder can handle 1 credit card or 6 different sheets at the same time. It takes roughly two minutes to completely handle a full load. After using this device, it is recommended to let it cool off for around 30 minutes. This may seem like a restriction at first, but many small home offices or private users won’t need to destroy much more than this at once.
- The automatic turnoff helps to prevent overheating
- Cross Cut technology that ensures your sensitive documents and credit cards won’t be legible afterward
- Simple to use manual reverse to fix paper jams
- Amazon Basics One Year Warranty
This shredder weighs in at 8 pounds so it is very easy to carry. The cross-cutting technology produces about 70 decibels of volume during operation. The noise wasn’t very distracting and as long as it isn’t operated at 3 AM or some other late night hour it shouldn’t pose an issue for a majority of users.
2. Swingline EX 12-05 Shredder – a Supremely Reliable Choice
The Swingline shredder is a high-end unit that serves a multitude of purposes. With this added functionality does come an increased cost to boot. Still, people who love having more features may just find the increased price tag worth it in the end.
This shredder can handle up to 14 sheets simultaneously. This is a solid capacity that should be enough for just about any home user or small business operator. There is a separate slot for shredding CDs and DVDs alike. The huge advantage here is that this slot uses an additional cutter so the main slot for paper and credit cards lasts much longer.
- 5-gallon bin that is simple to pull out and dump
- Elegant design and light up symbols for greater control
- Cuts right through envelopes to easily dispose of junk mail
- Divides letter-sized sheets into 400 pieces
This Swingline unit sports a stylish design which is great for anyone who values aesthetics. The buttons are all illuminated and the cooldown timer has a light which makes it very easy to discern when the device is ready to be used again. The cooldown time is about 20 minutes so the device can be used for more continuous sessions. The device does weigh 20 pounds though, which makes it one of the heaviest options on this list. People without much strength may decide to go with a lighter model to avoid a taxing lift.
3. Fellowes Powershred W11C – a Highly Balanced Choice
The Fellowes Powershred W11C is the first Fellowes model on this list. While some models are much more advanced, this little sibling still has some solid merit to consider. Plus, the price point is quite reasonable considering the suite of features on offer.
The Fellowes PowerShred W11C is a sturdy, medium-duty crosscut shredder. With its compact size (18”H X 13.75”W X 8.5”D; 14.1 lbs.), this shredder will fit nicely into your home or office setting without taking up too much space.
This shredder can handle up to 11 sheets at once and will shred through staples with no problems, which again should be enough for the average home or office user. The paper slot will also accept credit cards. It runs for about 5 minutes at a time before needing a cooldown.
The safety lock feature is great for when the device is not in use. The shredder can be placed near a desk without worry that an important document or card won’t accidentally fall in. With the lock engaged, the shredder won’t turn on when it senses something near the feed.
- Safety lock which prevents unwanted damage
- Medium duty usage for simple deskside placement
- Easy to lift handle on the waste bin
- Divides the paper into cross cut sections to make the unreadable
The 72 decibels of volume this device creates isn’t enough to be very distracting. Most children and pets won’t mind the noise one bit either. This makes the PowerShred an ideal candidate for home office use.
4. Bonsaii DocShred C156-C Paper/CD/Credit Card Shredder – an Overall Solid Option
The Bonsaii DocShred is probably the least well-known device on this list. The feature list and price are pretty great, but customers that like choosing brands they know well might shy away from this one.
The DocShred features a simultaneous capacity of 8 sheets and can also shred discs in addition to credit cards. There is a see-through window on the side that makes it easy to see how full the waste bin is. That waste bin stores 5.5 gallons, so this may be a solid option for those who are constantly shredding their information.
- Micrcut shredder for paper and other thin material
- Heavy shredder for discs, credit cards, and other thick materials
- Weighs 10 pounds and is sturdily built
The device has 2 cutters depending on the task at hand. The micro cut takes care of paper and lighter objects. There is also a heavy-duty cutter that works to eliminate credit cards, discs, and other strong objects. There is a separate storage bin for the thicker materials. Unfortunately, the device requires 40 minutes of cooldown after only running for 4 minutes. This means the shredder isn’t conducive to extended sessions.
5. Fellowes AutoMax 130C Shredder – for the Most Heavy Duty Shredding
The Fellowes Automax 130C is by far the most expensive credit card shredder on this list. That being said, businesses which will require hundreds of documents shredded will most likely appreciate the much larger shredding capacity compared to everything else on this list.
