Comb Binding MachinesWith all the different binding machine formats floating around out there, it is a little tough to know which one you should use. I have over 10 years of experience using pretty much everything out there and I have to say that comb, wire and coil binding are still my favorites. Of these three binding formats, each have their own pros and cons that I would like to explain in this article.

As mentioned earlier, I really like comb, wire and coil binding machines. These three formats also happen to be the most widely used today. These binding styles each go by a variety of different names:

  • Comb Binding (AKA) – 19-Ring Binding, Plastic Binding, School Binding
  • Wire Binding (AKA) – Metal Comb, Spiral-O, Wire-O, Twin Loop, Double Loop, 3:1 Binding, 2:1 Binding
  • Coil Binding (AKA) Spiral Binding, Spring Binding, Plastic Spiral Binding, Color Coil Binding, 5:1 Binding, 4:1 Binding

Now that we have established the different names attached to these binding formats, I would like to cover why you may want to use these binding formats.

Comb Binding MachinesComb Binding – If you are looking for a binding machine purely for binding and organizational purposes and you don’t care what the end results look like, this is the binding format for you. Comb binding is by far the cheapest method of binding books, reports and presentations. The machines are cheap and the supplies are about as inexpensive as they come. Having used dozens of different comb binding machines myself, I have to say that this is probably the easiest binding format out there.

Comb binding involves 19-hole punched paper (on the 11″ side of letter-size paper). Once paper has been punched, place a comb on the machine’s comb opener. Open the comb and slide the comb’s fingers through the punched holes and close the comb element. That’s really all there is too it.

Comb binding elements themselves come in a wide array of colors and are usually available in quantities of 100 per box. Comb binding elements allow you to remove and re-add pages. The elements can be re-used multiple times before they wear out, which is ideal for those of you who are into recycling.

Wire Binding MachinesWire Binding – If you bind things for professional purposes, let’s say in a business environment, wire binding may be the best format for you. This binding style utilizes loops of wire, often referred to as twin loop wire. Each of these twin loops is inserted through punched holes (usually done on a wire binding machine). The look is very professional and very classy.

Wire binding comes in 3 different hole patterns. The least common is 19-ring wire, aka Spiral-O wire. This format involves 19 total holes along an 11″ sheet of paper and is designed to work with the same hole pattern as coil binding. Holes are rectangular in shape.

The other 2 more popular hole formats are 2:1 pitch (2 holes per inch) and 3:1 pitch (3 holes per inch). While both common, the 2:1 pitch is probably slightly more popular. Two-to-one pitch holes are slightly rectangular in shape, where 3:1 pitch holes are square (sometimes round).

The biggest downside to wire is that it cannot be re-used and can potentially bend if hit or dropped. Wire binding comes in a variety of colors and is one of the most popular “business” binding machine formats”

Coil Binding MachinesCoil Binding – If you need a binding format that is almost indestructible and is perfect for long-term booklets, reports and presentations, coil binding is just what you need. This format uses binding elements that look like coils, often referred to as spirals. Coil binding is made from PVC plastic, which makes them really tough. I had someone tell me once that they accidentally ran over a report that fell onto their driveway that was coil bound and it came out of the incident unscathed.

Coil binding supplies come in a wide range of colors and diameters, however, you should be aware that there are 2 different hole patterns. One is 4:1 pitch (4 holes per inch) and 5:1 pitch (5 holes per inch). Both of these hole patterns look good. The style you use depends on the look you prefer and how much paper you need to bind. The more common 4:1 pitch can bind more paper than 5:1 pitch.

While there is a little bit of a learning curve with coil binding, it is easy to pick up and the process is pretty quick, especially if your coil binder is equipped with an electric inserter. The biggest advantage of coil binding, other than its durability, is the fact that coil bound pages can be completely wrapped around a full 360 degrees. Pages lie flat for easy reading. This is probably why coil binding is so popular for instructional booklets, cookbooks and manuals.

Best Brands

Who makes coil, wire and comb binding machines? To date, there are over a half-dozen different reputable manufacturers. These are the ones that I feel confident you will enjoy using:

Hopefully this guide has been helpful to you. Office Zone is one of the best sources for binding machines online. You can find Office Zone’s coil binding machines here, comb binding machines here and wire binding machines here.

If you are new to binding, and this guide hasn’t answered all your questions, please feel free to call one of Office Zone’s experts at 1-800-543-5454.

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