If you have begun the search for a paper cutter or trimmer for your home or office, you’ve probably already found that there are a great number of machines out there. In fact, there are dozens of models produced by great manufacturers such as Triumph/Ideal MBM and Challenge. Of course, it’s also unavoidable that you will run into some terms that you are not familiar with. Here is a quick guide some of the words, phrases and terminology that you may encounter on your search for a paper cutter for your office.


Rotary Trimmer:

This refers to the type of paper cutter in which the paper is cut by the means of a round blade that slides, usually with a guide bar. Rotary trimmers usually are meant for smaller projects and lighter duty cutting. Roto trimmers are the fastest and easiest way to trim laminated sheets.

Guillotine-type paper cutter:

This is exactly what it sounds like, featuring a blade either with a handle on the end or one that is automatic, that is brought down in one motion to cut small stacks of paper. Guillotine-type cutters are designed for very Low-volume cutting.

Adjustable Back Guide:

This is a device that your paper hits on the back of your cutter to determine what size to cut your paper ensuring fast, accurate repeat cutting of documents that are the same size. Without the user having to realign the stacks of paper that are to be cut every time.


LED Light Line/Optical Cutting Line:

This refers to a beam of light that shines on your paper showing you exactly where the knife will cut.



The clamp holds the paper in place making sure the paper does not shift during the cutting process. Comes in either manual (hand crank at the top of the machine) or automatic clamp which can be lowered and lifted at the push of a button.

Light Beams:

This is a safety feature which has light beams going across the front of the machine. Once a hand or object disrupts the light beams the cutting will stop. Cutters with no light beams will have a plastic cover which closes before a cut is made.



This feature allows you to pre-program various cut sizes into your cutters “memory” so you do not have to manually type in the size and move the back gauge each time you want to make a cut.


Electronic Blade Activation:

Sometimes referred to as dual hands. This is an important safety feature which activates the cutting knife only when two hands are on the switches/buttons.



This acronym stands for High Speed Steel and refers to the cutting knife. These knives allow you to get more cuts in-between knife sharpening versus the standard knife.


Cutting Sticks:

When the blade comes down to make a cut, the blade hits what is called a cutting stick. These are pieces of plastic which ensures that the blade/knife doesn’t hit the metal of the machine and get damaged. The beauty of cutting sticks is once one side is worn out, you can simply take them out of the channel and turn them over. Once all four sides are worn through, these sticks can be purchased separately from the machine and replaced.



This is a software solution designed on some Triumph paper cutters to automate the cutting process by giving your jobs barcodes which can then be scanned into the computer system. From there instructions are shown on the screen telling the operator exactly what to do in order to cut the entire job all without having to enter in any dimensions.