Archive for the 'Paper Shredders' Category


Formax FD 8704CC Multimedia Paper Shredder Review

Posted by: James on June 18th, 2013

Formax FD 8704CC Multimedia Paper ShredderModern businesses have many needs and often need tools that support their often versatile and constantly changing working conditions. For this reason, Formax has made the FD 8704CC multimedia paper shredder (found here). This shredder is designed from the ground up to keep up with the needs of modern businesses and help them stay on top of the curve, especially when it comes to data and information destruction. I would like to share a few of these features with you in this article.

While paper destruction and HIPAA / FACTA compliance is extremely important, not all data and sensitive information is stored on paper. Many businesses use optical or magnetic media to store patient and customer records, important plans, research and much more. This is where the Formax FD 8704CC really finds its mark. This shredder is equipped with paper, optical and magnetic media destruction capabilities. Let me go into more detail.

Before I go into too much detail on how the FD 8704CC’s capabilities shredding material, I would like to cover how many other manufacturers approach multimedia shredding. The ability of a shredder to destroy optical media is often an afterthought with other shredders. All shredding is done via the same slot. That’s not to say they are bad shredders, but the separation of the paper and multimedia material found in the FD 8704CC is by far superior in my personal opinion.

The FD 8704CC has two dedicated shredding slots. One is designed for paper, found in the front, and the other is dedicated for CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, floppy discs, mini DV cassettes and zip discs. Because there are two dedicated slots, each does it’s own proprietary job extremely well. Amazingly, Formax didn’t go chintzy on the paper shredder. It handles up to 45 sheets of paper in a single pass!

The cross cut shredding pattern falls in at a Level 3 and the particle pieces are 5/32″ x 1 5/8″ in size, which is more than what most offices need. The feed slot is 9.4″ wide, so it easily handles letter-size paper and smaller. You can even shred larger paper, it just needs to be folded in half. The shredding blades themselves are made from heat-treated steel. Formax didn’t cut corners on the quality. Even the gears are made from high quality materials.

Have you ever used a shredder and had to turn it off after 20 or 30 minutes to cool down? This is what’s referred to as the duty cycle when it comes to shredders. The Formax FD 8704CC is what’s known as a continuous duty shredder, meaning there is no duty cycle. It uses a thermally protected motor that can be used continuously through the day. This is especially nice in an office where there may be several people using the shredder throughout the day.

If you have ever used an office shredder, you may have discovered that some almost require a degree to use, if not at least a manual. The FD 8704CC is extremely easy to use. It has a control panel with LED lights to let you know what’s going on. It lets you know when the shredder door is open, when the bag is full and when the shredder needs to be oiled. It also includes a photoelectric sensor that automatically turns the shredder on when material is detected. A load control indicator lets you know how hard the motor is working. If the light goes up into the red, it is working too hard. If it is shredding too much, it will shut off, reverse the paper back out and let you adjust the quantity. You could almost say this shredder is jam proof.

Overall I just have to say that this is a solid piece of machinery and an EXCELLENT shredder for the office. I can’t stress enough just how well put together this shredder is. It is ideal for use in a centralized office location. You can find the FD 8704CC here. Still have questions? Give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.


Replacement Paper Shredder Bags

Posted by: James on March 20th, 2013

Paper Shredder BagsIf you own a high-end paper shredder for your office, chances are you are using clear plastic shredder  bags (found here). These bags provide a clean and effective way to empty the shredder, making way for additional shredding. There are a lot of reasons why people use shredder bags. If you own an office paper shredder, you may want to consider browsing Office Zone’s huge selection of bulk shredder bags.

At Office Zone, we offer shredder bags for the following brands:

The above-mentioned shredder bags are specifically designed to be used with your model of shredder. Using the correct size, versus a generic bag, ensures proper shredder operation. This helps shred particles, pieces of paper and other waste from getting into the mechanical components of the shredder.

Using the correct bag size helps to cut down on bag changes. This is because the correct bag size fills the shredders bin or cabinet correctly, ensuring you get the total amount of gallons of shredded paper promised by the manufacturer. Using a bag that is too small will cut down on capacity and using a bag that is too big will cause valuable space to be filled by excess bag.

