Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of office door

Leitz Paper Shredder Buying Guide

Now more than ever the paper shredder is an essential partner of any office, home office or workplace.

As both the world we live in and the way we work evolves, the volume of personal data available is only set to increase. Inevitably this impacts the opportunity for theft, security breaches and malfeasance.

Many people assume that security regulations such as the GDPR only relate to electronic data, but this is simply not the case. With both online and offline regulations tightening, a paper based security solution needs consideration. The safest and most practical choice is a paper shredder, as this gives visual confirmation that documents truly are destroyed by trusted employees.

Whether you are working from home, an office worker business or consumer, buying a shredder should therefore be considered part and parcel of protecting your privacy and good data governance.

There are a huge array of shredders to choose from. They are available in different sizes, with different features, and offer different levels of security depending on how they cut and destroy documents.

Our Paper shredder Buying Guide provides everything you need to know about shredders and will help you make the best choice to ensure you’re protected against any identity theft, fraudulent activity and human error, because at Leitz we know there is no price on peace of mind.

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What shredder is best for me?

Which shredder is right for you depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Where you will use the shredder, whether at home, in a small office, or a larger workplace environment
  • The style of shredder e.g. Automatic for bulk shredding or manual when feeding single sheets or smaller batches
  • The type of documents/materials you want to shred
  • The sensitivity of the information they contain and the level of security you want
  • The volume of material you want to shred
  • The frequency with which you will use the shredder, including how many people will use it.
  • The run time and cool down periods. These determine how long a shredder can run uninterrupted - an often overlooked but important productivity factor which can often be a source of frustration if not considered when selecting a shredder.

In this buying guide, we cover all of this and more, helping you to make a fully informed choice about your next shredder purchase.

Why do I need a shredder?

Ever wonder what to do with unwanted paperwork at home or in the office? Before turning to the waste paper or recycling bin, you need to think twice.

During the last couple of years on average one in five EU citizens experienced identity theft¹. We might think of identity theft as something that happens when someone’s personal details are stolen online. But all it takes is a name, an address and a date of birth picked up from a stray piece of paperwork, and criminals can clone a person’s identity and start using it for illegal purposes.

Even worse, with the financial details contained on a bank statement, a payment receipt or a poorly cut up old debit or credit card, someone who knows what they are doing could steal directly from you.

Businesses should exercise the same caution before they throw away old documents. Does any of the paperwork contain private information about customers or employees?  If so, then it is covered by GDPR regulations on privacy and data protection.

Simply throwing away documents containing personal information could constitute a data breach, whether it finds its way into the wrong hands or not.

Again, be wary of the assumption that the GDPR applies to digital data protection only - it doesn’t. Under the terms of the GDPR, a personal data breach “can be broadly defined as a security incident that has affected the confidentiality, integrity or availability of personal data” (our emphasis). Where the personal data comes from does not matter, only that its confidentiality or integrity is affected by becoming available by one means of another.

These are the main reasons why you should consider the disposal of old documents a data security issue. By shredding paperwork, you render the information they contain unreadable.

A shredder therefore provides an effective front-line defence against identity theft and fraud. It also helps your business remain GDPR compliant, avoiding the potentially heavy fines and reputational damage that could arise from a data breach.

Types of documents you should shred

Personal Use

Business use

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Utility bills
  • Phone bills
  • Insurance policies
  • Copies of utility or subscription contracts
  • Receipts
  • Pay slips
  • Tax returns
  • Old credit and debit cards
  • Old photo ID documents
  • Old MOT certificates
  • Any documents containing your signature
  • Any letters containing sensitive information such as your name, address, date of birth, phone number or email.

HR & Empoyment records

  • Employee contracts
  • Salary & pension records
  • Medical records


  • Invoices & remittances
  • Tax records
  • Balance sheets
  • Bank statements and other company financial records


  • Copies of contracts
  • Expired compliance policies, audits and inspection reports (e.g. health and safety)

Sales & Marketing

  • Customer records
  • Mailing lists
  • Sales forecasts
  • R&D documentation



Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk

Home Shredders

Compact and modern Paper Shredders, desinged to be placed in every room and neatly under every desk.

Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of Office Door

Small Office

Intelligent & Quiet - our small office paper shredders quietly protect your data without disturbing your day.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Large Office

Efficient and time-saving heavy duty shredders for high volumes in large office locations.

How do I choose a good paper shredder?

There is a lot to consider when shopping for a shredder for your home or business. Choosing the right model is a matter of matching your requirements and budget to the features each model offers.

Let’s start with what you need. We can break this down into two key categories - the type of location you are buying a shredder for and the level of security.

Where will you use your shredder?

Where a shredder is used serves as a useful shorthand for a number of important considerations that will influence your buying decision.

In fact, manufacturers often design shredders with particular locations in mind, so you will often find them marketed as personal or home shredders, as large office shredders and so on.

The location of your shredder leads on to answering other questions about usage and operational requirements, such as:

  • How many people will use the shredder?
  • How often will it be used?
  • How much material will it need to handle per hour/day/week etc?
  • How much space do you have for a shredder?
  • How much noise is acceptable during operation?
  • What do you need to make use of the shredder as efficient and hassle-free as possible?

Here are four common shredder use case examples, and the key things to consider when buying for each.

Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk, shredding a piece of paper

Home Office

Whether you are looking for a shredder for personal use, for your home business or for while you are working remotely, at home you are not likely to need to shred your way through piles of paperwork on a daily basis. Plus, if it is only you using the shredder, it is sure to get plenty of rest.

For these reasons, factors like size, cost and ease of use are more important when choosing a home paper shredder. Rather than capacity or whether the machine can be used continuously. You may also be able to settle on a lower level of security, which is determined by cut type and size (as we will explore below).

Key features to look out for:

  • Compact design
  • Low cost
  • Simple controls
  • Low maintenance
  • Quiet operation (so you don't disturb everyone else at home)

Small Office

In a small office or department where several people share the same shredder, your machine will get used more regularly. Durability and the ability to operate for longer periods therefore become more of a factor in the model you choose.

To speed up the process so you don’t end up with people queuing to use your shredder, you want a model that can handle a higher number of sheets. This is especially useful for shredding large documents and booklets without having to take them apart sheet by sheet.

You’ll also need a shredder that can handle materials other than paper, that will make sure that increased numbers of staples and paperclips don’t cause a problem.

Key features to look out for:

  • Longer runtime
  • Higher manual feed sheet capacity or basic auto feed capability
  • Alerts/indicators for when the bin needs emptying
  • Anti-jam technology
  • GDPR-compliant security level

Large Office

In larger offices, you have a choice between buying multiple ‘small office’ shredders and sharing them out between groups or teams, or opting for a few larger shredder that everyone can use. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that price can also be a factor.  The latter option could be more economical (or expensive, based on the size of business).

Ultimately you have to make sure you pick a model which meets the demands.

The more people that use a single shredder, the likelihood is that it will be in use more often and shredding larger volumes of paper. A bigger bin capacity so the unit doesn’t have to be emptied too often will help with efficiency, as will extra feed capacity and auto-feed capability - so people can leave their unwanted documents in the feed tray and get back to work.

Also, remember to check how long a model can run before it needs a ‘cooldown’ rest period. If you have a steady stream of people wanting to use a shredder, having to switch it off to preserve the motor could cause irritation and a backlog.

Key features to look out for:

  • Large bin capacity
  • Long runtime
  • Auto feed with higher sheet capacity
  • Anti-jam, bin full and overheat alerts
  • Digital touch panel
  • A higher GDPR-compliant security level

Print & Copy Room

If your business or organisation has a dedicated print and copy room, this is a natural place to locate a shredder.

For larger workplaces, collecting all unwanted and used paperwork to dispose of it in one place is an efficient option. It also helps with data governance, as you can make sure all documentation containing potentially sensitive data is handled consistently.

But to achieve this, you need a heavy duty machine capable of shredding material on an industrial scale. In these environments, you should pick a large shredder offering high bin capacity, maximum run time and automatic feed.


