The best document shredders in the UK 2023

Also known as a paper shredder, the document shredder gets rid of excess unnecessary paperwork. Their size and performance can vary depending on price and intended use. To find the right model for your needs, we have put together this comparison of the best document shredders available on the market.

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms 1

Best value for money

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms

The best document shredder in 2021

The Fellowes Powershred 12Ms shreds paper into impossible to reconstitute pieces at 12 sheets/min. But watch out for the bin and lubricate the knives at regular intervals.

144 £ on Amazon

The Fellowes Powershred 12Ms shreds 12 sheets/min, although it starts to struggle at 8 sheets. It has the advantage of also being able to destroy staples, paper clips and other credit cards. You can use it at home but also in the office. Equipped with SafeSense technology, this document shredder has a removable 23 L tray, which corresponds to 450 A4 sheets destroyed.

The pieces of the cut sheets are particularly small, impossible to recompose. Moreover, the manufacturer has made efforts in terms of security. Indeed, the device stops when you approach the slot with your hands. In case of a jam, you just have to put it in reverse. And to top it all off, the operation is almost noiseless.

AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder 2

Best value for money

AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder

The best entry-level document shredder

AmazonBasic has always provided very good document shredders. With a shredding speed of 12 sheets/min, this one should be fine for home use. It can also shred cards.

50,31 £ on Amazon

AmazonBasics document shredders are not known for their shredding speed. But their affordable price makes them very interesting models. With a shredding speed of 10 to 12 sheets/min, the model we propose here does its job well for paper but also biometric cards (credit card, badge...). In addition, its small size allows you to put it anywhere at home or in the office. On the other hand, this compactness is accompanied by a small collection tray.

The real advantage of this inexpensive device is the low probability of jams. The only time you'll have one is when the bin is filled to the brim. To prolong the life of the unit, it's best to let it rest between shredding runs. Too bad there's no handle to lift it more easily.

Rexel Mercury RSX1834 3

A great choice

Rexel Mercury RSX1834

A great value for money

The Rexel Mercury RSX1834 will do the job just fine if you have a large volume of paper to shred. And it can last for years if you take the time to maintain it. The finishes are really nice.

418 £ on Amazon

Given the risks involved, it is always a delicate matter to dispose of documents, both business and personal. Ideally, they should be destroyed in a way that makes them impossible to identify. The Rexel Mercury RSX1834 shredder is a true Rolls-Royce in its category, despite its bulky body, and it shreds in a few hours what you've stored for years.

It has a secret weapon: its cross-cut shredding technique. This process allows it to process up to 18 sheets/min. In addition, the Rexel Mercury RSX1834 has a 34L capacity garbage can, so you don't have to empty it too often. Easy to use, this model even shreds CDs and biometric cards. Be aware, however, that it will make more noise than with paper.

Fellowes Automax 550C 4

Very good

Fellowes Automax 550C

A great shredder for professional use

Fellowes AutoMax shredders were the first truly hands-free automatic feeders. This 550C model is specifically designed for professionals and has a large bin.

960 £ on Boulanger

The new AutoMax 550C cross-cut shredder from Fellowes uses revolutionary AccuFeed technology. It is an improved version of the popular AutoMax 500C. With this new model, your documents will be shredded into tiny 4 x 38 mm particles in 13 minutes or less, depending on the number of sheets inserted. The shreds fall into the generous 83 L garbage can which has a mechanism to evenly distribute the shredded paper.

An anti jam system automatically stops and reverses the paper in the event of a jam, preventing shredding interruptions, while SilentShred technology ensures quiet operation of the unit. Due to the unique auto-feed technology, the AutoMax 550C only accepts standard A4 paper (up to 80 gsm). Paper with a glossy finish or thicker paper will need to be shredded via the manual feed slot.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best document shredder

Any specific needs?

