Which security level do you need for paper shredding?

When you are looking for a new shredder you often see the security level of a paper shredder. For instance P2, P3 or P4. What does the security level mean and why is it important to pay attention on it when you are buying a new shredder machine?

Strip-Cut, Cross-Cut and Micro-Cut

The size of the particle

DIN standard - Deutsches Institut für NormungThe security levels for paper shredders are part of the official DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction. This standard contains seven security levels which indicates the minimal requirements for the size of the paper particles after shredding a document. These seven levels are DIN P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6 and P-7. The higher the number the smaller the size of the particle gets.

For instance when you are looking for high security and want small particles, then you are better of with a P-5 paper shredder than a P-2 paper shredder. That is because the paper particles from a P-5 micro-cut shredder are very small in comparison with the strips of a P-2 strip-cut shredder.

Besides security levels you can also find the cut type of paper shredders. All paper shredders can be devided in three types of paper cuts. These are strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut. Below you can see all the security levels from the German DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction:

  • Strip-cut – Low level of security
  • Cross-cut – Medium level of security
  • Micro-cut – High level of security

Security Level: DIN P-1

Strip-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 1
  • Security rating: Very low
  • Strip size: < 2,000 mm² / 3.1 in²
  • Strip width: < 12 mm / 0.47 in
  • Strip length: Unlimited
  • After shredding an A4 document: 17.5 strips

Security Level: DIN P-2

Strip-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 1
  • Security rating: Very low
  • Strip size: < 800 mm² / 1.24 in²
  • Strip width: < 6 mm / 0.24 in
  • Strip length: Unlimited
  • After shredding an A4 document: 35 strips

Security Level: DIN P-3

Cross-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 1 & 2
  • Security rating: Medium
  • Strip size: < 320 mm² / 0.5 in²
  • Strip width: < 2 mm / 0.08 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 195+ strips

Security Level: DIN P-4

Cross-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 2 & 3
  • Security rating: Medium
  • Strip size: < 160 mm² / 0.25 in²
  • Strip width: < 6 mm / 0.24 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 390+ strips

Security Level: DIN P-5

Micro-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 2 & 3
  • Security rating: High
  • Particle size: < 30 mm² / 0.05 in²
  • Particle width: < 2 mm / 0.08 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 2,079+ particles

Security Level: DIN P-6

Micro-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 3
  • Security rating: Very High
  • Particle size: < 10 mm² / 0.02 in²
  • Particle width: < 1 mm / 0.04 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 6,237+ particles

Security Level: DIN P-7

Micro-cut Paper Shredder

  • DIN Protection Class: 3
  • Security rating: Extremely High
  • Particle size: < 5 mm² / 0.01 in²
  • Particle width: < 1 mm / 0.04 in
  • After shredding an A4 document: 12,474+ particles

Paper Shredder Cuts

Acknowledgement: https://www.recycling.com/paper-shredder-security-levels-din-66399/