How do I select the right Three-Hole Punch?

posted this on Jul 7, 2015

Unless your office is committed to using pre-punched paper for use in binders, you’re going to need a good three-hole punch. Here are the things you need to consider when selecting yours….

  • Punching capacity. The most important thing to look for when selecting a three-hole punch is a sufficient punching capacity. This refers to how many sheets of paper the device can handle at a time. There are some units that can only work with a few sheets at once while others can handle dozens. (If you want to process hundreds of sheets at once, you should consider getting a paper drill.) Basically, get a device that can punch as many sheets as possible, so long as you can afford it. There are few things more frustrating that trying to work with a lot of sheets and not being able to.
  • Manual versus electric. As you probably already know, there are both manual and electric three-hole punches. The electric ones tend to be more expensive but they typically can process many more sheets at a time than their manual counterparts. However, you will find that electric punches’ parts aren’t as durable as they could be which can definitely be problematic. Meanwhile, manual punches are often incredibly durable and are pretty affordable even as they offer lower punching capacities. Choose a device that fits your needs and your budget.
  • Adjustable punching heads. One feature that’s incredibly popular when it comes to three-hole punches is a set of adjustable punching heads. If you can adjust the position of the heads, you can work with different sizes of paper and even produce different hole patterns. For example, you could do a two-hole pattern so you can prepare your documents for storage in file folders or half-letter size binders. Adjustable heads are really convenient and will increase the functionality of which ever device you choose.
  • Replaceable dies. Unless you’re planning on replacing your three-hole punch in the somewhat near future, you should get one that has replaceable dies. This is especially true if you anticipate punching on a frequent basis. The more paper you process, the more worn the dies will become. If you can replace them, you’ll end up saving yourself money in the end.
  • Durable construction. A three-hole punch is definitely an investment, so make sure you choose one that’s in it for the long haul. The best punches contain metal parts and, as discussed above, replaceable dies so you can get years of use out of your new device. Punches made out of plastic should be avoided if possible since they won’t last very long and they may not always produce cleanly punched holes. So make sure you check out the punch’s construction before purchasing it.
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