By Tristan Hill
View binders are an office supplies staple in the business world, and are one of those trusted office products that’s stayed fundamentally the same since our grandfathers were doing business two generations ago. Even though binders have not changed much over the years, it’s important to find the best brands and features out there, to get the best value for your money and right product for your needs.
Binder features have changed somewhat over time. New ring styles come and go, and new “bells and whistles” are added by manufactures to try and add value and functionality to this traditional product. One trend has emerged that sets view binders apart from the original style of binder made which are standard vinyl ring binders. That trend is view binders now outsell traditional binders by almost 4 to 1, as consumers prefer the features of the view binder and seek them out.
What sets a view binder apart is the clear overlay of plastic that’s manufactured on the outside of the binder that allows for users to slide in a cover page in the front for a presentation, slide a printed sheet down the spine so you can read the contents of your binder while it’s filed on the shelf, and even slide a back cover sheet on the back. As view binders have come down in price, people have gravitated towards these style binders, and have moved away from the old standard vinyl binder without the clear overlay.
What has really driven the sales of binders to the view binder category is that retail pricing has fallen even under the cost of a standard ring binder in many cases. Why would a view binder cost less than a regular binder, when it obviously costs more to produce a view binder? That answer is one simple word – volume.
You see, the key to keeping costs low making binders is volume. Running as many of one style binder as possible lowers the production cost significantly, because change over time and short runs are expensive. Even if the binder does not have the step of added the “clear plastic” covering over the binder, running thousands of view binders is cheaper than making a few hundred standard binders.
That’s why you’ll see great values on the highest volume binders – 1 inch or 2 inch white view binders. You’ll find also that as the size of ring increases, and even decreases down to 1/2 inch, those products have far higher prices than the huge volume most popular sizes. This means, 3 inch, 4 inch and 5 inch binders, even the view style, aren’t going to give you as much value as the high volume 1 and 2 inch versions.
So what are the best brands to look for? Avery is the largest selling brand of binder in the world. They are known for a huge selection, good quality and fairly competitive pricing. However, if value and staying in a budget is highly important to you, I strongly recommend Universal brand view binders for offering the lowest pricing while also providing the quality you need. Universal’s selection is nowhere near Avery, but for common every day colors and sizes, look for the Universal brand and save money.
Other well known brands are Wilson Jones, Cardinal and Samsill binders. I really like Samsill as it’s a smaller, independent company that has the best quality of all the manufacturers, and they also offer unique binders and styles that many other companies do not. Cardinal is also a good brand. They’ve done excellent product development with recycled materials in binders with their new EcoSmart line. Wilson Jones really does nothing to set themselves apart, so while their products are fine, I see no quality, value or innovation reason to go with this brand.
To summarize, getting the best value in binders means shopping for view binders instead of the traditional vinyl binders. Stick with popular colors and sizes, like black and white binders with 1″ and 2″ rings, and that will always save you money. Universal view binders provide the best value for the money even though there are several other good brands to consider. And remember, never buy from those big corporate office “superstores”. Shop from an independent online office supplies company and you’ll save time, money and support small business to help the economy grow!
Tristan Hill writes helpful shopping tips for products like View Binders for your office. He’s an expert on all Office Supplies and he recommends Zuma Office Supply for their Conscious Capitalism, great prices and they Do Good Work in the community. Shop Zuma today!