Updated November 12, 2020 by Edmund Dawson

The 10 Best Binding Machines

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Produce clean, professional-looking presentations, brochures, and booklets quickly and easily with one of these useful binding machines. Our selection includes a variety of types, from combs, coils, and wires, to thermal machines that glue your work together. So whether you're a hobbyist or tasked with sourcing supplies for a corporate office, there should be something here that meets your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Fellowes Star Plus

2. Tianse 21-Hole

3. We R Memory Keepers Cinch

Editor's Notes

November 10, 2020:

Binding machines can utilize a number of different spines: combs, coils, wires, or thermal covers. We compiled this list so that the whole spectrum was covered, with at least two of every type being offered. We kept the Fellowes Star Plus and the Fellowes Quasar+ as solid comb-binding options, but also added the popular Tianse 21-Hole in place of the Pfeiffer Plastic, which has become temporarily unavailable.

We felt no need to change the coil options such as the TruBind TB-S20A, and the more expensive, electronically-powered, Akiles Coilmac-ER 41, although with the latter, you may want to consider spending that kind of money on something that produces better looking documents than flimsy coil-bound ones.

Wire-bound presentations tend to look more professional, but you don't have the luxury of being able to unthread your spine on and off should you need to change a page or two post-binding. We kept the somewhat pricey Akiles WireMac-31, and the remarkably useful (and moderately priced) We R Memory Keepers Cinch, both of which adopt the mechanism of pressing wire rings together.

For thermal binding, we kept the Fellowes Helios 60, and added the slightly more budget-friendly Yaegoo Thermal in place of the Akiles Rubicoil. Thermal options greatly reduce the hassle of binding, but it can get a little expensive when you start buying the special adhesive covers instead of simple plastic spines.

Finally, we removed the Swingline GBC in favour of the Swingline Desktop. Both these models use the special ProClick spines made by the same manufacturer, which are more expensive than regular combs and coils, but the latter is a much cheaper, unobtrusive, and lightweight way to experiment with this type of binding.

June 25, 2019:

At this time, there are more than an adequate number of binding machines out there, so we decided to replace the SylArtDesign SAD-B30e due to availability issues. When it comes to top models, though, we still like the We R Memory Keepers Cinch, the Fellowes Star Plus, and the Akiles Coilmac-ER 41. There is one issue with the We R Memory Keepers model, however. You have to be cautious before you punch your papers, as it sometimes feels like they're inserted all the way, when they're actually not. As you can imagine, this will easily cause misalignments, but you can prevent this issue by working slowly and methodically. Fortunately, the latter two don't suffer from such an issue, although they each have one tiny drawback. In the case of the Star Plus, it's the instruction manual, which could be clearer; as to the Coilmac-ER 41, well, its price will place it out of the reach of casual users and some teachers. We have also decided to keep the Fellowes Helios 60, a thermal model, even though it doesn't seem to be the best for large booklets. For the best results, you'll probably need to play around with it some, as its operation can take some getting used to. But if you don't want to fool with combs and wires (and recognize its limitations), it's a fine alternative.

Special Honors

Hardback Binding If your binding needs go beyond soft plastic covers and spines and into the realm of hardback, then you might want to consider a professional service like this one, especially if your university demands it, such as for masters and PhD theses. smithprinting.net

Coverbind Accel Ultra+ Need to bind thick documents, and often? The Coverbind Accel Ultra+ is just the tool to get the work done. A thermal model that can tackle spine widths of up to 1.5 inches, it gives you blazing fast operation, binding one document per second. But as you might imagine for the capacity and speed, it's quite an investment. coverbind.com

Tamerica Opticombo-341 For those with more than just casual binding needs, the Tamerica Opticombo-341 is a good option to consider, especially since it can handle both wire and coil binding. But you'll need room to store and operate it, as it's fairly large as well as heavy at over 50 pounds. tamericaproducts.net

4. TruBind TB-S20A

5. Akiles WireMac-31

6. Fellowes Helios 60

7. Fellowes Quasar+

8. Akiles Coilmac-ER 41

9. Swingline Desktop

10. Yaegoo Thermal

History Of Book Binding

Up until the 1400s, most bookbinding in the west was done by monks, who laboriously copied book after book.

The first known book bindings occurred in the first century CE. At the time, it was often done on religious codices, which were printed on sheepskin vellum or papyrus. Up until the 1400s, most bookbinding in the west was done by monks, who laboriously copied book after book.

