Best Cheap Shredders
LucasSG83/istockphoto
Best Cheap Shredders
LucasSG83/istockphoto

SHRED IT AND FORGET IT

The seemingly never-ending flow of news about data breaches has prompted many consumers to change passwords and take other steps to protect their digital identities. But it’s worth remembering how much personal information resides in hard copy. A high-quality paper shredder is a convenient way to dispose of it safely. Cheapism.com researched the offerings and scrutinized online reviews to pick the best paper shredders under $75, plus several bonus products to consider.

Prices and availability subject to change.

Insignia NS-PS10CC
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

INSIGNIA NS-PS10CC


Good Cross-Cut Paper Shredder Under $50
Price: $35 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Chews up paper clips, staples, and CDs/DVDs in addition to paper.
- Large 5.3-gallon wastebasket with a window to show when it’s getting full.
- Handle for lifting the motor head off the bin.
- Wide 9.1-inch feed slot.
- Performs consistently and meets the expectations of most home users.
- 4.5 out of 5 stars from nearly 2,000 reviewers on BestBuy.com.

Cons:
- Cannot shred credit cards.
- Dull-looking design compared with others in its class.
- No specification for run time, prompting surprise among some users when it begins overheating after several minutes.
- Relatively long 50-minute cool-down period before the shredder can be used again.

Takeaway: Users like the low-cost efficiency of the Insignia NS-PS10CC from Best Buy, although some caution that this 10-sheet cross-cut shredder is at its best with a maximum of five sheets. This model shreds paper into 1/5 x 1 1/3-inch bits and, unlike most others tagged with a budget price, it can handle paper clips -- a time saver when cleaning out files.

Bonsaii DocShred C156-D
Courtesy of amazon.com

BONSAII DOCSHRED C156-D


Good Cross-Cut Paper Shredder Under $75
Price: $57 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Takes up to 12 sheets and shreds lighter loads with ease, users report.
- Many reviews say it’s suitable for a home office.
- Accepts credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CDs/DVDs.
- Larger-than-average bin (5.5 gallons) with a window.
- Compact footprint.
- Overheating protection.
- 4 out of 5 stars from more than 2,500 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- A bit pokey, some reviews say.
- May choke at loads short of the maximum 12-sheet capacity.
- Scattered reports of jams and malfunctions.

Takeaway: Users consider the Bonsaii DocShred C156-D cross-cut shredder a fair price for what you get. Its ability to chew up disks, paper, and related disposables, along with the large wastebasket, earn it a favored spot in many home offices. Although some reviews say it’s underpowered, most are well pleased with the performance when not pushed to the limit.

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder
Courtesy of amazon.com

AMAZONBASICS 8-SHEET CROSS-CUT SHREDDER


Best Cross-Cut Paper Shredder Under $50
Price: $35 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Strong performer for home use, according to expert and user reviews.
- Shreds credit cards, staples, and small paper clips.
- Window lets users see when it’s time to empty the 4.1-gallon wastebasket.
- LED overheat indicator light.
- Lifting handle on motor head.
- 4.3 out of 5 stars from more than 2,500 reviewers on Amazon.
- “Best Bang for the Buck” in BestReviews testing.

Cons:
- Some users consider the motor head too heavy to lift comfortably, even with the handle.
- Does not accept CDs/DVDs.
- Short strips measuring 3/16 x 1 27/32 inches might not be secure enough for some users.

Takeaway: The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder is a top value buy. Many reviewers say it cuts the maximum eight sheets of paper without strain. Scattered reports of jams and early demise, common in this price range, attach to this shredder, as well. But many more reviews praise the build quality, reliability, and power.

Fellowes Powershred W11C
Courtesy of amazon.com

FELLOWES POWERSHRED W11C


Best Cross-Cut Paper Shredder Under $75
Price: $68 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Plenty of power quickly cuts through thick paper and multiple sheets, users say.
- Shredded particles measure 5/32 x 1 3/8 inches for good security.
- Long 5-minute run time and short 20-minute cool-down period.
- Patented safety lock disables the shredder.
- Unusually long 3-year warranty on the cutter (1 year on the entire machine).
- Shreds credit cards and staples.
- 4 out of 5 stars from more than 3,000 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- Does not accept CDs/DVDs or paper clips.
- No window on the 4.75-gallon bin.
- Feed slot near the back of the unit may discourage storage under a desk.

Takeaway: This Fellowes shredder is beefy enough for home or small office use and carries on like a champ, users say. A strong brand following only solidifies praise for this 11-sheet cross-cut model. A tiny minority balk at the windowless wastebasket design and the position of the feed slot, and a few report jams and malfunctions. In general, though, reviewers extol its durability, safety lock, and seemingly effortless performance.

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder
Courtesy of amazon.com

AMAZONBASICS 8-SHEET MICRO-CUT SHREDDER


Good Micro-Cut Paper Shredder Under $75
Price: $60 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Performs as advertised, most reviewers say.
- Shreds credit cards and CDs/DVDs.
- Automatic shut-off if the unit begins to overheat.
- Pull-out 3-gallon receptacle with a window.
- Comparatively quiet for this price class.
- Wheels for portability.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars from nearly 3,000 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- Some users report problems with auto-on, saying the unit continues to run when not in use unless switched off manually (frequent cleaning of the sensor may mitigate this issue).
- Relatively short 2-minute run time and long 40-minute cool-down period.
- Some reviewers grouse about flimsy build quality.

