Home VS Office Paper Shredders

Home verse office paper shredders

Whats the difference between home and office paper shredders? (Part 2)

So, I have outlined some of the recognisable features of the home shredder, now let’s consider what makes an office paper shredder

  1. AC Motors: Shredders designed for office, or professional use, should have an AC motor. These motors require no AC to DC convertor, they are more robust and therefore last longer and tend to be much, much quieter than DC motors.
  2. Sensors: Todays office shredders have embraced technology without overcomplicating things. Convenience is the result. Automatic start up and shut down is the norm on office machines, and this allows the user to simply put the paper in the slot and walk away. Another benefit of this feature is the machine won’t overheat from running too long, which can be a hazard. Other sensors which are standard on office shredders are bin full sensors, as well as door switches which safely turn the machine off when the cabinet door is opened, allowing users to safely clear the bin and machine base of paper.
  3. Duty Cycles: with the advent of thermal overload protection devices, designed to stop the machine before the motor overheats, modern office shredders have what is called a duty cycle. This means your shredder will shut itself down before the motor is in danger of overheating and becoming damaged. Any office shredder worth its salt will have a duty cycle of 8 minutes, which means it will run for that long under full load before safely shutting down. Office shredders should be able to shred at least 400 pages before this occurs, thereby allowing users to get rid of most of their shredding in one hit, rather that having to continuously stop and start. Any machine with a duty cycle of less than 5 minutes is not an office shredder.
  4. Waste Capacity: in general, office shredders will have a decent waste capacity, but even small office shredders with waste capacities of only 20 litres, will have a dedicated cabinet for the bin rather that using the bin as the machines base, like home shredders will. This means it isn’t necessary to remove the head of the shredder to empty the bin. Most will have a cabinet with a door, helping contain shredded paper within the confines of the machine, rather than on your office floor. Mid sized office shredders should have waste capacities of at least 40 litres which equates into around a ream of shredded paper.
  5. Construction: machines designed for office use will have a much more robust construction, using metal to form the ‘chassis’, rather than moulded plastics. Some brands will use full metal construction, dramatically increasing their strength resulting in much longer lifespans.
  6. Capacities/Throughputs: Anyone who has used shredders will relate to how boring it can be to stand at a machine and shred for any length of time. Office shredders are designed with this in mind, generally having decent sheet capacities of 12 sheets and up, mid range machines will start at 20 sheets. This means less jams and no need to count out the sheets before feeding the machine. This is extremely important if one is to encourage staff to use the machine. Many people have had bad experiences with small machines which jam all the time due to being underpowered. One thing to consider is the degree of security required. Higher security machines are required to do many times the work of a normal machine and therefore will have lower sheet capacities, but for general business this is not a big issue.
  7. Shred Size Options: further to the last point regarding security levels, office shredders will have a variety of options in this area. Starting from 6mm strip cut machines, often used by organisations using the shredded paper for packaging, to highly secure companies requiring Class A secure machines which turn a sheet of A4 into hundreds of particles less than a mm wide, office shredders will give you the option of finding the right machine for your needs. As technology improves, cross cut machines are much more economical than ever before, having an added benefit of reducing waste produced by as much as three quarters of what strip cut machines produce.
  8. Serviceability: Modern office shredders should be fully serviceable with a full range of spare parts available. If the manufacturer does not guarantee that, then it is not an office shredder. These machines should last at least 10 years, and I know of many that have lasted over 25 years, with the occasional need for a replacement part. Keep that in mind when next looking at one for your office.

So, in conclusion, there are many differences between an office paper shredder, and one designed for home use. When talking to a company about their machines, ask a few questions to make sure you get the right machine for the job, or you could find yourself tearing your hair out, as well as tearing up paper. 

If you missed part 1, click here to read about the difference between home and office paper shredders part 1.

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