Imagine you have a busy day of work ahead of you. You’ve woken up early, had a cup of coffee, and are ready to face the day. You get to the office, start in on your day’s work, and remember that one of your important errands is to shred a pile of documents you no longer need. You begin shredding and it seems to be going quite quickly, until… the shredder gets jammed.

There’s a strained whirring sound and then the motor cuts out. Maybe tiny specks of paper sputter out of the machine. What do you do? You have so much to get done and can’t afford to be stuck trying to deal with this catastrophe!

You might have been in this situation already, but if you haven’t then you’ll most likely realise how problematic a jammed paper shredder can be. If you’re looking to find out how to sort out this relatively common issue, then keep reading!

Show that Shredder Who’s Boss!

  1. Unplug the shredder- this might seem to be common knowledge, but it is a crucial step in getting your shredder back in working order. When you notice a jam, unplug the machine as this will give you time to properly assess the blockage. Once you have identified where the shredder is jamming, you can move on.
  2. Check your waste bin- a common reason for shredder jams is that the collection bin is simply too full to allow new material to be deposited there. Emptying the collection bin will eliminate this problem, giving the paper space to go again. This might not be the cause of the issue, but it is worth ruling out, however simple. The jam might clear if you plug the machine back in, but if it doesn’t, you’ll need to continue your efforts.
  3. Use the manual “reverse” feature- click the reverse button or slider so that the shredder is now running backwards. Instead of drawing paper into the opening, the grip on the paper should loosen and the paper be pushed back. Keep your clothes and fingers clear of the teeth while this is happening.
  4. Switch back to auto- if the shredder continues to jam in reverse mode, then unplug the shredder again and switch the machine back to normal, forward mode. When you plug it back in and the shredder starts going again, this should resolve the issue. Keep an eye out for continued jamming.
  5. If the jam continues- you might need to keep alternating between forwards and reverse in order to loosen the jammed paper. Not every jam will be the same so use your own judgement. Once the paper is released, make sure the shredder is in auto mode and continue shredding.

Preventing Jamming

  1. Read over the manual or specifications of the shredder. If the shredder has an 8-sheet capacity, then do not try and administer 15 sheets all at once. You might think you are saving time and resources but if a jam occurs and you get stuck trying to rectify it, then you might end up adding time to your day rather than shortening it, not to mention the added frustration.
  2. Make sure there are no laminations or plastic sleeves hindering smooth shredding. If your shredder is only designed for paper, and cannot handle plastic and other materials, then try to avoid this mistake. This could damage the teeth and motor in the long run.
  3. Avoid shredding paper clips and staples. Not all shredders can handle chewing through these small, seemingly insignificant metal bindings. If you are using a personal or small commercial shredder and you experience a jam, it might be due to a staple or paper clip getting stuck in one of the teeth. As in point 2, this can damage the teeth and motor.
  4. Make sure your pile of papers is even and straight. Inserting papers skew or in an imbalanced way can lead to jams and blockages. When shredding multiple sheets at once, extra caution must be taken to ensure correct insertion.

Share Your Knowledge

If you see a co-worker or friend struggling with a jammed paper shredder, why not lend a helping hand? Now you have some basic tools, tips, and tricks to help you diagnose and rectify a shredder jam, so why not be the hero and help a colleague who’s battling? They will undoubtedly appreciate it, and might even become equipped to pass the knowledge and experience on to others.

Eventually, in a perfect world, we’ll have no more paper shredder jams and we’ll be able to shred paper to our hearts’ content! Doesn’t that sound amazing? Much better than the first part of the story isn’t it?

Prevent the first part of the story from happening. Take control over the dreaded shredder. Never again lose your cool over a jam.

If you’re as curious as I am, and if you have ever used a paper shredder, then you might have wondered as to how exactly paper shredders work. People are naturally curious beings. When we learn something new or find out that an object does some or other service for us, we are intrinsically drawn to pursue knowledge and understanding, striving to increase what we know about the world.

I know what you might be thinking: this all seems awfully deep to be aimed at finding out what makes a paper shredder tick. But in reality, even a paper shredder is a technological and mechanical wonder, and why should we not be curious about them? Without further ado, let’s get stuck into finding out how paper shredders work. Aren’t you dying to satisfy your curiosity?

Paper Shredders are Made Up of Two Main Parts

First, we have the MECHANICS:

This is where the second part, the COLLECTION, comes in:


Not all paper shredders are designed in the same way, and some may operate slightly differently. This will also depend largely on the size of the shredder and its intended use. Personal paper shredders which are designed for home use will be simpler, slower, and run for less time than industrial shredders which are faster, larger, and can shred more material at once.

It is also worth noting that some paper shredders can be more like “everything shredders”. Larger, more heavy-duty shredders with more teeth, more powerful motors, and bigger capacities can shred not only paper, but also plastic items such as laminated documents, CDs and DVDs, and credit cards, and some can shred cardboard and other materials. The specific requirements and processes in place for these more difficult jobs might be very different to the run-of-the-mill office paper shredders, but it’s still interesting to know they exist.

