Standard Staple Sizes and Guidelines (with 2 Diagrams)

If you work in an office or a school, or you simply love stationary, knowing the different sizes of staples, including standard staple sizes, is going to help make sure you use the right size for a specific project and don’t wind up with staples which don’t fit in your stapler.

A stable has a standard size that contains a thin wire gauge of 23 and legs measuring 6mm or ¼ inch long; you can easily find other stable sizes with a wire gauge of 23/8, 23/10, 23/13, 23/15, 23/17, 23/20 and 23/24.

Wire gauges are categorized into fine (sized between 20 and 23 in thickness), medium (sized between 18 and 19 in thickness), and heavy gauges (sized between 15 and 16 in thickness).

Anatomy of a Staple


When people talk about staple size, what they are actually referencing is the size of the legs on a staple. The legs are the two pieces of the staple that stick out and are pushed through the paper when you use a stapler. This is the most important measurement on a staple because it is the legs that will dictate how many pieces of paper you can securely staple together.

A chunkier pile of papers that need to be bound together is going to require staples with longer legs. When you are looking at staple sizes and see a measurement mentioned, for example, ½ inch staples, this means that each leg of the staple measures ½ inch in length.


The crown of the staple is the top part of the staple, which connects the two legs. It is also known as the width of the staple (while the legs are the length). When you apply staples to paper, this is the part of the staple that is going to be visible across your work.

Wire Gauge

The wire gauge of a staple is the measurement of the wire used. This is essentially the thickness of the metal, which will, of course, play a part in determining how strong the staple is. If the wire gauge is thin, then it will be more likely to snap under pressure, and therefore thin wire gauges are not compatible with heavy-duty projects.

If the materials you are stapling are strong or thick, then a thicker wire gauge will be more appropriate.


The teeth of a staple are the ends of the legs, which are the first part of the staple to come into contact with the material you are stapling. The teeth will usually be tapered or have a chisel point so that the staples easily slice through the material.

Wire Gauge Sizes

Wire Gauge Sizes


Fine wire gauges will be sized between 20 and 23 in thickness. You will see this measurement referenced on a staple size as the first number. For example, if a staple is size ’23/6′, it means the wire gauge is 23, and the legs are 6mm (equivalent to ¼ inch).

Fine wire gauges are the most common types of staple used in offices, as these are the most inexpensive, and they are plenty strong enough to be suitable for holding a few pieces of paper together. The higher the number of the gauge is, the thinner the wire is.


Medium wire gauges are between 18 and 19 in thickness. This is a more sturdy gauge of staple which might be used in upholstery, but it is not quite sturdy enough to be used in construction.


Heavy gauge staples are used in construction, for example, as roof staples to hold shingles in place. These will have a gauge of between 15 and 16, making them the thickest and strongest type of staple.

Staple Sizes

Common Staple Sizes

Staple sizes are usually shown on the bottom of a stapler so that you can easily find out which staples will work with your machine. Staple sizes are displayed in metric, i.e., millimeters.

For a standard-sized staple, this will look like ’23/6′. The first number is the wire gauge size, while the second number is the length of the legs. In the case of the standard staple, the length of the legs is 6mm, which is equal to ¼ inch.


This is the standard staple size, with a thin wire gauge of 23 and legs measuring 6mm or ¼ inch long. This is the size of staple compatible with most office or home staplers, and it can be used to hold up to 30 sheets of paper together.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 8mm or 5/16 inches. The extra length means they can hold up to 50 sheets of paper together.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 10mm or ⅜ inches. They can hold up to 70 sheets of paper together.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 13mm, or ½ inch. They can fix up to 100 sheets of paper together.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 15mm or 9/16 inches. They can hold up to 140 sheets at a time.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 17mm or ⅝ inches. They can hold up to 160 sheets of paper together.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 20mm or ¾ inches. They can hold up to 200 sheets of paper at a time.


These staples have a thin wire gauge of 23 and leg lengths of 24mm or 15/16 inches. They can hold an impressive 240 sheets of paper together.

Staple Strip Sizes

Staples are sold in various pack sizes and therefore contain different amounts of staples. A full strip of staples will contain 200 individual staples, all held together in a row, ready to insert into your stapler. Half a strip of staples, as you may expect, will contain 100 staples.

For more heavy-duty staplers, you can also get staple cartridges, where the staples are not lined up in rows. Instead, a flat sheet of stapled will be wound up inside a cartridge, which is then attached to a heavy-duty stapler. Cartridges like this can commonly hold as many as 5000 staples.