02 January 2012

Reader Question - Which Punch?

[Update - Please also see this post about Punches]

Over Christmas I had a couple of emails from folks asking me about paper punches 'Which is the best punch to buy?'

Now if you own more than one size of Filofax... and frankly who doesn't...<cough> ! Then buying individual punches for each size from Filofax works out quite expensive.  Filofax Germany do sell a 'Multi-fit' punch, but it is also quite expensive at just under €70 plus shipping. The multi fit does Mini, Pocket, Personal and A5 

As I've said before I do not recommend the Filofax plastic portable 6 hole punch sold by Filofax, they only punch a single sheet at a time and after using one for a few months the holes in the paper aren't that clean a cut. You would be better off putting the money towards a proper metal paper punch.

So here are a selection of alternatives with links and references to reviews for different sizes.

So if you have a Mini, Pocket or Personal size Filofax I recommend the Rapseco Diary Punch 66P which I reviewed back August 2009. It is still available from Amazon and I know lots of people have bought this punch. It has moving punch blocks that allows you to set it for Personal and Pocket size and it also works for Mini size too. I have one I bought myself and I use it quite frequently for punching pages I've printed off myself. This punch will also work with Mulberry A5 organisers as they are the same spacing as Filofax Personal organisers.

For A5 punches there is the Filofax A5 punch. This only punches A5 size. This one is available through Amazon slightly cheaper than Filofax, although shipping might alter the total price.

There is also an A5 adjustable punch available from Amazon made by Rexel. This comes with 4 punch dies but it can be fitted with 6, and then it would punch A4, A5, Personal, Pocket and Mini sizes, but you would have to adjust the hole spacing on the punch to match the size you were punching for.  One other advantage of this particular punch is if you are using a Quo Vadis, Franklin Covey, Day Timer, Mulberry organiser you would be able to set the hole spacing to match those of the organiser as these are all different to Filofax A5 size.

There is an excellent review of the Rexel 420 here

KW Trio-9170 6 hole adjustable punch this punch will do A5, Personal and Pocket sizes Also available here, this punch is very reasonably priced for it's specification. However, the cost of shipping it outside of Holland can increase the price considerably. Try to source it locally if you can.

If you have an A4 Filofax, then any standard 4 hole punch will suit, I picked one up at my local supermarket for under €15, they come in quite a range of prices according to how many sheets you want to punch at the same time. I just bought a standard desk top one that punch up to 15 sheets at a time. More than adequate for most peoples needs.

If you have any other 'punch' questions, please pop them in to the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

And if you have a 'reader question' then please email us at philofaxy at gmail dot com we are always happy to answer them directly or via a post like this.


  1. I have the Rapesco and like it very much! Punches neatly and with small size holes. I keep it at home. I have a regular adjustable punch at work set to do three holes, I punch one end and then flip and punch the other. This works well enough, but the hole punches are too big so I have huge holes which allow the page to move around in the binder more than I would like it to! Generally though, this arrangement is working well for me. I might buy another Rapesco to keep at work, but I am not sure I want to spend the money.

  2. I purchased a personal sized Filofax punch as I could then swing it around and use it to punch A5 pages also (thanks to the handy tips from Philofaxy). I make a lot of personalised dividers for myself and punch a lot of uni papers for filing, so I thought I could justify the cost. I have, however, been utterly disappointed by it. Perhaps I received a dud, but it has rough movement that I find very difficult to use (and I'm no butterfly with my hands) - complete waste of money in my case. I bought a $3 stainless steel, single-hole punch (post included) from china on ebay and adore it. Yes I need to draw little guiding circles from other pre-punched pages, yes it takes a teeny while longer to punch individual holes, but it's never let me down. I don't mind that the holes are a little bigger than the filofax punch, never really notice it.

  3. Following Steve's previous advice, I also use the Rapesco for pocket, personal and A5 (flipping the page over for A5). So far, the quality of cut is still fine. They are available on eBay UK at present for just over £10 with free PP.

  4. I do exactly the same as Lynme does although. I'm pretty sure my Rapesco was only about £5 off eBay. I've recommended it to all my friends

  5. I have a Rapesco punch and it puckers the paper when it punches! I don't know if I can return it for fixing or replacement or something...

  6. Hole punches can normally be sharpened by repeatedly punching aluminium foil. 3 or 4 layers of foil punched 6 times will usually do it, but it never takes more than 20 times.

  7. I bought a filofax A5 punch and although I use it a lot, I hate it!
    It punches about 2 (or 3 at most) pages at a time. If three, then I have to lean my entire weight on it to get it to punch (and it's not that it's now blunt, it has always been like that). Then the punched discs get stuck in the holes and so when I go to empty it (involving the need for needle-nosed pliers to remove the back) I then have to use fine forceps to pull the paper discs out (as they don't fall into the 'tray' underneath at all).
    It cost a lot of money and I cannot recommend it at all.
    Maybe I will buy a Rapesco from eBay then and do the page-flipping trick to punch A5.

