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  • Writer's pictureAMERICAN SHREDDING

Cross-Cut vs. Pierce and Tear Shredding

Every once in awhile a customer asks "what type of shredding do you use?" and when we say "mostly pierce and tear!" their response is almost always "how is that different from cross-cut?"

Well, since you've asked, the shredders themselves are different in design and operation. Cross-cut shredders have multiple blades that cut paper in both directions, while pierce-and-tear shredders use a combination of piercing spikes and tearing bars.

Here's a rundown of how each method works:

Cross-Cut Shredding:

  • The most common type of shredding employed by small office style machines

  • Cuts paper into small pieces, typically confetti-like in shape

  • Shredder blades cut both vertically and horizontally, creating multiple small particles

  • Resulting shredded pieces are difficult to reconstruct, providing a higher level of security compared to traditional strip-cut shredding

Pierce-and-Tear Shredding:

  • Pierce-and-tear shredding is less common, but offers a higher level of security

  • Instead of cutting the material into small particles, pierce-and-tear uses a combination of piercing blades and tearing bars to create irregularly shaped pieces

  • These shredders drive a powerful spike through the material, creating a hole, and then tear the rest of the document apart

And now, of course, your next question is: "which is better?"

It depends on the application, but for professionals like us, pierce and tear has several advantages.

Advantage of pierce and tear shredders:

  • Generally provide a higher level of security because irregularly shaped pieces are more challenging to reconstruct

  • Can handle non-paper items like plastic and products

  • Are faster

  • Are more energy efficient

So there you have it!

While cross-cut shredding offers adequate security for most situations, and is just fine for a small office shredder, pierce-and-tear is better for highly sensitive or classified materials, and for huge volumes like those destroyed every day on our fleet of American Shredding mobile shred trucks.

Contact us anytime for a free demo @ 888-777-2099,

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