What is the Difference Between a Commercial Paper Shredder and an Industrial Shredder?


In many ways, paper shredders are the unsung heroes of the office. All of the paper we don’t want or need gets tossed in there and comes out with all of our identifying information obscured beyond recognition so we can rest assured that it won’t fall into the wrong hands.

That said, not all shredders are created equal. For instance, the model of shredder that works perfectly at home just won’t cut it in a high-volume office environment– and an industrial shredder is way too much for a home office.

Commercial shredders

A typical commercial paper shredder almost looks like a small wastebasket; they’re rectangular and just a foot or two high. They usually have a thin slot at the top for inserting paper, and most have a limit on how many pages you can insert at once.

If you’ve ever used a commercial shredder for a substantial number of documents, you’ve probably noticed that their capabilities are limited. Most commercial shredders have a page capacity, which should be stated somewhere on the shredder itself or on its original packaging. Commercial shredders can handle anywhere from 6 to 150+ pages at a time, depending on which model you get.

When you’re looking at different commercial paper shredders, you should make a note of their “run” and “cool-down” times. Usually, there’s a set limit on how long the shredder can run before it needs to cool down. Paying close attention to these times is imperative for safe operation of the shredder. 

If a shredder is being fed documents for too long at a time without a chance to cool down, the motor will continue to get hotter and hotter. Obviously, a primary danger in this situation is fire– paper is highly flammable, and there are few worse places to start a fire than in a basket of dry paper shreds that serve as perfect kindling. 

Even if your shredder doesn’t catch on fire, overheating can cause major damage to the motor– in some cases rendering it inoperable.

These issues are less common with higher-end models, which feature longer run-times and more efficient cooling mechanisms, so it’s important to weigh all of your options when choosing the best shredder for your needs.

Industrial shredders

Industrial paper shredders look very different from commercial models, and they operate differently, too. While a commercial paper shredder looks more like a wastebasket, an industrial paper shredder looks more like a copy machine. They’re much larger, which makes them perfect for places where a whole lot of documents need to be shredded on a regular basis in bulk. Large offices, manufacturing facilities, and schools might make good use of an industrial shredder. 

These shredders can handle a lot more at one time than a commercial shredder, and they’re not just limited to shredding paper. You should check the specifications of the model before you attempt this, but many can handle cardboard or bulk paper, notebooks, credit cards, and even CDs and DVDs. 

While a commercial paper shredder might reach its limit at 150 pages (and even that would be a top-of-the-line model!) an industrial shredder can often handle more than 400 pages at a time. They also offer various shred styles for maximum security; you can choose models that cross-cut or strip-cut paper.

The right shredder for your needs

Whether you just shred a few documents a week, or hundreds a day, there’s a paper shredder out there that’s perfect for you– and Central Business Equipment offers leasing options, which means that you can get your hands on up-to-date equipment, minimizing costs and increasing productivity.

For a quote on business equipment leasing, or help figuring out which model would be perfect for you, give us a call at 501-833-8150 or reach out at info@centralbe.com.