When you set out to buy a paper shredder, it can be a relatively minor purchase or a major one, simply because shredders vary so much in price, strength, and other features. While one person might be happy shelling out 50 bucks for a simple shredder for the home office, another might go for a sturdy machine that is less likely to need replacing. As prices go up (office shredders can run into the thousands of dollars), smart shopping is even more important. That's where reviews come in.
There are many places people can look to find shredder reviews, from websites and online forums to Consumer Reports to just asking friends or colleagues what model or features they'd recommend. On the web, check out office supply store websites such as Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot. Big box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target also allow customer reviews or ratings on their sites. Amazon.com is another place that you'll find hundreds of usually unbiased reviews on many product models. Be sure to look at both the high (five-star) and low reviews, as well as those in between, as what is a minus to one person may not matter in your situation. The respected tech site Cnet also has shredder reviews.
Consumer Reports, a widely respected magazine and research center that is not beholden to advertisers, reviewed shredders most recently in 2007 and recommended a Fellowes Powershred model for heavy duty users, and another Fellowes model for light-duty shredding. You could also check out newspaper reviews, which usually run in the business or consumer section. In 2005, the Seattle Times tested several models and recommended an Aurora model for light-duty shredding and a $100 Tech Solutions shredder for heavier use (yet panned a less-costly model by the same manufacturer). The more reviews you read, the better armed you will be in making your own decision.
Many people end up disappointed with their shredder, not due to flaws in the machine itself, but because they didn't buy the right shredder to suit their needs. It's important to match the requirements of your home or office with the features of a particular shredder model, or type of shredder. You don't want to buy a shredder that doesn't do everything you want, and end up frustrated by its inherent limitations. On the flip side, unless you see your business and/or shredding volume growing greatly in the near future, you don't want to buy "too much shredder" only to resent the money it cost or the space it takes up.
The best way to avoid a disappointing shredder purchase is to do your research up front. Read the articles and brand profiles on AllAboutShredders.com, and seek out other resources as well. You can visit an office superstore or local shop and view, or even test out, several shredder models. You can even rent a shredder. Take into account your space requirements, budget, and security needs. If privacy is especially important, such as in a medical or legal setting, you will probably want to opt for a cross-cut shredder or microcut shredder rather than a less-secure strip-cut shredder. Asking yourself questions like these, in conjunction with reading reviews, will make it more likely that you will choose the best shredder for your home or office.