Yes, this is the digital era. But the best stapler remains a vital piece of kit to have in any creative business. From studios with big teams of designers to those working in their own homes, everyone will need to staple documents at some point – even if you design and hand over your creative work digitally. If you work in crafts, you'll need one to attach labels or messages to packets and products.
But what makes the best stapler? It needs to be strong, reliable and durable. Too weak and it won't tackle the material you want to use it on, and a broken or jammed stapler is useless. These factors were forefront of our minds when we chose our picks for the best stapler list, which cover a range of use cases and budgets. Our list is based on the consistency of customer reviews. Need more advice? See the bottom of the article.
For more office essentials for creative businesses, see our guide to the best office chairs, the best pencil sharpener, the best printer and the best label makers. You might also want to see our pick of the world's coolest coworking spaces for some inspiration for your own workplace.
The best stapler available now
Our choice of the best stapler overall is the Bostitch Office Heavy Duty 40-Sheet Stapler. While some compact staplers can only handle a few sheets of paper at a time, this tough cookie can staple at least a couple of dozen (it claims up to 40, but we think you'd have to be using very thin paper for that). This makes it very handy for anyone who needs to staple together a whole portfolio or proposal. Its no-Jam technology is designed to avoid those familiar frustrating jams you get with more flimsy staplers, and it opens 180 degrees for tacking or crafting use.
It's smart and compact, taking up little room on a desk (it can stand vertically as well as horizontally), and it's easy to carry around. A non-skid rubber base provides stability and protects your desk too. You can pick from a wide range of colours, including a bold metallic blue and purple, but there's also standard black or white if you're looking for a more sober look.
If you do want a stapler that really turns heads, the iconic Swingline 747 (yes, a stapler can be iconic!) is the best stapler for you. It's by far the most elegant and, dare we say it, even bling stapler on our list. Its double-coasted die-cast zinc construction and sleek, streamlined looks means it will fit at home in even the fanciest office, especially if you opt for the gold or silver finish.
As for the mechanics, you get a jam-resistant mechanism for accurate stapling on up to 25 sheets (if you use Swingline's own S.F. 4 Premium Staples, that is). It opens easily for tacking so you can use it on notice boards or walls, and the metal piece that goes under the paper rotates to create pin staples too.
A stapler without staples? Yes, the ingenious Plus Paper Clinch is exactly that. Instead of using metal to fasten sheets of paper, it makes a small hole and tucks tiny pieces of the paper inside themselves to fasten the sheets together. It's easy to use and it's a lot more effective than you might expect. It's also highly portable, easily fitting into the palm of one hand.
Of course, the absence of staples makes this stapler more economical and more environmentally friendly, not to mention more friendly for your hands since there are no spikey staples to mess with. The clever mechanism also makes it more suitable for kids, and if you need to shred documents, there's no need to remove staples first. The Japanese-made product won a Red Dot Design Award for its smart innovation. The downside is that you can't staple more than around five sheets of paper at a time.
The idea of an electric stapler might seem to smack of laziness but if you often find yourself stapling a lot of sheets of paper and multiple documents, the process can become tiresome. The EX-25 from EcoElectronix is an automatic stapler that's fairly heavy-duty, with the ability to staple up to 30 sheets at a time on AC or battery power. It makes it quicker to zip through stapling lots of copies of the same document, and with less danger of repetitive strain injury.
It has no less than 14 different settings for supreme adjustability. You can adjust the throat depth between .25 inches and 1.5 inches and lock it. It comes with 210 staples included, which is refreshing because a lot of staplers require you to buy some staples to get started. It does, however, require six AA batteries, which aren't included, if you want to use it on battery mode to free you from having to staple near a plug socket.
If you need to staple thicker wads of paper or you want to make booklets, then you'll want a long-arm stapler for the flexibility to staple documents of different sizes and to create folded booklets with a perfectly stapled spine. The Rapesco ECO 790 is a heavy duty long-arm with a a full metal chassis and a front loading magazine. It has a calibrated adjustable paper guide/margin adjuster and offers a stapling depth of up to 300mm.
For thick documents, just be sure to use the right staples – this can take both 24/6 and 26/6mm staples to staple up to 25 sheets, or 24/8 and 26/8mm staples for stapling up to 50 sheets at at a time. The rotating anvil has both staple and pin settings and there's a magazine release button for easy full-strip loading. All in all, this is great value for a solid long-arm stapler that gives you the flexibility to staple booklets. It's also made from recycled materials, hence the ECO name.
If you need to staple tougher materials, you're going to need more force than most desk staplers can deliver, and for that this all-metal pliers stapler from Rapesco is ideal. It functions just like a pair of pliers – you just squeeze the two handles together. It's still a reasonably compact device, but it can bind up to 70 sheets of paper at a time and can handle thicker material like card, canvas, sack cloth and plastic wrapping.
This all-terrain quality makes it ideal of customising boxes if you're selling things via an ecommerce site (see our guide to the best places to sell design online). It's also fairly comfortable to use. Although you need to use a bit of hand strength, it has a long contoured handle grip for comfort and leverage and a guard to protect your fingers.
If you need to staple things to a surface like a wall or a frame, then you're getting into staple gun territory. Some staple guns look more like power tools than staplers and might look a bit out of place in an office setting, but this relatively lightweight staple gun from Stanley has a toned-down all-metal design.
Its svelte form makes it maneuverable enough to access tight spots, and the chrome-plated steel construction makes it a durable tool with a jam-clear mechanism so you don't lose time rooting out jammed staples. The bottom loading mechanism is easy to use and there's a handle lock for safe storage, making this our top choice as the best staple gun for crafts.
A lot of mini staplers are fairly flimsy things that spend most of their lives getting jammed. They also usually take mini-staples, which aren't as strong as the standard size and tend to get twisted. But Swingline has hit an interesting middle ground with this mini stapler, offering a device that's both very compact but takes regular-sized staples.
It offers surprisingly good leverage for a mini stapler and performs as well as a lot of larger desktop staplers, the only different being its lower capacity and perhaps its durability since its made mostly of plastic. A curved piece of metal at the back serves as a staple remover, although it does tend to fling staples across the room. Loading is very easy. The tab that holds staples in place is a little temperamental, sometimes popping open, but this is the best stapler for this price and size.
How should I choose the best stapler for me?
Staplers come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and weights, which means the best stapler for you will depend on what you want to use it for. If you're only going to use a stapler to fasten a few sheets of paper together, you can get away with a fairly lightweight option, which offers the advantage of being portable so you can easily move it from desk to desk or even carry it around with you.
We've rated the Bostitch Office Heavy Duty 40-Sheet Stapler as the best stapler for general use since it's small, portable and also fairly resistant. You might even get away with a very small stapler like the Swingline Tot Mini Stapler at number eight, and the Plus Paper Clinch at number three is a novel solution if you don't need the strength of metal staples. However, if you need to staple booklets or thicker supports like card, plastic or textiles, then you'll want a more heavy-duty tool, probably a long-arm stapler, a plier stapler or even a staple gun.