Which Type of Binding Machine is Best for You?

Posted by: James on March 27th, 2013

Book Binding MachinesBinding a book is a fulfilling task and the end results look great. If you are shopping for a book binding machine, you have probably found that there are a LOT of different designs, binding formats and machines (found here) available. So if you are trying to bind your own book, whether it is on a personal or professional level, which machine should you use? I would like to cover the most popular binding formats and will include videos so you can see exactly what is involved when binding with coil, comb and wire.

Comb, wire and coil binding are the three most popular binding formats used today. Sure there are other formats out there such as ProClick and VeloBind, but they pale in comparison to the big three when it comes to popularity and availability of supplies. You will find comb, wire and coil in use in schools, copy shops and businesses around the world. These binding formats are commonly used to bind sheets of paper together, ranging from a few to a few hundred in thickness.

I would like to explain the characteristics of each of these three binding formats:

Comb Binding SuplliesComb Binding (found here) – Comb binding has been around the longest of the three. The comb binding element is made of plastic and features 19 “fingers” that can be opened and closed for adding or removing paper. Comb binding machines punch 19 holes along the 11″ side of a sheet of letter-size paper. The comb’s fingers are inserted through those holes to help keep the paper bound and together. Combs range in thickness from 3/16″ diameter up to 2″. The comb supplies are available in several colors.

  • Pros – Comb is by far the least expensive of the three binding formats covered in this article. This is one of the reasons comb binding is one of the most popular formats used today. As of this article, a box of 100 3/16″ diameter combs is just shy of $4. Comb binding supplies also allow the operator to add or remove pages. Comb binding has a small learning curve and can be used to bind small presentations to full-blown manuals. Comb binding also provides a lot of stability to the bound book.
  • Cons – Combs, when opened and closed multiple times, will eventually begin to wear out. On thicker books this can result in the comb’s fingers becoming week and books loosing pages. Many people thing comb binding looks “cheap,” although that is debatable. Comb binding does not allow pages to be turned around a full 360 degrees.

Here is a comb binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

Wire Binding SuppliesWire Binding (found here) – Wire binding uses actual metal wire to bind books. The wire binding element itself is made from a single long wire that is formed into a twin-loop wire appearance. The amount of loops in a twin-loop bound document depends on the hole pattern being used. Wire binding is available in three different hole pattern. These hole patterns are 19-ring (same pattern as comb binding), 3:1 pitch (three holes per inch) and 2:1 pitch (two holes per inch). The hole pattern does change the look of the bound document. The 3:1 pitch has the holes closer together where 2:1 has the holes farther apart. Be aware that the hole pattern cannot be modified on a machine. Once you have selected a machine with a specific hole pattern, you will need to make sure you buy correctly corresponding supplies.

  • Pros – Wire binding is very popular with businesses for binding reports and presentations. Wire binding is considered to be the most professional-looking supply. The wire elements themselves are available in several different colors.
  • Cons – The biggest con of wire binding is that the spines are made of wire and are susceptible to being bent out of shape if dropped or stacked upon. Another con is that pages cannot be added or removed.

Here is a wire binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

Coil Binding SuppliesCoil Binding (found here) – Coil binding has been gaining a lot of popularity over the years. Coil binding, often called spiral binding, is patterned after the old wire coils used in spiral notebooks. Modern coil binding is made using durable PVC plastic. This allows the coils to maintain their shape and makes them available in a wide assortment of colors. This binding format is very popular for several reasons I will cover under the “Pros” section of this article. Coil binding is available in two different hole patterns. These are 4:1 pitch (four holes per inch) and 5:1 pitch (five holes per inch). The 4:1 pitch is by far the most popular.

  • Pros – Coil binding is the most durable binding format of the three mentioned in this article. The coils can withstand a lot of abuse. Coil binding makes page turns very easy and due to the nature of the coils, the pages can actually be turned a full 360 degrees. Coil bound books also lay extremely flat for easy reading. Coil binding happens to be my personal favorite binding format.
  • Cons – The only real disadvantage to coil is that pages cannot be added or removed. If you want to add pages, you have to remove the coil and insert a new coil. Coil binding also provides little stability to the bound book, where comb does.

