Choosing the right paper shredder for your business is an important decision. Shredders with a cutting technique that is too simple may leave large strips of documents intact, allowing the document to be reconstructed using tape or a computer scanner. When comparing diamond-cut and confetti-cut shredders, carefully evaluating the differences between the two will help you discern which type best fits your business needs.

Cross Cut

Both diamond-cut and confetti-cut shredders are variants of the cross-cut shredder design. Cross-cut shredders use a combination of blades to cut a page both horizontally and vertically, resulting in documents shredded into smaller pieces of paper that are harder to reconstruct. The size and shape of the pieces depend on the shredder and how its blades are oriented; sizes in different cross-cut shredders can range from 3 1/8 inches long to a mere 5/32 inches, with widths ranging from 3/8 inches to 1/32 inches. Some cross-cut shredders can cut through paper clips, staples and other fasteners as well, though their ability to do so depends on both the materials used in the shredder and the strength of the shredder's motor. Most shredder manufacturers recommend removing such fasteners.

Confetti Cut

Confetti-cut shredders are cross-cut shredders that make a straight horizontal cut across the shredded strips, creating smaller strips that are similar in size and shape to pieces of confetti. These smaller pieces offer more information security than the long strips of paper created by strip cut shredders, because they are much harder to reconstruct. Depending on the size of the pieces created by the shredder, the shredded documents may still be recoverable.

Diamond Cut

Diamond-cut shredders are cross-cut shredders that use an angled cross cut instead of a horizontal one, creating diamond-shaped pieces out of a shredded document. Diamond-cut documents may be slightly harder to recover due to the angled edges of the pieces when compared to the straight edges created by confetti-cut shredders, though documents run through diamond-cut shredders that create larger pieces may still be recoverable.

Choosing a Shredder

When comparing shredders, check the security level of each shredder in addition to the cut type it uses. A shredder's security level is based on the size of pieces left after the cut, with higher security levels creating smaller pieces that are difficult to reassemble. For business purposes, a shredder with a security level of 4 or greater should be used to ensure that confidential documents are shredded beyond hope of restructuring. If you can't find a security level listing on a shredder you are considering, look for certification by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the National Security Administration; DoD and RCMP certifications are only given to shredders with a security level of 5 or above, while NSA certifications are only given to security level 6 shredders.