Rotary Paper CutterIf you’re shopping around for a paper cutter, you may be thinking, “which of these models should I choose?” There are hundreds of different paper cutters out there from literally dozens of different brands. So which paper cutter should you go with? I will explain some of the most common paper cutting projects, the best paper cutters to use and the pros and cons of each style of cutter.

To begin with, there are 3 main types of paper cutters. There are divisions within those categories, but most people categorize paper cutters as:

I’ll go into more detail in this article what each of these paper cutter types are and what they are used for.

The term paper cutter and paper trimmer are often used interchangeably. Most industry experts, however, consider trimmers to be light-volume machines and paper cutters to be medium to higher-volume machines.

What do most people cut? Having spoken to thousands of customers, most people want to cut paper, photographs, card stock, business cards and laminated materials. Here is the paper cutter you may want for each of these projects:

  • Photos / Photographs – If you are cutting photos, I generally like to steer people towards rotary paper trimmers like those made by Rotatrim, Dahle or Carl. They are precise, excellent for alignment and are affordable for photographers and scrapbookers alike. If you are looking for a multi-purpose cutter that can also handle photos, you may want to consider using a guilllotine paper cutter.
  • Card Stock – If you are cutting down dozens to hundreds of sheets of card stock, I recommend using a stack paper cutter. These amazing cutters are capable of cutting entire reams of paper, with some even capable of cutting up to 3″ of card stock at a time. If you are only cutting a few at a time, I recommend to first consider a guillotine paper cutter and then a rotary paper trimmer.
  • Business Cards – I first and foremost recommend using a business card cutter. These cutters are designed to cut standard 3.5″ x 2″ cards. Simply print your cards and run them through one of these handy machines. If you are cutting non-standard size business cads, or need to cut hundreds to thousands of them, I recommend using a stack paper cutter. In a few passes, a stack paper cutter can create thousands of cards.
  • Laminated Paper – If you are cutting out menus, signs, ID badges or other laminated paper, I recommend using a rotary paper cutter like those made by Dahle or Rotatrim. These trimmers are designed for precision, and thanks to self-sharpening blades, the lamination film does not easily dull them. If you also need to cut card stock, chipboard and other material, a guillotine paper trimmer also does a great job.

Now that we have covered some of the most common uses of paper cutters, let me go over the pros and cons of each style of paper cutter.

  • Rotary Paper CuttersRotary Paper Cutters – These cutters are extremely precise, which is why they are so popular for cutting photographs, art prints and artwork in general. They are also great for cutting paper, cover stock, laminated material and much more. The only downside to rotary paper cutters (aka rolling paper trimmers) is that they don’t usually have the cutting capacity of guillotine or stack cutters.
  • Guillotine Paper CuttersGuillotine Paper Cutters – Guillotine paper trimmers are one of the most common style of trimmers used in schools and copy centers. Many of the older guillotine trimmers cut crooked and were a little dangerous. Modern guillotine trimmers have excellent paper clamps, razor sharp blades and are chuck full of safety features. Simply put, guillotine paper cutters are the best rounded machines out there.
  • Stack Paper CuttersStack Paper Cutters – Stack paper cutters are available in manual, electric and hydraulic designs. The are designed for high-capacity and heavy-volume cutting. You will often see these cutters in print shops, copy centers and other locations where hundreds of sheets of paper need to be cut at a time. These workhorses are great for cutting a lot of paper, but are not the best machines for cutting a single sheet or a few sheets of paper.

Hopefully this helps you determine which cutter is best for you. We have over 30 years of experience with paper cutters and trimmers, so feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 for advice on the right paper cutter for you. You can find Office Zone’s entire selection of paper cutters here.

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