The Tamerica ECO-21 comb binder is an affordable desktop binding machine that is surprisingly robust. It offers users a wide selection of features, including a substantial punch capacity, disengaging pins, and an adjustable depth margin, but is priced at less than $150. In this review, we'll get to know the ECO-21 and learn what sets it apart from other entry-level comb binding machines.
Comb binding is one of the most popular traditional binding styles, primarily because it uses affordable supplies and allows bound documents to be easily edited. Plastic binding combs are made up of a series of 19 rings (for letter-sized documents), which correspond to the 19-hole comb binding punch pattern. The rings are inserted into the pre-punched rectangular holes with the aid of a comb opener to create a bound document. Because there is no crimping or closing of the comb binding spine (as there is with binding coils and wire-o spines), a bound document can be reinserted into the comb opener to allow pages to be added or removed without requiring a new spine.
The ECO-21 is a manual punch, manual bind machine. It has a 12" maximum punching length with a total of 21 pins, and punches the standard 19-hole pattern for letter-sized sheets. It also has an open punching throat, which allows sheets longer than 12" to be punched in a multi-step process. All 21 pins are disengageable, which means that you can selectively eliminate holes to accommodate specialty paper sizes. The ECO-21 also allows you to adjust both the side margin (the distance of the holes from the side of the page) and punching depth margin (the depth of the holes from the binding edge - generally closer to the edge for thinner documents and farther from the edge for thicker documents). The maximum punch capacity is 15 sheets per pull (based on 20 lb. paper), and the binding capacity ranges from 3/16" to 2" (approximately 12 pages to 425 pages).
The Tamerica ECO-21 weighs less than 14 pounds, and measures only 15-15/16" wide by 11-7/16" deep by 6-1/2" tall. It is small enough to fit on most desktops, and is light enough to be easily transported between offices. Despite its small footprint and low weight, it has an attractive and durable metal casing and is backed by a one-year warranty.
With features like fully disengageable pins and an adjustable depth margin, the ECO-21 is ideal for small office environments with low to moderate binding volumes. It offers more options than most other machines in its class, but has a price point that is under $150. Though it is not designed for high volume use or production settings, it does have an excellent balance between cost and features, and is one of the more durable machines offered in that pricing level. If you are looking for an entry-level comb binding machine that is packed with features but won't break the bank, then you should definitely take a closer look at the Tamerica ECO-21 comb binder.