The first and the most important factor to consider in this case would be noise levels. A standard large office shredder produces noise in the range of a normal conversation of 60 decibels. On the other hand, a smaller under-the-desk paper shredder can be as quiet as 50 decibels, compared to the sound of rainfall falling on the driveway. Standard paper shredders are noise safe and fall below the danger level of 85 decibels.
85decibels is the limit that a human ear can tolerate for more than 8 hours without hearing damage. It’s also the sound of heavy traffic measured when standing on the side of a busy freeway.
CDC highly recommends it limits exposure at this level to under 4 hours. Industrial paper shredders produce noise in the range of 75-80 decibels and don’t require any hearing protection. You can even hold a normal conversation when around an industrial operation shredder.
To protect yourself and the employees from the small amount of noise and dust generated by these office machines, I would highly recommend getting a quiet paper shredder and installing it away from your work area.
How Do Quiet Paper Shredders Work?
They may look like a simple addition to any office, but their design is actually pretty complex. Even though paper shredders seem simple on the outside, plenty is going on under the hood that gives them all that cutting power and makes them noisy.
It starts with a motor that rotates an impeller – this looks like a fan blade, but it has teeth (which is how it can cut and move air). The impeller pulls air into the machine through either side vents or bottom slots. As those blades spin very fast, they create suction which pulls the pieces of paper up from the top shredding slot and into the business end of the machine, where they are first cut and then shredded.
These paper pieces move rapidly through a funnel-shaped opening, which you can see in regular paper shredders as well as of industrial-strength versions, and this is why regular paper shredders need so much room under the hood – that’s also why industrial ones occupy such a large footprint on your floor.
And as those tiny paper bits fall down into a bin or onto a conveyor belt, they hit either another spinning blade (like what happens when you put an empty soda can on top of your blender) or will drop onto another set of teeth like those on your average cheese grater.
This action smashes and grinds them until they become very fine as they drop out as paper dust or as long spaghetti-like pieces. These will fall onto a tray and then move through the rest of the machine – passing over one last blade, which chops them into even smaller bits before dropping them into a bin.
What Is the Quietest Paper Shredder?
The best quiet paper shredder is AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Shredder. This Amazon Basics creation is designed to turn paper into confetti-like pieces that are 0.2 by 1.9 inches in size.
The fact that the machine can shred up to 6 sheets at a go means that you can quickly take care of shredding and go on to complete other tasks. For papers that are stapled together, you do not need to waste time removing the staples.
The shredder takes care of all that, so you have nothing to worry about if you have a ton of paper that needs to be taken care of. It automatically shuts off after running for a few minutes. Thanks to this feature, the motor is safeguarded against overheating.
The user-friendly design is a plus, and the fact that the machine runs quietly makes it the perfect addition to your work desk or home office.
Why You Need a Quiet Paper Shredder
We live in a digital age. It’s easier to keep documents safe on a computer than it was on paper. You can store your files in “the cloud” or on hard drives, where you can protect them with passwords and encryption.
But there are still times when you need to keep some information secure by destroying it. And for that, nothing works better than a paper shredder. Here are some reasons why keeping a paper shredder around is important:
Prevent identity theft: In the modern world, thieves steal identities by going through the trash looking for personal papers with financial information on them, such as bank statements and credit card receipts.
That’s because most people don’t shred their financial documents before throwing them out. But paper shredders make it easy to keep your personal data secure. Just put the papers in the paper shredder, and you’re finished.
Business Security: Smart business owners have realized that just because they don’t have anything to hide doesn’t mean they should leave their records out for all to see.
People can look into your trash can while you’re away from your desk, or break into your office, so you might as well take precautions, so no one else has access to your confidential information without permission.
The easiest way is with a paper shredder. Whether someone’s looking through your trash or trying to steal the computer disks on which you’ve stored documents, nothing protects them better than a few strips of cut-up paper.
1. Bonsaii 14-Sheet Heavy Duty Shredder
- Quiet operation at 58 decibels
- 14 sheets shredding per pass
- 5 gallons wastebasket
- Auto start and stop features
- Manual reverse functionality
- Overloading and overheating protection
- 40 minutes runtime
As the name suggests, this Bonsaii creation is perfect if you regularly need to shred a considerable amount of paper. The shredder can run continuously for 30 minutes, making it the ideal choice for a large office. It comes with a jam-proof feature.
This machine will automatically go off when there is jamming, and the manual reverse function allows you to get rid of any paper piece stuck insider it. The pull-out wastebasket can hold up to 4.8 gallons, which can only translate into fewer emptying trips.
