Strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut are just a few of the names given to types of shredders. Each designation has to do with the size and shape of the pieces that a shredded document will be in after shredding. Cross-cut shredders are middle of the road in terms of security and identity theft protection. They are a good choice for home use and are widely available.
Cross-cut shredders have two separate components. The first part is the blade unit in which paper or material to shred gets inserted. The blades of the shredder are housed inside this unit and are surrounded usually by a plastic or metal casing. This blade unit is placed on top of the rest of the shredder. Because of the heavy-duty construction of the blades, this part tends to be heavy.
The second part of a shredder is the basket which catches the shredded materials. This basket can vary in height and fits underneath the blade unit. Baskets either pull out from the main blade unit like a drawer or have to be completely detached from the blade unit.
Crosscut shredders also have an electrical cord. This cord can be connected to either the basket or blade unit, depending on the model.
A crosscut shredder shreds documents several different ways with multiple blades. This makes documents harder to piece back together, protecting personal information such as credit card statements, utility bills or sensitive communication documents.
Most cross-cut shredders can shred more than just paper. Staples, for instance, can be inserted into the blade unit of newer shredders. Some models of cross-cut shredders have a credit card slot in the blade unit and a compact disc slot, making it easy to destroy electronic data. Read all instructions before shredding items other than paper, however, to avoid damage to the shredder unit.
Cross-cut shredders are more expensive than their strip-cut counterparts, which have only single-directional blades. They are cheaper than micro-cut or confetti-cut shredders, however, which are similar to a cross-cut shredder but more finely destroy the documents. There is a wide variance in the noise of a cross-cut shredder. Some tend to be louder while others are quiet.
Cross-cut shredders tend to get more paper stuck in between the blades. To keep the blades lubricated and running properly, use shredder oil occasionally. Lubricating sheets also help keep the shredder lubricated and aren't as messy as shredder oil. These work like a regular piece of paper. Just insert the lubricating sheet through the slot where you would shred your documents.
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