Additional Features

  1. Automatic on/off feature- many paper shredders have an on/off feature that sense when a hand is too close to the rotating teeth. When this happens, the motor shuts off to protect the user from injury.
  2. Manual reverse feature- most paper shredders have the facility for you to reverse the direction of blade movement. This is particularly useful if you wish to rectify a jammed piece of paper.
  3. Energy saving- a lot of paper shredders, particularly newer models, have been designed to be economical with electricity so as to be more efficient and better for the environment. Saving energy keeps bills low and helps to keep the world green.

You’re not the only one…

Many people out there have wondered about the inner workings of a paper shredder, myself included, and it might comfort you to know that the internet is rife with people asking questions, sharing answers, and discussing information. There’s no need to be curious any longer. Get out there and ask your questions, research for answers, talk to people who would know (there are a lot of them out there).

Hopefully this information has given you some insight into how paper shredders work and maybe you’ll even share your new-found knowledge with others! Let’s keep the ball rolling!

Let’s find out!

In its most basic form, a paper shredder is anything that enables a person to shred paper from whole sheets into smaller strips or particles. Simple right? By that logic, a Labrador puppy might be considered a paper shredder. A curious toddler might be considered a paper shredder. Rough weather might be considered a paper shredder. These definitions are very reductive, and the paper shredders we’re all actually thinking of are far more complex.

What else defines a real paper shredder?

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, the odds are that you already know a bit about paper shredders and are seeking additional information. While the underlying premise of paper shredding is simple, shredders can be used for multiple purposes.

What are Paper Shredders Used for?

  1. Getting rid of sensitive or confidential information- government organisations and places like hospitals often use paper shredders to quite literally obliterate sensitive files or patient profiles, rendering the documents unusable and unreadable.
  2. Keeping ahead of fraudsters and malicious people- shredding is often use paper shredders to ensure that personal data and files cannot be easily obtained by fraudulent parties after being discarded. Shredding means that frauds are unable to decipher or use other people’s personal or business information. Shredding old bills, credit card statements, and tax forms can help you to keep yourself guarded against identity theft.
  3. Waste management- shredding and then recycling office or personal papers allows you to get rid of waste in a safe, secure, and efficient manner contributing to a tidier and more productive work space.
  4. Client privacy- many businesses, companies, and medical institutions shred evidence of their client’s data in order to protect them against fraud and other issues, and to maintain their privacy. This is even the law in many places, demonstrating how important it is.
  5. Destroying old credit cards, CDs and DVDs- some heavy duty shredders can shred more than just paper. Shredding old cards, CDs and DVDs helps to declutter your home and life, and makes you less susceptible to being taken advantage of.

These are the main reasons that people and companies use paper shredders and it’s easy to understand the motivation. You might see how shredding paper and other materials can help in these situations and you might be wondering…

Why Should I Use One?

  1. Compliance with the law- in many places, companies, and organisations, it is the law for employee and client files to be shredded in order to maintain privacy and protection. If your office has a shredder already then you’ll know how important they are, and if not, it might be time to invest in one.
  2. Preventing identity theft- destroying personal and private data, or any identifying information will aid in slowing the spread of identity theft, even though it is rampant in today’s world. If a hacker or thief is unable to piece together your documents, they will be unable to try and take over your life.
  3. Information management- while not all personal and company documents are sensitive or confidential, it is still preferable to shred some of them rather than allow ideas and plans into other people’s hands. It can’t hurt, and it could help in the long run.
  4. Declutter and organise- shredding unwanted, spare, or obsolete documents and files can help to tidy up a space, and contribute to a more productive working environment. No one likes to work on a desk that’s piled high with old and dusty papers. Get rid of them!
  5. Environmentally conscious- this is important to a lot of people and is increasingly important as pollution and waste continues to threaten nature. Shredding and recycling paper and plastic can help towards restoring the earth, and shredded paper can be used in compost, mulch, as packaging or pet bedding. It’s good to go green!
  6. Eliminating fire hazards- it will come as no surprise to you that paper is easily flammable. Having loads of excess papers cluttering your home or office can put you at greater risk of fire. Even though house and office fires are not ridiculously common, it’s best to minimise the risk and create a safer environment for everyone by shredding your unwanted papers.

Shredding Paper is FUN

It might not be considered a proper reason but I think it is still worth a mention. Shredding paper is fun! If you needed any further persuasion to start shredding your home and work papers then here’s your motivation; do it as a cathartic and enjoyable task that contributes good to many areas of company life and is very satisfying.

In all honesty, there’s no downside to having a paper shredder. So all that is left to say is get out there, make the world a better place, and get shredding!

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?

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

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.

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.