  8. @TPS what thickness paper are you using? And how many sheets. I've not had that problem with mine at all.

    Where did you get it from?

  9. @Amanda I find I have to clean out my Filofax A5 punch every time I use it, but I've never found it that hard to use.

    May be you could try one of the KW Trio ones instead?

  10. Like Amanda, I've found the Filofax A5 punch very awkward to use due to its poor design, which is very disappointing given how expensive they are.

  11. @Steve, I use normal printer-type paper, about 70/80 gsm I guess. And only 1 sheet at once! I might try it with more sheets to see if it still does the same thing. It's from ebay.

    I also have a plastic A5 punch. Of course it makes the holes go everywhere! But also it makes at least 1 or 2 of the holes not get cut properly, instead, the paper just breaks! On average, I might get 2 clean holes punched, 2 or 3 that aren't fully cut, that I have to pull off, and 1 or 2 that don't punch properly, and just tear the paper!


  12. TPS, my Rapesco comfortably punches 5-6 sheets at a time. It has been heavily used at work for the last 6 months with no problems.

  13. Thanks for mentioning me today, Steve. I have the Rapesco and the filofax A5 punch as well. It is the A5 filofax punch which made me go buy the KW Trio. The filofax A5 was not easy to punch with and the amount of pressure I have to exert to get the holes made is out of proportion. (This one was bought in ebay.) The Rapesco and KW Trio (and the stadard A4 4 hole punch as well) has enough overhang on the top portion of the punch which helps putting pressure to punch the paper while the filofax punch has not enough overhang (which is what I used to think). But upon reading Steve's reply to TPS above, it makes me think something is not right with our punches.

    On the other hand, I saw another punch in eBay (only does A5 size though) which looks a lot like the A5 filofax one but is more square ( and costs as much as the filofax one. This one (according to the seller) punches 6 sheets which is very similar to the Rapesco and the KW Trio. Would be interesting to see if anyone has bought this one.

  14. i have the KW Trio, found it in a shop in Germany (for other germans: McPaper!) and it really does the job. I punshed covers etc. for personal, pocket and also mini size. With mini, it's the same as pocket, I just do 5 holes instead of 6.

  15. Early Time Manager (TMI) hole punches come up on eBay from time-to-time and are very well made and robust. Mine is now 25 years old! They can be adjusted to punch 4 or 6 holes for either TMI A5 or TMI original pages. Filofax personal size has the same hole spacings so can also be punched without problem. Unfortunately Filofax A5 is not compatible with TMI A5 and the only way is to punch two sets of 3 holes separately.

  16. I read that the KW punch "has ample weight for its size, and a nice bottom to keep it from slipping"
    Much like myslef!

  17. I'm rather curious if any of these punches are available in the US, or what punches are available in the US besides these (Day-Timer or Franklin Covey punches perhaps). I'm also not motivated enough to go look it up right now!

    I've been using a single hole-punch which belongs to my in-laws - so who knows how old it is, but it looks just like ones you can buy in the grocery store for about $3. It's worked fine for everything I've punched so far, even though the hole is bigger than the FF hole. That hasn't affected anything as far as I can tell, though. Just made new dividers today with its help!

  18. I can also recommend the Rapesco punch, & have used it for both mini & personal sizes :)

  19. Some time ago I bought a Leitz-Punch with adjustable space between the holes. This way I'm able to punch paper for different formats including A5 and Pocket.

  20. The Succes punches also work well, but aren't adjustable for more than one paper size.

    @Amanda Lol at your comment :-D

  21. @bluebonnetreads - last year I emailed Rapesco from their website to inquire about availability of their punches as I am in the US. At that time they did not have a distributor but sent me the 66P and postage was not much. Total I recall was less than $20. And the punch works quite well.

  22. @bluebonnetreads I was able to purchase the rapesco through a seller on It was priced reasonably and arrived in the mail incredibly quickly! I think I googled the entire product code to find it. I highly recommend. Am surprised daytimer and dayrunner do not make punches

  23. Excellent blog - which I found after purchasing my second filofax (an A5 black Finchley found in TKMaxx sale for £25) as a bargain lover I was also tempted to purchase the KW-trio hole punch linked to at DinoDirect in the article above (cost just £14.29 free shipping to UK) but luckily at the last minute I was dissuaded by the terrible reviews DinoDirect gets online (google them and add the word 'scam'!). They may be ok, but I'm not risking it - If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

    Thanks for all the great tips on this site. Keep up the great work!

  24. Thanks for that tip off. I'm now going to remove Dino Direct from this posting... Don't want anyone else suffering

  25. Happy to report my punch arrived from Dino Direct this week.

  26. Ray - very pleased (pleased as punch...) your order from DinoDirect arrived safely. How long did it take? I'm tempted.

