Crosscut vs. Micro-Cut Paper Shredder – Detailed Comparison of Each Type

Think your documents are truly destroyed?

Think again. In 2015, the second most common complaint that the Federal Trade Commission is also known as FTC received was “Identity Theft.”

Unfortunately, this problem of stealing identity info isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, it is a major problem at this moment. It’s not like consumers aren’t spending enough money on cybersecurity software.

What most people truly don’t realize is that thieves and hackers are also your common petty criminals.

Just like any ordinary thief, they will stoop to steal your papers which you throw away. Most of the hackers will employ cons and petty thieves to do their dirty work.

The main problem is the misconception. Most people assume that hackers are just some computer nerds. This is also a security weakness in the world of identity stealing.

Cyber thieves are difficult to apprehend. Just like network data or hard drive, they can also steal data from printed documents containing your personal info. You should properly destroy them before the docs get to them first.

Here is a simple example that will shed some light on the topic that I’m talking about.

How Do They Steal Our Personal Information?

Every day we receive a lot of junk mail filled with confidential information. The most annoying part is that those mails include info like name, address, date of birth, social security number, account number and also credit card number.

We regularly throw away ATM receipts, bill papers, statements, and spam mail. These trails are enough for them to get them going on a scam. Incoming documents aren’t their primary target.

The real info worth stealing lies in the outgoing papers. Especially, the ones sitting in your wastebaskets.

The reason why I’m talking about all of these is that I want you to know the importance of paper shredders. I recommend this to every small to big time corporate office. You should also use and buy quality and secure shredders to protect yourself from personal data theft

Types of Shredders & Security Level

Have a look at the different types of paper shredders and their security level.

Strip Cut Shredder – Low Security 

The strip cut is the cheapest of the bunch. And that is why security level is minimal on this one. It can cut 40 to 50 strips. For example, when a hacker spends just a little amount of time, he can easily decode the shredded paper.

You will notice the similarities between recovery software and the method that hackers use. There are a lot of software that can piece together shredded paper strips.

Cross Cut Shredder – Medium Security 

Next, we have the crosscut. This one chops up and slices papers into tiny little pieces. Approximately 200 small cuts. This is much harder than decoding strips.

The crosscut is used in most small to medium sized business. When you try to delete data from a hard drive, you will notice that you have to go through multiple security layers.

It’s the same in the crosscut shredder. More strips, thinner and harder to piece together.

Micro Cut Shredder - High Security

Finally, we have the micro cut. This turns each sheet into 2000 tiny pieces. The Micro Cut shredder produces cuts that are very hard or impossible to decode.

Government agencies uses this type of shredder. Also, large agencies that handle a lot of important documents. 

They are similarly priced but if you become a victim, this cost won’t matter much to you.

Another popular method is the portable shredding services. They will properly shred all your confidential documents and also properly dispose them.   

There is the cost associated with this. They are more similar to services like google passwords and LastPass.

Keep in mind that their services will only be secure as long as their recruited employees maintain proper protocols.

Difference Between Crosscut and Micro Cut Paper Shredders

Check the differences between both of them and find out which type is suitable for you.

Crosscut Paper Shredder

A crosscut paper shredder can cut the paper into small pieces. For which, it is also called particle cut paper shredder. This type is ideal for sensitive or private informative paper.

The shredder can cut the paper into tiny pieces for which it has higher security or confidential level but sheds less amount of paper at a time. The device needs to be oiled regularly so that the machine runs smoothly.

Types of Crosscut

The cross cut that is suitable for a home but might not be ideal for office. According to need, the machine can be divided into five types that make a choice easier.

For Home or Personal Use

The cross cut that is used in the house is mainly small in size and can shred up to 15 pages at a time. It also has an indicator that indicates in the case of overheating.

The machine can run for 20 minutes at a time. It does not excel only at shredding paper but also can cut CDs as well as credit cards.

For Small Offices or Business Use

This machine can shred 18 confidential sheets per pass. Usually medium in size and can run for 1-3 hours non-stop.

Along with paper, it shreds CDs, staples, paper clip and also credit cards. Its bin capacity is smaller than the one used for home.

For Heavy-Duty Manual Use

This is a jam-proof machine. It can shred 30 sheets in per pass. The runtime of this machine is continuous and has a more significant amount of bin capacity.

Heavy Duty Automatic Shredder

This is an automated machine that can shred about 550 pages at a time. You do not have to wait until the pages are shredded.

You can also shred 14 pages per pass, but that has to be done manually. The runtime of the machine is continuous and has waste bin capacity of about 22 gallons.