Takeaway: The AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder provides the high level of security many home users seek, chopping paper into teeny particles measuring 5/32 x 15/32 inches. (A separate slot for CDs/DVDs shreds with a straight cut.) Users appreciate convenience features such as the wheels and pull-out basket and say shredding proceeds quickly and relatively quietly.

Insignia NS-PS10MC
Courtesy of bestbuy.com

INSIGNIA NS-PS10MC


Best Micro-Cut Paper Shredder Under $75
Price: $70 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Impressive all-around performance, reviewers say.
- Minces up to 10 sheets of paper into tiny 1/10 x 2/5-inch pieces.
- Accepts staples, credit cards, and CDs/DVDs (the latter in a separate slot).
- Pull-out 4.5-gallon receptacle with window makes for easy disposal.
- Wheels for portability.
- Indicator lights for power, overload, and overheat.
- 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 1,100 reviewers on BestBuy.com.

Cons:
- Information on run time and cool-down period appears only in fine print, prompting surprise among some users when the unit begins overheating after several minutes.
- Long cool-down time of 50 minutes before the shredder can be used again.
- May balk when presented with more than several sheets, some users report.

Takeaway: Best Buy’s Insignia NS-PS10MC is the shredder for frugal consumers seeking a very high level of security for documents and media meant for disposal. Despite some grousing about a less-than-advertised capacity and run time, this is one of few micro-cut models in the budget zone.

Bonsaii DocShred C560-D
Courtesy of amazon.com

BONSAII DOCSHRED C560-D


Bonus: Cheaper Micro-Cut Shredder
Price: $34 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Very low price for a micro-cut shredder.
- Thermal overload protection.
- 4-gallon wastebasket with a window.
- 4 out of 5 stars from more than 2,500 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- Relatively short 2-minute run time and long 40-minute cool-down time.
- Maximum 6-sheet intake.
- Not suitable for credit cards or CDs/DVDs.

Takeaway: Even cheaper than some cross-cut shredders, the Bonsaii DocShred C560-D has limited functionality but might appeal to budget-minded users determined to mince documents with personal data into the tiniest of pieces. Like other inexpensive entry-level shredders, it receives its share of reviews about jams and overloads and is best for occasional use.

AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder
Courtesy of amazon.com

AMAZONBASICS 12-SHEET MICRO-CUT SHREDDER


Bonus: Good Higher-Capacity Micro-Cut Shredder
Price: $100 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Sufficient bite for office and heavy-duty home use, reviews say.
- Longest run time of any model we researched, at 8 minutes, with a 45-minute cool-down period.
- Large 6.7-gallon pull-out bin with a window.
- Accepts credit cards and CDs/DVDs.
- Wheels for portability.
- 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 3,500 reviewers on Amazon.
- TechGearLab Editors’ Choice.

Cons:
- Some griping about shreds spilling out when opening bin drawer.
- Scattered reports of jams, malfunctions, and early product failure.

Takeaway: Users sing the praises of this mid-priced micro-cut shredder from Amazon. It’s tough enough that some businesses have replaced professional shredding services, and plenty of reviews say it hits the 12-sheet mark with ease (there are claims to the contrary, however). Overall, it scores for power, quiet performance, and ease of use.

Staples Mailmate M7
Courtesy of amazon.com

STAPLES MAILMATE M7


Bonus: Tabletop Cross-Cut Shredder for a Home/Small Office
Price: $93 | Buy it from Staples

Pros:
- Exceeds users’ expectations, shredding thick envelopes and up to 12 sheets without strain.
- Comparatively long 5-minute run time, with 30-minute cool-down period.
- Table/desktop size is convenient for seniors.
- Quieter than other budget models.
- Thermal overload protection.
- Auto-reverse to help clear paper jams.
- 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 1,600 reviewers on the Staples site.

Cons:
- Some users consider the 1.62-gallon bin too small.
- Scattered reports of defective units or limited longevity.

Takeaway: The usual complaints about malfunctioning units aside, the Staples Mailmate M7 wins fans for its compact size, user-friendly pull-out receptacle, and functionality. Many reviews extol its suitability for home and small offices. Its price exceeds the Cheapism ceiling, but for shoppers needing tabletop convenience, this model is hard to pass up.

Fellowes Powershred 125Ci
Courtesy of amazon.com

FELLOWES POWERSHRED 125CI


Bonus: Heavy-Duty Shredder for Small Business
Price: $400 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Shreds like a beast, reviews say; very fast and relatively quiet.
- Continuous run time of about 45 minutes is good for large jobs.
- Anti-jam system refuses overly thick stacks and reverses when necessary to release blockages.
- SafeSense feature automatically disables the cutter when a hand touches the opening.
- Accepts credit cards, staples, paper clips, and CDs/DVDs.
- 14-gallon pull-out bin.
- LED “full” indicator light.
- Slim, compact footprint and wheels for portability.
- 2-year warranty.

Cons:
- Bin may need jostling to distribute 5/32 x 1 1/2-inch shreds evenly.
- May balk at stacks shorter than the maximum 20 sheets.
- Scattered reports of jams and assorted malfunctions.

Takeaway: The Fellowes Powershred 125Ci is a modestly priced commercial-grade cross-cut shredder, well suited to small businesses and midsize offices. Aside from some disgruntled reviews citing underwhelming performance, this 20-sheet model earns high praise from users for power, reliability, and efficiency: It keeps on going without slowing down or heating up.