Identify theft is a growing problem in Canada and all thieves needs to steal your identity is one or two pieces of personal information — information that is easily taken from your garbage from old bills, receipts, invoices and other mail.

Security experts warn never to throw out anything showing your name, address or financial details. You do have the options of cutting or tearing them into pieces yourself but for complete piece of mind a document shredder is the best choice.

A good rule of thumb for shredders: The smaller the cut, the higher the security.  Certain shredders do cross-cuts, which means the paper is sliced both horizontally and vertically into confetti-sized pieces that make putting the pages back together impossible. Cross-cuts shredders have a security level of 2 or 3 – the recommended level for  business security.

Here are some Best Buy choices for best cross-cut shredders

Back up first

Make sure you don’t accidentally shred something important. Make backup copies of al those receipts, invoices and bills using one of the mobile scanners. Both the Neat Receipt mobile scanner and the Xerox Mobile Scanner get the job done properly.

Safety tips

  • Shred at a moderate pace.
  • Don’t over feed the machine.
  • Depending on your model you have between 3 to 10 minutes of shredding before the safety feature turns off the machine to prevent overheating and the paper shreds from catching on fire.
  • When the safety feature turns off the machine, wait the entire time before turning the machine. Depending on your shredder you will need to 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Keep the bin empty. A full bin can force paper bits to get up into the blades and cause a jam.
  • If the shredder is running continuously but not shredding, check for a jam.
  • If the shredder only runs in reverse, check for a jam.
  • Always unplug the shredder before check for a jam or emptying the bin.

High security shredding

The Fellowes PowerShred 460Ms Micro-Cut Shredder offers incredible data protection by cross-cutting into particles 1.98 mm x 7.94 mm (.077” x 0.31”) – 10 times smaller than standard shredders.  SilentShred technology makes this machine quiet. With a 28.39 L (7 gallon) bin, it handles up to 10 sheets of paper at a time for a maximum run time of 10 minutes.

The 460Ms shredder  automatically senses a paper jam and kicks into auto reverse to stops shredding and reversing the paper. SafeSense technology senses if a hand is too close to the blades and automatically turns off. Also shreds paper clips, CDs, DVDs and credit cards. Smooth running wheels make this shredder portable.

Width: 32 cm (12.75”) /Height: 68.6 cm (27”) /Depth: 39 cm (15”).

Home office shredding

The Fellowes Powershred DS-1200CS Cross-Cut Shredder is another great option for small businesses and personal use. It can handle 12 sheets of paper per pass for up to 5 minutes before a 20-minute cool down period begins.

The DS-1200CS shreds into 4.0 mm x 50 mm (0.16″ x 2″) pieces and its durable cutters also slice through credit cards. The 15-liter (4-gallon) bin gives you a slim fit that fits neatly under your desk.

SafeSense technology protects your hands from danger and stops shredding if you get too close to the blade.

Width: 22 cm (8.75”) /Height: 16 cm (40”) / Depth 43 cm (17”).

Compact shredding


Designed for moderate home and office use, the Fellowes P-58Cs 9 Sheet Paper Shredder handles paper and credit cards into 3.96 mm x 50.8 mm (5/32” x 2”) pieces. It shreds up to 9 sheets including those with paper clips for up to three minutes with a 15-minute rest in between.

The P-58Cs also has the patented SafeSense Technology that stops the shredder immediately when hands are too close to the paper opening. The 18-liter (5-gallon) wastebasket and an easy-lift head means easy waste disposal while the compact slim design maximizes space makes it the perfect option for the smaller office.

Width: 24 cm (9.5”) /Height: 40 cm (16”) / Depth 37 cm (14.6”).

For the whole family


If you are looking for a shredder just for personal use at home, the Fellowes W11C shredder offers a reliable performance at a great price. It’s a moderate duty shredder handling 11 sheets per pass into 3.96 mm x 50.8 mm (5/32” x 2”) pieces.

The W11C will run for five minutes before needing a 20-minute rest. The reverse function easily removes over-fed papers. The safety interlock switch instantly stops the shredder if the lid is lifted off the 17-litre (4.75-gallon) bin.

Width: 34.9 cm (13.75”) /Height: 45 cm (18”) / Depth 21.5 cm (8.5”).

Read more about Fellowes shredders and making your home office secure.

Shelagh McNally
I’ve been covering technology since 1992 and I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. I enjoy following the trends, spotting the winners and losers and teaching consumers how to get the best products and services for their needs. My work has been published in the National Post, Reader's, Yahoo, Miami Herald and other North American publications and websites.