When you need to trim paper, photos, or other art materials, a dedicated paper cutter will keep lines straight and speed up your projects. While guillotine-style cutters are popular, rotary trimmers offer a number of advantages for many crafters and artists. They are safer both for you and for your children, since the blade is out of the way and hard to reach. Rotary trimmers also allow you to make continuous cuts on large pages. Finally, on most models you can switch the blades out once they get dull or to create specialty edge cuts (think scalloping and pinking)—something you just can’t do with guillotine cutters. To help you find the right rotary paper trimmer for your needs, we’ve selected some surefire options here.
1. Carl Professional Rotary Paper Trimmer
We like this cutter for its design, its versatility, and above all its impressive performance. The 18-inch trimmer provides ample space for most paper sizes, and the metal base not only is flanked by rulers on the edges but also offers quick guides for standard sizes like 4 x 6 and 8.5 x 11 inches. Directions for use are printed directly on the unit so you’ll never lose them. The model has 11 different blade types available for purchase separately, and a built-in storage compartment will keep extra blades and mats handy.
2. Westcott TrimAir Rotary Paper Trimmer
Another high-performing model, this cutter comes in a more compact 12-inch size that is still extremely usable. Use it to trim photos, negatives, or paper—it can handle about 10 sheets of copier-weight paper at a time. Blades are titanium-bonded, which makes them not only three times harder than stainless steel but also resistant to rust, bending, and dulling. When a blade does get dull, it takes seconds to change it out for a fresh one.
3. EK Tools Rotary Paper Trimmer
The clean design of this utilitarian cutter makes it easy to use for all kinds of crafters and artists. Grid lines running the full width of the base are in quarter-inch increments, with marked guides on two sides and along the cutting edge. Unlike other models, which usually feature the blade at the edge of the base, this blade runs up the middle, which can help prevent paper from bending instead of slicing cleanly. One other feature makes this tool stand out: The yellow cutting mat strip offers four cutting positions and is replaceable.
4. Dahle 508 Personal Rotary Trimmer
Rotary paper cutters can have all sorts of bells and whistles, but the most important thing, especially for serious artists, is performance: Does it cut a straight, perfectly accurate, clean line every time? The answer with this German model is yes. The blade is self-sharpening thanks to a strip of metal in the base that the blade runs against each time it cuts. An automatic clamp keeps paper stable without crimping it, and since the clamp is transparent, you can see every bit of what you’re cutting, right up to the cutting line. The metal base features clear measurement markings and helpful angle guides. Though it has just a 5- to 7-sheet capacity, it cuts with ease and minimal resistance.
5. Fiskars Procision Rotary Bypass Trimmer
When you need the functionality of a rotary paper cutter for a variety of non-paper materials, this high-end Fiskars trimmer is cut out for the job. Most trimmers can’t handle materials like plastic, foam, or even layers of cardstock, but this heavy-duty model can. It features a large, 14-inch base and a 12-inch cutting edge, and it folds in half for more convenient storage. Even if you intend to use it primarily for paper, this cutter is one to consider due to its dual rail system: Parallel guide rails stabilize the blade better than a single rail could. Also, since the unit is completely reversible, it can be used comfortably by lefties and righties alike.