You will want to be sure you purchase a shredder that meets your needs. You will want to be sure it handles your current volume of shredding, but also future volumes of shredding. These are a few questions you will want to ask yourself before purchasing a shredder:
Shredders are designed to destroy paper. Different shredders cut paper into different sized pieces. If you will be shredding sensitive material, that includes your social security number, account information, name, address and more, I would recommend purchasing at least a security-level three paper shredder. You will ultimately need to determine how sensitive the material you are shredding is before purchasing a shredder. Most companies that sell shredders should have representatives that can help you with your final choice.
Most paper shredders can shred all types of paper. Some home-office paper shredders will have a difficult time shredding card stock. Some strip-cut shredders will have difficulty shredding glossy paper. Be sure you are running paper through the shredder. Most shredders cannot handle plastic, wood or metal.
If you use your shredder only a few times a week, it is recommended that you only oil your shredder once a month. If you use your shredder regularly, it is recommended that you oil your shredder every four hours. It is a good idea to oil your shredder every time you change your bag.
Most paper shredders have safety features built into them that prevent injury. Most paper shredders have an opening small enough that you cannot get your fingers caught. You will want to be careful when shredding if you have long hair, wear a tie or wear a necklace. The only type of shredder that you really need to worry about, when it comes to injury, are the industrial paper shredders. Although industrial paper shredders have safety features built into them, they are very powerful and have large cutting blades.
There are a few ways you can go about oiling your shredder. The most popular way is to put oil on a sheet of paper and run it through the shredder. Once the paper has gone through, put the shredder in reverse to lubricate all the parts. Another method is to squirt the oil directly into the shredder, from left to right. Once the oil is in the shredder, put it in reverse for about 10 to 20 seconds. Not all shredders will allow you to squirt the oil directly in, which is where paper comes in handy. The most important thing to keep in mind is getting the oil over the entire blade, including the edges.
The Department of Defense (DOD) and National Security Agency (NSA) have come up with a list of approved shredders. An example of an NSA approved shredder list can be found here: http://www.nsa.gov/ia/government/mdg.cfm. Most shredder manufacturers will let retailers and distributors know if their shredder is DOD or NSA approved.
I would recommend shredding anything that you would consider to be sensitive or to contain personal information. An example of this would be credit card receipts, applications, bank statements, invoices, receipts and more. Anything that contains your name, birth date, social security number, phone number, family information or any other personal information should be shredded.
From a business standpoint, I would shred anything that has customer or employee information printed. I would also shred anything that would be considered confidential to the business.
This all depends on how much you shred. Department store shredders are usually used for low-volume shredding and are not designed for continuous use. Using a low-volume shredder for mid to high-volume shredding will burn out the motor. It could end up costing you more money in the long run by having to purchase multiple shredders.