Destroy Sensitive Documents Quickly and Confidently: An Aurora Paper Shredder Review

I destroyed documents, credit cards, and CDs with this powerful paper shredder. Find out which of its features surprised me the most!
Glenda Taylor Avatar
The Aurora paper shredder with its waste bin open
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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Paper shredders offer significant benefits in safeguarding sensitive information—criminals can exploit discarded personal information to commit fraud and identity theft. A paper shredder will help ensure that confidential documents, such as financial records, medical reports, and personal correspondence, are irreversibly destroyed.

Before testing several of today’s top models, I had no clue what some of these machines were capable of. My last experience with a paper shredder (more than a decade ago) was fraught with paper jams, and I threw the device away. The best paper shredders are far more advanced nowadays than my previous experience led me to believe.

When I tested the Aurora AU1210MA paper shredder with micro-cut, it changed my mind about shredders. Of all the models I tried, the Aurora came out on top for several reasons—functionality, durability, power, and cost.

The Aurora company manufactures a range of shredders designed for personal, professional, commercial, and high-security use. Properly disposing of sensitive data is essential in today’s information-driven world, and the Aurora shredder doesn’t disappoint. Find out how it performed in my hands-on testing and whether it’s the best paper shredder for your security needs. Spoiler: It shreds more than just paper!

Aurora AU1210MA 12-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper Shredder: At a Glance

The Aurora paper shredder sitting on a desk
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 9.25/10

SPECS

  • Type: Micro-cut
  • Page capacity: 12 sheets
  • Security level: P-4
  • Destroys: Paper, CDs, DVDs, credit cards, staples, small paper clips
  • Noise level: 76.9 decibels (as tested)
  • Model number: AU1210MA

PROS

  • High-security micro cutting; renders tiny 5/32-inch-by-15/32-inch-size shreds
  • Handles up to 12 sheets of paper at once for quick and efficient shredding
  • Versatile; shreds CDs and DVDs in addition to shredding paper
  • Auto function activates shredder when paper is inserted and stops when shredding is complete
  • Large 5-gallon bin holds ample waste, reducing the need for frequent dumping
  • Auto-reverse function senses paper jams and intuitively reverses and clears the jam

CONS

  • Manual feeding; stacks of paper and other items must be hand-fed
  • Unit is top-heavy, so it may present a tipping risk around small children

Get the Aurora 12-sheet micro-cut paper shredder at:

 What is the Aurora paper shredder?

The Aurora AU1210MA is a professional-grade paper shredder designed for high-security micro-cutting of sensitive documents. It easily handles up to 12 sheets of paper at a time and can shred credit cards, CDs, DVDs, staples, and small paper clips.

The shredder operates without being overly noisy and includes safety features such as auto-start and stop, overload protection, and overheat protection. Its micro-cutting capability sets it apart from standard shredders, providing a higher level of security against identity theft and data breaches. The shredder’s compact design and versatility make it suitable for various office or home settings, and its spacious wastebasket reduces the need for frequent emptying.

I conducted several tests on the Aurora AU1210MA, assessing its ability to shred documents, CDs, and credit cards. Additionally, I used a decibel tester to measure the shredder’s operating noise level during the process.

Cupped hands holding micr-cut paper waste just over the feed of the Aurora paper shredder
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How secure is the micro-cut feature of the Aurora paper shredder?

The Aurora paper shredder’s micro-cut feature offers a high level of security. It comes with a P-4 security rating, which means the shredder cuts an A4 document (a European measurement; an 8.5-inch by 11-inch piece of paper is similar in size) into 400 tiny pieces. The shreds resembled tiny confetti-like particles, and I felt they would be nearly impossible to reconstruct.

This advanced shredding method protects more fully against identity theft and sensitive data exposure than standard strip-cut or cross-cut shredders. With its micro-cut capability, the Aurora paper shredder offers added peace of mind when disposing of confidential information, making it an ideal choice for those seeking enhanced security measures.

Is the Aurora paper shredder user-friendly?

I found the Aurora paper shredder intuitive and very easy to use. I set it to auto mode—a standby mode—and it would sit there quietly until I fed in a sheet of paper or a CD. Then, it swiftly shredded it upon contact with the blades. The manufacturer suggests only keeping the machine in auto mode if you’re shredding soon. Otherwise, turn the machine to the “off” position for safety’s sake, especially if little ones are around who might decide to feed a fork into the slot.

I liked the ability to pull out the waste bin from the front. That made it very handy, especially considering the grinding head unit weighs approximately 22 pounds. Some of the other shredders I tested required lifting the head off to empty the basket.

Paper jams are also easy to clear. When I inserted more paper than the 12-sheet recommended maximum, the Aurora jammed, then immediately stopped, reversed, and cleared the jam on its own. I didn’t have to pick any paper shreds from the cutting wheels manually, which I appreciated.

A decibel tester next to the Aurora paper shredder showing that it operates at 76.9 decibels
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How much noise does the Aurora paper shredder make when it’s running?

The Aurora paper shredder produces a noise level of approximately 76.9 decibels when measured 2 feet away from the shredder during operation, which is comparable to that of a washing machine. This noise level was quieter than I’d expected but not entirely silent. Interestingly, while it is unlikely to distract other workers in a large and busy office, it may be somewhat distracting in a quiet environment without background noise. As expected, moving farther away from the shredder results in a decrease in the noise level.

A look into the waste bin of the Aurora paper shredder, which has fine micro-cut paper shreds inside
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How durable is the Aurora paper shredder?

The Aurora model stood out exceptionally well with regard to build quality and durability compared to other paper shredders I tested. Its motor and blades operated smoothly, even slightly exceeding the recommended 12-sheet capacity. At 15 sheets, it still shredded. However, when I increased the sheets to 20, it jammed, but then it automatically reversed and cleared the jam on its own.

During the testing phase—about 1.5 hours of near-continuous use—I pushed the Aurora paper shredder to its limits. It never overheated, demonstrating its reliable performance even under demanding conditions.

However, in the owner’s manual, the manufacturer recommends using lubricating oil periodically on the blades to keep them operating smoothly—but no oil is included with the purchase. Any high-quality lubricating oil, such as sewing machine oil, should work fine for this purpose.

A person putting a credit card into the Aurora paper shredder
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Aurora paper shredder worth the cost?

In my tests, the Aurora paper shredder performed well enough to justify its price of approximately $125. Cost-wise, this is a midrange model, but it offers the micro-cut shredding capabilities of some higher-priced models. Its P-4 security rating makes it ideal for document shredding,and its ability to destroy credit cards, CDs, and DVDs is a nice perk.

It’s not whisper quiet, but neither is it annoyingly loud. All in all, it’s a professional-grade shredder at a consumer price. It’s well worth the investment for those looking for a good shredder.

Should you buy the Aurora paper shredder?

Paper shredders are high on the list of essential office devices, and the Aurora shredder’s P-4 rating and micro-cutting capability make it a solid choice. While the AU1210MA isn’t a heavy-duty paper shredder, it’s well suited for small or home offices. It’s durable and well built.

It is an excellent fit for destroying confidential paperwork such as bank statements, business documents, and other sensitive materials.

However, if you don’t need a micro-cut shredderor only have occasional shredding needs, a lower-cost strip-cut or cross-cut shredder might be more appropriate. Additionally, large corporations with high-volume shredding requirements might find dedicated industrial-grade shredders better suited to their needs. Ultimately, the decision to buy the Aurora paper shredder should be based on the specific usage scenario and budget.

Where to Buy the Aurora Paper Shredder

Get the Aurora 12-sheet micro-cut paper shredder at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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