Choosing a Notebook: Top vs. Side Spiralbound

17 Jan

A Little Binding History

The spiralbound notebook is an object that everyone is familiar with, if only because it’s on school supply lists nearly everywhere. But it’s also quite popular in an office setting for the convenience of lying the spiralbound book flat, wrapping the pages 360-degrees around the book, and creating a professional look.

Spiral binding is also known as coil spring binding, which has existed since 1924. Back then, it was used primarily in office settings. Today, it is commonly used in schools and offices for reports, presentations, and other professional documents.

Spiral Binding Today

Coil binding machines use spring coils, also called spirals, which bind paper sheets together through a series of holes along the side of the paper. There are many options for coil binding machines, ranging from light-duty for home projects to heavy-duty for offices and manufacturers. The main options include the punch capacity (the number of sheets it can punch at one time), the binding capacity (the number of sheets it can bind at one time), and whether it is manual or electric.

Spiral binding is a three-step process: the pages are punched, the coil is inserted, then the ends of the metal or plastic coil are cut. While the light-duty punching systems are great for binding a school or work project at home, the heavier machines can punch and bind more sheets of paper at a time, allowing for faster production.

The amount of paper used is the main factor when selecting the type of material to bind your project. Some spiral binding coils are made from metal, whereas other types of coil binding are made from plastic. Metal coils are useful when you need extra durability or if you need to punch a large number of pages. Plastic coils may break easier than metal coils and this is something to keep in mind if you would like to start binding your own projects at home.  One benefit to the plastic springs is that you can get just about any color you need (i.e. they’re more than ideal for those who organize their projects or lifestyle via color).

Spiralbound Benefits

Many spiralbound notebooks today have a double wire binding to prevent snags plus perforated sheets for clean and easy tearing, so you won’t have little bits of paper falling out.  If you’re in the market for a new spiralbound, try these options:

The versatile notebook (top AND side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Reverse Notepad can be used horizontally and vertically, making it an accessible choice for everyone. This one is a favorite with artists. It can also be used and flipped around when the table space you have to write on isn’t big enough to accommodate the horizontal version.

For the organized planner (side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Meeting Book is the planner’s dream. This side spiralbound allows an all-in-one record of meeting discussions, decision and action items. You can review the meeting or event with one glance, having all of your plans and notes together on one page.

Color Coordinated (top spiralbound): Clairefontaine’s Classic Top Spiralbound Notepad blends the best of both colors per cover. Plus, it includes either lined or graph paper, so it’s perfect for in the classroom or in the office. It’s even great for playing paper and line games where you need the graphing boxes.

Editor’s Note: Like stapled notepads better? Check out Kelly’s article detailing Top vs. Side Staplebound Notepads.


One Response to “Choosing a Notebook: Top vs. Side Spiralbound”


  1. Link tag Tuesday #64 – local food, airport security and the shocking news that superheroes aren’t real! - January 31, 2012

    […] finally, an interesting post on top versus side spiralbound notebooks.  It’s not as boring as I just made it sound, and anyone writing a lot will have given this […]

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