Can Shredders Take Staples? The Age Old Question Answered!

Last updated on 

March 2, 2021


Staples: Enemy of the Shredder or Can the Shredder Handle them?

If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, or if you’ve ever been self-employed and worked out of your own home office, you’ll know how important a high-standard paper shredder can be in keeping an organised space. Maybe you’ve used one before, maybe you use one frequently, maybe you’ve struggled along without one up till now and are looking into buying one. Regardless of the situation, an important question comes up time and time again which could make or break your shredding experience:

Can Shredders Take Staples?

If you type “can shredders…” into Google, without even finishing your thought, you’ll be bombarded by questions exploring this staples issue, giving you the confidence that you are not alone in wondering. People have pondered this issue for ages, whether they’ve never used a shredder before and are merely curious, or are seasoned shredders looking for more info. There have been discussion forums and articles centred on working out the details of the staples problem, and as usual on the internet, there are many contributions.

The general consensus seems to be that while not all types and brands of paper shredder are capable of shredding staples, the ones considered “heavy duty” usually can. If you know that you’re going to be shredding large volumes of stapled paper collections, and documents that have been bound together, then you might need to upgrade to a heavy duty shredder in order to avoid damage and disappointment. Wouldn’t it be awful to buy a new shredder only to have it crunch and click and jam before your very eyes? And all because of a staple or two. Have you seen staples lately? They’re tiny! Don’t let yourself be defeated by them.

So, what constitutes a “heavy duty” shredder?

  • Largely a subjective term.
  • Very few commercial and personal use shredders actually display the term.
  • Somewhat difficult to pin down.

That list doesn’t seem all that helpful does it? Let’s explore further shall we?

  • Most commercial and industrial level shredders SHOULD be able to handle staples.
  • Shredders with higher shredding capacity are more likely to be able to shred staples.
  • Shredders that can shred other materials apart from paper (such as plastic and cardboard) are quite likely to have no trouble with staples.
  • As shredders continue to modernise, they are more likely to be able to take staples.

Basically, if a shredder is hardy, durable, and works hard then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you to shred the odd staple. Sitting and removing staples from groups of pages can be not only tedious and tricky, but also hazardous. I can’t count how many time I’ve tried to remove a staple and ended up poking, stabbing, or scraping myself. Staples are not worth drawing blood over.

You might still want to be cautious however, as each machine functions differently and each has its own individual tolerance level. Don’t push your shredder over its limit as they can be a pain (and an expense) to fix or replace.

Paper clips are another common demon that needs to be monitored. While its less likely that you will need to shred a collection of papers bound by paperclips than by staples, you might still need to keep an eye out for them. Paper clips are generally bigger, sturdier, and harder to slice through than tiny staples, and if left unchecked, can cause serious harm to your shredder.

If you’re still feeling lost…

The best advice I can offer is simple, and even self-explanatory. It is probably also something you will have done at least once since getting your paper shredder. Here it is: Read anything and everything that has come with your shredder.

  • Read manuals.
  • Read the specifications.
  • Read instructions.
  • Rad the box and even the device itself.

The likelihood that you’ll still be left in the dark after this is incredibly slim.

Shredder manufacturers don’t want their products to fail so they will make it as clear to the user as possible about what can and cannot be done. If you keep these guidelines and suggestions in mind then you will have a long and fruitful shredding experience with your shredder, and staples and paper clips will no longer be a cause for concern.

Do your homework. Think about what kinds of documents you’ll be shredding. You might find that even though you don’t use a lot of staples and paper clips that a heavy-duty shredder that can shred plastic as well as cardboard might be a better option anyway. Even if you don’t end up tackling staples, you’ll still be left with a machine that is able to shred at high speed and volume.

If In Doubt:

Don’t be afraid to ask someone. Store clerks, sales assistants, and managers are there to help you and to make sure you find the product that best suits your needs. So get out there and buy the paper shredder of your dreams. Staples are but a small inconvenience.


I am a tech geek. I love techie things and also love electronics. Together with the two traits, I have created With my site, I aim to answer all of your questions about office equipment in general and especially shredders. Let me know if you have any questions.

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I am a tech geek. I love techie things and also love electronics. Together with the two traits, I have created With my site, I aim to answer all of your questions about office equipment in general and especially shredders. Let me know if you have any questions. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to &

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