Best 3-Hole Punchers

(Image credit: Amazon)

A hole punch is a handy tool to have in your office. The majority of punchers are 3-hole punch machines so paper and folders can fit into 3-ringed binders. We’ve gathered the best from basic designs to heavy-duty machines and even an electric option. Each one is easy to use and looks right at home on your desk. 

Best overall

Bostitch Office HP12 3-Hole Punch

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bostitch Office HP12 3-Hole Punch (opens in new tab)

Best choice for most jobs

This 3-hole punch handles 12 sheets of paper at once. Its simple design fits nicely into any office setting with a rubber base to keep it stable while working. The waste tray is covered to keep small paper pieces from getting everywhere, though it is easy to open and dump when needed. This hole punch isn’t adjustable, but the three holes are positioned to handle most jobs and line up with ringed binders. It isn’t recommended to use this puncher for heavier materials like cardboard.

Best value

WorkLion Binder Hole Punch

(Image credit: Amazon)

WorkLion Binder Hole Punch (opens in new tab)

Compact, lightweight, and portable

For punching on the go, the WorkLion hole punch is lightweight and compact. The three holes are not adjustable but are perfectly spaced to ensure the punched paper fits into traditional 3-ringed binders. There is a 10-inch measuring ruler attached to help guide you where to punch your holes. The top part of this puncher pops off to expose the catch tray underneath that can then be cleaned out. It can only punch through five sheets of paper at a time and is made mainly from plastic that isn’t very sturdy or long-lasting.

Best heavy duty puncher

Swingline SmartTouch Hole Puncher

(Image credit: Amazon)

Swingline SmartTouch Hole Puncher (opens in new tab)

Works with paper, cardboard, and plastic

This 3-hole puncher has a wide, comfortable handle with a soft grip to make it easy to punch through 45 sheets of paper at a time without a lot of force or strain on your hands and wrists. The handle locks into place for easy storage, and the base has rubber grips to keep it in place. There is an edge guide to help keep paper straight and scraps are captured underneath in a tray that slides out when it is time to dump it. The biggest drawback is the punchers aren’t adjustable, but they are sharp enough to punch through cardboard and plastic.

Best electric puncher

AFMAT Electric Hole Punch

(Image credit: Amazon)

AFMAT Electric Hole Punch (opens in new tab)

Quick and easy punches

The AFMAT hole puncher is powered with both an AC adapter or six AA batteries. It can punch through 20 sheets of paper at once and only requires you to push a small button when ready. There is a guide on the side of this puncher that slides in and out depending on the size of your paper. This helps keep the paper straight while being punched. The scrap paper is collected underneath and is easy to empty when full. Because it does run on battery power, you can keep working even when the power is out, and it makes it portable to bring along on quick work trips. However, it is heavier than non-electric punchers, which may be easier and more portable than the AFMAT.

Best adjustable puncher

Swingline Precision Pro Desktop Puncher

(Image credit: Amazon)

Swingline Precision Pro Desktop Puncher (opens in new tab)

Punch through with ease

The Precision Pro desktop hole puncher can adjust from a 2-hole to a 3-hole punch and isn’t locked into the traditional 3-ring binder dimensions. The lever runs the length of the puncher and has a comfortable rubber grip to help you keep a firm hold on it while punching paper. It can punch up to 10 sheets of paper at a time while the scraps are captured underneath. The capture tray slides out when you’re ready to dump it, which cuts down on the mess. However, if the tray becomes too full it can be difficult to open to empty.

 Our Puncher Picks 


The best for most people is the Bostitch Office HP12 (opens in new tab) 3-hole puncher. Though the holes are not adjustable, they are spaced far enough to ensure your punched paper will fit in traditional binders. The level runs the length of the machine so holes are punched at the same time and the leftover pieces of paper are captured underneath.

If you travel a lot for your job, the WorkLion (opens in new tab) hole puncher is a good choice. It is lightweight and more compact, but will still punch paper easily while fitting snuggly in your bag, purse or briefcase.

Nikki Johnston
Special Projects Writer

Nikki writes for multiple Future Publishing brands covering topics from antivirus to kitchen appliances to SAS. She has over 15 years of research and writing experience, including eight years of testing and reviewing consumer products. Nikki earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and Political Science with a focus on empirical research. In her spare time, Nikki serves as a member of several school councils and volunteers for a local arts board.