No one wants to leave private documents lying around the house or office.
Using a paper shredder can be an effective way to destroy sensitive information.
However, there are several factors that can make buying your own paper shredder quite expensive.
Why Are Paper Shredders So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
Personal paper shredders tend to cost around $50, but if you want something professional, then you could be looking at spending around $2,500.
Paper shredders are expensive due to the cost associated with offering different features, high-quality parts for better performance, and ongoing maintenance costs.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. High-Volume Document Shredding
Here’s the deal with most businesses.
They have a ton of documents that they need to shred regularly—sometimes even daily.
Although many businesses store their sensitive information online, there are some who still keep paper copies.
When that information is no longer needed, it’s common practice for businesses to shred sensitive information.
It’s the best method to ensure no one is able to get their hands on it.
However, because of the sheer volume of paper that some businesses need to shred, standard paper shredders aren’t always up to the task.
Standard paper shredders may only be able to handle one or two documents at a time.
It can take a very long time for the business to get through all the papers it needs to shred.
As such, it needs a paper shredder that can handle multiple documents at once.
This allows the business to stuff 10 or more pages into the shredder at a given time.
The shredder then rips apart the paper all at once.
This speeds up the process of paper shredding, allowing the business to focus on other tasks.
The problem with high-volume paper shredders is that they’re a bit more expensive to make.
The manufacturer has to design a shredder that is able to handle tearing through many thick pieces of paper at once.
This usually means more expensive blades and parts.
Since manufacturing costs are higher, the price of the paper shredder will also be higher.
Paper shredders are expensive because some of them can handle high volumes of paper documents.
2. Capacity Bin Size
Some paper shredders simply spit the shredded pieces of paper out onto the floor.
Others have a bin that they dump the shreds of paper into instead.
Different paper shredders come with different capacity bin sizes.
Smaller capacity bins can only hold a small amount of paper before becoming full.
When it gets full, the paper shredder may stop running.
It runs the risk of jamming or clogging if it does.
Others will continue to run, but the paper shreds will likely spill over the side of the bin.
Having to empty the shredder fewer times is more efficient for a business.
It allows the individual shredding the paper to simply feed the documents into the shredder.
They don’t have to keep running back and forth with the bin to deposit the shreds into the trash.
However, larger capacity bins are also more expensive to make.
Since they are bigger, more resources are used to manufacture them.
As a result, they carry a higher price tag.
Paper shredders are expensive because bigger capacity bins are a bit more expensive to make.
3. Shredding Cut Type (Crisscross)
In the past, paper shredders were pretty boring.
They only cut documents vertically.
Over time, some companies became more innovative.
Some companies started to introduce shredders that shredded horizontally or even in a crisscross pattern, as opposed to merely vertical shredding.
The more advanced the shredding, the better the destruction of the paper.
This is an important feature for a company that handles highly sensitive information.
A mere vertical or horizontal cut pattern may not be enough to destroy the paper.
Although it’d be difficult, it’s still possible for someone to reassemble those pieces.
A paper shredder that has the ability to crisscross its cutting, however, is going to destroy the sheets of paper a lot better.
It’s a lot more difficult to reassemble smaller pieces than larger pieces.
Since shredders that shred better provide better protection, they are valuable to businesses.
However, producing a paper shredder that uses a crisscross pattern is a bit more expensive.
It requires more blades, for example, and a different design.
It’s likely a bit more expensive to make than a machine that only shreds in standard horizontal or vertical cut patterns.
With higher manufacturing costs come higher prices.
Paper shredders are expensive because some use advanced cutting patterns that are more expensive to produce.
4. Ability To Micro-Cut
While some companies offer unique cutting patterns, others focus on innovative blades.
One such example is a blade that micro-cuts documents.
Micro-cutting is the process of pulling paper through a shredder which uses a series of small, exact blades to shred the paper into extremely small pieces.
It doesn’t require a more advanced cutting pattern to do so.
Instead, the focus is on the blades and their ability to chop the paper up into small pieces.
Regardless of whether the cut is horizontal or vertical, the micro cuts make it very difficult for someone to reassemble a document.
This provides a lot of value for businesses that want to ensure their documents have been completely destroyed.
Manufacturing these shredders isn’t cheap, either.
It requires the production of small, sharp blades that, despite their size, are able to easily cut through paper.
That usually means the manufacturer needs to invest in high-quality blades.
Low-quality blades likely won’t be able to cut through the paper.
Since the manufacturer needs to spend more money on high-quality blades, it’s going to set the price for its shredders higher.
Paper shredders are expensive because of the cost of using micro blades.
