Paper Shredder Glossary

The paper folder industry uses many terms and specification ratings. To help you understand the differences between these terms, has included a list of those used most frequently. If after reading this section, you need further professional assistance, please feel free to contact the Manager of Paper Shredder Sales at 800.203.0233 or send him an email at paul at machine-solution dot com.

Auto On/Off

Paper shredding action starts automatically when paper is inserted into the feed opening and stops after the paper has been completely shredded. It is controlled by the paper contacting a mechanical sensor or by breaking a light barrier.

Auto Reverse

To help prevent paper jams, the paper shredder will automatically reverse, momentarily, if an overfeed occurs. This is accompanied by an audible and visible warning. This feature is available on select models as part of the complete electronics package.

Bag Full-Auto Off

When the waste bag or bin reaches a pre-set level, a sensor turns the paper shredding action off. This is accompanied by an audible and visible warning. This feature is available on select models.


The number of 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper that can be shredded at one time by the paper shredder. Generally shown as two numbers, the first using 20 lb paper and the second using 16 lb paper. These numbers are only a guideline. Paper quality, type of paper and atmospheric conditions can effect the paper shredder capacity rating.


Documents are cut in two directions producing small particles. The size of these particles offer greater security and are self compacting, which reduces overall bulk.

Feed Width

The size of the opening where paper is inserted into the paper shredder.

High Security

Engineered to meet the demanding requirements for Top Secret data destruction. High Security paper shredders are perfect for military, Federal, State and local government agencies as well as defense contractors.


Measured in horsepower, it is the available paper shredding power that is calculated from the wattage specifications of the motor.

Shred Size

The overall dimensions the paper is reduced to. Shown as one number for Strip Cut paper shredder models and two numbers for Cross Cut paper shredder models.


Shown in "feet per minute", the number is determined by shredding continuous forms and calculating the length of paper shredded over a given time.

Strip Cut

Documents are cut into thin unreadable strips. Generally the strips will be the length of the document.

Waste Capacity

Measured in gallons, it is the volume of paper that the waste bag or bin can hold.