When shredding at high volume, automatic anti-jam technology can also make a big difference to speed and efficiency, as the machine will in most cases resolve blockages itself and carry on without attention or interruption.

Key features to look out for:

  • Maximum bin capacity
  • Maximum runtime
  • Auto feed with maximum sheet capacity
  • Automatic anti-jam
  • Digital touch panel
  • Robust build and long-term durability
  • Advanced security level (for handling legally sensitive and classified documents)
Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk

Home Shredders

Compact and modern Paper Shredders, desinged to be placed in every room and neatly under every desk.

Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of Office Door

Small Office

Intelligent & Quiet - our small office paper shredders quietly protect your data without disturbing your day.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Large Office

Efficient and time-saving heavy duty shredders for high volumes in large office locations.

What type of shredder is most secure?

Shredders are given a security rating depending on the size of the pieces they cut a document into. The smaller the pieces, the higher the security level, because there is less chance of anyone being able to piece the document back together to get sensitive data from it.

Where a shredder is used might give some indication of the security level required –traditionally there has been less of an onus on security when shredding personal papers at home, for example, than managing the disposal of confidential documents for a large corporation.

But this however is not set in stone. The level of security needed depends entirely on the type of worker you are, where you are working from, the type of documents you need to dispose of, and any relevant regulatory requirements. It is not simply the environment the shredder is being used in. Many workers today still have to deal with highly sensitive materials even when working from home.

It is therefore important to think carefully about your security needs and choose a shredder accordingly.

At Leitz, we rate all of our shredders according to the industry standard Protection Rating, otherwise known as the P-Level.

The higher the P-Level of the model, the higher the security rating. You might also see references to a ‘DIN’ rating, DIN standing for Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German standards body which has become the de facto authority for shredder security.

Here's a breakdown of the P-Levels:

P-Level Number of cut pieces (A4 sheet) Document type recommendation Example use
P-4 400

Bank statements, mail containing personal information

Personal, small business
P-5 2000 Financial documents, HR records, medical records General business, GDPR compliant
P-6 6000 Legal documents, paper containing protected financial data Law firm, bank, financial services
P-6+ 12000 Classified documents Gouvernment, military


Because of the relative ease of reassembling a strip cut sheet and reading the information it contains, strip cut shredders are generally not considered GDPR compliant and have a P-Level below four. None of the shredders in the Leitz IQ range are strip cut types.

Shredder features explained

Once you have an understanding of what you need from a shredder, you’re in a position to pick out a model that meets those requirements.

While it’s commonplace for shredders to be marketed as ‘Home Office Shredders’ or ‘Professional Office Shredders’, we would strongly recommend looking carefully at all the features on offer before you buy to make sure that model really does tick all the right boxes for you.

By choosing a shredder based on a thorough understanding of its features and their benefits, you increase the chances of buying a model that you are satisfied with and which gives you good value for money.

In this section, we will cover all the main features you should be aware of for choosing and then using your shredder successfully.

Bin capacity

The ‘bin’ of a shredder is the container which holds all the shredded pieces. Bin capacity tells you how much the bin can hold before it needs to be emptied. You will see the bin capacity given in litres, in number of sheets (i.e. how many shredded sheets of A4 paper it can take before it is full), or both.

As a general rule of thumb, the more documents you need to dispose of and the more frequently you need to use a shredder, the larger the bin capacity you should look for. This is because you will need to empty it less often, making it more efficient and convenient to operate.

Very large bin capacity means a large unit, so available space is a factor to consider. Also, be aware that a lower security rating means a bin will fill up more quickly, as larger cut pieces take up more bin space. This is worth bearing in mind for models advertised for home use, which tend to be compact in size and have a lower P-level.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Feed Type

The feed is the mouth of the shredder where documents are inserted. The type of feed available can be broken down into three sub-categories:

Load Capacity:

The load or feed capacity refers to how many sheets can be fed into the shredder at once. As a standard measure, the figure provided on a model’s specification will be based on A4 size 80gsm printer paper.

Because more sheets can be shredded at a time, a higher load capacity allows for faster shredding and is recommended for high volume requirements.