The best document shredder in 2021

The best entry-level document shredder

A great value for money

A great shredder for professional use

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best document shredders

Fellowes Powershred 12Ms 5
AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder 6
Rexel Mercury RSX1834 7
Fellowes Automax 550C 8
Fellowes Powershred 12Ms
AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder
Rexel Mercury RSX1834
Fellowes Automax 550C
The Fellowes Powershred 12Ms shreds paper into impossible to reconstitute pieces at 12 sheets/min. But watch out for the bin and lubricate the knives at regular intervals.
AmazonBasic has always provided very good document shredders. With a shredding speed of 12 sheets/min, this one should be fine for home use. It can also shred cards.
The Rexel Mercury RSX1834 will do the job just fine if you have a large volume of paper to shred. And it can last for years if you take the time to maintain it. The finishes are really nice.
Fellowes AutoMax shredders were the first truly hands-free automatic feeders. This 550C model is specifically designed for professionals and has a large bin.
Shredding speed
12 sheets/min
12 sheets/min
18 sheets/min
14 sheets/min
Trash capacity
23 L
18 L
34 L
83 L
Compatible paper type
A4 (70 g/m²)
A4 (70 g/m²)
A4 (80 gsm)
A4(80 gsm)
Cut size
4 x 12 mm
5.55 x 11.11 mm
4 x 40 mm
4 x 38 mm
Operating cycle
30 min
7 min
16 min
13 min

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Buying guide - document shredder

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How to choose your document shredder

There are several types of document shredders that you can easily find. However, you need to consider the following selection criteria to know what is really right for you.
choisir destructeur de documents

#1 - Productivity

Productivity in document destruction is paramount. In general, the less time spent shredding the better, but there is a balance to be struck between acceptable time spent shredding files and budget. A good document shredder has the ability to shred up to a certain thickness of paper. For it to be properly productive, it must have a paper feed speed (i.e., 150 to 500 sheets) and a necessary emptying frequency.

#2 - The level of security

The security level of this type of machine varies depending on the types of cuts it makes. It is expressed in DIN and ranges from P1 to P7. The highest number is capable of making small piece cuts with a very high level of safety. However, cross-cutting machines are the most popular, as they provide the level of document shredding that most offices expect today. This is usually the one with P4 security level. If you need to handle confidential data, such as secret information, high security shredders are the most suitable. Their one security level are P5, P6 and P7 type.

#3 - The type of documents to be destroyed

For added reliability, be aware that a document shredder is capable of destroying other materials besides paper. Most offices have various confidential media such as CD/DVD/Blu-ray discs and credit cards. Choosing shredders that are designed to destroy these types of documents is the best solution. If you want to handle large amounts of documents at a time, make sure you buy the one with continuous running time. Also, if you plan to shred large volumes of document, it is wise to opt for the one that promises fast processing, so that you save more time.

#4 - Frequency of use

You should also base your choice on the frequency of use before buying a document shredder. This is because if you only shred a few sheets of paper a week, your needs are very different from a business that has to process hundreds of files a day. However, to simply identify what is best for you, consider the following:

  • Howoften you plan to use the shredder (could be every day or only every week).
  • The thickness and types of documents you need to destroy (paper, glossy paper, credit cards, CDs, stuffed envelopes, stapled documents, etc.).

#5 - Maintenance

Servicing or maintenance of a document shredder generally consists ofcleaning and oiling it from time to time, as well as emptying the bag regularly. Some models require very little maintenance. But the bin that is to hold the destroyed documents can have an impact on its maintenance needs. So, if you plan to handle large volumes, look for a shredder that is large enough that you don't have to empty it in the middle of each shredding session. Those with drawer trays are generally easier to empty, as they can be removed without lifting the shredder.

How does a document shredder work?

Also known as a paper shredder, a document shredder is an indispensable device for professionals. As the name suggests, it shreds documents, reducing them to particles to prevent reconstitution. With a document shredder, there are two cutting systems, which are the straight cut and the cross cut.

With the straight cut system, papers are cut into strips along their entire length to produce thin strips. These thin strips of paper generally present risks of non-reconstitution of the document. Moreover, only a small quantity of papers underwent treatment with this system.

Cross-cutting, on the other hand, results in deformed diamond-shaped pieces of paper rather than rectangular ones. In addition, the cross-cut shredder cuts each paper lengthwise and at an angle. In addition, you can adjust the size of the paper pieces according to your needs using the security level.

For example, if you want a small size, you should increase the security level.
One thing to know with this system is that you can't reconstitute the paper.
Regarding the operation of this machine, in principle, the destruction of documents is done, regardless of the system, in sets of teeth rotating with rotating knives or in different directions.

