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The Best Binders

🕚 Updated July 2022

While much of our documentation is now transmitted and saved digitally, there's no denying that we still use a lot of paper at school, the office, and home. The problem is where to put all that paper. Binders are the answer!

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  Best 1-Inch Binders Best Heavy-Duty Best Extra-Large Binders Best Notepad Binder Best for Checks
  Amazon Basics
Three-Ring Binder
The Mighty Zip Tab Zipper Binder
Ring Binder Depot
3-Ring Binder, Four-Pack
Six-Ring Spiral Leather Notebook
Business Check Binder
Our SummaryThis budget-friendly three-ring binder is straightforward and a go-to.A briefcase-like binder with O-rings and expandable file folder.This package deal gives you spacious, well-designed binders for important documents and more.This lovely refillable notebook binder features qualities that make it great for creative writing and a business planner.A seven-ring check binder with a built-in organization system or those who write checks frequently.
ProsFits on most bookshelves, holds up to 175 sheets of paper, three 1-inch metal rings, customizable front and back cover, two interior pockets.Gusseted zipper, opens flat on a table, 3-inch O-rings hold up to 600 sheets of paper, expandable file folder, customizable colored tabs, inner mesh zipper pocket, shoulder strap and carrying handle.Holds 950 sheets of paper, three 5-inch slant D-rings, clear plastic cover for customization, two interior pockets for storage.Works as journal, business planner, or diary, comes with calendar, paper, ink pen holder, pockets for business cards and IDs, magnetic button, cover made of PU leather.Versatile, seven D-rings, holds 600 standard size checks, PU leather, interior zip closure pouch and pen holder.
ConsMay look and function a bit cheaper than expected.More expensive.Lacks separators, may not hold up if filled all the way.Faux-leather cover may seem cheap in look and feel.Genuine leather.
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The Best Binders

Woman's arms holding colorful binders over window copy space.

Binders offer easy solutions to your paper-saving woes. Check out our favorite binders for ideas on what could work best for you.

Buying Guide for the Best Binders

Professional business woman holding folder full of paper documents.
Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock.com

Why buy a binder?

If you’re sick of sorting through the contents of your backpack when you get home from school, you’ll want to pick up some binders. English and math assignments getting smooshed together, crinkled, and moist from your leaking water bottle are no good! Being a student is challenging enough. It’s time to get some binders to keep your papers, assignments, and important documents safe and organized, don’t you think?

What should you look for in a binder?

  • Looks: If you’re going to make regular use of your binder, you might as well like how it looks. Seriously, you’re probably less motivated to use a binder with a dull or unappealing appearance. Reflect on what you need a binder for. If it’s for business, you may want to stay away from garish colors but opt for a leather or faux leather cover. For storing and organizing recipes, you might go for a simple binder with a transparent cover. Make a collage of your favorite foods and slip it inside; get creative!
  • Quality Parts: We’ve probably all struggled with cheaply-made O-rings. Over time, they become misaligned; occasionally, paper can snag and rip. Look for quality-made rings. You may find that binders with more than three rings work better by holding and protecting your paper more securely. 
  • Versatility: Sure, you can always personalize a binder; in that way, most binders offer a degree of versatility. But some are designed to give you several options so that you can use them for more than one purpose. Take the journal binder we review. It includes blank, lined, and grid paper, each of which can be helpful for writing or sketching, depending on your style. There’s also a calendar with room for daily notes. Other binders may be great for students and professionals, depending on which color you choose.

How are binders sized?

Most binders are about 10 inches wide and 12 inches tall to fit standard 8.5- x 11-inch paper. However, there are ledger and junior or half sizes for different sizes of paper. The thickness of the binder varies a lot and depends on the size of the rings—many are an inch thick, but they go up to several inches.

Our Picks for the Best Binders

Best 1-Inch Binders

Amazon Basics Three-Ring Binder, Four-Pack

This budget-friendly three-ring binder is straightforward and a go-to.

Pros: As the brand name suggests, ordinary items like a three-ring binder fulfills everyday paper-organizing needs. This binder measures 11.8 x 10.1 x 1.6 inches, suitable for storing on most bookshelves. A binder with these dimensions also holds standard-sized documents. It’s categorized as a 1-inch binder to indicate the size of the three metal rings. The Amazon Basics binder holds up to 175 sheets of paper and features a customizable front and back cover and spine, owing to its transparent plastic cover. There are also two interior pockets to use as you wish.

