Tips & Techniques  »

Rotary Trimmer or Guillotine Trimmer?

Guillotine Paper Trimmer or Rotary Paper Trimmer?

At United we have a great variety of paper trimmers to choose from to suit your individual needs. Your day-to-day projects and cutting jobs will help you pick the right trimmer.

At United we offer the two best options for cutting and trimming: guillotine-style trimmers, and rotary-style trimmers. With such a different design and cutting style, it can be daunting to make the right choice when looking at an image and price on a computer screen without the proper knowledge of each trimmer’s strengths. That’s why we’re here to help you differentiate the two and pick the right one for your needs.

Shared Features – Guillotine Paper Trimmer and Rotary Paper Trimmer

To start, let’s cover the features that United Trimmers have in common.

Every United Trimmer is well crafted and designed to last. Both the rotary and guillotine paper trimmers share qualities to ensure ease of use and durability. Each includes a printed standard/metric grid, along with an adjustable locking side guide to align paper and ensure straight cuts right where you want them.

One of the best features of all United trimmers is the sturdy all-metal base that will not warp, bend, or crack over the long life of the cutter. A rugged base is important because it’s where all the components are mounted and aligned.

At United, we offer replacement parts and blades to extend the life of every product. Now, let’s see how these trimmers are different.

Unique Features – Guillotine Paper Trimmers

United’s Guillotine Paper Trimmers consist of a large high-carbon steel self-sharpening blade. The blade is mounted to a swinging lever at one end of the base allowing the blade to cut with very little effort from the user. This pivot point allows the blade to ride along the metal edge of the base creating a large scissor-like cutting action while it also sharpens the blade.

United’s Guillotine trimmers include features that make this style of trimming safe and easy. The ABS plastic shield covers the full length of the guillotine blade’s swing, leaving no part of the blade exposed. In addition, the base of the guard features a full length paper clamp which provides a safe spot close to the cut line to securely hold the paper in place during the cut.

To ensure safe and easy storage and transport, the guillotine trimmer features a blade lock, which holds the blade securely in place. All of these features make trimming and cutting accurate, safe, and easy.

An advantage of the Guillotine style trimmer is that it cuts up to 40 sheets at once, saving time and allowing for thicker media to be trimmed down to size. United offers Guillotine trimmers in 14”, 15”, and 18” sizes. To view our full line of Guillotine Paper Trimmers, visit us here.

Unique Features – Rotary Paper Trimmers

United’s Rotary Trimmers consist of a self-sharpening rotary blade that rides on a sturdy mono-rail. This allows users to make cuts in both directions along the full length of the cutting base. This mono-rail rotary blade design makes large format cutting a breeze.

The rotary blade is safely mounted inside a durable, easy to grip housing. The small exposed portion of the blade makes the cut along a metal straight edge, which acts like a sharpening stone, honing the blade with each pass. This helps extend the life of the blade for long-term accuracy and precision.

As the blade housing glides along the rail, it pushes down on a paper clamp, holding the paper in place as it makes the cut. The design of the rotary trimmer allows for cutting in both directions, making the most of your time.

These features make the rotary trimmer an ideal choice for large format trimming and professional, crisp cuts. United Rotary trimmers are offered in 18”, 26”, 37”, and 51” sizes. To view our full line of Rotary Paper Trimmers, visit us here.

Wrapping Up – Which Paper Trimmer is Best for You?

Although you can’t go wrong with either United Trimmer option, they are different and have strengths due to their designs. The guillotine-style trimmer provides a straight, accurate cut on up to 40 sheets at once. The rotary-style trimmer handles larger format work and provides a professional crisp cut on up to 15 sheets of paper.

If you’re working with photographs, large format pieces, or projects that require crisp accurate individualized cuts, a Rotary Paper Trimmer is your best bet. If you generally need to cut a larger quantity of sheets at a time, or thicker media, the Guillotine Trimmer may be the better choice.

United offers replacement parts for each product line, further extending the life of your trimmer.

If you have any questions or need replacement parts, give our advisors a call at 800-550-3683, or contact us here.

Be sure to give us a follow on YouTube to see our trimmers in action!

RT18 and T18P Trimmers Combined and side by side
Which trimmer will work best for you? Rotary Trimmer, or Guillotine Trimmer? We go over the strengths and differences of each one.
Wide format cutters wide format cutter Wide format trimmer RT37S 37" Rotary Trimmer with Stand
United RT37S rotary paper trimmer on stand trimming a large photograph. You can see the locking side guide being used for precise alignment.
Trimmer T14P Guillotine Trimmer Automatic Paper Clamp
United T14P Guillotine Trimmer. We can see the ABS Safety shield while a cut is about to be made.
united rotary trimmer cutting photograph
The comfortable to use blade housing sliding on the guide rail as the rotary blade makes a cut.
T14P - 14" Professional Guillotine Trimmer
Setting the locking side guide on United Trimmers is effortless and will keep all of your cuts in place and aligned.
RT18 and T18P Trimmers Combined and side by side