Why Staples Are Better Than Paperclips

A stapler, staples, and a document with a paper clip with a yellow background.

The paperclip vs. stapler debate rages on—which is better? Which is more environmentally friendly? Which is more economical? It won’t be hard to guess which side of the debate we at Staple Headquarters support. Here are some scenarios that we think show why staples are better than paperclips.

Tax Day Tragedy

Imagine you have finally completed all your tax forms. Your dining room table has disappeared under a dozen or more neat stacks of receipts, bank statements, medical bills, and 1099s, all paperclipped together. Just as you are ready to attach your W2s and get everything in the proper envelopes, your spouse or child opens the front door, admitting a strong spring breeze. Now your receipts are mixed up with your medical bills and you can’t find your Copy Bs because they are flying around with your Copy Cs. None of this would have happened if you had stapled your forms together in the first place. Moral of the story: staples stand up to wind better than paperclips.

Fluttering Folios

Your pick up your program, brochure, or booklet, freshly collated from the printer. As you proudly grab a few to pass out to friends and family to admire, the insides slide out, leaving an empty cover and pages flying out of order all over the office or the front lawn. Paperclips aren’t even in the mix for this kind of print piece: booklet-style print publications work best with a binding style called the saddle stitch, which is usually applied with a stapler designed expressly for that purpose—the booklet stapler. Passing out promotional print pieces put together with paperclips would just be silly—in addition to being annoyingly alliterative.

Stuffed Supply Closets

Paperclips for office use usually come in boxes of 100, while staples come 5,000 to the box. Paperclips get tangled up with each other and they’re distracting. They bend, twist, and hook together in absurd necklaces. People use them as toothpicks; they poke holes in the foil that seals up tubes of ointment with them and they scratch their names into desks with them. A paperclip is a dangerous invitation to waste time and eradicate efficiency. Staples have a purity about them—that pleasing ca-chunk of the stapler punches those stalwart staples right through the document, holds it cleanly together and rebounds immediately, ready to move on to conquer your next collated creation.

There are many joys to using staples and many reasons why staples are better than paperclips. They hold more permanently, remain unperturbed by breezes, and give plain notice of document tampering. Paperclips are perilous, permitting pranksters to play with the orderly progression of your paper from page one to page two, and so on. Fasten your folios and bind your booklets securely with staples.