Do you want to professionally bind your books?
Then you are looking for a thermal binding machine. These binding machine types have a lot of benefits. Which are they, find out in our buying guide. Then decide which of these 5 models satisfied all your requirements.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Our Top Picks
What is Thermal Binding?
Thermal binding is the process of attaching papers to each other by using heat. It is one of the most professional-looking desktop binding options. By using heat and glue, this type of binder machine can bind multiple documents in under one minute.
Other Names For A Thermal Binder
These machines are also known as perfect binders or thermal glue binders, glue binding machines or even heat binding machines or hot binding machines.
What Does A Thermal Binding Machine Do?
It works with the help of glue in the thermal covers to bind pages together by using heat. When the machine heats up, the adhesive in the cover liquifies to bind together the paper you insert between the thermal covers. Once this is done, leave your bound project to cool down for a few minutes so that the binding is in place properly. By binding with heat, you will get a more permanent binding project.
Hardcover & Soft Covers
Binding machines that work with heat can create either hardcover or softcover projects, such as books, documents, etc. It will depend on the cover you use, either one with soft or hard material. For example, books with a soft cover are sometimes also called paperbacks.
What Are Thermal Covers?
These types of covers are specially made for use with thermal machines. They are documents covers with a pre-applied adhesive strip with glue. They can have different material backs and fronts, and spines of different thickness sizes.
Thermal Binding Vs. Spiral Binding
First of all, both thermal and spiral binding allows the document to lay flat. For spiral binding, the pages can open 360 degrees and thermal bound papers can’t. However, unlike spiral, machines that use heat also allow you to add or remove the paper, it is the strongest available type of binding, and it looks professional.
Which Temperature Do Hot Binding Machines Work At?
This depends on the model of the binder you go for. Some models can work at 225°Fahrenheit (107°Celsius) while some can work at 375°Fahrenheit (190°Celsius). That is why you have to be careful when using not to burn yourself.
Glue For Binding
The glue is the one that is found inside the covers made for thermal biding. However, you can also buy strips of glue that you stick onto the cover so that you can use any cover of your choice. These strips can be cut from glue sheets that you buy so that it fits the size of any spine width. This is great for print shops.
Advantages Of Heat Binding Machines
Binder machines that work with heat have many merits if you want to use them to attach documents and papers together. Check them out to see if this type of machine for binding is the one for you.
Is Thermal Binding Effective?
Yes, by binding pages with heat and glue, you will create a strong bond that will keep the pages securely bound to the spine of the covers where the adhesive strip is.
How Much Time Does It Take For Thermal Binding?
For books and papers, aka perfect bound, you will need different times depending on the temperature and whether you are using a soft or hardcover. For example, a softcover will take 45 to 90 seconds to be bound by gluing.
Is Thermal Binding The Same As Perfect Binding?
Yes, it is the same as perfect binding, fastening the pages together between covers with adhesive. There is no need for punching holes, and the documents and papers stay together without tape or fastening.
How Do I Choose A Heat Binding Machine?
When choosing a machine for perfect binding with the help of heat, you should look out for the following features.
If you are going to use the machine at home, for occasional use, in small offices, pick a machine with up to 200-sheet binding capacity. Otherwise, for large offices and companies, a binder with 500- to 600-sheet binding capacity might be a better option.
You can bind different materials, such as softcover, hardcover, and paper. Every machine has a different capacity for thin and thicker material. When you need to bind hardcovers, you should insert lower sheet capacity.
The binding cycle time depends on the amount of paper you want to bind. For example, the machine for the thermal binding that has a 3-minute binding cycle can bind 220 documents at once. This will be good enough for home use. On the other hand, heavy-duty models might be able to bind for even 30 minutes, binding even more than 600 sheets at once.
Cool-Off Cycle For Thermal Binding
Hot binders need time to cool off after the binding cycle is done. For example, a machine might be able to run for 30 minutes and will then need 30 minutes to be turned off to cool down.
Integrated Cooling Rack Or Tray
Some binder machines feature an integrated stand for cooling your finished bound document. Place your book or bound documents there to cool down so that the book glues together properly.
Overheating Protection For Hot Binding Machines
It is useful for your binding machine that works with the help of heat to have an overheating protection function. This feature will automatically shut off the device if it starts to overheat. It is safe if you use this machine in the office, you don’t have to wait until the binding is complete.
