Features To Look For In A Comb Binding Machine

Comb Binding MachinesComb binding continues to be one of the most popular book binding formats used today. Plastic comb binding supplies are cheap, machines are plentiful and the end results look great. That said, what features should you look for in a comb binding machine? With literally dozens of machines available, you may need a little help narrowing down the field. Here are a few tips that may help you out.

Features To Look For In A Comb Binding Machine

  1. Punching Capacity – The punching capacity is the amount of sheets that a machine can punch at any given time. This does not determine the maximum thickness of the bound book. If you are binding a 100-page book and have a machine that can punch 10 sheets at a time, you will need to make 10 total passes before accumulating enough punched paper for a 100-page book. The higher the punching capacity, the faster you can bind a book.
  2. Paper Size – Most comb binding machines are designed to handle standard letter size 8 ½” x 11″ or A4 size paper. If you need to bind 14″ legal size paper or larger, be sure to check and see if the comb binding machine can handle the added length. Sometimes you can bind a longer sheet of paper if the comb binding machine is open ended, allowing the operator to slide the paper over and punch it again.
  3. Book Thickness – The majority of comb binding machines have a 2″ book binding capacity. While this may be the case for 90% of the machines out there, some entry-level machines may not be equipped with comb openers capable of handling 2″ paper. Be sure and check this out under the machine’s specifications prior to purchasing a comb binder.
  4. Disegnageable Dies – If you plan on binding custom-size and non-standard paper sizes, you will definitely want a machine with disengageable (selectable) punching dies (aka punching pins). Have you ever punched paper only to end up with a half-punched hole? Disengageable punching dies will eliminate this problem.
  5. Margin depth – The margin dept determines how far into the paper the holes are punched. Only about half of the comb binding machines available have this feature. I personally like an adjustable margin depth. This makes it easier to punch deeper into paper when binding thicker books, where the potential of a page accidentally ripping out is higher.
  6. Material Construction – Comb binding machines are going to be either made out of plastic, metal or a combination thereof. As you might imagine, all-metal comb binding machines typically hold up better over time. If you only plan on doing low to medium-volume binding, a plastic or plastic / metal machine may be fine. Be aware that some plastic-looking machines are actually all metal with a plastic shell.
  7. Handles – Some comb binding machines feature a single handle for punching paper and opening the combs. Other machines feature two separate handles for both. The handle arrangement your machine has will depend on your preference. Electric machines typically have only one handle for opening the comb.
  8. Manual or Electric – Do you need a manual or an electric comb binding machine? The ultimate determining factor will be the amount of books you are binding. While electric punch comb binding machines are convenient, they’re typically only needed for high-volume binding. Some people still like electric punches for low to medium-volume binding purely out of convenience. Be aware that electric punch comb binding machines are typically more of an investment.

Understanding these various features should help you ultimately decide which machine is best for you. You can find our entire selection of comb binding machines here. If you are still unsure which machine to buy, feel free to contact one of our comb binding specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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