It is also easy to tell when the wastebasket is due for emptying by merely checking through the transparent window. The thermal protection feature prevents overheating, and the LED indicators will warn you in case of overloading so you can take appropriate action.
|Quieter than most heavy-duty paper shredders on the market||Most users have complained the shredder cannot shred up to 14 sheets at a go- only 1-3 pieces at a go|
|Easy to use|
2. Fellowes 99Ci Power shredder
- 100% Jam Proof System
- Continuous 30 Minute Shredding
- Cross-Cut P-4 Security
- SafeSense Protection
- Bin Full Indicator
- SilentShred technology ensures quiet operation
This Fellowes shredder can handle up to 18 paper sheets at once. It shreds staples, paper clips, CDS/DVDs, and credit cards making it the ideal tool for a busy office. The maximum run time is 30 minutes, and then the shredder automatically shuts off for forty minutes.
This ensures that the motor is protected, and the shredder has enough time to cool before you use it again. The pull-out basket is pretty easy to handle.
Since it is large enough, you can complete all your shredding jobs before there is a need to empty it. It helps that this shredder is 100% jam-proof.
It will power through tough materials, and the system will keep the machine running and jam-free until you are done. The SafeSense feature is designed for your safety as the shredder automatically shuts off when your hand accidentally touches the paper opening.
|Massive wastebin||Bulky and heavy|
|Capable of shredding 20 pieces at once||Not ideal for top secret documents|
|Handles plastic cards, staples, junk mail and optical discs with ease|
3. Fellowes 79Ci FEL3227901
- Security Level P-4
- Fellowes Powershred 79Ci
- Jam Proof Cross-Cut
This shredder is energy-efficient, highly effective, and safe. The shredder can handle 16 paper sheets at once, and you can also use it to shred most of your office junk.
You do not have to remove clips and staples, which means that you can move quickly and get all the shredding job done before the machine shuts off.
The Fellowes FEL3227901 normally runs for 20 minutes, and then it shuts off for 30 minutes. Given its efficiency, you will often complete all shredding tasks before this time elapses so you can move on to other tasks.
The fact that the shredder is jam-free means that you do not waste time trying to wrestle paper from it. It’s small and compact making it perfect for a small office.
|Easy to use||Heavy lid|
|Can shred paper clips, CDa, credit cards, staples, and paper||Not easy to install|
|Jam proofing feature needs improvement|
4. GoECOlife GMW120P-BLK
This GoECOlife shredder can handle 12 paper sheets at once. You can also use it to shred credit cards but ensure that you only put one credit card each time.
The shredded pieces are quite tiny and will pass the fourth level of DIN Security. Since the shredder is also carbon-neutral, you never have to worry about vampire waste.
The GoECOlife GMW120P-BLK is designed to run continually for five minutes. Please avoid exceeding this run time as the shredder may get too hot, and once it shuts off, you will have to wait for an hour before you can use it again.
With your GoECOlife, you also get a ShredCare lubricant sheet and one waste liner. In case of any issues, the support time is always reachable and ready to answer all your questions.
5. Aurora AU2280XA quiet paper shredder
The Aurora AU2280XA is a professional grade shredder that can handle up to 22 paper sheets simultaneously.
It will also cut through CD and credit cards, among other office junk. The Aurora shredder promises 30 minutes of continuous runtime.
With the auto-reverse, anti-jam feature, you do not waste any time as everything flows perfectly, and you can easily remove any paper that would cause jamming before any damage is done. The 8.5-gallon bin can take quite a load, so you don’t have to stop shredding midway to empty it.
The LED indicator lights also let you know when the machine is too hot when the bin is full, and if the door is open. This shredder runs quietly, making it ideal for a busy office. The energy efficiency feature also makes it perfect for businesses that want to minimize costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
6. GoECOlife GMW120P-BLK
The GoECOlife GMW120P-BLK is designed to handle 12 sheets of paper at a time. It is also powerful enough to cut through paper clips, credit cards, and CDS.
The shredded paper size is small enough, so you do not have to worry about confidential information getting into the wrong hands. Because the shredder is also carbon-neutral, you can rest easy knowing you are doing your part to help the environment.
The GoECOlife GMW120P-BLK is designed to work continuously for 5 minutes. Exceeding this time may result in overheating, and once the auto-shut feature is activated, you have to wait for 60 minutes for it to start again.
Do not be shocked if you find some paper debris in the cutters. This is normal, and it doesn’t, in any way, affect the way the shredder works.
7. Aurora AU870MA
Aurora AU870MA is a high-security shredder with 8-sheet capacity. It can also destroy credit cards, paper clips, and CDs, among other office debris.
