Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Coil Binding

Coil Binding MachinesSo you’re interested in coil binding, but you have a whole lot of questions that need answering before you make a purchase? That’s OK. When it comes to investing $100s to potentially $1000s of dollars in a binding machine, you should know everything there is to know about the format. I have over a decade of experience with coil binding machines (found here) and I would like to share some of that information with you.

To begin with, coil binding is a book binding format that uses coils (often called spirals) that have a spring-like appearance. Have you ever used a spiral notebook? That is a type of coil binding, which uses metal coils. The binding I am going to talk about in this article is very similar except that it uses PVC plastic coils instead of metal.

Coil binding has some huge perks over other book binding formats. Here are just a few of the reasons coil binding has become so popular over the last few years:

  • Coil BindingPages Lay Flat – Due to the nature of coil binding, coil bound books can be opened and will lay flat on a table. This makes coil binding excellent for instructional information such as manuals and cookbooks.
  • Pages Turn 360 Degrees – That’s right! Pages on a coil bound book will wrap around a full 360 degrees. This is excellent for reading and accessing information. I have a manual for an old 1979 VW diesel rabbit that was coil bound. I loved it because I could turn right to the section I needed, wrapped the page around and laid it on the front of my car while doing automotive work.
  • Durability – Plastic PVC binding coils are extremely durable. In situations where comb would fall apart or wire would bend, PVC binding coils hold up. You can drop coil bound books or step on them and they just seem to hold up.
  • Customization – Plastic PVC coils are available in over a dozen different colors and are available in several different diameters. This makes it possible to bind a book that is just a few pages thick or something that is a hundred pages thick. This customizability makes it possible to bind a book that is unique and classy.
  • Affordability – Plastic binding coils are affordable and readily available.

So what types of coil binding machines are there and which is best for you?

  • Manual Punch Coil Binding Machines (found here) – Manual coil binding machines have a punch that is manually operated. This is usually done via a lever located on the right side of the machine. Manual punch machines usually vary from 10-20 pages per punching pass, depending on the machine. This style of book binding machine is ideal for low to medium-volume book binding.
  • Electric Punch Coil Binding Machines (found here) – Electric punch machines have an electric motor that punches the paper. This requires little manual effort and is ideal when binding a lot of books throughout the day. Most electric punch machines have a food pedal that activates the punch although some use a button and others uses a combination food pedal / switch.
  • Electric Coil Inserters – Some manual and most electric punch machines have what’s known as an electric coil inserter. These inserters are designed to quickly spin coil through pre-punched holes. The process is extremely fast and is far quicker than manually inserting coils.
  • 4:1 Coil Binding Pitch PatternPitch – Coil binding machines come in either 4:1 pitch or 5:1 pitch hole patterns. The pitch is how many holes are punched per inch of paper. This means a 4:1 pitch machine has four holes per inch of paper. Once you purchase a machine 5:1 Pitch Coil Binding Hole Patternwith a punch set in a certain pitch, you need to make sure the supplies (found here) you purchase are the same pitch. Unfortunately 5:1 pitch supplies will not work with a 4:1 pitch machine and vice versa. The 4:1 pitch is the most popular used in the United States.

Which brand should you use? I have used many brands of coil binding machines. Some work better than others and some hold up better than others. From personal experience, I can safely say that personally like Akiles and Intelli-Bind. Both brands are reliable and seem to hold up well with continuous use.

Would you like to see a coil binding machine in use? Here are video demos of manual coil binding machines and electric coil binding machines. These videos should give you a good idea as to how these machines work:


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You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here and coil binding supplies here. We also have a great step-by-step guide on how to use a coil binding machine that you can find here.

If you still have questions about coil binding, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have over 30 years of experience with coil binding and would love to help point you in the right direction.

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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