The Automax 130C boasts an impressive 130 sheet capacity when set to automatic. It also offers a manual shredding mode that can take on up to 8 sheets. The automatic technology works to quickly feed documents for an incredibly seamless experience. It is also able to automatically detect paper jams and reverse the feed to clear them up. This may be just what a large business needs to stay productive during peak hours.
- Automatic jam detection that reverses the feeding belt
- Capable of destroying staples in addition to credit cards
- Large 8.5-gallon trash bin to hold lots of paper
This shredder can run for 10 minutes straight before needing a 25-minute cooldown. This is pretty efficient considering the sheer volume of pages that can be automatically fed during that time. It also features an 8.5-gallon waste bin which will certainly fill up rather quickly. Still, a bin any bigger would most likely become cumbersome to use. The AuotMax only creates 60 decibels of sound, which is surprisingly quiet compared to other shredders with much smaller capacities. The device is 40 pounds, so it isn’t always the easiest thing to move. It is recommended that you pick a spot where it can be stationed for long periods of time before setting it up.
Buyer’s Guide for Credit Card Shredders
The above shredders are all useful in their own right, but each one has a target demographic that would benefit most from the feature set. This next section breaks down who would be best served by each of these machines. This should be a great way to tell which of the above devices is right for you.
Amazon Basics 6 Shredder
This simple to use device will be best for anyone who really would rather not spend much and only has one or two things to destroy. If you don’t plan on using a shredder often or maybe will only ever use it the one time this is a great choice. It is also easy to store and use so it gives the user some flexibility if they keep the device around and ever need to quickly use it again. Plus, Amazon takes care of its customers so there is little need to worry about pulling the trigger on this one.
This shredder is an excellent choice for those who like to splurge a bit and get some a nice quality product in return. The Swingline has the second highest price but is feature rich and is carefully built to last. Not to mention, the sleek look makes it stand out in any home or office. That said, some people might not want their shredder to stand out, as the whole point is to carefully dispose of the information worth protecting.
Fellowes PowerShed W11C
The Fellowes Corporation has a long history of making office products, beginning with the original banker’s box back in 1917. In 1982, Fellowes entered into a licensing agreement with a German company to distribute commercial paper shredders in the United States. This turned out to be a very successful business line for Fellowes, and in 1990, the company began marketing its own internally designed shredder products; including the personal paper shredder, which was a new concept. Fellowes has since become a leading distributor of some of the best paper shredders for sale today, offering a full line of models, from basic home-use versions to sophisticated models designed to protect high-level corporate security.
Many Fellowes shredders incorporate the patented SafeSense® Technology. This features an advanced electronic safety sensor that surrounds the paper slot and automatically disables the shredder when hands touch the paper opening. This feature can be disabled by a switch, but a flashing warning light will illuminate to warn the user that SafeSense® has been disabled.
Fellowes PowerShed W11C is a great choice for anyone who wants a solid device that isn’t too expensive. This shredder falls in the middle of this list in just about every category. This makes it a great option for anyone who is tired of doing research and just wants their credit cards and other sensitive documents dealt with as soon as possible. Fellowes is also quite a reputable company so any customer support needed down the line will most likely be handled with grace.
This shredder is good for anyone who doesn’t want to cheap out with the least expensive model but still has a budget to uphold. The reasonable price point is paired with a solid feature set that will most likely get the job done for you. Having the window that allows you to see the waste bin is also nice for people who like visual feedback when operating a device like this. That said, BonSaii is the least reputable brand on this list. For those who desperately want a good customer support line might evade this one in the event that something happens down the line. There are no guarantees one way or the other, so some might choose to spend a bit more for the peace of mind.
Fellowes AutoMax 130C
This massive unit is great for large business owners or anyone who isn’t concerned with their budget at all. The automatic 130 sheet system ensures all shredding can be done efficiently but features an expensive price point to match the high output. Still, a business owner who requires lots of data be destroyed will absolutely love this unit. The automatic feeding belt and paper jam reducer will keep the whole staff more productive in the long term. As stated above, the Fellowes brand offers solid customer support so any issues that do come up during peak business hours should be handled smoothly and with ease.
Final Thoughts About Credit Card Shredders
With the above points put into consideration, we hope it is much easier for you to choose the credit card shredding option that works best for you. Whether you are in need of a one time use, a budding home office entrepreneur, or a large business firm manager, there is a device on the market for you. No matter what option you pick, destroying your sensitive data is an important step to protect your identity and avoid fraudulent behavior.
