After faithfully using the ARC punch for years, a while ago I decided to splurge for the MAMBI discbound punch!
Are the MAMBI & ARC punches compatible?
Since I’ve received so many emails from readers asking if the punches are compatible I decided to put together this post so you can decide which punch is right for you (or if you think it’s worth splurging for both punches!)
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
Mentioned in the video
- This is the video where I showed how the ARC punches
- The discbound notebook in the video is the Happy Notes (see my review here)
- These printables are from this set in my shop.
- Tutorial for resizing any printable for the MAMBI class (or MAMBI mini) is in this post
Why’d I get another discbound punch? Because the holes are the same size however the discbound ring positioning doesn’t align.
You can use the ARC with MAMBI however the spacing / alignment of the holes does not work. There is either a gap at the top of the page or too much at the bottom of the page. The stem of the MAMBI is also longer than the ARC (see how there’s a gap between the rainbow stripe border and the edge of the page underneath).
I punched this printable (download it for free from my library here) with the ARC
In comparison, here are printables (which I resized from US letter to 7″ wide x 9.25″ high so they’d fit), then punched with the MAMBI punch. On the left side it aligns perfectly with other MAMBI pages. On the right side, I left the dot grid paper punched with the ARC so you can see the difference in alignment.
The stem (rectangle bit before the half mushroom hole) is shorter on the ARC than the MAMBI so it doesn’t perfectly line up:
Both punches are heavy. The ARC is bulkier and higher due to the larger lever / handle.
The ARC has a tray for catching the clipping so it’s easier to empty without bits of paper ending up everywhere as is the case with MAMBI – you have to take the mat off the bottom, there’s no tray.
The ARC can do multiple page sizes. It has a handy slider for A5, A4, Junior size (half US letter) and letter size.
They say don’t do more than 10 sheets at a time with the ARC punch. I usually do no more than 5 – just to be safe.
MAMBI advise to only punch 3 sheets at a time. There’s no catcher at the end to prevent the page from slipping when you punch (like there is with the ARC) so I only do 1 sheet at a time.
The punch also doesn’t feel as sturdy. The ARC has a big handle / lever you punch down to punch, while the MAMBI doesn’t.
The last mushroom tab / hole usually catches on my MAMBI punch (not sure if this is the case for all punches or if I just got one that doesn’t work perfectly).
ARC punch pros
- Works with multiple discbound planners (including Levenger Circa and TUL)
- Punches quickly and easy
- Very sturdy punch – I tend to punch about 5 sheets with no problem
- Larger handle / lever for easy punching
ARC punch cons
- Not readily available in Australia (can only get from Staples – now called Winc – online)
- The hole positioning doesn’t align perfectly with the MAMBI classic size
MAMBI punch pros
- Punch (excluding shipping) is cheap (and cheaper than the ARC punch)
- Compatible with MAMBI (obviously!)
- Easier to find online
MAMBI punch cons
- MAMBI is not available in physical retail stores here in Australia so you have to buy it online (because it’s heavy, it’s expensive to ship)
- If you want to punch bigger than 7 x 9.25″ (i.e. MAMBI classic size) you need to purchase the BIG punch which is more expensive (and heavier)
- The punch isn’t very strong – it only works well through 1 or 2 sheets of paper
- I have the classic size punch which only has markers to help line up classic page size (not the mini)
So which do I recommend?
If you have a Happy Planner, use the Happy Planner punch. If you use the ARC or other discbound, use the ARC punch. Both work with the other but aren’t perfectly compatible.
More things to consider if you’re trying to choose between the ARC and MAMBI in this post.
- Daily versus weekly planners: which is right for you?
- Using a planner key and symbols to code your planner (efficient planning methods)
- Bored with your planner? 25 ways to mix it up
Need some printables for your Happy Planner? Click here
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