Paper shredders are essential for getting rid of sensitive documents at home or the office. They can be really loud though. Shredding a bunch of documents will quickly annoy your colleagues with all the noise.
Are there any quiet paper shredders on the market? What are the quietest paper shredders? What should you look out for when you want to buy one?
In this article we’ll be taking a look at 6 of the quietest paper shredders that can be used in the office or at home. You can also keep an eye out for our buyers guide as well as some tips on how to make your paper shredder quieter.
Top 6 Quietest Paper Shredders
OUR TOP PICK
The Bonsaii Paper Shredder has a continuous running time of up to 240 minutes in which you can shred 10 sheets of paper at a time. The paper shredder is not limited to shredding paper alone but can also shred through CD’s, credit cards, clips and staples.
This paper shredder makes use of a micro-cut, ensuring that even the most sensitive documents are properly shredded.
What we love about this model is its safety features. The jam protection system includes an auto start and auto reverse which prevents things like paper jams. The overheating and overloading protection technology keeps the paper shredder in good shape.
More importantly, the Bonsaii paper shredder is really quiet. It only puts out around 58 decibels of noise which means when operated, it’s quieter than a normal conversation. This makes it one of the quietest micro-cut paper shredders available.
It comes along with a bin that can hold up to 7.9 gallons of paper that’s easy to remove. The size of the bin makes the need to empty it less frequent.
One feature that makes this quiet micro cut shredder stand out amongst its competitors is its cooling time. Most paper shredders will need more than 10 minutes to cool down after hours of running time but that’s not the case with the Bonsaii paper shredder.
It only needs 10 minutes to cool down and then you can start using it again. This is incredibly convenient because you continue to use the paper shredder throughout the day with very short interruptions.
(If you're interested in reducing office noise then check out our reviews of these quiet electric stapler models.)
- Long running time
- Jam protection system
- Overheating/overloading protection technology
- Very quiet paper shredder
- Large bin
- Very short cooling time
- May need frequent maintenance with prolonged use
Looking for a whisper quiet paper shredder that’s quiet enough for the office? The Fellowes Powershred 79Ci has been designed with a SilentShred feature that ensures a whisper quiet shred.
What about safety features? While the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci paper shredder doesn’t have a lot of safety features, it does have SafeSense technology that activates when the sensors pick up that someone’s hand is too close to the paper opening.
Another helpful feature that the paper shredder offers is a jam-proof system. This feature ensures that your paper shredder continues to run with little to no problems.
What’s the sheet capacity like? This paper shredder can take on up to 16 sheets of paper at a time and uses a cross-cut to shred the paper.
It can only run for 20 minutes before needing to shut down for 30. So, as long as you don’t mind waiting 30 minutes for the paper shredder to cool down, it will be great for the office.
Good sheet capacity
Long cool-down time
The Bonsen paper shredder is a bit louder than a conversation you’d have with a friend, reaching 65dB when in use. This makes it a good budget option if you're after a quiet paper shredder for home because it’s not too loud. It's not the quietest paper shredder on our list though and could be a bit too noticeable in a quiet office.
What we really love about this paper shredder is how powerful it is. In 6 minutes, you can rely on the Bonsen paper shredder to have shredded up to 432 sheets of paper. That is of course, if you place 12 sheets of paper into the shredder continuously.
The reason the Bonsen paper shredder is so great for at home use is that it can shred through things like credit cards and other materials similar to it that you’d find and use at home.
Worried about how safe the paper shredder will be around kids? The Bonsen paper shredder has a safety feature that kicks in whenever you lift the lid of the paper shredder which will give you access to the blades.
When the lid opens, the paper shredder automatically stops working. You can also rely on the overheating/overloading protection and reverse function to keep the paper shredding operating smoothly.
Unfortunately, the cross-cut style paper shredder doesn’t prevent people from piecing shredded documents back together again so shredding confidential documents isn’t recommended.