Here is a coil binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

In conclusion, I have to say that all three binding formats have their place. I recommend comb for schools and home projects, wire for businesses and coil for just about anyone. Having used dozens of machines myself, I have to say that my personal favorite brands include Akiles, Intelli-Bind, Tamerica and Renz. While I have used Fellowes and GBC machines, I don’t feel the quality is up to par with what I like.

You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here. If you still have questions about binding machines, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We have decades of experience with machines and are more than happy to help answer questions.


Signs You May Be Binding Too Much Paper

Posted by: James on October 17th, 2012

Book Binding MachinesHave you tried binding a book, but only to have it result in poor results? One of the most common issues I have found when people are having problems with their binding machine is that they are trying to bind too much paper. I would like to point out some common signs that you are binding too much paper and provide you with some tips and suggestions. I will cover the three most common binding formats; these being comb, wire and coil (located here).

Comb, wire and coil binding all have their benefits. Comb is extremely cheap and available in several colors. Wire has a finish that is extremely professional and presentable. Coil is near indestructible and allows books to lay flat and pages to turn a full 360 degrees. When used correctly, all three of these binding formats produce satisfying results.

Binding too much paper usually results from putting too much paper into a binding element. If you are experiencing “over capacity” results, try upgrading to the next diameter (or several sizes up). Here is how you know you are binding too much paper with all three binding styles:

  • Comb Binding – It is easy to know when you are binding too much paper with a comb. The first symptom is difficult page turns. The paper will bind together, making it difficult to turn the pages. This can even cause the paper to begin to tear as pages are turned. Another symptom is pages begin to fall out. The stress of too much paper on a small binding element can cause the comb to lose integrity, resulting in pages falling out.
  • Wire Binding – If you are binding too much paper with wire, much like comb, you will experience difficult page turns, often resulting in torn pages or the inability to navigate the book. Too much paper can also cause the wire itself to begin to bend and mangle, resulting in a mess.
  • Coil Binding – Coil binding probably handles over capacity binding the best. While the integrity of the spiral element itself holds up, and pages won’t fall out, pages can still be difficult to turn when too much paper is bound.

Now that we have established identifying over capacity books, I would like to help you by showing how much paper each binding element’s diameter can handle. This will help you establish the appropriate amount of pages to bind for the size of element you are using.

Comb Binding Sheet Capacities

Comb Binding Sheet Capacities

Wire Binding Sheet Capacities

Wire Binding Sheet Capacities

Coil Binding Sheet Capacities

Coil Binding Sheet Capacities


Hopefully these capacity guides help you out. At Office Zone, we offer a huge selection of book binding machines (found here) at great low prices. Please feel free to browse our selection. You can call us at 1-800-543-5454 to speak with one of our Book Binding Specialists. They can help answer any questions you may have.


Which Binding Machine Format is Best?

Posted by: James on September 7th, 2011

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.


How to Use a Comb Binding Machine

Posted by: James on June 29th, 2011

Comb Binding MachinesComb binding continues to be one of the most popular book binding formats used today. There are many reasons for this. Let me list off just a few of those reasons:

Price –  Comb binding supplies are THE cheapest available today. You can buy a box 100 1/4″ diameter supplies for just a few dollars. Even wire and coil can’t compete with that rate. Not only are the supplies inexpensive, but the machines are affordable as well. You can find our comb binding machines here and comb binding supplies here.

Look – Many people like the look of comb binding. It is very unique and has been used for decades, developing a certain appeal to many people.

Availability – Comb binding elements are one of the most available supplies available. You can find the online, in brick & mortar stores and much more.

– Comb binding supplies come in a wide range of color, including red, green, blue, brown, black, clear, white and much more.

Adding / Removing – Comb binding elements are extremely easy to re-open, allowing you to easily add and remove pages.

Recycling – Comb binding supplies can be re-used over and  over again, making it possible to bind multiple books for years using the same element.

Comb binding is commonly used to bind booklets, reports, presentations and other documents. The two most common types of comb binding machines are electric and manual comb binders. Manual comb binders are generally used for low to medium-volume binding and electric machines are used for medium to high-volume binding.

So how do you actually use a comb binding machine? This guide will show you how to comb bind a booklet in 8 easy steps.

How to Use a Comb Binding Machine

Step 1. Set up the comb binding machine prior to use. This may involve adjusting the margin depth (how far the holes are punched in the paper), side margin guides (where the holes punch in the paper left to right) and the selectable punching pins (If equipment, will allow you to disable specific holes). There isn’t usually too much involved in setting up the comb binding machine.

