Hole Punches

We love hole punches at Paperstone because they are one of those objects of stationery that can be endlessly distracting. One of our favourite distractions is seeing how much a piece of paper can be obliterated by punching holes in it with a hole puncher. Another is punching as many bits of paper as possible before the confetti tray of the hole punch fills to the brim.

A hole punch, or hole puncher, is a device taking various forms used to pierce holes in paper, especially to allow for binding and filing. Two early patents appeared in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century. Friedrich Soennecken obtained in 1886 a patent for his Papierlocher für Sammelmappen. The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest citation for the English 'hole punch' is from 1929.

Typically, a lever is used to push a bladed cylinder through sheets of paper, thus 'punching' holes in them. Guides allow the paper to be lined up, so that the perforations are centred and symmetrical. The punched out 'confetti' is collected in a trap or tray. Hole punches can be single-hole, two-hole or more, and the choice of hole punch depends on the filing system into which the punched documents are to be incorporated. A two-hole punch is the most commonly used for ring-binder filing systems, but four-whole systems are not unusual.

The ISO standard for punched holes is ISO 838. According to this international standard, two holes with a diameter of 6±0.5 mm are punched on the left hand margin of the paper, 12±1 mm from the edge, in the centre around the axis (i.e. the crease if you were to fold the paper in half). The holes should be 80±0.5 mm apart (measuring from the hole centres).

Hole punch glossary

  • 4 Hole punch. Punches 4 hole into paper instead of the standard 2 to fit 4 ring binders.
  • Eyeletter. Punches single hole and and affixes metal eyelet.
  • Heavy duty hole punch. Chunkier devices with longer levers to punch more sheets at once.
  • Standard hole punch. 2 holes for everyday office use.
  • Capacity. The maximum number of sheets that can be punched at one time.
  • Adjustable width. Fully adjustable for most international hole formats and non-standard punch sizes.
  • High gloss. Shiny finish.
  • Low force. Punches with less punching force required.
  • Handle lock down. Folds hole punch smaller for easy storage.
  • Name plate. For personalisation.