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The Complete Guide to finding a Light-Duty Paper Folder

By Eric Buhlman December 03, 2018 0 comments

Figure out the Specifications for your new Folder

If you are looking to be more productive with your time and use a paper folding machine in your office then this is the guide for you. This guide will tell you which paper folding machines we recommend for different specifications that you need.

Before looking at our product comparisons, there are just a few things to know before choosing the right machine. You might want to write down what specs you’re looking for so that you can compare between models.

  1.   What is the maximum size of paper that you need to fold? Some common sizes are:
  •         (8.5” x 11”)
  •         (8.5” x 14”)
  •         (11” x 17”)
  1.   What is the GSM rating of the paper that you need to fold?
  •         Standard (120 GSM or less)
  •         Heavier (Over 120 GSM)
  1.   How many folds do you need to do on a monthly basis?
  •         Light Duty (up to 4,999 folds per month)
  •         Commercial Grade (up to 50,000 folds per month)
  •         Industrial Grade (50,000 + folds per month)
  1.   Are you folding Standard or Glossy/Coated paper?
  •         Folding Glossy or Coated Paper can bring the starting cost of a machine up to $6,800.00

  1.   What kind of folds do you need to do?
  •         Standard folds (z, c, tri, letter, half)
  •         A Custom job

Do I get a Manual Paper Folder or Automatic Paper Folder?

The difference between the two is that the auto-folder is operated by easy-to-use buttons, and the manual folder needs the folding plates to be adjusted by hand.

If you have just a few people operating the folding machine, the budget friendly way to go would be a manually adjusted folder.

If more than 5 people operate the machine, then it might be a good idea to get an automatic adjusting machine because it is a smaller learning curve for everyone. The only reason you wouldn’t want to get an auto-folder for many different users is if you know that the type of fold required isn’t going to change very often.


Product Descriptions and Comparisons

The Martin Yale P7200 and P7400

The P7200 and P7400 are the most budget friendly choices when it comes to paper folders that can get the job done. These folders are simple to set up and have a simple set of functions. The only difference between the models is that the P7400 can handle up to 8.5” x 14” paper and the P7200 can only handle 8.5” x 11” paper.

These folders can handle a few hundred folds per week or approximately 1,000 per month.

Price: $273

The Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 105.35 g/m²  /  28# Bond  /  58# Index
  •         Max Paper Size: 8.5" x 11"
  •         Paper Type: Non Glossy Paper Only, Call us for Coated Stock
  •         Speed: 4,000 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: Yes

The Features:

  •         Automatically feeds and folds a stack of documents
  •         4 different folds: letter, half, Z, and double parallel
  •         Feed tray holds a 1/2" stack of paper
  •         Folds up to 3 sheets at a time, including stapled sets
  •         Stacking tray
  •         Handles digital print stock


Pros and Cons of the Martin Yale P7200 and P7400

Pros

Cons

-          Budget friendly

-          Ideal for a few hundred folds per week

-          Time saving

-          Handles a low volume

-          Can be finicky to adjust accurately

-          Ejecting paper may fall off the catch tray

Here is a review video for the P7200 and P7400 and a setup and installation video.

The MBM 98M

The MBM 98M is our most popular paper folder by far. It is very easy to use, and it is not as finicky as cheaper paper folding machines. MBM makes it simple with just a few buttons to operate and color coded folding plates.

The MBM 98M is definitely a step up from the Martin Yale P7200 and P7400 in terms of reliability and precision. The 98M can handle a higher volume of 1,000 folds per week or up to 5,000 folds per month.

Price: $682

The Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 116.63 g/m²  / 31# Bond /  66# Index
  •         Max Paper Size: 8.5" x 14"
  •         Min Paper Size: 4" x 5"
  •         Paper Type: Non or Semi Gloss Paper Only, Call us for Glossy or Coated Stock
  •         Speed: 7,200 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: No

The Features:

  •         Set fold type with easy to use selector knob
  •         4 standard fold types: Single, Double Parallel, Z- Fold, Letter
  •         Sheet capacity: 150 sheets
  •         Retractable feed tray and stacking tray for easier storage
  •         Digital counter with batch functions

Here is a Comparison list of Pros and Cons for the MBM 98M

Pros and Cons of the MBM 98M

Pros

Cons

-          The 98M is a relatively quiet paper folding machine.