In 1447, when Gutenberg invented the printing press, the demand for book binding increased as books started becoming more commonplace. Still though, binding was done solely by hand until the mid-18th century when David McConnell Smyth patented the first sewing machine created specifically for book binding.

In 1895, perfect binding was invented, which is a method for gluing book bindings instead of sewing. It was rarely used for book bindings until 1931, at which point Albatross Books, a German publisher, introduced paperback versions. Paperback books caught on relatively quickly and in 1935 Penguin Books, an English Publisher, also started publishing paperback books. They were soon followed by Pocket Books in America in 1939.

In the 1950s and 60s, new binding systems were made designed for use in commercial office settings. To do this, new, easier binding methods were created such as VeloBinding, and plastic comb binding. These were based on a simple punch-and-bind process that was time consuming, but required very little skill.

They did not create the professional style of commercial books, instead producing results that looked like nothing more than bound together office documents. It wasn't until the 1980s that systems utilizing thermoplastic binding arose. These were capable of creating professional looking books, from any office or home setting.

Types Of Bindings Machines

When it comes to bindings, there are four types that are most popular in home and office settings. Each type offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Which is best for you will depend on what you are binding, and how often you will be binding.

Coil binding machines, also known as spiral binding machines, are good for internal office documents and presentations, but wouldn't be suited to any type of book binding for commercial sale. Think of the spiral notebooks you used in school; that is considered coil binding.

Comb binding machines are similar to coil binding machines in that they requires numerous small holes to be punched through the documents for a binding spine.

Unlike those spiral notebooks from years ago, PVC is now used instead of metal as it holds up better with less chance of bending. Spiral binding machines are incredibly easy to use, and are often less expensive than other models. The bindings are also durable and hold up well to regular use, plus they allow the reader to lay the book completely flat while open for note taking.

Comb binding machines are similar to coil binding machines in that they requires numerous small holes to be punched through the documents for a binding spine. Documents with comb bindings have a big plastic spine that can be customized by color and business names or logos. Comb binding is ideal for low cost, high volume applications where the bound documents do not need to be overly durable.

Wire binding is like a cross between spiral binding and comb binding. Instead of one single, spiraled spine, it makes use of a number of individual metal wires. These metal wires are bent into hoops by the wire binding machine. As with both of the previously mentioned options, it requires lots of small holes to be punched in the documents, but these holes have two wires hoops inserted into them instead of a single wire or plastic comb.

Perfect thermal binding machines are great for home publishers and offices that want to create truly professional looking products suitable for commercial sale. Most bookstore paperbacks still make use of thermal binding. They use glue as a binding material, creating a sturdy and durable product with no holes in the pages that can last for years. Books with thermal binding have a one piece cover that is folded in half, with the pages inserted in between.

Some binding machines are combo machines that will allow you to do two or even three different binding types from a single machine.

One Of The Creepiest Book Bindings

There are many rumors of books bound in human skin that are being kept in private or academic libraries. More often that not, these claims prove to be untrue when further investigated, but recently one such book was discovered in Harvard University's Houghton Library. It is a French book entitled "es destinées de l'ame by Arsène Houssaye" and it was published in the 1880s. The content in the book focuses on the nature of life after death and what happens to the soul, which makes the fact that it was bound in human skin even creepier.

Binding books in human skin, known as Anthropodermic bibliopegy is a relatively rare practice, but it is known to have been done in the 16th and 17th centuries. Most were bound in the skins of convicted criminals, but the aforementioned French book was bound in the skin of an unnamed mental patient.

The author was French novelists Arsène Houssaye and, after completion of the book, he gave it to a friend and medical doctor Ludovic Bouland, who also happened to be an avid book collector. Bouland was the one who choose to use human skin. He picked this particular female mental patient after her body failed to be claimed by family or friends.


Edmund Dawson
Last updated on November 12, 2020 by Edmund Dawson

Since leaving his native England back in 2009, Ed has traveled to most corners of the globe exploring different cultures and trying to make a buck or two as he goes. This has included busking with his guitar, drawing caricatures, hustling at pool, and even acting in Bollywood, although more recently he has been teaching English to adults after gaining his CELTA in Ho Chi Minh City. Sweden has been his adopted home for the last nine years, where he mostly worked in schools as a teacher. As well as playing, performing and recording music, he enjoys long walks with his dog while listening to audiobooks, sailing, growing his own vegetables and playing snooker, ping pong, and frisbee.


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