What You Need to Know About Paper Clips before Making Your Purchase

By Nicole Tinkham

Image used under Creative Commons from Dominique Godbout

Paper clips were invented in 1899 by Johan Vaaler but it was the company Gem Manufacturing Ltd. that first designed the oval shape we use today. This design is often known as the “gem” paper clip. Paper clips are a helpful tool we use on a daily basis to hold papers together but we tend to not give them much thought. Paper clips deserve a little more love which is why we dedicated this blog post to the various sizes, shapes, colors, and textures in which paper clips come.


When browsing paper clips on the Keeton’s website or in the catalog, you will notice mostly Jumbo and No. 1 (and a few No. 2 and No. 3) paper clips. This indicates the length of the paperclip.


Another option you will notice is the finish, or nonskid vs. smooth.

  • Nonskid: These have ridges, which prevent sliding. They are great for keeping papers in place.
  • Smooth: These are the most basic paper clips. They have a smooth surface without the ridges of the nonskid finish.
  • Plastic coated: These wire paper clips are coated with plastic. You will typically see these in an assortment of colors, which brings us to the next decision you will have to make.


Before choosing the standard silver, think about all the color coding possibilities colored paper clips provide!


Most go with the most basic paper clip but there’s a more durable option as well.

  • Economy: These are your most basic paper clip. They are ideal for school, office, and home needs.
  • Premium: These may be a bit more money but they are a higher quality paper clip. These are heavy gauge and offer superior holding power.
  • Recycled: Eco-friendly paper clips are also available, made from recycled materials.


A box of paper clips often contains 100 clips. However, the confusion comes when they are sold by the sleeve with 10 boxes per pack. For example, if you order one pack of UNV-72210 (Universal No. 1 paperclips) you will be getting 10 boxes of 100, or 1,000 clips altogether. If you would like to purchase them by the box, there is a trick. Use the same item number but add BX at the end. So UNV-72210BX will give you one individual box of 100 paper clips.

We know this gets confusing! Just give us a call (941-747-2995) for additional help.


Your paper clips don’t have to live in the box they came in. Check out these convenient paper clip dispensers!

  • Basic magnet dispenser: This basic design holds 100 paper clips and includes 12 boxes of No. 1 smooth finish clips.
  • Push button dispenser: This dispenser has a built-in magnet that pulls the clips up with the touch of a button. Includes 100 clips.
  • Two-compartment dispenser: This cube dispenser allows for convenient access with two compartments.

There are also clip cups and other desk accessories for storing paper clips!

Other clips

This blog focuses on the average paper clip but there are actually other types of clips available as well.






Not sure which clip you need? Try out the Club Clip Pack with an assortment of jumbo paper clips, binder clips, ideal clips, and push pins.


This is something artists and designers can appreciate even if they don’t use paper clips too often. The design of the paper clip is often considered modern, elegant, and simple, as well as functional. It’s been so effective that the symbol for adding an attachment to an email is an image of a paperclip. And, do you remember the helpful paperclip in Microsoft Word?

We hope this blog has opened your eyes to how fun paper clips can be. There’s not much that goes into a paper clip purchase but it’s always helpful to know your options! If you want something fun and different, consider specialty clips such as the thumbs up paper clips feature in our Coolest Office Supplies blog.

4 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Paper Clips before Making Your Purchase

    1. Thanks Dianne, that’s always great to hear! We’re always open to new ideas so if there’s ever any office/art supplies you would love to learn more about, just let us know!

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