-          There is an auto-stop feature that shuts the machine off when there is no paper left in the feed tray.

-          The 98M is easy to maintain and clean the rollers.

-          The outside of the machine is plastic rather than metal.

-          There are 4 standard fold types

-          Doesn’t take glossy or coated paper

Formax FD300

The Formax FD300 is a functional and reliable folder that is comparable to the MBM 98M in capabilities and functions. It has a sturdy build with a metal frame on the outside. It also has a few buttons for operation and has easy to read folding plates.

The FD300 is an excellent choice if you need a reliable folder that can handle up to 5,000 folds per month. It is also less finicky than the Martin Yale P7200 and P7400 as well.

Price: $592

Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 112 g/m²  / 30# Bond  /  63# Index  
  •         Max Paper Size: 8.5" x 14"
  •         Min Paper Size: 4" x 5"
  •         Paper Type: Non or Semi Gloss Paper Only, Call us for Coated or Glossy Stock
  •         Speed: 7,400 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: No

The Features:

  •         Simple push-button operation
  •         4 pre-marked fold settings
  •         Up to 7,800 sheets per hour
  •         200 sheet hopper capacity
  •         LCD control panel


Pros and Cons of the Formax FD300

Pros

Cons

-          The FD300 is a very productive machine considering its compact size

-          There is the ability to fold paper in batches

-          It is both affordable and reliable

-          The FD300 is the fastest machine out of all comparable models

-          Won’t do coated or glossy paper

-          You have to manually adjust the fold plates

-          Only has 4 pre-marked folds

Martin Yale 1501 x

The Martin Yale 1501 x is a practical folding machine that is easy to use and can handle up to 5,000 folds per month. This model has auto-feeding and is easily adjusted.

Price: $568

Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 105.35 g/m²  /  28# Bond  /  58# Index
  •         Max Paper Size: 8.75" x 14"
  •         Min Paper Size: 3.5" x 5"
  •         Paper Type: Non or Semi-Gloss Paper Only, Call us for Glossy or Coated Stock
  •         Speed: 7,500 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: Yes

The Features:

  •         Simple operation
  •         Excellent for use in small offices, non-profit organizations, and churches
  •         Fold capabilities include letter, half-z, and double parallel
  •         Easy modification for folding letter, legal, and A4 sized paper
  •         Feed tray capacity: 150 sheets
  •         Folds stapled sets of papers (up to 3)*
  •         Restocking fee charged to returns.

Pros and Cons of the Martin Yale 1501 x

Pros

Cons

-          Multisheet feeder up to 3 sheets

-          5 Standard folds

-          Simple operation

-          Slower than the Martin Yale 1611

-          Has no exit conveyor

-          The paper must be fanned before folding

The Martin Yale 1611

The Martin Yale 1611 is a reliable and capable machine. It can handle a somewhat higher paper weight and does so with speed. A convenient feature of the Martin Yale 1611 is that it has an exit conveyor.


Price: $708.85

Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 131 g/m²  / 35# Bond  /  73# Index
  •         Max Paper Size: 8.5" x 14"
  •         Min Paper Size: 3.5" x 5"
  •         Paper Type: Non or Semi-Gloss Paper Only, Call us for Glossy or Coated Stock
  •         Speed: 9,000 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: Yes

Features

  •         Improved feed system, removable fold tables, easy access to rollers, improved stacking wheels, and self-centering paper guides
  •         High speed machine automatically feeds and folds a stack of documents up to 8 1/2" x 14"
  •         Enhanced precision paper skew adjustment
  •         Creates six different folds: letter, half, z-fold, double parallel, church and gate
  •         WILL fold 8 1/2" x 14" in the letter fold style
  •         No fanning is needed - just put the paper in and fold
  •         Feed table capacity of 150 sheets
  •         Manual bypass allows up to 5 sheets to be fed manually
  •         Stapled sets of up to 5 sheets can be folded by hand-feeding documents into the feed table bypass
  •         Conveyor exit table makes convenient easy to handle stacks
  •         Auto jam detect and Auto shut-off
  •         Restocking fee charged to returns.