The bags we sell are all OEM. This means quality. Our paper shredder bags are made for the shredder by the manufacturer and use heavy-gauge plastic. This ensures fewer bag tears and added durability. We also sell these bags in bulk boxes, ensuring a lower price per bag for you.

We are an authorized dealer for Destroyit, HSM, Fellowes, Intimus, Rexel, Kobra, GBC, Formax and Dahle. If you don’t see the shredder bags for your model of shredder, give us call at 1-800-543-5454. We can more than likely track down the correct bags for your shredder and provide them to you at a guaranteed low price.

At Office Zone, we have over a decade of experience with paper shredders. We are not only able to provide you with replacement bags, but we can also help you track down replacement parts, additional shredders, accessories, shredder oil and much more. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders, supplies and accessories here.

Please feel free to post any feedback, thoughts or additional advice on this article in the form of a comment. Thank you for reading!


What Makes a Silent Paper Shredder Quiet?

Posted by: James on January 9th, 2013

Quiet Paper ShreddersIf you use a paper shredder in the office, you probably want it to be quiet. A loud shredder can be annoying and distracting. While most paper shredders generate some sort of noise, some are quieter than others. So what features should you look for in order to get a quieter shredder (found here) and is there anything you can do to quiet your existing shredder? I will cover the various technologies shredder manufacturers use to quiet their shredders and will offer a few tips to help out existing shredder owners in this article.

Having worked in the office equipment industry for well over a decade, I have had a chance to use a variety of paper shredders. Some are remarkably quiet (almost as if they were off) and others sound like a wood chipper caught on something. Louder shredders are like nails on a chalkboard and they really can cut into work productivity.

Before I go too far into what makes a shredder quiet, I would like to offer a small bit of advice. While I recommend cross cut shredders for office use, strip cut shredders are by nature more quiet than cross cut shredders. There are fewer moving parts and less cutting involved, which results in a quieter machine. If you need a cross cut shredder, which most of us do, here are some things that help keep them quiet:

  • Vibration Absorbing Motor Mounts – Many manufacturers, especially those that offer German-made shredders, use special mounts for the motors. Like a car’s motor mounts, these rubber mounts absorb vibration and cut down on noise.
  • Wood or Sound Absorbing Cabinets – Many manufacturers use a wooden cabinet, versus a metal or plastic cabinet, purely because wood naturally absorbs vibrations. Metal cabinets can sometimes reverberate the sound and cheap plastic cabinets can cause more vibration.
  • Insulated Shredding Head – Many shredder manufacturers line their shredder heads with special insulation, which helps cut down on sound.
  • Modern Shredding Blades With Less Friction – Thanks to modern engineering, many shredder blades have been engineered from the ground up to produce less noise by minimizing friction as much as possible. This isn’t something you’ll find in a cheap department store shredder, but is something you will find in a higher-end German-made shredder.
  • Automatic Oilers – Oil helps cut down on friction, which cuts down on noise. If you are shopping around for a shredder, consider buying one with an automatic oiler. This will keep your shredder well lubed and should extend the life of the shredder. If you already own a shredder, consider buying shredder oil (found here and oil the shredder yourself. This will help cut down on noise.
  • Level Floor – Believe it or not, if your shredder is not flat and level on the floor, it can wobble and vibrate just enough to generate additional noise. If your shredder is abnormally loud, consider moving it to a different location. It might help.

A few brands I highly recommend you look at, that are almost always quieter, include Dahle (found here), Intimus (found here), Destroyit (found here) and Formax (found here).

If you would like more information on paper shredders, please feel free to give us a call and speak with one of our Paper Shredder Experts at 1-800-543-5454. Hopefully this article has helped you out. Do you have tips or ideas that have helped you quiet your own shredder? Post them here as a comment!


Do You Need a Cross Cut or Micro Cut Paper Shredder?

