Paper cutters can significantly reduce the amount of time required to cut paper, photographs, and other items when scrapbooking, crafting, or completing other projects and tasks. They also are much more accurate and precise than trying to cut a straight line with a pair of scissors.
However, there are many different types of paper cutters on the market, which can make it a challenge to choose the one that will best suit your needs. This guide will explore these different types, cover the considerations to keep in mind as you shop, and review some of the best paper cutters for craft projects and other tasks.
- BEST OVERALL: X-ACTO 18×18 Commercial Grade Guillotine Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: CARL Professional Rotary Paper Trimmer
- BEST FOR TEACHERS: Dahle 18e Vantage Paper Trimmer
- BEST FOR ANGLES: Dahle 554 Professional Rolling Trimmer
- BEST PORTABLE: Fiskars 152490-1004 SureCut Deluxe Craft Paper
- BEST STACK: HFS (R) Heavy Duty Guillotine Paper Cutter
- BEST ROTARY: CARL Heavy Duty Rotary Paper Trimmer
- BEST GUILLOTINE: Swingline Paper Trimmer, Guillotine Paper Cutter
- BEST FOR SCRAPBOOKING: Firbon A4 Paper Cutter 12 Inch Titanium Paper Trimmer
Types of Paper Cutters
There are four main types of paper cutters: rotary, guillotine, stack, and electric. Each type offers different features and is best suited for different tasks. Understanding the uses and applications for each of these types can assist you in selecting the best paper cutter for your specific needs.
Rotary paper cutters are sometimes referred to as paper trimmers. These models feature a sliding blade that can cut through a few sheets of paper at a time. The cutting mat on a rotary paper cutter includes a grid design to help you accurately line up each sheet of paper for a precise cut. The grids on some rotary paper cutters also have guide lines extending from the blade at various angles to help with making more intricate cuts.
The biggest downside of a rotary cutter is that most can’t cut through as much paper at a time as a stack or a guillotine paper cutter. Some rotary paper cutters may be able to cut through up to 10 sheets at once but are most accurate when cutting only one sheet at a time.
Guillotine paper cutters are a popular choice for schools, offices, or individuals who need to quickly cut larger quantities of paper. The design features a long arm attached to a cutting blade that the user pulls down to slice through a single sheet or stack of paper. To prevent injuries or premature cutting, the blade is designed with a tension spring that keeps it in place until it is pulled down.
Guillotine paper cutters are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate situations ranging from cutting large sheets of stiff construction paper to just trimming thin copy paper. In these instances, they can cut up to approximately 30 sheets of paper at once. Another benefit of guillotine paper cutters is they can easily cut through thicker items, such as card stock or poster board.
Stack paper cutters offer one of the largest cutting capacities among the types. Many stack cutters can slice through an entire ream of paper—500 sheets—at one time. Rotary and guillotine paper cutters can generally only cut through up to 30 sheets of paper at once, so a stack paper cutter can save tremendous amounts of time for individuals who regularly need to cut through a massive amount of paper at once.
When selecting a stack paper cutter, it is important to look for a model with a high-quality and perfectly squared paper stop. The paper stop is an essential part of a stack paper cutter since it holds the paper in place while it is being cut. Without a sturdy and reliable paper stop, the paper will slide or move as the blade is coming down, creating uneven or partially cut pieces of paper.
Stack paper cutters work very similarly to guillotine paper cutters; they have a long arm, housing a cutting blade, that the user pulls down to slice through a stack of paper. However, stack paper cutters have a clamp to hold the paper in place and a sharper blade to cut through hundreds of sheets of paper with one pass.
Electric paper cutters are the most advanced—and the priciest—option to consider. These models feature an automatic motor that powers the paper cutter to slice through a stack of papers. The capacity of each electric paper cutter varies, but some options can cut over 500 sheets of paper at once.
Some electric paper cutters are also programmable. With these models, users can create and save different cuts for future use by programming a set of steps for the paper cutter to follow to create the finished product you desire.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Paper Cutter
In addition to the four types of paper cutters described above, it’s important to consider a variety of features before selecting the best paper cutter for your particular task or project. Paper cutters are available in different sizes, offer different cutting mechanisms, and include different safety features. Thinking about these features and deciding what suits your needs will help ensure you select the best paper cutter for you.