The paper shredders also have various interesting additional features such as automatic start/stop. This machine starts its work automatically once the paper is inserted thanks to the presence of a sensor that detects the presence of documents.

Automatic or manual document shredder?

Automatic document shredder

Equipped with AC motors, an auto-feed document shredder shreds and shreds papers at a continuous rate. It operates for a period of minus 8 to 15 minutes. This machine can shred a large volume of paper provided that it is allowed to cool for 5 minutes after each 10 minutes of use. For waste processing, it can have a capacity of 40 to 60 L.

Also, the automatic document shredder has a function that allows the user to select the size of the paper to be shredded. In addition, its tray gives a signal when it is full and turns it off to prevent fires. However, the automatic document shredder still has some drawbacks. It is not secure, as some models cannot be locked. In addition, there may be a paper jam, which can affect its operation.

Manual document shredder

This type of shredder has a crank that operates the shredder teeth or blades. The crank is lowered when the paper is manually fed in. Once the paper is shredded, it returns to its original position by means of a spring attached to it. This device is suitable for home paper shredding. The main advantage of this device is that it uses little energy, unlike the automatic model.

On the other hand, it emits a low noise and its cutting part is well hidden. Children can use it safely. However, one of the main disadvantages of the manual shredder is that its waste processing capacity and shredding speed are low. Indeed, the size of its waste bin is limited to 20 L. If the bin is not emptied frequently, it cannot function normally.


The choice between the two devices depends solely on your preferences, needs and expectations. The manual paper shredder is ideal for less frequent use. However, the automatic paper shredder is among the most advanced types of shredders available on the market, suitable for shredding many papers in a few minutes.

Why buy a document shredder?

For confidentiality

You often have an archive of sensitive or confidential documents sitting on your desk. A document shredder, as the name suggests, allows you to destroy them so that your colleagues cannot see them or get their hands on them. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the papers have been completely shredded and no one will be able to read them.

For its practicality

While a wastepaper basket is useful because you can just put it in a corner and throw away anything you no longer need, a document shredder is much more practical. A document shredder, however, is much more practical and saves you the trouble of emptying the small bin when it is full. A document shredder is also a good alternative for reducing the size of waste by turning it into confetti. It is also equipped with an anti jamming system to avoid any malfunction.

For its profitability

You can easily find a model that suits your needs at an affordable price. No matter which range of document shredders you choose, the cost will quickly pay for itself since everyone in the office will be using it.

For its efficiency

Having a document shredder nearby allows you to get rid of all your confidential papers instantly. And it's also an effective device for shredding other media like CDs, DVDs, cardboard, credit cards, etc. The degree of shredding depends mainly on the range of the machine. A class 3 document shredder provides more security.

For easy recycling

A document shredder is a machine that finely cuts everything you put into it. This makes recycling much easier since you can sort your documents for shredding beforehand, but the machine is also equipped with a device that separates the bits of paper from other particles.


Shred wax paper to lubricate the shredder.

If you can't lubricate your shredder, do this: run a piece of wax paper through the shredder. You can also use olive oil to get the same result.

Unplug your paper shredder after use.

Remember to

unplug your shredder after each use. Your curious and adventurous children or pets can get hurt trying to play with it.

Do not force the paper through the shredder.


you start using a paper shredder, it is important not to force the paper into the feed opening. It is recommended that you insert it gently, and the machine will begin to shred it on its own. This can limit the risk of injury and reduce wear and tear on the shredder.

Cleaning of the blades.


easiest way to remove debris is to run the machine in reverse for about 30 seconds. This should be enough to remove much of the collected particulate from the heads and improve the operation of the machine.

Running time.

Unless your shredder is specifically designed for continuous operation, you should be aware that these machines are designed to only run for a certain amount of time before they overheat. Even shredders that have continuous operation will probably need a rest period from time to time.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Fellowes Powershred 12Ms 9
Fellowes Powershred 12Ms
AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder 10
AmazonBasics 10-12 Sheet Shredder
Rexel Mercury RSX1834 11
Rexel Mercury RSX1834
Fellowes Automax 550C 12
Fellowes Automax 550C


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