Posted by: James on December 5th, 2012

Cross Cut Paper ShreddersYou may have heard the term micro cut floating across the Web lately. It is a term that has been coined by many paper shredder manufacturers to describe their shredders that cut paper “even smaller” than other cross cut shredders. So what is all the hubbub about and do you really need a micro cut shredder or are you going to be just fine with a standard cross cut? I have a lot of experience with paper shredders (found here) and would like to share my thoughts on this topic.

The term cross cut is used to describe any shredder that cuts paper in a cross-hatch pattern. So is a micro cut still a cross cut? That is correct, a micro cut shredding pattern is still a cross cut, just on a smaller level. Today many people use cross cut to describe a Level 3 shredder and micro cut to describe a Level 4 shredder, but technically anything that is not a strip cut is a cross cut.

One reason many manufacturers are trying to push “micro cut” is because it is a way to get you to upgrade from your “old” shredder to a newer model with better technology. The thing many businesses and individuals don’t realize is that a micro cut isn’t for everyone. Here is the biggest difference between a Level 3 cross cut and a Level 4 micro cut:


  • Level 3 Cross Cut – This cut falls within a 3.9mm x 50mm range. This is very small and very difficult to piece back together.

  • Level 4 Micro Cut – This cut pattern falls within a 1.9mm x 15mm range. This is one of the smallest cutting patterns used by non-government / military organizations.

You can read more about the various cutting patterns and security levels by reading our Paper Shredder Guide here.

Both cutting patterns are FACTA and HIPAA compliant and are appropriate for shredding patient, customer and client data. So do you really need a micro cut pattern? I would say that most businesses will be fine with a Level 3 cross cut pattern. While the Level 3 pattern is a little bigger than Level 4, it is still small enough to provide enough security for most applications. If you feel the need for a little more security, there isn’t anything wrong with a Level 4 pattern.

So if you are buying a new shredder, there are a few things you will want to consider. The Level 3 pattern has less area to cut than a Level 4 pattern, which means you will have a decreased shredding capacity with a Level 4. A Level 3 shredder that can handle 10 sheets at a time will usually be about 6 sheets at a time with a Level 4. You will simply need to weigh in if you need the added security or the increased cutting capacity.

If you still have questions, concerns or need answers about cross cut and micro cut shredders, please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454. We have a lot of experience with paper shredders and should be able to help point you in the right direction. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.


Auto Feed Paper Shredders – Why You Should Use One

Posted by: James on October 22nd, 2012

Auto Feed Paper ShreddersHave you ever stood by a shredder, feeding in a handful of paper at a time until the entire stack is shredded? This isn’t exactly the most exciting activity in the world. When shredding a large stack of paper, and depending on the model, it could take 15+ minutes to finish. This is where auto feed paper shredders (found here) have a huge benefit.

I was just speaking to a customer last week. They said, “I need a paper shredder that I can just put in my paper and walk away.” I explained to the customer that they could either purchase a high-capacity paper shredder or go with an auto feed paper shredder. I went on to suggest a few models.

So what is an auto feed paper shredder and why might you want one? Auto feed shredders have a feed tray, much like a printer, where you can set a stack of paper. The shredder will then pull in one sheet at a time, much like a copy machine, and shred it. Most auto feed paper shredders can accept 100 plus sheets of paper at a time. You can literally set a stack on the shredder, start it up and leave.

Auto feed paper shredders cost a lot less than a high-capacity shredder. So basically if you need to shred 50 sheets of paper at a time, you can either purchase a shredder that can shred 50 sheets of paper at once or you can buy an auto feed shredder that takes 50 sheets and shreds them one at a time. Sure the high-capacity shredder will be much faster, but if speed isn’t what you need, the auto-feed will do the same job at a much lower price.

One auto-feed shredder that I have personal experience with is the Formax FD 8500AF AutoFeed (found here). One reason I like this auto feed shredder is because it has a slot for auto feed shredding and a separate slot for manual feeding, much like any other shredder. It sits on casters, has a front cabinet door for emptying the shredder and it looks like any other paper shredder.

The auto feed tray on the Formax FD 8500AF can handle 175 sheets of 11″ x 17″ paper at a time, making this shredder ideal for the office. The 16″ wide hand feed opening can accept 16-18 sheets of paper at a time. These two options make this a great centralized office shredder for use in an office department.

