Staple Sizes

Staples are integral to tasks ranging from simple paper binding to complex upholstery work. Staple sizes affect their functionality and compatibility with different staplers. So, before you pick up a box of staples, it’s worth knowing their sizes and uses.

Standard office staples, also known as size 23/6 staples, have 6-mm (1/4 in.) legs and are made of 23-gauge wire. The largest common office staple size is 23/24.

Staples sizes

This guide will take you through the fascinating world of staples by elaborating on how staples are measured and the sizes and types of staples.

How Staples Are Measured

If you take a look at the small print on a staple box, you’ll most likely find 2 numbers separated by a forward slash—e.g., “23/6.” The first figure describes the wire gauge used to make the staple, while the second figure describes the leg length. Let’s break these down into more detail and describe other important staple measurement factors.

Wire Gauge

Wire gauge refers to the thickness of the metal used in the staple. A lower gauge number indicates a thicker wire. For more demanding tasks, such as in construction, lower gauges are used for added strength and durability.

Leg Length

Leg length determines how deep it can penetrate materials. It’s measured from the staple’s crown to the tip of its legs. Sizes vary, with office staples usually having shorter legs, while staples for construction or upholstery may have longer legs for thicker materials.

Crown Width

The crown width is the horizontal part of the staple that lies flat when stapled. This portion of the staple determines how well it will remain intact when fastening paper or other materials together.

Chisel Point vs. Sword Point

Staple points also differ. Chisel point staples have divergent legs that spread outward for better material penetration. They’re common in office staples for easy and clean paper penetration. Sword point staples, with straight, sharp ends, are used for tougher materials.

Staple Sizes and Types

In the world of stapling, a variety of staple sizes and types are designed for specific uses.

Standard Office Staples

Standard office staples are the most common type, used primarily for paper. They usually measure ¼ × ½ inches (leg × crown). These staples are ideal for binding up to 20-30 sheets of paper and are typically made from galvanized steel for durability.

Here’s a quick table that shows common office staple sizes.

Staple Type Leg Length Max Number of Sheets Held Together Top Pick
23/6 (standard staple size) 6 mm (1/4 in) 30 Mr. Pen Office Staple
23/8 8 mm (5/16 in) 50 Rapid Standard Staples
23/10 10 mm (3/8 in) 70 Deli 5 Jam Free Staples
23/13 13 mm (1/2 in) 100 Better Office Products Half-Inch Office Staples
23/15 16 mm (9/16 in) 140 Leitz 55790000 P6 Power Performance Staples
23/17 17 mm (5/8 in) 160 Rapid 24870300 Strong Staples
23/20 20 mm (3/4 in) 200 Novus Super-Premium Heavy Duty Staples
23/24 24 mm (15/16 in) 240 Kokuyo Staples for Heavy-Duty Staplers

Heavy-Duty Staples

Heavy-duty staples are larger and stronger, designed for more demanding tasks. These staples can measure up to 1/2 × 1-1/16 inches and are used in staplers designed for thick stacks of paper, cardboard, or even thin plastic.

Specialty Staples

Specialty staples are designed for specific applications, like cable tacking, where staples are used to secure cables without damaging them. These staples have unique shapes and sizes to accommodate the specific requirements of their application.

Staple Buying Guide

As you can see, not all staples are made the same. Before you purchase a bulk pack of staples, consider the following:

Material Matters

The material of the staple affects its durability and suitability for certain environments. Galvanized steel is common for its rust resistance, making it a good choice for general use. Stainless steel is superior for outdoor or humid conditions due to its corrosion resistance.

Selecting the Right Type

Different tasks require different types of staples. Standard office staples are perfect for paper, but if you’re working with fabric or furniture, upholstery staples are what you need. For construction projects, heavy-duty staples can handle materials like wood and insulation.

Compatibility with Staplers

Always ensure the staples you buy are compatible with your stapler. Using the wrong size can result in jamming or inefficient stapling. The staple packaging and your stapler should both indicate the sizes they accept.

Special Features

Some staples offer special features like chisel points for easier penetration or reduced jamming. There are also environmentally friendly options made from recycled materials or with less metal content.


1. What are the most common staple sizes for office use?

The most common staple sizes for office use are 23/6 and 23/8. The numbers here tell you about the wire gauge and leg length. A 23/6 staple has a wire gauge of 23 and a leg length of 6mm, suitable for stapling up to 30 sheets of paper. The 23/8 size, with an 8mm leg length, can handle up to 50 sheets.

2. Can the same staples be used for paper and wood?

No, staples used for paper are usually not suitable for wood. Paper staples are typically shorter and thinner, designed for easy penetration of paper stacks. Wood requires longer and thicker staples to ensure they hold securely, which are found in heavy-duty staples designed for construction or carpentry tasks.

3. What are the signs of using the wrong staple size?

Signs of using the wrong staple size include staples not penetrating the material fully, the staple crown not lying flat against the material, or staples bending and not holding the materials together. If you’re working with a stapler and it frequently jams or the material isn’t held tightly, it’s likely due to the wrong size of staples being used.