- Can shred 432 sheets of paper in 6 minutes
- Safety feature
- Overheating/overloading protection
- Reverse function
The Amazon Basics quiet paper shredder has a runtime of 20 minutes. In that time it has the ability to shred up to 300 sheets of paper without stopping.
We like the easy start function which allows you to switch on the paper shredder and not have to turn it off until you’re done. In fact, the paper shredding will automatically stop when it senses that there’s no more paper to shred.
Thermal protection ensures that the paper shredder never overheats. The minute the paper shredder starts to overheat or runs for longer than its average runtime it will switch off to protect the motor. This function acts to protect the paper shredder and increase its lifespan.
Another function that’s really handy is the reverse function. This function helps to unjam anything that gets stuck in the paper shredder blades. It also means that you can retrieve partially shredded documents that have been accidentally loaded into the paper shredder.
How loud is the paper shredder? While the paper shredder does make some noise, it has a good reputation for being fairly quiet and it can be used in the office. If you're looking for a quiet small paper shredder then this is a solid option.
Fairly quiet paper shredder
Thermal protection prevents overheating
Reverse function allows you to retrieve un-shredded documents
Easy start function
Could be pricey for some
Firstly, it shreds with a super micro-cut, meaning that any document you shred will be pretty much turned into dust. This makes the paper shredder really useful for the office or any building where confidential papers are used.
But is it quiet? The Wolverine 8 sheet paper shredder is the quietest paper shredder you can find for the office. It operates at 54dB so it’s quiet enough to be used in a quiet office without disturbing anyone.
In 10 minutes, you can shred up to 500 sheets of paper just by shredding 8 sheets of paper at a time. The super alloy steel cutter is strong enough to get through anything from paper to paper clips.
Safety features include a dual thermal protector to keep the paper shredder in good shape and prevent it from overheating which could essentially cause a fire if unchecked.
One downside to having this paper shredder is that it doesn’t have additional safety features like SafeSense technology. It also doesn’t have anti-jamming technology.
- Ultra quiet paper shredder
- Thermal protector
- High-security micro cut shredding
- Super alloy steel cutter shreds paper effortlessly
- Doesn’t have safety features like SafeSense technology
- No anti-jamming technology
- A bit pricey
The Fellowes 62MC paper shredder is one of the best quietest paper shredders you can use at home. One of the reasons is that it has a safety feature that protects both children and pets. A safety lock prevents anyone from opening up or using the paper shredder.
It’s also another paper shredder that can be used to shred confidential documents. The micro-cut shredder makes documents, credit cards and other household items almost unrecognizable.
What’s great about having a micro-cut paper shredder is that it can hold over 80% more paper per gallon than a cross-cut paper shredder.
You can only shred for 7 minutes before the paper shredder needs to cool down which can be a bit of an issue if you work in an office and you need to shred a large amount of paper.
The cool down time is 60 minutes though, so the paper shredder would be better for home use depending on how much paper you need to shred in the office and when.
One thing we love about this paper shredder is that you are promised quiet operation which is the most important feature when it comes to a paper shredder.
- Safety lock
- Quiet operation
- Micro-cut style means bin can hold more paper
- Short runtime
- Long cooldown
- No anti-jamming technology
Quiet Paper Shredder Buyer’s Guide
Here are a few things to look out for before deciding which paper shredder is best for your needs:
Paper Shredder Cutting Types
You’ll want a micro-cut shredder if you handle and dispose of confidential documents on a day to day basis. A micro-cut is used to shred paper into tiny, almost micro pieces of paper.
The way a cross-cut shredder shreds paper has a lot to do with the name of the cutting style. A cross-cut involves two sets of blades that shred the paper from top to bottom and both sides. S
o instead of cutting the paper into long strips like a strip-cut shredder would, this kind of cutting style ensures that the paper is cut into small pieces. A cross-cut shredder is perfect for shredding non-sensitive information.