If you need to shred documents larger than A4, you may be able to fold paper to the required size. Bear in mind however, that folding the sheet will essentially impact the thickness and therefore the number of sheets being shredded. All of our IQ shredders can dispose of A3 documents folded in half, but not if the load capacity is exceeded. So when shredding folded paper always consider volume.

Feed Size

Most shredders are designed to feed A4 size paper sheets as standard. Wide entry models for A3 size are available and are worth considering if you need to shred larger documents in high volumes.

Buying a shredder with a feed designed for A3 sheets means you won’t have to fold documents to shred. With no reduction in load capacity, you can shred large documents faster.

Manual Shredder vs. Automatic

Manual paper shredders are the most common type of paper shredding machine, where paper is inserted into the shredding slot (known as the mouth) by hand.

Automatic paper shredding machines, by contrast, feature a fully automated system which lets you place a pile of papers into a feed tray and the shredder will do the rest, feeding the sheets through the shredder mouth automatically. This is a huge timesaver for users that shred in batches.

Auto feed is recommended for higher volume shredding. For example, Leitz IQ manual shredders offer load capacity between 10 and 20 sheets at a time. But Leitz IQ Auto feed shredders let you dispose of up to 600 sheets at a time.

Automatic paper shredders suit busy work routines and help people shred the way they want to shred.

Research by Deep Blue Insight, shows that 47% of people “shred as they go” – shredding a document immediately whenever the need arises – while 53% either have an area where they keep documents that need to be shredded, or have a routine about filing documents and tend to shred in batches.


Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk

Home Shredders

Compact and modern Paper Shredders, desinged to be placed in every room and neatly under every desk.

Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of Office Door

Small Office

Intelligent & Quiet - our small office paper shredders quietly protect your data without disturbing your day.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Large Office

Efficient and time-saving heavy duty shredders for high volumes in large office locations.

Cut Type

Cut type describes how a shredder cuts up a document and is a key factor in the security level of the machine. There are three main types of shredder cut.

Strip Cut

The most straightforward cut type, strip cut shredders slice material in one direction lengthways, producing long strips. An A4 sheet will typically be cut into around 40 pieces and are the least secure of shredder models.

Cross Cut

Sometimes referred to as ‘confetti’ cut, cross cut shredders cut in two directions, each strip is cut horizontally also, turning a sheet into many more pieces (typically 200 to 400) than a strip cut shredder.

Because of the small sizes of the pieces and the difficulty of reassembly, cross cut shredders are usually considered the minimum requirement for GDPR compliance. A P-4 rated shredder is most likely a cross cut shredder. This cut type is ideal for general business use as well as personal and home use.

Micro Cut

Micro cut shredders offer the highest levels of security, typically rated at P-5 or above. They shred paper into many times the number of pieces than a standard cross cut shredder. Because of the minute size of the pieces, it would be extremely difficult to reassemble a micro cut document to make it readable.

Any micro cut shredder is suitable for disposing of documents containing legally sensitive and protected information. For the ultimate in secure disposal, the highest rated micro cut shredders at level P-6 or above practically turn documents to dust, making reassembly all but impossible. You might see these referred to as super micro cut or crypto cut shredders.

Micro cut shredding is also very space efficient. The smaller the pieces you cut a document into, the more you can fit in a bin. Micro cut therefore means you can have a relatively compact unit with a high feed capacity that doesn’t fill up too quickly.

Run Time

The run time of a shredder refers to the amount of time it can be used non-stop without a break. This is basically a measure of the resilience of the motor - push a shredder beyond its run time and you risk permanent damage. As a failover precaution, most modern shredders will automatically shut down once the run time is reached.

Along with run time, shredders also have a cool down time, which is the amount of time they have to be left after their run time limit is reached before they can be used again. This is again to prevent the motor from over-heating.

On budget shredders intended for personal use only, you might find a shredder has only a very short run time. This is fine as long as you only need to shred a few sheets at a time and don’t need to use it very often.

