No matter your business, a stapler is an office essential. They’ve come a long way since their invention in the early 19th century and evolved to keep up with the times. And for good reason – they’re a foolproof way to keep important documents together.
But how do you know which stapler you need?
In this guide, we’ll explore the options available and help you identify the best stapler for your needs.
There are a few key features to look for in every stapler type.
Few things are more frustrating than a staple jamming mid-project and holding up the process. Jammed staples are frustrating and tricky to remove. That’s why most staplers from standard desktop to heavy-duty now come with some variation of anti-jamming technology.
Sheet capacity varies from model to model, so it’s essential to know the capacity of whichever stapler you opt for. A standard manual stapler can only handle up to about 30 sheets at one time whereas a larger heavy-duty stapler can easily staple over 200 pages.
Using manual staplers on a regular basis can cause discomfort or fatigue in your hands. Minimize this by finding a stapler with a specially designed grip or adapted lever. Some staplers are made entirely of metal which can be heavy or difficult to grip, but many modern models come with plastic coating on their handles or levers to ease discomfort.
One of the most important factors to consider when investing in a stapler is longevity. It may seem more attractive to get the cheaper model and save money in the short-term, but the more you spend, the longer they are likely to last. Plus, if you invest in a quality stapler, you won’t have to buy more than once. Consider how often it’s going to be used and how many sheet’s it’ll be stapling at one time when making your purchase.
It’s increasingly common for certain types of staplers to come with warranties, so keep this in mind as you search for the best stapler.
Desktop or office staplers are the most common staplers on the market. These staplers are best for keeping low-volume documents together. For everyday use of up to 20 pages at a time, your desktop stapler should be portable and lightweight.
The indented metal plate on the stapler’s base that bends the staples when driven through the page can be rotated. In its default position, the plate drives the legs of the staples inwards and back into the page to securely affix the sheets together. When turned 180 degrees, most often done from directly underneath, the indents bend the staple legs outward which loosely keeps documents together in case you intend to separate them again later on. This is more secure than a paperclip but less permanent than a traditional stapling.
Desktop staplers can also be a fun option if you’re looking to liven up your stationery collection. They’re available widely in classic black or silver, but for something more whimsical why not brighten up your home office with a hot dog?
Plier staplers work by squeezing a bottom lever rather than pushing on the top. They have more leverage to work with, which makes them easier to use for trickier jobs such as sealing cardboard boxes. These staplers are commonly used in the packaging industry for easily affixing packing labels.
One of the main benefits of a plier stapler is their antimicrobial surfaces. Oftentimes multiple people will be handling the stapler which means transference of germs can be a risk, so take the worry out of sharing by investing in a plier stapler with antimicrobial features.
A standard plier stapler accommodates only 0.25” staples, which limits stapling to 30 pages of paper or the equivalent thickness in cardboard. However, you can reach difficult corners which makes this the go-to tool if you’re a small business owner or have many cardboard boxes to seal.
If you’re going to be using a plier stapler on a regular basis, we recommend going for something with a comfortable plastic grip to minimize hand fatigue. But don’t opt for a completely plastic stapler; these won’t last as long as the metal models. We recommend investing in a metal-body plier stapler.
If you regularly staple low-volume documents, an electric stapler will significantly speed up the process. As the name suggests, they rely on electricity or battery charge in order to perform, so consider your power supply for an electric stapler.
Most electric stapler models come with effective no-jam technology. Electric staplers also staple cleanly every time, unlike a manual stapler where staples can bend and tear paper. This means less strain on your hands and more time saved.
Electric staplers are the best stapler for large stacks of documents. They are also worthwhile investments, since electric staplers outlast their manual counterparts and can do the work of manual staplers in half the time.
When it comes to binding hundreds of pages, you’ll have to bring in a heavy-hitter. A heavy-duty stapler with an easy-to-use manual lever is the best option for stapling large stacks of documents. A large handle gives you greater leverage with minimal effort and ensures your staples pierce cleanly through all pages. We recommend a plastic handle instead of a metal one to reduce the potential for hand fatigue.
Just like electric staplers, heavy-duty staplers come equipped with anti-jam technology. This feature is key when it comes to your office workhorse stapler.
Also known as staple guns, wood staplers take the hard work out of stapling to hard surfaces. They’re usually manual, electric, or pneumatic, which means no hand fatigue for high-volume jobs. Wood staplers are easy to load and the best stapler for upholstery since they’re quick in fastening fabric to your chosen surface.
Unlike most staplers, wood staplers are spring-loaded. In a manual wood stapler, squeezing the handle compresses a spring which quickly recoils to release tensions bars, which then drive the staples into your chosen surface. This hardy mechanism makes it perfect for stapling to various materials. The stronger method also means you can continuously use the stapler with little fatigue.
Wood staplers are also available in electric models and rely on power outlets. These more powerful models are trigger operated, making them easier to use. Keep in mind that electric wood staplers require some caution when in use.
Pneumatic staplers are used primarily for construction and are powered by compressed air instead of electricity.
Crown staplers are also often used for construction. They’re available in three settings: narrow, medium or wide.
Crown staplers look intimidating because they are essentially power tools. As a result, they can be pricey, but are worth the expense if you do a lot of home improvement and construction.
Now that we’ve covered stapler types, let’s identify which is right for you.
For everyday stapling jobs, a standard stapler will suit your needs. Swingline is a classic brand for standard staplers and most of their best handheld stapler models come with a year’s warranty. Pricier models come with anti-jam technology so consider investing more if you want a hassle-free stapler.
An electric stapler is the best option if you staple many documents daily. It will take the hard work out of a tedious job and ensure your papers are perfectly aligned every time. Many electric staplers, like this from Bostitch, come with no-jam technology and a handy warning light when a refill of staples is required. You can staple up to 70 sheets of paper without burning too much time or effort.
For larger, heavier-duty jobs, we recommend an appropriately heavy-duty stapler. Blue Summit Supplies’ heavy-duty stapler includes an easy-to-apply slot at the rear for lining up your documents and will save you valuable time. Although larger than a standard stapler, the design is simple and frustration-free to prevent any jamming. Heavy-duty models can tackle any job from small 30-page contracts to huge 240-page manuscripts, making them incredibly versatile.
For an improvement project like upholstering, we recommend a wood stapler or electric staple gun. These industrial staplers are suited for tough surfaces and outfitted with an easy-to-use trigger control. Bostitch has this electric wood stapler with a contoured comfort grip, anti-jam technology, and a limited lifetime warranty. Staplers like this one are suitable for use in everything from upholstering furniture to installing carpet.
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