5. Auto-Feeding Capabilities
You might be wondering how many people have lost their fingers to paper shredders.
Unfortunately, losing a finger to a paper shredder isn’t wholly uncommon.
People who have paper shredders in their homes also may be putting their children and pets at risk.
For example, most finger injuries that occur at home from a paper shredder largely happen to children.
Around 2/3 of finger injuries at home were due to children who put their hands in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Even in the workplace, it’s possible for people to injure their fingers while feeding paper into the shredder.
This is largely because there are two types of paper shredders.
One type is an auto-feed shredder while the other is a manual feed shredder.
A manual feed shredder requires the individual to physically feed each document, or set of documents, into the shredder.
The risk of injury is higher with a manual feed shredder because it requires the individual to move their hand close to the blades while it’s shredding the paper.
To prevent injuries, businesses started to pivot away from manual feed shredders.
Automatic feed shredders are safer because they allow the individual to put the documents into a holder.
The shredder then takes the documents in the holder and pulls them through the blades.
This reduces the risk of finger injuries.
Shredders with automatic feeding are a bit more expensive to make, however.
They require more parts and engineering.
As a result, they come at higher prices.
Paper shredders are expensive because auto-feed shredders are more expensive to make.
6. Security Feature Costs
As mentioned earlier, paper shredders can be a real threat to children and pets.
At home, children have no idea that the fun-looking machine that pulls the paper in and spits out shreds is dangerous.
A curious and unsupervised child might stick their hand into the shredder to see where the paper is going.
Pets can also be injured by paper shredders.
Cats, thinking the shredder is a toy, might stick their paws into the blades to try and grab the paper out as it disappears.
Serious injuries can occur, and that’s why paper shredder manufacturers spend some time and money on safety features.
Some safety features include an automatic shut-off when the shredder senses fingers.
This usually includes some type of sensor that is able to detect fingers as opposed to paper.
As soon as the sensor recognizes a finger, it automatically tells the shredder to turn off.
This reduces the risk of finger injuries.
Clearly, adding safety features requires a bit more manufacturing.
It might include more parts or just better engineering.
Either way, it’s going to make manufacturing costs higher.
There’s also higher perceived value.
Parents are likely going to be willing to spend a bit more money on a shredder that helps protect their children.
That reinforces the high price, too.
Paper shredders are expensive because safety features cost extra to implement.
7. Ability To Shred Credit Cards Or Plastic
While some businesses only need to shred paper, others require that additional items be shredded.
No one likes the idea of leaving expired credit cards laying around, right?
Even though they may be expired, credit cards have sensitive information printed on them.
An identity thief might be able to use the information on your old credit card to gain access to your new one.
As such, many businesses need a shredder that not only handles documents but plastic as well.
Plastic is a lot harder to shred than paper.
It’s denser and may contain certain metallic elements.
As such, the shredder needs top-of-the-line blades to cut through that plastic.
Those blades aren’t cheap to make or purchase.
As such, the manufacturer has to spend more money to make a shredder that uses these blades.
Paper shredders are expensive when they include stronger blades, like ones that can shred plastic, because they increase manufacturing costs.
8. Jam Prevention Capabilities
Another big problem that some paper shredders have is jamming.
When a shredder has too much paper in it, the paper can jam the shredder.
It’s unable to keep pulling paper through it.
Or it might pull the paper through it, but it’s unable to spit the paper out into the capacity bin.
This can lead to some serious problems.
Some manufacturers go the extra mile and implement jam-prevention functions.
This ensures that the shredder is able to keep doing its job without becoming jammed.
That means lower risk and more efficient shredding.
Paper shredders are expensive because jam-prevention capabilities are more expensive to produce.
9. Maintenance Costs
Although the cost of buying a paper shredder is expensive, there’s also an ongoing cost that you have to pay.
Since paper shredders use blades, it’s only a matter of time before the blades start to become dull.
You’ll need to replace the blades if you want to continue shredding paper.
The more specialized the blades are, the more expensive it is to maintain your shredder.
The amount that you shred can also impact your maintenance costs.
If you’re shredding tons of paper, then your blades will become dull at a faster rate.
That means you’re likely going to be replacing your blades more often.
Paper shredders are expensive because maintenance costs can be quite high.
A final reason paper shredders are expensive is that they are typically durable.
Cheaper shredders are likely going to break more often than expensive shredders.
That’s because expensive shredders use higher-quality parts.
They’re built to last longer and perform better.
Since they’re more durable, companies charge more for them.
The company also knows that the person buying its shredder is unlikely to buy another one for a while.
As such, the business needs to make as much money as possible on the initial sale.
Paper shredders are expensive because they’re usually durable.