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Why does my high security shredder shred so much less than a normal shredder?

By Angela Altomare March 26, 2019

We hear this question frequently, and the answer is pretty simple.  But before we discuss the inner workings of high security shredders, let’s first confront the even more frequent and general question regarding sheet capacity.  Often times a customer will merely glance at a sheet capacity number and assume without a doubt that this shredder will accept this amount (or even more).  They’ll get frustrated, confused about why their shredder won’t shred the expected 25 sheets at once, or why their shredder won’t accept just 5 sheets more.  We always stress that sheet capacity varies and depends highly upon grain, size, quality, paper weight and whether sufficient power supply is available.

In the end, a manufacturer’s sheet capacity range is never truly exact.  You should think of this range more as a guideline then a definite number.  This sheet capacity range is simply an average rating.  If you are working with average paper weight, size, etc., then you should be safe relying upon the provided sheet capacity.  However, if you are dealing with heavier stock or various sized paper, then any shredder rated at 20 sheets per pass may only be able to shred 15 sheets at a time. Now back to the question at hand.  The cutting head on a high security shredder is constructed differently than its cross cut and strip cut counterparts.  A strip cut cutting shaft features larger teeth which create narrow pieces as long as your original document to meet security level 2 requirements.  Cross cut cutting heads offer teeth that produce confetti sized particles to meet security level 3 and 4 standards.  Both of these cutting heads provide enough space for a higher amount of sheets to pass through at a time.   As shown in this picture to the right, the teeth on a high security cutting head are significantly smaller than strip cut or cross cut shredders. The integrity of high security shred is small due to the NSA/CSS security specification 02-01. The cutting head is extremely delicate in order to accommodate this security requirement. Thus, your high security shredder can only accommodate a low sheet capacity. In addition, the high security cutting head will only accept paper. Any attempts to cram paper clips or credit cards into your expensive high security paper shredder will result in severe damage (as pictured) and a hefty service charge. Although high security paper shredders have a low sheet capacity, they make up for it in speed and NSA/CSS approved security. This video demonstration of MBM's Destroyit 2603 SMC shows just how fast your confidential and sensitive files are destroyed. Feeding 6 or 7 sheets of classified information at a time yields such a small shred size.  Inevitably, we can't complain about trading high sheet capacity for high security destruction.

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