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Spiral Binding vs Comb Binding

Updated: Mar 13

Binding in the printing industry is the method we use to bind the pages of the print results together. Depending on what you need to print, there are different binding methods. In commercial printing, spiral binding vs comb binding methods are often used.


However, several differences between these binding methods may influence which one you want to use. So, we will explore the differences and benefits of both methods below. 


Spiral Binding vs Comb Binding
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: taffpixture

Spiral Binding vs Comb Binding


Print binding is when separate printed pages are joined together. Both binding methods are effective and often used in commercial printing. Spiral and comb binding, compared to other book binding methods, does not use glue or stitching.


This makes spiral and comb binding more affordable and faster to produce. This is also why they are suitable for commercial printing. 


As one of the leading commercial printing companies offering the best printing services in the industry, we at CityPress are well-versed in spiral and comb binding methods. But before we delve deeper into the differences and advantages of comb vs spiral binding, let’s see what each does.


Spiral binding


The spiral binding method is also referred to as coil binding. This method joins the printed material using a continuous spring-like coil. Spiral binding involves punching holes in the printed paper. 


Once the holes are made, the coil is inserted to bind the printed pages. Spiral binding is suitable for both large and small books, including:


  • Business proposals

  • Program booklets

  • Workbooks

  • Study materials


The spiral coil used in this method is either plastic or metal. When you use a metal coil, it is called Wire-O binding and provides a stronger hold on the printed pages. 


In contrast, the plastic coil is a more affordable option. It is also easier to reopen when you need to remove or add pages than Wire-O. 


Comb binding


The comb binding method is similar to the spiral binding. However, the comb binding method uses a plastic comb-like spine, allowing the printed books to lay flat when open. This differs from the spiral binding method, where the coil is continuous. 


Instead of circular holes, the printed pages have rectangular ones through which the thin tines of the comb go through to join the pages. The tines of the comb spine are curved in a circular shape.


Moreover, the preformed tines contain lots of tension, allowing them to maintain their circular shape and keep them tightly closed. The comb binding method is suitable for manuals and specification books.


Comb Binding
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: vvetc1

What Is the Main Difference Between Spiral Binding and Comb Binding?


The main difference between them is that spiral binding is considered more durable. In contrast, comb binding allows you to open the printed material easily to add or remove pages.


With spiral binding, you can open the bound book a full 360 degrees. This means you may fold the book back, and it will remain flat.


On the other hand, with comb binding, you can only lay your printed pages flat, without taking in consideration the paper kind, as you won’t be able to fold the book onto itself due to the spine. Also, while spiral binding can be done with metal and plastic spiral coils, comb binding incorporates plastic.


Is Spiral or Comb Binding Better?


Both binding methods are commonly used in commercial printing and have advantages and drawbacks. They involve punching holes in printed pages to bind them together.


This is why they are considered better than other methods for commercial printing. Plus, neither spiral nor comb binding involves glue or stitching, allowing the printed material to lay flat.


Hence, which one you use depends on your needs, budget, and what kind of product you want printed. You can contact CityPress if you need help in deciding which binding method is more suitable for the type of product you want printed. 


To help you better understand which is better for you, we will compare some of their most notable features.


Affordability 


Both spiral and comb binding are relatively inexpensive methods. However, comb binding is slightly more affordable than spiral binding as it is only made from plastic. In contrast, spiral coils are often metal due to the material's durability.


Count of printed pages 


The number of pages you intend to bind is another factor in deciding which binding method to use. With both binding methods, you may bind many printed pages. 


Spiral binding may allow for bigger volumes as the spiral coils can be larger. However, comb binding may be better if you need to remove and add pages often because of the flexibility. 


Durability 


Metal is more durable than plastic, so a spiral coil will provide better durability. But that doesn’t mean that the plastic used is not also durable. For both methods, the plastic used is PVC. 


PVC plastic is scratch-resistant, strong, and doesn’t discolor over time. Still, metal will outlast plastic.


Size


Spiral and comb binding are available in diameters ranging from 1/4" to 2". With the 2" diameter, you may bind printed pages up to 1-3/4" thick. If you need to stack more thick printed pages, a better binding method is the spiral coil. 


Nonetheless, if the number of pages is not too large, you can use the comb binding method. This is especially useful if your printed material is for branding purposes. You can choose from various colors for the comb spine to suit your branding needs.


Punch style 


While both methods require punching holes in the printed paper to join and stack pages together, their style differs. The punched holes along the spinal edge of the pages for spiral binding are circular. 


In contrast, for comb binding, the holes are rectangular slots through which the thin times of the comb can easily pass.


Is Spiral or Comb Binding Better?
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: vvetc1

Conclusion 


If you wonder which method is better, spiral binding vs comb binding, the answer will vary on several factors. As we mentioned, you should consider what kind of printed product you need, your budget, and your needs. 


Both binding methods are secure and allow the printed book to lay flat. However, spiral binding allows you to open the book 360 degrees, while comb binding, because the spine can only lay flat. 


If you are unsure which binding method is right for you, contact CityPress, and we’ll help you decide!


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