The Difference Between Strip Cut and Cross Cut Paper Shredders

The Difference Between Strip Cut and Cross Cut Paper Shredders

Difference Between Strip and Cross Cut Paper Shredders

You might not think much of different shredders, they just cut up paper, right? Well you should know the difference between strip and cross cut paper shredders.

Keyword(s): cross cut paper shredder


In our previous posts, we talked about why you need a shredder and the costs of not having one, especially if you have customers who entrust you with their vital information. 

We also touched a bit on the different types of cut a shredder makes: strip cut, cross cut, and micro cut.

In this post, we'll go into detail about the differences between a strip cut paper shredder and a cross cut paper shredder so you can decide which one best fits your needs.

Need for Speed: Strip Cut Paper Shredder

Generally, if you want to shred something fast, you'll go for a strip cut device.

Strip cut paper shredders cut a standard letter size paper into about 40 to 50 strips. This is recommended if you're not shredding high-level security documents.


Strip cut paper shredders are just a step above tearing something up and throwing it in the trash. In terms of security, they offer the lowest level, which is why they're not as expensive as the other types of shredders. If you think about it from an identity thief's perspective, documents shredded by a strip cut device are easier to put back together since you have larger pieces to work with.  

As for disposal and maintenance, you'll probably change a strip cut shredder bag more often than you would a cross cut paper shredder bag. On the upside, you don't need to oil your strip cut machine as much as you would a cross cut one because, in a sense, they cut less than the latter. Of course, you should still check your machine's instruction manual for information on how often it should be oiled.

Recommended by Experts: Cross Cut Paper Shredder

A basic cross cut paper shredder cuts a standard-size piece of paper into over 200 little pieces. They're called cross cut shredders because they cut up paper into pieces using a crossing pattern. Security-wise, cross cut machines offer a higher level of security than the strip-cut variety. 

Let's go back to our hypothetical identity thief scenario. Say your company handles documents with sensitive information such as bank account and credit card numbers. An identity thief will have a difficult time piecing together documents shredded using a cross cut paper shredder simply because the pieces are too small to work with. 

This bad guy will need a large dedicated team with lots of space and years to work to reassemble those shredded documents. We're talking about a total of 1.2 billion possible two-piece matches for a 30-page document that has been shredded to more than 12,000 pieces. No babying identity thieves here.

When it comes to security, a cross cut shredder is your best bet. 

Pro tip: Get an NSA-approved shredder if you work with highly confidential and/or proprietary information. 

Some Tips on Choosing a Paper Shredder

True, price is going to be a factor for any company when choosing a paper shredder. Whether your choose a strip cut or a cross cut paper shredder, you can find affordable options everywhere. But it shouldn't be your only concern. 

You also have to consider:

  • Shred speed. If you're working with a large volume of documents to shred, it's going to be time consuming if you buy a machine with a low shred speed. The shredder you use at home is not going to cut it if you have a large office and need to shred a lot of paper. You want one with a heavy duty machine with a very high shredding speed.
  • Power. You don't want to invest in a shredder that doesn't have enough power to meet your business's daily needs. You need to know how many people will use the shredder and how often they will do it. Consider an industrial shredder if you've got a large team who needs to use a shredder frequently.
  • Shred capacity. Shredders aren't created equal. Some can handle many sheets at once, while others can only take on a few sheets at a time. You also need to consider a shredder's run cycle. If you shred in bulk, of course you need a shredder that can run for a longer period of time. 
  • Anti-jam. Who loves paper jam? Not us, that's for sure. If you want to shred a lot of paper, a machine with anti-jam technology is a worthy investment. There are even shredders that don't just cut paper. These machines are powerful enough to shred CDs, DVDs, and USB sticks
  • Warranty. Longer warranties are better. In case your machine breaks down before its warranty expires, the company will cover the costs of the mechanical part that has become faulty. If you got your shredder from a large retail chain, make sure you ask about the warranty that comes with your machine.
  • Energy consumption. Getting an expensive shredder that doesn't have energy saving features will cost you even more money in utility expenses. It's always a good idea to buy a shredder that maximizes energy savings whether you are using it or not.
  • Safety features. Some shredders have sensors that have an automatic shutoff feature if fingers get too close to the opening or the blades. Make these safety features a priority when choosing a shredder to avoid nasty accidents whether at home or at work.
  • Noise level. A shredder that works efficiently but quietly? Yes, you certainly have that option. This is ideal if you have neighbors or co-workers who are sensitive to noises. Ask your supplier to test the machine so you'll know if it delivers an acceptable level of noise. 

In the Market for a Cross Cut Paper Shredder?

Check out our bestsellers. We also have several items on sale. If you need more information, you can fill out our short online contact form and we'll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible. 

Or you can sign up for our newsletter so you'll be the first to know about our latest offers. Sign up today or give us a call at 800-243-9226 and talk to one of our agents.