Paper Folding Machine Buyer’s Guide

Paper Folding MachinesWhen shopping around for a paper folding machine, you typically find dozens of different models with dozens of different features. It is difficult to know exactly what machine is best for you. I have 11 years of experience with paper folding machines and would like to share with you some common questions that you can ask yourself prior to making a purchase. Answers to these questions will help you find the right machine.

Question 1: What type of paper are you using? The type of paper you use will definitely determine the machine you purchase. If you are using standard paper or card stock, a friction-feed machine will work fine. If you are using glossy or coated paper (slick surface), you will need to consider using an air feed folding machine. Friction feed machines often slip on glossy paper, resulting in a paper jam.

Question 2: How thick is the paper that you will be folding? All paper folding machines have a minimum and a maximum paper thickness capacity. Be sure the paper you are using falls within the machine’s capabilities. All machines can fold 20# copy paper, but not all can fold thinner 12# paper or thicker card stock.

Question 3: What kinds of folds do you need to create? Most paper folding machines will list the types of folds they can create. It is important to know, however, that some machines use a different word to describe the same fold. Here are a few examples:

  • C Fold – AKA Letter Fold
  • Z Fold – AKA Accordion Fold
  • Cross Fold – AKA French Fold
  • V Fold – AKA Single Fold
  • Engineering Fold – AKA Half Accordion Fold

Types of Paper Folds

Once you have determined the fold you need, make sure the machines you are looking at can accomplish the required fold.

MBM Paper Folding MachineQuestion 4: How much paper do you need to fold per day? Paper folding machines range from daily duty cycles of a few dozen to thousands of sheets per day. Most paper folding machines will list their motor speed and some will even list a daily duty cycle limit. It is important to know that the motor speed doesn’t necessarily reflect duty cycle, but it is a good place to start. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 if you need advice on the duty cycle of a specific machine.

Question 5: Do the documents need to be kept in order? If you are folding invoices or bills, you may need to keep folded material in alphabetical or numerical order. If this is the case, you will probably need a folding machine with a powered exit conveyor. Conveyors help slow paper down and assists in neatly stacking the paper. If you don’t need to keep folded documents in order, you may still like a conveyor as it helps keep things neat and orderly.

Question 6: Where will you be using your paper folding machine? Folding machines vary a lot in weight and size. If you plan on using your paper folder on a desk, be sure your desk or table can hold the weight. It is also a good idea to take into account the size of the machine as you will need a place to store and use it. It is also important to note that paper folding machines generate some noise, especially air suction feed machines. You may want to consider using your machine in a separate room or away from people, especially for long runs.


  • Friction Feed – A machine that uses rubber or silicon wheels to pull paper into the machine.
  • Air Feed – A machine that uses air suction to pull paper into the machine.

These six questions will narrow down your search to just a few models. Once you have selected a few models that will work, you then need to factor in your budget and feedback from other people who have used the machine. This should help make your final decision even easier.

We have been selling paper folding machines since 1980, and have a lot of experience with machines from Martin Yale, MBM, Formax, Standard, Intelli-Fold, Dahle and more. We are more than happy to help guide you in the right direction and will not pressure you into buying a machine. You can reach us by calling 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

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