Make sure that you don’t touch the machine while it is binding as the surface will be hot and you might burn yourself. Also, look for a binder that has power indicators for on-position so that you know when your machine is turned on and working. When the machine heats up, some machines can also turn on an indicator light to let you know. Once the binding is done, it is helpful if there is some kind of beeping noise to indicate that biding is done.
Energy-Efficient Binding Machine
There are many models on the market, so it isn’t easy to choose the right one. We suggest the binder with auto features. That means the binder will start automatically when you insert the documents. After binding, it will shut off immediately and save power.
5 Best Thermal Binding Machines
Fellowes 5219501 Binding Machine
Dimensions: 9.4 x 20.9 x 3.9 in
Cycle: 1-3 min
Fellowes Helios 60 is a machine that has an elegant and sleek design. The item has 3.94 inches of height, 20.88 inches of width and 9.44 inches of depth. There are two similar Fellowes Helios models – Helios 30 and Helios 60.
In this brief review, the focus is on Helios 60. This model is designed for heavy-duty tasks in large offices. The thermal binding cycle lasts from 1 to 3 minutes and heat-up time lasts 4 minutes. This binder has the ability to bind up to 600 sheets in one step.
The Fellowes has a HeatShield barrier which protects you from contact with the heated plate and prevents injuries. There is a manual document measurement, so it is easy to use it. When this device is ready for binding, the signal will light on. When you insert the paper, the heat cycle starts.
Easy To Use
When the heat cycle is complete, you’ll hear the beep sound. You don’t have to worry about accurate alignment, there are internal clamps which hold the documents. When binding papers, if the device starts to overheat, it will automatically shut off thanks to overheating protection. For storage, just fold the machine.
- ideal for large offices
- the binding cycle lasts 3 minutes
- overheat protection prolongs device’s life
- it binds up to 600 sheets of paper
- easy to store it, fold the machine
GBC Thermabind T200 Machine
Dimensions: 4.3 x 18.7 x 6.9 inches
Cycle: 40 sec
The GBC thermal binder is a practical device, it fits in every home or office. You can store it in the drawer or shelf. Its dimensions are 4.33 x 18.7 x 6.93 inches. It weighs 2.6 pounds only. This binding machine is intended for personal office use.
You can insert the documents of A4 size. The maximal binding capacity is 200 sheets at the time. The binding process takes 40 seconds. The cooling tray is integrated for the binded papers. The spine size is fixed, it is 20mm or 0.78 inches. The pre-heating time lasts 4 minutes.
When the binding is complete the machine will automatically switch off. Also, when it’s end-of-cycle, the machine will alert you with visual and audio indicators. You don’t have to wait until it finishes. GBC has a user-friendly control panel. There is a Kensignton Microsaver slot which adds more security.
approx:$130 – $140
determined by online offer (Amazon) and seasonal sales
- compact machine for personal use
- designed for standard document size
- the thermal binding lasts 40 seconds
- insert 200 sheets of paper at once
- visual and audio signals
- it features an integrated cooling tray
Marigold TB200 Binding Machine
Dimensions: 17.6 x 8.8 x 5.2 in
Cycle: cca 1 min
The Marigold TB200 machine is designed in the USA. It works in the voltage range from 100V to 120V. This machine is good for frequent use in offices, schools or for recreational use. Use it for calendars, reports, brochures, schedules and more.
Soft Or Hard Cover
It is a small device, so it won’t take up too much space. if you want to bind up the documents with a softcover, you can maximally insert 200 sheets. For hardcover, insert 160 sheets of paper. The warm-up time isn’t long, it takes less than 3 minutes. The glue is inside the device.
The binding cycle lasts 1 minute. The paper entry is 12 inches wide. The visual signal will indicate you when the machine is ready for use. Also, you will hear the beep sound when the binding is over. The cooling rack is integrated into the machine.
When you put the documents into the binder, the internal clamps will hold them in the place while the binding process lasts. There are some safety features. The machine will automatically shut down after 90 minutes of standby. The auto shut off feature will prevent overheating.
- the perfect machine for home or small office use
- binds up to 200 sheets for the softcover
- binds up to 160 sheets for hardcover
- the binding cycle lasts 1 minute
- auto shut-off after 90-minute of standby
CoverBind Accel Flex Machine
Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.4 x 5.2 in
Cycle: 1 min
Made Of Metal
This product is made of metal, it is sturdy and durable. The dimensions are 17.56 inches of length, 10.39 inches of width and 5.24 inches of height. Because of sturdy materials, it weighs 18 pounds.
