Choosing the Best Hole Punch: Advice and Product Guide

A hole punch is an essential tool for organizing loose sheets of paper in binders, folders, and booklets at home, school, or the office. They come in a variety of sizes, depending on how many holes you want to punch and how many pages you want to punch at one time. Read our guide on how to choose the best hole punch, including our top recommended products for the following types of hole punches. 



Best Hole Punch: What to Look For

number of holes

Number of Holes

A three hole punch is the most common hole punch. It’s used to punch three holes in a standard (8.5 x 11) sheet of paper so that you can store pages in binders or duotangs. They’re a very common sight in classrooms and office spaces. You’ll find there are many varieties of three hole punches, including heavy-duty and electric punches. 

A two hole punch is less common and more often used in business environments. It creates a two hole 2-3/4 inch center-to-center punch.

A one hole punch is a small and versatile hand-held device that punches one hole at a time. It’s used for punching holes in tickets, scrapbooking, and many different crafting projects.

    paper capacity

    Paper Capacity

    Not all hole punches are alike, and adding more paper than is recommended can cause jams, poorly aligned holes, and inconsistent punching. Look for page capacity before purchasing a hole punch to know how many sheets you’ll be able to punch at one time. If a product doesn’t explicitly state how many holes it can punch, assume it’s no more than a couple of pages.

      ease of use

      Ease of Use

      If you struggle with pain in your joints, such as arthritis, look for a hole punch that’s able to easily go through multiple pieces of paper at once. You don’t need a poorly designed product that puts strain on your joints, and you don’t want to have to worry about the device jamming all the time. Look for a hole punch that offers reduced effort punching or an ergonomic handle.




        Best Three Hole Punch

        If you’ve only ever used one type of hole punch before, odds are it was a regular three hole punch. The three holes are designed to perfectly align with the most common size of paper: 8.5 x 11 letter-size. They transform any paper into a document you can securely place inside a binder.

        Three hole punches are very popular in schools as well as office settings since the punch is measured to create holes that perfectly fit inside binders and duotangs. 


        The inPRESS Reduced Effort Three-Hole Punch by Bostitch is a step up from the typical three hole punch you might remember from school. You can easily punch up to 20 sheets jam-free, and it features a small waste compartment to ensure every last paper chip makes it into the garbage. 


        • Punch up to 20 pages
        • Paper guide for consistent punching
        • Built-in ruler
        • Non-skid rubber base
        • Small waste compartment for tidy disposal
        • Locking handle for easy storage



          Best Portable Three Hole Punch

          Three hole punches can be quite bulky to store, especially if they are designed to punch multiple pages at one time. A portable three hole punch doesn’t take up precious desk real estate and gives you a hole punch wherever you go. 

          Blue Summit’s Portable Three Hole Punch provides dual functionality with a built-in ruler to reduce space. They come in clear, black, and teal to please those who like simplicity as well as those who desire a pop of color. The hole punch can easily clip right into a binder, so you always have it with you. It’s ideal for students, offices, and crafting. 


          • Lightweight design for portability
          • Built-in ruler
          • Clear plastic for accurate measuring
          • Clips inside binders for easy storage
          • Available in sets of 3



            Best Electric Hole Punch

            Electronic hole punches take all the work out of hole punching. They seamlessly punch holes into large stacks of paper without any effort at all. The downside is they tend to take up more space and require a power source—either from an outlet or batteries you’ll need to replace eventually.


            The Swingline Electric 3 Hole Punch punches up to 20 sheets of paper cleanly with the push of a button. It’s dual power allows you to plug it in or use batteries depending on your preference. If you need an electric punch for larger projects, we recommend Swingline’s 50 Sheet Punch.


            • Punch up to 20 pages
            • Alignment indicators
            • Jam reverse switch
            • Translucent chip tray
            • Dual power (AC adapter or 6 AA batteries)
            • Limited two year warranty



              Best Heavy-Duty Three Hole Punch

              A heavy-duty hole punch is designed to punch many pages at once with ease. These hole punches come with a higher price tag, but they’re ideal for classrooms and office spaces that regularly need to punch many pages at one time. 