The strip-cut is one of the best cutting styles for shredding everyday junk mail and unimportant paperwork. This cutting style is very basic and can be referred to as a low security cutting style as it cuts paper into long thin strips, kind of like spaghetti.
This cutting style is referred to as “high security”, because when it’s done shredding paper there’s basically nothing left. A high-security paper shredder doesn’t leave any pieces of paper in the bin that could be used to re-create a document. This is why a high-security paper shredder is used mostly in places where incredibly confidential documents are handled.
A super cross-cut cutting style is incredibly similar to the cross-cut. But, as you might’ve guessed, this cutting style cuts paper into even smaller pieces than a cross-cut shredder.
Paper Shredder Safety Features
Considering that there are blades involved when you use a paper shredder, you should be interested in safety features. A good paper shredder’s insertion slots will be designed in such a way that you won’t be able to fit your hands directly into the paper shredder to avoid being injured.
Even so, a paper shredder that has safety features is much better than one that merely has a safe design.
Hand detection sensors are probably one of the best safety features a paper shredder will have to offer. These sensors detect when your hand is too close and shut down the operation of the blades.
Jam-proof blades can also be quite helpful, especially if you get a piece of your clothing stuck in the shredder. These jam-proof blades act to expel anything that gets stuck in the blades.
It might be different when you’re at home, but if you have an office job that requires you to shred copious amounts of paper then you need a paper shredder that can take on more than one piece of paper at a time.
The average number of sheets that a paper shredder can take is about 15 but a more heavy-duty paper shredder will be able to shred through more. So, this is when you need to consider why you want a paper shredder.
Is it for the office? Are you using it at home? If you are going to use it at home, how much paper do you want to shred at once? Keeping those questions in mind will help you to choose the best, quiet paper shredder that will meet your shredding needs.
It’s important to choose an appropriate place to put your paper shredder. For example, it would be a good idea to keep your paper shredder in another room if you’re working in an office with co-workers close by.
Getting a quiet paper shredder can greatly reduce the amount of noise a paper shredder makes but the reality is that even the slightest bit of noise can bother a co-worker.
What if you’re using a paper shredder in an office of your own or at home? Choosing where to put the paper shredder is still important. You don’t want your paper shredder to be in a slanted position because it will cause the paper shredder to vibrate which can get noisy.
It’s much better to place your paper shredder level to the floor where you can put an anti-vibration mat underneath it if it gets noisy.
Paper Shredder Duty-Cycle
All paper shredders have a specific duty-cycle or runtime which means that there’s a certain amount of time that they can run for before needing to cool down. If you need to shred quite a lot of paper then you’ll want to look for a paper shredder that has a runtime of at least 10 minutes or more.
It would be good to consider the cool down time as well since you could end up waiting for a good few minutes before you can use the paper shredder again.
Size matters because it affects how often you have to empty your paper shredder. You don’t want to be getting up every few minutes to empty the paper shredder bin. Buying a tall paper will help with this problem, since the bin will be quite big.
The size of a paper shredder may also influence how much the paper shredder can handle. The chances are that a bigger paper shredder will have bigger or stronger blades and be able to cut through more paper.
Different Types of Paper Shredders
A single user shredder has a duty cycle of 1-10 minutes, which means it’s more suitable for at home use. The cool down time is 20-30 minutes so that means you have to wait a long time till you can use it again. It can also handle up to 1-10 sheets at a time so it doesn’t allow you to cut through a lot of paper.
If you work from home or in a small office a multi-user paper shredder is a good buy for you. It can operate for 10-30 minutes before it needs a 30-60 minute cool down. It can shred up to 30 sheets of paper at once and the bin is quite sizable.
Industrial paper shredders are made for intense shredding and you can find them in commercial or large offices but of course they can be used anywhere. This kind of paper shredder is made for 5+ users and can continuously shred over 20 sheets of paper for an hour or more. The cool down time of an industrial paper shredder can range from 10 to 60 minutes.
Quiet Paper Shredder FAQ
What is the quietest paper shredder?
