Paper Cutter Suggestions?

I’m wondering if anyone out there can give me some suggestions for a good all-around paper cutter? I need something that will cut 20” so I can cut down the bigger sizes of Crane Lettra Paper so it’s cost effective. (Alternatively, does anyone know if Lettra is available in a size between 8.5x11 and 20x26?)

I don’t mind spending some money on a good cutter, but really want to get one that will be good for stacks of paper and also for cutting business cards. I’m fed up with my cheaper guillotine cutter that leaves ragged edges and doesn’t clamp stacks of paper down!!

Any thoughts on a guillotine v. a rotary cutter? I’ve been looking specifically @ Dahle — does anyone have an opinion on this brand?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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we have a kutrimmer 1071 that we really like. it is built well and has never given us any problem. depending on the volume of work you will be doing you may consider contacting local print shops and see if they can cut your paper down to size for you. i haven’t seen lettra in small sizes and to cut down 250 sheets of 22x30” to A2 size can get pretty ridiculous regardless of your paper cutter. that said, if you are only cutting 20-50 sheets per week then I would highly recommend the kutrimmers.

Any other recommended paper cutters? How about a Challenge paper cutter? Is it worth buying an electric cutter instead a manual guillotine such as from

If you have the space for a Challenge paper cutter, I would say get one. Before we got ours, we had (still have it sitting around) one like this:
and it wasn’t very good.
Not having the right paper cutter held up our print schedule for a few long months.

An electric or power cutter is a lifesaver when you really get into more production.
We used to run a medium size electric cutter branded Martin Yale (which i have been told is very similar to the small challenge cutter).
It cut well, but we had some electrical issues.
We upgraded to a used (circa 1983) Polar-Mohr, which is owned by Heidelberg. It is a 28” power cutter, with Micro cut system added. It can cut fast and strong, and is super accurate to the thousandths of an inch.
It ran us about $7,000 which may be out of the price range for a small shop, but it does everything we need it to do.
Check your local equipment dealer for what they have in stock.

I was looking at one like this
I found the same model on ebay for 300.00 and I wanted to know if anyone has used this before. I am a small one person shop with limited space and funds so although I would love to have some of the others mentioned the wallet will not allow it

I have a M&Y cutter like that and it works pretty good. I use it for trimming books. They are pretty easy to fix if they break (and they will break). There is a bearing / washer in the blade slide mechanism that blows out about once a year for me but you’ll know when it starts to go and it is fairly simple to swap it out and reset the blade. And I’d suggest getting two blades if you can… It’s definitely no Challenge but it works for small cutting jobs. I don’t think they have a model like this with a 20” blade though.

Thank you all for your comments. How about purchasing a Triumph paper cutter? Are they decent for a manual type?

I’m so glad to have found this site and this discussion! I am a one-person shop printed bookplates, which are 3x4 inches. I have a Dahle stack cutter. It works great, but I’m looking for something that would require less physical effort. I’ve seen a lot of Triumph electric cutters on ebay. Are they any good? Is it better to get a Challenge? What about electric vs. manual? Are there manual cutters that don’t require a lot of effort? I’m cutting up to 150 60 lb. sheets.

I have a Challenge 26 1/2 ” Paper Cutter that is in very good condition ,,, if you are interested let me know and I can send you pics of it ,,,, ed

JH: We’ve got one like that here at the shop—the eBay version, that is. It cuts well, but its kind of hard to square up. The advantage I’ve found is that it trims to 1.25”, which is perfect for skinny business cards. Thus far I haven’t had the guts to use it on any. One day!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and wondered if there were any more thoughts on this. While I know the old ones come up for sale very often, they are too large for the space I’m working in, so I’ve been looking at new tabletop stack cutters.

The new cutters I’ve been able to find online range from 150 dollars for the no-brand eBay knock-offs to 1500 for the smallest Triumph, the 4205.

There’s the XD-500 and others with no brand name for 150 or so. Then there’s the QCM cutters such as the 1200 and 1800 which range from 200 to 400 or so. Above that in price is the Martin Yales which go for around 700, then the Triumph at 1500.

I wonder if it’s a clear case of “you get what you pay for” or do you sometimes pay for the brand? Have people had any experience with the cheaper models or been able to compare the QCM to the Martin Yale?

Or do I just wait until I can afford a really good one…or have enough space to get a big old challenge or something?

