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What features should I look for in a comb binding machine?

posted this on Jul 1, 2015

If you’re looking for a good comb binding machine, you’re probably wondering how you can choose one that will fit your needs. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to do. You just need to do a little bit of research and consider the following things:

  • Punching capacity. Just about all comb binding machines have hole punches built into them and that’s because a letter-sized document needs 19 holes punched in it before it can be bound. You should choose a machine that can punch a reasonable amount of sheets per punch. “Reasonable” depends on the thickness of your documents. It could be as low as 5 sheets per lift or as many as 25.
  • Comb size. In order to determine what comb sizes are right for your needs, document thickness is key again. Combs range in diameter from 3/16” (10 pages) to 2” (425 pages). Not every machine can handle every comb, so it’s a good idea to choose a device that can accommodate a variety of sizes.
  • Design and construction. The design of a comb binding machine is an important consideration. Not so much because the look of the device matters, but because a well-designed machine will be easier to use. For example, it’s good to choose a binder with a D-shaped handle so both left and right-handed people can use it. Some machines also have directions printed on them which makes operation a snap. Also, you should choose a device that features metal parts as plastic implements can break rather easily.
  • Special features. There are a number of special features that may interest you. If you plan on binding a lot, a device with an electric punching mechanism can save you a lot of time. Rotary edge guides and depth of punch margin control can help you punch the holes more easily and produce stronger documents. And a vertical punching mechanism can help you align your paper properly. Finally, a comb storage tray will give you extra space for your supplies.
  • Warranty. Finally, you need to check out the warranties of the machines that interest you. High-quality binding equipment can be pricey, so you want a device that comes with a good warranty. A good warranty is one that lasts for at least six months. Most of the reputable binding machine manufacturers (GBC, Fellowes, etc.) offer great warranty coverage, so it won’t be too hard to find a device with the right coverage.
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