Is Using a Strip-Cut Shredder Actually Cheaper?

The Cost of Shredding Services vs Doing it Yourself

When shredding your private documents, it’s imperative that you choose the proper method for your needs.

The two main shredding methods widely known to consumers are strip-cut and cross-cut shredding (which create different shred sizes according to their name).

A large factor in any decision is cost. When choosing how to shred your documents you will want to consider this carefully. Costs do vary depending on the shredding method you use.

A common misconception is that strip cut shredding is cheaper than cross cut shredding. Technically this can be true. However, if you plan on repeatedly shredding documents overtime or if you require the shreds to be of a small enough size to truly protect your information, strip cut shredding won’t meet your needs. Additionally, it will end up costing more.

Upfront Costs: Strip-Cut Shredding vs. Cross-Cut Shredding

If you are planning on purchasing a shredder for home or office use, you will find strip-cut shredders are cheaper upfront.

Strip-cut shredders require less energy, the blade system is less complex, and the entire process is fairly straightforward. This reduces the upfront cost of the machine.

Cross Cut Shredding vs Strip Cut ShreddingComparably, cross-cut shredders will be more expensive. They have a more intricate blade system and they require greater effort to run. However, they produce smaller, more secure shreds.

If you are purchasing your own shredder, a good way to think about the upfront cost is: machines will get more expensive the more you require of them.

For example your most basic shredder will strip-cut a only a few sheets at a time. A step up would be a strip-cut shredder that can handle 10+ sheets of paper at a time. Up another level and your machine might be able to handle staples. Another level up and your shredder will be cross-cutting your documents—creating smaller shreds for increased security.

As you move up this ladder of capabilities the price you pay for the equipment will also rise.

So while the upfront cost of a strip-cut shredder will be less than the upfront cost of a cross-cut shredder, you have to consider what you want out of your shredder.

If you are going to take the time to shred your documents yourself, you probably want to make sure your shreds are small enough to be secure. Also, make sure that your shredder can intake paper at a fast enough rate so you don’t end up spending hours feeding paper into it. This means you will probably be paying a lot more for your shredder than initial estimates.

Indirect Costs of Shredding Documents Yourself

When purchasing your own shredder (strip-cut or cross-cut) you must also consider the indirect costs of shredding your documents yourself.

Indirect costs of shredding your own documents include your time and maintenance/replacement parts.

Shredding Documents Yourself Takes Too Much TimeThe Time it Takes to Shred

Between the two shredding methods, strip-cut shredders are a little faster than cross-cut shredders. There is only one set of blades for the documents to pass through. However, if you purchase a low-end strip-cut shredder you won’t be able to pass as many sheets of paper at a time into the teeth. This will increase the overall time spent feeding papers through your shredder.

If you purchase your own cross-cut shredder the machine will work a little slower than many strip-cut shredders. You will usually be able to feed more paperwork into the teeth at a time, reducing the total amount of time it takes to shred.


If you purchase your own shredder, you will need to maintain the machine. Shredder blades require a lubricant to be applied regularly to keep the blades running smoothly. On top of the cost of purchasing this item you will have to factor in the cost of the time it takes to regularly apply the lubricant.

Shredders will also inevitably begin to break down. Whether you choose to purchase and install replacement parts or toss the shredder and replace the machine entirely, expect replacement/and or repair expenses every 3-7 years based on usage and shredder quality.

Final Costs to Shred Documents

Save Money with Document Shredding ServicesIf you plan on purchasing your own shredder, make sure you include the indirect costs of time, maintenance, and repairs or replacements.

While strip-cut machines will be cheaper upfront, cross-cut shredders are typically of higher quality and caliber, saving you time and money overtime.

To completely eliminate indirect costs of shredding your documents yourself, consider using a shredding service.

Shredding services comply with all state, federal, and industry specific security laws. You can schedule services for as often as you need, and you can choose the convenience of having the shredder come directly to your location.

With mobile shredding services you can even watch the entire shredding process yourself.

Find a Shredding Service Near You That Meets Your Needs

If you have dozens of pounds of paper to shred, a document shredding service might meet your needs better than purchasing your own shredder.

Shred Nations partners with professional document shredders throughout North America. Let us help you find a shredder in your area who can meet your needs.

Call us today at (800) 747-3365 or fill out our form for free quotes from several shredding service providers near you. We look forward to helping you keep your private information safe.