How to Choose a Paper Folder

March 5, 2019

How to Choose a Paper Folder

Selecting the proper paper folding machine can be a bit of a daunting task once you do a Google search and see just how many models there are out there. Where do you even start on comparing specs, and what specs are most important to your business or organization? Well, we're here to help you get started. We will sort through the confusion for you and walk you through some self-evaluation that you should perform to determine how to choose a paper folder for your specific needs.

First, let's look at your business. What kind of organization are you buying the paper folder for? A large print shop? Maybe a family-owned smaller shop? Perhaps a church, school, or small office? Your organization type and size will play a factor in your choice. This business-type is directly connected to budget as well. A smaller company will have a tighter budget, and may need to cut some special features out, whereas a larger print shop might have more opportunity to invest in a larger and more versatile/capable folding machine.

Volume is another factor to consider. Will you need to fold just a couple hundred sheets per week, or several thousands daily? Do you need your folder to be able to run constantly through an 8-hour work day, or maybe just a few times a day? Determine how much your business will be folding, and consider the possibility of growth since your paper folder will last you many years, and you want it to allow for your varying needs. Maybe right now you only need to fold invoices that you send out monthly, but when your business grows, you will need to send larger quantities weekly. You will want to make sure that the recommended user and intended volume of your machine fits your current and future projected requirements.

Going hand-in-hand with volume is speed. As paper folders get more expensive, they tend to get quite a bit faster as well. The higher the output you need, a faster speed will help you achieve that output more efficiently. Smaller folders can fold around 60 sheets per minute while larger models can fold 140 sheets per minute and more.

You also need to look at the kind of paper you will be folding. Will you be working with basic copy paper that is uncoated? Or will you potentially need to fold coated paper stocks or digitally printed sheets with full ink coverage? This will determine whether you need a friction-feed folder or an air-feed folder. For coated and printed pages, air-feed is recommended as it ensures no rollers come into contact with your inked pages, so you will never experience marking. Friction-fed folders are less expensive and use rollers to pull in your sheets, which why it is more ideally suited for plain paper that isn't printing edge-to-edge.

Fold type is another consideration. Most paper folders have no limitations to the kinds of folds you can make because the fold bars within the machine are often easy to manually adjust and customize. But you want quick-access to your most popular folding styles for fast, hassle-free production, so choosing a folder with your common folds pre-set (or a programmable fold with push-button recall) is a better choice. A church, for example, may only use half-fold and letter-fold, (which will be standard programmed folds on nearly every machine), whereas a print shop may need half fold, double parallel, gate, zig-zag, and any other fold that their customer may ask for. The difference, of course, is that a print shop needs to cater to someone else's needs (their clients) whereas a church, school, or office may need to cater only to their own needs. And just like with the volume, you should also think about your current any future needs. Perhaps right now you only need to z-fold your mailers, but maybe in a few years you will also need to create a different kind of mailer that requires a half-size fold.

Where will the folder be located? Sound may be a consideration for your business, depending on where the folder will be situated and when it will be operated. If you're planning to use the folder in an office where many users need to be able to answer calls and speak to customers, then you need to make sure you get a very quiet folder. Whereas if it will be in an office and used less frequently, or potentially in a dedicated machine workroom with other equipment where sound is not a factor, then you don't need to worry about this spec at all. Keep in mind that all folders will be a bit noisy. The process of folding with a machine actually slams paper into a fold block which folds it over, and presses into the next fold block. The sound of the paper hitting the blocks is audible, and the sound of the motor pulling in the paper is as well.

Remember, a paper folder is an investment. It will save you a lot of money on the labor of hand-folding, as well as save you a ton of stress and strain on your users' bodies. The speed you gain with an electric paper folder is another huge benefit of the upgrade, so you can produce more folded documents at significantly increased speeds. It automates the process and will save your business time and money, no matter your company size or the paper folder model you choose. And what else? It makes the process far less boring and, actually, a little fun.

For more information or a quote, call us at (866) 537-2244 (866) 537-2244 or email

Mallory Morsa, Binding101 Product Expert About the Author • Mallory Morsa has been a part of Binding101 since 2008 and has experience in several departments within the company. She began in customer service and sales where she honed in her skills to provide the customer with professional, fast, and accurate information. Shortly after, she was promoted to sales supervisor and also took on the role of product expert, training the team on new products. Throughout this time, she also wrote content for the site, as well as contributed stock photography and videography. As the team grew, she moved to an official position as the content specialist and social media manager. Her skills in these variety of areas give her the unique expertise to not just create content for the web, but to create content for you, the customer. She has a Bachelor's degree in business management and marketing, was on the Dean's List each year, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. In her free time, Mallory's favorite things to do include volunteering at the animal shelter by bottle feeding neonatal kittens, reading at the park, cooking plant-based meals, playing board games, and binge streaming TV shows with her 3 furbabies and family beside her.