Are Auto or Manual Feed Shredders better for your office?

To take full control of your document security, shredding using an in-house shredder is the way to go. It reduces the amount of handling your documents will go through before being destroyed. So the question becomes is an auto feed or manual feed shredder best for your office?

With auto feed shredders having been around for a while now, they are increasingly capable of high security and the following:

  1. Secure P-4 cross-cut and higher security P-5 micro-cut models available
  2. Lock unshredded paper from unauthorised access with a PIN
  3. Automate shredding to save time
  4. Minimise shredded waste volumes with higher security micro-cut models
  5. Recycle of the device itself at end of life

Time comparison to shred paper manually vs automatically

In our example, each user is shredding 600 sheets. One using a manual feed shredder and the other using an auto feed shredder. Overall, manually feeding the sheets took 222 seconds of the person's time. Auto feeding took just 15 seconds of the person's time to finish. Them manual feed user was shredding the 600x sheets in lots of 16 sheets at a time whereas the auto feed user shredded the 600 sheet pile in one go.

An important aspect to consider is the time it takes to do the actual shredding. Auto feed shredding is typically slower and you save the time by not having to stand there. So if you have a large volume of paper to be shredded in a short space of time, consider the shredding speed differences.

Things to consider with auto feed shredders

Security
It's important to protect your unshredded documents after placing them in your shredder. Many auto feed paper shredders have a lock with a PIN to protect your unshredded documents. The shredder will then unlock itself once the shredding is completed. If security is of concern, be sure to look for a shredder with this feature.

Paper Size
Auto feed shredders are generally designed for A4 sized paper and many will not be able to automatically shred smaller paper such as A5. Most auto feed shredders include a manual feed option so you can still shred smaller paper, albeit manually.

Paper Stock
Thick paper stocks can also present a problem in auto feed shredders. Thick or rigid paper can prevent paper being fed. Consider this if you are needing to shred thicker paper.

Stapled Documents
An auto feed shredders ability to shred stapled documents varies from model to model. Many do, but be sure to check the specs when purchasing to make sure.

Noise
When choosing an office shredder, noise is important. Especially if the shredder will be positioned close to desks. Generally, auto feed shredders have a design which makes them quiet to use when the lid is closed. Look for statements like "Library Quiet" to ensure you are buying a machine that will be quiet enough for your office.

Duty Cycle
A duty cycle is how long the shredder can be run for at a time. Most auto feed shredders will have a duty cycle long enough for general daily shredding. Check this when purchasing if you think you will need to use your shredder for extended periods of time.

CDs & Credit Cards
Many auto feed shredders will be able to shred CDs & credit cards via a manual feed entry. Check the specs when purchasing to be sure.

Shredder Bin
You can reduce waste volume by selecting a shredder with a higher security cut type. Micro-cut shredders will reduce waste to less than half of that compared to a cross-cut shredder. If waste capacity is important, look for a shredder with a waste sweeper. This will sweep the shredder paper to ensure the bin is filled up evenly and to full capacity.

cross cut vs micro cutpaper being shreddedshredded paper