The FD 8500 AF also features the typical whistles and bells such as an auto on/off sensor, a load indicator that lets you know when you are shredding too much paper and an oil indicator light that lets you know when the shredder needs to be oiled. It also features a thermally protected continuous duty motor.

Here is a video demo of the Formax FD 8500 in action:

In conclusion, if you need to shred a lot of paper, but you are limited by a budget, you should seriously consider using an auto feed paper shredder. They handle a lot of paper, are safe to use and best of all they usually won’t break the bank. If you have questions about auto feed paper shredders, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-543-5454. You can find our entire selection of high-quality paper shredders here.


My Shredder’s Jammed, What Should I Do?

Posted by: James on October 19th, 2012

Paper Shredder JamsJams are one of the most common issues people have with their paper shredders. Either the shredder won’t work anymore, paper is stuck or another issue results in the machine no longer functioning correctly. There are some very easy solutions to fixing a jam and preventing future paper jams. At Office Zone we have a lot of experience with paper shredders (found here). Here are a few tips that should help keep your paper shredder on track towards a long life.

How to clear a jammed shredder:

  • The first thing to remember when clearing a jam is not to force the shredder to continue trying to pull the paper through. This could result in long-term damage to your shredder. Many people don’t realize that forcing paper through a shredder can strip the cogs off of the nylon gears inside the shredder.
  • If you’re shredder is jammed as a result of being fed too much paper and the motor is over stressed, there are a couple of things you can do. First, try to put your shredder into reverse (if it is so equipped). If that doesn’t work, or if your shredder doesn’t have a reverse, try putting vegetable or shredder oil over the opening. This should help soften the paper enough to pass through.
  • Another option, especially if you tried shredding a credit card that jammed the shredder, is to unplug the shredder, take the shredder head off and try to remove the jammed particles from the underside of the shredder. Be sure the shredder is unplugged and that you are extra careful. A pair of pliers may be needed to help remove clogged or jammed paper / plastic.
  • If you’re shredder is now cleared out, but it is not functioning correctly, you may need to get a replacement part or purchase a new shredder (found here). Regardless of what you decide to do, I recommend you contact our Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129 to see what they recommend. There may be a very simple fix that requires a cheap replacement part.

How to prevent a paper jam:

  • Paper Shredder OilNow that we have established how to clear a jammed shredder, I would like to cover a few things that can help prevent future jamming issues.
  • Keep your shredder properly oiled by using shredder oil (found here). Oil helps keep your shredder running at maximum power and efficiency, which means far fewer jams for you.
  • Try to be careful when shredding paper. If it seems like to much paper, it probably is. Shredding too much paper is the most common culprit in a shredder jam.
  • I highly recommend you consider buying or using a shredder with load protection. These shredders use sensors that detect how much load and stress is being put on the motor. If the shredder detects that too much paper is going in, it will quickly stop the shredder and put it into reverse. Intimus, Intelli-Zone, HSM, Destroyit and Dahle are all shredder brands that often feature load control.
  • If you are looking for a paper shredder, you may want to consider buying one with a chain drive or with metal gears. These shredders have a reputation for chewing through paper quickly without jamming.

If you still have questions about paper jams or finding a jam-proof shredder, please feel free to call and speak with one of our experts at 1-800-543-5454. They can help point you in the right direction, answer your questions and provide you with affordable quotes. You can find all of our paper shredders here.


Best Shredders Under $100

Posted by: James on September 15th, 2011

Fellowes P-35C Cross Cut Paper ShredderSome businesses believe that they need to invest hundreds of dollars in a paper shredder for their company. While this may be the case for some companies, it isn’t the case for all. There are several good paper shredders that can be purchased for under $100. It doesn’t make sense to spend $1000 on a paper shredder if you don’t require the unique features on a high-end paper shredder. Before purchasing any shredder, you should remember some key considerations.

What is your security level? Not every company has papers containing sensitive information that need to be shredded into tiny bits of confetti. And even among those that do, it is not necessary to have a high security paper shredder at every desk or in every office. Many companies will keep their high security shredder in a central location, and will have standard cross cut or strip cut paper shredder for general use.