Paper cutters are available in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from very compact options only a few inches wide and about as long as a piece of paper to larger models designed to cut full sheets of construction paper or poster board.
When deciding on the best size of paper cutter for you, consider two main points. First, determine how you plan to use the paper cutter, such as the types and sizes of materials you’ll be cutting. Second, figure out how much space you have to store and use the paper cutter.
If you’re considering a stack or guillotine paper cutter, pay close attention to the arm design on each model. The arm on these paper cutters pull down to slice through the paper; however, quality products will be distinguished by featuring a tension mechanism that prevents the arm from coming down on its own before you are ready to cut. This is an important safety feature to consider because if the arm comes down while you are still positioning the paper, the blade could make a cut in the wrong spot or, even worse, injure you.
Each paper cutter offers a different cutting mechanism, more commonly known as the blade. Stack and guillotine paper cutters feature an extendable arm with a blade that you pull down to cut through paper. You can adjust the amount of pressure you put on the blade to more easily slice through a larger stack of paper or even heavier items, like poster board.
Rotary paper cutters have a sliding blade. This type of blade is often preferred for more precise cutting needs, such as trimming photos for scrapbooking. Sliding blades don’t allow you to cut through as many sheets of paper at one time, so they are not as efficient.
Two metals are most commonly used to craft the blade: stainless steel and titanium. Stainless steel is very durable and inexpensive, however, in order to maintain the blade’s sharpness, it will need to be sharpened on a regular basis. Titanium blades are often self-sharpening and even more durable than stainless steel blades. They are also more expensive than stainless steel blades, so you’ll likely pay more to enjoy the benefits of a titanium blade.
Resting Position of Blade
Consider the blade’s resting position when the paper cutter is not in use. The blade on a guillotine paper cutter is located on one side of the base, so if you are interested in this type, look for one equipped with a latch that secures the blade to prevent accidental injuries.
The blade on a rotary paper cutter is underneath the sliding housing. Some blades are more exposed at the edge of the paper cutter, while others may be surrounded by the base of the paper cutter on both sides. If you have children doing craft projects whom you allow to move the paper cutter from one space to another, keep an eye out for a model with a more secure blade.
The blade on a stack paper cutter is generally located on the far side of the clamp to position the user farther away from it. Stack paper cutters are also designed with a guard to keep the exposed side of the blade covered.
Paper cutters necessarily have very sharp blades that can cause serious injury if not used correctly. Selecting a model that includes a variety of safety features to prevent accidental injury to yourself or others in the home or workplace is essential. One primary safety feature to consider is a locking latch for the arm of a guillotine or stack paper cutter. This will keep young children and others from touching the blade and possibly being injured. Guillotine paper cutters should also have a tension spring, sometimes called a safety spring, that prevents the blade from coming down unless it is pulled.
Rotary paper cutters are sometimes designed with transparent cutting surfaces. This feature can improve your visibility when cutting and prevent mishaps. Rotary paper cutters have a smaller blade than guillotine paper cutters, but the blade is still very sharp. Look for a model that features a large housing for the blade that is easy to grip. The blade on some rotary paper cutters won’t work unless the housing is pressed down, which may be an important safety feature to consider.
Stack paper cutters have the potential to be very dangerous. Their sharp blades are designed to cut through a large stack of papers and could easily cause harm to children or adults. If you’re interested in a stack paper cutter, choose a model that keeps the slicing blade separate from the base of the cutter where you’ll be positioning your papers before cutting them. Finding a product that comes with a blade cover to prevent the exposed side of the blade from injuring someone is also important.
Regardless of the type of paper cutter you select, consider a model with finger guards. Finger guards will help prevent you from accidentally placing a finger in the path of the blade as you use it to slice through a stack of paper. Nonslip feet are another important feature to weigh in a paper cutter as they will keep a paper cutter from sliding around as you are cutting, hopefully preventing injury.