Best Paper Shredders

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Best Garden Shredders

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Shredder Buyers Guide

There are two things that are becoming more important these days. Recycling and protecting your personal data. Both these things have prompted many new innovations in recent years, but some products have seen new increases in sales as a result.

When it comes to personal information, there is nothing better than a shredder to destroy any evidence of address and other details. There are many types on the market that have different specifications, but they all do the same basic things.

To help with your garden and recycling, you can purchase a garden shredder. They can turn your branches, leaves and other wood into chippings that you can put on your garden.

This buyer’s guide will list some of the features you can expect from shredders of any type, home, business or garden. It will detail the advantages and disadvantages of each one and give you an idea of which will be best for you.

Paper Shredders

Paper shredders are quickly becoming a normal part of the household, with more people concerned about protecting their data. Shredders are getting more features to help shred all the documents and discs that you have data recorded on. They can also help you destroy credit cards as well for peace of mind.

There are various sizes of shredder depending on what you need. You can get small portable versions for the home, or larger industrial ones for large companies. The big differences are the amount of paper they can cope with at one time and the capacity they can hold.

The capacity the shredder can cope with in one pass depends on the power of the motor and the strength of the cutters. This can vary the capacity from 8-10 sheets up to 20 or more. Most household shredders are approximately 10-12 sheet capacity and this is more than adequate for day to day use.

The vast majority of paper shredders are powered by electricity. This is because many units are used in the house and office. There are some very small personal shredders that are done by hand using a handle, but these are often difficult to use. There are also some battery powered versions, but the power needed to operate the motor can drain the batteries quickly.

Early shredders were only able to cope with paper, they even struggled with paper clips and staples. Modern shredders however, are able to do far more. Not only can they now handle more sheets of paper at each pass, they can also cope with staples and paper clips. Some also have the ability to shred CD’s, DVD’s and credit cards. This has become increasingly important because more data is stored on digital media as opposed to paper. Even smaller shredders designed for the home, now have slots for plastics.

The size of the bin and how easy it is to empty, varies depending on the model. The best products usually have 15 – 20 Litre capacity. This usually equates to 100 – 150 sheets of shredded paper. These are the typical sizes for a household shredder, industrial versions will hold far more than this. Those with a slide out bin are far easier to empty and less messy than the others.

Early shredders worked by cutting the paper into thin strips. This however, was not the most secure way as sometimes the strips could be stuck back together. The new shredders use a cross-cut blade that cuts the paper into small pieces. This is far more effective and is used by many organisations.

There can be a big price difference depending on the power and size of the shredder. Obviously, the industrial versions are more expensive than the household versions.

Overall, because of the choice and variation of the types you can buy, there should be a shredder on the market that can do exactly what you need. There can even be a big variation in price depending on the make you buy, but the cheaper versions can sometimes be less well-built and have less power.

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Garden Shredders

If you have a lot of trees and bushes in your garden, then you will spend time pruning and cutting them back in the winter. Many people now decide that they want to reuse the wood that they get from their garden. Some use it for outdoor wood burners, and some use it to put on the garden as chippings.

For this reason, garden shredders are becoming more popular. They chip and mulch leaves and branches so that they can be used in other ways. There are many types that you can get depending on your needs and space.

Garden shredders come in petrol and electric versions. Each has its own good and bad points. Electric versions are ideal for the small to medium garden as you don’t have to move the shredder very far. It also gives you a constant source of power without having to stop. Petrol shredders are good for big gardens, or for businesses that need to transport the shredder to different locations. The only downside is that you need a supply of petrol with you in order to continue working.

The capacity that the garden shredders can deal with depends on the size and power of the shredder. The petrol types tend to be bigger and more powerful, but are less easy to manoeuvre. Although there are many powerful electric shredders, they can only deal with branches up to 50mm in diameter.

Hoppers and chutes are usually typical across many brands, although there are a couple that have used clever ways to store them. One type made by Bosch, allows the hopper to be kept in the collection bin when not in use. This makes the unit much smaller and easier to store away. Some types have a separate chute for larger branches and use the hopper for smaller ones and leaves.

Garden shredders are made from either tough plastic or mental. Some have a combination of both, but this is usually just for covers or panels. Both materials are hard wearing and tough, although the plastics can crack over time and the metal types are prone to rust.

The motors used are usually very strong and durable. The petrol varieties are typically 2-Stroke versions which are reliable and easy to maintain. Both types usually have safety features built-in that prevent the motor from being overloaded. There are also safety switches to stop the motor in the event covers or other panels are not secure.

The price of garden shredders vastly depend on the power and size of the product. Some of the smaller garden types are affordable although have limited capacity. High-End types are usually used by businesses and large homes. As is usual with products of this type, the price reflects the quality of the product.

Garden shredders are becoming more popular and they are now seen as a great way to recycle in your own garden. They can range from the powerful, heavy duty versions, down to the simple small types. Either way, it is best to assess what you will need the shredder for, before you decide on the best type.

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