The volume of use is another good consideration. If you’re only shredding dozens or even hundreds sheets of paper in a day, then a $100 or less shredder will be more cost effective than a high volume paper shredder that can shred thousands of pages a day. The amount of paper that a paper shredder can destroy at a time is also something to consider. If you shred documents that are six pages or less, then spending $100 on a low volume paper shredder makes more sense than spending $800 on a shredder that can destroy 2—30 page documents.

Here are four of the best paper shredders for under $100.

  1. GBC SC032 Paper Shredder – The SC032 Paper Shredder by GBC is available for $58.69. It is a desk side paper shredder that is perfect for light office or home use. The SC032 Paper Shredder is a low-volume strip cut style shredder that can shred six sheets of paper at a time. The blades can handle shredding any standard-size paper, and can even handle destroying plastic cards, like expired credit cards or ID cards.  The SC032 Paper Shredder has a four-gallon bin, which is a good size shred bin that does not need to be emptied often depending on your shredder usage. The GBC SC032 Paper Shredder is easy to use and requires minimal maintenance.
  2. Fellowes P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder – The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder by Fellowes can be purchased for $65. Fellowes has a reputation for high performance and durable office equipment, so this is a real deal.  The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder is cross-cut style low volume paper shredder that can shred up to 5 sheets of paper into tiny 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ particles. So it is a good choice for people that want added security at a bargain price. The P-35C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder has a compact design, so it will fit easily at a desk in a business or home office.
  3. Fellowes W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder – The W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder by Fellowes retails at $83. This is a paper shredder for under $100 that is designed for more rugged home office or business office use. The W-11C Cross-Cut Paper Shredder has a 9 inch shred opening that can handle shredding 11 sheets of paper at a time. This cross-cut paper shredder has a Level 3 security ranking, which means the shred particles are smaller than lower level printers. This will appeal to those who are concerned with protecting their or their clients’ private information.
  4. HSM Compact Multishred Shredder – The Compact Multishred Shredder by HSM can be purchased for $93, and is the most versatile shredder that can be purchased for under $100. The Compact Multishred Shredder is a cross-cut shredder that can destroy 8 sheet stacks of paper with each pass. It is a Level 3 security shredder that is able to turn paper and also thin plastics into tiny bits. This includes laminated sheets of paper, floppy disks (assuming you’re still using them), credit cards, and ID cards. It’s compact design makes it ideal for individual use at home or at the office.

Each of these quality paper shredders can be purchased at You can find Office Zone’s entire line of paper shredders here.


How to Oil a Paper Shredder

Posted by: James on September 14th, 2011

Paper ShreddersPaper shredders are important to any business or home. Not only do paper shredders help conserve garbage space, but they also help prevent fraud by keeping your private information secure by destroying documents with sensitive information.

Paper shredders can provide years of use so long as they are properly used and maintained. Since paper shredders have engines, cutting blades and other moving mechanical parts that can heat up and wear out, it’s important to keep the paper shredder properly oiled. Proper lubrication will extend the life and functionality of the paper shredder, and will allow it to run quieter. Failure to do so will drastically reduce the operating life of your shredder, and cost you more in the long term through premature replacement.

The way you oil a paper shredder, and how often it needs to be oiled, will depend of the type of paper shredder you own.  Low volume and low use paper shredders don’t require as much maintenance. Low volume paper shredders that are regularly used should be oiled once or twice a month. High volume paper shredders or paper shredders in constant use will require regular oiling, sometimes every four hours depending on how heavy it was being used. As a general rule of thumb, you should oil the paper shredder each time you replace the catch-bag or empty the bin.

Paper Shredder OilBefore adding oil or other lubrication (found here) to your paper shredder it is recommended that you review your owner’s manual. Liquid oils are the most common type of lubricant used to oil a paper shredder, although there are aerosol options also. It is recommended that you only use oil that is specifically made for lubricating paper shredders. Using WD-40, motor oil or other types of lubricant can actually damage the machine because it isn’t designed to adhere to the moving parts of the paper shredder. Using oil not designed for lubricating a paper shredder may also void your service warranty.

