Picking out a shredding cut style isn’t just about personal preference; it’s about the security and the destruction of documents. The cut style determines the shredder's security level and controls how safe your shredded documents are from being reassembled. The security of different cut styles is rated using a security designation scale between P2-P7. As the cut styles get more advanced, the security ranking rises.
Understanding shredder cut styles will help you maintain office safety by helping you choose the right shredder for the level of document security your office needs.
Let’s go over a list of shredder cut styles with the cut pattern and the benefits clearly marked.
The strip-cut is a basic cut style that produces spaghetti-like strands. This is the lowest level security cut style and is best used for shredding day-to-day junk mail and paperwork containing expired or non-sensitive information.
Shreds per page: 40 Security Level: P-2 (low security)
The cross-cut has two sets of blades, which shred paper both lengthwise and widthwise. This cut style reduces the shredded paper into small pieces instead of long strips. It's meant for day-to-day paperwork, emails or reports containing non-sensitive personal information.
Shreds per page: 200 Security Level: P-3 (Medium Security)
This is the first cut style that can be used on documents that contain sensitive personal information and business documents that contain proprietary information. This cut style produces even smaller shredded pieces than the cross-cut. (See examples of Super Cross-Cut shredders)
Shreds per page: 400 Security Level: P-4
Designed to shred confidential business documents with financial, strategic and/or sensitive personal information, this shred style is a favorite amongst financial groups, law firms, medical practices, and accounting firms. This cut style produces even smaller shredded pieces than super cross-cut, cutting paper into tiny bits. (see examples of Micro-cut shredders)
Shreds per page: 2,000 Security Level: P-5 (high security)
This cut style is meant for highly sensitive documents containing financial, legal, military, and proprietary information. micro-cut and super micro-cut shredders are favorites of government installations.
Shreds per page: 6,000 Security Level: P-6 (High – Medium security level)
This high security shred style practically turns the paper into dust. The resulting paper shreds are so small that it's nearly impossible to reassemble even a tiny portion of the original document, let alone reassemble an entire page. This cut style is designed for top secret government and military documents and is a favorite of highly secure government organizations.
Shreds per page: 15,600 Security level: P-7 (Highest Security)