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What’s the Difference Between Wire and Spiral Binding

Learn the difference between wire and spiral binding to determine which method best suits your print job and document use.

What is Spiral Binding?

Spiral binding is a type of bookbinding in which the pages are secured when the publisher laces a wire coil through pre-punched holes in the covers and pages.

What is Wire Binding?

Wire binding involves inserting punched pages on a C-shaped spine. The binder uses a wire closer to shape the spine into a circle. Wire bound documents open flat and allow complete rotation of the covers and pages.

How are Wire & Spiral Binding Different?

The main difference is the material used. In spiral binding, published documents are usually bound in plastic. Conversely, wired bindings use metal. The method chosen often depends on what you need the document for. If the document won’t be used often, spiraled options may reduce the total print cost without impacting functionality. For manuals and documents used daily, wire verions may make more sense. Spiral bindings are often used for documents used for a short period of time, such as during a seminar or class.

Wire binding has many names, including wire-o. The main styles are comb and double loop wire binding. These designs come in numerous lengths and colors, depending on the final use of the document and customer preferences.
On the other hand, spiral bindings work a little differently. The edges of the printed paper must have pre-punched holes for the insertion of the spiral. For projects with spiraled binding, you have many options. However, there are important things to keep in mind. How often will the books be used and how thick will the finished project be? For best results, keep the books under 300 pages.

How Are Wire & Spiral Binding Different

How Much Time Does it Take for Spiral Binding?

Spiral binding doesn’t take as long and works well for small production runs of a few hundred books. It takes about 5 minutes to bind 100 pages, not counting printing the pages and checking the work. Many organizations use spiral binding for conferences, classes and workshops.

How Many Pages Can be Spiral Bound?

The number of pages that fit into a spiral coil depends on the diameter of the coil and the thickness of the paper that you print the document on. The largest coil commonly used is 2″ around. This is big enough to fit a block of pages 1.75″ thick.
For example, 50# Offset and 80# Gloss Text paper is often used to print books. Both of these paper types measure 0.0038.” This works out to a maximum capacity of 460 pages. For double-sided print jobs, that’s a total of 920 pages. However, filling bindings to capacity makes the pages hard to turn. The pages may also tear more readily.

Custom Printing Inc. Binding Services

At Custom Printing Inc., we can handle large and small production runs, including both spiral and wire binding. Our advanced equipment includes a Kluge 14″ x 22″ foil and embosser for beautiful covers and a Heidelberg 22″ x 27″ die-cutter and gluer for professionally bound books assembled directly by our experienced in-house team.

Find out more about our customized services to help you organize your materials and original documents.