What Are the Paper Cutter Sizes?

Paper Cutter Sizes

If you’re a huge arts and crafts fan, or if your line of work revolves around cutting paper, then you’ll need to have a paper cutter at your side. They come in a wide assortment of sizes since sheets of paper are also available in numerous sizes.

The most common paper cutter sizes are:

  • 8 × 7 inches
  • 10 × 10 inches
  • 12 × 10 inches
  • 15 × 12 inches
  • 18 × 15 inches
  • 21 × 16 inches

In this guide, I’ll explain what a paper cutter is, what sizes it comes in, and how to choose the right paper cutter for your crafts table.

What Is a Paper Cutter?

What Is a Paper Cutter

Most of us would use a pair of scissors to cut paper down to size, but what if you cut massive reams of paper? Scissors can deal with a dozen sheets or so at once, and if you try to push it further, you just might break your scissors.

This is where paper cutters come into play. A paper cutter is a special apparatus used for trimming and cutting paper down to smaller sizes. You’ve probably seen them in your old elementary school before. For those that haven’t, it looks like a wide table with a blade and a handle that travels up and down to slice thick stacks of paper.

Paper Cutter vs. Paper Trimmer

The words “paper cutter” and “paper trimmer” are oftentimes used interchangeably, but there are distinct features in both tools that set them apart.

A paper cutter comes with a thick blade, known as a guillotine, that’s made for slicing through thick stacks of paper. It doesn’t offer the same level of precision as paper trimmers, but with a steady hand, you can trim the paper down to size with a paper cutter.

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A paper trimmer has a sliding arm that keeps a thin stack of paper in place prior to trimming. The arm can be locked into place, allowing you to make repeat cuts to trim down multiple stacks without needing to make constant adjustments.

The downside of paper trimmers is that the blade isn’t equipped to handle more than ten sheets of paper at once. So, you sacrifice efficiency for maximum trimming precision, which is just fine if you don’t work with reams of paper regularly.

Paper Cutter Sizes

Common paper cutter sizes

First and foremost, how is a paper cutter measured?

The size of a paper cutter refers to the dimensions of the workspace, which is directly related to what size paper it can accommodate. Larger paper cutters can handle more sheet sizes, so they’re more versatile than smaller paper cutters.

The most common paper cutter sizes are as follows:

  • 8 × 7 inches
  • 10 × 10 inches
  • 12 × 10 inches
  • 15 × 12 inches
  • 18 × 15 inches
  • 21 × 16 inches

How to Use a Paper Cutter?

How to Use a Paper Cutter

Using a paper cutter may seem intimidating at first. After all, it relies on a huge blade or guillotine to cut large stacks of paper down to size. However, with safety and practice, you can cut stacks of paper down to size with ease.

Here’s how you use a paper cutter:

  1. Disengage the safety lock.
  2. Raise the guillotine as high as it will go.
  3. Place your sheet(s) of paper face-up on top of the paper cutter board.
  4. Align the sheet of paper with the proper measurements. You can find a grid or ruler on the top, bottom, and left-hand side of the tool to help you figure out how small or large to trim your paper.
  5. Lock the fence down by turning the dial. The fence lets you make repeat cuts on subsequent stacks of paper.
  6. After aligning the paper, push down on the guillotine handle in one swift motion.
  7. Raise the guillotine, remove the sheet of paper, and double-check to make sure that its measurements are what you need.
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How to Choose a Paper Cutter

If you’re the type of person who cuts through tens of thousands of sheets of paper every year, then you will undoubtedly need to find the safest and most reliable paper cutter on the market. In this section, I’ll cover what features and specs to look for when choosing a paper cutter for your shop.

Safety features

Paper cutters are not toys. The guillotines are fitted with long, sharp blades that can slice a finger clean off if you’re not careful. Look for a paper cutter that has at least a safety lock, which keeps the guillotine down when not in use. Another handy safety feature is a finger guard to keep your fingers out of harm’s way whenever you lower the guillotine.

Board size

The board is the flat surface on which you lie down sheets of paper for cutting. Larger boards can accommodate larger sheets, as well as smaller sheets of paper. Smaller boards are limited to smaller sheets of paper. The best board size correlates with what paper size you use the most often. While larger boards are more versatile, they can be trickier to use when cutting envelope-sized sheets of paper.

Blade style

The majority of paper cutters have a guillotine-style blade. The blade is found on the underside of a long handle that you push down in a swift motion to cut through sheets of paper. This blade style is more dangerous than the trimmer-style blade, which slide along the length of the handle. Trimmers are safer, but they can’t cut through nearly as many sheets of paper as guillotine-style blades.

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Can You Sharpen a Paper Cutter?

Yes, you can. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep your paper cutter’s blade sharp at all times to ensure clean cuts every time you swing the handle down. So, how do you sharpen a paper cutter blade?

One of the simplest tricks is to use your paper cutter to slice through several sheets of aluminum foil. Unfortunately, if the blade is completely worn out, this trick will not work.

To restore the blade’s edge, you will have to remove the screws on the handle, remove the blade, and sharpen the blade on a grinding stone.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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