Paper Shredder Shred Sizes, Images and Security Levels (Din 66399)

There are many thoughts on security levels and this page will simplify what you need to know about paper shred sizes and security levels. 

The Shredder Authority uses 6 data destruction levels which some people refer to as the "old" standard. The standard was changed in August of 2012 but most people still understand the previous security levels better so our site still reflects the old levels on ALL machines. The most common evaluation method is using the DIN standards when evaluating their needs for security in document destruction.  The latest and DIN standardization is DIN 66399.  This new classification replaces the previous DIN 32757 and meets the need to include the new data carriers that technology offers. Please keep in mind that Shredder Authority use Din 32757 for classification purposes on this site BUT our World Class Shredders cover the entire range of Din 66399, Please call our one of our Shredder Security Experts at 804-248-9131 with any questions you may have.  We are happy to walk you through and provide suggestions about the proper disposal of media for your company. 

Level 2 shredder on our site are as secure or better then P-1 and P-2 in the diagram below. 

In the diagram below P-3 shredders produce rough strip cuts or very thin stip cut shreds that meet the HIPPA regulations for destroying Protected Health Information (PHI). A P-3 shred is the most popular size that satisfies FACTA and HIPAA ( Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA is an exercise in civil rights that requires your medical records be reduced to pencil-sized slivers, should your medical history be deemed unnecessary to keep. If you switch doctors, the old office is required by the Department of Health and Human Services to destroy the old documents with at least a P-3 shredder.

A P-3 has highest throughput and the biggest particle size that still satisfies HIPAA regulations. Regulations often change and we do our best to keep this information up to date but please call us and we are happy to walk through your needs for document security. If following current government regulations regarding consumer data is your only concern, and the information you handle is not classified, this is the only shredder you need now. Many companies are choosing to upgrade to at least a P-4 shredder anyway because it presents a more difficult challenge for identity thieves.

In the diagram below. P-4 is a “new” level, but it actually encompasses a subset of shredders considered to belong under the old Level 3: basic crosscut shredders. Adjusting for the change in standards, this is the most popular shredder we sell. If HIPAA is revised, we imagine this shredder will become even more popular. The boundary between P-3 and P-4 is marked by a transition in particle size. Crosscut shredders provide an extra level of security in the shape of its  particles: instead of long strips in a neat pile, crosscut shredders create a tossed salad of irregularly-sized paper pieces, making reconstruction extremely difficult. P-4 crosscut is noticeably smaller than P-3’s coarse crosscut. Though throughput is diminished with the use of a crosscut shredder head, data security is increased due to the smaller residue. Another positive to note is that the small volume of the shred makes it necessary to empty the receptacle less often.

Level 4 shredders on our site equate to P-5 in this diagram

Level 5 shredders on our site equate to P-6 in this diagram

Level 6 shredders on our site equate to P-7 in this diagram.

Paper Shred Security Levels for DIN 66399


Paper Shred Strips and Particles Images With Security Levels


What is the DIN standard:

DIN, Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. (German Institute for Standardization) develops norms and standards for rationalization, quality assurance, environmental protection, safety and communication in industry, technology, science, and government, as well as the public domain.

1. The 3 protection classes of the DIN 66399

The protection requirement of your data is classified into three different classes. The type of data is checked to determine
the protection requirement in the company. This identifies which need for protection is required, and therefore the
protection class.

Protection 1:
Normal security requirement
for internal data.
Unauthorised publication or dissemination would have a limited negative impact on the company. Protection of personal data must be ensured. There would otherwise be a risk to the position and financial situation of the affected persons.
Protection 2:
High security requirement for
confidential data.
Unauthorised dissemination would have a considerable affect on the company and could infringe legal obligations or laws. The protection of personal data must fulfil strict requirements. There would otherwise be a considerable risk to the social standing and financial situation of the affected persons.
Protection 3:
Very high protection
requirements for particularly
confidential and secret data.
Unauthorised dissemination would have serious terminal consequences for the company and infringe trade confidentiality obligations, contracts or laws. It is essential that the confidentiality of personal data is maintained. Otherwise there is a risk to the health and safety or personal freedom of the affected persons.

2. The 6 data media of the DIN 66399

The standard divides all the different data media into 6 categories. Each category contains an explanation of the data formats.

3. The 7 security levels of the DIN 66399

The DIN 66399 standard divides each data media category into 7 security levels. The higher the security level, the smaller the particles.

Security levels:
Protection class 1 1
Protection class 2 3
Protection class 3 4


Security level 1: General documents to be rendered illegible or invalidated.

Security level 2: Internal documents to be rendered illegible or invalidated.

Security level 3: Data media with sensitive and confidential data as well as personal data subject to high protection requirements.

Security level 4:
Data media with highly sensitive and confidential data as well as personal data subject to high protection requirements.

Security level 5: Data media with confidential information of fundamental importance for a person, company or institution.

Security level 6: Data media with confidential documents in the case of extraordi

Security level 7: For strictly confidential data with the highest security precautions.

4. All data carrier categories and security levels

The security level which the document shredder produces depends on its cutting units.

The following picture shows the 6 data carrier categories and 7 security levels.


Document Shredder Security Levels for All Data Carrier Categories


Links to interesting articles about the re-creation of shredded documents. Yes it is POSSIBLE to reassemble shredded documents, choose your security/shred level carefully!!