Do you want to own NSA approved paper shredder?
Here you can find out why are they are so special, what NSA exactly means and how to find quality NSA-approved machines. Read our buying guide first, then check out those models.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Our Top Picks
What Do We Mean By NSA-Approved Machines?
An NSA-approved device can securely destroy top-secret, secret, and confidential documents. These are mostly used in American government agencies that have to adhere to these minimum requirements for paper and information destruction. These requirements are determined by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
What Criteria Do They Need To Fulfill For NSA Approval?
To be approved by the NSA and the DoD, the shredder needs to have a level 6 of security. This also corresponds with the level P-7 put forward by the international DIN 66399 standard. This means that all government CUI documents including FOUO (For Official Use Only), PII (Personal Identifiable Information), and SBU (Sensitive but Unclassified) need to measure 1/32 by 7/32 inch (or 1 millimeter by 5 millimeters) or less after shredding. This is the highest level of security as the paper particles are so small they cannot be reassembled. For other criteria, check this out.
NSA/CSS Evaluated Products List
The NSA and the CSS (Central Security Service) regularly publish and update an evaluated list of products that meet their requirements for paper destruction. Thus, every product on the list is recommended for TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information) destruction. To check out all approved models, manufacturers, and vendors go here.
What Type Of Cut Do They Make?
The NSA approves cross-cut types that cut paper into such tiny particles that it is also called a micro-cut or nano-cut. They cut the paper in a criss-cross way. When it shreds the paper, it looks like confetti, which is impossible to read.
Should You Use NSA-Approved Machines In The Office?
If you can afford it, it is best to go for the highest-security devices to protect your business data. You can achieve that by going for a shredder with security level 6. If your business is required to have such machines by law, abide by it. This way, you will protect clients, patients, and customers, as well as yourself.
Turns Paper Into Fine Dust
Even if you are not required to shred paper by level 6 or P-7, you can still do it for your peace of mind. It will be impossible to put together the pieces and read or use the content of your paperwork.
Where Are NSA-Approved Machines Used?
While you can buy such models for yourself or your business, there are some institutions that are required to use this type of paper shredder to dispose of highly confidential information. For instance, the above-mentioned American government offices and agencies, such as the military (the Department of Defense), the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, etc.
Which Features Should They Have?
On the list of shredders approved by the NSA, you can find devices of different sizes and features. This buying guide will help you choose the best option tailored to your site’s needs.
Most often, high-security machiens cannot handle many sheets of paper at once. For example, most of them can shred five to 10 sheets of paper per pass. Choose accordingly to how high your demand for shredding paper is.
Throughput Capacity & Speed
The NSA lists products into three categories of throughout classifications. These include low volume (0 to 4 reams per hour), medium volume (5 to 9 reams per hour), and high volume (10 and more reams per hour). One ream is equal to 500 sheets of paper. If you do not have too much paper to shred, a low volume throughput capacity will be enough for you. In other cases, go for a medium or even high volume model. Most products approved by NSA have a fast shredding speed of about 20 feet per minute.
Depending on the manufacturer, they come in many different sizes. For example, some can hold only 9 gallons of shredded paper in the bin, while some can hold even over 35 gallons. Go for a larger model if you don’t want to empty the bin too often.
To be approved by NSA, a shredder has to have a safe to use on/off mechanism, as well as an emergency stop mechanism. Also, it has to have a power-on indicator, an automatic or a manual reverse option. If all these criteria are fulfilled, then the model is approved by NSA as it is safe for users.
Number Of Users
Manufacturers offer machines for one user only, one to five users, or even five to 10 users. A one-user model is okay for personal use at home. Otherwise, you should opt for a model that is either up to 5 users, or even 10, depending on the size of your office.
You can choose the device based on different throat widths so that they can shred different paper sizes. Usually, they are at least 10 inches wide.
What Can They Shred?
NSA-approved shredders mostly cut paper, while some can also cut optical documents, such as CDs and DVDs. If you want to exclusively buy a model for shredding CDs and DVDs, you can find out which ones are suitable and approved by the NSA here.
