I bought two circle punches at Joann's when they were on sale last week. I'm planning to make some tags for one of my craft sales in December. I bought a 2-inch and a 2.5-inch. The smaller is the the scissor-type punch with handles. The larger is the push type.
Let's talk about the small one first. It's supposed to be ergonomic, easier to punch and release. What I found is that, while easier to punch, you really need to use the thicker papers. I initially tried it with text weight paper and all my circles came out with really rough edges. Some circles didn't even cut all the way through. I tried again with a double thickness of text weight paper - that worked worse. The paper wouldn't release most times and ripped at a couple of points. Very frustrating. If I'd paid full price, this sucker would've gone back to the store that day.
I gave Fiskars a second chance. I used it on the thicker weight scrapbook papers and it worked like a charm. It punches easily and the circles are crisp and perfect. I especially like that you can flip it over and punch bottom up - that way you don't waste a lot of paper. I punched about 80 circles in one night and the last circle was as good as the first.
I seem to have really bad luck with circle punches. I got a couple a few years ago and they worked for about one day. They stuck like glue, one punch I was never able to get apart! I've been using a circle cutter ever since, but that is a little more work than I want to do when I need a large number of circles.
The other punch is a lever punch. It's huge! It punches the 2.5" circle. The lever is large and fits well in your hand and gives you a nice surface for leverage. The circles are caught underneath - you just flip the lid of the catcher out and pluck your circles out. The circles are sharp and perfectly round.
The bad part is this a painful punch to use when you're making a lot of circles. I used this on Monday and my hands have been sore all week. I cut about 200 circles.
Most of the problems I had with this punch came after continued use. However, two design features make this not a great product for me. One is you can't really punch upside down because it's harder to work the lever. Therefore, when trying to conserve the paper ( I needed 10 punches out of each large sheet), I was constantly flipping the paper over to line it up then flipping again to push the lever.
The second thing I didn't like was the "confetti catcher". It would be nice if this was a detachable feature, because it would make the above task much easier. As it is now, I have to remove the punch out then set it up to punch again. And after about 50 punches, it was harder to make the punch go all the way through the thicker paper.
I guess neither of these products are made for repeated use. My final verdict is this is good enough for now, until something better comes along. If you're not planning on punching 200 circles a night, this is a good product. But for my production line, it is just as, if not more difficult than the circle cutter. At a half-off price, it's okay.