Cons: These rudimentary binders may look and function a bit cheaper than you’d expect.

Bottom Line: Its forté may be its drawback to some, but the simplicity of these binders makes it an easy option for those who just want a darn binder. It’s authentic to its name.


Best Heavy-Duty

Case-it The Mighty Zip Tab Zipper Binder

A briefcase-like binder with O-rings and an expandable file folder.

Pros: An organizer and tote for students, the Case-it binder works like a charm with its many features and fun colors. Open the binder with the gusseted zipper and lay it flat on a table. One side features three 3-inch O-rings, which hold up to 600 sheets of paper. Plus, five-color tab separators help organize class papers like hand-outs, rubrics, and assignments. The opposite side comprises an expandable file folder. Write class names on the included perforated paper slips that slide into the transparent colored tabs for ultimate efficiency at school. Use the inner mesh pouch and an exterior zipped pocket for storing pens, mobile phones, and other personal items. Look like a professional by using the shoulder strap or carrying handle. Either way, this binder resembles a briefcase.

Cons: It’s more expensive.

Bottom Line: The Mighty Zip makes good on its promises to provide excellent organization for busy students. It also comes in various colors and prints to choose from.


Best Extra-Large Binders

Ring Binder Depot 3-Ring Binder, Four-Pack

This set gives you spacious, well-designed binders for important documents and more

Pros: This is a great bulk buy if you need high-capacity three-ring binders. They’re basic in build but unique in the number of sheets of paper each can store. That’s more than 950 8.5- x 11-inch papers each. Thank the three sturdy 5-inch D-rings for that. The clear plastic cover on the front, back, and spine offers space to customize the binder to your taste. You could print a picture of your favorite X-Man, unicorn, or simple solid-colored paper. There are two interior, opaque pockets for holding cards or notes.

Cons: Some users say the binder doesn’t hold up structurally if filled to the max capacity; it also lacks organizational separators, which is vital with such a large amount of paper.

Bottom Line: Get huge three-ring binders for storing a lot of paper at a reasonable price. If you feel you need more organization to a binder full to the brim, consider purchasing separating tabs. It might just do the trick!


Best Notepad Binder

CAGIE Six-Ring Spiral Leather Notebook

This lovely refillable notebook binder features qualities that make it great for creative writing and a business planner.


Pros: This is the binder you reach for when you want to journal about your day, write those ideas for a novel you have brewing, or put recipes to try. Open the polyurethane leather cover, flip over the protective plastic page to view your calendar, and use a nice ink pen on the thick, bleed-proof paper if you like. The six-ring binder safely holds the A5, 6.3- x 8.7-inch paper. The journal also has practical features like card pockets to place your business card, photos, ID, or pressed flowers. Make it what you want. It also includes a pen holder and a magnetic button.

Cons: You may find the faux leather cover cheap in look and feel.

Bottom Line: It works as a diary, business planner, or daily journal. Now that’s a versatile binder that makes a perfect gift, too.


Best for Checks

Juvale Business Check Binder

A seven-ring check binder with a built-in organization system for those who write checks frequently.

Pros: Digital payment may be the norm, but small business owners often use checks, especially if they’re just beginning to avoid the associated fees of credit and debit card payments. If you depend on checks, you may want to improve the organization and filing of your business transactions. This seven D-ring checkbook binder holds 600 standard-sized checks. It measures 14.2 x 2 x 9.9 inches and features high-quality PU leather for a professional look. There’s even an interior zip closure pouch and pen holder.

Cons: You may be disappointed if you want the look, feel, and scent of genuine leather, as the Juvale binder is made of faux leather.

Bottom Line: If you rely on checks for personal or business, you probably need no convincing that a binder would be a sensible purchase. This binder stands out for its seven-ring design that adds security and easy page-turning.

Final Thoughts

Our favorite binders for storing and organizing important papers and documents could be just what you need as you head back to school or straighten out your important paperwork.

Alesha Billie Alesha Billie
Alesha Billie is a momma to three kiddos (unless we count the furry ones) who has been writing and researching for over 15 years. After a start as a romance ghostwriter, she's written countless full-length novels in addition to articles, blog posts, advertorials, memoirs, and eBooks. Read Full Bio »
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