The security level of a paper shredder is something you frequently notice while shopping for a new one for your house or workplace. such as P-2, P-3, or P-4. What does the security level indicate, and why should it matter when purchasing a new shredding machine? We describe the various shredder security levels on this page.
The security level frequently has a DIN classification next to it in a paper shredder's specs. P-1 or P-3, as examples. What does that signify, though?
The worldwide standard for secure shredding of data media created by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), often known as the German Institute for Standardization, includes the DIN P-level as part of its official German DIN 66399 standard (since 2012).
There are destruction standards in this DIN norm for many media types. the following: hard drives, paper, film, optical media, magnetic data, and electronic data
Six media types have different security standards according to DIN 66399, which came before DIN 32757. such as paper-based items (P), optical media (O), and hard drives (H).
There are seven different security levels for paper. The levels start at P-1 and go up to P-7. The smaller the paper fragments are when a document is destroyed, the higher the DIN level.
Three protection groups or categories correspond to the seven security levels. Some protection classifications and security levels cross over:
standard protections for internal data
Levels of security: DIN P-1, P-2, and P-3
Levels of security: DIN P-3, P-4, and P-5
high level of security for secret and private information
Levels of security: DIN P-4, P-5, P-6, and P-7
exceptional degree of security
For the majority of shredding requirements, we advise using a paper shredder that falls within protection category 2 with a P-3, P-4, or P-5 security level. The majority of standards for safe, confidential document shredding are met by these shredders.
The official DIN 66399 standard for paper destruction includes the security levels for paper shredders. The minimum criteria for the size of the paper particles left over after shredding a document are specified in this standard's seven security levels for paper destruction. P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6, and P-7 are the seven degrees of security. The size of the particle decreases as the number increases.
The P security level is applicable to film and printing forms in addition to paper.
For instance, a P-5 paper shredder is preferable to a P-2 paper
shredder when you need great security and little particles. This is due to the fact that P-5 micro-cut shredder paper particles are much smaller than P-2 strip-cut shredder paper strips.
Want to compare and see the different shred sizes? 'Shred Size Visualizer' was created by our pals at Intimus. You can clearly compare the various DIN security levels with this graphic.
Did you know that a regular A4 document (8,5′′ x 11′′ page) is broken up into 12,053 bits by a level 6 or P-7 paper shredder? Really great.
In addition to security levels, cut-type paper shredders are available. Three different types of paper cuts are used in all paper shredders. These three types of cuts are strip, cross, and micro. Below are all the security levels listed by the German DIN 66399 paper destruction standard:
Low amount of security for strippers,
Medium level of protection for cross-cuts,
High degree of security with micro-cut,
Micro- and cross-cut.
The distinction between a cross-cut and a micro-cut shredder is not always clear. A P-5, P-6, or P-7 shredder is the official classification for a micro-cut shredder.
However, a number of paper shredder retailers and manufacturers also categorize a P-4 shredder as a micro-cut shredder. This is true for the shredders available in the US. The phrase "micro-cut" is used on some P-4 machines in the US, although it is solely used in reference to P-5 machines in Europe, according to Fellowes.
More security is provided by a P-4 shredder than a P-3 shredder. After shredding a document, certain P-4 shredders create extremely small paper fragments, which are more micro-cut' than P-3 fragments. According to DIN 66399, a P-4 shredder must destroy objects with a minimum surface area of 320 mm2 or 0.5 in2.
According to research, the P-3 security level is ideal for the majority of purposes.
Is buying a more expensive paper shredder always the wisest choice? According to research by the Dutch certification organization CA+, this is not always the case. The most effective security level among various certified firms in 2021 has been studied by CA+. They questioned: What is the optimal security level to utilize for paper document destruction that also ensures confidentiality and sustainability?
The cost of destroying paper per tonne, the percentage of recycling, and the percentage of security are all compared in the graph above. What sticks out is that the ideal security level is P-3. It combines the finest aspects of both worlds: great data security, affordable pricing, and ideal recycling rates.
After P-3, confidentiality remains consistent, making P-3 the ideal setting for paper shredding.
Smaller paper particles (P-4 and higher) and a higher security level result in a little gain in security percentage, but at the expense of a significantly lower recycling percentage and a significant rise in expenses.
What is included in the price of paper shredding? Higher-security document shredding demands more effort, more time, and more expensive shredding equipment. The same holds true for both commercial and household paper shredding equipment.
Why does the recycling rate drop as the security level increases? This is due to how much more challenging it is to recycle smaller shreds. First off, filtering the small-sized shreds at the recycling plant is difficult to almost impossible. This is especially true for single-stream recycling procedures. Second, a smaller shred size removes the wood fibers that are the origin of paper. With a higher security level, these fibers are growing ever-so-slightly shorter. Security level P-7, for instance, might be compared to fine dust. Because it cannot be recycled, heavily damaged paper is far less sustainable.