In the near future, most shredders will feature automatic feeding technology and paper jam protection. The feature is simply too useful to not be applied in a majority of the newest models being developed. In addition to this, there will be larger sheet capacities and reduced cooldown times to keep a more continuous shredding flow for more heavy duty usage. As with all modern technology, the size of these devices will continue to shrink despite the increased performance. This will make it far easier to place shredders just about anywhere and make them more convenient to transfer from room to room.
With the advent of all these advanced options, the price will also come down. This means that eventually, all upcoming shredders will be automatic and affordable for everybody. This will really make it harder for criminals to take people’s identity by perusing trash cans and other garbage containers. There is a great chance that it will no longer be worth it for these criminals to steal identities this way.
Going forward, digital protection will become the new hot topic as less and fewer things are printed on paper. Criminals who still pursue identity theft will be forced to adapt their methods for the digital age. Is it vital that anyone looking to shield their sensitive information look to digital solutions as well. This is a quick reminder to strengthen your passwords and use two-factor authentication whenever an app or website supports it. Using a password manager is also a great way to make your logins far less hackable. These are great first steps to take once your shredder is taking care of any remaining physical data you have left lying around.
About Shredding Paper
Everyone needs a paper shredder. With identity-theft being a persistent problem these days, it behooves you to have a way to destroy documents you no longer need which might have your personal information, Social Security number, or financial information or account numbers on them.
There are different types of paper shredders to choose from. There are strip cut, cross cut, and confetti cut/micro cut shredders. All of these shred paper, but differently. A strip cut shredder uses rotating knives to shred a piece of paper into ¼-inch or smaller strips that will be as long as the sheet of paper being fed into the shredder. Strip cut shredders are considered the least-secure type of shredder. This is because there is less randomness in the shreds, which theoretically might be reassembled and examined by a determined identity thief. Generally, cheaper, light-duty shredders will be strip cut machines.
Cross cut and micro cut shredders use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram, or diamond-shaped shreds. These types of shredders make more randomness in the shreds, making it more difficult to reassemble the shredded documents. Micro cut or cross cut shredders are therefore considered a more secure means of shredding documents than strip cut shredders are.
There are seven security levels for paper shredders. Levels 1 and 2 are for general or mildly sensitive internal documents, and these security levels are limited to strip cut shredders, and cross cut machines that make larger cross cut shreds. Security Level 3 shredders are for confidential documents and this security level is provided by cross cut shredders cutting shreds 1/8” to 5/32” wide, and 1 13/16” to 2” long. Level 4 shredders are for secret documents, and micro cut shredders usually provide this level of security. Security Levels 5, 6 and 7 are for Top Secret documents. Most home and office shredding needs can be provided by Security Level 1-3 shredders.
All paper shredders are not created equal. All too often, people will invest in a cheaper, light-duty shredder, and then either stuff too much paper in the shredder at once, jamming it, or they will run the shredder so hard that it overheats and burns-out. When considering your shredder needs, you need to invest in a shredder that can handle the heaviest shredding task that you might be confronted with. Today’s shredders come with an array of features, including the ability to handle small paperclips and staples, old CDs/DVDs, as well as the ability to shred expired credit/debit cards. Some have features that prevent jamming and provide overheat protection. It will be important to check the manufacturer’s specifications for the shredder you are considering to see if it can handle these extra things besides shredding paper.
Productivity is an important issue when considering a shredder. How much will you need to shred at one time? This goes beyond mere sheet capacity or shredder speed. We are talking about throughput, or the efficiency at which a shredder can get the job done. Throughput combines the three most critical features that contribute to a shredder’s performance: Sheet Capacity X Speed (feet per minute) X Duty Cycle = Throughput. A shredder with greater sheet capacity may not have the throughput of a smaller capacity machine if the latter has a longer duty cycle (how long it can be run before needing a cool-down period).
Though it may look impressive that a shredder can shred 15 pieces of paper in a single pass, you need to look at other considerations as well. The 15 sheets refers to 20 lb. paper only. The owner’s manual may tell you that a particular shredder cannot shred thicker paper, such as cardboard or file folders, newsprint, or plastic other than credit cards or CDs/DVDs. The manual may say that laminates, transparencies, paper with adhesives on it, or continuous forms are not meant for your shredder. The manual may also say that a shredder can handle small paper clips, but that shredding these may shorten the life of the cutters. A recommended daily usage may also be given. So, depending on how you are going to use a shredder, you’ll want to consider more than just how many sheets of paper it can handle at one time.
Once you have found and purchased a shredder that works for you, it is best to keep it in a convenient spot in your home or office so you can shred pertinent documents and protect your identity and personal information from falling into the hands of identity thieves.
