Bookbinding screws are among the fastest and most accessible ways to hold papers together. More generally known as screw posts or Chicago binding posts, these little fasteners consist of two parts: a post with a smooth, hollow shaft and a shorter cap with threads. Using them is a breeze: All you do is punch a hole in the papers, slip the smooth post through, and screw the cap into the post. The only tool you need for this straightforward process is a screwdriver. Whether you want to bind photobooks, scrapbooks, portfolios, swatches, or a pile of loose documents, our picks will help you find the best set for your needs.
1. Sutemribor Chicago Binding Screws
This kit offers the greatest variety of screw sizes so you’ll always have a compatible length for your bookbinding needs. You get 60 metal screws in six lengths (up to about 1¾ inches) with a greater number of shorter screws than longer ones, as well as 60 cap tops. The screws have the standard shaft diameter of 5 millimeters. The shafts are smooth and sturdy, and the tops are easy to twist on with your fingers. We also like that this kit comes presorted in an organized plastic box, complete with a diagram that clearly identifies each screw type and count.
2. YMAISS Chicago Screws
If you tend to bind books of consistent thickness and don’t need many size options, we like this simple kit. It offers 90 screws in three lengths, so while your choices are more limited than they are with our top pick, the presentation is also a lot less overwhelming. Made of nickel-plated carbon steel, the screws have shafts measuring ¼ inch, 3/10 inch, and ½ inch. You also get 90 tops that fit into their counterparts very smoothly. Like our top pick, these screws come presorted in a plastic box that securely snaps shut.
3. TecUnite Silvery Chicago Screws
You get a lot of screws in this set: 100 in total, with five lengths to work with. The size range covers small to medium bindings, from ¼ inch to 11/16 inch, with 20 screws in each size. Note that they are finished with indentations for slot-head screwdrivers rather than Phillips heads, which are a little more slippery to work with and have a tendency to loosen over time. These screws also come in a bag, so you’ll have to sort and organize them yourself.
4. LBY Phillips Chicago Screws
If you need to bind thick stacks of papers, we recommend this kit, which has a greater representation of longer screws. It includes 50 sets of nickel-plated screws in five lengths, including 1⅝ inch and 2 inches. Each screw features a Phillips/slot combo indentation so you can tighten it securely with either type of screwdriver and ensure that pages don’t loosen over time, even if a book has a substantial weight and is handled frequently.
5. LQ Industrial Chicago Screws Assorted Kit
These handsome bronze screws can add a vintage industrial look to any book. You get 75 sets of three lengths that come neatly divided by size in a secure plastic case. The range is pretty good, with a choice of shafts measuring ¼ inch, ⅜ inch, and ½ inch long, each one finished with indentations for both Phillips and slot screwdriver heads. Smooth to twist on and off, these screws also resist corrosion and rust.