Comb binding, also known as GBC binding, is one of the simplest and most economical binding methods available to binderies, print shops, and organizations that produce a variety of reading materials. Whether you are looking to stock up on plastic spines, or you need a full-package with equipment and supplies, we can help. Our selection of machinery and supply items can meet the demands of users of all sizes and kinds, from individuals to worldwide corporations.
This general overview of plastic binding combs goes over the basic binding process, popular documents that they are used for, and outlines some of the benefits. One of the most notable reasons why GBC comb binding is still so popular is the incredibly low cost. Plus, they are easy to edit and re-use as many times as you need. And they can be custom printed on, making them very unique compared to other spine binders.
Why is comb binding so popular?
1. It is inexpensive
2. It is easy
3. Comb-bound books are editable
4. Combs bind even thick books
5. Lots of colors available
Shop Comb Binding Machines & Supplies
Whether you are a small office, a multi-national corporation, or anything in-between, you are sure to find a great comb binding machine for your individual needs in our collection. We are partnered with the best brand names in the business, so you have assured quality manufacturing and easy-to-use equipment.
Plastic combs, often called GBC binders, are made of PVC plastic with 19-loops that spread open for easy sheet inserting. There is a huge selection of colors and sizes to bind up to nearly 2" thick books. They can be edited as often as needed, and are incredibly affordable for users of all sizes.
Most Popular Comb Binding Machines
Browse our top-selling comb binding systems below. These machines span both the electric and manual categories and were chosen because they have consistently high ratings and reviews from customers, and offer great value. These machines have proven time and time again that plastic spine binding can be easy, professional, and affordable when you shop at Binding101. When you invest in a new plastic GBC comb binder machine, you want to be sure you are getting the most bang for your buck; a great place to start your search is by checking out our best comb binding machines below.
Our cut plastic comb bindings are stocked in nation-wide warehouses in a select variety of professional colors. Black, white, clear, blue, navy, and red are just a few of the most popular options. These combs are stocked in the standard length with 19 rings for letter-size pages.
How to Choose a Comb Size
Choosing the best comb diameter for your document doesn't have to be complicated. If your machine has a comb size selector, use that integrated tool as the first option. Typically there are slots cut into the machine that you slide your entire book into until you find the one that best fits your stack. Remember to allow the pages to be loose; you don't want them tight, or they won't turn easily once bound. It is always better to have a comb that is a little too big than too small. If your machine doesn't have this tool, we have a simple formula to help you select the best spine diameter below. And remember, you can always call us at (866)537-2244 for assistance.
* Sheet capacity was determined using only 20 lb bond copy paper and did not include covers. The actual sheet capacity will vary greatly depending on the stock and covers you are using. We recommend that, whenever possible, you use the "book thickness" rating instead.
Plastic Comb Binding FAQs
1. What GBC comb size do I need? Figuring out the best comb size is pretty simple. Assuming your machine doesn't have a comb size selector, you can figure it out by just measuring your document thickness like so:
1) Lay all of your pages in a loose stack on a table, including covers.
2) Do not press down on the stack. Measure the thickness with a ruler.
3) Add 1/8" to that measurement. This is the recommended comb size. Round up if needed.
For example, if I have a stack of paper and binding covers that are about 1/2" thick, I would add 1/8" to that (1/2" converts to 4/8" for a common denominator, + 1/8") which gives me a 5/8" comb binding spine. If you are between sizes, we recommend you choose the larger size. If your comb is too small it can make it hard to turn the pages and cause ripping; it is always better to have a slightly too-large comb than a too-small comb.
2. What are the pros of comb binding? There are many benefits to plastic comb binding. For one, they can be edited as often as they need to be, making them re-usable whenever you need them. Another big perk is their affordability; they are incredibly economically priced for users of all sizes. Plus, they can be customized with printing, allowing for personalizing in one-of-a-kind ways.
3. Why would I buy comb instead of spiral coil? You would choose plastic comb over plastic coil if you need the ability to edit your book, and want the potential to print on the spine. Coils are also slightly more expensive.
4. What kinds of customers use plastic comb binding? Some of the most common customers that use plastic GBC comb bindings are small associations, schools, engineering firms for proposals, and print, mail, and copy shops.
5. How do I know if comb binding is right for me? You will know if comb binding is right for you if you (a) need to bind extra thick books up to about 2", (b) need to keep the cost of your book low, (c) need the ability to potentially edit your book, (d) need the ability to have the spine custom printed and labeled, and (e) you primarily work with an 11" binding edges (letter size 8.5"x 11" paper) and smaller.
6. What are the cons of comb binding? Some users feel that a plastic comb looks outdated and cheap. And it is true, they are very inexpensive, so it not surprising that it shows. But even the color selection can elevate your document; for example, a black, white, or clear comb typically looks more expensive than a bright red or green comb. Plus, pair it with a professional-looking front binding cover to elevate a comb bound book further. The pages of a comb book also cannot turn all the way around to lay back to back. Instead, your book would simply lay flat on a table and remain open.
7. Do you sell an assorted box? At this time we are only offering full boxes, which include either 100 or 50 pieces (depending on the size) of one size/color.
8. Can I comb bind without a machine? Yes and no. We offer a variety of pre-punched paper and binding covers that eliminate the need for you to punch pages, but you will still need a comb opener (comb spreader) to open up the comb prongs so you can insert your pages.
How to Comb Bind without a Punch Machine
It is recommended to use a punch machine when binding with combs, however, it is also achievable without a punch machine if you have a few tools. This may be an ideal option for at-home users who just want to bind for crafts and gifts from time-to-time, rather than for business purposes. This simple instruction manual can help users like those who want to bind with combs, but can't feasibly invest in an expensive punching machine.
- Print your pre-punched paper using a compatible printer.
- Arrange your paper and pre-punched covers into a stack.
- Place your comb onto the comb opener and pull the handle to open the prongs.
- Place your pages onto the open prongs.
- Release the handle to close the comb.
Best Comb Binding Machine Brands
At Binding101 we are partnered with the best-brand names in the industry, offering you elite comb binding equipment that is manufactured to high-standards for quality, craftsmanship, longevity, and ease-of-use. All of these brand names have passed our strict guidelines for quality and communication, offering the best value for our clients. Shop our top-rated comb binding machine manufacturers below to learn more.
From our Blog: Binding University
Browse our industry-savvy blog for educational articles, FAQs, special insights, & more! These top comb binding posts can help educate you on all of the ins and outs of plastic comb binding, from making a calendar, to how to choose a comb diameter size, to calendar making, and more.