Commercial shredders can refer either to heavy-duty industrial shredders intended to be purchased and used by businesses that do a lot of shredding, or to the practice of outsourcing, or sending paper and other sensitive materials out to be shredded at a commercial shredding facility, or via a mobile shredding truck such as those operated by the Shred-it company.
Commercial shredding services usually go beyond the strip cut and cross-cut (confetti) methods used in home- or office-based shredding machines. A high-end, industrial shredder will employ micro-cut or particle-cut technology at the very least, and many commercial shredders use disintegrator, hammermill, and grinder methods to make short work of paper that must be destroyed.
More efficient than the two-drum or two-blade system of the cross-cut shredder, a microcut or particle-cut shredder cuts paper and other materials into tiny squares or circles. Even more secure than that is a disintegrator or granulator, which cuts paper pieces again and again in a random pattern until they can pass through a sieve or mesh screen. Another shredding method involves hammermills, which pound the paper again and again until it passes through a mesh screen. There are also grinders, which simply use a rotating shaft to pulverize the paper until it can pass through a screen.
Professional destruction services take privacy very seriously, and the best facilities will spell out not only the method by which paper is shredded, but how it is protected on the way in and out of the location.
Many top shredder companies offer a "commercial" category of shredder. For example, Fellowes promotes its Powershred shredders for multiple users, mailrooms, or anywhere high-volume shredding is done. This type of shredder typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000, and even more.