The basket can handle up to 230 sheets of paper, so you can finish up your shredding task before emptying it. With 5 minutes of run time and hit paper capacity, you can do a lot before the shredders start to overheat.
The thermal protection feature ensures that the shredder automatically goes off when you exceed the run time, and it starts to overheat. There is also an overheat LED indicator that warns you when the machine gets too hot, so you can turn it off before the shut-off feature is activated.
Aurora offers a whole year limited warranty and adequate customer support in case you have any questions.
What to Consider When Buying a Quiet Paper Shredder
Shredders are used in a wide range of environments, including home offices, small enterprises, and major firms. Several types of shredders, differing in size and capacity, can suit these requirements. In this tutorial, we discuss the main characteristics of shredders to assist you in selecting the best shredder for your needs.
You will need to identify how you will use your new paper shredder. There are three types of shredders depending on the intended use. We have:
- Home paper shredding is suitable for those needing a shredder for their home office/business. They are fit for occasional shredding.
- Small office shredders are ideal for moderate shredding, while commercial shredding is often used by big companies and businesses looking to shred large amounts of credit cards and paper works.
- Industrial shredders are heavy-duty paper shredding with advanced features such as automatic sensing and LED keypads, designed to destroy sensitive documents in a way that makes it impossible to reconstruct them.
Level of Protection Needed
Three types of paper shredders are classified according to their security levels and how they shred.
- Micro-cut shredders are also known as particle-cut shredders or security-cut shredders. They cut paper diagonally from both corners, producing tiny and square particles that are nearly hard to read. One A4 sheet of micro-cut paper generates around 3,700 particles.
- Cross-cut shredders: also known as confetti-cut or diamond-cut shredders. Cross-cut shredders tear paper across two corners, resulting in scarcely readable fragments. One A4 sheet of cross-cut paper produces around 400 particles. This kind of shredding provides a moderate amount of protection.
- Strip-Cut Shredders: also known as ribbon, spaghetti, or straight-cut shredders. They cut papers into long narrow strips similar to spaghetti noddle. They produce 39 strips of paper from one A4 sheet.
You need to consider three important specifications when choosing a paper shredder. They include sheet capacity, runtime, and wastebasket capacity.
- A shredder’s sheet capacity determines the number of paper sheets that can be shredded in one pass. The bigger the sheet capacity, the higher the number of papers that can be shredded.
- The wastebasket capacity is also another determining factor when it comes to choosing a shredder. Home office = 1-10 Gallon, Small business = 10-30 Gallon Large office = 30+ Gallon.
- Runtime: also known as duty cycle, a shredder runtime indicates the minutes a shredder can run before taking a break to cool down the motor and prevent overheating. Continuous runtime is an important factor to consider when choosing a shredder, as a shorter runtime will take longer for a shredder to dispose of documents.
Additional Key Features
Do you fancy additional features? Some paper shredders have additional features that make the whole process much easier. Some of these features include:
- Jam prevention
- Manual reverse
- Overload protection
- Automatic document feeder
- Safety lockout
- Energy saving technology
- Full wastebasket indicator
This is the maximum number of sheets or papers you can put inside the shredder at a time. The capacity ranges from 3 to more than 22 sheets.A basic shredder with a 3-sheet capacity is only good for your home office.
If you want a heavy-duty piece, go for a sheet capacity of 10 sheets or more. A higher sheet capacity means that you get more done within a shorter duration. Shredders with over ten sheets capacity are also more efficient, making them perfect for busy offices that use a lot of paper.
This is the rate the shredder works through documents in a minute. With the speed rate in mind, you can calculate how much work you can do within the run time.Quicker speed is ideal if you want to do a lot of shredding at once.
There will be minimal time wasted waiting for the shredder to complete its work before you can input more papers.
Otherwise known as the duty cycle, the Run-Time stipulates the duration the shredder can be used before letting it cool off. Like most machines, shredders are prone to overheating, especially if they are overworked.
With a stipulated run time, it is easy to tell when it is time to give the machine a chance to cool off. On average, personal use shredders come with a run time of about 10 minutes.
Some varieties have a much shorter run time, while others can work continuously for about 30 minutes. Commercial shredders tend to have longer run time and shorter cool down sessions.
However, there larger shredders tend to be noisier, and they may not make a lot of sense in a small office setting. With a longer run time, you can get more work done per session. This means that you will save on time and power, among other resources.
However, ensure that you also consider the capacity. You are better off with a machine with a higher capacity and a shorter run time than one that will take fewer sheets and allow you more time for shredding.
As you can see, these additional features are added “Safety features” that protect the shredder from damages and you from incurring extra costs in repairs and parts replacement.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.