Paper Shredder FAQ
I understand there are 7 different security levels for paper shredders. Which of these are important to me?
Consumers who want protection against identity theft should consider paper shredders which provide Level P-3 (medium security) to Level P-5 (medium to high security) protection. Level P-1 or P-2 shredders should not be used to shred documents containing confidential information, and Levels P-6 or P-7 are only used for highly confidential documents with fine print to classified/top secret documents.
I’ve seen $30 shredder models and $200 models. How can I be assured of getting the most value for the money I spend?
Well, for starters, you want to consider at least a cross cut shredder if protection of your identity is the reason you are considering a shredder purchase. That will eliminate the cheapest models, which are more likely to be strip cut shredders (providing only Level 1 or 2 security). Then, consider how heavy you might use your shredder. If you have already burned out one or two cheaper models, you might want to consider buying a better shredder. You should get one that can at least handle the heaviest use you will ever throw at it. If you buy enough quality with your next shredder, you should never have to worry about overusing it and burning it out. Cheap shredders are cheap for a reason, and you need to buy a shredder that shreds to your required security level without frequently requiring maintenance or jamming/breaking down.
I don’t understand the differences between cross cut, micro cut, and confetti cut shredders. Can you help me?
Micro cut and confetti cut shredders are different names for the same type of shredder. The differences between cross cut and micro/confetti cut shredders are in the size of the paper shreds created by these machines. The shreds from cross cut shredders average 4mm X 30mm (0.15” X 1.18”), where a standard 8.5” X 11” sheet of paper is cut into about 399 particles. Micro cut shredders cut 2mm X 15mm (0.08” X 0.59”) shreds, cutting a standard paper sheet into about 3,000 particles. Cross cut shredders are considered to be medium security (Level P-3 security) shredders, and micro cut shredders are considered to be medium to high security (Level P-4/P-5 security) shredders. Both types are considered adequate for protection against identity theft.
Note: Most shredders that shred credit cards and/or CDs/DVDs only strip-cut these into narrow pieces. Some users have aired concern that the credit-card strips could be reassembled by a determined identity thief. Bear this in mind for the shredder you are considering using.
Can you explain the differences between some of the brands?
Fellowes is nearly a household name when it comes to paper shredders. Fellowes started distributing European shredders in the U.S. in 1982, and then introduced their own in-house designs in 1990. The company offers a variety of price ranges and features, with their premium shredders possessing fairly advanced qualities. Comet, Aurora, Swingline, and SimplyShred are two other popular brands.
I understand that you should only shred documents printed on 20 lb. paper. Is this true?
You should always consult your shredder manual to see what your shredder will actually shred. Being able to shred 12 sheets of paper per pass does not mean just any kind of paper. Most shredder manuals will tell you not to shred newsprint, continuous forms, or cardboard. Most documents will also tell you not to shred any paper with adhesives on it, to include both labels and envelopes. They will tell you not to shred business envelopes with plastic windows in them. Most manuals will tell you not to shred plastic other than credit cards or CDs/DVDs (no laminates or transparencies), and to only use the designated slots for cards and media.
The reason for not shedding envelopes/business envelopes is the adhesive on the flaps and the plastic windows of business envelopes can gum-up the cutters. This means when you get those credit card offerings in the mail, do not automatically shred the unopened piece of mail. Instead, open the offering and just shred the piece of paper containing your name and personal information on it. Throw away or recycle the rest as junk mail. Look at it this way: why fill your shredder basket up with paper that does not need to be shredded? Most of those mail offerings contain lots of loose paper that won’t give away your identity.
What about shredders that claim to shred through paperclips and staples?
It is true that many shredders can shred staples and small (but not large) paper clips. Realize, however, that the cutters on your shredder will stay sharper longer if you stick to just shredding paper according to the manual of your shredder. For the occasional paper clip or staple that slips through; if your shredder is rated for these, it should be okay.
How often should my shredder be oiled?
Paper shredders require regular lubrication, and the frequency of oiling should be based on the amount of usage. Shredders that are used more will need more lubrication. A shredder under very heavy usage will need oil about once every four hours. Normal usage may only require oiling about once a month. Most manufacturers recommend oiling the cutters for every 30 minutes of accumulative shredding. However, the easiest way to stick to a lubricating schedule is to simply oil your shredder every time you empty the waste bin.
You can lubricate your shredder by shredding specially impregnated shredder lubrication sheets purchased at your office supply store, or by squirting some shredder oil across the width of a piece of paper and running this sheet through the cutters. Feed the lubrication sheet through the shredder and then operate the machine in the reverse mode for a few seconds to disperse the oil throughout the cutting cylinders. Finally, shred a few sheets of paper to remove any excess oil. You may have to repeat his procedure a couple of times to be assured of thorough oiling.
