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What Makes a Paper Shredder High Security

  • Written by: Cory Jones, Associate Product Manager
  • Topics: Paper Shredders

In a world with ever increasing incidents of data and identity theft, you want to do everything you can to protect yourself. While all of your personal information is important, some documents are more confidential than others. One document may contain your name and address, while another lists your Social Security Number or vital banking information. Undoubtedly, you probably want the latter document to be destroyed more rigorously than the first.

High security shredders are designed to thoroughly destroy confidential documents, making them nearly impossible to reassemble. But what makes some shredders more secure than others? You may think that larger shredders are automatically more secure than smaller machines, but this is not necessarily the case. In reality, the cut style determines the security level of your shredder.

To put it simply, different shredders cut your documents in varying styles and sizes. To gain the best security, choose a shredder that cuts your documents into as small of pieces as possible. Shredder security levels can range from a low-security P-1 up to a maximum-security P-7.

Typically, it’s recommended to shred sensitive information, such as a Social Security Number or financial statements, with a shredder that is level P-4 or higher. While a P-4 shredder is the minimum security level for sensitive information, it does not deliver enough cuts to be considered high security. A high security shredder is either a Micro-Cut (P-5), Super Micro-Cut (P-6), or a High Security-Cut shredder (P-7). Take a look at the chart below for more information on the different cut styles and uses.

Security Level

Type of Cut

Typical Use



Financial Firms, Law Firms, Government Offices, Personal Home Use


Super Micro-Cut

Security Firms, Government Offices


High Security-Cut

Top Secret Government Offices


Micro-Cut shredders have always been a popular choice for financial firms, law firms and government entities, but have recently started to become more popular for personal home use. Although they are not as common as Micro-Cut shredders, Super Micro-Cut shredders are generally used by security firms and government offices. High Security-Cut shredders are used by top secret government offices and are used to destroy classified or top secret information. The P-7 shredder shreds so thoroughly that documents are essentially turned to dust.

Whether you are looking to better protect your own sensitive information, your business’s financial statements or the secrets of the nation, a high security shredder with a P-5 or above security level will help keep your personal information personal.