Standards for the security levels of shredders

There are six levels standards for the security levels of shredders in accordance with DIN 32757, the European standard for paper shredder security.  They start at DIN 1 which is the lowest level of shredding, and end at DIN 6 which is the highest level.

The higher the DIN value, the higher the security level and the smaller the size of material after it has been shredded.  Shredders that operate at DIN 1 and DIN 2 produce widths of 12mm and 6mm respectively which can contain enough intelligible data to be of use to a thief or fraudster.

Types of Shredding

To improve security, there are two types of shredding modes –

Strip Cut /Ribbon Cut

Strip Cut shredders produce strips or ribbons up to the length of the document shredded and are therefore only suitable for work at the lower security levels : it may be possible to reassemble the shredded pieces to extract the data.

Cross Cut

Cross Cut shredders produce shorter length strips and are designed for the highest levels of security.

Shredder Waste Output Volume

Because the pieces produced by cross cut shredders are smaller than strip cut or ribbon cut shredders, a larger volume of shredding can be carried out for the equivalent size waste output.

For example, a DIN 4 shredder that shreds to a maximum length of 15mm will produce much smaller waste volume than a DIN 2 shredder that shreds to a maximum length of 40mm.  This means that shredders which operate at the higher security levels – such as DIN4, DIN5 and DIN6 – need to be emptied less often.

DIN Standards

Here are the different levels of security provided by shredders according to the European standard for paper shredder security DIN 32757.


Maximum permitted strip width = 12mm; Maximum particle size = 11 x 40mm

Uses: Suitable for low-level personal items that do not require a high level of security and that do not carry sensitive data that can be acquired by identity fraudsters.


Maximum permitted strip width = 6mm; Maximum particle size 8 x 40mm

Uses:  Suitable for the destruction of personal items that may carry sensitive data which could be used for identity theft.  Examples include bank statements, utility bills, travel documents, etc. Can also be used by organisations with low-level data that is not sensitive.


Maximum permitted strip width = 2mm; Maximum particle size 4 x 30mm

Uses:  This is the minimum security level recommend for destroying personal documents that contain sensitive information. It is minimum security level for destroying documents that contain sensitive information such as salaries, payroll, accounts, customer details, marketing strategy, personnel records, etc.


Maximum permitted particle size 2 x 15mm

Uses: This is the security level recommended for destroying highly confidential commercial information.  It is suitable for the destruction of board reports, highly sensitive business plans, new product or services, acquisition plans, etc.


Maximum permitted particle size 0.8 x 12mm

Uses: For the destruction of highly confidential or secret material, this is commonly used by banks, international companies, Governments, weapons manufacturers, etc.


Maximum permitted particle size 0.8 x 4mm

This is the highest level of security possible and is designed for the disposal of top-secret material.  It is used by the military, Government, civil service , etc.