I think I am going to go for a get-what-you pay for situation and invest in a Kutrimmer 1071.

kill it how? My QCM trims fine, neat and clean. My problem is still with calibrating and squaring the side-gauge.

And for me, calibration is fine, but the trim is uneven! The top sheet is shorter than the bottom sheet in the stack as the stack jogs up when I’m trimming. Is it because I’m cutting stacks of cotton paper? Should I be sandwiching with cardboard or something? Cutting a thinner stack? Something?

I have a small shop, very limited budget, and thought long and hard on what type of cutter to get. I found I needed two different pieces of equipment. I had a manual no name cheap stack cutter and it was worthless. You are not just paying for the name. You are paying for better quality, particularly in the composition of the knife. Primarily its ability to hold an edge. I currently have a Kutrimmer 1071 and an MBM 4810-95. I am very pleased with both cutters. The Kutrimmer is superb at cutting down large parent sheets to a managable size. It has two very convenient stops to repeat your cut. One on the board to the left of the blade as expected, and one that extends out to the right of the blade that is not expected but incredibly usefull. I use them both all the time. You cannot cut too many sheets at once, but, it is so pleasurable to use and gives such accurate results it is not an issue for me. The MBM Triumph electrics are not as good as a Challenge hydraulic, but, they are very good. I cut 1/2 a ream at a time, or trim books accurately. If our business was larger, I’d still have the Kutrimmer, but, go for a Challenge hydraulic. I shopped on Ebay and paid $200 for the Kutrimmer, and $1500 for the MBM plus shipping. Best investment we’ve made. Hope this was helpful.


Perfect. That Kutrimmer 1071 is looking better all the time. Can I ask, how did you get it for only $200, though? They are all over $800, and list price is over $1000?

Hi Vikki,

I purchased it second hand from a seller that had a good selling record. It was quite old but the design has not changed at all. These are rugged machines that have a long lifespan. It was advertised as having the blade sharpened and it “set-up” before storing for 10 years. By “setup” they mean it was adjusted for making perfectly square cuts. That adjustment was not to my satisfaction but was easily redone by loosening some nuts and using a metal carpenters square. I was very patient and was receiving the ebay email alerts for a “Kutrimmer” search and one day there it was.

Challenge 26.5 inch hydraulic paper cutter $200 and no bids so far.,fl/auction/view?auc=570029

Hi there! remember the famous adage “cheap things no good and good things no cheap”. Please Google for paper cutters or Guillotine there are some well-established manufacturers in the US who have produced some sturdy machines. One of them comes to mind is the Ideal brand. The unit you are talking is good for part-time or hobbyists they do not do a professional job. Trust this helps …deen

take a look at this unit i have for sale
contact me at 416 219 9370

image: KW-Trio 3971 Guillotine Paper Cutting b.png

KW-Trio 3971 Guillotine Paper Cutting b.png

I had a cheap guillontine cutter, It was a great way to ruin expensive paper. I will give it away to anyone that wants it. A manual Challenge cutter is simple, easy to use, reliable and cuts lettra and the likes into perfect little bricks. I have the 19 inch manual model. I paid good money for it and I love it.

Also my supplier and I did the math, it is actually cheaper to buy lettra in pre cut 8.5 x 11 sheets than it is to buy larger sheets. If you need larger sheets I would go with a larger cutter ( 26” ) as the closer you get to the full width the harder it is to cut.

Thick cotton paper is tricky to cut even with a good cutter, not an area to cut corners. No pun intended.

i just picked up a chandler and price craftsman 26 1/2” second hand for $200 locally (300mi round trip). it came with 3 dull blades. had 2 sharpened for around $100 with all the shipping. the thing weighs around 500 lbs. it seems like it will do well. there is a tape measure up top and i set in an old magazine at 2” and it cut 1.995. the blade on it was not bad but looks like someone had been cutting through staples with it. there were small nicks in about 10 different places. i havent seen any user manuals for this item, just some spec sheets. looks pretty strait forward though. taking some of it apart to replace a broken pin and to put new grease on the moving parts. when i install the new blade i will see how true it cuts and play with the back gauge.

What you want to do is adjust the tape to the size you get cutting. There should be a slot in tape at one end sn spring at the other.My shop had a 30 1/2 challenge mc305 did a great job

@ Paul Cheney Not sure where you are buying Lettra, but for us buying parent sheets by the carton is much cheaper.

I agree that Challenge 305’s are great cutters.

A good cutter is perhaps the most important single piece of equipment for a commercial shop.