Staple Review

A stapler is one of the more important pieces of academic equipment.


PaperPro made excellent staplers but it appears the company doesn’t exist any more and current versions are badged under Bostitch. Wired had a blog post on the PaperPro , referencing Office Supply Geek’s review (with a name like that you expect them to take their staplers seriously) which says it is one of the best staplers ever.

The reason they are good is because they employ a spring to drive the staple through the paper. The earliest patent for a spring loaded stapler appears to be US7681771B2 Stapler, which is relatively recent (2006).

Three brands of staples

Having a fine stapler is not enough. My PaperPro couldn’t even go through tens of sheets of paper, but it’s supposed to do 25. Was it my Celco brand staples? At Officeworks, there are a number of choices, but which one? Should I get the $2.78 “J. Burrows Size 26/6 Staples 5000 pack”, or the 5x more expensive $2.55 “Rapid 26/6 Strong Staples 1000 pack”? Both are made in China as is the Celco.

Staples are specified as X/Y type, with X being the gauge and Y being the length of the leg. The 26/6 size is the most common, and this means that the diameter is 26 AWG (0.405 mm) and the leg is 6 mm (note that the diameter gets bigger as the gauge gets smaller). I first verified the diameter of the three types of staples. All were the same.

So how well did they work? I took a 50 page (25 sheet) draft manuscript that we are working on and tried them out. In the figure below, we have the J. Burrows (left), Celco (middle) and Rapid (right).

Clearly the middle Celco (the original ones I wasn’t happy with) was not up to the task. The Rapid (right) was also slightly buckled while the Burrows (left) looked the best.

The difference was even more apparent from underneath. The best was clearly the Burrows (on the left below). Rapid (right) managed to fool me by using “Strong” in the product name. They are a lot more expensive but no better than the Burrows. Last was the Celco brand which are terrible.