What is a Paper Cutter?
A paper cutter, also popularly known as a paper trimmer or guillotine, is a tool often used by schools, graphic design shops and offices to cut large sets of paper sheets at once. They cut perfectly straight edges with high precision.
There is a wide range of paper cutters with different designs and sizes. Most of them have measures for different dimensions of paper in centimeters or inches.
Benefits of Paper Cutters
Other than cutting several sheets of paper at once with high precision, paper cutters can benefit you in many ways including:
- They make paper cutting an easy and enjoyable process because their operation is straightforward.
- They are safer to use because they are built with multiple safety features.
- They can be easily transported anywhere because of their portable designs.
- Most of them have a sturdier and resistant construction that can serve you in the long term.
- The make accurate cuts because of the measurement features that offer you a mistake-free operation.
- They cut faster.
Types of paper cutters
There are different paper cutters with various features that are best suited for specific uses. They include:
Guillotine paper cutters
These cutters have a blade and an arm that have to be pulled down manually to cut through a stack of papers. They are common among offices and schools and are best known for cutting through thicker sheets of papers. They have safety features to prevent you from cutting yourself.
Foam paper cutters
These are a must-have for any sign making workshop or a graphic studio. They are designed to cut all the specialty material used in the graphics industry like graphic boards, laminate and various types of paper. They have a larger cutting space than the standard paper cutters and can, therefore, cut large foams. Foam cutters have to be bought with a stand or placed on a working surface.
Rotary paper cutters
These cutters are most preferred by photographers and graphic designers because of their neat and accurate cuts. They use a round cutting blade that slides along a rail and can cut in any direction. Their cutter bases have measurement grids that ensure you get an accurate cut. Some of them come with optional blades for various purposes.
Stack paper cutters
These are designed to cut through very thick stacks of papers. They are built with a ruler and guide to help you achieve your most desired cut. They come with a clamp that holds the paper in place to avoid unnecessary movement and tears that could damage your work. They are manual as you have to pull down the arm to cut the stacks of papers. Schools, offices, and institutions that do a lot of paper cutting can benefit more from these cutters.
Corner paper cutters
These cutters help you achieve a beautifully rounded radius to the edges of your documents, business cards, covers or printed materials. They are also popularly known as corner rounders. They come in different dimensions and have varying features. You can get either the electric or manual model.
How to use a paper cutter
Once you have a paper cutter for your cutting needs, you need to ensure it is rightly placed in a stable position, ready to get the job done. Here are a few more things you need to do to use your cutter well:
- Check if there is any spring, hatch, or pressure on the blade and unlock it.
- You can then insert the sheet/s of paper you intend to cut in the cutting surface of the paper cutter.
- Using the ruler and measurement guides on the cutter, measure the inches, centimeters, or angles you want to cut then fix a clamp to hold the sheet/s of paper.
- Grab the cutting arm or holder of the cutter and push or slide it down as needed. To avoid any cutting mistakes, ensure you do only one cutting process.
- Ensure the blade cuts through the paper slowly for an effective and accurate cut.
- Repeat the entire process if you are cutting more papers and bear in mind all the safety measures.
Features to consider when choosing a paper cutter
Now that you know the importance of having a paper cutter, you need to know how to pick the right one. Here are some of the critical features to consider before buying one.
Cutters come in different sizes. Choose a cutter that won’t occupy much of your space and is easy to move from one place to another. Especially if you want one for personal use. The cutters for industrial-like operations can be bigger because of the amount of work they are built to handle.
Paper cutters come with a pre-selected cutting length in inches, mostly between 10 and 20 inches.
Though 12-inches paper cutters are the most common in the market and are also highly preferred because they can handle nearly all the cutting operations.
It is better to settle for the 12 to 15 inches for personal or home use and the larger ones for industrial purposes. But it all depends on what you want to use the cutter for, so choose the length according to your needs.
There are two types of blades featured in cutters, guillotine, and rotary. They are both efficient and work in different ways. The guillotine blade is best suited for heavier and larger materials while the rotary blade is great for high precision cuts. The rotary blade is, therefore, more suitable for smaller operations like card making and cutting photos.
Other than the type of blade, you also need to consider the material used to make it. Stainless steel is the cheapest but offers excellent cutting results though you will have to keep sharpening it or replacing it when it gets dull. To avoid this, you can get the self-sharpening titanium blades which are not very affordable but highly effective.
Measurements are key for you to achieve accurate cuts. Go for a cutter that has clear measurements on its base in centimeters and inches. This way, you will be able to properly align the papers for precise cuts like the Fiskars 196920-1001 Portable Scrapbooking Trimmer reviewed above.
Some cutters even come with locked-in and expandable rulers that are very handy in achieving the most accurate cuts.
This depends on your workflow. If you need to print a lot of papers on a regular basis, then you need a paper cutter with a high sheet capacity. Schools and busy offices can benefit from heavy-duty paper cutters like the CARL 12238 Heavy Duty Rotary Paper Trimmer, which can cut up to 36 sheets at a go.
If you want something to use once in a while at home, then you can go for the small sheet capacity cutters that cut about 10 sheets or below at once.
Materials it can cut
It is possible to get one cutter for all your cutting needs, but to get the best results, you must pick a cutter for a specific purpose. For instance, if you want to scrapbook, get the best scrapbooking paper cutter in the market like the Fiskars 196920-1001 Portable Scrapbooking Trimmer.
If you intend to cut heavier materials, then you better get a cutter that is well suited for the task. The bottom line is, determine the material you want to cut before getting a cutter.
The materials used to build the paper cutter will determine how durable, reliable, and convenient it will be. Plastic cutters are highly recommended than metal ones because they are lightweight and highly portable. Maintaining them is also very easy.
Better still, you can go for wooden cutters. They are more stable than the plastic ones but are still lightweight and easy to maintain. They work best with a titanium rotary or guillotine blade.
It is essential to choose a cutter with sufficient safety features for your sake and high effectiveness. Especially if you intend to use it somewhere many people or children will encounter it. Paper cutters come with various safety features, including a transparent cutting surface for greater visibility and a lock-in hatch for the blade.
Other safety features you should look out for include rubber feet, safety springs, guard rails, and a finger guard. They help to prevent common dangers.
Most manufacturers back up the quality of their cutters with a warranty. Go for a paper cutter that has a warranty, whether it is a lifetime or limited one year. It is easier to trust the quality of a product that has a warranty.
This is pretty much of personal preference. Choose a paper cutter that fits your budget. But if you want a durable and highly functional cutter, you will have to part with a good amount of money. Most heavy-duty cutters also cost a bit more compared to ones that handle light cutting tasks.
This does not mean that all the costly cutters are great; in fact, there are cheap cutters that work just as good as the expensive ones. Just have in mind that you get what you pay for.