Another thing a model has to have is a specific noise-level range. It needs to be meet the standards of both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Also, the Center for Storage Device Sanitization Research says that these devices need to be under 85 decibels.
Best 5 NSA Approved Shredders
HSM Securio B24 Paper Shredder
Shred Type: Micro-Cut
Dimensions: 15.5 x 12.5 x 23.8 inches
Bin Capacity: 9 gallons
Sheet Capacity: 7-8 sheets
HSM Securio B24 is made of quality materials, it is durable and able to work for many years. The cutting rollers are made of solid steel, so they are very powerful. The HSM is a cross-cut with security level 6.
500 Sheets Per Day
The feed slot is 9.5 inches wide. You can put 6/7 sheets of paper per single pass. That is approximately 500 sheets per day. The HSM machine isn’t intended for paper clips, staples, credit cards, CDs/DVDs, feed it with paper only. The wastebasket capacity is 9 gallons.
The Eco-Smart mode takes care of optimal power consumption. The HSM automatically switches to eco mode after 2 minutes of shredding, If you don’t use it for 4 hours, it will completely shut off. When it is in use, it is able to run continuously without cool downtime.
HSM features automatic oiling, so each part is lubricated in any time and ready to use. Also, that helps with quiet operation. The anti-jam technology detects if the wastebasket is full to prevent paper jams. If they happen, a reverse mode cleans up stuck paper.
- powerful continuous-duty motor
- 6 sheets of paper per single pass
- 9-gallon capacity of the wastebasket
- Eco-Smart technology provides optimal power consumption
- it doesn’t produce annoying noise
Fellowes HS-1010 Shredder Machine
Shred Type: Micro-Cut
Dimensions: 23.50 x 21.73 x 40 inches
Bin Capacity: 37 gallons
Sheet Capacity: 10 sheets
P7 Security Level
The Powershred HS-1010 is a big device. Its dimensions are 23.50 x 21.73 x 40 inches and it weighs 242 pounds. The four casters provide easy transport from one office to another. This cross-cut has a P7 security level, so you can rely on it.
10 Sheets Per Pass
Its motor is able to shred continuously without stopping. Fellowes Powershred is able to shred up to 10 sheets of paper at the time. It destroys the paper into tiny particles of 1/32 x 3/16 inches. There is no way to assemble those pieces and read them.
The device features sheet capacity sensors that prevent paper jams. SilentShred technology reduces noise, so it is a great machine for office with multiple users. The safety shield covers the feed slot, so it is safe for your hands.
The bin is removable, so it’s easy to empty it. It isn’t necessary to empty it often because it has a high capacity of 37 gallons. The LED bin indicator will turn on if the bin is full so you don’t have to check it all the time. Fellowes is equipped with an auto oiler, which automatically lubricates the cutters.
- high-security cross cut
- it is equipped with an auto oiler
- energy efficient machine
- the wastebin has 37 gallons of capacity
- SilentShred technology minimalizes noise
- the protective shield over the feed slot
Intimus 120 CC6 Shredder Machine
Shred Type: Micro-Cut
Dimensions: 21.3 x 15.7 x 39.5
Bin Capacity: 32 gallons
Sheet Capacity: 12 sheets
The Intimus 12o CC6 cross-cut is great for large offices and multiple users. The Intimus is rated for 5 to 10 users. It requires a lot of space because of its size. It measures 21.3 x 15.7 x 38.6 inches and 103 pounds. Intimus features casters for flexible use.
The feed opening is 12.2 inches wide, at the time, you can feed the device with 12 sheets of paper. The shredding speed is 27 feet per minute, which is really fast. The shredded particle has 1/32 x 11/64 inches or 0.8 x 4.5 mm. It is pretty secure.
Simple To Use
The Intimus produces low noise so you don’t have to place it in the hallway. It is user-friendly, which means, it is simple to use it. There is an automatic stop and start, so the user just needs to feed the paper into the throat.