Pros and Cons of the Martin Yale 1611

Pros

Cons

-          The 1611 can handle higher GSM paper weight

-          The 1611 is faster than the 1501 x

-          Handles up to 5 sheets with stapes hand-fed into the multi-sheet feeder

-          Has an exit conveyor to contain folded paper.

-          Louder than the Martin Yale 1501 x

-          You have to manually adjust the folding plates.

-          There is no auto-shutoff when the machine runs out of paper


Martin Yale 1217A

The Martin Yale 1217A is convenient and sturdy. This machine is 64 pounds and made from high impact steel. This machine can handle 4”x4” to 12”x18” paper. If you are looking for a consistent fold then the 1217A is the right paper folder for you.

Price: $1,149

Capabilities:

  •         Max Paper Weight: 240 g/m²  / 135# offset  /  119# Index  
  •         Max Paper Size: 12" x 18"
  •         Min Paper Size: 3.5" x 4"
  •         Paper Type: Non or Semi-Gloss only, call for Glossy or Coated stock
  •         Speed: 10,300 sheets/hour
  •         Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  •         Adjustment: Manual
  •         Feed Type: Friction
  •         Multi-sheet: Yes

The Features:

  •         Fold Capabilities: Letter, Half, Z, Double Parallel, Right Angle (Church), and Baronial
  •         Fully modifiable fold plates
  •         Fully equipped to customize a second folding pass
  •         Rubber rollers create neat and even professional folds every time
  •         Sturdy exit conveyor belt system
  •         Excellent longevity and durability
  •         Perfect for small business operations (e.g. home office, community centers, churches, education facilities)
  •         Restocking fee charged to returns.


Pros and Cons of the Martin Yale 1217A

Pros

Cons

-          Can handle a high GSM weight of paper

-          The least expensive 11”x17” folder

-          Simple controlls

-          Harder to use than the Martin Yale 1811

-          You must fan paper

-          Has a small feed tray

The Martin Yale 1811

The Martin Yale 1811 is a paper folder is easy to use, durable, and has many features that make this the best paper folding machine on the list. This machine is built to handle paper sizes from 5” x 5” all the way up to 11.75” x 18” quickly. The 1811 is also quieter than the 1217a. This machine requires little setup for use because it has a top feeding mechanism.

Price: $1,549


Capabilities:Paper Weight:  

  • 60 gsm to 166 gsm  / 16# Bond to 90# Index   

  • Max Paper Size: 11.75" x 18"
  • Min Paper Size: 5" x 5"
  • Paper Type: Non or Semi-Gloss only, call for coated or glossy stock
  • Speed: Variable 5,000 to 12,000 sheets/hour
  • Duty Cycle: Light Duty
  • Adjustment: Manual
  • Feed Type: Friction
  • Multi-sheet:  Yes

Features:

  • Sheet capacity of 300 sheets 8 1/2" x 11", 20 lb. bond
  • Can feed wide range of paper weights without having to adjust the feed system
  • Fully enclosed manually adjusted fold tables for quieter operation and improved operator safety
  • Fold types: letter, z-fold, half, double-parallel, gate, engineering (short z-fold) and church
  • Folds stapled sets up to 5 sheets through manual bypass
  • Dimensions: 41” x 19.5” x 14”
  • Weight: 81 lbs
  • 1 year manufacturer warranty
  • Restocking fee charged to returns


Pros and Cons of the Martin Yale 1811

Pros

Cons

-  Can handle a high GSM weight of 240GSM

-  Multisheet Feeder that handles up to 5 pieces of paper

- 7 Standard Fold Types

- 300 Sheet Capacity

- Easier to use than 1217a

-          More expensive than 1217a

-          Takes up more space than 1217a

-         Hard to move the machine because it is heavy(81 pounds)


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