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Types of Staplers and Staples

No matter the office setting, there are a few essential items that you’ll always find – paper, pens, rubber bands, paper clips, and staplers. Although simple and straight forward to use, staplers play an important role in maintaining organization. Whether you’re compiling important files at work, bundling coupons at a retail store, or consolidating research at a university, a stapler is always within arm’s reach.

What is a Stapler?

A stapler is a mechanical device used for joining papers together. The fastener, called a staple, is a 2-pronged shape that’s usually made of metal. When pressure is applied to the stapler, it drives the staple through a stack of paper, which folds the prongs down to create a firm binding. Staplers come in two distinct power types: manual and electric. The chart below will help you determine which type of stapler is best for you.
Power Type
  • Hand held
  • Light weight
  • Come in a variety of colors and shapes
  • Can be used anywhere, no need for power source
  • Can be used for tacking
  • Requires physical operation
  • Jams easily if not loaded properly
  • Can only bind small quantities of paper

  • Automated
  • Staples large quantities of paper at once
  • Can be used in rapid succession
  • Doesn’t jam easily
  • Requires power source
  • More complicated to load and unload staples
  • Bulkier design

Anatomy of a Stapler

Handle: The handle exerts force to push a staple into a stack of paper.

Pin: The pin allows the handle to swing up and down to load staples.

Magazine: The piece that holds the staples and pusher.

Staples: The fasteners used to join papers together.

Pusher: A piece of metal that adjusts to accommodate strips of staples. This keeps the staples loaded in the magazine and ready to be inserted by the hammer.

Hammer: The part that drives a staple into a stack of papers.

Crimp Area and Anvil: When the staple is forced through the paper, these two parts are what bend the staple into the secure shape that keeps the papers securely joined.

Throat: The section you slide a stack of papers into. The deeper the throat, the further into the stack you can staple.

Base: A sturdy bottom that most often has non-skid properties.

Which Style of Stapler is Right for Me?

At this point, you may already know which type of stapler (manual or electric) that you want— but did you know they come in different styles? Think about your intended application and check out the chart below for a breakdown.

Most universally recognized style of stapler. A popular accessory for any office or cubicle, this style is usually placed on a work surface or tabletop and the operator feeds paper into it.
  • Documents
  • Letters/memos
  • Home use
  • Office use
A hand held stapler is picked up from a work surface and used in hand. They most often feature a soft-grip handle for comfortable use. One of the most common types of manual stapler.
  • Documents
  • Letters/memos
  • Home use
  • Office use
Typically staples through 100+ sheets at a time. This style also includes stapling pliers and guns, which are frequently used for industrial applications.
  • Construction projects
  • Copy rooms
  • Portfolios
  • Publications
Features an extra-long throat that’s perfect for large binding projects.
  • Fastening Tags
  • Cards
  • Booklets
  • Calendars
Small, compact size that’s perfect for students or traveling consultants.
  • Small stapling projects
  • Home use
  • Letters/memos
  • Portable stapling
Typically smaller in size, an upright stapler stands vertically on a surface for convenient storage.
  • Small stapling projects
  • Portable stapling
  • Letters/memos
  • Documents

Features of a Stapler

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the many different styles of staplers out there, you can begin exploring the various features that makes each stapler stand out from their competition.

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Ergonomic & Reduced Effort

Will you, as the operator, be doing a fair amount of physical stapling? If so, check out our selection of ergonomic and reduced effort staplers. Many of these staplers have soft-grip or light-touch handles, allowing you to eject staples with a quick, simple touch.

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Jam-Free & Power Assist

Need a reliable unit to staple through hundreds and hundreds of documents in record time? Consider a jam-free or power assist stapler. Available in both manual and electric, these staplers are perfect for heavy duty, high-volume use to ease and expedite your stapling process.

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Tacking staplers are great for use at schools and day cares. These staplers feature handles that open a full 180 degrees, allowing you to staple items onto bulletin boards or cork strips.

What is a Staple?

Staples are the actual fasteners that hold documents together. They come in several sizes and shapes, but the general anatomy remains the same. When a stapler pushes a staple through a stack of papers, the teeth puncture the paper, and the legs fold behind the crown to secure the items in place.

Did you know that staples are sized by leg length? Certain staplers require specifically-sized staples for their application. This chart gives an overview of the most common-sized staples.

Leg Length
  • Most common size; used in standard staplers
  • Perfect for general stapling applications
3/8”, 1/2", 5/8”, 3/4”
  • Thick and robust
  • Designed for heavy-duty staplers
  • Can usually hold 20+ papers at once
  • Defined, chiseled teeth to penetrate thicker materials

Styles of Staples

Half strip, full strip, and cartridge staples are some of the most popular styles of staples. As long as the staple size matches your compatible stapler, purchasing a half or full strip length is completely up to you. Cartridge staples are a little more exclusive in terms of usage, as they're designed for electric or heavy duty staplers only.

PaperPro 1913 105 Strip Count 1/2 inch Heavy-Duty Chisel Point Staples - 1000/Box
Universal UNV79000 210 Strip Count Standard Chisel Point Staples   - 5000/Box
Swingline 50050 5000 Count Staple Cartridge - 5000/Box
  • Usually 100 or less staples per strip
  • Fits most standard staplers
  • Usually 200 or more staples per strip
  • Fits most standard staplers
  • Can hold up to 5000 staples per strip
  • Used in electric and some heavy-duty staplers

How to Fix a Jammed Stapler

It’s inevitable – at some point, your stapler is going to jam. But never fear –our experts have discovered two easy methods for unjamming a stapler. All you need is a paper clip!

Method 1: If a stray staple is preventing the handle from detaching from the magazine, insert the paper clip between the two sections and slide it around until the jam is loose.

Method 2: If a staple is stuck between the hammer and the magazine, use the paper clip to fish out the staple.

Types of Staple Removers

A staple remover allows you to easily remove staples from bulletin board displays, assignment packets, or conference notes. We offer three different kinds for your convenience:
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Blade Type

A blade staple remover features a retractable blade that extracts staples when you hook its metal tip beneath a staple and pull, which is convenient when staples are poorly inserted or when a visual display needs taken down.

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Wand Type

Similar to the blade type, a wand remover features an ergonomic grip that allows you to pull staples out of documents with one swift, fluid motion. The tip is not retractable, so be sure to take care when storing it to avoid poking or injuring yourself.


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Jaw Type

A jaw type staple remover features durable steel jaws to grab staples and pry them out. Simply pinch the plastic grips together and extract each staple with ease.

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