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Are cheap shredders any good?

Best Buy shredders found in latest Which? tests

With identity theft on the rise, shredding your private documents is a smart move. Yet, you may feel like you’re scrimping if you go for a cheap paper shredder.

Which?’s unique testing has found you don’t have to fritter away a fortune to safely shred your documents. A Best Buy paper shredder may cost less than you imagined. But we’ve also found budget model to avoid from our latest round of shredder tests.

Read on to discover how much you should budget for a paper shredder.

Just want to see reviews of more than 40 shredder models? Then head straight to our expert paper shredder reviews.

Are cheap shredders any good?

We’ve tested a number of shredders for under £50. The best of the bunch proved to be secure, hassle-free and versatile, with a cross-cut mechanism that cuts your papers to bits. We’ve found Best Buy shredders for just £40, too, including a model with a sizable waste bin that can gobble up more than 100 A4 pages before it requires emptying.

The confetti produced by these sub-£50 shredders isn’t the smallest however – numbers and words are still visible in isolation. And although Mission: Impossible sold us a dream of top-secret documents that would self-destruct in five seconds, in reality micro-cut paper shredders are the best measure you can take to exterminate your private data.

For a super-secure shredder, you’ll need to nudge your budget closer to £80 for a micro-cut model. Some home office micro-cut shredders cost as much as £200, though we’ve found dependable ones for far less. Check out our micro-cut paper shredder reviews for more details.

Shredders to avoid

The last thing you want is a shredder that leaves your documents recoverable. That’s why we don’t recommend strip-cut shredders (sometimes branded ‘ribbon-cut’).

We’re not convinced that the A4-length strips they produce – usually around 6mm wide – offer you enough protection from scammers. We’re not saying that reassembling these ribbons is a rapid task, but even so, a perseverant pilferer could potentially piece together your personal paperwork. A cross-cut or micro-cut machine is a far safer bet.

Strip-cut shredders tend to be much cheaper – we’ve seen them sold for as little as £15. But only an extra fiver will get you the cheapest cross-cut paper shredders we’ve tested.

Just tested paper shredders

All of the paper shredders from our recent tests cost £50 or less. Click on the links below to see what we thought of them:

Fellowes Powershred DS-700C – £50
Q-Connect Q6STRIP – £20
Texet CC612N – £19
Texet 10 Ltr Strip Cut – £20
WHSmith Heavy Duty 21 Litre – £50

Prices correct on 3 February 2017

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