Budget-Friendly Cross-Cut Shredder

This shredder cannot pass more than eight pages at a time, even can’t run for more than 3 minutes. But you can get this shredder at a meager price.

It is not suitable for large offices or business, and can be used for home mainly and in cases for a small office.

The machine cannot shred CDs or credit cards, i.e., it can't shred any other thing except paper.

Cutting Mechanism 

This machine turns all of your papers into tiny strips and then reduces the length resulting in tiny pieces. There are different versions of this type. Starting from light task to a more permanent heavy-duty machine.

Maintenance

Making finer cuts require a complex set of blades. This also means that you need to properly take care of the cutting blades inside the machine. They will eventually lose the sharpness over time.

If you see the machine performing slower than usual, that’s usually because of the blades. Most of the cross-cut machine requires lubrication after each use.

Advantages of Cross-Cut

  • The machine shreds the private informative papers into small pieces
  • There is a variety of cross cut shredders according to need
  • The pieces are more condensed than strips
  • Comparatively less expensive, even can be bought under $50

Disadvantages of Crosscut

  • The machine needs to be regularly maintained
  • Oiling should be done regularly so that it remains jam proof
  • It takes longer time than the strip cut

Micro-Cut Paper Shredder

A micro cut paper shredder is simply an advanced form of the crosscut. This machine cuts the paper diagonally from corners into pieces, but the pieces are so small in size that you cannot even read a letter from the pieces.

This machine is used for high security. These shredders have two cutters for which it cuts the papers diagonally into pieces and keeps the sensitive information safe.

Types of Micro Cut

Micro-cut shredder can be divided into some types considering the bin capacity and also one's need. The types make it easy for the buyer to choose the suitable one within budget.

Affordable, Heavy-Duty Shredder

This machine has very high features for which it can run for four hours without stopping. It can shred about ten pages at a pass. Though it can shred a smaller number of pages, can be used by multiple people one after another.

Along with paper, it can also shred CDs and DVDs which is also very important because nowadays we keep many of our personal information there.

All Round Office Shredder

The micro cut shredder has wheels through which it can be moved from one place to another very easily.

It can shred about nine pages at a time and have lower bin capacity than the first one. Along with paper and CDs, it can also tear credit cards.

Commercial Heavy-Duty Shredder

This shredder can shred a high volume of documents at a time but can't be rolled from one place to another quickly.

The machine can run straight for one hour and has a high bin capacity.

Compact Long Time Shredder

This shredder is small in size but can shred a high volume of documents at a time. Even it runs for a long time straight.

Quiet Office Shredder

A shredder that is suitable for small offices and is a very common one. It can shred about 14 pages at a time but can run for a short period.

Cutting Mechanism

As the name suggests, it will turn your papers into micro-sized particles. They are literally impossible to hack. That’s why I highly recommend this to everyone who needs high-level security.

The blade structure consists of a complex interlocking tooth set that takes less space inside while cutting more at the same time. However, it does take more time than a conventional cross-cut machine.

Maintenance

The complex your machine is, the more care it needs. Due to the blade structure, lubrication is a must after every use. Don’t use petroleum-based oils/lubricants. There are specific lubricates for these machines.   

Advantages of Micro Cut

  • It cuts the paper diagonally from both the corners
  • Cuts the paper into so small pieces that a letter can’t be read
  • Ensures high-security level

Disadvantages of Micro Cut

  • This machine is a bit expensive
  • It gets overheated quickly and needs to be cooled down

Which One Is Better?

From above, we get detailed information about the cross cut and micro cut paper shredder. Still, a question remains that which one is better as both of them are pretty much the same.

For a high level of security, micro-cut is better as it shreds the paper in such a way that it is impossible to reconstruct and the sensitive, confidential documents remain safe.

If the budget is low, then the micro cut is not a suitable choice. Instead, crosscut is the best option as, within a low amount, a good product can be bought.

Moreover, the speed of cross cut is higher than that of micro-cut and also has higher bin capacity.

Both the products have the same function that is to cut paper into pieces so that a secret always remains as a secret.

Still, both the products have some differences. Now, it is one's individual choice considering their need, budget, space.

So, after going through the article, you can understand your need and accordingly make the best decision.

Final Thoughts

For me, I personally prefer to use and also recommend everyone to invest in a high-level security micro-cut shredder. Wait until we all go truly paperless, but that's a topic for another day.

You can greatly reduce or even prevent being hacked or having your identity stolen by properly shredding all documents that contains your personal data. Stay safe.

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