I saw the above meme online this weekend which inspired me to write some paper shredder reviews. I have spent several hours researching and googling the best paper shredders and I have included those reviews here. I don’t think there is any reason to test something that has already been tested to death. What I am going to bring to the table is a financial review that I cannot seem to find out there. I will also provide a comparison to using a professional service, which seems to also be completely lacking. I will do this in three parts starting with a low end, good value shredder that has great online reviews (4.3 out of 5 for over 1500 reviewers). Next I will review a more efficient and practical shredder that also has great reviews (4.1 out of 5 for almost 4000 reviewers). Finally I will review a commercial grade shredder from a company that claims to be more cost efficient than using a shredding service.
Walmart 6-Sheet Crosscut Shr edder with Easy Lift Handle ($24.88):
I’m going to start with the shredder with the least upfront cost while still being fairly dependable based on reviews. Here is a graph of the breakeven point for the quantity of paper shredded when compared to Shredding and Storage Unlimited’s $5 per paper box standard fee.
Now this only begins to tell the story. How about an estimate of 10 pages per day (about 30-40 seconds using this shredder based on reviews) for somebody who shreds very little. This is about as much as this shredder seems to be able to handle and is priced and advertised accordingly. That is 3,650 pages per year and would take a little less than 6 years and 10 months to reach the breakeven price point. I won’t factor in time spent since 30-40 seconds is a fairly marginal amount of time. From reading the over 1500 reviews on Walmart.com and the 10 reviews on amazon.com the longest time period somebody had owned the shredder was 4 years of uses every couple weeks, meaning that in the long run they probably would have saved $10-$15 over that period using a shredding company vs buying and using this paper shredder. This does not even include routine maintenance that must be performed to get the shredder to even last 4 years or that many reviewers claim that this shredder stops working within the first three months while most of the 5 star reviews are within the first 2 months.
It is more economical to use a shredding service vs buying this shredder for people who do a light amount of shredding. When you want to do medium shredding (100-500 pieces per day) you may hit that breakeven point in 6 months (if your shredder does not break), but you are also spending 40 hours a year on just the time it takes to shred the paper. At this quantity Shredding and Storage Unlimited would come to you in our mobile shred truck one or two times per year and could do one year’s worth of shredding for $50 to $60. By saving $60 over the course of 40 hours of shredding you are valuing your time at less than $1.50 per hour.
By valuing your time at a well below minimum wage $5 per hour, here is a graph of your hopefully indestructible shredder vs giving Shredding and Storage Unlimited a call based on a given amount of paper. *Does not include 30 minute shredder cool down time after 5 minutes of use or time spent on maintenance.