Adjust Comb Binding Machine

Step 2.
Take the paper you plan on punching and gather it into a stack. This is a personal preference, but I like to keep the cover and the back cover separate.

Clear Cover / Binding Covers

Step 3. Take about 10-20 sheets (depending on your machine’s punching capacity) and begin punching each stack of paper. If using a manual punch, pull the punching arm. If using an electric punch, press the punching button or foot pedal. This process usually only takes a few seconds. Repeat this process until all the paper has been punched.

Comb Punch Paper

Step 4. Take all your paper and jog it together, aligning the edges. This can be done manually by tapping the paper on a table or by using an electric paper jogger (found here). This will make it easier to insert the combs.

Comb Align Paper

Step 5. Place the comb element you will be using on the machine’s comb opener. Open the comb by pulling or pushing the comb opening lever. Most electric comb binding machines still have a manual comb opener.

Open Combs / Comb Opener

Step 6. Once the comb is open, insert the open fingers of the comb through the punched paper. Be sure you get all 19 fingers through each of the 19 punched holes. Also be sure the fingers make it all the way through the holes. It is easy to accidentally mist a few pages.

Insert Combs Through Comb Punched Holes

Step 7. Release the comb opener, allowing the comb’s fingers to naturally recoil back into their natural position.

Close Comb / Comb Binding

Step 8. You have just finished comb binding your first book. You are now ready to repeat the process (if needed).

Finished Comb Binding

This is where you can find everything you need to start comb binding:



So there you have it! While it may seem a little intimidating at first, comb binding books is actually pretty easy. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact one of our comb binding specialists by calling 1-800-543-5454.


Akiles EcoBind-C Plastic Comb Binding Machine Reviewed

Posted by: James on May 17th, 2011

Akiles EcoBind-C Comb Binding MachineDo you dread the fact that you have to make yet another trip to Fedex-Kinkos or a similar store to get your binding done?  If so, it’s probably time to start looking at getting your own binding machine.  Binding machines are surprisingly inexpensive, especially comb binding.  When it comes to affordable comb binders, a great model to consider is the Akiles EcoBind-C.  It is a low to mid volume range machine.  This review will give you some great insight into this machine, as well as help you understand why it will save you time and money.

An important thing to consider, when shopping for binding equipment, is which brand name to go with.  Akiles is 100% solid quality and their machines have a great reputation for standing the test of time.  Built from all-metal construction, they offer durability and longevity from their most basic models to their high-end industrial binders.  They also back up their machines with a great one-year warranty.

A key component to this model that separates it from its competition is a full set of disengaging punching dies.  This allows you to select which holes will punch on the paper, thus eliminating those pesky half-punches on the edge of the paper.  It also gives you flexibility to bind smaller documents with ease.  Most binders in this range will have 1 or 2 disengaging punching dies or none at all.

One thing many people don’t take into account when comb binding is a margin selector.  The Akiles EcoBind-C can handle documents up to a whopping 425 sheets.  When binding larger documents, it is always a good idea to adjust the margin so that the punch is deeper into the paper.  This will prevent your document from coming unbound from the comb.

The modern design also offers a “U” shaped handle, which is perfect for eliminating arm strain.  It also features a catch tray for the excess chad (left-over paper).  It punches up to 20 sheets at a time (tested…it really does).  Many models sport a high punching capacity, but just don’t live up to the hype.  Not so with this model.  It also has an extended base for your paper.  This is great for making sure to punch in the proper place consistently each time.

The Akiles EcoBind-C comb binder (found here) is a good quality machine. I would easily recommend it over some of the more expensive models.  You can find our entire selection of comb binding machines here. If you have any questions about comb binding, other models, or binding in general, be sure to contact knowledgeable customer service reps at 1-800-543-5454.


Do you Have Tabletop Comb Binding Machines?

Posted by: Morgan on March 28th, 2011

Intelli-Bind IB850 Electric Comb Binding MachineQuestion

I am not sure what the name of the product is that I’m looking for so I wanted to e-mail for your assistance.

We currently are using an older electric punch system to bind (plastic rings and covers) together our presentations. Do you have a machine that can do the same function but is a tabletop version? The other we have is quite bulky.


Sarah R.


