Advantages and disadvantages of guillotine trimmers and rotary paper trimmers

Should I better take a guillotine or rotary paper trimmer? If you want to buy a paper-cutting machine, you must decide. As a small decision-making support, we have summarized the advantages and disadvantages of these paper cutters. In addition, we present alternatives for all with special needs.

Guillotine or rotary paper trimmer? The most important facts at a glance

  • Guillotine trimmers, also called guillotine cutters, are designed for long straight cuts. They are also suitable for cutting thicker stacks.
  • In our comparison of guillotine cutters, you will find an overview of all features.
  • Popular inexpensive lever slicers are the Dahle 502Zoomyo, and Genie GH40. In the mid-price segment, our bestsellers include the Ideal 1133 and Dahle 533. The Dahle 561 is very popular with professionals.
  • Rotary trimmers are designed to cut a single or a few sheets precisely. They are particularly suitable for decorative work. Rotary trimmers are also called roll-cutting machines.
  • In our comparison for rotary trimmers, you will find an overview of all properties.
  • Popular machines for crafting or photo-cutting are Dahle 507Zoomyo, or Fiskars Surecut. For more extensive cutting lengths up to A3, we recommend Dahle 508 and Dahle 552.

You can find it in our guide if you are looking for detailed information about rotary trimmers and guillotine cutters.

Is the guillotine or rotary trimmer better?

This question can be answered differently for each type of trimmer. The use case is of great importance for answering this question. Guillotine cutters are usually better suited for tasks in the office. Roller cutters, on the other hand, when crafting and cropping photos.

However, the individual advantages and disadvantages of guillotine trimmers have different effects depending on the quality of the machine and its field of application. Thus, a robust rotary cutter can achieve similar cutting heights, which is possible with a guillotine cutter. With the same quality and a comparable price, guillotine trimmers have higher cutting heights. Compared to each other, guillotine cutters and rotary trimmers have the following advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of rotary trimmers

  • Ideal for crafting and precise cutting
  • High safety due to the closed cutting head
  • Ideal for hobby and decoration work, as different cut shapes are possible (waves, zigzags, perforation, …)
  • Small sizes (photos, maps) can be edited very well
  • A self-sharpening blade ensures a long-lasting clean cut
  • Comparatively cheap to purchase for hobby applications
  • Already sufficiently precise for many low-cost products

Too many technical terms? You will find helpful information about guillotine trimmers or rotary cutters in our general article!

Rotary Trimmer Bestsellers

Disadvantages of rotary trimmers

  • To run clean and straight, high-quality and stable construction is necessary.
  • Tends to have lower cutting heights compared to guillotine trimmers
  • Roll cutters where the blade is guided on the paper, rather than along the table, tend to have the blade shift. This can create unwanted wavy lines.

Advantages of guillotine trimmers

  • Ideal for high stacks or long cuts
  • Comparatively high cutting height
  • Suitable for a wide range of materials
  • Little force required
  • Precise even for thin materials
  • The robust blades have a long service life

Disadvantages guillotine trimmers

  • Simple models are already relatively cheap, but precise and robust guillotine-cutting machines are more expensive
  • The costs for considerable cutting lengths increase quickly, as the blade must be correspondingly long
  • The blade does not grind itself down, which is why the knife has to be replaced or re-ground when used intensively
  • A high level of safety is only achieved through appropriate protective devices that cause higher costs
  • No decorative cutting cuts are possible with guillotine cutting machines

Our recommendations / Bestseller guillotine paper cutter

Need more time for detailed research, reading, and browsing? We have created a small overview with bestselling guillotine trimmers.

PositionGuillotine Trimmer Bestsellers Amazon UK
1Dahle 502 with protection*
2Crafter’s Companion Guillotine/Trimmer*
3HFS (R) A3 *
4Westcott 12-Inch Trimair*
5A4 Paper Cutter Guillotine – Meafeng*
6Dahle 502 Guillotine Paper Cutter *
7Unibos A4 Paper Cutter *
8HFS (R) Heavy Duty Guillotine Paper Cutter*
9Hamnor Office Heavy Duty Munal A4 Paper Trimmer*
10Professional A4 Paper Cutter Guillotine*
Guillotine bestsellers determiend as of 12.12.2022

Alternatives to rotary and guillotine trimmers

The following alternatives to rotary and guillotine trimmers are available:


The scissors are the simplest and most popular alternative to paper cutters. One advantage of this simple tool is the flexibility of cutting. You can cut simple shapes quickly and easily. In addition, scissors are very cheap to have. The big drawback of scissors is that you can only cut one sheet at a time. In addition, accuracy depends heavily on your skill. Those who tinker or tailor will always need a suitable pair of scissors.

A popular scissor for tailoring is the Handi Stitch fabric scissors*. When crafting, the Victorinox household and craft scissors* and the Fiskars children’s animal scissors* are in demand.

com-four® 6x Bastelschere, Büttenscheren mit vielen Schnittmustern - bunte Kinderschere für...*
  • KREATIV: Die Bastelscheren fördern die Kreativität von Kindern. Das Basteln mit Kreativscheren macht viel Spaß und ist ein gutes Training für die Vorschule!
  • VIELE MUSTER: Die verschiedenartigen Schnittmuster der Büttenscheren verschönern jede Schnittkante. Ideal für Papier, Pappe, Fotos und dickere Bastelfolie!
  • GROSSE GRIFFE: Die großen Griffe der Kinderscheren ermöglichen auch Erwachsenen eine angenehme Handhabung, um beispielsweise Fotos zurecht zu schneiden!
  • KINDERFREUNDLICH: Die Scheren sind äußerst farbenfroh und kindgerecht. Die Spitzen der Dekor- und Motivscheren sind abgesichert, um das Verletzungsrisiko zu minimieren!
  • LIEFERUMFANG: 6x Bastelschere (1x je Farbe) // Maße: ca. 13,5 x 6 cm, Griff innen Ø: ca. 3,2 cm, Klinge: ca. 5 cm // Material: Kunststoff, Metall // Farben: grün/pink, blau/pink, gelb/rot, lila/blau, pink/gelb, rot/grün // Schnittmuster: große Wellen, kleine Wellen, barocke Bordüre, Zickzack, Blitz, Briefmarke

Rotary cutters

Rotary cutters offer the same advantages and disadvantages as scissors. They can also flexibly cut paper, photos, and fabric.

