Binders vs. Report Covers

By Nicole Tinkham

There are many ways to store important presentations and organize large amounts of paperwork (binders and report covers being two options). Both solutions come in many different styles. When browsing binders, you’ll have to look at the size (how many sheets it can hold), ring type, and view vs. non-view. With report covers you’ll notice choices that include fasteners, pockets, punch-less clips, and a choice of material. While similar, there are many differences between the two and we’ll explore these differences to help you determine which works best for your needs.

Pictured: Avery Economy View Binder with Round Rings

The main thing that sets binders apart from report covers are the rings. Typically you’ll find binders with three rings perfect for storing 3 hole-punched papers. These rings vary in type with the basic round ring, the slant ring, D-ring, EZD ring, and the gapless ring. Learn more about binder rings here: 6 Types of Binder Rings You Should Know About.

Binders are mostly hard back although there are some flexible binders available. You’ll also notice you have a choice between a view binder and a standard non-view binder. View binders have a clear plastic pocket on the front, back, and spine allowing you to label and organize your binders. Many binders also have interior pockets for storing non hole-punched paper.

The size of 3-ring binders range from 1” to 6”. This will determine how many sheets the binder will hold. Depending on size and ring type, binders can hold up to 1,300 sheets of paper. Common sheet size is the standard letter size (8.5”x11”) but there are specialty binders in smaller and larger sizes.

Binders are almost always sold by the each with the exception of a few that can be purchased as a carton (usually 12 binders/ctn).

Report Covers

Pictured: Oxford Clear Front Report Cover, Oxford Pressboard Report Cover, Oxford Twin- Pocket Folder

Like binders, report covers can also hold 3 hole-punched papers but instead of rings, you’ll often find fasteners inside. Of course there are report covers without fasteners to hold your non-punched papers that use a side clip which holds your papers in place. Report covers with interior pockets are often referred to as twin pocket folders. These come in a variety of colors, textures, and pocket styles.

Many report covers will have a clear plastic front and a colored back while others will have a solid color front and back. Twin pocket folders are often made of a lightweight paper material and some may even have a satin finish. Polypropylene folders are translucent, durable and moisture resistant. For a heavy-duty option, you may want to consider a pressboard report cover.

Pay attention to the sheet capacity when making your purchase as some report covers won’t hold as many pages as others. Typical report covers can hold up to 500 sheets, but a pressboard report cover can hold up to 750 sheets. Pressboard report covers also come in more size options with 8.5”x14” and 11”x17” available in addition to the standard letter size (8.5”x11”).

Unlike binders, you’ll notice that most report covers come in boxes of 25 but lesser amounts are available in certain types as well. Pressboard report covers are only sold by the each.

Which to choose

When purchasing either a binder or report cover, think about how you’ll be using it. If you have a large amount of papers to organize, we suggest going with a binder as they will often times hold more. If you want a presentation look with fewer pages, you may want to go with a clear front report cover. If your pages aren’t hole-punched, a twin pocket folder may be the way to go. Any of these options come in many different colors offering an easy organization system. With binders, you may also want to look into some accessories such as pocket dividers, spine inserts (for use with view binders), indexes, and a sheet lifter.

As you can see, report covers and binders are actually quite different. Both are great choices for organizing papers but the one you choose depends on your needs. Within the two options, you have many different choices but don’t become overwhelmed. Just stop in, give us a call (941-747-2995) or leave a comment below with any questions you have about binders, report covers, organization, and any other type of office supply!

Ever wonder the correct way to measure a binder? Find out here

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