PLEASE NOTE: This article refers to the old DIN 32757 shredder security levels. A new more comprehensive DIN standard called DIN 66399 has since been developed.
When you come to purchase a paper shredder for the home or office, you will find that the shredder has a stated security level, otherwise known as a DIN level. DIN 32757 is the European standard for paper shredder security. Essentially the DIN security level refers to how finely the shredder shreds material and therefore how secure it is deemed to be. DIN levels range from DIN 1 (lowest level of security) to DIN 6 (highest level of security). Here is our guide to what you can expect from each level of security and what kind of material it is recommended for:
Level 1 (DIN 1 Shredders)
Level 1 security shredders shred into 12mm wide strips or particles 11 x 40mm. Level 1 is the lowest level of shredder security so is only recommended for documents that are non-sensitive in nature, e.g. general paperwork. DIN level 1 shredders should not be used for material containing passwords or bank account details.
Level 2 (DIN 2 Shredders)
These shredders shred into 6mm strips or particles 8 x 40mm and can be used for everyday documents. Although they shred material more finely than DIN 1 shredders they should still only really be used for non-sensitive material.
Level 3 (DIN 3 Shredders)
Level 3 security shredders shred into strips less than 2mm wide or particles of 4mm x 30mm. The level of security provided by these shredders is considered suitable for confidential documents and this makes DIN 3 shredders a popular choice.
Level 4 (DIN 4 Shredders)
These shredders are for the shredding of sensitive and secret documents and shred into particles of 2 x 15mm or smaller. You may also see them referred to as micro-cut shredders and they are often used by companies to shred commercially sensitive documents such as business plans, financials and personnel records.
Level 5 (DIN 5 Shredders)
These shredders are for the shredding of top secret documents and shred into particles of 0.8 x 12mm or smaller. They may be found in, for example, government and military departments.
Level 6 (DIN 6 Shredders)
Level 6 security shredders provide the highest level of security and are used for shredding the most sensitive and top secret documents. They are an unofficial extension of the DIN standard and shred into particles of 0.8 x 4mm. As with DIN 5 shredders they are likely to be found in government/military departments and are used by those organizations that require the very highest level of security when it comes to shredding of material.
Hopefully the above will help you to make a decision as to what shredder security level you require for your particular needs, whether it be a business or personal shredder purchase.
n.b. This article was updated in October 2012