shredder security levels

Your Guide to Shredder Security Levels

Got some important files you need to get rid of? Throwing them away in the trashcan is not enough – you’ll want to get them chopped up first.

Thanks to advancements in technology, you don’t have to do it with a pair of scissors, either (we know you were reaching for them).

A shredder is a great piece of equipment that cuts your papers so you can dispose of them more efficiently. The problem is, with so many shredders to choose from, it can get kind of confusing.

Thankfully we have shredder security levels to help us make picking a shredder a little easier.

Shredder Security Levels Explained

Paper shredders are quite easy to categorize. The levels go from P2 to P7, with P2 offering the lowest amount of shredder security and P7 offering the highest.


P2 shredders offer the least amount of shredder security, but do not be fooled; they can still shred documents super fast, allowing you to move more quickly and productively through your shredding tasks. Even more, you wouldn’t have to worry about tearing documents by hand anymore! The P2 shredders can either come as cross cut or strip cut, however, even as a strip cut shredder. Strip cut shredders are usually less expensive, but offer less security. However, even as a strip cut shredder, the P2 produces shredded paper in the form of thin strips. This puts your private information at a lower risk of falling into the wrong hands.

P2 shredders are great for general and/or personal shredding purposes, and to keep your home or office nice and clean.

P3 and P4

P3 and P4, shredders are for dealing with more important documents. You’ll see these in a lot of office buildings because they’re great for shredding mildly confidential paperwork. P3 shredders, or level 3 shredders can be both, strip cut or cross cut, while P4 shredders, or level 4 shredders, are primarily cross cut.

Trying to reproduce copies of the shredded papers would be difficult to do without the proper equipment (and chances are, this alone would dissuade many people from doing so) so you can be much more confident that your documents have been successfully destroyed.


This is where you begin to get into government usage.

The government understandably deals with a large number of confidential projects, with many documents to sort through. P5 shredders, or Level 5 shredders, make sure that information never gets leaked. While these shredders may not be entirely suitable for highly confidential information, they make a great choice information such as social security numbers. Nevertheless, if you are considering a P5 shredder or higher, it is important to keep in mind that the smaller the particle output, the lower the productivity. This just means that these high security shredders are not high volume shredders and therefore cannot shred large amounts of paper at once.

These shredders are the favorite choice of the U.S. military and for low confidential papers of the FBI/CIA, and protect a great deal against any potential attempts at espionage.


A step up from P5 shredders, are P6 shredders, or Level 6 shredders which cut paper down into particles less than 1/64 of an inch.

Level 6 shredding is almost exclusively used by government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the CIA.  They can effectively destroy files without the risk of someone stealing, reusing, and recreating the information.

Of course, there were still a select few who thought that 1/64 of an inch was still not enough, so to satisfy their needs there is the…


Nothing, and we mean nothing, gets in the way of a P7 shredder.

This high-security shredder cuts paper down to such a small size (half the size of the P6), that it is scientifically impossible to recreate the shredded document by current means. The P7 is the newer P6 that has been NSA tested, and complies with their current classified destruction regulations. However, even the most heavy duty shredders are only capable of handling ten sheets per pass at most. Therefore, though P7 shredders offer high-security data destruction, they should be handled more carefully.

This is only needed for the highly confidential documents, so the chances of you needing to invest in this expensive piece of equipment are pretty low.

Nonetheless, these monsters do some pretty epic work, and when they’ve got a job to do, they make sure it’s done right.

We’re Ready to Shred

When you need a reliable shredder for you or your company’s needs, you can count on us to do the job right.

We cover all shredder security levels and have the latest in shredder technology. No matter what job you need to be done, you can be sure we’ve got you covered.

Got more than paper to waste? We’ve also got more data destruction machines such as CD & DVD shredders, hard drive degaussers/destroyers, and SDD destroyers, and disintegrators for multimedia shredding and much more.

Give us a call or message us to find out how we can better serve you. We hope to hear from you soon.


If you’re interested in the process of reducing or eliminating an unwanted magnetic field stored on tape and disk media such as computer and hard drives, check this link that will take you to our main page for degaussers.

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