If you are interested in the advantages and disadvantages of rotary cutters, then we recommend you read our related article.

In contrast to scissors, you must position the material always on the table for cutting

Prym Rollschneider Maxi Olfa- Rollenschneider, Ø 45 mm, 1 Stück*
  • Für Patchwork- und Quiltarbeiten und andere NäharbeitenFür Patchwork- und Quiltarbeiten und andere Näharbeiten
  • Millimetergenauer Zuschnitt von 4 bis 8 Lagen Stoff
  • Vorwärts und rückwärts verwendbar
  • Geeignet für Rechts- und Linkshänder
  • Standardgriff

Cutting plotter

Cutting plotters are attractive for those who want to cut various patterns from paper or adhesive films. The great advantage of plotters is that you can cut out any shape defined on the display of the plotter or a computer. The cutting plotter takes care of the rest. The most popular plotting devices include the Silhouette Cameo* and Brother ScanNCut CM600*.

For more info, check out our cutting plotter blog.

Best-selling cutting plotters

Cutting height – A comparison between guillotine trimmers and rotary trimmers

The cutting height is an important criterion for choosing the right paper-cutting machine. The cutting height and the blade’s quality determine how many sheets you can cut in one operation. Rotary and guillotine trimmers differ significantly here. The roller-cutting machines we examined have cutting heights between 0.2 and 2 millimeters (Dahle 552). 

In contrast, the cutting heights of the guillotine trimmers range from 0.5 to 4 millimeters. If you intend to cut very few sheets at once, then it is worth taking a closer look at both types of paper-cutting machines. However, if cutting heights are more than two millimeters, then guillotine trimmers are clearly advantaged.

For better comparability, we have listed all researched devices in the following table. This way, you can easily select the paper-cutting machine with the right cutting height.

RollenschneiderSchnitt-höheBlatt-anzahlca. Preis*DIN Mehr Infos
Peach PC100-180,2mm219,89€A4Ansehen*
Olympia Vario Duplex 4000 0,3mm316,99€A4Ansehen*
Fellowes Foto-Rollenschneidemaschine Neutrino0,5mm513,49€A4Ansehen*
Fiskars Personal SureCut0,5mm533€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 5080,6mm634,29€A3Ansehen*
Kaiser Fototechnik hobby cut 40,6mm643,94€A3Ansehen*
Dahle 5070,8mm825,45€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 5522mm2099,34€A3Ansehen*
Dahle 5502mm2096,58€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 5542mm20100€A2Ansehen*
Rollenschneidemaschine - Schnitthöhe vs. Preis

Accordingly, a table for the lever cutters.

HebelschneiderSchnitt-höheBlatt-anzahlca. Preis*DINMehr Infos
Olympia Vario Duplex 4000 0,5mm516,99€A4Ansehen*
Peach PC100-180,6mm619,89€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 5020,8mm826,85€A4Ansehen*
IDEAL 113300001,5mm1563,28€A4Ansehen*
Rexel ClasicCut CL1001,5mm1579,49€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 533 1,5mm1565,9€A4Ansehen*
Olympia G 44151,5mm1577,99€A3Ansehen*
IDEAL 114200001,5mm1583,44€A3Ansehen*
Peach Hebelschneider - PC300-011mm1029,94€A4Ansehen*
Olympia G 33101mm1023,99€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 5613,5mm35157,57€A4Ansehen*
Dahle 8673,5mm35317,84€A3Ansehen*
Hebelschneidemaschine - Schnitthöhe vs. Preis

Price per cutting capacity and number of sheets

Of course, it is also interesting how a higher cutting height affects the cutting machine’s price. In our comparison, the price for rotary trimmers with a cutting height of 1 mm is between 15 and 25 euros. Lever cutters with this cutting height are available between 20 and 30 euros.

Since the different manufacturers do not always use the units in the information, we have applied the following rule for our research. The number of sheets is ten times the value of the cutting height. I.e., for example, a cutting height of 0.5 millimeters gives the number of 5 sheets. If the manufacturer has only specified the number of sheets, we have calculated the cutting height accordingly. Thus, the number of sheets 20 results in a cutting height of 1 millimeter. We did not distinguish between different leaf thicknesses.

The ratio between the maximum number of sheets and the price is shown in the following figure.

Comparison of sheet number Price roller cutting machine
Comparison of sheet number Price roller cutting machine Comparison of the max. Number of sheets/cutting height and the price of the roller-cutting machine

Up to a number of twelve sheets are relatively cheap roller-cutting machines. For 20 sheets, you have to go deeper into your wallet.

The price range for guillotine trimmers is as follows.

Comparison sheet number price guillotine trimmer
Comparison sheet number price guillotine trimmers Comparison of the max. number of sheets and the price of the guillotine trimmer

Preise inkl. MwSt., zzgl. Versandkosten / Letzte Aktualisierung am 2023-01-29 at 07:13 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API

This post is also available in: German

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