  27. Three weeks from placing the order. They sent me a free gift, too: a cute little cable tidy.

  28. I hope its ok to post these links here I wouldn't have know to start even looking without your post - i am hugely grateful.

    As a result of the suggestion to use a rexel punch I looked into the cost.
    the rexel V430/420 apparently punches between 25 and 30 sheets at a time.

    The rexel 420 is about £60 on amazon but is also available from various other sources. I believe its been replaced by the V430 the cheapest source i could find was
    at £32

    finding the additional pins or dies is much more complex the key is their designator ACC20120033 or Rexel Additional Punch Pin for V430ADJ (420) Punch

    the only UK supplier I could find was

    two punches come to £25.20 plus shipping

    the RRP is actually £10.50 it's finding them thats the hard part, we may be able to order it from an ordinary rexel supplier

    the rexel data sheet for the additional punches can be downloaded here

    whilst the data sheet for the Rexel V430ADJ (420) is here

    can i just say at present i have bought none of these items so I can report on their effectiveness but spending £70+ for the one hole punch i will need for the rest of my life and I get to choose what paper i want in my filofax seems like a sensible option

  29. Thank you so much for posting this!

    I was very disappointed with the plastic hole punch from Filofax, and was thinking of trying their metal ones, but after reading this I have ordered the Rapesco 66 P instead (I found it on eBay for just £10.05 including free UK delivery). Can't wait to receive it and try it out, so thanks again!

  30. How does the hole size on the KW trio compare to the a5 ff punch?

  31. Hi there, not sure if this blogpost is still an active one.

    I've just bought an A5 Filofax Organizer on ebay.

    Will KW trio or Rapseco Diary Punch 66P work for my A5 Organiser from FF?

    1. Hi
      See this more up to date post on Punches:

      The Rapseco will not do A5, the KW Trio will, also see the Adjustable punch mentioned in the updated post.


  32. Hey Steve,

    Thank you so much for your help! =DD
    Mann.. Im so relieved right now to know what to get for my new organizer. Phewww!

    Your philofaxy is a blessing to many who uses organizers!

  33. I have just bought the KW-Trio 9170 and I can't work out how to adjust the cutters....can anyone help?


    1. Hi Sam
      Holding the punch over a bin... remove the bottom cover.

      Then putting your fingers on the springs at the back the cutters will slide either in or outwards in the channel.

      With them furtherest apart it is set for A5, next click in is Personal, next one in is Mulberry, and all the way in is Pocket/Mini.

      Move both cutters to the same corresponding notch on each side of course. With the cover removed you should be able to see the detent holes that the it clicks in to.


  34. Thanks Steve, that was easy!

    I thought it would be way more complicated than that and so now I feel a bit of a dimwit!

    Off to print out some inserts now :)

    Thanks again x

  35. I'm a newby, very excited about my first purchase, I'm going for an A5 Mulberry... but am very confused by the paper puch holes compatability thing. Quite happy to punch my own - I'm an artist so will be using it for sketching etc, so nice paper.
    So my questions are, what punch will do the job... and are there any inserts available that are compatible with the Mulberry A5 Agenda. I will be going through a lot of paper so Mulberry would cripple my finances.
    The situation is further complicated by the fact that the A5 Mulberry is now discontinued.
    Any help appreciated,
    thanks Kevin

  36. @Kevin
    I have an A5 Mulberry and the hole spacing is exactly the same as a personal size filofax, so any of the punches that work for personal filofax work for it. I use the Rapesco one (that is adjustable to do pocket filofax, Mulberry agenda and personal filofax/A5 Mulberry). I don't buy any special pre-punched paper, I just cut A4 paper in half and punch it, but Oxford International Activebooks are punched with multi-holes and fit. There is a review on here somewhere (You'll be able to find it via the search box).
    Hope that helps!

  37. Thanks...I'm now more relaxed about my leap. Thanks Amanda

  38. hi,
    great post!The Succes punches also work well.hole adjustable Punch for Filofax/Mulberry Organisers offers Adjustable Puncher for the ultimate in adjustable flexibility to punch 2 or 3 hole configurations

  39. Anyone else bothered by the fact that Rapesco Diary Punch 66-P punches holes bigger than Filofax's sheets? I have a personal size Metropol (eat your heart out.. I got it for $1 dollar at Staples) and bought the Rapesco 6 hole punch. While it punches without a problem and spacing is accurate, I notice the holes are bigger, and sheets move around more than I'd like them to in my planner!

    1. I saw a comment only today that someone showed the difference in size between holes punched with the Rapesco punch and Filofax punched paper, the difference in size is about 1mm, but they commented and I've found this too, that if you have a lot of pages in your Filofax then the pages turn easier with the fractionally bigger holes.

      Incidentally the holes they punch are in line with the ISO standard which states holes should be 5.5-6.5 mm in diameter, mine measure 6 mm


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