Gridlines with marked measurements are key for creating accurate and even cuts. Consider a paper cutter with a ruler along the top or side of the gridlines that will help you line up each cut. Be sure to identify whether the measurements are in inches, centimeters, or both so you’ll be familiar with the model you purchase. Some paper cutters also feature a fold-out, expandable ruler for additional accuracy and support.
Our Top Picks
The top picks provide a range of quality options from respected manufacturers intended to suit a variety of specific needs. Keep in mind the considerations identified in the previous section as you explore some of the best paper cutters on the market for craft projects and more.
This guillotine paper cutter from X-ACTO is an ideal option for cutting through a variety of items, including paper, photographs, film, and poster board. It includes several features to ensure that each cut is precise, from the measurement grid in both inches and centimeters to a hardened steel blade with a self-sharpening system that prevents uneven cuts.
To keep the guillotine arm secure when it isn’t in use, this model provides a safety latch. It also offers an additional safety guard to protect fingers from being cut by the blade. The .75-inch solid wood base is sturdy and prevents the paper cutter from sliding as you cut. At 18 inches by 18 inches, it is also generously sized for larger cutting projects and can reliably cut through at least 15 pieces of paper at once. Overall, this paper cutter is a high-quality product that will hold up well to frequent use.
Cut through up to 10 sheets of paper at once with this professional rotary paper trimmer from Carl. It boasts a sharp carbide blade that allows for clean and precise cuts every time. In addition to paper, this paper cutter can cut through plastic sheeting, mat board, and photographs. It boasts an 18-inch cut length.
For added stability, this paper cutter provides a sturdy, steel-calibrated base that also features grid markings and an inch and centimeter ruler to help you accurately line up the items you need to cut. The base measures 18 inches by 11 inches and is marked with measurements to help you correctly place and cut common items, such as letter-size paper, legal-size paper, 4-inch by 6-inch photos, and 5-inch by 7-inch photos. This model can be paired with 11 additional cutting blade patterns, which are available as a separate purchase from the manufacturer.
There are a number of reasons this guillotine paper cutter from Dahle is an excellent option for teachers. It features a ground cutting blade that is sharp enough to cut through up to 15 sheets of paper at a time. And the blade’s edge is precision graduated, allowing it to trim very thin strips of paper when precision is essential. A sturdy base, made from heavy-duty metal, helps keep the paper cutter from sliding around and adds to the durability and longevity of this item. The work surface measures a large 18 inches by 14 inches, providing an 18-inch cut length, which is suitable for a wide variety of cutting projects.
Teachers can quickly prepare materials for a large class of students with the automatic clamp that secures paper in the correct spot during cutting. With the adjustable alignment guide, it’s simple to continue adding new stacks of paper without having to line up everything again. The guillotine arm is designed with a tension spring to keep it from falling on its own and causing injury. It also features a safety lock for added protection if students will be around.
This rolling paper cutter, also from Dahle, features guides at various angles to assist with nonstandard cuts, in addition to a screen grid with inch and metric markings to ensure you find the correct position for each cut you make. It is designed to accurately cut through up to 20 sheets of paper at a time. Long and narrow, the cutter measures 36 inches by 14.13 inches and boasts a long 28.25-inch cutting length.
A sturdy metal base secures the paper cutter in place while you are cutting. For added precision, it also includes an automatic clamp to hold each piece of paper in the exact spot you need. The ground steel blade is self-sharpening and will cleanly and evenly slice through paper in both directions. It is also encased in a protective housing to protect your fingers as you cut.
Designed to deliver precise and accurate cuts no matter where you’re working, this paper cutter from Fiskars is lightweight at just 1.2 pounds and can easily fit in a crafting bag to bring to your next scrapbooking event. It measures 17.88 by 10.25 by 1.5 inches with a 6.25-inch-wide base. It also features an extendable ruler that allows you to measure up to 15 inches.
This paper cutter boasts a 12-inch cutting length and can cut up to 10 sheets of paper at a time. It is also optimal for cutting other items, such as heavy-stock scrapbook pages and photographs. It features the manufacturer’s patented TripleTrack System, which keeps the blade and rail locked together for accurate, straight cuts each time. For added precision, the proprietary SureCut wireline will help you envision exactly where the blade will cut.
This heavy-duty guillotine paper cutter from HFS is equipped to deliver precision and consistency when cutting large stacks of paper—up to 400 sheets at once. It is designed with a heavy-duty clamp that places an even amount of pressure on the entire stack of paper as you cut, ensuring the stack won’t shift and delivering clean cuts and even results. The cutter also features a movable fence to set your desired cut length, making it quick and easy to insert the next stack of papers and cut them to the exact size of the previous stack. This product measures 21 inches by 15 inches by 1.5 inches and provides a 12-inch cutting length.
Featuring solid steel construction and rubber feet, this paper cutter will not shift around as you are trying to cut. This durable construction paired with the scratch-resistant coating on the grid surface also help ensure that it will hold up well for many years of use. The paper cutter comes preassembled, and the handle is removable for more compact storage. To prevent injuries, the manufacturer added a number of safety features, including a removable guard cover for the blade, a safety pin mechanism to keep the cutting arm elevated when not in use, and blade placement to the side of the clamp.
If you are looking for a high-capacity rotary paper cutter, consider this option by Carl. This paper cutter can slice through as many as 36 sheets of paper at one time using its premium carbide blade. This sharp blade, coupled with the alignment grid on the base, helps ensure precise and even cuts every time. The alignment grid also includes measurements for cutting common items, such as photographs and standard paper sizes.
The overall dimensions of this paper cutter are 25.25 inches by 14.25 inches by 3.5 inches, and it provides an 18-inch cutting length. A locking rail mechanism holds papers in place so they won’t slide or shift as you cut. A perforated blade, a straight blade, a storage compartment to hold extra blades, and a spare cutting mat are included with this paper cutter. Additional blades, including perforating and scoring blades, can be purchased separately from the manufacturer.
Cut through up to 15 sheets of paper at one time with this guillotine paper cutter from Swingline. It is suitable for a range of paper types, including heavier mat board and photo paper. This paper cutter features a solid maple base and nonslip feet that secure it in place as you are cutting. It is also generously sized and offers an 18-inch cutting length.
For accuracy and precision, the base provides an alignment grid and ruler with inch and centimeter markings. The extendable arm has a self-sharpening steel blade and includes a tension spring to keep it in an elevated position so it won’t drop or cut until you pull it down. The guard rail prevents accidental injuries.
This rotary paper cutter by Firbon is designed to cut through a variety of materials typically involved in scrapbooking projects, including paper, cards, scrapbooking mats, and laminated items. It can cut through up to 12 sheets of paper at a time. The base features grid lines with an inch/centimeter ruler to accurately align each item for a clean and straight cut and a host of angle lines to assist with more intricate cuts.
The portability of this paper cutter allows it to easily fit in a bag to bring to scrapbooking and other crafting events. The paper cutter is 15 inches by 6.1 inches by 1.4 inches and provides a 12-inch cutting length. It also includes a fold-out ruler that will extend the top to allow you to measure up to 13 inches. The spring-loaded blade system and sharp blade deliver precise and clean cuts each time you use it.
FAQs About Paper Cutters
Paper cutters are certainly very useful tools. They accurately and cleanly cut through multiple sheets of paper at once to assist with crafting needs and a variety of other tasks. If you still have questions about paper cutters, take a moment to read through these frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
Q. What are paper cutters called?
Paper cutters may also be called paper trimmers, paper guillotines, or guillotines.
Q. Who invented a paper cutter?
Guillaume Massiquot patented the first paper cutter in 1844; however, one of the first models was built in 1837 by Thirault. His paper cutter design featured a flat surface with a fixed blade.
Q. How do you cut straight with a paper cutter?
If you want to cut a straight line with a paper cutter, using the gridlines on the cutting surface to line up your paper is essential. Lining up the paper with the ledge at the top or bottom of the paper cutter can also prevent it from sliding out of place as you cut. Once you’ve lined up the paper, either pull down the arm or slide the trimmer blade to make the cut, depending on the type of paper cutter.