A strip-cut shredder cuts the paper in long strips that can vary in size from 3/32″ to 1/2″, while a cross-cut shredders cuts the paper in two directions, giving you a smaller piece (5/16″ x 3″ to 1/32″ x 3/16″).

There’s several different types of shredders to choose from—and choosing the right one depends on your individual needs, including how secure you want your shredding to be, how fast you want to complete the job, how many bags it takes to hold the shredded material—and how often you need to change those bags.

Here are some of the differences between cross-cut shredders and strip-cut shredders:

Cross-Cut Shredders / Confetti Shredders:

  • Since they have to cut the paper in two different ways and in smaller pieces, it takes a bit longer to shred your documents.
  • The resulting paper shreds from a cross-cut shredding project are significantly smaller. You won’t have to change out the bag as much, as one bag can end up being able to hold 4 times more cross-cut paper shreds than strip-cut shreds.
  • Smaller pieces are harder to re-assemble. If you’re concerned about security, cross-cut shredding will provide more protection for your personal information and critical documents.
  • The final consideration is cost—cross-cut shredders tend to be more expensive than strip-cut shredders.

Strip-Cut Shredders:

  • Strip-cut shredders do shred documents faster—so if getting your shredding completed quickly is your top priority, a strip-cut shredder is the way to go.
  • Since the documents are cut into strips and not small pieces, you will end up changing the bag on a strip-cut shredder more often than cross-cut or confetti shredders.
  • There are less moving parts in strip-cut shredders, so they tend to have less maintenance requirements than cross-cut shredders.
  • One of the biggest concerns with strip-cut shredders is security.  Documents that are cut into strips not only have a greater chance of leaving text on a page intact- they’re also easier to re-assemble.  With the software and technological advances in scanning and reconstruction, strip-cut documents can be reassembled a lot easier than one might think.

Selecting a shredder might take some homework, but if you do choose to shred your documents yourself, we recommend a cross-cut or confetti shredder. It’s secure, efficient, and worth the upgrade.