To begin oiling your paper shredder, begin by unplugging the paper shredder from the wall electrical outlet. You wouldn’t put your hand in a car engine while it’s moving, and paper shredder accidents can be equally as nasty. There are two ways to add oil to your paper shredder; the direct way and the indirect way.

For the direct way, you’ll apply the oil directly to the cutting blades by squeezing the bottle to squirt the oil through the paper feed opening. This will coat the lubricating oil on to the cutting blades of the shredder. Be sure to spread the oil along the length of the blades. Once your fingers or any dangling clothing is clear, plug the shredder back in and turn it on to the reverse setting. Let it run in reverse for 15 seconds. This will work the oil into the motor and on to the different parts of the paper shredders cutting head. Once this is done you should feed a few sheets of scrap paper through the shredder. This will remove any excess oil from the blades and will prevent potential messes.

The indirect way to oil your paper shredder is by adding oil to paper and running it through the shredder. The proper way of doing this is by spreading a small amount of paper shredder oil in a wide zig-zag pattern down the length of the paper so each blade will be touched by the oil. Make sure the oil is zig-zagged over the over the entire sheet, but don’t soak the paper. Soaking is unnecessary and will waste oil. After the paper is properly oiled, feed it through the paper shredder like you would any other document. One the sheet is completely fed through, switch the paper shredder to reverse mode. This will work the oil into the motor and on to the different parts of the paper shredders cutting head. Depending how heavily the paper shredder is used, this process may need to be repeated two or three times. As with the direct lubrication method, you should feed a few sheets of scrap paper through the shredder to remove any excess oil from the blades to prevent potential messes.

Once oiling is complete, your paper shredder will run quieter, faster, and will not wear reduce the wear and tear on the motor, gears, blades and bearings. You can find Office Zones paper shredder oil here and Office Zone’s entire line of paper shredders here.


Fellowes W-11C Paper Shredder Review

Posted by: James on September 7th, 2011

Fellowes W-11C Cross Cut Paper ShredderWhether you are a consumer, a business owner, or a politician, there are some documents that you need to dispose of that have sensitive information that you don’t want others to see. And since any transient, corporate spy, or scandal reporter can go through your garbage once it’s in the dumpster, how do you keep prying eyes off your private information? You shred the documents using a Fellowes W-11C paper shredder.

The Fellowes W-11C paper shredder is a crosscut paper shredder that will turn in documents and credit cards into inscrutable pieces of confetti. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up much space, can handle large loads, and will  The Fellowes W-11C paper shredder an ideal choice for consumers who are concerned about identity thieves stealing your private information, like credit card numbers, account numbers, social security numbers or any other information that can be used to set up fraudulent accounts in your name. The Fellowes W-11C paper shredder crosscut paper shredder is also a good choice for business to maintain the privacy of their clients and their business operations.

Crosscut paper shredders, like the Fellowes W-11C, tends to give users that are particularly worried about protecting their information more piece of mind than strip cut shredders. Strip cut shredders slice documents into long strips of paper that can sometimes be pieced back together. Whereas crosscut shredders make cut the documents into undistinguishable bits so there is little chance of this happening.

The Fellowes W-11C crosscut paper shredder is easy to use and requires minimal maintenance. To operate the Fellowes W-11C paper shredder, all the user has to do is feed the sheets of paper into the feed opening at the top. The shredder then self-feeds as it grinds the paper up into bit of confetti, which drops neatly and cleanly into the attached 5 gallon shred bin. You can either store a garbage ban in the shred bin or dump the contents directly into a recycle bin or trash receptacle.

The W-11C paper shredder is the product of Fellowes. Since 1917, Fellowes has grown into a trusted global manufacturer and marketer of business machines, records storage solutions and technology accessories, According to their website, Fellowes enables people to work with greater security, organization and productivity.

The Fellowes W-11C paper shredder has a medium capacity shredder that as a 9 inch shred opening. So it can handle all standard 8 ½ paper sizes. It can shred 11 sheets of paper at a time. The cutting blades are sturdy and can handle credit cards and staples. Not needing to remove staples before shredding can be a real time saver. The Fellowes W-11C paper shredder is only 18 inches high and 13 inches wide so it can fit easily next to a desk or a copy machine. The shredded bits of paper allow for more paper to fit into an office recycle bin. The blades are sturdy, and as long as the owner continues to oil the motor and blades at recommend intervals, the Fellowes W-11C paper shredder will provide years of use.

You can purchase a Fellowes W-11C paper shredder at Office Zone.  You can find Office Zone’s entire selection of paper shredders here.


Best Way to Clear Out a Jammed Shredder

Posted by: James on August 29th, 2011

MBM Destroyit 2270 Cross Cut ShredderA paper shredder should be a solid piece of machinery that should hold up with continued use. While this may describe most high-quality shredders, even the best of them can become subject to a jam. There are many reasons for why a paper jam occurs, which I will cover in this article, and there are also many ways to clear one out without having to contact a technician.

Before continuing with this article, remember that you don’t want to force your shredder to do anything. Trying to force paper, or continue running the motor, may result in a broken gear or a stripped belt.

There are many reasons why your paper may become jammed, here are the 3 most common reasons:

  1. Too Many Sheets – using too many sheets of paper, more than your paper shredder can handle, leads to the number one reason a jam occurs. While you may not always be able to count out the number of sheets you are shredding, try to start off small and build up from that. I personally recommend scaling back 20% from the manufacturers recommended maximum capacity. Many modern shredders now include a capacity indicator that consists of lights indicating how much stress the motor is under
  2. Shredding Items Other Than Paper – While many modern shredders can handle shredding credit cards, CDs and DVDs, this is not the case with all of them. Cross cut shredders, in particular, can choke on thick plastic. Before shredding credit cards, old ID badges, CDs and DVDs, check your owners manual and make sure your shredder can handle it. Many modern shredders can handle this material, with many including a bypass slot for “other” material.

    Staples and paper clips can also cause jams, not to mention premature wear. Many modern shredders can handle staples and paper clips. I personally still like to remove paper clips wherever I can, even when the shredder can handle them. Metal shredding metal is never a good thing on a regular basis.

  3. Shredder Oil – Shredders need to be oiled, especially cross cut shredders. If your shredder is running slower than normal, or has even seized, it may be a result of lack of lubrication. I recommend oiling a shredder after every bag change. Many modern office shredders now include automatic oilers or oiling reminder lights.

Now that I have described the most common types of jams, let me explain how to fix them.

  1. Too Many Sheets – if your shredder is clogged with too many sheets of paper, check to see if your shredder is equipped with a reverse button.If it is, you’re in luck. Many jams can be cleared by backing the paper back out.

    If your shredder doesn’t have a reverse button, or is simply too clogged to back out, I recommend squirting some shredder oil along the mouth of the shredder and wait 10-15 minutes. This will allow the oil to soften the paper, making it easy to pass through. Think of it as fiber for your shredder.

    If that still isn’t working, unplug the shredder and remove the shredder head. Try pulling the paper out from under the shredder. If you still can’t get the paper out, you may have to contact a Service Technician. Sorry!

  2. Shredding Items Other Than Paper – First turn unplug your shredder. Credit cards, CDs, DVDs and other plastic material can usually be fished out using needle nose pliers. First try pulling the jammed item out from the top of the shredder. Most of this material will come out easily. If you still can’t clear the plastic out of the shredder head, remove the shredder head and try pulling the material out from underneath the head.
  3. Shredder Oil – This is an easy fix. Oil your shredder. If you have never oiled your shredder before, you may need to squirt shredder oil directly onto the shredder blades to help free them up. If the shredder is still working, put shredder oil on paper (full width) and run it through the shredder. If your shredder is equipped with a reverse switch, run it for a few seconds after oiling the blades. This will help ensure proper lubrication.

    Don’t use WD-40, vegetable oil, car oil or other non-certified products for oiling a shredder. Use shredder oil. There is a big difference between real shredder oil and other oils. You can find oil here.

Hopefully these tips help you out. If you are still unable to clear your paper jam, try contacting Office Zone’s Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129. They should be able to help you out. You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.