If paper jams occur, there is an automatic reverse function. It will clean up the paper jams within a second. Above the feed slot, you can find LED light which indicates if the wastebasket is full. Also, there are LED indicators for standby and door status.
- robust cutting machine for large office
- user-friendly design
- automatic reverse function for paper jams
- the shredding speed is 27 feet/min
- high capacity wastebasket
Dahle 40534 Paper Shredder
Shred Type: Micro-Cut
Dimensions: 21 x 29 x 35 inches
Bin Capacity: 38 gallons
Sheet Capacity: 10 sheets
Dahle 40534 is large and powerful. It is NSA model that supports secret paper shredding. Its dimensions are 21 inches of length, 40 inches of width and 34.5 inches of height. It weighs 146 pounds.
Dahle features an automatic EvenFlow lubricator which provides continuous oiling across the cutters. That helps maintain the best performances. There are precision cutting cylinders that improve strength, made of solid steel.
If you overfeed the device or paper jams happen, there is an automatic reverse function. It reverses the cutters and releases the paper from cylinders, you don’t have to pull out the paper. Dahle features auto on/off modes and if the bin is full, it will shut off.
Dahle machine has a large 38 gallons wastebasket capacity. The sheet capacity is 10 sheets of paper at the time and the shredding speed is 23 feet per minute. Because of all these features, it is an ideal option for commercial purposes.
- commercial cross-cut device
- the shredding speed is 23 feet/minute
- automatic on/off modes
- auto-off if the bin is full
- EvenFlow lubricator maintain the device
- the waste volume is 38 gallons
Destroyit 2600 Paper Shredder
Shred Type: Micro-Cut
Dimensions: 36.5 x 19.5 x 18.3 inches
Bin Capacity: 28 gallons
Sheet Capacity: 6 sheets
The Destroyit 2600/2 SMC is a big device, it measures 36.5 inches of height, 19.5 inches of width and 18.5 inches of depth. It requires 115V/60Hz. It is a heavy shredder with 106 pounds of weight. But there is no worry, it features four casters, so you can easy move it.
This model can’t destroy CDs, DVDs, credit cards, paper clips and staples, paper only. Its sheet capacity is rated at 6 sheets of paper. Destroyit is a cross-cut with a high-security level. The powerful continuous duty motor delivers 1 horsepower.
The throat width is 10.25 inches, so you don’t have to fold the paper before shredding. When the Destroyit cuts the paper, the shred size is 0.8 x 5 mm or 1/32 x 7/32 inches. The particles are tiny and impossible to assemble and read so you can cut all your sensitive documents.
The wastebasket is enclosed and has a capacity of 28 gallons. It is a heavy-duty cutting machine, but it doesn’t produce a loud noise. Also, it is a dust-free device. Destroyit features an automatic start/stop via photoelectric cells. The transparent safety shield protects your hands and fingers.
approx: $2200 – $3300
determined by online offer (Amazon) and seasonal sales
- four casters for easy mobility
- cross-cut type with P-6 level
- photocell provides automatic start and stop
- there is a transparent shield above the feed slot
- continuous duty motor delivers 1 HP
- the wastebasket has a high capacity
Other Information To Keep In Mind
For government agencies in the US, there are even more rules to follow when buying an NSA-approved prducts. Below you can find that information in short.
Trade Agreements Act (TAA) & General Service Administration (GSA)
When buying a paper cutter for a government agency, it needs to be bought under the Trade Agreements Act. This is an international agreement to make global trade fairer and government agencies cannot buy products from countries that are not part of this act. On the other hand, the GSA Schedule suppliers are those who can sell to these government agencies.
How Does A Shredder Approved By NSA Work?
To show you how a model included in the NSA list of approved models works, we found this informative video:
Choose which shredder suits the best your requirements and has NSA approval, but we recommend the Destroyit 2600/2. It features a 1HP continuous duty motor, automatic start/stop and a transparent shield for more security. If you want to check out other similar models, read the high-security shredder review. Also, P-5 machines provide high security for your sensitive documents.