I have a huge box of papers saved up, so my next shredder will be put to the test immediately. Will that be a good assessment of its capabilities?
Perhaps, but it is highly recommended that you read your shredder manual before you even plug your shredder in. The manual should list your new shredder’s duty-cycle, which is its recommended frequency of use. It will tell you that your shredder can be run continuously for only 5 or 10 minutes before needing a 20 to 40 minute cool down. It will also tell you the recommended daily use; i.e., the number of paper passes and the number of credit cards or CDs/DVDs that can be shredded in one day of use. If you have a backlog of shredding to do, you should bear this in mind when you first use your new shredder.
The main reason for using a recommended duty cycle is to keep your shredder from overheating. Some shredders have an overheat sensor and will shutdown automatically if this sensor is tripped.
Are there any regulations governing paper shredding?
Indirectly so. Two federal regulations cover protecting consumers from identity theft. These are the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), and 2009 refinements to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). FACTA requires that all businesses, regardless of size or industry, protect and dispose of sensitive and personal data they collect about their customers. The law doesn’t specify shredding documents as a requirement, but most businesses recognize shredding as the most cost-effective and practical option to comply with the law.
The 2009 changes to HIPPA involved passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH rule stiffens civil and criminal penalties associated with failure to protect personal medical information as required by HIPPA. Again, the law doesn’t specify shredding papers as a requirement, but most doctor’s office and medical billing agencies understand that shredding personal medical information is the most cost-effective and practical option to comply with the law.
Businesses and medical offices which do their own document destruction need to ensure that the shredders they purchase will keep them FACTA and HIPPA compliant.
DIN Standard 66399 is the European standard for paper shredder security. As of September 1, 2012, this new standard supersedes the previous standard related to the destruction of media (DIN 327251-1). The previous standard denoted six types of security levels ranging from DIN 1 to DIN 6, in order of increasing security.
Paper Shredder Security Levels
DIN 66399 outlines seven new levels of security related to paper shredders and the destruction of media. The new levels, P-1 through P-7, are outlined below.
Security Level P-1 (low security)
Security Level P-1 is acceptable for shredding general documents. Less-sophisticated strip-cut shredders provide this level of security. These shredders will normally shred a standard sheet of A4 paper (8.5” x 11”) into long strips. Shred sizes can be up to ≤12 mm wide strips of any length. This security level is useful for general information but not for personal information containing bank account numbers or passwords, etc.
Security Level P-2 (low security)
Security Level P-2 shredders provide basic protection of everyday documents such as junk mail. Level P-2 shredders still create long strip-cuts, but which are narrower in size than Level P-1. Level P-2 shredders cut a sheet of A4 paper into approximately 34 strips, with shred widths of ≤6 mm. As with Security Level P-1, this security level is for general, but not personal information.
Security Level P-3 (medium security)
Security Level P-3 is the minimum security level recommended for internal documents (i.e. e-mails, presentations). This is the minimum level of security recommended for most users. Level P-3 shredders are known as cross cut or diamond cut shredders, and will cut a sheet of A4 paper into approximately 200 particles. The shreds range in size from ≤2 mm wide strips of any length or ≤320 mm² particles of any width. Users who want to shred credit card applications and bank statements, or any documents with account or Social Security numbers, should use Level 3 shredders or higher.
Security Level P-4 (medium to high security)
Security Level P-4 shredders are known as super cross cut shredders, and are recommended for everyday documents with some personally identifiable information. Level P-4 shredders cut a sheet of A4 paper into ≤160 mm² particles with width ≤ 6 mm.
Security Level P-5 (high security)
Security Level P-5 shredders are known as micro cut shredders. Level P-5 shredders are used for sensitive documents with personally identifiable information and will cut a sheet of A4 paper into ≤30 mm² particles with width ≤ 2 mm.
Security Level P-6 (high security)
Security Level P-6 shredders are known as super micro cut shredders. Level P-6 shredders are used for confidential documents with fine print, and will cut a sheet of A4 paper into ≤10 mm² particles with width ≤ 1 mm.
Security Level P-7 (high security)
Security Level P-7 shredders are known as high security shredders. Level P-7 shredders are used for top secret or classified documents, and will cut a sheet of A4 paper into ≤5 mm² particles with width ≤ 1 mm.
When considering the purchase of a paper shredder, it may be important to note which security level you personally need, and which security level the shredder you are considering to buy provides.