Why Does My Paper Shredder Make A Weird Or Grinding Noise?

Shredders are fantastic appliances that help keep our identity and personal information safe from those who otherwise may have bad intentions. However, shredders are not pardoned from becoming old, broken, or struck with issues. 

There are actually a lot of reasons why your shredder may make a weird noise, however, the top reasons why shredders make grinding or weird noises are:

  • Cutting blades need to be oiled
  • Shredder is jammed or clogged
  • The impeller is broken
  • Transit screws have not been removed
  • Shredder is outdated or getting old

(Source: Fix Ya, Document Dynamics, Fellowes Knowledge)

Now, there are several fixes for these solutions that are simple and easy to complete, however, if you don’t wish to spend time trying to fix the shredder, buying a new one (like our top pick found here on Amazon) can always solve the problem as well. 

Top Reasons Why Your Shredder Is Making A Weird Or Grinding Noise

While there are quite a few reasons as to why your shredder could be making a weird or grinding noise, most issues are never discovered or fully flushed out and are chalked up to a shredder being old or outdated. 

However, there are a few reasons that have been confirmed and given solutions to fix your shredder and its noises. These aren’t guaranteed fixes but they may help you in your process of figuring it out. 

Cutting Blades Need To Be Oiled

Every appliance with blades usually requires some sort of lubrication to help run efficiently and smoothly, shredders are no different. Without lubrication, you will risk the blades or gears running together against each other or other parts of the shredder. 

This is an easy fix you can achieve in only 3 steps. To lubricate your blades you need to:

  • Apply lubrication across the entire blade area
  • Turn your shredder to auto and allow it to run for 3-5 seconds forward
  • Run the blades backward for 3-5 seconds

Once you have finished these steps your shredder should be lubricated and sound much better. 

(Source: Fellowes Knowledge)

Shredder Is Jammed Or Clogged

Usually, a shredder will become jammed when you have tried to shred too big of a [peper load all at once, however, no matter how it became jammed you can unclog it in 3 steps. To unclog your shredder:

  • Unplug the shredder and empty the basket
  • Plug the shredder back in and turn it on
  • Let the shredder run forwards and backward for 3 seconds each rotating between directions

Your shredder should stop making the weird or grinding noise once it’s unclogged. To prevent this in the future, refer to your owner’s manual to see how many sheets you should shred at once time. 

If your shredder starts being slow, reduce the number of sheets you are shredding for a few turns to ensure that it doesn’t become jammed or clogged. 

(Source: Sid Martin Bio)

The Impeller Is Broken

The impeller is a part that helps the shaft move without rubbing against any of the other parts, this part can get broken or worn and cause a grinding part when the shredder is being used. Once this happens, most people prefer to get a new shredder, however, the impeller can be fixed if you aren’t looking for a new purchase. 

You can find a new impeller on the manufacturer website of your shredder brand, then you can either contact the company or find instructions on how to change it from a third party. This should fix the weird noise your shredder makes.

(Source: Fix Ya, Document Dynamics)

Transit Screws Still In Place

There are usually screws that are put in place so your shredder will be more stable and secure during transport or delivery. These screws are not necessary for regular use and can be removed once you purchase your shredder. 

If you choose to not remove these screws chances are your shredder will begin to make weird or grinding noises after regular use due to the screws shaking or rubbing against other parts. You can refer to your owner’s manual to discover which screws can be removed to fix the sound issues. 

(Source: Fix Ya, Document Dynamics)

If you can’t find it in your manual you can always contact the manufacturer. Once you remove these screws, your shredder should stop making any weird noises and it should run smoother as well. 

Shredder Is Outdated Or Getting Old


When any appliance starts becoming outdated or older, anything can go wrong, and usually, it will. Most of the time once your shredder hits a few years old it won’t sound the same, nor will it shred the same. 

The best way to fix the sound issues is to replace your shredder. Most of the time there isn’t anything wrong with the shredder and replacing it is the only option. You can go through the process of trial and error trying to fix it, but it usually is only a short-term solution for a long-term necessity. 

If you do have to purchase a new shredder, it’s best to try and get something brand new that isn’t an older model to help keep yourself from being in the same position in a year or two. Technology in any form can change quite fast and once you buy something, it’ll be out of date in a few years. 

So when you purchase anything technological, it’s best to buy the newest of the new to help it stay relevant the longest. 

(Source: Fix Ya, Document Dynamics)

Final Thoughts

While you may think once your shredder starts making weird and griding noises you have to get a new one, it is very possible to fix most issues with shredders. Whether it’s in need of lubrication or it needs a new impeller, fixing shredders is pretty simple, even for those who aren’t handy. 

Fixing your printer could probably save you anywhere from $50-$100 since you wouldn’t need to buy a new one, it could take some time. It’s up to you to decide if money or time is a more important sacrifice. 

John Hammer

Hi i'm John Hammer, Founder and Author of Gizbuyer Guide. Ever since the original Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone I've purchased and worked on all kinds of consumer tech products, gaming gadgets and operating system softwares. To this day my curiosity has never left, and my aim is to guide and share my knowledge on technology as I continue to experience the latest of the consumer electronics industry.

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