Industry Standard Size Buttons vs. BAM vs. Foreign Made… what’s the diff?

You have questions and we have answers. One of the most commonly asked questions we get revolves around the different types of button machines and supplies & whether or not they are interchangeable. Basically, you’ll find three kinds of button machines: Industry standard, proprietary and those made outside the USA.

Industry standard button supplies fit 99.9% of all standard-sized button machines. These parts are designed to be used with American made button machines and probably will not fit a foreign made machine and most definitely will not fit a Badge a Minit machine. What does this mean to you if you have an industry standard machine? Well, it means you can purchase supplies from any company that sells industry standard sizes. American Button Machines stocks the widest variety of industry standard button supplies & accessories and we are constantly on the search for new, innovative products.

Proprietary supplies are designed to fit specific machines and will not work in any machine which conforms to industry standard sizing. The most well known company whose machines & supplies are proprietary is Badge-a-Minit. Proprietary supplies can be confusing as the sizes are still widely spoken of as if they are industry standard. Take for example Badge a Minit’s 2 ¼” buttons – they are actually 2- 3/8”. Also, Badge a Minit parts usually come with their company name stamped on the back. Badge-a-Minit’s pricing has historically been the highest of any manufacturer so they had you locked in to buying directly from them.

Badgeaminit Button Supplies

Luckily for our BAM customers, we carry our own version of these oddly sized supplies, which are certified & guaranteed to work in manual Badge a Minit machines. So if you are looking for inexpensive Badgeaminit sized button supplies (not to be confused with cheap button supplies) you can find 2.25″ BAM parts and 3″ BAM parts on our website.   On a side note, in the past if you need button-making software for your BAM machine you had to rely on their Button Builder software. However the times have changed and we offer BAM sized templates on our revolutionary Build-a-Button design software. If you have never heard of Build-a-Button before, you can try it for free by going to

Foreign made button machines & supplies do not conform to American Button size standards and may be millimeters off in size. If you are contemplating the purchase of a machine manufactured outside the US, keep in mind that it is likely you won’t be able to order the correct parts down the line. The pricing might be attractive but what good is saving a few pennies if you get limited use in return? Oh, don’t even get me started on warranty offers for these machines. I would imagine they don’t exist and even if they did, the logistics of sending it for repair would be mind boggling and the shipping costs exorbitant. Foreign made button machines are nowhere near the quality of those made right here in the USA. But that is a topic for another blog… perhaps next week.

Until next time, Happy Button Making!

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By Brighid Brown, Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM