7 Best Quiet Paper Shredders

Best Quiet Paper Shredders

Even in our digital age, for everything from business contracts to hardcopies of patients’ medical files, paper hardcopies are essential.

That said, they still take up a lot of space, and there’s always the risk of sensitive files being lost or stolen, which is why companies and individuals often shred non-essential paperwork.

Shredders aren’t leaving the workplace quietly – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want one that’s a bit quieter. After all, if you’ve ever used one, you know the screaming wailing sound of shredders can be extremely loud, disruptive, and downright annoying.

That’s why you’ll want to look into a quiet paper shredder. Of course, while you want a quiet shredder, you don’t want an ineffective one, so what you really need is a balanced paper shredder that’s effective and easy on the ears.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what makes for a quality quiet shredder, along with some of the best options on the market.

What to Look for in a Silent Paper Shredder

Let’s start at the beginning – what makes some shredders so noisy?

Older shredders often feature metal for added durability. While you obviously want to purchase a paper shredder which is durable and will last for a long time, metal against metal isn’t exactly the best way to keep things quiet. You’ll thus want to look for shredders which make use of other materials in addition to metal so as to mitigate that awful screeching metal-on-metal sound.

Then there’s the question of how much noise they produce in the first place. Noise for shredders is typically measured in decibels. 85 decibels is pretty loud for an office space. For comparison, ambulance sirens are often about 125 decibels, and many paper shredders operate at around 75 to 80 decibels.

Ideally, you want to try to find paper shredders which produce fewer decibels than this.

Then there is the way in which the shredder actually shreds the paper. Consider the following methods:

  • Strip-Cut Shredders: Chances are, when you think of a paper shredder, this is what comes to mind. It produces the long, thin, horizontal ribbons of paper we typically associate with paper shredders.
  • Cross-Cut Shredders: As the name implies, these shredders cut papers not just horizontally but vertically, making them that much harder for would-be identity thieves rifling through your paper cuttings to piece them back together. While this is better for security, all that added motion and cutting can naturally contribute to a noisier machine.
  • Micro Shredders: Also known as particle shutters, these can cut paper into even more jumbled cuts, making it extremely hard to piece things back together.

Size also matters. The larger the motor, the greater the chance that it can produce more noise. The size of the stack of paper you are shredding also matters, as the larger the stack, the harder the cutter has to work to shred the pile, thus producing more noise.

Then there’s the matter of placement. If you place your paper shredder against a cabinet or set it on a tiled or hardwood floor, the rumble of the unit will cause additional vibrations in these hard surfaces, creating extra noise. It is therefore better to place paper shredders on carpeting or, if that’s not possible, a mat. In addition, if you lean your paper shredder against something or situate it at a slant, this alignment could cause the cutters, motors, and other mechanical items to make extra noise, so make sure your shredder is standing upright.

Finally, metal components tend to rust or corrode over time if they aren’t oiled, so paper shredders with automatic oiling components can help keep them quiet while also extending the unit’s lifespan.

The Best Silent Paper Shredder Options

With all of that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best quiet paper shredder units on the market, how quiet they really are, and what else they have to offer.

1) Bonsaii EverShred C149-C Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Shredder

Here we have another Bonsaii unit, which continues the work of the above model of being able to take on a huge workload and cut through everything from stacks of paper to paper clips to bigger items such as CDs.

Bonsaii EverShred C149-C Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Shredder

It is also another cross-cutting unit, which means that it stands a better chance of shredding items in such a way as to render them unreadable to anyone who might try to piece them together afterwards.

This model can cut through even more paper (18 sheets) than the previous Bonsaii model. The slot is 8.7 inches wide, so it can take on a pretty thick stack of materials with ease. What’s more, it can cut through CDs, paper clips, and other materials, and it can do so without the unit becoming too loud. While this model is slightly louder than the previous model at 62 decibels, it is still relatively quiet. Adding to its overall quietness is the fact that it has four caster wheels which allow the unit to move with ease and without much noise.

What’s more, this model can, like the other Bonsaii model, run for as long as an hour without overheating or running into other problems. The motor itself is relatively quiet, and the cooling system is excellent.

It has a large wastebasket that is able to take on 6 gallons’ worth of waste. In addition, it has a transparent compartment which allows you to view the progress of your shredding and see how full the unit is, which helps you know when it’s time to empty it.

All of this helps make this model an ideal silent paper shredding choice.

  • Good wastebasket size
  • 62 decibels is decently quiet
  • Good cooling system
  • A tad louder than the other Bonsaii model

Our rating: 4.7 / 5

2) Bonsaii EverShred Pro 3S1612-Sheet Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Paper

As the name implies, this unit can take on twelve sheets of paper at once without a problem.

Bonsaii EverShred Pro 3S1612-Sheet Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Paper

As stated above, stack thickness can have a significant impact on the noise emitted by a shredder, so this feature allows you to shred a bunch of papers at once without being too noisy. That’s good, because this is a cross cutting unit, meaning that there are more mechanisms and thus a greater potential for the machine to make noise.

However, overall this quiet paper shredder does a good job of mitigating that risk. It can work for up to an hour without needing to stop, during which time it operates at about 58 decibels – well below that 70 decibel threshold mentioned above.

The cutters themselves are actually pretty powerful, being able to cut through everything from stacks of paper to paper clips and credit cards. With all that cutting, you might think that this paper shredder is apt to get jammed, which is why it is so refreshing that this model has an auto start and reverse feature to prevent such issues. This can also help keep it from overheating.

The attached 4.2 gallon wastebasket isn’t bad, but is a bit smaller than others.

Still, the relatively quiet 58 decibel operation makes this a good choice for a quiet shredder.

  • Quiet operation
  • Powerful cutters
  • Auto start and reverse feature
  • Smaller wastebasket than others
  • A very no-frills unit

Our rating: 4.6 Star Rating 4.6 / 5

3) Fellowes Powershred 76Ct Cross-Cut Heavy Duty Office Paper Shredder

This model can take on 16 sheets at once with its cross-cutting method, and can take on a whopping 200 sheets per minute. As with the other models, it can also handle credit cards and CDs, and it has a 6.5 gallon wastebasket.

Fellowes Powershred 76Ct Cross-Cut Heavy Duty Office Paper Shredder

Unique to this model is a button which, when pressed, works to get rid of jams in a second.

On the other hand, this model can only run for about 20 minutes continuously, after which time it needs 40 minutes to cool. That isn’t bad, but it’s less than the hour-long shred time that you can enjoy with other models.

This is another model for which it’s hard to pin down the decibel level, but similar models typically operate around 65 to 70 or so decibels – not as silent as others, but not bad, especially with how much this model can shred at once.

  • Can cut a lot of paper at once and per minute
  • Anti-jam button is highly convenient
  • Hard to pin down the exact decibel level
  • Can run for less time than other models

Our rating: 4.5 / 5

4) GoECOlife GMW120P Limited Edition 12-Sheet Paper Shredder

This model is billed as being able to cut 12 sheets at a time, which is a fair amount. It is, however, hard to track how loud it actually is in terms of decibels, although it seems to be below that 70 decibel threshold. The swivel wheels, at least, are pretty quiet.

GoECOlife GMW120P Limited Edition 12-Sheet Paper Shredder

The wastebasket is on the small side, but this unit is still able to cut CDs as well as paper and is generally energy efficient.

  • Can cut a lot of paper at once
  • Is energy efficient
  • Hard to determine decibel level
  • Smaller wastebasket at 4.2 gallons

Our rating: 4.4 Star Rating 4.4 / 5

5) Aurora AU2280XA Professional Grade Shredder

This model is able to cut an incredible 22 sheets of paper at once, making it by far the best performer in terms of capacity.

Aurora AU2280XA Professional Grade Shredder

It can run for up to 30 minutes before needing to cool off, which is about middle of the road for these units. That said, while it does have an anti-jam and auto reverse feature, it does still tend to get jammed a bit more than others.

It is also hard to gauge the decibel level of this model.

Still, it is relatively compact, and it’s another energy-saving unit.

  • Large 8.5 gallon wastebasket
  • Energy efficient
  • Can cut a lot of paper at once
  • Hard to gauge the decibel level

Our rating: 4.3 / 5

6) Sentinel FM120P High Security Micro-Cut Shredder

This model is yet another that can handle a heavy load of work, being able to take on 12 sheets of paper at once, as well as CDs and credit cards.

Sentinel FM120P High Security Micro-Cut Shredder

As you can tell from the title, this model features micro-cut technology, allowing it to cut paper into such tiny bits that it’s essentially impossible to piece things back together again once they have been shredded.

It actually has a separate slot for shredding CDs, which is a nice touch. A common problem with shredders that take on CDs is the risk of the bits getting caught in the teeth of the shredder, the blades themselves, or the inner workings of the unit. This model solves that problem by having a separate slot for shredding CDs.

It can shred 72 sheets of paper per minute, allowing you to complete your task that much more quickly.

It has an auto start and stop feature which ensures that the model does not run longer than necessary, and it also has a manual reverse function.

While it’s harder to gauge how quiet this model is, it does come with caster wheels which allow you to wheel it around relatively quietly.

This unit also comes with a 5-gallon wastebasket, and as a nice touch, it can slide out for easier emptying. The wastebasket also features a window which, as with the Bonsaii model listed above, can make it easier to tell when the shredder is full. This model also has an indicator to help you ensure that the unit does not overheat.

  • 72 sheets a minute is impressive
  • Good auto start feature
  • Micro-cut technology creates tiny paper particles
  • Quiet, exact but decibel level is unclear
  • 12 sheet shredding capability might be a stretch

Our rating: 4.2 / 5

7) SimplyShred PSC418D Cross Cut Heavy Duty Paper Shredder

There are two big numbers which establish why this paper shredder is such a big deal: 7.4 and 58. The former is the enormous size of its wastebasket, and the latter is the decibel level at which it operates.

SimplyShred PSC418D Cross Cut Heavy Duty Paper Shredder

Taken together, you can see that this paper shredder can handle a huge amount of paper waste while still operating as an overall quiet paper shredder.

As with the Fellowes model, this unit from SimplyShred also has an indicator to help ensure that the model does not overheat.

  • Huge wastebasket
  • Quiet performance
  • Can handle a lot of material
  • Higher-end model and thus more expensive
  • Can get quite hot after long continuous run

Our rating: 4.1 Star Rating 4.1 / 5


Well, that’s it. By following these steps, you can find the quiet paper shredder of your dreams.

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