The Wolverine 8-Sheet Super Micro Cut shredder is the lowest noise shredder with a sound level of just 54dB.
How many decibels is a paper shredder?
A quiet paper shredder will put out around 54dB to 64dB.
How to make a paper shredder quieter
Why is may paper shredder so loud? There could be a number of causes and some of them you can address to make your paper shredder quieter.
- Shred less paper
Trying to shred too many sheets at once makes the motor work harder and inevitably makes more noise.
Unjam the paper shredder
Sometimes a paper shredder makes a lot of noise when it isn’t working properly. When a paper shredder gets something jammed inside then it might make funny sounds.
Your paper shredder will give you an indication of whether something is jammed inside the paper shredder or not depending on what model you have. Whether you’re not sure if something is jammed inside the paper shredder or you do, you’ll have to try and fix it. Here’s two things you can do:
- Check your users manual for instructions on how to solve a paper jam.
- Try using the reverse function on your paper shredder. Most paper shredders have it, but not all. If that doesn’t work you’ll need to turn off the paper shredder.
- Carefully pluck out the bits of paper from the blades using a pair of tweezers. You can also use a vacuum to get the paper out.
Lubricate the shredder blades
You can use a lubricant to oil the paper shredder blades. But, blades are not the only things that need lubrication when it comes to a paper shredder. If your paper shredder hasn’t been serviced in over a year then it’s possible that the chains, bearings and bushes need to be lubricated as well.
Buy a quieter paper shredder
Some paper shredders are incredibly outdated and the mechanical design makes it prone to being noisy. An older paper shredder cuts through paper less efficiently and also consumes a lot more energy than it should.
Since many manufacturers these days are aware of the noise that comes with the outdated design, they’ve started making paper shredders that have been designed to operate quietly. You can take a look at our quietest paper shredder reviews to find a good quality, quiet paper shredder that’s suitable to your needs.
Remove transit / shipping screws
If you’ve ordered a paper shredder then it’s possible that the paper shredder has been freighted with shipping screws that keep the cutting head isolation mounts in place while it’s being transported.
When these screws aren’t removed after the paper shredder has been delivered, it can be quite noisy when operated because there’s a lot of excess vibration that’s caused by the screws. Once you remove those screws, the paper shredder will be much quieter when in use.
Cross-cut vs. Micro cut paper shredder - Which is better?
Earlier we discussed the different kinds of paper shredder cutting styles and both the cross-cut and micro-cut was mentioned. Is a micro-cut paper shredder better than a cross-cut? Below you’ll see the different pros and cons to using a micro-cut and cross-cut paper shredder.
When it comes to speed, a cross-cut paper shredder is much better because it doesn’t concentrate so much time and effort into shredding the paper into tiny pieces. On the other hand, a micro-cut paper shredder cuts paper into really tiny pieces which takes a lot more time.
A micro-cut paper shredder cuts paper into such small pieces that even a large amount of paper can seem like nothing once it’s been moved to the bin. This means that you’ll have a lot more space in the bin after paper has been shredded in comparison to a cross-cut paper shredder that shreds paper into bigger pieces.
Concerned about security? Then a micro-cut paper shredder is definitely better. Like we said earlier, a micro-cut will turn a document into tiny pieces of paper whereas a cross-cut will give you the opportunity to piece a shredded document back together again.
A paper shredder with a more precise cut will require more maintenance. In this case, the paper shredder that will need more maintenance is the micro-cut. A micro-cut paper shredder needs to be lubricated before use instead of once in a while or each time the bin needs to be emptied, like a cross-cut paper shredder.
We’ve taken a look at 6 of the quietest paper shredders on the market that are suitable for home and the office. Each paper shredder has pros and cons that may or may not be a deal breaker for you.
What about if you have a paper shredder that works really well but it’s just making way too much noise? Then take a look at the section of our article that discusses how you can make your paper shredder quieter. We’re confident that at least one of these quietest paper shredder solutions will work for you.