Best Overall Stapler: Swingline Stapler, Commercial Desktop Stapler

What makes a great stapler?

To find out, we tried out several top brands of staplers—from expensive names to generic competitors. Which were most sturdy? Lightweight? Affordable? And of course, which stapled the best?

After the dust settled, we decided Swingline’s model 44401 is the best bet for most folks.

Yes, this stapler debuted back in 1939 as the first top-loading stapler. (Prior to this, staplers had to be opened with a screwdriver to refill).

Swingline staplers are built like a tank—metal construction, holds 200+ staples and is easy to use and refill.

What We Liked

• Sturdy!

• Affordable.

• Low staple indicator.

• Work for up to 20 pages.

• Strike plate can be reversed to use it for temporary stapling.

• Rubber bottom keeps it in place.

What Needs Work

• Doesn’t include any staples! That’s a bummer.

• Spring can come loose after time.

Best Budget-Friendly: AmazonBasics 10-sheet Capacity, Non-Slip, Office Stapler

What makes this stapler a top budget-friendly pick? Well, not only do you get a good quality stapler . . . but you also get 1000 staples.

Now, you’d think that would be a standard feature for staplers—including staples! But no—as it turns out, many staplers are sold without staples.

What We Liked

• Can handle 10 pages at once.

• Rubber base to keep it stable.

• Includes 1000 staples!

• Affordable.

• Lightweight—one-third the weight of the Swingline, which is metal. (This stapler is mostly made of plastic). The light weight might be a plus if you need to put the stapler in a backpack!

What Needs Work

• Sometimes jams.

• Made mostly of plastic. That’s a plus and minus—a plus because it’s lighter in weight. A negative if you prefer the durability of metal.

Best Compact Stapler: Bostitch Office Heavy Duty 40 Sheet Stapler

Full-size staplers are great . . . until you need to put it in a backpack or take it on the road. For this, we’d recommend a compact stapler. After trying out several models, we think Bostitch is the best bet.

This stapler has two key advantages: it can fit in the palm of your hand AND can handle up to 40 pages at once. That’s great for more heavy duty jobs.

What We Liked

• Lightweight at 8 ounces.

• Sturdy design with rubber base.

• Staples are flatter than others—that’s nice if you need to stack papers.

• Compact form can stand vertically or horizontally.

• 40 sheet capacity.

• Holds 105 staples.

What Needs Work

• Only works with Bostitch staples. 

• No staples included.

• Spring can break after long term use.

Best Red Stapler: Swingline Stapler 747 Iconic Desktop Stapler

Yes, this is basically a red version of the Swingline stapler we recommend above. (The model is slightly different, but has basically the features, pros and cons.)

The key feature is that bright red color . . . you won’t be losing it on a desk. And it is a conversation starter.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Photo credit: Mike Meyers via Unsplash