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Never under buy - when considering a purchase try to imagine the volume you will need to shred in 5 years time.
The 6 Din Security Levels Explained (DIN 32757-1 standard)
What are the Security Levels for Shredders?
What level of security do you require when shredding paper? You may find it useful to consider the following Din Security levels (sometimes referred to as the DIN 32757-1 standard) when making your choice. Please note that most ranges of machines or product groups are supplied in several different security levels.
Level 1 GENERAL - LOW SECURITY (DIN 1)
This level of security is generally acceptable for home use. Machines will normally shred into long strips cutting a sheet of A4 paper into about 40 parts. Shred sizes can be up to 12mm or about 1/2 inch. This is useful for general information but not for information that may contain bank account details or passwords etc.
Level 2 INTERNAL - Low to Medium Security (DIN 2)
This level of security would still be long strips but of a much narrower size than level 1, cutting a sheet of A4 into approximately 100 strips. Shred sizes would be under 6mm or 1/4 inch which is designed for all internal home or small office information.
Level 3 CONFIDENTIAL - Medium Security (DIN 3)
Level 3 machines normally cut paper waste into very narrow strips under 2mm or into Cross-Cut Particles (like confetti). Remember as an added extra Cross Cut shredding will mean that you will need to empty the waste bin much less than with Strip Cut shredding. You can get up to 5 times as much waste into your bin plus you will save money as you will require fewer waste bags. Level 3 is recommended for all confidential documents including Staff personnel details, Company secrets, sales and marketing plans etc.
Level 4 SECRET - Medium to High Security (DIN 4)
All level 4 models must shred documents into Cross Cut particles of at least 2x15mm. These tiny particles are often referred to in the industry as "Micro Cut" This level is recommended for secret documents which may include documents that would jeopardise personal or institutional safety if they were to fall into the wrong hands.
Level 5 TOP SECRET - High Security (DIN 5)
Level 5 machines will shred to a maximum Cross Cut particle a size of 0.8 x 12mm. These products are usually supplied to Government/Military installations where documents must be shredded to avoid espionage and where information may undermine State defence.
Level 6 MAXIMUM - Highest Security
Level 6 is an unofficial extension of the Din standard where Cross Cut particles must not exceed 0.8 x 4mm and it is recognised as being the very highest security level available for Government or Military installations.
(DIN 1-5) DIN 32757 (Deutsche Industrial Norm) levels are specifically designed as a standard within most of Europe as a guide to help customers make an informed choice.