This binder already comes with glue inside, so you don’t have to buy it separately. The binding plate has 2.5 inches, so it is able to accommodate the documents of up to 14 inches. The guide is adjustable, so you can bind multiple documents at the same time.
15 Documents Per Minute
The Bindomatic has the capability to bind the documents of 2” thick, hardcovers and soft covers. The spine size should be 1/16 inches or max 2 inches. This is one of the most powerful manual binding machines, it binds the 15 documents in 60 seconds.
You can add, remove or replace the documents, just re-heat the machine. The Bindomatic requires 115V, 50/60Hz. The cooling stand is integrated into the device. The min document size is 5 1/2” x 8 1/2”, the max size is 14 7/8 x 11”. The indicator light is on when the heated surface is ready for use.
approx:$400 – $500
determined by online offer (Amazon) and seasonal sales
- powerful metal binding machine
- the sheet capacity is 15 papers max
- fast machine – binds for 60 seconds
- great for thick paper, hardcovers and soft covers
- adjustable guide for different sizes
ThermoBind TB240S Machine
Dimensions: 18 x 15 x 10 in
Cycle: 3 time
The affordable product has an 18 x 12 x 12 inches. It is a lightweight product of 7 pounds. The thermal cover isn’t included in the package, but you can buy it from any brand. The price is affordable for this one hand operation item.
When you plug the machine into the socket, the red power light will turn on. Then put the documents on the binding cover and insert them into the machine. The ThermoBind will start to run automatically. The thermal binding cycle lasts 2-3 minutes.
Then take the binded book or documents and place them into the cooling rack for up to 10 minutes. If you want to continue binding other documents, books or booklets, just repeat the process. When the binding is complete, you will hear the sound. After that, the binder will stop heating.
30-minute Of Duty-cycle
The max capacity for the hardcover is 180 sheets and for softcover, it is 220 sheets of paper. The recommended duty cycle is 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. There is no danger of overheating the covers. The machine surface is hot during the binding, so don’t touch it.
- compact and lightweight
- it starts to bind automatically
- 180 sheets for hardcover and 220 for the softcover
- integrated cooling rack after binding is finish
- the sound indicators for power and off
How Do You Clean Your Thermal Machine?
As this type of machine works with glue, it is important to clean it in case any glue spreads inside the machine. First of all, add some cleaning solution to a cotton pad or a cloth. The cleaning solution should be the one recommended by the manufacturer of your machine. Usually, you might get a small bottle of it with the machine. Clean both the cleaning and the cooling zone on the outside and the inside of the machine to dissolve any glue that might be on there. The glue should come off once it dissolves, without the need to be abrasive. Do this regularly so you don’t have to deal with a build-up of glue. Finally, use air to blast out any dust and other debris from the inside of the machine.
How Do You Unbind Thermal Binding?
Glue binding machines also allow you to reheat the spine of the document to unbind paper, remove the paper, or add more paper. To do it, keep the pages you want to remove with your fingers and slide out gently while making sure you keep the other pages in places so they don’t shift inside the spine. Once you remove the desired pages, let the book cool down again so the glue can re-set to keep the pages together. If you want to completely unbind a document, let the spine heat up and then remove sections of the paper as they become loose until none is left.
How To Add Pages To The Project?
To add pages to your bound project, slide the sheet into the right place inside the bound book, insert it into the machine and allow it to run for a full cycle again. Once the glue heats up, manually press the sheet(s) you want to add and make sure they are straight and even with other papers inside.
How Do You Do Thermal Binding At Home?
Here is what else you need to know before you start your first binding project with heat in a binding machine. First of all, you have to choose between ordering a custom-made cover for your binding project which many services provide, or go for thermal strips or pre-glued covers. Then you can follow the step by step instructions to create your bound project or check out the following video:
Step By Step Instructions For Thermal Binder Use
To learn how to operate your binder machine easily and properly, read the following instructions.
- Prepare your documents and select a cover in the proper size.
- Place the documents inside the thermal cover and jog them into place.
- Place the document into the slot of the machine so that the spine side is facing down.
- Turn the machine on.
- Once the process is done, the machine will usually alert you of it.
- Place the book inside the cooling rack, tray, or stand once it is done.
- Wait for the adhesive to cool and your document will be ready to use.
After reading information and reviews of many thermal binders, we think that the Fellowes Helios 60 binder is a quality device. It is designed for large offices, binds up 600 sheets at a time and has HeatShield technology. One of the best sides of this machine type is that it works on electricity so you need to make less efford.