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Paper Guillotines & Rotary Trimmers - Buyers' Guide

It sounds like a simple task, but purchasing a trimmer or guillotine can affect the whole productivity of your organisation as choosing the incorrect machine could lead to members of staff not using their time effectively. Therefore at Ruffles, we have created a simple “how to purchase” guide with some useful advice. Our staff are incredibly knowledgeable with over 40 years of office experience, so if you have any more questions please do contact us on .

To start with, do you know the difference between a Trimmer and a Guillotine?

Simply speaking, a Rotary Trimmer is used to cut paper efficiently and consists of a base with an enclosed cutting head (usually mounted onto a metal bar) that will slide back and forth to cut paper.

A Paper Guillotine is used to cut large quantities of paper efficiently and consists of a base with a moving arm which cuts the paper.

Generally trimmers can be used to cut smaller quantities of paper and are therefore quite easy to transport. On the other hand, guillotines are used to cut much larger quantities of paper using a manual or electronic moving arm which cuts the paper.

Trimmers and guillotines are both used to accurately and professionally cut printed material (paper, cards, photos etc.). The quality of paper cutting depends on the price you are willing to pay and generally speaking the higher the price, the longer the machine will last. Our sales team have selected only high quality Trimmers and Guillotines so that the machines remain functional after inevitable wear and tear.

We have a Paper Cutting Wizard that will help you to select the correct guillotine or trimmer for your requirements. Here is some advice that you should read ahead of purchasing a guillotine or trimmer.

What can you use a Guillotine or Trimmer for?

  • Poster cutting
  • Letter cutting
  • Leaflet cutting
  • Booklet cutting
  • Flyer cutting
  • Cardboard cutting
  • Invitation cutting
  • Business card cutting
  • And many more

When is using a Paper Guillotine appropriate (as opposed to a Trimmer)?

  • In public services, governmental, workshops, multinational corporations, educational establishments and private uses
  • Wherever substantial quantities of paper and similar materials need to be cut
  • Cutting with minimal effort at short cutting time and large quantities
  • Whenever a straight and rectangular cut is required

When is using a Rotary Trimmer appropriate (as opposed to a Guillotine)?

  • Best used for straight, long cutting
  • There are models to cut very wide sheets of paper
  • For low thickness paper stacks
  • For arts and craft and design works
  • Different cutting styles
  • Generally, the enclosed cutting head enhances safety
  • Suitable for left and right-handed persons

What size of paper do you want to cut?

Our portfolio of machines will cut between A5 (and Photo) and 4A0 paper sizes. Please see below for the guide of paper size measurements:

  • 4A0 - 1682 x 2378mm
  • 2A0 - 1189 x 1682mm
  • A0 - 1189 x 841mm
  • A1 - 841 x 594mm
  • A2 - 594 x 420mm
  • A3 - 420 x 297mm
  • A4 - 297 x 210mm
  • A5 and Photos - 210 x 148mm

What is your purpose for cutting paper?

We have segmented our website so that you can search for Paper Cutting Machines by the situation in which you will use them

  • Hobby & Craft - Generally this range is inexpensive, should only be used for occasional use and trim up to 10 sheets at a time. These machines can be used to create collages and for other low usage purposes.
  • Personal - Ideal for home use, these are compact and efficient, trimming up to 10 sheets. They can be easily stored in the home both on a small desk or easily transported into a cupboard.
  • Small Office - Our range of Small Office products they will cut up to 40 sheets at a time. Typically these machines are ideal for organisations with under 5 employees, however this depends on the usage.
  • General Office - Relatively heavy duty and are best used within an office environment. These machines are hard wearing and will trim up to 45 sheets at a time. Typically these machines will be ideal for organisations with over 5 employees, however this depends on the usage.
  • Professional Manual - Heavy duty machines that require manual operation and have a capacity of up to 700 sheets at a time. This will typically be used by commercial organisations requiring thousands of sheets needing to be cut per day.
  • Professional Electric - Heavy duty, high quality machines that guarantee a quality batch cut. The machines in this category will trim up to 800 sheets at a time. This will typically be used by commercial organisations requiring thousands of sheets needing to be cut per day.
  • Ream Cutters - These are heavy-duty cutters that are ideal for cutting multiple sheets in one go. We have a fantastic range of Ream Cutters, with a maximum capacity of 800 sheets. These machines are ideal for copy and printing organisations, as well as educational establishments such as schools, universities etc.

Automatic vs. Manual?

Every one of your employees cost a certain amount "per hour" to employ, therefore every hour that someone stands at a Guillotine or Trimmer has an "opportunity cost" attributed to it. The "opportunity cost" here is that every hour spent by an employee manually "cutting" could be spent on something more economical for the organisation. Manually cutting paper means the member of staff has to physically operate the machine to cut the paper, whereas an some machines will automatically cut paper if necessary. Whether you choose automatic or manual will be down to the requirements of your organisation (price, quality etc.).

Health and Safety

It is important to adhere to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and we are here to help. These Regulations, often abbreviated to PUWER, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. PUWER also places responsibilities on businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment, whether owned by them or not.

PUWER requires that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. These will normally include emergency stop devices, adequate means of isolation from sources of energy, clearly visible markings and warning devices
  • Used in accordance with specific requirements, for mobile work equipment and power presses

For more information on health and safety, please visit https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm.

Still Need Help Choosing?

With all of this information, using our Paper Cutting Wizard should be easy, however if you need any more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on where our highly experienced staff can help you select the right machine.