Why does one company’s shredder for shredding papers, credit cards, or CDs last a maximum of one year, while another company’s shredder lasts more than ten years? Is it just a matter of following the rules of operation? In this article, we will share our years of experience in shredder maintenance and uncover the secrets of extending the life of an expensive device.
A shredder’s long lifespan depends on following the rules in the user manual. But unfortunately, users do not read the instructions and do not know even the basic rules of using the shredder. And this leads to frequent jams, overloads, and shredder breakdowns.
We have compiled the most effective shredder operation rules, significantly increasing the device’s service life.
1. Lubricate the cutting blades regularly
Most of the time, users forget to lubricate the blades. If you don’t do it in time, the shredding speed decreases, extraneous noise appears, and the possibility of paper jams increases. Only crosscut shredders need regular lubrication, and shredders with longitudinal cutting into strips may not be lubricated.
Lubricating the cutting blades is simple: apply oil in a wave-like motion to an A4 sheet of paper and shred it usually. Use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. Manufacturers recommend lubricating the shredder after emptying the garbage can, but at least once a month.
2. Do not shred more sheets than stated in the specifications
As practice shows, users do not look at the specifications and try to shred as many documents as they can fit into the shredder’s receiving slot. It is a direct way to jam, overheat, and increase wear and tear on the knives and gears in the drive. In this case, the maximum load of the shredder does not guarantee full performance at all. Instead, on the contrary, the shredding speed of a large pile of papers will be slower.
You can achieve maximum shredding speed and optimal shredding performance when approximately 70-80% of the maximum shredding capacity is destroyed. If the shredder can take ten sheets, you can shred a large pile of paper faster if you shred 7-8 sheets (70-80% of the maximum) in 1 go. In this case, the shredding speed will be maximum, and the load on the blades, drive, and motor will be optimal.
3. Shredding stapled documents
The most affordable shredder models have functionality for shredding paper only. Destroying sheets stapled with paperclips or staples, in this case, may cause the machine to break down.
How do you know what you can shred in a shredder without a manual? Just pay attention to the pictures on the shredder. Usually, there are recommendations about what you can destroy in the shredder and what you can’t.
Do not shred documents in files, laminated sheets, cardboard, or documents with glued labels or containing an adhesive layer. These materials quickly clog the shredder blades and are not always easy to clean. And, of course, the total number of stapled sheets should not be more than in the device’s specifications.
4. Shredding plastic cards or CDs
Many office shredders have an option to destroy cards or disks. But this option does not mean that the shredders can shred cards and disks in large quantities. You should alternate shredding cards, discs, and paper documents for a stable operation. The optimal number of cards and disks should not exceed 5-10% of the volume of paper documents. For example, if the shredder can shred 500 sheets per day, the number of CDs and cards should not exceed 25-50 pcs, even if it has a separate cutting unit for them.
If you need to shred cards and disks in considerable volumes, buying a shredder designed initially for shredding plastic is better. To choose a suitable shredder, we recommend checking our list of the best shredders.
And perhaps one of the most critical points: always buy a shredder based on the volume of documents you need to destroy or the number of employees in your office. The rule of thumb is simple: large document volumes require large shredders. Even small personal shredders are likely to shred entire archives, but the wear and tear on all equipment components will be dozens of times higher.
The proud owner and lead writer of OFFICE-EQUIP.COM
Office equipment seller since 2011. Started writing in 2018 and sharing his experience and knowledge with love and respect.