As the volume and frequency of shredding climbs higher, for example in a busy office, short run times become an issue. Nobody wants a shredder to cut out half way through a job because the run time limit is reached, or be held up waiting for it to cool down.

Leitz IQ shredders offer generous run times, increasing with our larger capacity models up to a maximum of 240 minutes continuous use. Just as importantly, all our shredders feature indicator lights which tell you when they have reached their run time limit and they are ready for use again.

Safety Features

Owning a shredder carries safety implications. Sharp cutters operating at high speed pose a considerable safety risk if not used carefully and correctly.

If using a shredder in your home, you should familiarise yourself with the manufacturer’s guidelines on safe use. If buying a shredder for the workplace, you will need to incorporate use of the shredder in your health and safety policy, and train all staff using it accordingly.

To make all of this easier, shredders come with a range of in-built safety features designed to guard against accidents. We have already mentioned a couple - Auto Start on manual paper shredders, and runtime limit shutdown / overheat protection. Here are some others to look out for:

  • Auto Stop. Shuts down the motor as soon as a jam is detected so no more material gets clogged up
  • Feed Reverse. Reverses the feed direction to unclog a jam, saving anyone having to put their hand too close.
  • Bin lock. Stops the shredder activating if the bin is not locked correctly in place.

Other important considerations when buying a document shredder


In the home or in the office, the noise from loud electric motors and grinding cutters can prove a maddening distraction - especially if your shredder is being used for long periods. We advise looking for shredders that offer ultra-quiet document shredding, especially if you intend to shred for extended periods or in a shared working environment so you can shred discreetly in the background without disturbing anybody.

Pin code lock

Documents placed in automatic shredders still pose a security risk until they are destroyed.  For additional peace of mind when leaving a stack of documents in an automatic shredder, Leitz automatic shredders feature a pin code enabled lock that you can easily set when starting to shred.  The shredder machine unlocks when the task is complete meaning only authorised personnel can use the shredder and access the bin until the job is complete.


By making it easy to move a large, high capacity shredder anywhere in an office or building, casters help to boost efficiency by allowing people to shred wherever they need.

Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk

Home Shredders

Compact and modern Paper Shredders, desinged to be placed in every room and neatly under every desk.

Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of Office Door

Small Office

Intelligent & Quiet - our small office paper shredders quietly protect your data without disturbing your day.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Large Office

Efficient and time-saving heavy duty shredders for high volumes in large office locations.

How do you maintain a shredder?

Auto oiling & oil sheets

If used properly, Leitz IQ shredders are easy to run and maintain. The biggest maintenance requirement is to keep them oiled.

Oiling a shredder prevents the cutters sticking, which can cause more jams and, eventually, motor burn out. The standard way to oil a shredder is to manually insert an oil sheet. The machine works through the oil sheet like any other material, in the process spreading the oil over its moving parts. This needs to be done roughly once a month. Regular oiling prevents paper jams, when paper gets stuck in the cutters, there is a chance that motors can overheat as they attempt to clear the jam, causing massive strain and generating a lot of heat.

Regular bin clearance

As well as regular and observing feed capacity, another tip to prevent jams is to empty the bin consistently to stop it overflowing. If a shredder bin fills past capacity, shredded paper could back up into the cutters and increase the chance of a jam.

What should I do if my shredder breaks?

For peace of mind it is important to make sure that the shredder includes a good warranty period for both the cutters and the machine itself and buy from a reputable manufacturer that you can contact directly should the need ever arise.

Leitz IQ paper shredders provide an extended warranty (when registered on site) and support via a customer service and FAQ section.  If you already own a Leitz shredder be sure to register it here.

Leitz IQ Protect Premium Paper Shredder under Home Office Desk

Home Shredders

Compact and modern Paper Shredders, desinged to be placed in every room and neatly under every desk.

Leitz IQ Autofeed Paper Shredder in front of Office Door

Small Office

Intelligent & Quiet - our small office paper shredders quietly protect your data without disturbing your day.

Leitz IQ Paper Shredder in large open plan office

Large Office

Efficient and time-saving heavy duty shredders for high volumes in large office locations.