Security is important. When you need to shred sensitive documents, you’ll want to know they’re efficiently and securely disposed. It’s essential to use a high-quality, high-security shredder. Understanding the different DIN protection classes of different kinds of shredders will help you choose one that has an appropriate security level for your documents.
What is DIN and Why Does It Matter?
DIN, which stands for Deutsches Institut für Normang (or the German Institute for Standardization) is the system that sets the international standard for shredder security levels, among other things. The standards are reviewed every few years; all shredders will fall into a DIN security category. The current standard is DIN 66399, which ranks security levels from P-1 to P-7 based on the size and cut of the shredded paper.
Types of Cuts and the Seven P Levels
Strip Cut (P-1 to P-2)
A strip cut is the most basic type of cut. As the name suggests, these shredders cut papers into simple, straight strips. A strip cut is the least secure type of cut, as the strips are still easily readable after being shredded. This type of cut correlates with low security shredders in the P-1 to P-2 range.
- P-1 - = 12 mm wide. Used to quickly shred very low-sensitivity internal documents.
- P-2 - = 6 mm wide. Similar to P-1 in level of security but creates thinner strips.
Cross Cut (P-3 to P-4)
A step above the strip cut, crosscut shredders cut paper into cross sections rather than strips. The resulting pieces are harder to read and put back together, but still not the most secure option. These shredders are best for users who want a bit more security. They fall into the P-3 to P-4 range.
- P-3 - = 2 mm wide. Used for sensitive documents. Lowest P level that fulfills most legal requirements.
- P-4 - = 6 mm wide. Used for highly sensitive documents and slightly more secure than P-3.
Micro Cut (P-5 to P-7)
A cut that resembles confetti more than a strip, micro cut is the most secure type of cut a shredder can have. These high security paper shredders create pieces nearly impossible to read or put back together. Anything above the P-5 level falls into the micro cut category.
- P-5 - = 2 mm wide. Best for secret documents or company sensitive documents.
- P-6 - = 1 mm wide. Extremely high level of security. Used by government facilities.
- P-7 - = 1 mm wide. Absolute highest level of security. Used for top secret or classified documents.
Different types of documents will require different DIN protection classes. In order to keep your information safe, make sure to choose an appropriate level of protection for your company.