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Cheap Office Stationery: Our Pick Of The Best Buys

Joe Dart 10th Jan 2012 6 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are you setting up your own business? It’s important to find an affordable, reliable supplier to avoid any last-minute envelope crises or stapler emergencies – and most importantly – save time, money and effort in the long run.

Read on for our top tips to get cheap office stationery:

How much stationery do I need?

On average you should set aside about £200 for your initial office supplies, although it does depend on your business: how much it is office-based, whether you are a ‘paperless office’ and what size your business is.

Try to resist the temptation to spend your whole budget on the latest “look-at-me-I’m-James-Bond” gadget. It may look good, but make sure you have a desk, chair, pens and paper to get things going first.

What you will need depends on your type of business. However, there are basic essentials all companies are going to need such as: paper, pens, files, a hole punch, a stapler, CD-ROMs, a shredder, a desk and a chair.

We picked out some of the key office items that any small business would need to keep going in order to find the all-round best value providers.

Save money by going online

Our advice is simple. Do not buy your office supplies on the high street because it will almost certainly cost you a lot more than it needs to.

There are now many sites offering discount stationery at much more competitive rates than the high street, particularly when you buy in bulk. It’s also much easier to compare prices online so you know that you can find the cheapest prices without traipsing around town.

Online suppliers will also offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount (usually around £30) so it’s a good idea to buy for the long-term and save even more money.

In our experience, there are constant special offers on stationery which are updated all the time so if you have the time to search, you can usually find some great offers on specific products.

We’ve made your life even easier by searching online for you to compare delivery prices, returns policy, ease of use of the website and of course, price.

Other useful tools are price comparison websites like these:

  • Shopping.com
  • Kelkoo
  • Pricerunner

Do use all three to compare prices to cover as many companies as possible.

Our office stationery comparison

We took five different office supplier retailers and then compared their services when it came to price, after-care and returns policy. These were Rebel Office Supplies, UK Office Direct, Viking Direct, Staples and Euroffice.


We chose a selection of essential office supplies and then compared their prices across all 5 suppliers’ websites to see who would come out the cheapest.

Here are items we compared:

  1. 500 sheets of white 80gsm paper
  2. Black ballpoint pens (pack of 12)
  3. Highlighter pens (pack of 6)
  4. A4 Lever Arch file – pack of 10
  5. Shredder (Cross Cut)
Supplier Rebel Office Supplies
Viking Direct Staples Euroffice UK Office Direct

Paper £5.97 £2.79 £2.50 £3.09 £3.39
Pens £5.42 £3.79 £1.49 (10 pack) £5.69 £3.03
Highlighters £2.06 £3.99 £1.94 £6.72 £2.52
Files £9.52 £25.90 £4.99 £13.49 £11.75
Shredder £34.99 £36.09 £17.99 £35.49 £37.34
Delivery Charges £6.75 or free for orders £45+ £2.90 or free for orders over £30 £2.90 or free for orders over £30 £3.95 or free for orders over £30 £5.95 or free for orders over £30
TOTAL = Including VAT not including delivery charge £69.55 £87.47 £38.43 £69.28 £69.64

Prices shown include discounts and are correct at the time of writing, November 2011.

Our table shows that Staples provides the best overall price by a country mile, with its selection of office equipment totalling over £20 less than its nearest rival, Euroffice.

Staples also has the same ‘buy more, save more’ rewards system as Euroffice, making it our number one choice for value.

You can also opt to select Order Care which allows you to return unwanted items anytime within 12 months of purchase. They will even collect the items for free.

Returns Policy

Rebel Office Supplies – Email them within 14 days and they will collect the items for free. The things must be unused and in original unmarked packaging.

UK Office Direct – Products returned within the 14-day cooling-off period will be refunded in full after delivery costs have been deducted.

Staples – Standard returns policy is 30 days. If you contact them within 7 days they will collect items for free, otherwise they charge £3.50.

Optional care order £1.60 – allows you to return unwanted goods anytime within 12 months of purchase and collection is free.

Viking Direct – Protection Plus service which, for a nominal fee, provides you with 12 months accidental damage cover and a no quibble, 12 month returns policy. If you don’t want this service you have to opt out by calling 0844 412 1111.

Euroffice – They offer a 14-day returns policy.  They’ll collect the item for free and give you credit, providing the item is in resaleable condition. This means that the product is in the original packaging and unopened.

If you contact them more than 14 days after delivery, they might be able to accept the goods back but not necessarily at full-credit value.

Useful Contacts

Visit these websites to find the best deal for you

  • Rebel Office Supplies
  • Staples
  • UK Office Direct
  • Euroffice
  • Viking Direct

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Ink & Laptops
Ink & Laptops
9 years ago

So your advising a new business, who will potentially be opening in the high street, not to shop on the high street, ironic!

Robin Woods
Robin Woods
14 years ago

With over 25 years experience within the office supplies market, we provide office stationery, office furniture and office equipment to businesses and home users throughout the UK.

14 years ago

Hi, I used to use Euroffice but recently switched to a company called aos online aosonline. There pricing is very competitive, and in most cases cheaper than all the sites mentioned above. The biggest difference I have found with this site though is that their search facility is 10 times more accurate than other stationery website in terms of trying to find what you are looking for. They are also happy to talk to you over the phone which I have found a great help as it’s always nice to speak to someone in person when you have a question.

Office Stationery Supplies
Office Stationery Supplies
14 years ago

Apart from all the sites you have mentioned you can also check out stationery at discount-office-needs.. They offer some premium brands at amazing discounts of 30%. One can save costs and time too. Its difficult quoting the prices as each office has its own distinguished need. But discount office needs can definitely save one a good amount with quality being the major priority.

Mark Carter
Mark Carter
14 years ago

I have to strongly disagree with your suggestion that the online stationers offer value for money….Why? Because they are re-sellers(not manufacturers) whereas our company is.

Plus after comparing 10 different online stationers and taking a cheap casebound notebook 70gsm 190 pages, prices range from £1.46-£7.36. As we are new to the UK market, I have come to the conclusion that the end user is being ripped off and that price fixing exists. Found the article interesting.

Sarah Doughty
Sarah Doughty
14 years ago

Just thought I should add that it looks like if you just want to buy stationery (rather than a shredder) Discount Office Products looks the best in terms of price.

Thanks for the article, very helpfull

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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