It sounds like you are currently using an older-style comb binding machine. We had one from the 1970’s in our repair shop the other day. The unit weighed at least 80 lbs.! Fortunately, binding machine technology has come along way in the last 40 years. If you still need an electric punch system with your binding machine, the Intelli-Bind IB850 Electric Comb Binding Machine comes highly recommended.

This model is made by Intelli-Zone and is a terrific value. Most comparable electric comb binding machines with its features cost hundreds of dollars more. Electric comb binding machines are a necessity in several offices today. These popular models make it easy to quickly punch and bind stacks of paper in seconds. The Intelli-Bind IB850 is certainly no exception. This convenient comb binder is easy to set up and operate. It comes standard with a foot pedal that makes it possible to handle paper while punching. This provides convenient, hands-free operation. The IB850 can punch through 20 sheets of 20 lb. paper at a time. All punching pins on the unit may be disengaged to prevent half-punched holes.


Can you Adjust Hole Punching on GBC C340 Precision Punch Bind Machine?

Posted by: Morgan on January 19th, 2011

Tahsin 213-PB Plus 3 Manual Punch Bind MachineQuestion


I want to ask you if the “GBC C340 Precision Punch And Bind Machine” the punching method is Manual?
Can I change the punching method of this machine? I want 20 holes in stead of 21.

I hope I get an answer soon!




Yes, the punching method for that machine is manual. However, you cannot change the number of holes punched with GBC C340. We recommend the Tahsin 213-PB Plus 3 Manual Punch Bind Machine. It does not punch as many sheets at a time, but the 213-PB Plus 3 will let you manually adjust the number of holes you want to punch.

You can also bind with either double loop wire or plastic comb with this 2-in-1 combination binding machine. The binding punch has 21 disengaging punching dies and can handle up to 20 sheets of paper at a time. This model has a added bonus feature with its 3-hole paper punch. The Tahsin 213-PB can handle plastic comb binding of up to two inches in size (425 sheets of standard 20 pound paper).


What Comb Binder is Best for my Needs?

Posted by: Morgan on December 20th, 2010

Intelli-Bind™ IB400 Comb Binding MachineQuestion


I’m interested in a comb binder, and wondered if you might have a suggestion of which binder would be best for my needs.

I would be using the binder to punch and bind 15 sheets of 110 lb. cardstock.  I would use the binder around 200 times/year, and would like a quality binder that will last.

Thank you for your assistance.


Abby W.


We recommend the Intelli-Bind™ IB400 Comb Binding Machine. This new comb binder from Intelli-Zone™ is the most feature-rich comb binding machine available in its price range. The IB400 can punch up to 18 sheets of 20-lb. paper at a time. It will definitely handle your heavy 110 lb. cardstock paper, but it won’t punch as many sheets at a time.

This particular model comes with fully selectable punching pins. This helps you easily disengage any punching die for custom punching projects. The Intelli-Zone IB400 can bind books up to one inch in thickness. The IB400 is a well-rounded comb binding machine that may be used for most medium-volume punch and binding tasks such as yours. It was constructed to last for several years with regular use.


Comb Binding Machines: A Thing Of The Past?

Posted by: Morgan on January 22nd, 2009

Are comb binding machines becoming a thing of the past? We’ve noticed over the years that demand for comb binders has slightly decreased. Spiral or coil binding is certainly a popular binding method today, along with wire binding. However, there’s still a healthy demand for these easy-to-use and affordable Sircle CB-110 Comb Binding Machinebinding machines.

Who still uses a comb binding machine? Well, school teachers for one like the advantages of using a comb binder. They tell us they like comb binding machines because they can easily punch an bind documents. And it’s a snap to pull off the plastic binding comb and insert or take away pages. Comb binding machines will also save you a lot of money. The CB-110 Comb Binding machine from Sircle Corp., for example, is inexpensive and offers a professional document binding solution. It’s lightweight and can be easily transported to just about any location.

There are some drawbacks to comb binding. The most obvious is the quality or appearance of the bind. Binding combs just don’t look as professional or durable as a wire or coil bound document. Comb bond documents can also easily become unbound if the comb accidentally becomes snagged on something.

But dollar for dollar, comb binding is still a popular binding method used today from school environments to businesses.

Be sure to read more about comb binding at our Comb Binding Machine FAQ page.