Desk-Top Cutter Recommendation

I have read many threads but still wanted to ask if anyone has a good desk-top stack paper cutter that they use and would recommend?

Thank you!

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If you want to cut stacks of paper get a modern electric floor model paper cutter. The big problem with the old fashioned cutters with a lever is blade replacement. Many of them have blades that have been sharpened past the point of adjustment. If you want a table cutter the MBS Kutrimmer is the best currently on the market. There are several sizes, and as I have found out recently you can still get parts. You won’t be able to cut the 40 sheets they advertise, but you can cut 4 or 5 sheets accurately. I have a 1038 and a 1071 and with them can cut down most parent sheets, and small sheets as well. They are not as efficient as a power cutter, but they get the job done.


There no doubt are some good desk top cutters out there, good for a small shop, doing little cutting.
Many old lever cutters have been around for at least fifty years and ready for another fifty. I’ve read some previous discussions here about modern cutters getting out of square, not clamping sufficiently to get accurate cuts, etc. Leave these modern toys for the crafters, rubber stampers and the folks in the church basements putting out a weekly bulletin!
Wait for an older C&P, Challenge, Advance, Paragon or ? to show up. It’ll be worth the wait!! Forget the import, please! The $600+ you’d spend on that will buy you a cutter that’s good for another 100 years.
E-bay is loaded, I mean loaded, with these lightweight, flimsy imports.
Many of these are described as SLIGHTLY used, which means they have been returned by unsatisfied buyers.
“Real printers use real cutters.” I own and use a 22.5” Paragon, patented about a 120 years ago, good for many, many more years. Blades are still available (American Ptg. Equip., N. Y.) for all of these. Look for Challenge, Advance, Chandler & Price, Reliance, Peerless and many other old-time brands. Stay away from anything with welds. Take my word. Wait for one of these old-timers to show up, it’ll be worth the wait, and you’ll thank me for the good advice.

I have found a Challenge that is being auctioned off. Its way bigger than the space I have.

I just want a good desktop cutter that I can trim down business cards and small runs.

image: a.jpg


The Challenge cutter you have pictured is immensely better than the small desktop cutters, which as Paul has indicated, will cut a small stack. This is a tabletop (good strong table, please) which would compete with any industrial cutter with a sharp blade.

If it is close to you and you can arrange pickup, this would be a good investment.

John H.

those desk top cutters are a waste of time and money.

Space is an issue. I have a good relationship with my local commercial printer for bigger printing jobs.

The only reason I showed the Challenge is because it’s 2 hrs away and reasonably priced.

I want something above the guillotine cutters we had in school and smaller then the ones that take up so much space.

The small lever cutter currently being offered on eBay, like the one you have linked above, will not handle the kind of cutting you wish to do. I personally think they are a waste of money. I had a 19” Challenge cutter, but had to let it go when my landlord cancelled my lease a number of years ago. I’ve always regretted selling it, and like you don’t really have the space to house one now. A good shear with a hold-down will do an excellent job on a few sheets, it just won’t cut a big stack with accuracy. I consider it a trade-off, a little more time on the shear, versus a large cutter that takes up floor space I don’t have. And like you mentioned above, a local printer can do the cutting that would take too much time, when that is needed.


Just my two cents-

The cutter you gave the link to is garbage. I speak from experience! The clamp does not hold the paper, the blade is junk metal poorly sharpened, the measurements are way off, and it is difficult to use. In short, a poor excuse for a cutter.

The Kutrimmer looks like the guillotine you had in school, but, do not be fooled. It is far superior, and a terrific cutter for small quantities of parent sheets. There is no better alternative if you do not have the space for a new or old large floor model to stack cut 22 x 30 paper accurately. German steel blade, full width paper clamp that works, gauges on both sides of the blade, heavy gauge metal construction, fully adjustable for squareness. I use my 1071 almost daily and smile every time because it flat out does what it is intended to do, and does it well. Mine is 25 years old and the design has not changed. It is one of the few pieces of equipment I own that I would not change a thing if given the opportunity.

JF Golding (and Kutrimmer)-guy

i like my Kutrimmer 1038 - i would not want to cut 2000 business cards with it, but for small jobs is great and portable, i.e., i can use it and then put it out of the way when not in use - our shop is only 10 by 12 - no room for a big cutter that takes up floor space.


@ Dick & John — You two just broke my heart! I love the look of those little tabletop cutters. I saw a tabletop cutter by John Jacques & Son - Hand Lever 14” for sale, and I almost bought it. Are those junk too?

vettelove, I believe that old tabletop cutters such as the Challenge cutter in the photo above are solid, its the $150 QCM cutters (in the non-clickable link) often found flooding ebay that are “crap”.

I have one of those QCM ones, it does an ok job cutting my hand-bound books (say 50-60 sheets of 9 inch cuts), but the thing is never fully square, even when I take a lot of care before cutting. Its not something I’d use for commercial work.

@ kimaboe - Ah ha! I see what you’re saying! Thanks for clearing that up. I did not realize that image above was a QCM. All I saw was, “I have found a Challenge that is being auctioned off…” then the image, and I assumed that’s what it was (a Challenge). I didn’t notice the link said QCM until now!

The big thing with the cutters is clamp pressure, most of the little electric cutters i’ve seen don’t hold the stock well enough and you will draw or cut crooked. The larger commercial cutters have hydralic clamps, most people don’t realize how much pressure they bring down on a pile of paper, even with safties to keep your hands and fingers from getting cut off by the blades of the bigger cutters most cutters i’ve run still allow you to hold the stock while clamping it, which if a little too close will remove the tips of ones fingers.