              The Bostitch EZ Squeeze Hole Punch is a heavy-duty hole punch that cuts through 40 sheets of paper at once. It has a small, easy to clean chip tray for a no mess clean up and a locking handle so you can slip it inside your desk or on a shelf when it’s not being used.


              • Punch up to 40 pages
              • Paper guide for consistent punching
              • Non-skid rubber base
              • Small waste compartment for tidy disposal
              • Locking handle for easy storage



                Best Heavy-Duty Two Hole Punch

                Two hole punches create holes in a standard 2 hole 2-3/4 inch center-to-center configuration . The two hole punching pattern is designed for papers that are stored inside file folders. They are more often used by businesses rather than schools.


                Officemate’s Heavy Duty 2-Hole Punch can push through up to 50 sheets of paper at once. It’s built with a padded handle that locks in place for easy storage.


                • Punch up to 50 pages
                • Paper guide for consistent punching
                • Padded ergonomic handle
                • Locking handle for easy storage



                  Best Single Hole Punch

                  Single hole punches are used for crafting and scrapbooking. They’re also used to punch tickets at events or on punch cards. You can use a single hole punch to create inexpensive, biodegradable confetti.


                  The PaperPro inLIGHT Reduced Effort One-Hole Punch can easily punch up to 10 sheets, jam-free. It comes in a variety of fun colors to brighten any office, school, or home. The ergonomic easy-squeeze handles put less strain on your hands, which is especially important for large projects and crafting.


                  • Punch up to 10 pages
                  • Lightweight
                  • Ergonomic easy-squeeze handles
                  • Easy-open waste compartment
                  • Locking handle
                  • Assorted colors



                    Best Long Reach Single Hole Punch

                    A long reach hole punch helps you access tough to reach parts of a page or project, which is extremely useful for crafting and scrapbook projects that require holes deeper than the edge of a page. 


                    The Crop-A-Dile 2 Big Bite Punch is a long reach punch designed for crafters. It punches holes at 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch, and it allows you to add eyelets, grommets, and other embellishments to your projects. You can easily punch through a variety of materials, including paper, leather, fabric, plastic, and chipboard.


                    • Punches 1/8 and 3/16 inch holes
                    • Long reach punch
                    • Punch a variety of materials
                    • Add eyelets, grommets, or embellishments



                      Best Spiral Hole Punch

                      A spiral hole punch is a little different than the other hole punches we’ve outlined. Instead of punching a few holes, it creates a series of holes along the side of a stack of paper so that it can be bound with a spiral spine. They’re used to create booklets in offices or to bind larger projects. A student might bind a larger paper or thesis in this way for a professional look that’s guaranteed to stick together. To use a spiral hole punch, you also need to have plastic comb spines that keep the pages together permanently. 


                      TIANSE’s Comb Binding Machine is a spiral hole punch that can bind up to 450 sheets of paper together. The machine allows you to punch and bind Letter Size, A4 Size, and A5 Size pages on one machine with little effort required. It comes with 100 pieces of 3/8'' 21-ring black comb spines included, so you’re able to begin binding documents right away.


                      • Punches 12 sheets at a time
                      • Binds up to 450 sheets
                      • Punch and bind with the same machine
                      • Non-slip feet
                      • Comes with 100 black comb spines
                      • Two year warranty



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                        ABOUT THE AUTHOR

                        Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.


                        Paul Clement

                        The diameter of the hole punch is an important consideration: in the US, most are 9/32", but an 11/32" hole is less likely to bind when moving pages in a three-hole binder. (Some hole punches also use an 13/32" punch.)

                        Giuseppe Conclavé

                        Never have I felt such power and wisdom radiate from a page. Now I know all the hole punch types. Now I know all. Magnificent. May the Lord bless and keep you.
                        - Giuseppe

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